A .38-40 isn't too light for deer. Nor is it a "relatively weak round" if used it in it's effective range. Over the last twelve or so years I have killed several deer with .44-40 rifles (replica Henry and 1873 both with 24" barrels) the longest shot being about 70-80 yards. Never lost one or had one run more than ten yards. I don't believe that a .38-40 would be much different. What ammo are you using? I suspect nerves and/or a misplaced shot are to blame. As for the .32-20, don't you have any deer size guns available? Back "in the day" 32-20s were considered a great round for groundhogs and coyote. Never was meant as a deer round.
Last edited by MJN77; October 14, 2012 at 08:30 AM.