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Thread: Loaded up the 120 year old Win 1892 in 38 WCF.

  1. #1
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Default Loaded up the 120 year old Win 1892 in 38 WCF.

    My 1892 rifle (24 inch barrel) was made during the first year of production in 1892. It has a pretty worn barrel, which I made worse by an extensive cleaning. It seems that lead had been filling in all the pits over the last 120 years, BUT since I let some Marvel Mystery Oil sit in the barrel for a couple days, all the lead slivers came out of the bore.

    Since there have been a couple of threads about the 38 WCF round lately (38-40) I decided to haul her to the range yesterday during a lull in our continual snow storms.

    Unfortunately I only used some lead cast bullets that are exactly .400 in diameter. (The 38-40 is really a 40 caliber "" 10mm" round). I just happened to have a few hundred Western Nevada Bullet company cast lead slugs already lubed and sized..

    But I slugged my bore and the rifling marks on a bullet are only 0.394 while the outside area is 0.398. So the 0.400 bullets are not being squeezed very much at all.

    Thus the crappy groups of the day.

    All loads using 180 grain Nevada cast bullets at .40 cal. one lube band.
    All loads using Star-Line brass and CCI-large pistol primers. With a roll crimp and 1.60 inch COL.

    1.
    10.0 grains Unique. = 1,472 fps and a 5 inch group. Lots of lead in bore, some bullet yawing at 100 yards. Kinda hot for a black powder era rifle.

    Below loads are nice and wimpy for a 120 year old rifle that was made for black powder pressures. They also are good loads for 38 WCF sixguns.

    2.
    28.0 grains Goex FFFg Clear Shot. = 1,070 fps. Very clean brass, 4 inch group. This is a Black Powder substitute which I believe is no longer being made after the factory burned down. This was a slightly compressed load. It leaves a weird white film inside the brass.

    3.
    7.0 grains IMR 800X= 1,074 fps and a 3 inch group. Very clean brass. No pressure signs. This is a listed pistol load and could be worked up a little.

    4.
    7.0 grains Hodgdon Universal = 982 fps. This load already goes this fast from my 7.5 inch pistol. So it is too fast burning for my loner barrel. No pressure signs, but the cases were a little dirty. Very quite load. Hit the pie pan size gong 7 out of 10 shots at 100 yards from standing position.

    5.
    6.5 grains TRAIL BOSS = 1.073 fps. And a 5 inch group. Very quiet but the brass was very dirty. This is about all the Trail Boss powder you can stuff into the case without compressing the load. Which Trail Boss does not like.


    I certainly need to see if I can find some slightly larger bullets. Although it is not like I shoot this old gal very much.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 38 WCF slugs 180gr Nevada 002.jpg   1892 winchester 38-40.jpg  
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
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  2. #2

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    Man, that 3" group is surprisingly good from the bore you describe. It really makes me wonder just what the rifle is capable of with the larger bullet, as you suggest.

    I have an early 1886 in 38-56 (basically a 45-70 case necked to around .375) that had a promising looking bore, but put .375 bullets sideways on the target at 25 yards. Slugged the bore, and tried .378. I could get them pointy-end-first to 25 yards, but the holes were long and skinny again at 50. Moved to .380 and got clean holes at 50, but yaws at 100. It wasn't till I tracked down a guy that could cast .382 that it finally did what it was supposed to at 100 yards, but the best group was 6". It's on the back burner for now, but in all likelihood is going t be rebored. The big question is what.

    I'd cherish that 92 of yours as a real shooter, and enjoy it.

  3. #3
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    I mic a bunch of the Western Nevada cast bullets and many of them were only .399 in diameter. And they are pretty hard... No wonder .....
    I need at least .401 and maybe .402 or .403.
    The bullets that I loaded in the past were a slightly hollow base and softer lead. You could put ten shots into a 3x5 inch address sticker pasted on the side of a cardboard box at 100 yards with that load.
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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  4. #4
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    Very nice. I'm hoping to get my '86 (38-56) off the back burner this spring and see if I can get it to shoot. I'm thinking I'd like to use it for my bear bait rifle this year. We'll see how much playing around with bullet diameters, powders, etc. I have to do.
    We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties.
    James Madison

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    I have some .403 caliber slugs on order now. We will see how they shoot.
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

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