View Full Version : browning 38-55

January 15, 2012, 02:52 AM
Just picked up a browning 1885 highwall in 38-55, anyone out there got and info on this, I will try it at BPCR. Thanks for any advice.

January 16, 2012, 05:42 PM
I'll try to help. The .38-55 Is in my opinion, one of the sweetest rounds out there. I took a Large Doe at 150 yds. just a few week ago with it.
There "IS" a lot of frustration going on with some shooters with real .38-55 chambers and bores.
This is because some ammo manufactures for some reason, can't or wont make it right.
Winchester for one, and its loadings are using .375 diameter bullets.

I would first slug the barrel. This is just to find out what you are actually dealing with. (Probably somewhere around .377-.379..)
You can use .375 win brass But, You will need to turn the necks as they are too thick.

Starline makes real .38-55 brass at 2.125" that when loaded with a cast .380-.381 slug will still chamber.

For Factory loaded ammo, I found Ten-X 260 gr, to be great stuff.
They are using .379-.380 Dia.

January 16, 2012, 06:25 PM
i shoot a winchester high wall,a winchester 94 and a marlin in 38-55. my favorite load is 31grs RL-7 with the hornady 220 RNFP with 375 win. brass. with the marlin 336 cowboy this load shoots into 3/4 groups at 75yds with a scope to check groups. eastbank.

P.A. Dutchman
January 17, 2012, 11:21 AM
I have one in a Winchester 94 Legendary Frontiersman that I just love. Tater is correct in that most ammo manufacturers load them with .375 bullets. That is a waste of time and usually only leads to key holing of the shots. I can tell you from experience on that with this rifle when it was brand new. The 38-55 is based on the Ballard round. It was designed to shoot black powder and lead bullets at .377 to .379 inch diameter. Some old Ballard rifles used bullets up to .382". I use smokeless powder and lead .379 dia. - 260 grain bullets with gas checks. It is quite accurate out to 200 yards for me, and won me quite a few Big Bore shoots at my local gun club. Enjoy your rifle!

Jim Watson
January 17, 2012, 11:42 AM
I have seen the Browning Traditional Hunter .38-55 being shot in BPCR events; but I do not know the internal dimensions. All I can suggest is to slug the bore and even cast the chamber to see what size bullet to load and whether to use modern short brass or full length traditional.

I have shot an original Winchester .38-55 (rebored from .32-40) and it is a nice little rifle but it won't always knock down the Metallic Silhouette rams at 500 metres. So I went to .40-65 for a heavier bullet than the .38 but less kick than a .45-70.

Dusty Wheeler
January 17, 2012, 12:13 PM
I have a Winchester/Miroku 1885 Traditional Hunter and a couple Marlin CB's in 38-55. I shot the 1885 at Quigly a couple years with a Seaco 300 grain bullet and 5744 powder. I have a Browning site set (globe front and vernier rear) and was able to hit the 800 yard buffalo without any trouble. I pan lube and shoot the Seaco unsized, same ammo for 1885 and Marlins works. I use Starline "long" brass... Hope this helps.

Sure Shot Mc Gee
January 18, 2012, 04:24 PM
Loneshooter: A gentleman at a rifle club I belong to shoots one. That Browning owner has his 38-55 targeted for 200 yards I believe and its been said. He drives across our State to take advantage of all the Club Shoots that Browning 1885 qualifies for. Of all the weapons He owns it's his "Sweetie" --The Browning owner also reloads and cast his own bullets for it. Which I'm sure contributes to its fine accuracy. I was given the opportunity to shoot His Browning on a couple of occasions last Fall. I quickly took noticed that it is very accurate with its vernier sight mounted and offered what I would call a very soft recoil to boot. One point I need to make is: His rifle is only used to punch paper and small metal rams and disks. Never has it been used in the field hunting that I know of. Another great point I'd like to make about His rifle? The 38-55 owner gives me all his discarded old brass and I trim them down to work in my 32-40...
>I love that 38-55!! ;)