I usually have brass for all sorts of odd ball calibers stacked on the shelves of my loading bench. I sold a friend 200 rounds of Winchester 38-55 brass then found a rifle I just had to have, in 38-55 caliber. Well that left me with only fifty rounds of brass, which I thought I could replace easily. Not so! It seems the Winchester headstamp on brass, has an uncertain future.
Starline doesn't make it (yet) but Jamison, of Sturgis S.D. does, and I found it listed on the Buffalo Arms webb site. I called, they were out of stock, back ordered, soon to arrive, I gave them my wife's VISA number.
Intersting thing about the BA webb site, they list the Wnchester (also out of stock) with a "standard length" of 2.080" and the Jamison with the "original length" of 2.120" and also some Jameson with small primer pockets at a length of 2.130". Since the Jamison was promised in soon, I ordered a quantity of each, I can always trim to correct length.
A little more research turned up some interesting info about this caliber. I did find evidence that the small rifle primer would enhance uniform ignition and accuracy but I wanted to know what is "original" length and more specifically, for my vintage rifle, what is correct length. A chamber cast with cero-safe will tell the dimensions of my rifle (this week ends project), so on to the research.
I have Mike Venturino's book Shooting Lever Guns and in it he shows a drawing of the old cartridges for which these guns were chambered and his tests are in vintage rifles. The drawing with dimensions for the 38-55 Ballard gives the brass length of 2.129". This is longer than the 30-30 and calibers of similar size (32 spcl and 25-35), but of course the 38-55 pre-dates all of them.
Ken Howell's excellent book of cartridges gives the brass length for the 38-55 Ballard as 2.080". Back to square one.
Does anyone have any source of info for this oldie in regard to brass dimensions? I tend to believe the Venturino book because he uses older rifles and shoots as close to authentic original brass and bullets as possible. Just another obstacle on the path of the handloader!