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John Boy

Any Issues with the Henry Big Boy Steel 38/357

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* Won’t chamber and extract all the time with reloads at factory COL

* Henry Arms says use only factory ammunition

* Gun smith says use only factory ammunition

* Reputable gun store owner says only factory ammunition

Fellow Cowboy has one, is a reloader and his reloads will not chamber and extract all the time

Any other owners of the Big Boy Steel having issues with reloaded ammunition?

If not, either 38 or 357 reloads, what bullet shape are you shooting?

Thanks for your replies

 

 

 

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 A few Questions 

 

1. Have you tried factory .357 and .38 Specials to see if they will chamber?

 

2. Does it have issues with only .357 or does .38 Special also not chamber?

 

3. Can you drop a reloaded round into the chamber and close the bolt?

 

4. Will the reloaded ammo successfully pass a check with a cartridge gauge.

 

5. At what point in the cycling of the lever do the rounds hang up?

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Dave, I going to go through the complete drill for the same questions you posted .... when my shooting buddy brings the rifle over to me so I can go down the laundry list of issues.

I believe just talking with the rifle owner now... it is a bullet ogive issue.  As for factory rounds, I have old UMC’s and Westerns to compare to current factory rounds also ... so will see what gives with the Henry Big Boy Steel for both 38’s and 357’s

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Posted (edited)

The best for a Henry Big Boy Steel in 38/357 is a Lee 158 grain tumble lube semi wad cutter OAL 1.589" in 357 mag .

 

This same bullet for 38 special at an OAL of 1.506".  Note the firm roll crimp on both.  Wheel weight lead lubed with alox works fine

 

A 125 grain powder coated truncated cone @ 1.447” oal also works well.  I have found that the truncated cone shape and powder coating (or Hitec coating) are key to good feeding.

 

The blue powder coated one is a Lee 125 grain with and OAL of 1.44".  I will try some next trip to the range

 

Regards

Chestnut Louie

 

38 special with Hitec coated truncated cone bullet , OAL of 1.452"

125g trunkated cone.jpg

357 mag with only one tumble lube grove showing, OAL of 1.589"

IMG_4325.jpg

38 special with two tumble lube groves showing, OAL of 1.506

38 special.jpg

38 special 125 grain Lee, OAL of 1.439"

IMG_4328.jpg

Lee 125 Bullet.JPG

Edited by chestnut louie
clarity

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I never even TRY to make a shouldered bullet like a SemiWadCutter feed in any lever gun!

 

Good luck, GK

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I have shot hundreds thru my Henry Big Boy Steel.  They are not sharp shouldered like most semi wad cutters.

 

Jon Boy asked about what feeds in his Henry Big Boy Steel so I told him what feeds best in mine.

 

Regards

Chestnut Louie

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Posted (edited)

I tested the 125 grain blue powder coated bullet and it fed OK.   

 

In all cases the Henry Big Boy prefers the longer 357 mag case length. 

 

Thanks

Chestnut

Edited by chestnut louie

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Got my hands on my friends 38 Henry Big Boy Steel.  Took about 15 minutes to determine why the rifle has issues:

* The finger lever cannot be worked sloppily - it has to be racked hard to raise the lifter up Flat with a round into the chamber.  Otherwise the lifter wobbles and doesn't raise flush with the chamber mouth

* The rifle works just OK chambering factory and reloads, sloppy - any nose design ... if the chamber is fed with only one round to the chamber

* Put multiple rounds in the magazine tube and the cartridge stop does not grip the 2nd round on the rim.  The 2nd round slides out of the tube a little under a 1/4" and jams up against the 1st round on the lifter ... have to remove the finger lever to clear the jam

SO ...fill out the warranty request form on the Internet and send it back to Henry

PS: I am not pleased with the design of the lifter - can't baby the finger lever - running fast rifle string is going to be hard and it is a heavy rifle.  Didn't weigh it but it's a heavy rifle even with no rounds in the tube

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I had similar problem with Rossi 38/357. I found the only reload I could get to work was a semi wad cutter 158 on a 357 case. It would not load any 38 case with any bullet smoothly. Then I found a 127 gn bullet from badman bullets that actually worked on 38 case. The 127 is kinda tall bullet so it ended up same length as 357 with wad cutter.  Then I went through my gun did some polishing on internals that helped it out alot. The Rossi is only a backup gun now to my uberti 73. 

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Yeah, my Rossi does not like .38s under 158 grain. /357s run smoothly.

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Henry Big Boy came back from Henry.  They only replaced the lifter and no mention about the cartridge stop.  Owner going to the range with box store rounds and vintage to determine if repair is complete.  Told owner to take 38 Spl and 357 ammo for testing

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