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Thread: Marlin 336CB 38/55 black powder load

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy ELFEGO BACA's Avatar
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    Cool Marlin 336CB 38/55 black powder load

    After shooting smokeless for nearly two years I decided to try a black powder load in my 38/55!
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I was pleasantly surprised.
    My load was as good as smokeless.
    I did have to increase the elevation by 5 minutes or 10 inches when shooting at the 200 yard gongs.
    I will continue on this shooting adventure!
    I used a .03 veg wad and newsprint on the base of the bullet.
    Compression was about 1/16!

    Election Day I chronograhed this load.
    The average velocity for six chronographed shots was 1206 feet/second.


    Another load was tried with two changes- CCI200 primers and 45.3 grains of Goex FFFg powder!
    The average velocity of eight shots recorded was 1339 feet/second.
    The bullet of choice comes from a Lyman #380681.

    Today I managed to get three consecutive hits on a Metal silhouette at 240 yards-about 6 group!
    The makeup was Starline long case, CCI250 primer, 48.0 grains of Cartridge Goex, .03 vegetable wad, newsprint disc on base of a 250 grain TC bullet!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by ELFEGO BACA; 11-30-2018 at 04:00 AM. Reason: Added velocity data
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by ELFEGO BACA View Post
    After shooting smokeless for nearly two years I decided to try a black powder load in my 38/55!
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I was pleasantly surprised.
    My load was as good as smokeless.
    I did have to increase the elevation by 5’ when shooting at the 200 yard gongs.
    I will continue on this shooting adventure!
    I used a .03 veg wad and newsprint on the base of the bullet.
    Compression was about 1/16”!
    Was 5 feet a mistake or did you mean 5 inches ?

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy ELFEGO BACA's Avatar
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    Five minutes of elevation.
    That translates to 10 inches at 200 yards.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    With What Bullet?
    tx
    beltfed/arnie

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I use 46 gr of Swiss 1.5 fg with 250 gr flatnosed Lyman bullet. Works pretty well. Well enough to kill an antelope at 170 yds. But I have not been terribly pleased with the accuracy and not sure what to do to improve it. Need more experimentation I think.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy ELFEGO BACA's Avatar
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    More data
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  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy McLintock's Avatar
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    I decided after shooting a Browning 45-70 with smokeless loads with great success for about 10 years in Cowboy Action Shooting, that I wanted to compete with a 38-55 using black powder. Built a rifle using a pre 64 '94 Winchester action, Brownell's octagon barrel and mag tube, and other stuff to put it together gotten off E-Bay; I've showed pictures of it on the forum before. When I started developing a load, I tried several plain base bullets with wads, but never achieved any great accuracy results, certainly not good enough to compete against the smokeless loads of my co-competitors. I then got a Lyman 375449 265 gr bullet with gas check and it shot great with 42-3 grs of Swiss 1.5. Took the yearly 1st place trophy (best 6 out of 11 match finishes) in Big Bore Lever Action Long Range with the Arizona Cowboys Shooters Association. the first year I tried it. So, you might try a gas check bullet just for kicks.
    McLintock

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy ELFEGO BACA's Avatar
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    My current go to load: Starline 2.125 case, CCI250 primer, 48.0 grains Goex Cartridge, .03 veg wad, behind a 250 grain Lyman cast bullet sized to .381.
    Group size of approximately 6” at 240 yards off the bench with sand bags!
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    I have a new 18 year old JM marlin .30-30 that don't get used and I been thinking getting it rebored to a .38-55 or the 375 Winchester. Can any of you suggest a smith that reborn rifles.
    Kurt

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lead pot View Post
    Can any of you suggest a smith that reborn rifles. Kurt
    J.E.S. Reboring
    Political correctness is a national suicide pact.

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

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    TNX. Hickory I found his website and I will give him a call.
    Kurt

    Man I hate this MAC automatic word correction it has it's own mind.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    Kurt, I suggest you might want to do the 375win rebore. That should give you (close to) a .375 groove dia.
    for better choices for bullets.But I would ask JES about his bore specs first between the 38-55 and the 375 win.
    beltfed/arnie

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    Oh, and I am sure you will check on twist rates. The "std" for 375 win is 12 twist
    the 38-55 is probably 18 twist or so.
    Arnie

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    Arnie, The 375 has a smaller base about 6 thousands. I have to ask how he cleans that up with the existing .30-30 chamber. Hopefully the chamber is not on the large size. I like both calibers and the .375 is about a 1/10 shorter than the 55 that would make it better for more variances with the total cartridge length for the 336 action.
    By the way, there is a fine 94 in the .375 down the road from me

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Kurt,
    I had my Marlin rebored to .38-55 by JES. I chose 14" twist and 4 grooves, if I recall correctly. The rebore and chambering was appropriate for the MODERN .38-55, not the traditional dimensions.

    It took 11 days including shipping both ways, Christmas, and New Years.

    I later relined the rifle to .38-55.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    Brent his web site states 3 or 5 groove. I was thinking making it a 3 groove if the lands and grooves are the same diameter. But also his grooves are .010" deep and I'm not sure I like them this deep for the PP.
    When you sent the rifle in did you strip off the wood and mag tube?

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I wanted even numbers of grooves and lands. I'm pretty sure I paid extra to get it.

    Yes, I stripped wood and mag tube but left the functioning receiver so he could test fire it. I don't know if he did.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    Very good.
    I think I will wait till after the holidays before shipping the way the Wife's packages have been coming here
    Kurt

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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