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Thread: Winchester (Miroku) 1885 38-55 Load?

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub wsjones's Avatar
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    Winchester (Miroku) 1885 38-55 Load?

    Hey! First post here so please let me know if it's better posted in one of the other forums.

    I just ordered one of the Davidson's 'short hunter' 38-55's and am in the process of ordering dies, brass (starline 2.125"), boolits, etc. I reload but don't cast boolits and this is the first rifle except a pump 45 LC that I expect to shoot cb's.

    I'm looking for more or less a single load with which to hunt deer and plink, 255-275 gr or so at ~1700-1800 fps, using smokeless powder, most likely 4895 or RL-7.

    Is a gas check bullet of 0.379-380 a good place to start? Midway has 'cast performance' brand 260 gr, 380 diameter, GC bullets.

    Thoughts? Recommendations? Other sources for commercial cast bollits? Thanks. WSJ

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    First off you need to "slug" your barrel cause the 38-55 comes sized all over the place. After sizing get you boolits that are .001 to .002 over groove diameter. RL-7 is the go to powder for medium to hot loads in the 38-55 but Unique will give you nice 1400 fps loads for plinking and deer hunting. Use you a boolit weighting from 245 grains to 260 grains. Oh and your 1700 to 1800 fps load is pushing the 38-55 near max. Look at Beartooth Bullets for other boolit options.

    Tom

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    The 38-55 in a quality single shot is most user friendly. I do not know what the Miroku 85s will be in bore and groove diameter but they are a first class production facility so you likely will not be disappointed. I imagine that anyone here with a recent Miroku 1885 could give you very good idea about the bore and groove diameters. I'd also agree, that before you purchase bullets, get the gun and push (tap) a slug or two thru. Get a reading on the bore and groove diameter of your bore. That will give an idea on best bullet size. First look at a bullet that is about .001" larger than the groove diameter of your bore. The Cast Performance GC bullet you described is a candidate for good smokeless performance. Other possible bullet sources are Mt Baldy, Montana Bullet Works, Beartooth and our own "Bullshop". Rel 7 is a good choice in the 38-55 but start down in the 1200 fps range and work up. I've had good luck with both 5744 and Rel 7 in the 38-55. A properly sized, gas checked bullet of about 250 gr +/- pushed to a modest velocity by a suited smokeless powder will do all you want to do with the 38-55 and save a bunch of headaches .

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I do not have a Winchester made in Japan but I do own a C Sharps high wall and it shoots extremely well with cast bullets. I shoot both smokeless and black powder in mine and mostly use plain base bullets. I have driven them as fast as 1600 to 1650 fps without leading but mostly I shoot a lee 250 fn bullet with either 45 gr of FFG or 18 gr of 5744. These loads are in the 1300 fps range and both shoot into 1 to 1.5 moa for 10 shot groups. I have shot some Lyman GC bullets at higher velocities with excellent results as well but most of my use is for target shooting at 200 yards so I do not need the expense of gas checks to make it work for me. By the way I have 4 38-55s in both lever action and single shots and they all work well with bullets sized to .379"

  5. #5
    Boolit Bub wsjones's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=405;1104417]I imagine that anyone here with a recent Miroku 1885 QUOTE]

    Well? Any other Miroku 38-55 owners with suggestions?

    And it looks like a good plan would be to back my velocity goals down to 1500-1700 fps. I don't need this rifle to be anything it's not - there's other guns and cartridges for that.

    Thanks all. -WSJ

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    My wife campaigns a Miroku 1885 38-55 "Traditional Hunter". The only mod is a Lyman 17 from sight with globe insert. She has often put 10 in one ragged hole at 100 yards. Load is the Lee 250 gr from the 2 hole mold lubed with felix, LR primers (species does not seem to matter) and 9 grains of Unique. Velocity is just a tad under 1300 with low SD. Perhaps not the velocity you seek but is an easy shooting, accurate inexpensive load.
    ph4570

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I've got one of the traditional hunter models. I've been shooting the Lyman 375449 cast out of AC-WW sized to .377 and loaded with 19.0grs of IMR 4227 for my lite load. Also used the 250gr. PB with same charge with good results. I don't have a crono so I don't know what the velocity is. What I have been working with lately is some heaver loads with the 375449 GC. These loads are like the .375 Win and I'm only shooting them in the High Wall with no signs of pressure what so ever. That load has been 28.0grs of Reloader 7 . 38-55 brass is used in all loads and this has been the Starline longer brass. The loads shoot very clean with no leading at all. That's what works for me...
    Experience is the source of all knowledge.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    I would expect a Miroku 38-55 to be .368" x .376" or darned close. If you're going to cast your own, look no further than the Lyman 375449. 26gr Reloader 7, 28-30gr AA2015, or 30-32gr AA2200 should be very accurate and moderate pressure, BUT NOT FOR OLD BP ACTIONS.

    Are they cutting those with the long chamber?

  9. #9
    I'm A Honcho! montana_charlie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wsjones View Post
    I'm looking for more or less a single load with which to hunt deer and plink, 255-275 gr or so at ~1700-1800 fps,
    Quote Originally Posted by Old Goat Keeper View Post
    Oh and your 1700 to 1800 fps load is pushing the 38-55 near max.
    Quote Originally Posted by 405 View Post
    Rel 7 is a good choice in the 38-55 but start down in the 1200 fps range and work up.
    Quote Originally Posted by NickSS View Post
    These loads are in the 1300 fps range and both shoot into 1 to 1.5 moa for 10 shot groups."
    And it looks like a good plan would be to back my velocity goals down to 1500-1700 fps.
    You really weren't looking for advice on velocity, were you?

    If you are intent on pushing the heaviest bullet at top speed, you would probably be happier if you got that 38-55 rechambered for .375 H&H

    CM
    Retired...TWICE. Now just raisin' cows and livin' on borrowed time.

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    Boolit Master doubs43's Avatar
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    One year ago to the day I bought a Winchester 1885 "Traditional Hunter" from Davidsons. The groove diameter was advertised as .376" and I have no reason to doubt that as my cast bullets sized to .377" are very accurate in it.

    I use the Starline 2.125" cases loaded with 2.5 grains of WW-231 and 32.0 grains of WC-860 to push an RCBS 320 grain bullet at 1319 fps with an average deviation of 10 fps. A standard LR primer works perfectly.

    With a Lyman 250 grain bullet in a Winchester 2.082" case, I use 2.5 grains of WW-231 and 34.0 grains of WC-860. While I chronographed the first load, I estimate this one at between 1400 & 1500 fps.

    The above loads work fine in my rifle but I assume no responsibility for anyone else using them.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Talking

    Mine slugged .3764" and takes the long Starline brass.
    Last edited by Doc Highwall; 01-02-2011 at 08:53 PM.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    i also am a recent owner of a davidsons 85 win. mine is in 45-70 tho but i wanted to say that if your bore is like the one on mine...shiney and bright with NO tooling marks...then you should have a first rate shooter as mine is.

    also another comment i wanted to do here is your "need" for velocity seems a bit on the hot side and if you want a no headacke experience with your honered old cartridge in 38-55 then i recomend the factory velocity as also the suggested loads af these who have already covered this ground with spades.

    oh and welcome to the site. hope you reap benefits here like the rest of us do from the more experienced shooters of these "BOOLITS"
    WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE...MORE WILL BE SAID THEN DONE

  13. #13
    Boolit Bub wsjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by montana_charlie View Post
    If you are intent on pushing the heaviest bullet at top speed, you would probably be happier if you got that 38-55 rechambered for .375 H&HCM
    Thanks, no, not with a curved butt plate! I'm thinking that would NOT be a happy thing.

    I was looking for advice and suggestions, and thoughts on my intended load components and goals for a hunting & plinking load, all of which I got.

    And based on replies from other owners of Miroku Wnchesters of recent manufacture it seems that my initial component selection is reasonable. I will slug the bore to confirm groove diameter, but it seems likely that the chamber is indeed the longer dimension, which makes using the 2.125 brass sensible and do-able.

    I'll take the actual load advice as reasonable initial maximums and work up to them with my components until I get good groups at or near my desired velocities, which may well now be several hundred fps slower based on experiences you fellows have shared.

    On the other hand, it doesn't seem like 1700-1800 fps is an unreasonable velocity goal for THIS rifle and component combination if it groups well and doesn't beat me up.

    Thanks again for the info and insight. -WSJ

  14. #14
    Boolit Master ammohead's Avatar
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    I have a legacy 94 and use 17.5 gr of 4759 for upwards of what velocity you are looking for. Haven't chronoed it but judging from load data... I use the lee 250 with the bevel base trimmed off by hand.

    ammohead

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    Boolit Bub wsjones's Avatar
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    ". . . our own "Bullshop??" OK, can someone tell where to locaate this? I'm assuming it's a store associated with this site? Thanks.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    The "Bullshop" clan are members here. They run a small family business in interior AK. Good folks!
    Try here:
    http://bullshop.gunloads.com/

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I have a Miroku 1885 with the 22" barrel and so far I have only used the Lee 250 grain boolit. 28 grains of IMR 3031 did well and I would shoot anything here in Georgia with confidence. Both 15-16 grains of 2400 and 16-17 grains of SR 4759 did well also. I have Rel 7, but haven't tried it. My favorite so far is 3.0 grains of Sr 4759 and 40 grains of FF Goex with a regular large rifle primer and homemade BP lube with a card wad over the powder. That is as close to therapy as it gets. Oh sized .378 or .379 does fine in mine, it slugged at .3765. Doubs43 I have been thinking about trying the RCBS mold you have and would love to trade you some boolits.

  18. #18
    Boolit Bub wsjones's Avatar
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    Excellent! UPS and Fedex came through on delivery of new dies, starline brass and the Midway boolits. And I've an email confirmation that the rifle has been delivered to my dealer, which I'll pick up tomorrow.

    With luck with the weather and a bit of industry on my part to get some chells loaded I should be shooting it Saturday.

    Thanks, all, for the info and suggestions. -WSJ

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    My Miroku Browning 1885 "Traditional Hunter" .38-55 slugs @ .375" groove diameter. I've run gaschecked RCBS 37-250-FN sized .375 & .376 thru' it..........33gr RL-7 with the bullets seated out so the casemouth just covers the grease grooves, average velocity ran 2,016 fps. If you were crimping in the crimp groove and looking for 1700-1800 fps I'd suggest something more like 28-30 gr RL-7, these are NOT "plinking" loads.
    If you're looking for a "plinking" load I'd suggest something like a Ly375248 & 20 gr 4198.

    John C. Saubak

  20. #20
    Boolit Master



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    Good morning
    I have one of the jap 1885īs with the long hex barrels. Mine shoots a .377 boolit nicely. Black powder or smokeless is the same. Now that big long barrel does give and acuracy advantage but I would expect the hunter barrel should easily do 1.5" at 100 yards once you get the vibrations figured out.
    Been shooting 38īs many years now and there is not many critters on this side of our world that can take a 255 grainer at 1500 fps through the heart or lungs or spine and go walking away laughing. Last deer I popped with with the 375248 cast of 50/50 at 1300 fps walked a little ways laid down and leeked out. Corn crunchers just do not need much thump to harvest. Otherwise all us fellers using 50# recurves would have to get a better bow.
    "Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check