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Thread: 38-55 rifling - 3 or 4 or 5 groove?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    38-55 rifling - 3 or 4 or 5 groove?

    Hello all - I've been hankering for a 38-55 for a while now, finally got around to removing the barrel from a Marlin 336 type action and thinking of sending to JES for reboring. A question for ya'll - for shooting cast bullets, perhaps the 379-250-RF Lee mold, should I go with 3, 4, or 5 groove rifling?

    Also, can JES set the headspace with only the barrel? OR - will he need the action also?

    Thanks for any suggestions.

    Ken H>

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    Best to ask JES, but I’m guessing he will need the entire rifle to headspace. As far as rifling goes I’d also ask, but when I did my 356 Win. he said there wasn’t much difference, but I don’t shoot cast in it.

  3. #3
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    I had Jesse rebore my Marlin 336W to .375 Winchester with the 3-groove. I shoot mostly cast bullets through it, and it groups them tightly. I believe he'll need the barrel in the action to set the headspace, but it's best to ask him.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
    After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it. - William S. Burroughs.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Call him about the barrel/action thing. I just removed the wood and mailed the rest. I have 3 groove, works just fine. I didn't really care for the LEE. I just can't warm up to a bevel base in a rifle but that's just me.I have 4 other 38 moulds and they all shoot good, even the 143gr gallery bullet.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master northmn's Avatar
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    Difference in philosophy as some think odd numbered rifling is best because there is no directly opposing lands. Makes them trickier to slug. I use a Lee mold for my 38-55 and it works fine. If I went to another mold it would be a gas check. Definitely would send the receiver with the barrel.

    DP

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks for the input folks - Since the existing barrel with sights, extractor groove, etc is already indexed to the action I wasn't sure how the headspace would be set. Since a rimmed cartridge is headspaced off the rim (isn't that correct?) the headspace has to be set while boring the chamber - isn't that correct?

    I removed the barrel to do some clean up on the outside, and take out a .010" swelling on outside of barrel about 6" from the crown. It's currently chucked up in lathe.

    I'll call JES next week and chat with him about 3 or 4 grooves, and if he needs the action. It seems ya'll all sent action with barrel?

    Thanks again for your input.

    Ken H>

  7. #7
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    Jesse Ocumpah, (JES) only lives about 90 miles from me, and I sent him the whole rifle. He was attending a gunshow and a friend of mine hand delivered my rifle to him. I had it back in the mail 5 days later (Sunday to Friday), but that was several years ago. The turnaround time may not be quite that quick now, since I believe he's gotten busier, but it will still be pretty fast when compared to other gunsmiths.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
    After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it. - William S. Burroughs.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    I only mailed the barreled action, no stock. Got the standard 3 groove on a .358 Win, shot it, grinned real big and never worried about the twist again.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    .358 win? Isn't that a rimless case based on the .308 winchester? How does the lever action handle the rimless cartridge? That's a LOT of cartridge for a lever action isn't it? Wait, you just said "barreled action" - that could be a bolt action. I've got an old lever action 30-30 which are rated for a max around 42K psi while the .358 win is rated around 52K CUP.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenH View Post
    Thanks for the input folks - Since the existing barrel with sights, extractor groove, etc is already indexed to the action I wasn't sure how the headspace would be set. Since a rimmed cartridge is headspaced off the rim (isn't that correct?) the headspace has to be set while boring the chamber - isn't that correct?

    I removed the barrel to do some clean up on the outside, and take out a .010" swelling on outside of barrel about 6" from the crown. It's currently chucked up in lathe.

    I'll call JES next week and chat with him about 3 or 4 grooves, and if he needs the action. It seems ya'll all sent action with barrel?

    Thanks again for your input.

    Ken H>
    He should be able to headspace it without the action if you provide the dimension from the front of the receiver to the face of the bold to the nearest .0005 inches. Much better to send the action and let him do the measuring and checking of completed work. He would be a fool to do the barrel without the action and then guarantee the work. Some idiot could send a barrel with a wrong measurement and then complain when it did not work.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenH View Post
    .358 win? Isn't that a rimless case based on the .308 winchester? How does the lever action handle the rimless cartridge? That's a LOT of cartridge for a lever action isn't it? Wait, you just said "barreled action" - that could be a bolt action. I've got an old lever action 30-30 which are rated for a max around 42K psi while the .358 win is rated around 52K CUP.
    I'm sorry, yes it was a Rem 700 bolt action.
    I'm thinking hard about sending my 94 Win to him and I'm not taking off the barrel.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    I sent J.E.S. my Marlin 336 last September for Reboring and rechambered to 38-55 with 3 groove rifling. Just shooting the first thrown together load produced a group of less than 3" at 100 yards with open sights. As soon as I get time I'll mount a scope and work up a load.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Ya'll sure have convinced me I really "need" a 38-55 I do plan to call JES tomorrow and see what he says, and if he thinks my barrel is ok to bore to 38-55 with the swelled spot in the barrel. I would think it'd be ok since the outside of barrel was only about .010" larger and that should leave plenty of room for boring inside.

    BTW, with JES doing the boring, does this use the longer 38-55 brass (2.125" long) vs the shorter (2.080"?). Do most folks use the Starline brass? I do MUCH prefer Starline in 45-70, 50-70, and .43 Spanish.

    Ken H>

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    JES recommends Winchester(short) brass but Starline short or long works fine in mine. Depending on the dies used the Winchester brass will grip a smaller diam bullet better. JES recommends bullets sized .376-.377 but mine will accept a larger diam using Starline. Accuracy is good either way but I don't hot rod my loading so excess pressure is not an issue for me.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    OK, I just got off phone with JES and the barrel will be shipped out this week for a 38-55 rebore and 3 land riflings. He says since this barrel came off the Marlin 336 action, there is no need to send action, barrel only. The 30-30 and 38-55 both headspace off the rim, and he won't be touching the rim in rechambering the barrel, so the only concern is the barrel indexing, and since it's off the same action, no problem with indexing.

    Wallnutt - JES confirmed short Winchester brass and .376-.377 cast bullets as best, so we're in business. Only a week or two turn around. I've screwed a Glenfield 30-30 barrel into the action, so I'll have to hurry up and do some shooting with it if I want to test the Glenfield barrel in the action. It indexed nicely, and headspace checked good.

    Thanks to all for their help.

    Ken H>

  16. #16
    Boolit Master


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    Glad to hear you got it worked out. You won't be disappointed.
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  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Ken;
    You're going to like the 38-55.
    It's a mild shooter that has better ballistic coeffency then the 44 mag with the same weight boolit and with the modern gun you should easily get 200 fps more than what a 44 magnum would get. You can consider it a 200-250 yard shooter.
    Political correctness is a national suicide pact.

    I am a sovereign individual, accountable
    only to God and my own conscience.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Update on my 38-55 saga. JES should be getting the barrel today. Thanks to WALLNUTT I've got a Lee 379-250-RF mold "out for delivery", and order a set of Lee 38-55 dies that are "Out for Delivery". Yesterday I made a .377" sizing die for the cast bullets. If that's a tad small, I can easy open it up another thousandths.

    This is gonna be fun!!

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    You will! I love mine. He rebored a Win mod 94 for me last year I got 3 groove, It shoots great with that Lee boolit. I shoot at about 1350 fps with 4227, because I wanted the level it started with without the black powder hassles. I save those for my muzzleloaders.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    OK, another update - I got the mold in over the weekend, cast some bullets with the mold, the dropped out right at .379", powder coated them -I still lube for black powder but LOVE PC for smokeless shooting. The sizing die I bored/polished for .377" (a loose fit with a .377" pin gauge) sized the PC'd bullets .379".

    I made another sizing die for my old Lyman 450 which has a loose fit for a .376" pin gauge. The PC'd bullets mic at .377" from this die. So, I've got some PC'd bullets ready for testing that are sized at .377" and some at .379". We'll see what actually chambers in the JES bored barrel. This is for loading in Starline brass, and perhaps some in old fireformed 30-30 brass. We'll see how it all works out, once I get the barrel back from JES. He received the barrel on Sat.

    Ken H>

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