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Winchester 38-55 Ammo with three amounts of blackpowder
November 19, 2021
11:58 pm
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Apparently the 38-55 came with three different amounts of powder. 55, 48 and 20 grain. For what purposes was the 48 grain variant used?

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Are there any other variants?

 

Stefan

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November 20, 2021
12:22 am
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steff said
 For what purposes was the 48 grain variant used?

 

Only small game makes sense.  Even more surprising is the 20 g. load.  Are the cartridges marked to avoid confusion with full power loads?  Both are quite rare, I would suspect.  

November 20, 2021
9:40 am
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The short range has a groove in the case, right at the end of the base of the bullet, and a shorter bullet.

The headstamps are the same on all of them.

 

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Stefan

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November 20, 2021
11:17 am
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As black powder must be compressed with no dead air space when loading, to decrease the quantity of grains of blackpowder (volume), a filler must be used.  Any ideas as to what Winchester used as a filler?

November 21, 2021
5:15 am
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mrcvs said
As black powder must be compressed with no dead air space when loading, to decrease the quantity of grains of blackpowder (volume), a filler must be used.  Any ideas as to what Winchester used as a filler?  

I’ve never actually disassembled a period Short Range cartridge, so not exactly certain. But image they simply used a wad or wads that they also sold to the public. Likely both a card wad and felt wad and possibly multiple depending on the need. 

For reloading their own cartridges the company sold to the public from the beginning in 1874 till after they stopped selling the tools they even continued to sell Patch Paper, Lubricating Material, Pasteboard Wads, and Wad Cutters.

The wad cutters we sold per specific caliber that needed them and were included in a set of tools. Then in the December 1896 catalog Wad Cutters were added to the price list at $0.50.

Patch Paper was sold per the “quire” at $0.40 (quire =24 sheets of paper; one twentieth of a ream). Lube Material sold per lb $0.35. Pasteboard wads (A stiff thick kind of paper board, formed of several single sheets pasted one upon another) sold per 1,000 at $0.20.

So depending on what you were loading you could have your needs met. A lot Sharps type cartridges were loaded with a paper patched bullet and you would have a grease cookie behind the bullet. Some period writings indicate shooters would use actual playing cards for cutting their own card wads. 

The Short Range bullets will have only one cannelure (grease groove) on them. I can’t find my picture of the 38-55 S.R. mold, but here is one in 25-35 S.R.

6.jpgImage EnlargerThe October 1898 catalog noted, “Bullet molds, except for short range bullets, cannot be furnished for 25-35wcf, 30wcf, or 30US Army cartridges.” The 20 grain loading for the 38-55 Short Range was the standard black powder loading. WRACo for some years also recommended 10 or 11 grains (depending on the year of the literature) of No.2 DuPont Smokeless Powder loading for the 38-55 Short Range. 

 

Steff,

I not sure why the one box is marked for 48 grains, unless it has to do with switching to the “Solid Head” cartridge, so the case would now hold less powder than before. Have you tried dating these boxes?

Sincerely,

Maverick

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November 21, 2021
5:18 pm
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Maverick said

Have you tried dating these boxes?
 

 

They should be from 1898-1900.

 

Stefan

November 21, 2021
6:37 pm
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Steff the fist box was manufactured in 1885 or 1886.  Prior to 1885 the Win Single Shot was not shown on the box.  In 1887 the powder was reduced to 48 grs.  The second box was manufactured after 1886.  The 3rd box is the rarest.

We need pictures of the side labels and head stamp for the 3rd one.

November 21, 2021
7:03 pm
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Stefan

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November 21, 2021
8:10 pm
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Thanks, I sent the pictures to Ray Giles.  This a later box because of the round corners and the center fire call out. 

November 22, 2021
5:21 pm
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Ray said the pictures were too small to help.

Send the pictures to cwachter@roadrunner.com.  Make sure they are the largest file size you can.

November 22, 2021
8:11 pm
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The 38-55 Short Range box is post 1906. On the end label it has the added Red W label with the 6-6 Date Code = June 1906.

The box is likely in the 1906-1907 timeframe. As I believe they started putting the words Trade Mark on the box top labels by 1907.

Sincerely,

Maverick

November 22, 2021
8:45 pm
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The primary labels are 1900-1902 but the “Red W” end labels date the box to 1906-7.

Ray Giles

November 22, 2021
10:58 pm
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Maverick that is what Ray says.  The post Awaiting Moderation is Rays response.

“Chuck, I just responded on the WACA thread:

The primary labels are 1900-1902 but the “Red W” end labels date the box to 1906-7.”

RTG

November 22, 2021
11:47 pm
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Chuck said
Ray said the pictures were too small to help.

Send the pictures to cwachter@roadrunner.com.  Make sure they are the largest file size you can.  

Pictures have been sent

 

Stefan

November 24, 2021
12:22 am
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If you read rtgammo’s post (Ray Giles)  the info for the dating of the box is there.  I don’t know what he thinks of the value?

Here is a label that Steff sent me.  The date is the first date the label was used.

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November 24, 2021
5:58 am
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Chuck said
Here is a label that Steff sent me. 

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The date on that label is 4-12-12, so April 12th, 1912.

steff said
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Stefan  

Also this image shows that there is a box insert with the date code 7-6, June 1906.

So I’d say you have yourself a 1912 era box with multiple earlier labels, but this is not uncommon with the cartridge ammunition. Some boxes were repacked and obviously boxes and labels could have been mass printed and applied at much later dates. Boxes would have sat in storage until packaged up and sold. Which was probably more likely with the less popular cartridge rounds. They’re probably wasn’t as much demand for Short Range ammunition.

Sincerely,

Maverick

November 24, 2021
8:14 pm
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If I can get off my lazy butt I will post a couple pics of the Winchester 32-40 and 38-55 pre 1885.  These just have the Marlin Ballard call out.

November 25, 2021
6:47 pm
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Been hiding out in the loading room today, I like the sounds of that 155 gr bullet. 

 

Mike

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November 26, 2021
6:13 pm
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Chuck said
If I can get off my lazy butt I will post a couple pics of the Winchester 32-40 and 38-55 pre 1885.  These just have the Marlin Ballard call out.  

I pulled all of the ammo out of my safe and all I found was the first boxes that said for the 1885.  I thought I had some earlier boxes, but I guess I don’t.

Sorry.

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