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Thread: Winchester 1885 38-55 Japanese/Miroku

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub waltp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Winchester 1885 38-55 Japanese/Miroku

    It has been a while since I posted. I have read the extensive posts on this caliber but not a lot about this rifle. Still struggling with this rifle. It has a 1-15 inch twist and has a groove diameter (slugged and chamber cast of .376) and have installed Lee Shaver rear peep and front globe. Have been using two cast bullets (30 to 1), the common Lyman 249 gr plain base and a custom from B and D at 296 gr. tapered. Both sized a .377.

    I have an original Ballard #9, all original including sights, and have been shooting consistent one and a half inch group at 100 yards. Twist is 1-19, .387" groove and .382
    bore ( chamber cast). The bullet is a custom Barnett at 310 grains with 18.5 of 4198 for a chrony of 1292 fps average velocity.

    Here is the problem, unlike the original Ballard, I can not get the modern repro Winchester to get under 3 inches. I am using 2400 16gr, 4198 20gr and 4227 17gr with the Lyman and B and D. These 3 combos work the best of many tried! Have not tried Unique as shown in various manuals ie Lyman #47.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated. I believe the bullets are both good for weight and fit, it is the powder and velocity that seems to me to be the problem. Thanks in advance.
    Peoples Republic of Massachusetts

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Doc Highwall's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007


    waltp, I have the same rifle and mine slugs .3764" and I have been shooting the SAECO #738 a 255 grain RNFP Tapered bullet with AA5744 and it does quite well but I find that the way that the forend is attached can cause wild shots mostly vertical stringing. I found that if I balance the gun on it's center of gravity on the front rest and then pull it back 1"-2" it shoots the best and the same goes with my 30-30 Win.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Have you pushed a tight fitting round ball all the way through the bore looking for tight and loose spots?

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    Jon K's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Try 18gr of 4759 with the 249gr Lyman(375248?). It seemed to work better than 4198 & 4227 for me.

    Col 2:13-17

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    .38-55 cast

    4759 is a good .38-55 cast bullet powder, but you might also consider H4895 and Reloder 7. Someone mentioned 5744; it also does very well with .38-55 cast loads.
    Last edited by lotech; 11-06-2010 at 07:36 AM. Reason: repetitive

  6. #6
    Boolit Master McLintock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    I've got the Browning 1885 TH, which is pretty much the same gun as the Winchester, and it's barrel slugged at .376-7" also. Tried lots of loads and finally settled on 18 gr of IMR4227 and the commercial cast 250 gr bullet out of Magma moulds. I tried all diameters of bullets and finally settled on a .380", which has shot very consistently and accurately for many years now. It chrony'd at 1450 fps out of my gun. For a longer range load with the stock sights, I went to IMR 3031, 31 grs, and the lyman 357449 gas check bullet, sized again at .380-1". It's good out to 500 yards and is even more accurate then the lighter load above. A load of 28 grs of RL7 with the Lyman bullet did well also, ubt not as good as the 3031 load. My gun definitely liked the bigger diameter bullets, but maybe it's a freak.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Misty Mountains
    Jap winny 38-55 -- Lee 2 cav 250 gr beagled and sized to 0.380, 9 gr Unique = one ragged hole at 100 yds time and time again. I continue to be amazed. Velocity is 1175, a very mild paper puncher.

  8. #8
    Boolit Bub waltp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Many thanks, to all, for the suggestions. I will try the powder recs and am really curios about the one hole Unique results at 100 yards.
    Peoples Republic of Massachusetts

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    NorthWest Coast, USA

    Smile 1885 in 38-55

    I'm enjoying shooting this fine rifle, purchased last winter- I've mounted the MVA Schuetzen sight on it- what a fine, precise sight this is---
    My standard, go-to practice load (works just fine on ground squirrels, too!) is the Lyman 375248, sized .379, in long Starline cases, WLR, and 10.0gr UNIQUE.
    Groups at both 50 and 100yds are ragged cloverleafs, with all holes touching, if I do my job. Very mild, target load- this shows just how accurate this machine can be!

    On the Lyman mold: It dropped my soft alloy at .377, which didn't work out with a bore that slugs at .378. I sent the mold to Erik at Hollowpoint Mold Service in OR, asking him to open the driving bands to give me .380", which he did in a superb, high quality fashion, and put a hollowpoint pin in one cavity. Fabulous worksmanship, top-notch service, just a great guy to talk to---
    Yes, I note the hollowpoint boolits group just a bit better than the flatpoint.

    Take care, Friend!


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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