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Thinkin about a 38-55 Single shot for long range. Opinions?


Hoss

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I've got a hankering for a SASS legal 38-55 for cowboy long range. I have a 45-70 Marlin Lever gun, but want a Single shot. While I could go with a 45-70, I think I want a 38-55. What's a good one?

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Harrington and Richardson, H&R, make a nice entry level single shot in 38=55. But they are hard to find. One of our shooters shot SASS long range and some BPCR for a long time with an H&R 38-55.

You'll discover that SASS "long Range" is more like speed rifle. 65 to 150 yards. Timed event so the person with the most hits in the least amount of times wins the cadillac.

Ike

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"Uberti" makes a fine copy of the 1885 Highwall in .38-55 and in what is a far better caliber the .40-65 ...IMHO...

 

If you ever want to dump the rams at 550 yards it gets Iffy with the .38-55 unless the hit is in the top third of the ram...

With the .40-65 and bullets in the 370 - 400 gr. range even leg hits will take them down almost always...

Starline makes proper .40-65 brass and usually has it in stock ...

 

 

Jabez Cowboy

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Mine is one of the h&r 1871 handi rifles but mine has an ejector which is fine since I use it for plainsman. I thought of getting one of the Marlin guide guns in 38-55 then go with a 45-70 or better for single shot long range and buffalo gun . Which is opposite of how your planning of going. In the mean time I'll use my Marlin 336 in 30-30 with gas checks for the micro groove barrel. Then for pistoI can choose between 38/357, 38WCF, 45colt in either 73 or pump for the 45.

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SIR

 

Please be advised , 38-55 can be a bit of a challange , depending on the age and Mfg. of said rifle

 

and you may have to load , for each rifle , bores are from .375 to .380 (new) , and I have seen up to .384 on older units

 

then there is the chamber sizing issues , you will have to deal with .

 

It is a neat cartage , be SURE to slug the bore , and make a chamber cast of each rifle , this will save you a LOT of time and $$$ in the long run

 

This , I have learned the hard way , , at one time I had 5 , 38-55s , each was differant , on what it would shoot well

 

Chickasaw Bill

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Howdy,

A friend of mine tried 38-55 and found it complicated and bullets hard to find and

expensive. He sold off his stuff pretty quick so others must have better luck.

He is having fun with downloaded 45-70 and has less gear laying around.

I think some folks enjoy the challenge. Some just walk away.

Seems to me that a properly set up 3030 with a good long barrel could be just

as effective. My long range shooting is rare these days.

There is a commemorative 94 with a bit of extra barrel.

Quick trip to gunb. and the one is the Cannadian 94.

Not all of them are 26 but some are. Once the box is gone

or beat to heck they are shooters as there are so many the collector

value is about zero.

It always looked interesting to me.

Best

CR

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"Uberti" makes a fine copy of the 1885 Highwall in .38-55 and in what is a far better caliber the .40-65 ...IMHO...

 

If you ever want to dump the rams at 550 yards it gets Iffy with the .38-55 unless the hit is in the top third of the ram...

With the .40-65 and bullets in the 370 - 400 gr. range even leg hits will take them down almost always...

Starline makes proper .40-65 brass and usually has it in stock ...

 

 

Jabez Cowboy

+1 on the 40-65. I have seen it win 1,000 yard matches and then be downloaded for Plainsman matches.

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I had a rolling block #5 action barreled up in 38-55. The bore was .375 and I had the chamber leade cut just a bit long (transition to full rifling coned a little longer) to handle longer 300 to 325r bullets. I had a mold made (I think Steve Brooks but can't remember, was about 20 years ago) that came out with almost pure lead at about 310gr with wide black powder grease grooves.

 

I shot that rifle for a couple years at BPCR and it was a tack driver. I rarely missed a 500 yard ram with it. However, I had more ding/wiggle/no-fall on the rams than I liked at the time. I was a pretty competitive shooter AAA rank and moving to Master rank. I sold the rifle to a guy who shoots 200 yard offhand matches. Unfortunately he died of cancer a year or two later and I lost track of the rifle. I heard his wife sold a lot of his stuff at auction.

 

If what you're wanting to do is punch paper or ring gongs at 500 yards, a 38-55 can be made to do it quite nicely but will require some work and perhaps a custom rifle. Off-the-shelf rifle may just work but like anything else, sometimes they need some work.

 

If you're looking for silhouette shooting, something that can throw a 400-550gr bullet would be preferable. I ended up getting into Master ranking with a 45-70 throwing a 520gr bullet.

 

BPCR got to be too much like work for me and I haven't shot it for a while. Still havre 2 45-70 rifles (Sharps and CPA Stevens). Just plink with them these days.

 

GS

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I think I want a 38-55. What's a good one?

Hoss, the caliber is the material factor and the make of the single shot is secondary

* 38-55 is a confident caliber to shoot 300yds - with the right load, 500 meter Rams can be put down

* In 38-55 replica's the Uberti HiWall is quality fitted with a globe foresight and vernier rear sight.

* The Pedersoli 38-55 Rolling Block is a quality made rifle and the barrel's are match grade

* The lower priced H&R Target 38-55, if you can find one, has a barrel made by Green Mountain that also is match grade

 

There are original 38-55's made in HiWall and other makes - on the expensive side

 

Other posters mentioned the 40-65 caliber - I agree with them having this caliber on a CPA Stevens 44 1/2. It will provide you with a good set of eyes and proper reloads to hit targets from 100 to 1000 yds with accuracy. Accordingly it a better all round distance shooting caliber ... so IMO for an initial purchase go with the Pedersoli 40-65 Rolling Block primarily because it is a match grade barrel and will serve you well

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Up here We do Cowboy longrange out to I,100 + yards ...

Even longrange levergun seems to mostly start on targets at 160 and work out from there to 500 + yards.

I have two .38-55s and use one for longrange lever gun events Sometimes but I also have a Marlin in

.45-70 that will do better sevice...

But when I get to thinking about serious work out comes my Highwall in .40-65 !!!

 

 

Jabez Cowboy

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Another +1 for the 40-65

And another +1 for the 40-65.

 

My rifle is a Browning BPCR. The Browning BPCR rifles came from the factory with Badger Barrels (a big deal) and they came with very serviceable sights. They are the most gun for the buck that you will find. You can buy 40-65 brass from StarLine or, do as I do, make them from 45-70 brass. The 40-65 will do everything the 38-55 will do and a lot more.

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Remember all we need is a heavy round for the long shots. Most shoots are not a long shot match. My idea is to find a load that will shoot out to a 1000 and a load for the typical match that is much closer. If you can find out what ranges the matches you plan on shooting use and then buy a gun for that range. The 45-70 is a good round that can be loaded for plainsman and the typical long rang range sass matches and the bp steel long distance NRA matches. The 38-55 is finicky as it depends on who made the barrel is to what specs it is chambered to. I only shoot mine in plainsman because of that. It's not hard to hit a plainsman target but I doubt I'd hit a 100 yd target with it. A point to show that my first match I shot plainsman in I grabbed the wrong box of ammo I grabbed 30-06 or 30-30 smokeless and shot it the first stage the questioned me if I was using bp I said I was thinking I had grabbed the 38-55 ammo on the second stage I da myself once I looked at the brass and saw it wasn't my 38-55 ammo but I hit every target. The bullet must have bounced it way out of the barrel.

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...had the .40-65, for longer ranges 400+ yards it is a great shooter and an alternative to the .45-70....

 

I sold mine...

 

...am now shooting .38-55 with the Uberti high wall and also in lever action Winchester... I really like this caliber...

 

and for under 400 yards it is competitive with any caliber...

 

...have also taken a deer with it at 280 yards...

 

...recommend that you slug the barrels and then work with cartridge overall length for any rifle that you get...

 

Okb

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We just got a new 38-55 Win Cimarron import 1874 falling block, Sharps clone for Hilda Billie to use in Long Range single shot. Although we are brand new with this caliber it is great so far. With it being new manfg. I guess the bore size is standard, cause it eats .378 home cast slugs with ease and is As accurate as we are or better. The recoil is about non-existent, She really likes it and her first session with it brought nothing but grins and giggles. It is a light weight bullet, so I can see it not carrying out to 1000 yards as good as some of the other calibers mentioned, but in all reality I expect her shooting will be mostly confined to 4 or 5 hundred yds at the maximum with very little at the more extreme ranges. My first time reloading for it was no difficult than any other straight wall cartridge, such as the .38's or .45 Colts that I do by the thousands. To me that is a non issue but as stated it is a new rifle and no issues with trying to figure out the correct bore diameter. Starline had 250 pieces of brass to me in 3 or 4 days, and a mold with dies arrived from Midway the same day. That night I had 100 rounds loaded up and ready to shoot. My first batch was impressive on the targets, and if it gets better that that its all gravy! I used a load out of a manual that specialized in classic calibers, using IMR 4198 powder. That was the load identified as the most accurate in that manual, and I had 4198 on hand, so It was a good starting point.

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Yes the .38-55 in the right gun can be accurate, but I have a good friend at gave me a first place award when he had to hit his Ram three times at 500 meters before it fell .... My first shot on my last Ram happened to be about 12 seconds after his first shot he would have won had his fallen .... But ...

 

The .40-65 kicks very little more than the .38-55 and a lot less than the .45-70 .... It took him 33 seconds more time and two more rounds to finish, so he lost on both the round count and the time ... The match was 10 rams all must be down to finish... There was a shooter using a .30-30, I felt sorry for him he had a nice "Uberti" highwall good sights and was hitting fairly often but he gave-up after running out of rounds at 40 ...

 

Jabez Cowboy

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