375 or 38-55


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andym79
May 6, 2014, 07:31 AM
Hi guys I have now gone a bit lukewarm on the Winchester 1876 (its probably a bit too big a rifle for a small guy like me!).

So I started thinking a 375 or 38-55 might be a good intermediate between my 30-30 and the 45-70!

I know I could go for a BLR in 308 or 30-06, but I prefer the old lever look!

I know the 375 is a beefed up 38-55!

But which one is a better option, 38-55 brass seems more available!

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jmr40
May 6, 2014, 07:57 AM
Don't know about Australia, but finding a rifle in either 375 or 38-55 is going to be more of a challenge than finding ammo.

bscott29
May 6, 2014, 09:06 AM
If you don't have to go with a straight walled cartridge there are a lot of 32 winchester specials in the 94'. Also lots of 35 remington in the 336 marlin.

mavracer
May 6, 2014, 09:17 AM
If you reload there's not much difference in a modern gun you can load the 38-55 pretty close to 375 levels. As jmr said finding one may limit your choices and I'll also second the 35 rem suggestion with it's ability to shoot .357 dia pistol bullets even cast with reduced loads it's a very versatile cartridge.

CraigC
May 6, 2014, 09:41 AM
You can always get a fatbody Winchester 94 in .375 and use .38-55 cases for a little more capacity.

HOOfan_1
May 6, 2014, 09:46 AM
If you want to bridge the gap between .30-30 and .45-70 I don't think the .38-55 is the cartridge to do it. .375 may be though.

I would take the .35 Remington over the .38-55 if that is available.

greyling22
May 6, 2014, 10:26 AM
if you can find one, marlin made a really neat 336 in 38-55 with a long octagon barrel. the 336cb I believe.

But I'm with hoofan, track down one in 35 rem.

CraigC
May 6, 2014, 11:05 AM
You guys must be looking at factory .38-55 ammo. It is weak and the cartridge is capable of much more. I'll take the .38-55 over the .35Rem any day of the week. The .35 tops out at 220's@1900fps while the .38-55 can do that with a bigger 255gr.

http://www.sixguns.com/range/336cwby.htm

http://www.loaddata.com/members/search_detail.cfm?MetallicID=2923

https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=159

BCRider
May 6, 2014, 02:27 PM
What about going the other way?

You're already well set up with the .30-30 and .45-70 for faster and bigger. So rather than try to split that difference what about a light, easily carried and agile small game or plinking rifle that's cheap to shoot? Like an 1892 clone in .357Mag or .44Mag or even .45Colt?

Of the three sizes I'm sort of partial to the .357Mag option. With reloading this can easily deliver varmint killing loads down to soft rimfire like kickers for plinking or fun shooting by recoil shy guests. And if you can find the little 16 inch carbine version the rifle is light and easily maneuvered. And if set up with a shoulder sling it would perch there with a light touch on the collar bone.

788Ham
May 6, 2014, 02:36 PM
I reload my .375 Win. with Alliant RL-7 powder, Hornady 220g Interlock FP's. I'm getting 2100 fps with this load, hits like the hammer of Thor also. Loads out of my reload book, 9th edition, 2012.

HOOfan_1
May 6, 2014, 03:13 PM
I was looking at Hogdon's load data, and missed the fact that their 250 grain cast bullet data was lower than their 255 grain jacketed data. Which showed the 255 grain jacketed topping out around 1,830 FPS.

From what I am reading current production brass for the .38-55 and .375 may be the same, just head stamped differently. (note I say may...don't quote me and go loading extra heavy .375 Winchester rounds in .38-55 marked brass)

Doesn't seem to be a huge selection of jacketed bullets for .38-55 or .375 Winchester though. Maybe Hornady needs to make some FTX bullets for them.

CraigC
May 7, 2014, 12:45 AM
I haven't heard that. Only that the two are near identical on the outside, with the .38-55 case being a little less robust for a little more powder capacity.

Either really excels with gas checked cast bullets. I wouldn't hesitate to use a ~250gr hardcast on elk or even moose.

BCRider
May 7, 2014, 02:46 AM
Well, I've got both .38-55 and .375 Win brass here that I'm using in an old single shot rolling block. The .375Win brass is roughly a 1/10 inch shorter than the short version of the .38-55 Starline brass. This isn't a big deal for me since I'm shooting a single shot. But it would likely cause some issues with a lever repeater.

The other difference is that the .375 Win brass has a roughly .004 to .005 thicker wall at the mouth. This works out well for me since the chamber in my rifle is fairly generous for the bore size. I'm using the extra mouth wall thickness to aid in holding the cartridge correctly centered

andym79
May 7, 2014, 03:37 AM
Well there are around 3 375 ($550-900) WINs and 4 38-55 ($1200-2500) for me to buy at the moment! The cost of the 38-55 is a bit rich for me!

On the other hand I can get 38-55 but not 375 brass! Should I just buy the 375 and run 38-55 brass through a 375 die and trim it? From what I can see the difference is neck diameter and length!

Surely 38-55 brass sized and trimmed should be fine so long as you keep the loads at 38-55 levels, until 375 brass can be found!

forward observer
May 7, 2014, 04:05 AM
Here's a thought. How about a Winchester 1895--a classic lever gun favored by none other than Theodore Roosevelt and the Texas Rangers at the start of the 20th century.

Miroku has been producing them off and on under both the Browning and Winchester name. I think they started producing under the Browning logo back in the late 90's, and under the Winchester logo once Browning/FN Herstal acquired the license.

You've got choices of .270 Win, 30-40 Krag, 30-06, and the beefy .405 Winchester. Miroku is not currently producing, but there are quite a few still on the auctions sites--many still new in box. I'm assuming you might find them down under too. The .270 Win is hard to find since they were only produced for short time.

The 1895 was the last rifle lever action that John M. Browning designed for Winchester and it is unique in that it eliminated the tubular magazine in favor of an internal box magazine enabling it to handle military Spitzer styled bullets like the Browning BLR does.

You do not have a removable magazine, but have to load the rounds one at a time through the top of the open receiver. It is also top eject only, so sight improvement is limited to receiver or tang sights such as the Lyman or Williams.

You are looking at $1,000 to $1,300 USD in most cases, but that's less than a Uberti 76, which you were first considering. The prices might even be better in Oz since you are a bit closer to the source.

Bottom line is if you can find one in 30-06 cal or a buffalo stopping .408 Win, you will have your classic lever gun that is less rare than an 1876 and maybe just fill in that spot between the 30-30 and 45-70.

Cheers

CraigC
May 7, 2014, 09:53 AM
The .270 Win is hard to find since they were only produced for short time.
The .270's are rare because they sold so poorly, many were returned to Miroku to be converted into .405's. Mine is such an example.

http://photos.imageevent.com/newfrontier45/rifles/large/P1010047.JPG

forward observer
May 7, 2014, 11:45 AM
I had not heard about any conversions, but I'll take your word for it.

My Winchester pocket blue book only indicates that the .270 Wjn cal. was discontinued in 1999, which might make sense if sales were poor.

It does indicate that the other calibers have been in production off and on since then along with some limited editions and T.R. commemoratives.

My 95 is one such limited run of takedown models in 30-06 with checkered stocks similar to yours.

I thought about the .405, but finally decided it was just too much gun for my hunting needs.

Cheers

BCRider
May 8, 2014, 01:35 PM
Andy, I'd suggest that the thin wall brass will be fine other than perhaps for the stoutest loads. After all the casings don't hold back the pressure. The chamber does that. The casings are intended to swell and press against the chamber walls for a seal.

The only issue might be the life of the brass since the thinner walls will stretched a little more each time the brass is shot. But if you keep up with annealing the mouths every few reloads it should keep the brass from becoming work hardened and eventually splitting.

The other issue you might run into by using cut down .38-55 brass is the thinner walls not producing a higher neck tension. But you should be able to load around that sort of issue.

Elkins45
May 9, 2014, 04:30 PM
Well there are around 3 375 ($550-900) WINs and 4 38-55 ($1200-2500) for me to buy at the moment! The cost of the 38-55 is a bit rich for me!

On the other hand I can get 38-55 but not 375 brass! Should I just buy the 375 and run 38-55 brass through a 375 die and trim it? From what I can see the difference is neck diameter and length!

Surely 38-55 brass sized and trimmed should be fine so long as you keep the loads at 38-55 levels, until 375 brass can be found!
I bought a cosmetically challenged 375 Win last fall and have been unable to find brass for it. I bought some 30-30s, annealed them, necked them up and ironed the shoulders out of them with 16 grains of 2400 behind a 250 grain bullet. The recoil of that light skinny rifle was surprising for such a mild load.

I personally would run out of recoil tolerance before reaching the strength capacity of any mechanically sound case in a 375. I expect my 30-30s will last a good long time at the levels I enjoy shooting my 94.

http://i292.photobucket.com/albums/mm35/elkins_pix/IMG_0787_zps432638a6.jpg

ExAgoradzo
May 9, 2014, 04:30 PM
I don't like talking about stuff that a guy didn't put on his poll, but I agree with the comment above on the 1894 idea. I have the 357 and the 44 mag (have a 45 colt revolver but no 44mag revolver...kinda backwards, I know...). I LOVE the 44 mag. Very little recoil (IMHO you have to be so small that the gun is literally too heavy for the recoil to be a prob.).
But back to your poll. I'd favor the .30-06 just b/c. It fits your criteria. I like the BLR looks (but don't own one). And if there's any ammo available it will be. [The .308 option is just a smidge below the .30-06 again IMHO.]
I think you'll like whatever you get...
Enjoy,
Greg

natman
May 9, 2014, 08:34 PM
We have a poll and 20 comments and recommendations, but not a single clue what the rifle is to be used for.

So, OP, how about a hint? Hunting? Short range brush or long range open country? Target? General nostalgia?

Schutzen
May 10, 2014, 10:27 AM
If you shoot cast bullets, the .38-55 is a dream. Mine loves 265 gr. cast slugs and they can be loaded light or heavy. The down side is it is definitely a handloaders rifle. The factory ammo is loaded light. I suspect this is because many shooters are using older rifles. Mine is a Marlin 336 re-barreled from .30-30 to .38-55, heavy loads are not an issue.

andym79
May 10, 2014, 09:01 PM
Don't know about Australia, but finding a rifle in either 375 or 38-55 is going to be more of a challenge than finding ammo.

Not so finding a rifle is easier than brass or ammo, especially in 375 Win!

We have a poll and 20 comments and recommendations, but not a single clue what the rifle is to be used for.

So, OP, how about a hint? Hunting? Short range brush or long range open country? Target? General nostalgia?

The rifle is for lever action competitive shooting, cowboy metallic silhouette, and Short range brush pig hunting!

natman
May 10, 2014, 09:46 PM
The rifle is for lever action competitive shooting, cowboy metallic silhouette, and Short range brush pig hunting!

I don't do either of the first two, so I'll withhold comment. For short range pig hunting either 308 or 375 would be good if you can supply 375 ammo. 38-55 is factory loaded very soft, at least in the US, so it's a handloading proposition for hunting.

I'd recommend a 308 over a 30-06 BLR. The short action BLR is a decent handling rifle. The long action BLR handles like it was cast in concrete.

Elkins45
May 10, 2014, 09:57 PM
Do you plan to shoot cast bullets or only jacketed? I think cast are easier to make/load/shoot in the bigger calibers than in 30. If you plan to shoot a lot of cast then the 375 or 38-55 would be top choice. The BLR in 308 would be a great choice if you only shoot jacketed.

Since you said you have access to a 375 for as low as $500 I think that should be a strong factor in your decision, assuming that Rifle is mechanically sound and has a good bore.

DM~
May 11, 2014, 10:11 PM
Make mine a 35 Remington, pleaseeee!

DM

andym79
May 12, 2014, 04:27 AM
Well I decided to go for the 375! The 38-55 just cost too much for me at the moment!

The same for a new BLR (pricey) and I was advised by an old timer who has a few in the last 30 years they are great hunting guns but not competition guns! Rapid fire with those modern cartridges is hard on them! Plus I would have to get the magazine modified to hold 5 instead of 3!

Here are two photos though I can't have it till the police approve my PTA! so what some time for any range reports!

ExAgoradzo
May 12, 2014, 12:06 PM
Cheers!
Greg

mavracer
May 12, 2014, 12:12 PM
Congrats

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