Lee PrecisionGraf & SonsInline FabricationTitan Reloading
StainLess Steel MediaWidenersRotoMetals2MidSouth Shooters Supply
Repackbox
Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: Need Help Reloading For 38-55 Rolling Block

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold Milsurpsandmore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    In the foothills of Appalachia, just outside of Athens, Ohio
    Posts
    6

    Need Help Reloading For 38-55 Rolling Block

    I'm relatively new to reloading, and have had much success with my handgun loads, but having never reloaded for rifles yet, I need help with this one...

    I have been very blessed in that a friend just gave me an old Remington rolling block that has a brand new barrel on it, chambered in 38-55. He also gave me some Winchester brass and bullets for reloading ammo for the gun. The bullets he gave me are Hunter's Supply bullets. As the box says, they are "375 H&H; 260gr. FP; .376" bullets. Here is what the Hunter's Supply website says about these bullets: "38/55, 375 H&H 260 grain FP Lead Bullet for practice shooting, competition matches, medium, large game. This bullet is design for lever action rifles. Designed so you can put on a gas check for maximum velocity. Do not need a gas check for velocity under 1500 fps."

    I have 3 different powders on my shelf that I could potentially use for reloading this ammo, but I don't know which powder I should use, or how many grains of either powder to use. And this is where I need help, because I'm not about to just guess. The powders I have that I think would work are: Red Dot, IMR 3130, and Winchester 748.

    Any load data suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I really want to figure out a good load before the next deer season rolls around. I thank you in advance for your help.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Northwest Ohio
    Posts
    9,003
    Check the barrels twist rate and see what it is. SHilouette shooters and long range shooters have been barreling with 1-14-1-12 rates for heavier longer bullets. ( My CSharps high wall 38-55 has a 1-12 Mc Gowen on it 30" long and it loves the 360 grn bullet I cast out to 500yds). The 38-55 is a easy cartridge to load for and responds well to most loads.

    My reproduction rifles ( SHarps, highwall, rolling Blocks, Hepburn, and cpa) have yet to see any smokless powder or jacketed bullets. I use starline and Winchester brass in 38-55. A full dose of Olde Ensforde 2f ( around .150 compression to seat the bullet to depth) Will usually give around 1200 fps, and shoot pretty accurately. The cartridge and rolling block rifle just need to have black powder and the whie smoke when shooting

    Prep your brass, chamfer deburr and trim to length. Size cases first time full length then just neck size after. Seat primer to bottom out in pockets, I uniform my brasses primer pockets square and flat also. Lightly bell case mouth to accept bullet. Charge with powder. If black powder is used a wad and compress is next. seat bullet and just iron out the belling done. On these single shot rifles a crimp isn't really needed, but removing the bell is to insure easy chambering.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
    Bohica793's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    LA (Lower Alabama)
    Posts
    618
    Slug the barrel. I'm betting it slugs at .378-.379 at best which means those .376 bullets will not be accurate and will lead the barrel. I suggest getting either the Lee 379-250RF mold or (preferably) an Accurate Mold which drops around .380-.381 and sizing for your barrel.
    Protecting this country and it's communities isn't just the job of soldiers and police, but of every patriot who is capable.

  4. #4
    Boolit Mold Milsurpsandmore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    In the foothills of Appalachia, just outside of Athens, Ohio
    Posts
    6
    Country Gent, my barrel has a 1 in 14 twist rate. Also, my gun isn't a reproduction. It's an original old Remington Rolling Block, but the octagon barrel is new. It was made by my friend's friend, who is one of those old-timer, master metalsmiths who can make just about anything for anything. This barrel has not had any rounds put through it, so it is a brand new old gun. I really want to use smokeless instead of BP for this gun, just because I don't want to have to deal with the corrosiveness that the BP will do to my gun if I don't have time to clean it immediately after use. I really want to keep this barrel like new for my whole life.

    Bohica, thanks for suggesting that I slug the bore. I did so a few hours ago, and I'm getting a reading of .372 groove diameter (largest diameter). That's quite a bit smaller than I expected. I checked and rechecked to make sure I was reading it right, and sure enough, it is .372. I did some looking online for bullets, and the smallest I could find were jacketed bullets at .375 and hard cast lead at .376 (which is what I have in 260gr). My understanding is that I need my bullets to be .001-.002 larger than my groove diameter. This would make the smallest bullets I can find to be too big. So, can I use those .376's given the diameter that I have?

    Thanks again for your thoughts and suggestions. I don't think that i mentioned this, but if anyone is thinking of any loads for me, using the smokeless powders I currently have (Red Dot, IMR 3130 and Winchester 748), know that the longest distance shot that I will be taking at a deer out here in Southeastern Ohio is 100yds, so that is the distance where I will be needing accuracy.

    Thanks again for your thoughts and suggestions. I really appreciate the support.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    9.3X62AL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Redlands, NorKifornia
    Posts
    11,261
    Try 22.0 grains of IMR 4198 for a smokeless duplicator of black powder performance--about 1300 FPS with the Lee 250 grainer in my rebored Win 94 carbine.

    Pardon my saying so......but a groove diameter of .372" sounds screwy for any 38/55. My Jesse Ocumpah re-bore @ .376" is considered "small for caliber". Is there any chance that your barrel has "choke boring"? I would slug that barrel as follows--1) a slug that gets the throat spec and leade, then drive it out backwards (toward the breech). 2) A slug run halfway down the barrel, then backwards toward the breech. 3) A 3rd slug run all the way to that through the muzzle.
    Last edited by 9.3X62AL; 04-17-2018 at 01:40 AM.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
    Bohica793's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    LA (Lower Alabama)
    Posts
    618
    Your metalsmith apparently didn't read the specifications when he made the barrel and, as such, you now have what I would consider a wildcat (37-55?). I personally would be very hesitant to shoot it as is and would highly recommend you have it examined by a qualified gunsmith for their opinion prior to firing anything in it.
    Protecting this country and it's communities isn't just the job of soldiers and police, but of every patriot who is capable.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Northwest Ohio
    Posts
    9,003
    My C SHarps with 1-12 Mcgowen barrel is .375 groove dia. Depending on the blank He may have a tapered or choked barrel. As said above I would slug to three places in the barrels length. Just ahead of the throat and inch or two. to center from breech and an inch or 2 from muzzle from the muzzle Use a soft lead slugs to do this. Smokeless loads will work out fine, And a 1-14 twist should do the Remington 302 and the lyman 335s very accurately.
    In my 1-12 I shoot the 335 lyman postel and a old west 360 grn "Nasa" bullets out to 500yds. I load these to 1150-1200 fps. With Black Powder loads my extreme spread is around 9 fps - 13 fps over a 10 shot string. Temp weather and other conditions affect this. I cast these bullets from 20-1 alloy. Actually pretty soft. But I get a good ring and rams topple when hit at 500yds.
    If your worried about the dia contact Bernie Rowles at OLd west moulds, Brooks moulds, Noe, and accurate moulds, all will cut to your dia with your alloy. Most within +.002 -.000 so the bullet dia isnt an issue. Or pan lube and modify a lee push thru sizer to size to .374. I shoot as cast pan lube with spg or emmerts improved and use a .379 cake cutter to remove cooled bullets.

  8. #8
    Boolit Mold Milsurpsandmore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    In the foothills of Appalachia, just outside of Athens, Ohio
    Posts
    6
    9.3x62AL, no pardon needed. I know that is a weird diameter. I was expecting at least .377 myself. I will slug the bore as you all mentioned, checking those 3 locations. I didn't even think of the possibility of there being a choke. I will let you know what I find out.

    Tomorrow morning I begin my 3-day NRA Pistol Instructor Class, and my friend who is taking the class with me is going to bring me some IMR 4198. Thanks for that suggestion. What weight of bullets are you using with your 22gr load, Al?

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
    9.3X62AL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Redlands, NorKifornia
    Posts
    11,261
    I have tried a couple 250 grain-class bullets with the carbine--the Lee plain-base and Lyman #375248, a gas-check flatnose. At the pressures of the load (22.0 x 4198), a gas check is superfluous, but the bullet still shot very well. The powder weight was derived from an article written some years back by Ross Seyfried--his instructions for safe smokeless loadings in classic black powder rifles was to take the nominal black powder weight in a given caliber--multiply that weight by 0.4--and use the resulting weight of 4198. I have tried this method in 25/20 WCF, 32/20 WCF, 38/55 M&B, 44/40 WCF, and 45/70 Government. In all calibers using conventional-weight bullets, velocities ranged from 1150 FPS to 1300 FPS--which definitely in the BP ballpark. Pressure signs are non-existent; the loads are gentle.

    Make haste slowly in load development. A LOT of data available for this caliber is rather stalwart, e.g. Ken Waters' "Pet Loads" info. Some mid-level Waters data caused primer pockets in new Starline brass to loosen on their first firing. I suspect a large amount of data for the 38/55 might have been developed using undersized bullets for a given bore size, so be careful as you "stair-step" your test loads.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  10. #10
    Boolit Mold Milsurpsandmore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    In the foothills of Appalachia, just outside of Athens, Ohio
    Posts
    6
    Al, thank you so much. I really appreciate that information. I haven't had time to mess with it at all, and won't be able for at least a few days, because my NRA instructor course lasts through Friday, and then I have to head out to Maryland for a handful of days, where my mom is getting some brain aneurisms removed. So if you don't hear back from me for a bit, don't worry, I haven't forgotten about this conversation.

    I still need to slug my barrel in the 3 places you all mentioned. Will do that asap after all the hype dies down a bit. I will let you all know the results. Thanks again.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
    Chill Wills's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,939
    Quote Originally Posted by Bohica793 View Post
    Your metalsmith apparently didn't read the specifications when he made the barrel and, as such, you now have what I would consider a wildcat (37-55?). I personally would be very hesitant to shoot it as is and would highly recommend you have it examined by a qualified gunsmith for their opinion prior to firing anything in it.
    I might be wrong in my assumption but I read it as the friend barreled the rifle, not made the barrel that was installed.
    If that was the case, a barrel like the GM 14 twist octagon barrel might have been the replacement. Regarding the slugged groove diameter....Sometimes, when measuring, we don't notice a small thing like zeroing the micrometer before we start. I would suspect the measuring tool. Measure a 0.375" pin gauge and see what it measures. ....just a possible explanation for the odd barrel diameter.

    What is the likelihood of two opposites, a machinist skilled enough with interest enough to have tooling to make barrels (this would not be his first barrel) and at the same time, not be able to measure accurately or not make one to a standard??????? Not likely.
    Last edited by Chill Wills; 04-19-2018 at 11:14 AM.
    Chill Wills

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy rr2241tx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    San Marcos Texas
    Posts
    345
    The overwhelming odds are that your caliper is incapable of accurately measuring thousandths of an inch. Borrow a calibrated micrometer to measure your slug before spending money on things you are unlikely to need.
    rr2241tx
    Timin' has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

  13. #13
    Boolit Mold Milsurpsandmore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    In the foothills of Appalachia, just outside of Athens, Ohio
    Posts
    6
    I just realized that I never got back to let you guys know the outcome of my 38-55 reloading adventure. My apologies. I hate it when threads have no conclusion. My fault.

    So, I have found the load that my gun loves, and I shoot it often with extreme consistency. It's definitely one of favorite guns to shoot, and it will be passed down through the generations in my family.

    Here is my load, using both Winchester and Starline brass, and cast bullets from the Meister Bullet Co.: 22gr IMR 4198; 245gr RN/FP, .377 diameter lead; 2.510 OAL.

    Thanks for all the input, guys. You helped me a bunch. By now I'm a reloading junkie! It happens. I was warned! Oh well, no regrets!

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    NorthEast Indiana
    Posts
    276
    If you don't clean your barrel then by all means use smokeless, or give it to someone who will clean it. However you can forget most of the BS you have heard about cleaning about black powder.
    Black powder will rust a barrel, but not immediately or even for hours. Cleaning a rifle barrel after shooting black powder is not an elaborate time-consuming affair. I have settled on wiping with a patch wet with water followed by a brush then more water-soaked patches until they come out clean. I then run a dry patch thru followed by a patch wet with a light oil and I am done Five minutes, tops. My barrels look as good as when I started shooting them.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Southwest MO.
    Posts
    1,695
    I shoot only black in my inline. I carry a coffee pot of boiling water to the back porch. Pour a cup or two down the barrel. Swab with a bore mop a few times. Repeat. Pour the rest of the pot down the barrel. This is hot enough to dry immediately. A light coat of bore butter or whatever and it's good to go. Takes about three times as long to boil the water as it does to clean the gun.

    Cleaning black powder fouling is not the monster many believe.
    Some people live and learn but I mostly just live

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    5,589
    And don't forget to wash your fired brass with 50/50 vinegar and water when using BP or they will be ruined. Congrats on your 38-55. I'm on my 3rd loading of a box of 50 Win cases and I am hooked! I'm using Unique with great results in my WinJes carbine. The last time I loaded BP was in a .450 Marlin.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
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