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Author Topic: 38-40  (Read 294 times)

Offline bigted

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38-40
« on: June 27, 2020, 06:44:04 PM »
So thinkin on tryin to come up with a SAA in 38-40 ... but never had any experience with this chamber.

Anybody played with this critter in a revolving hand canon?
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Offline scooby

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Re: 38-40
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2020, 08:09:29 PM »
Always meant to. Just never got around to buying a SAA. I do shoot that round in an original 1892 Winchester rifle. I use a bullet cast from an original Winchester mould. They weigh 180 grains. The 38-40 loads exactly like the 44-40.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2020, 01:01:25 PM by scooby »

Offline Hawg

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Re: 38-40
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2020, 09:21:24 PM »
Think of it as a .45 Colt necked down to .40 caliber.
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Offline scooby

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Re: 38-40
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2020, 12:06:06 AM »
The parent case used to develop the 38 WCF was the 44 WCF. Exact same dimensions between the two other than a more pronounced shoulder and necked down mouth to accommodate the smaller diameter bullet.

Offline Hawg

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Re: 38-40
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2020, 01:56:03 AM »
The parent case used to develop the 38 WCF was the 44 WCF. Exact same dimensions between the two other than a more pronounced shoulder and necked down mouth to accommodate the smaller diameter bullet.

True and I didn't mean to imply it wasn't but if he's unfamiliar with 38-40 he's probably unfamiliar with 44-40 as well. While the 38-40 and 44-40 cases aren't the same as .45 Colt the loads for 38-40, 44-40 and .45 Colt are identical with a smaller and lighter bullet. .45 Colt bullets run in the 250 grain range, 44-40 in the 200 grain range and 38-40 in the 180 grain range.
Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy and tasteth good with ketchup.

Offline bigted

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Re: 38-40
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2020, 09:33:03 AM »
Guess I was not too clear in my post. Not had any experience in a revolver chambered in 38-40. I do have an old Winchester (1880's model) that I load for chambered in 38 WCF.

Just never had nor fired the old 38 WCF or Colts 38-40 in a revolver. So my curiosity is in a SAA ... not necessarily in the cartridge ... altho I am up for any info I can reap concerning the 38 WCF.

In my old Winchester, it is like shooting a 22 mag rifle. Not too much recoil at all. Wonder what the recoil and accuracy potential is in a short barreled revolver?

Didn't mean to miss lead fellers.  I would think that the 180 grain 38 over 35 or 40 grains would be like greezed litnin in comparison to the old 45 Colts chamber.
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Offline scooby

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Re: 38-40
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2020, 02:48:55 PM »
Na, you was clear bigted and never miss lead anyone. You stated clearly that you were interested in that round in a SAA. Hawg and I was just chatting and adding info.

Offline bigted

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Re: 38-40
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2020, 03:57:26 PM »
I'll take all the info I can glean! Never hurts to even revisit what I think I know either. Thanks for the attention and reply's. I always glean stuff from here and you fellers. Thanks for takin me along.
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Offline Hawg

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Re: 38-40
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2020, 05:25:20 PM »
I don't have a 38-40 but I have a 44-40. Accuracy is good with a 5 1/2 inch barrel. I doubt you'll notice much difference in velocity between 38-40 and .45 Colt.
Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy and tasteth good with ketchup.

Offline Navy Six

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Re: 38-40
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2020, 06:53:53 PM »
I am a big fan of the 38-40. I have a couple of newer Colts and Ubertis. One issue you may encounter is when the round is fired the shoulder is pushed forward and some brands of resizing dies don't reset it back far enough to chamber in some guns. I learned this the hard way at a Cowboy match. My reloads fit the Colts perfectly and when I obtained the Ubertis I took them to a match without checking to see if those same rounds would chamber. They did not! This was utterly stupid on my part. After sorting things out I have had no issues. The cases are thin and require a little care to not bump the case mouth against the resizing die.
 I enjoy shooting this round in the pistols. With black powder loads, the 45 Colt and 44-40 feel similar to me but the 38-40 is a bit different. It recoils less and I think the muzzle report is a little sharper. This is all subjective of course but I shoot those three rounds a lot and can feel the difference.
Only Blackpowder is interesting.
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Offline Gray Fox

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Re: 38-40
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2020, 08:35:51 PM »
I have Redding die sets in .44-40 and.38-40 and they bring the brass back to spec easily, even in a Dillon 650.  I used to load the .38-40 a lot for a cowboy shooting friend who had a pair of original Colt SAAs in 5.5" and an original '92 carbine.  Unfortunately he passed on to greener pastures several years back and his family auctioned off all his original guns which yielded a good bit for his widow.  GF

Offline AntiqueSledMan

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Re: 38-40
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2020, 03:50:54 AM »
Hello Ted,

If you shoot 44-40, be careful to keep your brass separated.
I remember reading somewhere, a guy sized all his 38-40's to 44-40.
He was not a happy camper, I suppose he could have sized them back.

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Offline Navy Six

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Re: 38-40
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2020, 07:39:20 AM »
Gray Fox, I understand the Redding dies do a good job on setting the shoulder back and would be my choice if buying new again. I have also heard the RCBS Cowboy dies work as well. I started out--25 years ago--using standard RCBS dies and they did not work with the Uberti chamber dimensions. Not just Uberti either, as I heard of people having the same problem with various generation Colts. Funny enough those initial rounds would chamber in all three of my Uberti 38-40 lever actions but not their pistols. At that time gun writer Dave Scovill wrote an article about this issue and had RCBS custom make a sizing die which they added to their special order selection as "38-40 Scovill" resizing die. I placed an order(expensive) and this die solved the issue. Some have mentioned shortening their sizing die by machining material from the bottom--I forget how much exactly. This has the same effect as the custom die--pushing the shoulder back a bit more on the fired case.
Big Ted, I hope the mention of these issues don't dissuade you from acquiring a 38-40 pistol. It really isn't a big deal once the problem was understood. Just a little extra finesse during the reloading process and you have a wonderful shooting gun. The latest batch that came from Colt had very good matching chamber mouth/barrel groove dimensions and are accurate.
Only Blackpowder is interesting.
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Offline Captainkirk

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Re: 38-40
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2020, 09:40:00 AM »
I use the RCBS "Cowboy dies" on my .44-40 rounds with very good results feeding and functioning in my Navy Arms '66 Winchester. I would assume RCBS would also make these dies in .38-40?

Yep. They do.

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1011629373?pid=407200
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Offline bigted

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Re: 38-40
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2020, 05:24:05 PM »
Cool fella's. Thanks for the great posts and answers to my questions. I like my old winny 73 so chambered and am enamored with it.

Naw not put off by a rather small thing such as making sure to get the correct dies.

Also good news for me is the chambers on the new 3rd gen Colts SAA. This is what I am hoping to land one day.
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