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Thread: 1866 Winchester

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    1866 Winchester

    My LGS has a beaut of a Winchester marked Japanese manufactured one in .38 spec. Has anyone loaded .38 spec. cast for a rifle. What can I expect for ballistics? How bout BP loads?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    runfiverun's Avatar
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    it will handle BP no problem.
    it will also handle normal 38 special loads but no hot rodding.
    you'll gain some FPS using the right powders, but I would just enjoy the rifle for what it is.
    who cares if it's going 1800 fps? your probably not gonna take it to Montana and try to shoot prairie dogs at 300 yds with it.
    i take that back that is something I would do, but not at 1800 fps.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    this opinion brought to you by mister low-tech solution..

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Well, Montana is just up the road.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by salvadore View Post
    Well, Montana is just up the road.
    May want to wait til the smoke clears.
    Endowment Life Member NRA, Life Member TSRA, Member WACA, NRA Whittington Center, BBHC
    Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
    I hate rude behavior in a man. I won't tolerate it. -Woodrow F. Call, Lonesome Dove
    Some of my favorite recipes start out with a handful of depleted counterbalance devices.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Chill Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by salvadore View Post
    My LGS has a beaut of a Winchester marked Japanese manufactured one in .38 spec. Has anyone loaded .38 spec. cast for a rifle. What can I expect for ballistics? How bout BP loads?
    There was a high end gun shop in the seventies I would frequent that had a lot of these. Japan or Italian made. At the time I thought they were nice but 38 Special? Not good for much and the rifles were pricey.
    Now, I wish I would have had the vision to have picked one up.

    There are slow powders listed in the loading books that will help a rifle length barrel earn its keep OR you can load them as light as you care to. I think BP would be fun and the sound of an 1866 shooting Black would be outstanding!
    Chill Wills

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    We do have purty sunrises, sunsets.
    Last edited by salvadore; 09-11-2017 at 01:15 PM.

  7. #7
    Boolit Man Dirty30's Avatar
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    I have found that you want to lean toward round nose bullets, as they tend to feed better into the chamber. Flat nose can hang up and be a pain when cycling.
    If you're gonna shoot shoot, don't talk.

  8. #8
    Boolit Bub
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    Round nose bullets may cause primer detonation in the magazine tube. I would suggest LYMAN #358665 or ACCURATE #36-155S. You have to watch overall cartridge length. The WIN 1860/1866/1873 design uses a cartridge "lifter/elevator" that raises the round straight up from mag tube to line up for a straight line feed into the chamber. The cartridges can neither be too long or too short. If too long the bullets nose will catch on the end of the mag tube causing a jam. If too short the next round will jut out into the cartridge lifter causing a jam. The above mentioned bullets are designed for to overcome this problem. The bullets must also be firmly crimped into the crimping groove. Otherwise the recoil will drive the bullets in the mag tube deeper into the cases causing a feeding problem or worse, a severe pressure spike by reducing case volume.

    If it's a WIN 92 or 94 design you will still have stay within O.A.L. The sharp SWC shoulder can catch on the chamber mouth of some rifles. And don't even try to load the LYMAN #358429 in a magnum case, it's just TOO long. Even for most MARLIN 1894's.
    Last edited by Walks; 09-16-2017 at 02:13 PM.
    Happiness is a Warm GUN & more ammo to shoot in it.

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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