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Dutch Nichols, SASS #6461

Single Shot 38-55 or 45-70

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going to get a single shot just because, mostly paper punching , perhaps bambi , etc. I know a bit about 45-70 but not 38-55. Someone told me it's a 30-30 on steroids. my Speer manual does not have load data... so I'd appreciate your input as to

 

generally what weight bullet and diameter

approx velocities

recoil approximate to ?????

how accurate are they and if i wanted to use it on anything larger than a dear , say russian boar will it do the job?

 

 

my sincerest thanks in advance.

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Dutch,

 

Caprock here. I am far from an expert, however I have both and the 38/55 will match the 45/70 out to 300 yards, more if you have less twists and a heavier bullet.

 

Some 38/55 have diferent OD so YOU HAVE TO GET THE BARREL SLUGGED OR DO IT YOUSELF!

 

Shoot a thousands or 2 over and it will drive tacks. I have an entry level H&R around $300 and a economy Lee Shaver Soule sight.

 

When loaded correctly neither have a bad punch,but obviously the 38/55 has less.

 

I have just purchased a Quigly Sharps in 45/70 and am in the process of setting it up, but have been happy with both my H&Rs.

 

If you want my load data send P.M. Still wearing those slides you had, still geting compliements.

 

Caprock

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.38-55 started as a standard target and light hunting load for single shot rifles including the Sharps, Ballard and Stevens as early as 1878. Winchester chambered it in their Model 94, along with the .32-40, as blackpowder cartridges starting in 1894. In 1895 Winchester chambered that same rifle in .30-30 and .25-35 and added the .32 Winchester Special in 1902. All five of these cartridge share head dimnesions and have similar lengths.

Rough ballistics are: .38-55 270 grain at 1400 fps, .32-40 170 grain at 1500 fps, .30-30 170 grain at 2000 fps, .25-35 117 grain at 2200 fps and .32 WS 190 grain at 1950 fps. Please verify these numbers at the Winchester reloading webpage or any good spec book (RL Wilson's for instance). The .38-55 is considered as a very soft-shooting, soft hitting round that is great for target work, not very destructive on meat and requiring very good precision or very disciplined shooting (close range) to bring home the venison.

The .38-55 can be shot well but is more difficult to find than .45-70. Early rifles have to be slugbored to verify actual bore diameeter that is commonly found as .375, .377 and .379.

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Have 38-55 in a Marlin an a High Wall have killed deer with 220 gr Hornady jacketed bullets it dispatches them quickly .Have done well with both in sass side matches they are mild recoiling an a pleasure to shoot. Recoil sissy I guess never liked gettin beat up for fun lol. Pm me if ya need more info. 45-70 is definetly the gun over 3-400 yds or dangerous game depends on what you want to do. Sass side matches and deer size game great caliber as you still have to put the shot on target for humane kill. NK

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Guest Sheriff Pack Wolf, SASS #31917

I have compared the two for years.

Earlier when shooters were shooting groups, the 45/70 didn't foul as bad as the smaller bore. That seemed to make a difference in the outcome. I went with the 45/70. I do shoot a 40/65 now though. Bore size matters.

The bullet selection is important as well as the loads. More 45/70 combinations.

 

 

 

Pack

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HOWDY; I prefer the 38/55 because the ranges around here are less than 300 yards. It is easy to shoot lots ,40 rounds at silouhete matchs off hand useing a Pedersoli rolling block. 255 grain bullet at 1320 feet per second with a fast burning powder is nice to shoot. I was lucky enough to purchase a Marlin lever new in 38/55 ,it would make a good hunting rifle.

I have noticed most people have 45/70s but the guys with 38/55 shoot them more often.

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38-55

 

In particular read the posts by Wind. Gives you a good idea what can be done with a Marlin CB. Bores vary but this can be overcome. Have slugged them all the way from .376 to .384

 

Don't be misled by paper ballistics, the 38-55 was once favored as a medium to big game round even at the lower velocities. A really good primer for anyone is to read Ken Waters "Pet Loads" and please pay attention to the part about brass length and neck thickness.

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38-55 was an excellent target round in it's day and it is still very accurate. As others have said, it is very pleasant to shoot, and will use less lead and powder that the 45-70, if you are loading. The components and ammo are available these days, though it is not as easy to get as 45-70, but it is just about all you will ever need when shooting CAS single shot distances. I went the other way, 45-90, but I have been keeping an eye out for a 38-55 in a highwall or something else interesting.

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I shoot both. The 45-70 holds the wind better. The 38-55 needs to be juiced to get on target at 300 meters when using black powder. The wide variation of chamber dimensions and bore dimensions in the 38-55 "might" result in a real nightmare in developing precision cartridges. The 45-70 gunz can get pretty heavy as can the recoil.

 

If I could only have one, it would definitely be the 45-70.

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Dutch cast bullets for the 38-55 are in the 225 to 350 grain range while 45-70s run from about 290 to 540, all depending on alloy. Have shot 38-55 in the buff classic and marlin using flat nose bullets and the pointy ones as suitable to the rifle. IIRC charge volume of bp never got above 50 grains because of case capacity, seating depth, OAL etc. Very pleasant rifles to shoot and with the lousy trigger of the BC tuned and a good sites installed fully suited to any cowboy long range side match I've come across, well except for one with a 600 yard buffalo. That I think was more to do with the shooters then the cartridge.

 

In 45-70 std loads are the 405 to 500 out of the pedersolli sharps. Spent a couple hours at the range yesterday doing product "research" with the 500gr RCBS BPS over 65gr 2f and the 405 grain Lyman 457193 over 55gr of the same powder. The 500/65 off the bench had as might be expected much more recoil then the 405/55 combo and I would have enjoyed the session even more had I run the front rest up higher and gotten the steel buttplate a little higher as well, pinched the pi** out of my shoulder under recoil. The 405/55 is an experiment about OAL and in the big rifle real easy to shoot. The 500gr with bp is more of a shove under recoil and no big deal but it really makes me wonder about my friends who use the 45-90/110/120 guns, can you say masochist?

 

Both are easy to shop for re loading components on-line, brass and bullet supplies while not as diverse as 30 caliber rifles are pretty much their for the asking. Yes you can make 38-55 brass from 30-30 but you dont need to with starline, winchester, remington, black hills etc etc making it. Ammunition for both is or should be on the shelf of any gun store. You can probably pick up jacketed ammo for either at chain sporting good stores as well.

 

Which to buy? I'd go with the 45-70 for versatility and range of stuff you can do with it. That said I know at some point I'll find another 38-55 single shot, buy it and start fooling with that cartridge again. Save time, get both now.

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going to get a single shot just because, mostly paper punching , perhaps bambi , etc. I know a bit about 45-70 but not 38-55. Someone told me it's a 30-30 on steroids. my Speer manual does not have load data... so I'd appreciate your input as to

 

generally what weight bullet and diameter

approx velocities

recoil approximate to ?????

how accurate are they and if i wanted to use it on anything larger than a dear , say russian boar will it do the job?

 

 

my sincerest thanks in advance.

 

I have shot and owned both. I have stayed with the 45-70 and use a 405 gr moly bullet from Bear Creek with 13.0 grs of Trail Boss, 1105 FPS in a 30 inch bbl Shiloh Sharps. For hunting elk and mule deer I load the 405 gr Rem. SP and 3031. bout 1200 FPS. I would not hesitate to use the Sharps for anything in North Am. except for those really big bears. Range/accuracy is quite good out to 300 then its my eyes that fail me not the round.I have played with BP, 70 grains with the 405 gr lead, its a hoot! This fall I am using the Hornady Factory Leverlution 45-70 for bull elk....wish me luck. Go with the 45-70 it extremely versitile....Yoos-ta-be Kid Flagstaff, AZ

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Dutch;

 

I've had both of them in a number of different rifles. Some high dollar rifles, and some low dollar. I've never been a real player in the Long Range shooting game, but did have fun with it for a few years. I sold ALL of my Long Range Single shot rifles a few years back... I just didn't have the time to dedicate to it... and it takes time if you want to be good at it.... NOW... after a few years without them I've decided that I would like to "Play around" with it agsin... I was like you... couldn't decide with one to get and I didn't want to go out and invest BIG bucks again... so I got a H&R Buffalo Classic in 38-55. You can find plenty of them for under $400 if you just look. (I was looking just a few weeks ago) Then... I sent it off to H&R 1871, and for $120 +$25 installation and fitting, they will add a 45-70 barrel to it. They have the 45-=70 BC barrels in stock RIGHT NOW. So.... this is one option if you just want to get your feet wet.

 

Snakebite

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Be very carefull with those dang single shot rifles.

They is habit forming.

'Specially the .45-70's

Started with one, an 1885 Uberti

Then She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed got tired of me drooling on the keyboard of my confuser and bought me target Sharps with all the bells and whistles.

This Christmas she bought me a Rolling Block.

They is all in .45-70

I like the big boomin' boolets.

But then, I am a WARTHOG

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I own both.

 

I have trapdoor in 45-70 that is very comfortable to shoot, it's heavy enough ta handle the recoil...

 

I have an H&R signle shot in 38-55 which is also lots of fun ta shoot.

 

I had a Marlin in 45-70 but I sold it and got one in 38-55 'cuz the recoil beat me up with the same 45-70 rounds, the rifle is just too light.

 

I need ta slug the 38-55 before I shoot it then I look forward ta using that Marlin a lot!

 

I just like the 38-55 better...

 

JJJ-D

:ph34r::ph34r:

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I own both ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, But prefer my .40-65 in a highwall ...

 

 

Jabez Cowboy

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