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reloading 38-40 wcf
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March 22, 2014 - 12:20 pm
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im trying to reload 38-40 wcf for my 1892.i have cast bullets from my original winchester mold.problem is there is no crimp groove so the bullets get pushed into the brass when loaded into the magazine tube.some one told me the 40 grains of black powder compressed in the case prevented this.black powder is a mess to shot and i would like to avoid it.i was wondering what other people are doing with a bullet without a crimp groove.i was thinking of trying tail boss powder filled case to prevent the bullet from sinking in.any ideas would be great.

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March 24, 2014 - 4:18 pm
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If your looking to add a crimp groove to your bullets you will have to invest in a cannelure machine to create the groove in the bullet. Just looking on the internet there are a few options.

http://www.corbins.com/hct-1.htm may have what your looking for. Your other option is to purchase bullets with the crimp groove, there are many out there to choose from.

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March 24, 2014 - 4:54 pm
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Without a crimp groove, it is hard to crimp the bullet hard enough on the 38-40 to keep the bullet in place because the brass is so thin around the neck. I use RCBS 40-180-CFM mould for my 38-40’s and it works perfectly for both the Model 1873 and Model 1892.

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March 25, 2014 - 7:17 pm
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win1906
What Tool or Tools are you using to reload the cartridge?

Maverick

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March 26, 2014 - 1:28 pm
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Win1906,

Here are a few options based on my experience.

Lee Factory Crimp Die
After seating the bullet, the Lee Factory Crimp Die will push into the mouth of the case from the side and will form a crimp groove into the bullet.

See the .44-40 bullet on the right (same profile as a .38-40 bullet) which was pulled from a .44-40 cartridge after using the Lee FCD. Note the crimp groove that the die made
.
44-40bullets.jpgImage Enlarger

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/618362/lee-factory-crimp-die-38-40-wcf?cm_vc=ProductFinding

Use a slow burning powder
I would suggest not using a capacity load of Trail Boss. A capacity of Reloader 7 would be a much better.

use a slow burnng powder + PSB
Use about 18 grs. of 4227 + PSB (Polyethylene Shot Buffer) to fill in the space between the powder and the base of the bullet to support it. After placing the powder in the case, fill the rest of the case with PSB up to about 1/2-2/3 up the case neck. Seating the bullet will compress the PSB, keeping the powder and bullet in place.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/695248/bpi-shot-buffer-original-500cc-approximately-1-2-lb?cm_vc=ProductFinding

Have a machinist remove about .10" from the bottom of your sizing die
THat will allow the case neck to be longer to help keep the bullet in place.

w30wcf

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March 27, 2014 - 5:05 am
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continued……

I did have .10" removed from the bottom of my sizing die and it worked well. I could then set the die to the neck length I wanted. Shorter for bullets with a crimp groove and longer for the Winchester and Winchester type bullets with no crimp groove.

For those, I sized the neck back about 1/16" below where the base of the bullet would be located.

Note the longer neck length on the Winchester brass….
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/1390379221/winchester-reloading-brass-38-40-wcf?cm_vc=ProductFinding

I have used the other methods I described and they worked well also.

Regarding black powder…..
It is not as dirty as most think, especially when using Olde Enysford or Swiss. Believe it or not, the bore cleans up just as fast as smokeless using just normal b.p. solvents. The only downside is that the cases have to be cleaned to remove the powder fouling. I use 50/50 white vinegar & water. Just soak the cases for a few minutes rinse and lay them out to dry.

Accuracy wise, it is pretty tough to beat the accuracy that can be produced by a compressed load of b.p. The capacity smokeless loads referenced above can come close.

44-40shots31-40a.jpgImage Enlarger

w30wcf

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July 29, 2014 - 8:00 pm
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This is really the long way around the horn on this. Dump that mould and get one with a crimping groove. It is easier than all the other things you would try and don’t be filling that case with Trail Boss…

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August 5, 2014 - 4:06 pm
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I use the RCBS .40-180-CM bullet mould. It gave excellent accuracy in both my Model 1892 and two different original Model 1873’s. The crimp groove is placed such that it fed through my ’73s without any issues at all.
http://smg.photobucket.com/user/3855Win/media/38-40-bullets.jpg.html

[Image Can Not Be Found]

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August 5, 2014 - 5:30 pm
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Kirk nice looking cartridges in a great old caliber , and good input John !

Phil

Phils-Schuetzen-compressed.jpg 

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March 20, 2017 - 2:45 am
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This is an old string but just in case anyone still has the same question about bullets and crimp grooves, here’s the answer.  A Model 1892 will handle a cartridge longer than 1.59″. It has no problem cycling cartridges with either the original Winchester mold or the Lyman 401043 bullet, crimped in the top grease groove.  

 

On on the other hand cartridges must be no longer than 1.6″ to cycle in an1873, so the proper length is critical. 

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May 1, 2018 - 5:51 pm
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I reload BP cartridges for my 45-70 Springfield Trapdoor.  There are comprehensive resources available for reloading these BP cartridges with the intent of replicating the original ammunition specifications.  Do similar resources exist for loading the Model 1873, 38-40 cartridge?

Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide. 

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May 1, 2018 - 11:19 pm
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Winchester bullet molds will cast a great bullet, but these are intended for use with a compressed black powder load.  If you enjoy casting your own, those that mentioned  an RCBS mold are correct.  These do have a crimp groove.  If your not that interested in casting, there are several companies that sell pre-cast .38-40 bullets.  Standards are .401 diameter at 180 grs.  I used to cast all of my hard to find bullets, but have found that pre-cast are available for a large number of vintage calibers.  I shoot hundreds of .38-40 and .44-40 every summer, so it’s far more practical for me to buy my bullets.  If you do buy pre-cast, you might also find it helpful to buy a Lee factory crimp die.  They are inexspensive and work really well.

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May 2, 2018 - 1:30 pm
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Win4575 

Thanks for your reply.  A few more questions if you don’t mind. 

–  What brass manufacturer do you recommend?

–  Using magnum primer?  Any flash hole modifications?

–  Loading full 40 grains 2F BP through a drop tube and compress with a plug before seating bullet?

–  Found a good looking bullet at Buffalo Arms.  .401”/ 180gr / SPG lube.  Any other suppliers that you Recommend?

 

Thanks again

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May 2, 2018 - 1:32 pm
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Jim M. said
Do similar resources exist for loading the Model 1873, 38-40 cartridge?

 

Not a BP expert as I don’t use black powder for anything but I do shoot all my antique Winchesters.  “Cartridges Of The World” lists the factory load velocities for all calibers included in the publication so I use that and a chronometer to replicate the FL’s using smokeless powder.  Should work easier with BP as those loads are usually measured by volume.

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May 2, 2018 - 3:04 pm
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Jim,

I’ve been shooting both .38-40 and .44-40 since I was around 13 years old.  In the early days, I used mostly Remington brass mixed with some Winchester.  It was easy to find and worked well.  Winchester WW brass is good, but very thin compared to Remington and doesn’t last as long.  I’ve since switched to Starline.  This brass is a little heavier and wonderful to work with.  I’ve never loaded a lot of BP loads, except for use in a few 73’s and a re-pop Henry that I have.  With the newer powders available now, it makes it easier to load for the Henry with smokeless.  I’ve tried a number of powders for these calibers, but still use mostly Unique for my pistols and all of my Winchesters in these two calibers.  You might get 40 grains of 3F black in the Starline brass, but I doubt that 40 grains of 2F will fit, even with the compressed load and a drop tube.  This is due to the fact that this brass is a little thicker.   I personally have never used a drop tube with anything other than my large Winchester or Sharps cartridges.  Compression is done as you seat the bullet, not with the plug.  If you feel it is difficult to compress the powder as you’re seating the bullet, drop the powder charge back to 35 or 37 grains.  You’ll never know the difference in shooting.  I use only standard large pistol primers.  No flash hole modification necessary.  There are a lot of bullet manufacturers out there, but locally, I have great access to Lazer-Cast, so I have several thousand of these set aside for the .44-40.  We also have a good local bullet company, called Going Ballistic.  I buy Going Ballistic for the .38-40, .38-55, .25-20 and .32-20, mainly because I see them at local gun shows.  Both of the companies I’ve mentioned, make exceptional pre-lubed bullets at what I think are reasonable prices.  I also like the fact that these bullets have the traditional Winchester and UMC look.  I hope this will help.

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May 2, 2018 - 3:42 pm
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Jim,

It looks like I may have to re-trace my steps here a bit.  After posting above, I got to thinking about the Going Ballistic bullet company.  The last time I purchased anything from them was a couple of years ago.  At that time I bought several thousand bullets in various calibers, because of a special they were having at one of our gun shows.  Because of this, I won’t have to buy any bullets for a long time.  I did some checking with a local store and find that Going Ballistic may no longer be in business.  I would check out Oregon Trail/Lazer Cast or go to Buffalo Arms in Sandpoint, Idaho.  I’m here in Montana, so bullets are fairly easy to find and shipping from these outfits is cheaper.  Don’t know where you are, so I don’t have a clue what shipping might be for you.

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May 2, 2018 - 4:24 pm
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Another fan of the Starline brass; good product, good people. You may be on the right track for a bullet by purchasing from Buffalo Arms. If the bullet works out for you they probably sell the mould if you elect to cast your own. As you may know from loading the 45-70 the exact weight of BP doesn’t really matter, it’s more about volume and the amount of compression. The powder charge I use under my Accurate 40-180C bullet may or may not work under the BACO bullet. Sounds like fun, I like the 38WCF. Good luck, be safe!

 

Mike

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May 2, 2018 - 4:50 pm
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I cast most of my own bullets but occasionally buy some lead bullets in the small calibers from http://www.meisterbullets.com/AWSProducts/438-C-22-P-0/38-40-180GR-401-RNFP.  They ship free (or the shipping is already figured into the costs of the bullets). 

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May 2, 2018 - 6:39 pm
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Here is a page out of Mike Venturino’s book

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May 2, 2018 - 6:57 pm
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cwachter said
Here is a page out of Mike Venturino’s book  

I buy my .228 bullets from this guy for my 22 WCF.

https://bullshop.weebly.com/  bullet man Dan

38-40 cast bullets can be found on gunbroker too.

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