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.38-40 rifle loads?


Doc Holloman
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Anyone out there shooting .38-40 for WB rifle?  I've been considering giving it a try.  I figure that I need 833 fps with 180 gr bullets to make power factor, but the load data I have for this caliber ( which is pretty thin). Indicates that getting to 833  with a lot of powders I pretty much on the edge of a maximum load.  I'm using a Taylor/Uberti 1873 with a 20 in barrel .  For Cowboy I have been loading with Unique.
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I shoot a .38-40 in WB quite often. I load 6.0 grains of Red Dot and a 180 grain bullet. That gives me 1200 fps in a 24" barrel and 1100 fps in a 20". Don't have to worry about making PF, and targets from 25 yards to 125 yards, just hold dead center and don't worry about adjusting your rear sight. I don't have an 800 FPS load...Hoodoo.
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We had a similar discussion over on the WB Facebook page earlier today.  I'm looking at two courses of action: (1) weighing each 180 gr bullet before loading it ( not that big of a deal, just drop it on the digital scale before seat in it (I use a single stage press).  If the bullet is too close to the line it goes into the "practice" bin. (2) go to 200 grains and load to about 775 fps. 
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Anyone point me to a source for coated 200gr .40 caliber (.401) cast bullets.  All of my usual bullet sources are either out of stock, or don't make .40 larger than 180gr.

 

Interesting that my WB RO class specifically covered .38-40 being legal for WB, but there was no caveat about the difficulty on making bullet size/power factor with this caliber. I usually load pistol with Unique  (or Clays for .45ACP) but getting to a 150pf is at the top end of the load charts for that powder.

 

Since I am switching to >357/.38sp for Cowboy, I might just be hanging my .38-40 up.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I use 5.5 grains of Trail Boss and that gives power factor by a significant margin.  I use 180 grain bullets designed for the 38-40 and, in this way, get a round that runs within the dimensions of the 1873 elevator mortise.  Also, the crimp groove is important on this round to reduce the possibility of bullet setback. 
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I weighed all my B&C 180 gr bullets and found they averaged 183grs.  None were underweight.  I set aside any under 182 for practice. 

 

Trail Boss is unobtainable/ not in production right now so I went to my standby Unique.  I used a load that should get 875fps in a pistol.  In a 20 inch carbine barrel it should run just fine. 

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  • 1 month later...

I shoot 38-40 using Titegroup.

 

What I don't understand is, WBAS shoots three rounds to average the FPS. Why don't they pull three and average the weight?

Are we responsible for what the manufacturer send us? Shouldn't be.

 

Cheycast has a 200g RN hytek coat in .401 for the 38-40.

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I have seen shooters DQ'ed for having bullets too light in WB. They did get pulled, after the shooter was asked what weight bullet he was shooting in 38-40. He said he was shooting 165g bullets. Clearly not what he should have been shooting.

kR

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