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38 spl. in carbine lever gun?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by jhansman, Oct 15, 2018.

  1. jhansman

    jhansman Member

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    Hey all-
    I am about to acquire a 357/38 carbine lever gun. Typically, I would shoot .357 mag, as this is what I use in my revolver. However, I have quite a bit of .38 brass I'd like to put to good use. So, do any of you who have such a long gun use .38 spl in it, and if so and you reload, what is your recipe? Many thanks!
     
    DannyLandrum likes this.
  2. n6yga

    n6yga Member

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    What gun? Henry's will function with 38 SPL, mostly. Marlin, if I remember correctly forbids the use of 38 SPL in their 1894.

    Mark.
     
  3. Thomas Mayberry

    Thomas Mayberry Member

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    I have a marlin 1894CS (.357). When I first got it I ran some .38 rounds through it, they fed and functioned just fine. Since I don't want to build up carbon in the chamber where it may interfere with chambering magnum cases, I handload a reduced load in magnum cases. 3 1/2 grains of Winchester 231 under a 158 grain LSWC gives me 900 FPS out of the 18 1/2" barrel.
     
  4. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    I had a Winchester for a while. It fed 38s most of the time, but when it jammed it was a pain to clear. I started loading my 38s at .357 length and that solved the issue.
     
  5. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    My 1894C has no problem running .38 Special, even short 130 grain loads.
     
  6. HB

    HB Member

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    If it chokes on specials, I see no reason not to seat the bullet further out to 357 length
     
  7. Buck13

    Buck13 Member

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    My Rossi 92 runs fine on .38 brass, as long as I don't seat a semi-wadcutter so deep that the case mouth starts to approach the shoulder of the bullet too closely.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2018
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  8. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    One thing I should have mentioned above...if loading 38s to .357 lengths you need to either use a hollow point or hollow based bullet or a heavy for caliber bullet to have both the length needed for the gun, and the amount of bullet in the case needed for proper tension. I found a hollow based keith design bullet that a local guy was casting that worked really well. He passed and I lost track of the mold. I think it was a custom mold. I certainly never saw or heard of a bullet like that from anybody else. He made them for his .36 percussion guns. It was a multi-cavity, seems like it might have been a 6 cavity.
     
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  9. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    I shoot specials in a Rossi 92. Feeds fine even with shorter bullets and accuracy is fine. Actually, I mostly shoot specials in it. Carbon build up seems to be a red herring, since a few passes with a bore snake.sorts out any issues quickly.
     
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  10. Starter52

    Starter52 Member

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    My 92 Rossi works best with .38 Specials. Magnums don't feed smoothly for some reason.
     
  11. tcj

    tcj Member

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    My Rossi 92 handles both fine - I prefer the 357 as I like full power loads in the lever (24") for the silhouette range.

    I only feed it 38's if I'm going to be shooting paper only...it's what I shoot in my revolvers as well.
     
  12. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    Since 2004 I have had a Rossi M92 made for Legacy (before LSI switched to another maker for 1892 Puma).
    I have periods when I take it out and shoot it. It has functioned with 357mag and 38spl as a repeater.
    I have shot mine with .38 Spl wadcutter only as a single shot.
    Normal bulleted rounds including .38 semi-wadcutter function as a repeater.
    After shooting lead bullets, I do clean the chamber carefully.
     
  13. ilmonster

    ilmonster Member

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    I have an 1894C Marlin and shoot almost exclusively .38 Specials through it as that's what I use in my revolvers too. The 158 gr. SWC's I used to use would hang up every now and then (not a show stopper though). Now I'm using 158 gr. RNFP's loaded over 3.5 gr. of HP-38/W231 and it feeds like a champ. A real fun rifle with darn near no recoil.
     
  14. Whiterook808

    Whiterook808 Member

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    Yup, the Marlin 1894 Cowboy works fine with 38 Specials. When I was into CAS I shot the same ammo in my Marlin as I did in the Vaqueros. I used 3.8 grains of W231 behind a 158 grain round nose. Solvent and a chamber brush takes care of any fouling in the chamber due to the shorter round. Mind you, mine is a JM. I have no experience with the later production guns by Remington.
     
  15. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    No problem with 38s or 357s in my Rossi. I clean my barrel on a regular basis so there's little chance of crud building up in the chamber.
     
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  16. Crunchy Frog

    Crunchy Frog Member

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    Although there are some lever action rifles chambered in .38 Special (the Uberti 1866 being an example), there are lots of them chambered for .357 Magnum. My usual cowboy action load is a 105 grain truncated cone flat point bullet in a .38 Special case. It feeds well in the half dozen or so rifles I have owned or borrowed.
     
  17. Ratshooter

    Ratshooter Member

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    You remember wrong. The only thing Marlin warned about was the minimum overall length. I shoot 38 Wc bullets in mine with the bullet seated out about a 1/4" from the case mouth on a 38 special case. As for loads I use everything from 125gr lead RN pushed by 3grs of bBullseye up to the max 357 loads in the manual. I have 296 for top loads but have gotten better accuracy with 2400 for mag loads.
     
  18. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    No issues with my Rossi.
    It seems that accurate plinking loads in a revolver are accurate enough for my rifle. Hot loads aren't as forgiving in it.
     
  19. AZAndy
    • Contributing Member

    AZAndy Member

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    You can count me amongst the bunch that has no trouble with .38 in a Rossi. I just shoot a middle-of-the-road load: 158 grain LSCW (coated), 4.4 grains Unique.
     
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  20. fpgt72

    fpgt72 Member

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    My 1980's version Marlin 1894 runs 38's just fine....in fact I have not shot anything else out of it....I do not own a 357, but have several older 38's, so that is all it eats, never an issue....and VERY mild...like shooting a big 22.
     
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  21. Maj Dad
    • Contributing Member

    Maj Dad Contributing Member

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    Way back, Skeeter Skelton loaded 38 spl cases to 357 seating depths routinely. I tried it, and it worked fine as long as the bullets were long enough to be stable during handling. That was during a 357 brass drought; no real need nowadays,unless you just want to play. Like the rest of us... ;)
     
  22. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    I have a marlin 1894c, and it doesn't cycle 38's as well as 357's. and it really hates feeding a semiwadcutter or anything with a rim or lip around the edge that can hang on the chamber face when feeding. but as far as the firing goes, 38's are super mild. basically no recoil.
     
  23. Bushpilot

    Bushpilot Member

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    I shoot 38's out of my Rossi all the time and it cycles them just fine. Standard 38 Special loads are just like a big 22, no recoil, accurate and very quiet, with less of the sharp crack that many 22's have...
     
  24. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    I had a marlin I ran all kinds of 38 sp thru, with no issues of any kind.
     
  25. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    Yup. And pretty much any standard pressure 38 that is accurate out of the Rossi is really nice for small game.
     
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