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Thread: Information on 38-56 forming case life loading ect

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    Information on 38-56 forming case life loading ect

    I am looking at having a DZ arms Hepburn built Im currently thinking 38-55 with a fast twist for heavy bullets. But ( always a but isn't there) I have always been intrigued by the 38-56 cartridge. How hard is it to form? Is the 45-70 the parent case? How is brass life? Accuracy? Case Stretching? Any and all info is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I used to have an 1886 in .38-56 and I found it pretty easy to form cases. I first ran the cases through a .40-65 sizer, and then into a .38-56. There will be some trimming involved . I know others will say otherwise, but I found it best to do the process before annealing the brass. Mine was all Federal brass so it was pretty soft. I just used the RCBS case lube.

    Chris.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    Personally , I would look seriously at a 14 twist 40-65
    its "falling off a log" easy to form from 45-70 or buy Starline 40-65 ready to go
    And easy to get to accurate loads for target or ram slamming
    beltfed/arnie

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    Chill Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    I am looking at having a DZ arms Hepburn built Im currently thinking 38-55 with a fast twist for heavy bullets. But ( always a but isn't there) I have always been intrigued by the 38-56 cartridge. How hard is it to form? Is the 45-70 the parent case? How is brass life? Accuracy? Case Stretching? Any and all info is appreciated.
    I think your first idea of the 38-55 is the much better choice or, for not much more recoil, the 40-60 Maynard (blow out the Krag case to 40). Both easy to get cases up and running and both deadly accurate rounds that are often very easy to find accurate loads for.

    About the 38-56 Win in singleshot target rifle...
    25 plus years ago the 38-56 Win. was an "idea" and more then a few well known riflemen around here took up the cause, then moved on. Finicky chambering! I have the reamer and bags of brass if you want to take up where it was left off.
    Chill Wills

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    If going .38 cal, I'd give consideration to the .38-50 based on the .30-40 Krag case. A little more powder capacity than a .38-55 and the chambering would suit the rifle.

    Chris.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Gunlaker, I know there are a few 38-50 owners that dial them in and they can be accurate as any. We both know who someone that put the time in to make it a championship winning chambering. However, I will say the number of riflemen giving the 38-50 a try, and then after a few years of fussing with it, giving up runs I'd guess about 3 out of 4.
    There is no shortage of pull-off 38-50 barrels looking for the next owner. The problem I hear when at the match, ...that is where we witness how they really do, is with accuracy that seams to come and go at a whim. These guys are always showing up with their latest solution hoping they've 'nailed it' this time! I think the 38-50 might be responsible for more than its share of the Bullet of the Month Club members.

    On the other hand, if shooting these were as easy as buying a 6.5 Creedmoor, there would be no challenge. That is why I had two 40-70 Sharps Straight rifles built. We all like a challenge!

    In my experience, the 40-60 Maynard is the 38-50 with muscles and NO drama.

    Gota go, up next this morning, packing the truck for the 3 hour trip to Raton BPTR nationals.
    Chill Wills

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    Recoil has became an issue for me since I shoot compete from a PMD ( personal mobility device). My current 38-55 is easy on me and not as "tiring" even shooting the 360 grn Nasa by Old West moulds. My 40-65 does very well also. The 45-90 is a short day for me as the 550 grn bullets take a toll quickly. LOL. Ive never worked with a bottlenecked BPCR cartridge before so a lot of wondering going on. If I decide on the 38-56 40-70 ss or other It looks like 8-10 weeks to form brass waiting on the rifle.
    From what Ive read here and elsewhere 38-56 first run thru 40-65 die then 38-56 die. If starting with Starline 40-65 that should take first step out, if Im correct.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    That's interesting to hear about the .38-50.

    I only have one, but it does shoot extremely well. It's a bit of an oddball though as it's not a silhouette rifle, but more of a "semi-traditional schuetzen" bench type rifle built on a highwall DST action. I'm sure I could use it in our local match although it's not quite NRA silhouette legal stock-wise. It's an RKS gain twist barrel but not fast enough for the really heavy bullets. I bought it back when I was dreaming of shooting in Steve Garbe's black powder benchrest match.

    I wonder why all of the troubles with this cartridge. I have a handful of different .38's ( mostly 38-55's ) and like them, but will probably never shoot them past 200-300 yards as I have better cartridge choices for that sort of thing .

    Chris.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    There was one guy on the Shiloh forum, and maybe here too, that was shooting a .38-56 for a while. SShooter I think. As far as I know he moved away from it. You might want to get his thoughts on it. Mine rifle was just an old worn out 1886 for plinking so I have no meaningful experience with the accuracy of the cartridge, but they are easy to form though .

    Chris.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chill Wills View Post
    Gunlaker, I know there are a few 38-50 owners that dial them in and they can be accurate as any. We both know who someone that put the time in to make it a championship winning chambering. However, I will say the number of riflemen giving the 38-50 a try, and then after a few years of fussing with it, giving up runs I'd guess about 3 out of 4.
    There is no shortage of pull-off 38-50 barrels looking for the next owner. The problem I hear when at the match, ...that is where we witness how they really do, is with accuracy that seams to come and go at a whim. These guys are always showing up with their latest solution hoping they've 'nailed it' this time! I think the 38-50 might be responsible for more than its share of the Bullet of the Month Club members.

    On the other hand, if shooting these were as easy as buying a 6.5 Creedmoor, there would be no challenge. That is why I had two 40-70 Sharps Straight rifles built. We all like a challenge!

    In my experience, the 40-60 Maynard is the 38-50 with muscles and NO drama.

    Gota go, up next this morning, packing the truck for the 3 hour trip to Raton BPTR nationals.
    I know what you mean about going off the proven path and showing up somewhere thinking you have it all figured out. This is why I've switched to Shiloh rifles and pretty standard loadings these days, although I play around with other stuff. I still have the paper patch itch for instance.

    I think I only know two others with .38-50's. One of them I'm sure is the fellow you mentioned . I do know a local fellow who has been at it many years, makes his own barrels and molds. He re-barreled his .38-50 and it's now a .40 of some sort.

    Have a good time at Raton and please let us know how it goes.

    Chris.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chill Wills View Post
    Gunlaker, I know there are a few 38-50 owners that dial them in and they can be accurate as any. We both know who someone that put the time in to make it a championship winning chambering. However, I will say the number of riflemen giving the 38-50 a try, and then after a few years of fussing with it, giving up runs I'd guess about 3 out of 4.
    There is no shortage of pull-off 38-50 barrels looking for the next owner. The problem I hear when at the match, ...that is where we witness how they really do, is with accuracy that seams to come and go at a whim. These guys are always showing up with their latest solution hoping they've 'nailed it' this time! I think the 38-50 might be responsible for more than its share of the Bullet of the Month Club members.

    On the other hand, if shooting these were as easy as buying a 6.5 Creedmoor, there would be no challenge. That is why I had two 40-70 Sharps Straight rifles built. We all like a challenge!

    In my experience, the 40-60 Maynard is the 38-50 with muscles and NO drama.

    Gota go, up next this morning, packing the truck for the 3 hour trip to Raton BPTR nationals.
    Accuracy comes and goes at a whim. I think you just described my 35-40 Maynard.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    I shot a .38-56 out of a 86 Win for many years mostly at turkey shoots, hunting some times but mostly bowling pins hanging at 200 yards. (I shoot a lot o=f bowling pins )The rifle shot good but I can't say what it would do at silhouette ranges. Back when I shot this rifle factory rounds were still available but I still formed a lot of cases from Winchester .45-70 cases. One pass through a .40-65 die and a pass through a .45-70 then fire formed to match the chamber was all needed. It needs a lesser caliber then a .45-70 so you don't buckle the case mouth.
    I always had it in mind to have the 38-56 chambered in a single shot action to use for midrange matches, and still might put a barrel on one of my CPA 44-1/2 actions.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I was able to get a set of 38-56 form and trim dies at a decent price off of eBay. I have formed a few cases with them and they are fall down easy. I also have form and trim dies for .33 Win, 40-60 Win and 40-65 Win. Of these it does not make sense but the 40-65 is the most difficult to form even though you can form them with just a FL die.
    Forming nice .33 Win cases is also very easy.
    EDG

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    FWIW,
    I also worked with a fast twist 38-72. About the same case capacity as the 38-56.
    Promising, but challenging. Still may go back and revisit the 38-72. Have dies,
    the Dan Theodore tight neck match reamer, and some Fire formed brass.
    beltfed/arnie

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I have only shot the 38-55. Given a choice I think the 38-55 or similar straight case is a better idea than the .38-56.
    EDG

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    Use 45-70 starline as 40-65 starlines necks are too thin. My 38-56 likes 57 grains of 1.5 swiss and 360 grain elliptical bullets, 12 twist, CPA rifle.
    I have a 38-50 too. Both are challenging, but will shoot. stick with the 40-65, it is easier to get to shoot.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Ive been shooting a CSharps high wall in 38-55 now a few years now with no issues 1-12 Mcgowen barrel 360 grn Nasa bullet ( old west moulds) or 335 lyman postell over 47 grns of 2 F old ensforde. Its performed very well on rams at 500yds. ( Dad was always amazed how long from when the ram moved to when the "Ding" was heard).
    Sent off a e-mail to DZ arms today for quote on rifle in 38-55 win 32" oct or half round barrel (Which ever is easier to make the 11lb weight). Dovetail for front globe cut and filler for now. Tang drilled and tapped with sight base. 13 1/4" LOP. no checkering. Double set triggers. AM having the recoil reducer added also. At 11 lbs and the reducer even with the 360 grn bullet it should have very light recoil. Im also having one of DZ arms 8X scopes installed.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Country Gent, I like those DZ scopes quite a bit, mostly for the mounts. I was using one just this morning .

    Chris.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    This will be my first DZ scope and mounts. I have 3 of the MVA malcombs though. The issue is the DZ will be a dedicated scope since all my other rifles are drilled and tapped on 17" block spacing. Or Ill be drilling and tapping 2 more holes at 7.2" on them. LOL.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    I've been using the DZ mounts on the MVA 23" scope too. That's my favorite combo. I like reticle on the MVA more.

    Chris.

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