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38-55 Bullet Mould


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Looking for opinion(s) on which Bullet Mould is preferred for standard 38-55 plinking/target loading as well as a good hunting Bullet Mould.

Just mailed off a 1885 Winchester/Uberti replica  to JES.  Originally a 30-30 caliber, soon to be a 38-55.

Edited by captqueeze
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I have an RCBS 255 gr that shoots good in my Win 94 Big Bore  @ 1300 fps      GW

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I found the Magma Engineering bullet to be accurate in both single shot and lever rifles.

Easy to load in to case.

 

38-55-245-RNF-BB (245 gr beveled base)

 

https://www.magmaengineering.com/PDF/BBOct132008b.pdf

 

 

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53 minutes ago, Old Man Graybeard said:

Using a 335 grain bullet in mine 

What Mould would that be Graybeard?

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1 hour ago, Cliff Hanger #3720LR said:

I found the Magma Engineering bullet to be accurate in both single shot and lever rifles.

Easy to load in to case.

 

38-55-245-RNF-BB (245 gr beveled base)

 

https://www.magmaengineering.com/PDF/BBOct132008b.pdf

 

 

Really like the look on that one.

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1 hour ago, G W Wade said:

I have an RCBS 255 gr that shoots good in my Win 94 Big Bore  @ 1300 fps      GW

Is that the one that looks like a Loverin?

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What bore and groove diameter did you order?  If I were you I would have it bored and chambered for 375 Win vice 38-55.

38-55 and 375 Win are the same cartridge. 375 Win is the magnum version of 38-55. Just be aware that the pressures for 375 Win far exceed those of a 30-30. To be safe I limit my loads to pressures that do not exceed 30-30 maximums.

 

I have a Marlin Cowboy that was originally a 30-30, JES rebored and chambered to 375 Win. Be having the bore and chamber cut to 375 Win it shoots jacketed bullets like a dream. A 225 gr JHP will deliver 1" groups at 100 yards which is pretty impressive for a lever gun.

 

I shoots cast lead equally well and I no longer have to purchase custom cut molds to obtain a large enough bullet to properly fit the groove diameter. 

 

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Awesome Dave!  I went with the 38-55 because of the possibility of shooting BP loads.  Also, I had total shoulder reconstruction a few years ago and a magnum anything doesn't feel real good.  I didn't specifically ask for a bore/groove diameter, just the 3 grove rifling.  JES will do it proud.

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1 hour ago, Sedalia Dave said:

What bore and groove diameter did you order?  If I were you I would have it bored and chambered for 375 Win vice 38-55.

38-55 and 375 Win are the same cartridge. 375 Win is the magnum version of 38-55. Just be aware that the pressures for 375 Win far exceed those of a 30-30. To be safe I limit my loads to pressures that do not exceed 30-30 maximums.

 

I have a Marlin Cowboy that was originally a 30-30, JES rebored and chambered to 375 Win. Be having the bore and chamber cut to 375 Win it shoots jacketed bullets like a dream. A 225 gr JHP will deliver 1" groups at 100 yards which is pretty impressive for a lever gun.

 

I shoots cast lead equally well and I no longer have to purchase custom cut molds to obtain a large enough bullet to properly fit the groove diameter. 

 

To me, figuring out what my old .38-55 Winchester 94 wants has been the most enjoyable part of owning the gun.  Not to say that it's not been frustrating (because it most definitely has), but it's rewarding as well.  I slugged the barrel and found a groove diameter of .3795, but there was no way to chamber a .380 or .381 bullet using standard 2.08" brass.  Finding some long (2.125" Starline) brass solved that problem (thanks Adolph Vancinghand!).  Loading a cast bullet in the 255 grain range over 10 grains of Unique produces some groups similar to what Sedalia Dave talked about while remaining quite pleasant to shoot off a bench.

 

Anyway, I haven't started casting for my .38-55 yet, but that 255 grain Magma Engineering mold looks promising.  The best bullet I've found so far is a .380" 255 grain coated soft lead bullet from Bear Creek Supply, but it's a slick bullet and not suitable for black powder.

 

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Not sure. A friend has been casting them for me. I believe they are.377. On a 38/55 you need to slug the barrels. They vary quite a bit 

2 hours ago, captqueeze said:

What Mould would that be Graybeard?

 

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The Ideal 375166 bullet is the most accurate bullet to 500 meters

Clone on Accurate Molds ….  https://www.accuratemolds.com/bullet_detail.php?bullet=38-320E   
Tom cloned it at my request from an original Ideal 375-166 mold I have because the Ideal mold is scarcer than hens teeth.  Note that this 38-55 Accurate  mold has been purchased 18 time

Edited by John Boy
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I loaded 50 rounds with Ideal 375166 and 42 gr of FFg powder and took them to the Ridgway high range, a couple of years ago…

* shot the 50 rounds consecutively from 500 meters back to 200 meters, with minor verniers changes  on the steel with accuracy, a few misses too,…. and no blow tubing or patching for the 50 rounds

* when finished shooting the 50, with 3 cotton balls dipped in plain water and one dry cotton ball … the bore was absolutely clean

…. 48 degrees and 60% humidity

 

Edited by John Boy
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5 hours ago, John Boy said:

The Ideal 375166 bullet is the most accurate bullet to 500 meters

Clone on Accurate Molds ….  https://www.accuratemolds.com/bullet_detail.php?bullet=38-320E   
Tom cloned it at my request from an original Ideal 375-166 mold I have because the Ideal mold is scarcer than hens teeth.  Note that this 38-55 Accurate  mold has been purchased 18 time

I've read that somewhere else, too.

I'd try it if I had a high wall, but it's a little long for my lever gun.

 

 

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All my moulds come from Buffalo Arms. Always precision and well built. First thing is to slug your barrel. These are not cheap but do not think you will regret spending the extra bucks

https://www.buffaloarms.com/

 

Edited by Dungannon Gunner
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I dug around in the shop today and came up with a 379-250 Lee mould that looks like it might work Going to cast some up and PC them and await the return of the HighWall.

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The Lee 250 shoots well for us from several rifles. Used it to take a nice doe last season also.

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2 hours ago, captqueeze said:

What do you lube with Slim?  I really like PC with a coat of BLL.

I use a good coat of liquid Alox from Lee. No leading at all. I've been thinking about trying to PC some. I just found my wife's toaster oven in the garage..........

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I picked up a killer deal on a .35-55 Uberti 1885 High Wall.  I then launched out an investigation as to the proper bullet for best accuracy.  The following is a cut-and-paste from my notes that I made during my investigation.  I hope it makes sense.

 

Bullet Stabilization Problems -  (From Western Powder’s Reloading Manual, pg. 14 - 15). Rifles derive their name from the process of rifling that seems to have emerged toward the end of the fifteenth century. Grooves cut into the barrel impart a gyroscopic spin to stabilize bullets in flight. The rate of rotation, or twist, is measured by how many inches it takes a bullet to make one complete revolution. A bullet that is turned once every 7 inches is considered to be twisted faster than one that makes one full revolution in 14 inches. 

 

Shape, weight and length all affect how much twist is needed  to stabilize a bullet in flight. In a .223 Remington, a 50-grain bullet may be perfectly stable in a one-in-14-inch twist. Using that same twist, a 77-grain bullet in the same caliber will be  unstable and inaccurate. This is most easily seen when a bullet leaves an oblong hole in a paper target. In extreme instances, the hole will show a bullet in profile, called a keyhole. In  Example 24, the hole on the lower right is an example of a keyhole strike. These three shots, fired at 20 feet, were from a one-in-12-inch twist .223 Remington rifle using 77-grain Sierra bullets.

 

For the handloader, keyholing is an indicator that a rifle's twist is too slow for the bullet being tested. As a general rule, the longer a bullet in a given caliber, the more rapid the twist required. An unstable bullet indicates that a shorter (usually lighter) bullet is needed. Many bullet manufacturers print twist requirements on their boxes, especially if they are intended for a specialized rate.   

 

The opposite problem can exist when a bullet rotates faster than designed. Some .224-caliber bullets are built to expand in velocity ranges typical to the .22 Hornet. A rapidly twisted .22-250  Remington can literally spin one of these bullets apart in flight. A disintegrating bullet will leave a gray, wispy tail spinning out from the bullet hole in a paper target. It may also disappear in a gray puff on its way downrange.

 

Here are my conclusions:

 

Greenhill Calculations for RCBS mould 378-312BPS -  Note the recommended maximum twist length is 16.74".  Venturino and Gable recommend using 2 inches under the Greenhill number.  Other results are as follows:

 

For a bullet diameter of 0.378, Greenhill twist rate for the following length 38-55 bullets was calculated as follows:

 

Bullet Length

Max Twist Length

0.7

30.6"

0.8

26.8"

0.9

23"

1.0

21.5"

1.1

19.5"

1.2

17.9”

1.3

16.5"

 

The Uberti .38-55 Highwall has an 18" twist.  Using the Greenhill formula, the RCBS 379-321-BPS requires a 16.7" maximum twist, shorter than the 18” twist of my Uberti, therefore not a good bullet for my gun.  The Lee 379-250-RF is too blunt and does not hold enough grease.  The three Lyman moulds are either too blunt or single bullet moulds.  Saeco has only overpriced single moulds.  Buffalo Arms moulds are too pricey.  The Accurate Mold 380-285-IL requires a 19.77" maximum barrel twist and is a good choice.   See https://www.vcalc.com/equation/?uuid=fa6a549f-0929-11e5-a3bb-bc764e2038f2 for an on-line calculator of the Greenhill formula.

 

If I spent as much time dry practicing as I spent on this investigation, I'd be a much better shooter.  But then I enjoyed the process!

 

 

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