View Full Version : 38-55

Big Ruger
September 19, 2004, 12:26 AM
I am new to lever guns, but have found two wich appeal to me. The first is the Marlin 1895CB in 45-70, The second is the 336CB in 38-55. The trouble is I am having alot of trouble finding info on the latter, or someone who can tell me about firsthand knowledge of it. Any help would be appreciated.
Big Ruger

September 25, 2004, 03:06 AM
The .38-55, like the .38-40 WCF pistol/rifle round, is a .40 caliber - not a .38. It is based on the straight-walled .30-30 case. It is not as powerful as the .45-70 and is useful for deer-sized game at close range. If hunting is what you want the rifle for - the .45-70 would be best. If you want it for something like Cowboy Action Shooting - the .38-55 might be a better choice.

BTW - Ammo for the .38-55 will be a bit harder to find and you will have fewer load choices (unless you handload) than for the .45-70.

Big Ruger
September 26, 2004, 12:11 AM
Thanks Boomer, I handload so ammo's no prob. I saw both rifles on marlins site and the 45-70 at Cabelas. I want em both. But maybe for my first lever gun I should go with the one that is better all around. I have always shot and loaded modern high power rounds so I want a new challenge. Is the 45-70 hard on meat? I have heard both ways but wondered if ammo choice might have some bearing. Thanks again.

September 26, 2004, 03:07 AM
Ammo selection will have a BIG effect on the .45-70. If you load it like a "poor man's" .458 Win Mag you're going to lose LOTS of meat! Loaded to "standard" velocities (like the old 405-gr factory loading) with hard-cast bullets that have large, flat noses or appropriate soft/hollow point bullets you can, as Elmer Keith liked to say, eat right up to the hole. Enjoy! ;)

Jim Watson
September 26, 2004, 11:47 AM
The .38-55 is NOT a .40 caliber like .38-40.
It IS a true .38 caliber. My Winchester Single Shot is .378" and I cast a bullet just slightly over that diameter for it.

Current Marlins run .380" or .381" groove diameter. From what I have read on the SASS Wire, gunsmiths and the Marlin shop are doing a brisk business opening up the chambers which are to official but incorrect specification to clear a .376" bullet.

There has been a lot of wild shooting with .38-55s based on the Lyman handloading manual's listing of .375" for bullets. Barrels that small are scarce to nonexistent except maybe for modern rifles made up with H&H barrel blanks.

Jarhead Ed
September 29, 2004, 04:12 PM
The 30-30 is based on the 38-55 rather than vice versa. The 38-55 in a Marlin action is an AWESOME deer or black bear cartridge.

September 30, 2004, 12:41 PM
There was an early high velocity load of 255gr @ 1700 which certainly would work on deer and bear. ..