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Thread: 38-55 in 375 win Contender

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Question 38-55 in 375 win Contender

    Have a Contender with 4 rifle bbls. One is a 375 win. I have a bunch of 38-55 cases that drop in the chamber "plonk" with full insertion. While I know the 38-55 is a tad longer than than the 375, wonder if I'll have any issues shooting light cast boolit loads using the 38-55 cases ?
    Last edited by Marlin356; 07-07-2018 at 11:25 PM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    The 38-55 is a tad longer than the 38-55?



    Just funnin, I realize that's a typo but the funny thing is that there are two different 38-55 cases with the difference being that one is indeed a "tad longer" than the other!
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  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    Wiki sez 38-55 Case length 2.085 in (53.0 mm)
    Wiki sez 375 Win Case length 2.020 in (51.3 mm)

    all I know is what I read.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Slightly flare a case and check that it really dose not extend into the throat. My BB94 in 375 has 2.10 deep chamber, I use Starline 38-55 brass at 2.085 in it. Dont know or care if it will take full on. 50k 375 loads, Im quite happy at 38-55 +p. Like cats and boxes, if it fits, use it.
    “You don’t practice until you get it right. You practice until you can’t get it wrong.” Jason Elam, All-Pro kicker, Denver Broncos

  5. #5
    Boolit Bub
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    Like rking22 says, flare a case and see if it bottoms out in the chamber. Or make a chamber cast and check it.

    Be aware that the newest Winchester 38-55 cases (last 20 years or so) are shorter than the original factory cases from Winchester and Remington. There are still quite a number of the old CIL/Imperial Canadian brass/cartridges floating around and they may not fit a 375 chamber. If you don't own a 38-55, just trim the cases to 375 dimensions and go with them. I happen to have both calibers and just use 375's in the Marlin and 38-55's in the Winchester and the H&W Buffalo SS.
    Also have a 375 Supermag Dan Wesson and used 38-55's cut down for brass in that. Have stood up very well, using full compressed cases of AA1680 under 220 gr. Hornadays for max loads. Never had a case failure with over a dozen reloads on the same 50 cases.
    And note; the newer 38-55 Winchester cases are slightly different than the 375 cases (original Winchester). At the base they may be the same but the necks are thinner in the 38-55. Never have, but should weigh a batch of each to compare.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master blackpowder man's Avatar
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    I have a T/E Contender carbine with e 16” barrel and it will chamber my .38-55 BP loads that are loaded a little long with the RCBS 300 or so grain bpcr boolit. These are in long Starline .38-55 brass. I haven’t had an opportunity to try them, but I did what you mentioned with round balls and with the lee 250 grainers in blown out .30-30 brass. It is a fair amount shorter than the long .38-55 brass, but accuracy has been pretty decent so far. If you come across any good loads please feel free to post them.
    Good luck

  7. #7
    Boolit Mold
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    38-55 in 375 win Contender

    Slightly off topic, but I have a chance to buy an early Winchester 94 in .375. (I do not think it is “angle eject”.) The price is right. But I was really looking for a .38-55.

    My question is whether I can load standard .38-55 for it. I have read that the earlier .375 M94s had longer chambers, etc. But there are a lot of fables out there, so I do not really know. I would be fine limiting my .38-55s to lead bullets.


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  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    fn1889m,buy it. Great rifles and all mine has ever been loaded with is WW 38-55 brass.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Same here, dont let it get away. Mine is 78 vintage, trusting my memory. I shoot 38-55 brass and loads from standard level to mild 375 level. For me it's a very strong 38-55 with a .376 bore ! Light, accurate, and plenty powerful for my needs. It also shoots the Lee 375 bullet very well, and truthfully I could get buy with that one 25$ mould. But NOE makes too many good moulds for that nonesense!
    DO NOT let it get away!

    Forgot to post, my chamber is 2.10 deep, .376 bore. 1978 BB94
    “You don’t practice until you get it right. You practice until you can’t get it wrong.” Jason Elam, All-Pro kicker, Denver Broncos

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    I shot it with 38-55 factory ammo with no issues.

  11. #11
    Boolit Mold
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    Does anyone know if the story about the early ones having a longer chamber are accurate? Also, where these made to a little higher standard than the early post 64 rifles?


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  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    Many of the post 64 94s had pot metal receivers and are POSs. I think all the commemoratives were that way. I believe this one (1980) was real steel Winchester 94, .38-55 Win - Oliver Winchester model.
    If I wanted a 38-55 lever gun, I'd buy a Marlin.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Well they most certainly are not made of "Pot metal" and they certainly are NOT a POS!

    They are made of what is called "Graphitic Steel" which is orders of magnitude stronger than Pot metal, the added graphite and the process used to make this steel increases it's crack resistance. This inferior quality myth comes about due to the fact that the graphite content of the STEEL casting will not take a conventional blue finish unless it is first plated with normal iron, they are in fact quite strong even if they are a bit difficult to refinish.
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  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I am somewhat of a pre 64 snob. That said, I find my 78 BB94 every bit the match for my pre 64 30-30 carbine. Now thr 60s guns with the stamped lifter and roll pins not so much. In 64 when Winchster dropped the M12, changed the M70 and 94 designs they really messed up. If the new guns had been without fault it would not have mattered, an they weren't! But Winchester fixed their issues on the BB94 and they are excellent. Ii still begrudge them the M12!
    “You don’t practice until you get it right. You practice until you can’t get it wrong.” Jason Elam, All-Pro kicker, Denver Broncos

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I had a 375 carbine barrel and used factory 38-55 Winchester in it. Worked fine for me and it wasn’t into throat.

    Wish I still had that one it was a great shooter.
    Doug
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  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    I think a chamber cast will let you know if there is a possible problem. When the 375 Win. came out some of the reamer companies were selling 38-55 chamber reamers with 375 Win. marking. I have two 38-55 reamers and one 375 Win. My 375 is defiantly to short for the 38-55 and would cause problems by not allowing the case mouth to open.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    When is Starline going to start making some 375 brass?
    Leadmelter
    MI

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