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Flying W Ramrod

38-40 Ammo Checker

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Anyone make a case/ammo checker for 38-40? I've been having problems getting them to go fully into the chamber of my Winchester (Cimarron) and having to squeeze the lever to close the action. Mostly with reloads. Could be the shoulder isn't at the right place or the case isn't getting sized to the bottom. Either way, it's a pain.

Mic'd the rounds, all fall within saami specs. Would like to drop and shake the final rounds in a case checker.

Thanks

 

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Thanks all. Ordered from Dillon. Graff is out of stock.

 

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You stated mostly the problem is with reloads.  To me that means it also happens with factory ammo.  I suggest you have the chamber checked with a Go headspace gauge.  It may be that the chamber is on the ragged edge of SAAMI chamber length.

 

P.S. I buy L. E. Wilson case length headspace gauges when I buy dies so that I reload ammo that meets SAAMI dimensional spec's.  My latest die purchase was 30 Carbine for an early WWII production M1 carbine that was imported this year from Ethiopia.  It has the early flip-up aperture rear sight, high wood & khaki sling.  So far I have determined the stock & handguard don't fit the serial no.  The low wood predates the serial no. & handguard postdates the serial no.  If you are looking for rifles of various mfg & models dating back to late 19th century to post WWII check out Royal Tiger Imports.  These rifles have been stacked in warehouses for at least 46 years.

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My competition rifles and pistols are all 38-40.

 

Other then the case shoulder being too far forward to easily chamber, it also could have a short throat.

 

My Uberti 1873 rifles all "had" very short throats.  They worked fine with an old style bullet shape (Ideal/Lyman) without a driving band or crimp groove.  Seated on black powder, crimping over the oglive worked fine.   However, the more modern Magma/RCBS/Redding bullet designs with a crimp groove and driving band interfered with the rifling, and the lever felt exactly as your describing on closing. It's my personal belief that Uberti copied an old Winchester 1873 that had a short throat.  With the old bullet designs, a longer throat wasn't needed. 

 

To remedy the problem, I bought a throating reamer and cut the throat longer.  Worked great.  Now all bullet designs chamber easily.

 

     

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2 hours ago, Col. Cornelius Gilliam, SASS#5875TG said:

My competition rifles and pistols are all 38-40.

 

Other then the case shoulder being too far forward to easily chamber, it also could have a short throat.

 

My Uberti 1873 rifles all "had" very short throats.  They worked fine with an old style bullet shape (Ideal/Lyman) without a driving band or crimp groove.  Seated on black powder, crimping over the oglive worked fine.   However, the more modern Magma/RCBS/Redding bullet designs with a crimp groove and driving band interfered with the rifling, and the lever felt exactly as your describing on closing. It's my personal belief that Uberti copied an old Winchester 1873 that had a short throat.  With the old bullet designs, a longer throat wasn't needed. 

 

To remedy the problem, I bought a throating reamer and cut the throat longer.  Worked great.  Now all bullet designs chamber easily.

 

     

If the ammo checker proves the ammo meets spec, I'll be in touch with you regarding the throating reamer. Thanks

 

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2 hours ago, Flying W Ramrod said:

If the ammo checker proves the ammo meets spec, I'll be in touch with you regarding the throating reamer. Thanks

 

Most folks I know have had to take a bit off the bottom of their sizing die to get reloads to chamber correctly.  Rowdy Yates made me a shoulder set back die that cured my problem with handguns.  I also had to have my rifle chamber reamed as it was too short.  Jim Bowie said he's never seen one so bad but it is common with 38WCF.

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1st thing to do - ream the chamber of that rifle. 2nd - make sure your sizing die goes all the way down to the shell plate. If you shoot 38-40 revolvers use a cylinder to check your rounds. Good luck. 

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Paint a round with a sharpie and see what gets scraped off.

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10 hours ago, Too Tall Bob said:

1st thing to do - ream the chamber of that rifle. 2nd - make sure your sizing die goes all the way down to the shell plate. If you shoot 38-40 revolvers use a cylinder to check your rounds. Good luck. 

 

That's what I do with my 32-20's. Take the cylinder out of one of my pistols, use it for a gauge, and use the cylinder pin to punch them out cylinder if they don't fall out. I just checked 250 rounds that way this morning. Took about 20 minutes to check and put them in ammo boxes.

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Ramrod, if you don't own a caliper or a micrometer -Buy One,,, Then:

* Coat the reload with a sharpie as mentioned

* Then open up this website, read the normal dimensions of a 38-40 round and compare to yours ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.38-40_Winchester

Then any differences from your reloads - make adjust accordingly

Case checkers are all well and good (have one and never use it) because the checker does not identify dimensions - And what They Should Be

Quote

Mic'd the rounds, all fall within saami specs.

If this be the case - you have chamber issues, so rent a reamer .... https://4drentals.com/product/38-40-wcf-c/

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I had to have 2 rifle chambers reamed as my favorite bullet, Saeco 190g, would hit the rifling when closing, would not close cleanly. One a '73 and a '66. Now they work great. Closely check your bullet after clambering as the rifling will mark the bullet if it's not right.

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23 hours ago, Jailhouse Jim, SASS #13104 said:

Most folks I know have had to take a bit off the bottom of their sizing die to get reloads to chamber correctly.  Rowdy Yates made me a shoulder set back die that cured my problem with handguns.  I also had to have my rifle chamber reamed as it was too short.  Jim Bowie said he's never seen one so bad but it is common with 38WCF.

 

This exactly what I had to do and have no problems years after doing so.

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Hi, I have the Wilson gauge. I was looking for a "chamber checker" as I check my loads before a match. The Wilson is the only game in town.  One thing I noticed is that in my Uberti 1873 with light loads my shells are,  checking the headspace,  almost unchanged. They fall to the bottom of the gauge, regards, Mike

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The shoulder setback on original 38-40's is slightly different than the modern guns.  Don't mess with the gun if you can help it.

RCBS used to make a special Schofield die for 38-40 that will size the shell to fit either age of gun.  I've been using mine for over 15 years with no problems.

Don't know if they still make it, you need to call them.

 

See the post by Tom Paine in this string:

 

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On 7/23/2020 at 6:40 AM, Johnson County Mike said:

Hi, I have the Wilson gauge. I was looking for a "chamber checker" as I check my loads before a match. The Wilson is the only game in town.  One thing I noticed is that in my Uberti 1873 with light loads my shells are,  checking the headspace,  almost unchanged. They fall to the bottom of the gauge, regards, Mike

 

As you noted a chamber checker gauges the loaded ammo. To find a rifle headspace issue, other equipment is needed. Here is a link to each style of gauge needed to perform the checks (go, no-go, field): 38 WCF rifle head space gauges

 

The 38 WCF has been my favorite SASS cartridge for many years. Because I have several rifles in this caliber, in 1990 I figured out the simplest and most cost effective solution for me was to trim my resizing die to move the shoulder back, and then use a Lee Factory Crimp die to ensure the bullets stay in place. There are other crimp die solutions out there, the Redding Profile Crimp Dies are said to work well. I trim my brass to the same overall length as well.

 

The Ruger  Vaquero cylinders were originally chambered too small to use for lead bullets, I had to ream the cylinders to make them useable for SASS. I am not sure if Ruger has addressed the isssue yet, however in 2001 Ruger insisted there was nothing wrong with a .396” chamber for a .401” bullet. 

 

Cheers!

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Hi, here is what Wilson says. 

"CASE GAGE INSTRUCTIONS
 
One piece gage that will check overall length to indicate the need for trimming, datum to head length to assure correct headspace and to prevent over sizing. Available for most popular rimless cases. The Cartridge Case Gage was designed with safety in mind and was invented by our founder Sam (L.E.) Wilson in 1935 after a fellow shooter approached him for help in solving a case-separation issue. The gage allows you to see just how much you are sizing back your shoulder on your cases. 
 
This is best done by following the steps below. 
  • Measure a case in AS-FIRED condition. Note headspace measurement 
  • Resize case on current die setting 
  • Then place back in the gage to see just how much you are sizing the shoulder back. This can be measured by using the Case Gage Depth Micrometer 
  • Finally, adjust sizing die accordingly to desired shoulder set back. 
After sizing your cases, there is a good chance the brass will lengthen. The gage will also check min/max case length and will point out the need for case trimming. This is an essential tool for every reloader. 
 
Note: Does not measure body diameters. This gage is intended to be used with fired cases to determine a basis for full length sizing and trimming."
 
So that explains what the gage does. As Etan Cord says, it is not a headspace go no go field etc. gage. I also did not see this, 38-40, on the Wilson web page, any more, :unsure: , regards, Mike

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On 7/24/2020 at 11:51 AM, Ethan Cord said:

 

As you noted a chamber checker gauges the loaded ammo. To find a rifle headspace issue, other equipment is needed. Here is a link to each style of gauge needed to perform the checks (go, no-go, field): 38 WCF rifle head space gauges

 

The 38 WCF has been my favorite SASS cartridge for many years. Because I have several rifles in this caliber, in 1990 I figured out the simplest and most cost effective solution for me was to trim my resizing die to move the shoulder back, and then use a Lee Factory Crimp die to ensure the bullets stay in place. There are other crimp die solutions out there, the Redding Profile Crimp Dies are said to work well. I trim my brass to the same overall length as well.

 

The Ruger  Vaquero cylinders were originally chambered too small to use for lead bullets, I had to ream the cylinders to make them useable for SASS. I am not sure if Ruger has addressed the isssue yet, however in 2001 Ruger insisted there was nothing wrong with a .396” chamber for a .401” bullet. 

 

Cheers!

Had to have my '73 chamber reamed and my Ruger Vaqueros as well. Don't know why Uberti keeps making the chamber too short; they are aware of the problem.

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Just to echo....   (the short version is have your chamber cut or find a bullet with a different profile than the "Magma' style.)

 

Now since we a quarantined, the longer version.............  as seen from my bench. 

 

Uberti 38-40 Winchesters' have short throats base on original Winchesters.

I have 5 of them & call them & was told "it's the ammo not the gun".

That is correct as I had no problems for many years loading the original old Ideal/Lyman bullet that crimps over the ogive. 

I was shooting real BP (with smokeless & that bullet you are inviting pushing the bullet back in the case as there is no crimp groove)

 

Wilson sell a case not cartridge gauge.

If you are using "Magma, etc." style bullets it will not help you. (unless your cases have real problems which is unlikely)

 

Note about the Wilson gauge, if you take a factory Winchester loaded round & drop it in it will be way below the gauge rim.

The Winchester factory shoulder is set far back from what you will see in most fired cases.

This is so that it will chamber in "any" 38-40 chamber.

Chambers vary widely in 38-40 as far as neck/shoulder profile & length. (old & new)

 

There are dies that will set the shoulder back to these "factory" dimensions; however......

that does mean you will have more  working of the shoulder area of the case as it is blown out & then resized.

On the plus side you do get a nice long neck that encapsulates the lube keeping it separate from the powder (handy if you shoot BP with soft lube).

 

As for me, I ran into about 10K of those hard cast Magma style bullets & found out they wouldn't work & had all my throats recut & solved the problem.

The hard bullets work with APP as well as smokeless.

 

The 38-40 is a great cartridge, have with it.

 

 

 

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for those that prefer  video how to video how to use the Wilson case gauge 

BD 

 

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i also found this on the old wire  2014 that may assist reloading 38-40 

bourbon doc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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