.38-55 Black Powder Ammo?

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thomasrodco
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.38-55 Black Powder Ammo?

Post by thomasrodco »

Does anyone know of a source to buy .38-55 black powder ammo?
I have a model 1893 that was made in 1899, but does not have the smokeless steel stamp on it, so I really don't know for sure if this is a black powder barrel or not, and I'd like to be able to shoot it and hunt with it? I also don't have any reloading equip.
I've done some looking online, and see "cowboy action" ammo, and I honestly don't even know what that is?
I also see Winchester makes ammo for it that is 1320fps, but it is jacketed, and from what I've read, if this is indeed a black powder barrel, I shouldn't use that?

Any help would be appreciated!
Steve
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marlinman93
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Re: .38-55 Black Powder Ammo?

Post by marlinman93 »

Any of the .38-55 ammo listed as "cowboy ammo" will normally have cast lead bullets, and be milder loads. And that ammo should be fine in your gun, even with a BP barrel, or unmarked barrel. I would not use jacketed bullet ammo, regardless of powder or pressures in any old 1893 Marlin myself.
Marlin lever actions 1870's-WWI, Ballards, and single shot rifles!
thomasrodco
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Re: .38-55 Black Powder Ammo?

Post by thomasrodco »

Great info! Thank you very much!
thomasrodco
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Re: .38-55 Black Powder Ammo?

Post by thomasrodco »

marlinman93 wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 2:46 pm Any of the .38-55 ammo listed as "cowboy ammo" will normally have cast lead bullets, and be milder loads. And that ammo should be fine in your gun, even with a BP barrel, or unmarked barrel. I would not use jacketed bullet ammo, regardless of powder or pressures in any old 1893 Marlin myself.
What does the jackets do to the barrel? Score it? I know my late brother did fire some jacketed Super-X hunting ammo through it over the years. I'm sure he had no idea it was a problem. I still have some of his old ammo left, but I won't use it on your suggestion.
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marlinman93
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Re: .38-55 Black Powder Ammo?

Post by marlinman93 »

No the jackets don't score a barrel. They're far too smooth to do so. But the metallurgy of black powder barrels is softer than later higher alloy smokeless steel barrels, so the BP barrels being softer can be more easily worn out. Jacketed bullets are harder than plain cast lead, so the jacketed bullets will wear the barrel's bores faster.
Now that doesn't mean occasionally shooting jacketed bullets will have any measurable effect on the rifling. But if you shot a steady diet of jacketed bullets in these older barrels you wont be doing the guns, or yourself any favors. I just don't shoot jacketed in mine at all. I have in the past shot some jacketed bullets when I took an old Marlin out deer or elk hunting. But I've found cast bullets take game just as easily, so I quit using jacketed at all.
Marlin lever actions 1870's-WWI, Ballards, and single shot rifles!
thomasrodco
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Re: .38-55 Black Powder Ammo?

Post by thomasrodco »

Gotcha, makes sense.
I appreciate your input!
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