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Old 07-11-2018, 04:56 AM
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Default 38 special ammo for lever action

Recently i started to use my 357 mag Henry big Boy rifle more recently fo target Shooting and i really enjoy it. The 357 mag ammo is quite expensive though and as far as I know the Henry big Boy is able to shoot 38 Special ammo to which is a bit cheaper as well. So I could shoot more.

Has anybody of you experiences with using 38 Special semi wadcutter rounds in a Lever Action rifle? if so would you recommend them for target usage?

My second choice concerning the Price would the Remington High Terminal Performance Ammunition 38 Special +P 125 Grain Semi-Jacketed Hollow Point rounds.

Are they save to use in the Henry big Boy? They would also be a decent Option for self defense I think. Not sure though if these logic can be applied when using these rounds for sd out a Lever Action Rifle.

In the 357 mag department it seems common Knowledge that using heaver rounds is recommend as the infamous 125 grain jhp was not designed for the higher mv the .16.inch Barrel of a Lever Action carbine can generate..???

thanks for the help in advance.
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Old 07-11-2018, 07:06 AM
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From what I've picked up at a lever-gun forum, the overall length of the ammo is important to getting the lifter to put it through the guides. The profile of the projectile is important to getting the ammo into the chamber.

I've only used 158gr jacketed and soft-point ammo in .38 and .357 in my 1892 style lever rifle, so I can't comment about your specifics.

Good luck.
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Old 07-11-2018, 07:24 AM
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I have a 73 Uberti Sporting Rifle in .357 and mostly shoot .38 Specials out of it. Lots of 158grain lead and jacketed round nose, semi wad cutters too, they work fine and for a lot of fun, .38 Special full wadcutters. They may have some feed hang up issues now and then but are fun to shoot out of the heavy, 24” barrel 73.
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Old 07-11-2018, 12:29 PM
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No experience with your modern Henry, but I did own a Winchester 1892 carbine that started life as a .32-20 and had been converted to .357 magnum somewhere along the way. It would feed and function with just about any .38 Special ammo except flush-seated wadcutters. Actually very pleasant to shoot with 125 JHP and 158 SWC .38 ammo. Perfect for small game to the size of turkeys, or for troublesome pests like coyotes.

Wish I still had it. Nothing slicker in use than the Winchester 92's. I will now renew the curse I placed on the low-life thief who relieved me of that old Winchester!
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Old 07-11-2018, 04:19 PM
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I can't speak to your Henry, either, but my Navy/Rossi 1892 short rifle operates just fine with .38 Special LSWC handloads.




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Old 07-11-2018, 04:36 PM
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The Henry Big Boy owners manual states that only 158 gn .38 special rounds loaded to .357 Magnum length will function reliably in the rifle.

I know from experience that 148 gn PHBWC rounds do not feed but jam up on the feed ramp.

100 gn LRNFP Cowboy bullets loaded in .38 special cases also jammed up. When loaded to .357 length (both in Speer nickel plated brass) they were not as accurate as the same load in .357 cases (10.5 gn AR2208, the “replacement” for Hodgdon’s “old” H4227).

In the end I went with the .38 special load in .357 cases.

Cheap to reload, mild to shoot and accurate.
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Old 07-11-2018, 05:17 PM
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I load 158 grain Round nose flat point in 357 cases over 5.5 gr 231, in my Uberti 73 and Winchester 94.
I don't know if your Henry is length sensitive. My Winchester 94 was, my 73 wasn't.

WR
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Old 07-12-2018, 04:05 AM
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Thanks for the help so far. Unfortunately I am no handloader (yet) so I have to stick with factory loads. I think I will work with the Trial and error method and just buy some rounds and try to figure out if they work in my rifle or not.

Even if they are not working the purchase of the ammo won't be a loss.

Want to get a s&w 586 or 686 in early 2019 anyway. So even if I cannot use the 38 Special rounds in my Henry I can use them in my upcoming sixgun.
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Old 07-12-2018, 06:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glashaus View Post
Lots of 158grain lead and jacketed round nose, semi wad cutters too, they work fine and for a lot of fun, .38 Special full wadcutters. They may have some feed hang up issues now and then but are fun to shoot out of the heavy, 24 barrel 73.
Lots and Lots of pounding my head on the table saying "NO NO NO NO".

NEVER EVER PUT ROUND NOSE AMMUNITION INTO A TUBULAR MAGAZINE Just one primer sitting a smidgen high and you can have the entire magazine light off due to recoil triggering ignition of just one round in the magazine. When that happens one can expect a lot of surgery on the left arm and possibly loss of some fingers from the right hand.

You may want to consider loading your own ammunition. You will not only save lots of cash but you will also have the ability to select bullet profiles specifically suited for use in a tubular magazine. For example Berry's has a hard cast truncated cone bullet that is ideal for steel silhouette or cowboy action shooting. If you want plated, Hornady XTP hollow points are available as hollow or flat points and can withstand 2225 fps (125 grain with 21.5 gr. of H110 from a 20 inch barrel). If you are looking for a cheap 158 grain load for 38 special plinking Extreme bullets offers a very good 157 grain truncated cone bullet with a flat point (1150 fps with 5.8 gr of 3N37).

PS; my favorite lever action is a 1904 vintage 1892 that a previous owner had re-barreled by Winchester in 357 Magnum. With two particular pet loads I've shot 10 shot groups under 1 inch at 100 yards with a peep sight and some help with the Range Master providing spotting and some coaching.
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Old 07-12-2018, 07:54 AM
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Well scooter thanks for all the caps, that got my attention. I should have said jacketed flat points or semi jacketed, personally I see no problem with lead round nose. Too each his own, but OP do read the manual that came with with your Henry and shoot what the manufacturer and thier lawyers recommend.
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Old 07-12-2018, 04:55 PM
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Head over to the Henry Forum They will have your answer there. Good group of guys and gals who know their stuff when it comes to Henrys. BTW I just got done shooting 100 LRN rounds yesterday of .38's thru my Henry .357 and I have still have all my limbs intact.
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:38 PM
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Having been a SASS competitor since 2001 and fired many thousands of .38 specials in my dads 1894 Marlin using 158 RNL bullets. Thousands of other shooters seem to do the same with no issues either.....

I am unaware of any detonation in the tube of any other SASS shooters. There is so little recoil for one, the bullets are lead and not hard enough to actually ignite a primer.

There is much discussion not only on this forum but many others about the hardness of any given primer and that they don't reliably go when they are struck by a real firing pin with a real firing pin spring concentrating all of that spring energy in a very small area.

The frontal mass of a RNL bullet is far larger than the primer.

Maybe it has happened to someone, somewhere.....I would think that if it were such a huge problem that there would be blown up lever guns everywhere!
Seems like a large part of 30-30 Winchester ammo is a RN....much more recoil than a .38 spl or .357 mag......where are all of the blown up M94's and 336 Marlins?

I know full well that I will bring down the wrath of the gun gods for making such a statement.....Just MY experience.

Randy
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Old 07-12-2018, 06:05 PM
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I just went down and got the book from the one that was still in the car.

Yes, the manual does say "158gr with an overall length that closely mimics the .357 Magnum cartridge".

Well, ****. No one mentioned that minor detail. I bought it because I have masses of .38 +P that does not meet the 158gr statement, and I wanted to cross share ammo with my Rugers.

It also says do not use aluminum case, that's fine, I don't buy that.

BUT, maybe a call to Henry tomorrow, as the book is for H006 series, and mine is an H012 series. Ready to hear them say "it's the same", but I'll ask just for grins.

There is enough .357 in my cabinet to shoot as much as I want - Wally World put it on clearance at $15 / 100 by accident a year or so back. I bought it all, traded most of it, but kept some for "just in case". And here we are "in case".
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Old 07-13-2018, 10:07 AM
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Had a chat with Henry CS this morning. They confirm that I will have issues with the specific .38sp ammo I have, and that they do have calls about jamming, most because of cartridge length.

I suggested they at least put a sticker on the manual indicating that it also applied to the model H012, and make the .357 orientation clearer in advertising. I expressed my disappointment (very politely), didn't get so much as a pleasant response.

I'll be selling mine. May shoot up some left over .357 first, but the reason for buying it was ammo commonality, and that is blown at this point.

Another good reason to not make $$ decisions while on chemo. Oh wait, I'm on chemo for life, .....
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Old 07-13-2018, 11:13 AM
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If the ammo will feed reliably there is no reason not to shoot .38 Specials in your levergun. I have shot many hundreds of .38s in my Marlin. Pointy bullets, not round nose bullets can cause a chain fire in the tube. I'm not sure why someone above warned about LRN bullets?

I like carrying a levergun and S.A. revolver in 38/357 while in the woods. It's an easy carry and suitable for protection where I live.
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Old 07-13-2018, 01:10 PM
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I have had excellent results with 38spl lead SWC and TC loads in a Marlin and Rossi. Give them a try, every gun is different. Also note factory 357 are mostly short nosed JHPs and lead 38s are close in OAL.
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Old 07-13-2018, 08:10 PM
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For some reason, I just can't see a 38 Special being used in a rifle.

I would use a 158 JSP 357 Magnum with a long barrel weapon to get the most out of it.
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Old 07-13-2018, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevada Ed View Post
For some reason, I just can't see a 38 Special being used in a rifle.
Not a discussion most could understand without background.

- I am a cancer chemo patient, and my bones are at extreme risk. Whatever might break or bruise for the most inane reason will never heal, so breaks are not allowed. So no 12ga, no .45, no .308, etc....
- I have a huge quantity of 38sp 125g Ranger from service days, and thought a 38/357 would be a nice plinking carbine.
- I remembered better days as a kid with a lightweight lever action.

I just thought it sounded like a fun idea. No specific reason or use case, just lots of .38sp to burn. I took the .38sp citation as good, but after the purchase was made, it was pointed out that it really wants .357, and after calling Henry CS, found that they get a LOT of calls about jams, and they are almost all due to use of .38sp lighter than 15x g.

So much for a fun idea.

But it was a fair question, so no foul.
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Old 07-13-2018, 08:49 PM
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My experience with 38sp is with Marlin 1894s. The carbine would
function fine with the bottom shelf lead round nose 38sp & GI
38sp FMJs. I sold one to a buddy of mine that didn't load. He
is known as a tight wad so he bought a Lee Loader for sole
purpose to load 38sp for the 94 Marlin. The first bullets he bought
were SWC-150gr. The Marlin didn't like to feed them. They would
catch on edge of chamber every time. No different in 357 cases.
He went to RN and had no more feed problems. Marlins are known to have no tolerance for cartridges of OAL greater than
spec, but you won't run into that with 38sp. As for full WCs, I
would say in a Marlin you would probably have feed problems.
Actually if you don't have reason for 357 loads why not use
38sp? If you load you can always use 357 cases. I have found
that Marlin 94s in 357-41mg -44mg & Marlin 39s don't like the
SWC style bullet. The 39 wants to do the same thing with Rem
Yellow Jackets & similar ammo. This is only a feed issue, they
shoot fine.
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Old Yesterday, 08:10 AM
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Wish I could help with specifics on your Henry but I recently purchased a Marlin 1894CS (.357). It feeds both .38 & .357 SWC without a hitch, fortunately for me. I chose to load .38 equivalent loads in magnum cases to avoid build up in the chamber. As an inexpensive offhand practice/plinking load I am pushing the 158 LSWC at +/- 900 FPS over a starting charge of W231.

If you haven't already tried them, go ahead and run some of your .38's in your Henry. If you already have both the gun and ammo, what have you got to lose but some time at the range? (As if that's a bad thing)
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