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Thread: 38wcf

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

    Tar Heel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010


    Had a superb range session this morning with the Winchester (Uberti) 1866 Yellow-boy rifle in 38WCF (38-40). I had loaded up some period correct black powder cartridges using cast bullets from an Accurate Mold #40180E. Bullets were cast in a 20:1 binary alloy and then were sized to 0.401” and lubed with White’s BP-1 black powder lubricant. Powder charge was a compressed load of 2.2cc (35gr) Graf & Sons (Wano) FFFG black powder. Charge was compressed with a compression plug/die to 0.34” from the case mouth.

    Firing was conducted offhand at 50 yards. Sights are open sights with a buck-horn rear sight and a post front sight. I centered up the target and let her rip. First shot from a cold clean bore was a bullseye. The next 3 shots cut a clover leaf about 1” away from the first shot. The fifth shot was a legitimate flyer probably due to a base void in the bullet.

    The report and recoil was more than I was expecting from a 38WCF in a rather heavy rifle. I fired off 3 10-shot strings of rapid fire and swabbed the bore after each string with one wet patch, one dry patch. Powder fouling was extremely light and nothing like what I had expected. The 38WCF being a bottleneck cartridge really obturates and seals the bore efficiently, keeping the black powder fouling in the bore - not the action.

    I am very pleased with the performance of this cartridge and this load in particular. I will plan to deer hunt with this load and this rifle this year since this rifle/load combination simply plants bullets right where you want them to be.

    The Winchester 1866 lever action rifle. This is a faithful reproduction made by Uberti.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    38WCF black powder cartridges in a period box.
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    38WCF cartridges with cast bullets. Bullets are from Accurate Mold 40-180E.
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    The target.
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    After the range. The washed brass cases and the BP tarnished receiver of the rifle.
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    No significant fouling in the receiver after 40 black powder cartridges. Unlike a 45 Colt, the 38-40 is a bottle-necked cartridge and obturates well upon firing.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    The bore after 40 cartridges have been fired and two cotton patches run through it. No leading whatsoever is present due to proper bullet lube and proper bullet alloy.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    A great day!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Bad Ass Wallace's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Glad you like your 38/40. I have three original winchesters including this pair of 4 digit serial numbered made in the first year of production 1892.

    Hold Still Varmint; while I plugs Yer!

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    38/40 rules!

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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