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Winchester 38-40 cal
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West of Fresno, CA
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May 12, 2017 - 12:00 am
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I have a Model 1873 (1886 mfg) coming along in 38-40.  Are there problems shooting modern “cowboy loads” (approx 900 fps) through such a rifle?  The rifle is in excellent condition.

 

  IMG_0578.JPGImage EnlargerIMG_0576.JPGImage Enlarger   Thanks in advance, BK

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May 12, 2017 - 12:31 am
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Dang, Bruce!  I have Great-granddads from 1885, and yours makes mine look as if it has been dragged throughout the universe and back a few times.

Nice Rifle!

Some will say–nothing but black powder in it.  Others will say–smokeless, just keep the pressures low.

I can’t remember if you reload or not.  If you do and want to use smokeless, try to find a powder with a pressure curve similar to that of black powder.

I’d offer to share the load we have been shooting for decades, but it is with Titegroup, a fast powder.  I have begun, again, to research powders and bullets that will shoot safely in our ’73 and in the .38 WCF handguns in the family.

I have Reloder 7 (RL-7) on hand, and it is said to perform well in this caliber.  That is my next attempt.   

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May 12, 2017 - 1:20 am
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Bruce Koligian said
I have a Model 1873 (1886 mfg) coming along in 38-40.  Are there problems shooting modern “cowboy loads” (approx 900 fps) through such a rifle?  The rifle is in excellent condition.

 

  IMG_0578.JPGImage EnlargerIMG_0576.JPGImage Enlarger   Thanks in advance, BK  

Bruce,

There are no issues what-so-ever with shooting the Cowboy loads you mention, regardless of what powder type was used.

Bert

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May 12, 2017 - 5:03 am
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Thanks guys, I’ll shoot it with cowboy loads.  I’ve done that with my 44-40 ’73 (1886 mfg) and two 45-70 ’86s with no problems.  And hey, I have “Grandads” and old plows too but it’s nice to add a sweet tomato once in a while!  They all have character.  Only this one won’t ride on the seat of my old pickup.  BK

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May 12, 2017 - 4:21 pm
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      Changing direction just a little,  anybody have favorite loads (powder and purchased bullets) for the .38WCF in an 1885 Single Shot rifle used for target shooting, mostly 150 yds. or less.

      Thanks for any suggestions.

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May 13, 2017 - 6:14 am
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I load mine with 16.5 grains of 2400 under the 180-gr cast bullet for my high-wall. If you use a jacketed bullet, you could easily bump the load up even further. If your Model 1885 is a low-wall, I do not recommend exceeding 15 grains of 2400.

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May 14, 2017 - 10:41 am
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I load 8 grs Unique under a 180 gr cast bullet for my 1873 and 1892 in 38WCF. I suspect it’s somewhere around 1300 fps. I’d like to use BP but the bore of my 73 is a bit rough and fouls too quickly when using Holy Black.

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May 14, 2017 - 2:27 pm
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TXGunNut said
I load 8 grs Unique under a 180 gr cast bullet for my 1873 and 1892 in 38WCF. I suspect it’s somewhere around 1300 fps. I’d like to use BP but the bore of my 73 is a bit rough and fouls too quickly when using Holy Black.  

Probably close on the velocity for this load.  I’ve used 7.5 grains Unique under 180 grains cast lead and get 1186 fps. and an SD of only 17.  This is my most accurate load so far with 1″ groups.  9.5 grains of Unique generate 1440 fps and and an SD of 20 which is both a hotter load and a more accurate one than the factory loads.  All this is from a 24″ barrel in a TD Model 1892 with a near-perfect bore.

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May 14, 2017 - 3:03 pm
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May have to break out my Chrony, my Labradar doesn’t much care for certain rounds and the 38WCF is one of them. Will try it again someday. Not sure I tried much of anything over 8 grs, may need to check my notes. Really like the 8 gr load, got it from Shrapnel’s friend Mike in his Shooting Lever Guns…” book, velocity listed with the load info.

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June 3, 2017 - 10:07 pm
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Follow up on 38-40:

I purchased HSM COWBOY AMMO .38-40 WIN. 180GR.and ran 5 rounds through my ’73.  I don’t know why I was worried about pressures because the 38-40 shoots like a popgun.

Mfg 1891, Cody Letter, safe queen, bad photos.IMG_0576.JPGImage EnlargerIMG_0578.JPGImage EnlargerIMG_0574.JPGImage Enlarger

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June 3, 2017 - 10:29 pm
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Bruce,

The “Cowboy” ammo is intentionally loaded very light, and can be shot in any type of firearm chambered for it.  The only thing that I would avoid shooting in your rifle is the original “W.H.V.” ammo, as it was intended for the Model 1892/53 (and Model 1885).

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June 3, 2017 - 11:14 pm
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Whoa! Bruce, that is one beautiful rifle!

The Winchester Gods never allow me to get close to one as fine as your rifle.  They know me too well:  dings and scratches.

Happy for you.

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June 4, 2017 - 2:40 pm
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Very nice rifle! 38-40 is indeed very pleasant to shoot in the 1873 and 1892. Headed to the range in a bit, might as well throw a 38WCF in the pile. Smile

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June 4, 2017 - 2:47 pm
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Awesome looking rifle – congrats!  Would love to see better photos when you get a chance.

Best Regards,

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June 4, 2017 - 7:25 pm
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Thank you.  By the time my day ends, it’s hot outside (even in the shade where I photograph) but I’ll get around to taking some pix asap.  Safe queen for years.  Bore is like new all the way to the muzzle…yep, I bled profusely when I bought it.  I guess it’s Kevin’s fault because he’s always saying we should buy good stuff.  But I still love the used ones like my 94 short rifle which I’ve posted before.1918-Mod-94-short-rifle.JPGImage Enlarger

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June 4, 2017 - 7:36 pm
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Bruce,

Stick with Kevin’s advise……beautiful ’73 !

Bill

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June 4, 2017 - 8:52 pm
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You know, blaming Kevin sounds like a great idea!  Do you think I can pin my most expensive mistake on him?  (And it was an error–rifle not functioning properly.)

Gee, thanks Kevin!  You’re surely a swell fellow!

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June 5, 2017 - 7:21 pm
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That’s nice enough that you might contact Selling Dad’s Old Guns and have him whip up an original box and paperwork for it.  Laugh

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June 10, 2017 - 12:10 am
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That’s a good one but it already came with a Cody letter.  Since the rifle isn’t anything special, it just gives dates for s/n application and shipping.  Buuuttt, an original box with wrapping paper would be nice.  Anyway, I’m attaching photos of the 1873 that “Kevin made me buy” from another member here.  I hope it meets expectations and I look forward to any criticisms.  I’m amazed that the buttplate has retained its color but it looks original.  Bore is shiny down the entire barrel and I doubt this was shot very much.  Lots of photos but remember it’s Kevin’s fault.  Sorry about the poor sequencing. DSC_0022.JPGImage EnlargerDSC_0023.JPGImage EnlargerDSC_0024.JPGImage EnlargerDSC_0031.JPGImage EnlargerDSC_0029.JPGImage EnlargerDSC_0028.JPGImage EnlargerDSC_0030.JPGImage EnlargerDSC_0015.JPGImage EnlargerDSC_0019.JPGImage EnlargerDSC_0021.JPGImage Enlarger    DSC_0007.JPGImage EnlargerDSC_0009.JPGImage EnlargerDSC_0012.JPGImage EnlargerDSC_0027.JPGImage EnlargerDSC_0025.JPGImage Enlarger

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June 10, 2017 - 12:11 am
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One more!DSC_0001.JPGImage Enlarger

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