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I am loading some ammo for my Dad's 38-40 and was wondering what size die to order to size bullets. I have a Lyman mold that the box is dated 1922 and it throws a 180 gr bullet. Do the bores run oversize on these like the 32-40 and 38-55's do? Thanks, moodyholler
 

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38-40 bullet size

conventional wisdom is that the 38-40 has a .401 groove diameter. The 94 Marlins that I have checked run very close to this size. The thing to do is to slug your bore and get a sizing die about .002 over groove diameter. If you have to get much over .406 then make sure that you have enough neck clearance in the chamber to accept a cartridge loaded with that diameter bullet.........rerifler
 

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The 1894's don't run oversize, but then neither do the 1893 .38-55's. Both run right at SAAMI standards. As Rerifler said, they generally run .401, but before you buy any components, you really need to slug the bore.
 

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What size bullet die for 1894 38-40 DOM 1895

I have an 1894 38-40 serial # 127XXX that has a .406 bore. Luckily the rifling is sharp and with a soft bullet I get adequate accuracy.
 

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What size bullet die for 1894 38-40 DOM 1895

My largest bored 38-55 is in a DLX PG TD serial # 133XXX. It has a .381 bore. I load a .381 gas checked bullet that chambers without having to neck ream the brass. Shoots great.
 

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What size bullet die for 1894 38-40 DOM 1895

Mike Venturino makes some interesting observations in his book -Shooting Lever Guns of the Old West - "Marlin Model 1894s can also be guilty of oversized bores.", "...Marlin Model 1893 in 38-55 caliber...barrels as large as .383/.384 inch."
 

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I think it was P O Ackley who said that when he removed a barrel ahead of the chamber,and then fired a round from it,he found that the lead bullet base balloned to nearly twice normal size,indicating that a smaller than bore sized bullet had NO problem filling the groves of a larger barrel.He explained that the base of the bullet gets moving faster than the front and so swells, filling the groves to the utmost degree.. Sounds reasonable to me..Iam not about to doubt such a source. This information I advance to you,but am not responsible for it and will not take it personally if you disagree.I will do my utmost to find the article and report same to this forum.modoc
 

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What size bullet die for 1894 38-40 DOM 1895

Modoc: You are right about the changes a bullet goes through after you squeeze the trigger. An interesting read is Dr. Franklin Mann's book "The Bullet's Flight from Powder to Target." He carried on some unique experiments.
 

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In my line of work, which is rerifling and reboring gun barrels, I come across all kinds of different ideas put forth by customers. Some of them are well thought out and reasonable while others are so far off that they are hard to describe. The one thing I try hard NOT to do is to reinvent the wheel. Much has been written about cast bullets, bore size, temper of bullets, etc., but there are a few references that have stood the test of time and one is "The Bullet's Flight From Powder to Target" by Dr. Franklin W Mann. I do a fair amount of competitive shooting, ALL with cast bullets. I have made some older 93 Marlins in 38-55 shoot very well with SOFT undersized cast bullets. When I used an alloy harder than wheel weights the bullets went through the targets sideways and barrel leading was severe. A hundred years ago most cast bullets were 20 to 1 or softer and over sized bores were not mentioned in any of the literature. A good example is the 45 Gov't. They used 20 to 1 alloy, 70 grains musket powder and could hold very good groups out to 1200 yards. The groove size on some of the trap doors was a large as .464. This all boils down to, in a perfect world, try and match your bullets to groove size or a little larger but if you can't, soften them up and slow them down.
 

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cowboykell,
Do I ever admit I'm wrong? Sure I do. Am I wrong in my answer on the ,38-40, or does my data just differ from what your gun measures? According to Marlin records, the drill used in their .38-40 barrels is a .395", with a groove depth of .0025", which when doubled for the total bore equals .400" bore/groove depth. I have 4 Marlins in .38-40, and all use the .401" bullets with no problem.
If you're refering to my answer on the .38-55, again, the SAMMI Standard is what I was refering to. That Mike Venturino has found some that slug as large as .383-.384" is most likely true, but it's not the norm, or even common among Marlins chambered for .38-55. I own 4 of them, and shoot .381" bullets in all. They don't all slug exactly the same, but they average around .378-.381" and this bullet is best for my guns, as I can get by with just one size for all.
Finally, I'm not sure why you seem to have some particular dislike for me or my replies to others, but it seems you do. If I'm wrong, then I guess I'm getting the wrong perception of your replies. Either way, in the future I wont be responding to sarcastically written replies you direct my way. If your only reason to post here, is to encite some unconstructive personal attack on me, then I'll pretend I never saw it.
 

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I believe as a poster on this forum one has an obligation to the members to post correct information. I have a problem with people who post statements of fact based on their limited knowledge and experience. Just an observation, sometimes the information you obtain over the internet is worth exactly what you pay for it.
 

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Well put, and I'll take your post at exactly what it's worth.
You have no idea of my knowledge or experience in regards to anything, let alone Marlins, but you continue to make your personal attacks.
I sure don't need to explain to you how many Marlins I've worked on, collected, reloaded for, or owned, because you've obviously already made up your mind.
I'll continue to try to assist the folks here, regardless of your opinion of my experience or knowledge. Sorry you feel the way you do.
 

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I get on Marlinowners to relax, learn, and enjoy. mm93 has helped me and many others countless times dating back to the old Marlintalk. Always has been a class act. Times when there were grey areas there was a pooling of info by other experienced posters and we were all the wiser. May polite, open discourse on our favorite subjects continue.

All the best,

Geoff
 
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