Help with cast loads for a 38-55 rifle and where can I get 220 grain jacketed Hornady bullets

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  • Last Post 21 March 2019
mashburn posted this 05 March 2019

I  would like to hear suggestions for cast loads for a 38-55 rifle, both plain base and GC.I have two 38-55 rifles,  one regular and one a 38-55 Improved. Yes, there is a 38-55 Improved thanks to a goofup  I made while building it. It turned out to be my favorite deer rifle. The 38-55 Imp is getting close to 2300 fps with 36.5 grs. of  Reloader 7 with a 220 gr .375 Hornady jacketed flat nose bullet &  5 shot groups at 100 yds. just slightly over 1/2 inch .When you make a shoulder shot on a deer, you don't have to look for him. If I ever figure out how to post a picture on this forum I would like to post a picture of this rifle and ammo. It's a very interesting little rifle. I built it 39 years ago.

Also does anybody know where I can get some Hornady 220 gr .375 interlock flat nose jacketed bullets .It seems Hornady dropped production of these but I heard they were supposed to start production again. I have 3 rifles that I shoot these in and I'm about out of bullets. I would appreciate cast hunting loads and target loads in the loads I requested.

Thanks,

Mashburn

 

David a. Cogburn

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onondaga posted this 05 March 2019

"suggestions for cast loads for a 38-55 rifle"

You couldn't have looked too hard. There is over 40 cast loads for the 38-55 in the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook #4 on pages 192-193.

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loophole posted this 05 March 2019

17 gr AA 5744, 245 gr bullet from Meister.  Just shot very small groups in a Stevens 44-1/2 rifle,  the first time I shot it.  I don't know muzzle velocity, but it hits steel targets at 100 yards with enough authority to convince me that it would be an effective deer load at that range.

Steve k

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Tom Acheson posted this 05 March 2019

Don’t worry about not looking too hard. Not everyone owns every loading manual. I have that Lyman manual and the Lyman manual that preceded it but I just know that there are other references sources that I don’t have.

I had a Marin 336 with an after market Green Mountain 1:12 octagon barrel. I only used CB’s in it.

I own (3) molds; Saeco 571 (2-cav.), Accurate 379245D (4-cav.) and NEI 379315 (3-cav.) The Saeco is a slightly tapered bullet so it isn’t recommended for a lever action. I have a Remington Rolling Block being built using a similar barrel blank, in which I will try the Saeco bullet. Maximum muzzle velocity is not something I look for.

The loads that worked best in the Marlin used either 18.0 of AA5744 or IMR4227, using the Accurate bullet.

Neither powder is shown in the Lyman 3rd edition (1980) and 4227 is not shown in the 4th edition. 

Hope this helps!

Tom

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mashburn posted this 05 March 2019

I think I detect some hostility from the quote about me not looking very hard. Yes, I'm well aware of the Lyman cast bullet load book. But what I was asking for was loads from knowledgeable shooters and experimenters who have developed good loads. Load books don't  have every good load that exists .You can spend a lot of time &money developing a load. Asking for suggestions from other knowledgeable shooters can do away with a lot of that. I'm not just a cartridge stuffer that is satisfied with minute of barn accuracy. I've been reloading for 50 years and am still learning.

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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mashburn posted this 05 March 2019

Thanks Tom

Your information was greatly appreciated.

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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mashburn posted this 05 March 2019

Thanks Loophole.

I appreciate your info.

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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M3 Mitch posted this 05 March 2019

You might want to check out Hawk brand jacketed bullets, I have not tried them myself, but the website has some testimonials from people who appear to know what they are talking about. 

Given that the 38-55 is a nearly straight sided cartridge, how did you manage to "improve" it? 

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R. Dupraz posted this 05 March 2019

mashburn:

  " I think I detect some hostility from the quote about me not looking very hard" 

Yea, don't pay em no never mind.

I have shot lever action silhouette for a number of years now with a Marlin Cow Boy 38-55. And use two different cast bullet loads, one, the Lee 279-250-RF PB with a charge of IMR 4227 for the shorter ranges. And the other is the RCBS 37-250-FN GC with IMR 3031 for the 150 turkey's and 200 yard rams. This load will take those 50# rams down with regularity when the shooter is in the game.  

I won't list the charges because they are fairly stiff but safe in that Marlin, especially the 200 yard Ram load. Both have demonstrated very good accuracy

R.  

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onondaga posted this 05 March 2019

 hostility?

"I was asking for was loads from knowledgeable shooters and experimenters who have developed good loads."

Mashburn

This is worse.There is no reason to think someone else's developed pet loads will work as well in your rifles. If you are not invested in your hobby to do the work for yourself and your rifles, that describes you.

You want an edge? Get the software that compares efficiency of powders in your application. Efficiency is where accuracy resides..not somebody else's loads. Quickload:

 

https://www.accurateshooter.com/gear-reviews/test-quickload-review/

 

Gary

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R. Dupraz posted this 05 March 2019

mashburn:

Feel free to ask anything you want!

R.  

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mashburn posted this 06 March 2019

Hello Mitch,

The Imp cartridge came about by accident. I was suffering from chronic Lyme disease and didn't know it for several years. During this time I did some very strange things. I got to where I couldn't write my last name. I could write my first name as well as ever. This is just a small example of the crazy things that were going on. When I was chambering the rifle that I talked about it was in the wee hours and I only liked a few thousandths having the chamber finished. I decided to wait until the next day when I was fresh. The next day I set up to finish and put the reamer in the chamber and It didn't go down all the way. I can't believe I did this, I turned the lathe on and started the chambering. When I pulled  the reamer out for the first cleaning, I saw 30-30 Imp stamped on the reamer. I couldn't believe what I had done All I could do was keep going. When it was completed and head spaced on the barrel I tested fired it and extracted the neatest little improved Case. It doesn't have much of a shoulder but the body blowed  out a lot straighter Than you would expect .The capacity  of the case increased a lot. I had to make my dies for it. Like I said my velocity is close to 2300 and shoots about 5/8 inch 100 yd. groups. I have it in a strong single shot and still have room for more powder,but I'm stopping there. It is a deer killing Machine. With the rings that I have on it, with a 100 yd zero it strikes less than a 1/4 " high at 50 yds. and the strike at 150 isn't discernable from the 100 yd. strike.  when you make a shoulder shot  on a deer you don't have to look for him.You see him hit the dirt. It weighs about 6lbs. I love it.

Mashburn

 

David a. Cogburn

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JeffinNZ posted this 06 March 2019

HUH, well you can't argue with success mis-intended or not.  Nice work.

Cheers from New Zealand

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Ross Smith posted this 06 March 2019

I understand the lymes and it's symptoms and side effects. I had it for 2+ years before the  dr.s in Utah figured it out. I was case #3 in Utah 30 years ago. I still have problems from the lymes. 

I just checked Hornadys website they don't make a 220 grn bullet in 32 cal or 8mm. Pretty much limited to 195-200 gr.

 

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John F. posted this 06 March 2019

Mashburn,

I have several boxes of the discontinued .375 Hornady 220 gr. FN bullets.  I used them with great results

in a Big Bore 94 in .375 Win. which has gone to a young hunter who is taking it afield very frequently after hogs.

I also have new Winchester .375 Win. brass in case anyone is interested.   Hope this helps!

John

 

 

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loophole posted this 06 March 2019

I have to object.  I am retired and have my own range, but it would be foolish for me to spend hours and dollars trying hundreds of loads in a new rifle when I can find out from experienced handloaders what works for them.  I suppose you object to Ken Waters "Pet Loads" because you think it is cheating to learn from other's experience.  Having had a few years experience with Lyman manuals I have never had much luck with their recommended pistol powder cast bullet loads in rifles, and I would much rather start with rifle powders which aren't even mentioned in the lyman cast bullet books. Some of my best loads were found in manuals which are out of print, so a new shooter will never find them if he doesn't not ask questions. You are free to go about this any way you want, but I hate to see this kind of reaction to any serious question about cast bullet handloading. 

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mashburn posted this 06 March 2019

Hello John,

I so glad to get your comment, I agree, the 220 gr Hornady bullets are devastating on Hogs as well as deer. If you want to sell them, set me a price. If you want to deal in private, send me  a email at: c4cogburn@sbcglobal.net  If you don't mind giving me your phone number in the email I'll call you and we can discuss it.

Thanks again,

Mashburn

David Cogburn

David a. Cogburn

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mashburn posted this 06 March 2019

Hello Loophole,

You are exactly right on. The best cast pistol loads that I have didn't come out of a popular reloading manual.  A lot of them came from other old sources and a lot out of my own head. I have a lot of friends that want me to try their loads in similar type firearms. I  have never tried their loads but it has given me ideas to try.

Thanks,

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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R. Dupraz posted this 06 March 2019

WARNING: QuickLOAD is a computer simulation of centerfire cartridge performance. YOU MUST NEVER just “plug in the numbers” and use QuickLOAD’s output for a load recipe. That is foolish and dangerous. There are many reasons why the data QuickLOAD generates may not be safe in YOUR gun. Before loading live ammunition, you should always check with the powder-makers’ most recent load data.

In fact, you should check multiple sources if possible, and consult with individuals who actually load for that cartridge.

Sierra Bullets offers free load maps which, in general, are fairly conservative. Even when using manufacturers’ load data, start 10% low and work up. Differences in brass, primer brand, and seating depth can make huge differences in pressure. Always reload conservatively and always double- and triple-check QuickLOAD’s output against reliable load data supplied by the powder-makers.

MPORTANT: Numerical values shown in the illustrations are supplied for demonstration purposes only. Do NOT use values found in these illustrations as a basis for actual loads

The starting accuracy loads for my cast bullet match rifles all originated from an old Lyman 44 th edition loading manual, copy right 1967. It is tattered and worn but the cast accuracy loads listed have proven still to be valid  with the older powders listed. It is the first place I look.

And the accuracy cast load for that Marlin 38-55 Cowboy was found in an article where the author did a load work up in those rifles. Among the several loads listed was one using IMR 3031 with a 250 grain cast. Ultimately, that recipe proved to produce excellent accuracy in that Marlin and saved me a bunch of lead and powder, not to  mention, frustration. 

R.

 

 

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 06 March 2019

... in a well throat-worn m94 in 38-55 out of several 375 molds, a lee 250-379 gr. did best.

lee does pretty good especially if you wiggle the handles a little to help them close evenly ... ( g ) ...

****************

hey, blown out 30-30 cartridges have potential ... the 219 Wasp did pretty good for several years ... still might be the best varminter for a single shot ...

ken

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Eutectic posted this 06 March 2019

The starting loads in the Lyman manuals with fast pistol powders make very good cast loads. My experience is the maximum loads with fast powders, while safe, are not the way to go for best accuracy. The moderate rifle powders always gave me better accuracy. Finding loads for moderate rifle powders especially in an uncommon cartridge can be quite frustrating.

Mashburn you are exactly correct in asking. There may be someone who has done what you are trying to do.  It never hurts to ask.

Good luck with your weird wonderful stepchild.

Steve

 

 

 

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x101airborne posted this 06 March 2019

Even getting "what not to do" is a lot of help. Ask away. Wish I could help.

I am running a NOE 240 grain hollow point plain base out of my 375 H&H for days I don't want to get the stuffing knocked out of me. For days I do, the same bullet gas checked and solid point at 2300 fps out of 50/50 water quenched.

Sorry it is not the same cartridge as you asked about, but the 375's / 38's are the real sleeper guns. If you would like some of my plain base or gas checked bullets to try, my phone number is 361-772-6229. I will cover shipping. 

Trey

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mashburn posted this 06 March 2019

dJohn,

I haven't heard back from you about the .375 bullets. Please don't forget me.

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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mashburn posted this 07 March 2019

Hello,

I too, have that book and years ago I did use some cast pistol loads from it. I tried one rifle load and I didn't ' get results close enough to warrant any further experimenting. Most shooters are too young to know about the sources that you and I are aware of. I got  a hold of some extra spending money recently and got on the internet and ordered ever gun and shooting book that I didn't have until the money ran out.

I'm going to run out to the shop right now and dig that old Lyman book out just to put in safe keeping. I had a very early Lyman Book-late forties through early fifties at one time. Gosh those guys were living dangerously. Nearly every cartridge had instructions on forming cases from other calibers. I loaned it to a fellow and he died and my book disappeared.

Thanks for your reply

David Cogburn-Mashburn

David Cogburn-Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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beltfed posted this 07 March 2019

I am lucky. I have a copy of Phil Sharpe's Handbook for Shooters and Reloaders

from 1937-- the early 1950's updated edition. Has lots of good data, jacketed and cast loads for

many of the old timers. Only thing is many of the powders listed are Gone. but some are still around.

beltfed/arnie

 

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mashburn posted this 07 March 2019

Arnie,

I also have those books and also have some of those old powders left. They probably have broken down, although, they have been stored in a house with central heat and air nearly all their life. The books are great. Mine were given to me many years ago.

Nice chatting with you,

David Cogburn

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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mashburn posted this 07 March 2019

Ross, I hope you  continue to beat the Lyme disease. I used to get on the computer and study progress made on the disease. I haven't in a long time because they have learned so much more, it's scarier than ever. The last time I pulled up the web sites , they were beginning to believe it could be transmitted sexually. My doctor then told me he had a man and wife where one had infected the other. My Dr. thinks that I had probably had it about 10 or 12 years before he detected it. They put me on heavy doses of anti-biotics for 90 days and afterwards when it would flare up again they would do the same again. Now through research they have found that heavy doses of anti-biotics causes the little critter to form a protective shell which will protect it from the anti-biotics. The idea now is to treat the disease with low doses over a long period and the little critters don't form the shell and the anti-biotic will kill them. As an experiment he put me on two different meds that I alternate, one, one day and the other the next day. I am doing much better and he and I both are afraid to stop the treatment because I'm doing so much better. When these prescriptions end(its getting  pretty close), we're going to stop them and see what happens. I have been under treatment for about 9 years off and on.  My joints got so damaged that I have to take steroid shots about every 30 days. But I can still do most off the things I enjoy, I just do them slower and with much more pain. I hope you continue to progress.I hope you are progressing better.

David Cogburn-Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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mashburn posted this 07 March 2019

Ken,

I've got the .219 wasp that I chambered with old man Mashburn's reamer setting on the work bench at the present. I haven't fooled with it in several years but I'm in the process of machining out some scope blocks. When finished I'm going to take if out for some exercise. A very fine cartridge.

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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mashburn posted this 08 March 2019

Trey, Thanks for the offer. I appreciated it greatly but I have accumulated basically the same molds.

Thanks again,

David 

David a. Cogburn

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BigMan54 posted this 08 March 2019

i haven't done the research most of these guys have. I can only tell you what I've experienced. I bought a Win Chief Crazy Horse 
(1983) in .38-55 from a fellow Cowboy Shooter for long Range Shooting.in 1990. It had a light weight round 24" bbl.  

I got a load from "Rattlesnake Sam?" composed of the Lyman #375449GC over 28gr of IMR3031. I slugged the bore with .375 RB's that I sent off to Mr. Joe Penny of Tujunga,CA. he sent back 6 each of .379 & .380 bullets to try for fit in the chamber. .379 fit , .380 did not. The bore was .379dia. So I loaded the ..379dia over the  suggested load of 28.0grs of IMR3031. 

I put 3 rounds into a group the measured 1.5inches at 100 yards from the bench with the Issue sights. Of course I was still under 40yrs old and had 20/20 vision. I added a Peep Sight and a fold down rear. Groups shrank by .25 inches. Fifteen years later I tried for a lighter load. Same Bullet, Different Powders: IMR4198 & 5744, Neither worked, Lighter powder charges with IMR3031 didn't either. I Cast my #375449GC out of Linotype. gives me a bullet of .380dia, I had the chamber polished so the .380dia bullets would fit. I set GC's and then lube with 50/50 in a .381 Sizing Die.

It what works for me.

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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M3 Mitch posted this 08 March 2019

http://hawkbullets.com/bullet-selection.html

 

Here are the Hawk bullets with a flat point that probably would work in your 38-55:

Flat Point 180 grains x .025 FP $36.50 200 grains x .025 FP $37.50 250 grains x .025 FP $39.50 250 grains x .035 FP $41.00 270 grains x .050 FP $57.50 c4 300 grains x .050 FP $59.50 c4

Price is for a box of 50, probably the .025 jacket thickness is what you want.  No 220 grain but 180, 200, 250 bracket it pretty well.  There is some pretty serious praise from people I tend to take seriously, like (Dr.) Sam Fadala and Ross Seyfried on the website.  They will do a custom run if you really want a 220 grain, but you will likely have to pay more and then wait a while.

I listed .375 bullets because you said your gun has a .375 bore.  Hawk also offers .377 bullets specifically for the 38-55.

I have never tried these myself, but will probably get some for the .348, although I prefer to use cast bullets for most all shooting.  I don't have any financial interest in Hawk either.

 

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mashburn posted this 09 March 2019

Hello Mitch,

Thanks for this info. I'm filing it away for  possible future use. I found a gentlemen who had about 1100 of the  220 Hornadys flat nose and I purchased some from him.

Thanks again, you have been very helpful and I appreciate it,

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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mashburn posted this 09 March 2019

Hello Big Man,

I appreciate the info you sent me. I've been casting a lot of different type and weight bullets for the last two afternoons. IMR 3031 is one of the first powders that I'm going to try along with RL 7 and many others. You have to pat yourself on the back for a 1.5 inch group with open factory sights and a lever rifle. In hunting type cast loads IMR3031 seems to be a very popular powder in a lot of calibers. Like I stated to start this discussion: I've loaded and shot cast loads in revolvers for years and have been successful with accurate loads, both for  hunting and plinking. My rifle loading was mostly limited to jacketed bullets but I've got the bug and it gets my old brain fired up and something new to  do. I have made several jacketed rifle bullets years ago. I was a prairie dog shooter and making my own jacketed bullets saved a lot of money and they were more accurate than what I could buy..I enjoyed your message and the best of luck to you.

David Cogburn-Mashburn 

David a. Cogburn

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gemihur posted this 17 March 2019

Mashburn,

I've been pouring over this thread just waiting to see your post of a photo of this 6 lb rifle chambered in 38-55 Ackley.

I hope your Lyme condition is in check.

Great to read your experience while milling chamber

Some of the greatest discoveries have come about in similar ways.

My father in law will be captivated when I relate this to him.

He loves old metallic cartridge chambers in his rifles.

Please post a pic of rifle and ammunition when you can.

I may have further questions relating to the creation of dies

Thank you,

Jimmy

I shoot, therefore I am

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mashburn posted this 20 March 2019

Hello Jim,

I have windows 10 and from the start I hated it and the hate has grown greatly. I'm too old to have grown up with computers, I'm told I do fairly well for a old guy. The first time I started to upload some pictures for sales on gunbroker and ebay. I couldn't do it. I called my smart brother-in-law over(he really is sharp in this area) and guess what, he couldn't do it either. He finally got into a site but it was in German and since neither of us speak German we were lost. After a few weeks I managed to make out enough German that I uploaded my pictures and of course the photo shop was in German and I halfway mastered it. Getting the pictures down loaded on ebay was no problem but gunbroker was a night mare. I finally figured out that I could list my item and then after it was on line I could add the pictures. But guess what the German site made a new folder that is magic and it takes forever to find it . I'm putting off posting pictures on the cast  forum, I hate this kind of stuff.

Making dies wasn't a very big job,,, but I'm a much better machinist that I am computer tech.

Mashburn

 

David a. Cogburn

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BigMan54 posted this 20 March 2019

Mashburn,

I hunted Pigs with that .38-55 not long after I got it. I was given some OLD Barnes by an old-timer in our Cowboy Club. He told me to try 26.0grs-29.0grs of IMR3031 or 28.0grs-30.0grs of IMR4895.

I tried the same load I used with Cast first. 28.0grs IMR3031, BOY HOWDY !!!! that was the ticket !!!

A 255gr Jacketed moving out at 1612(average 10shots), 3 shots into an 1.5inch group at 100yrds. The .377dia must have been soft enough to upset enough to fill the grooves. I went out and bought 3 more boxes of 50. Cost even more then Nosler Partitions, but well worth it (Barnes stk#30498). Still have 9rds loaded and 21 in the last box. I'll never be able to hunt again, but it's a comfort to know, that I have ammo & bullets ready to go. I think they Still make the .38-55 and bullets for other old calibers. I still have a few 300gr .45-70 Barnes Originals left too. Managed 1 Pig with a Marlin .45-70CB before I got knocked off that ladder.

I took 11 Pigs over the next 8 years and a little 3X4 Muley Buck. Oddly enough I never recovered a single bullet from a Pig, but I did recover the one from the Muley.  It expanded so perfectly that it almost covered a quarter. Cracked a rib on the far side and stopped.

We haven't been able to Hunt with Lead in CA since the late 1960's at least. Although I did take my only Cougar & Bear using Lead. That was back in H. S. in the late 1960's. Neither bullet was recovered.

If you can't get the Hornady 220grainers (call Hornady & ask if they still make them & who to buy them from) Try the Barnes Original.  Folks say both they and the Partition are not as accurate as other Bullets. But that Chief Crazy Horse & the old REM 700 in .25-06 I used to have would disagree.

Good Luck

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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mashburn posted this 21 March 2019

Hello BigMan,

I found a man who had 1400 of the 220 gr flat nose Hornadys. I have a lifetime supply on the way at the present. My rifle is an improved so I have a lot more powder capacity than a regular 38-55. I have never slugged the bore, but  it was a New Whitworth barrel chambered for 375 H&H. I cut most of the chamber off, turned a tang and threaded it for my action and chambered it for my cartridge. The bore is .375 and I know the 375 has a twist rate for heavy bullets. My most accurate hunting load is .220 gr Hornady's and 37 grs. of REL 7. I have space for more powder but I stopped here. It will shoot 5/8' groups at one hundred yds. This load is a cannon. I shot it some the other day but forgot to take my chronograph to the range. I'm guessing that that 220 gr bullet is traveling at about 2300 fps. You don't have to look for your deer when you shoot them, you see them hit the ground. I shot a bunch of cast loads through it the other day, this is the beginning of working up cast loads. It was very promising. I was only shooting 3 cartridges groups in each experimental load, but I had about 3 groups that were around one inch.

I really appreciate the load information that you sent me.. I have made notes from it and filed them away with my load info for references. What happened with the ladder accident?

Thanks many times over,

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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