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Reloading cal. 38-72 for my Winchester Model 1895
September 11, 2018
9:20 am
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I have just bought a Winchester Model 1895 i cal. 38-72. Serial number 395XX. Made in 1903.

Is it save to use smokeless powder for this rifle? I am trying to find out if Winchester made the Model 1895 in the year 1903 for smokeless powder, or it was later. The barrel is not stamped "Nickel steel barrel" or "Especially for smokeless powder". Were all Model 1895 made for smokeless powder?

I hope someone can help me Cool

Best regards

Palle Heine Jensen

Denmark

September 11, 2018
5:07 pm
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The 38-72 and 30-40 were both loaded in 1895 with black powder.  Later almost all the 1895's were loaded with smokeless.

Being a 1903 gun it was probably loaded with smokeless powder.  Shooting with black powder may be best. If the gun is safe you could shoot it.  According to Mike Venturino's book he recommends using 21 grains of Accurate XMP5744 smokeless powder or 65 grains of GOEX Cartridge black powder.  This is with a 277 grain cast bullet.  A cast bullet is probably the better choice.  The bullet diameter should be about .379" or .380".  About 9.63 mm.

September 11, 2018
5:40 pm
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I believe that Chuck meant to say that the 38-72 WCF and the 40-72 WCF were originally loaded with black powder. The 30-40 (30 U.S.) was load with smokeless powder only.

Winchester made the transition to smokeless powder between 1900 - 1902 for nearly all of their older cartridges. They offered both black powder and smokeless powder loads for the 38-72 WCF for many years. You can safely shoot moderate smokeless loads in your rifle with cast lead bullets. Avoid jacketed bullets, and if you do load them, keep the velocity at or below 1,600 fps.

Bert

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September 11, 2018
9:10 pm
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Bert H. said
I believe that Chuck meant to say that the 38-72 WCF and the 40-72 WCF were originally loaded with black powder. The 30-40 (30 U.S.) was load with smokeless powder only.
Winchester made the transition to smokeless powder between 1900 - 1902 for nearly all of their older cartridges. They offered both black powder and smokeless powder loads for the 38-72 WCF for many years. You can safely shoot moderate smokeless loads in your rifle with cast lead bullets. Avoid jacketed bullets, and if you do load them, keep the velocity at or below 1,600 fps.
Bert  

Bert is correct.  These three cartridges were the first 3 produced for the 1895 but the 30-40 was the first to be loaded, from the beginning, with smokeless.  I would keep the fps closer to 1,500.

September 12, 2018
11:24 pm
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Hi Palle Heine Jensen

I'm not going to give any advice on loading for .38-72.  I haven't loaded much black powder or the smokeless equivalent loads. 

Here's some really brief history on Winchester's loading of the two however:

The .38-72 and .40-72 were offered in smokeless or black powder from the start.  You can go back into the WRACo catalogs to find this, I believe in No. 58, June of 1896, with the individual cartridge sales descriptions in the later half of the catalog.  These two were offered with lead or metal jacketed bullets (full metal patch) and it looks like by the Dec. 1896 catalog, soft point, which also has a jacket of course.  These aren't the only ones, and Winchester was loading smokeless in a lot of other cartridges by 1895-96 as well.

forest-and-stream-June-1895-a.jpgImage Enlarger

Forest and Stream June 1895

The factory .38-72 and .40-72 smokeless loads would have had similar velocities to black powder loads to the best of my knowledge.  I don't know that either the .38-72 or .40-72 were ever offered in Short Range or WHV (Winchester High Velocity), but I would also have to look that up to double check.  

I will recommend One Hundred Years of Winchester Cartridge Boxes by Ray Giles & Dan Shuey and also Dan's WRACo Headstamped Cartridges and Their Variations Vol. I and Vol. II, to anyone wanting serious details on WRACo cartridges (I haven't checked on availability for awhile).   This information is also found in those books, a great deal of which came from primary sources.   

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Regards

Brad Dunbar

http://1895book.com/

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November 10, 2018
3:23 am
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I used to reload for the 38-72 and only used smokeless powder. I used medium speed powders and stuck to the original 38-72 ballistics (cast bullet weight and velocity). 

November 10, 2018
8:35 pm
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Brad Dunbar said
I don't know that either the .38-72 or .40-72 were ever offered in Short Range or WHV (Winchester High Velocity), but I would also have to look that up to double check.  

So far with my on-going research into Reloading Tools, I have yet to observe any Tools or Bullet Molds for either .38-72 or .40-72 in Short Range. 

I doubt any would have been made, but can't say as of yet for certain as it is always I suppose plausible. 

Only know of Short Range in, .25-35 W.C.F., .30 Gov. (30-40 Krag), .30 W.C.F. (30-30), .32-40, & .38-55.

Sincerely,

Maverick 

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November 14, 2018
3:28 am
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I know there was a bullet mould for the 38-72, because I borrowed an original from a fellow and cast up a batch of 38-72 bullets. I still have most of those bullets.

November 14, 2018
6:07 am
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win38-55 said
I know there was a bullet mould for the 38-72, because I borrowed an original from a fellow and cast up a batch of 38-72 bullets. I still have most of those bullets.  

Yes Winchester made bullet molds for 38-72 and marked them as such. I have one myself. But I'm quite certain they did not make any "38-72 SHORT RANGE" bullet molds. 

Sincerely,

Maverick

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