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38-55 help

JunkCollectorJunkCollector Posts: 1,089 Senior Member
OK so I've been tempted to bring  one out hunting for bears.

I was able to pick up what I thought may be a good load for them today also.
Even got some 9mm at pre pandemic pricing :smile:

How big of a bear should I feel comfortable shooting if I do with proper shot placement obviously.


Replies

  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 14,277 Senior Member
    I would think a shot in the boiler room would travel a sufficient distance to be a legitimate bear round with that load no matter the size of the bear, do a John Wayne twirl with the lever action and send another one just to be sure, looking forward to an autopsy with the 38-55 on a big bear.
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 7,928 Senior Member
    The only box I can read the specs on is the WW. 255 grs is a heavy bullet. If its going anything over 1100 to 1200 fps its going to completely penetrate anything it hits.

    Make the first shot count. Lever a reload well shouldered and aimed. Wait. Approach with caution. Shouldered and aimed. 

    Photograph bear with old gun afterward for framed picture in the gun room.
  • sakodudesakodude Senior Member Posts: 4,566 Senior Member
    I've only ever shot deer with my 375 Winchester lever gun but they did not hesitate to die. I don't think I'd be timid to shoot a bear given a good shot presentation. 
  • JunkCollectorJunkCollector Posts: 1,089 Senior Member
    I'm feeling a lot more confident in carrying it now.
    Thanks guys.


    Mike I'm thinking Winchester loaded these for around 1320 fps.
  • JunkCollectorJunkCollector Posts: 1,089 Senior Member
    sakodude said:
    I've only ever shot deer with my 375 Winchester lever gun but they did not hesitate to die. I don't think I'd be timid to shoot a bear given a good shot presentation. 
    Knock on wood.
    I've found bears go down easier/faster than deer.
  • Big Al1Big Al1 Senior Member Posts: 8,512 Senior Member
    The Winchester is probably a jacketed bullet, anything at BP velocities should work, it worked 150 years ago, should still work today!!
    What rifle are you using??
  • JunkCollectorJunkCollector Posts: 1,089 Senior Member
    Lol AL
    The only lever I have the 94
    Both boxes are 255 grain JSP so I thought they should penetrate but sounds like clean pass through now 
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 3,207 Senior Member
    I think my shot would be through the scapula first and take it from there.  The idea of tracking a lung shot bear into thick brush is HIGHLY unappealing to me.  


    I’m baaaaaaaaack… 😬
  • JunkCollectorJunkCollector Posts: 1,089 Senior Member
    I'm big on shooting them in the shoulder and hearing the death moan right after.
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 3,207 Senior Member
    Then that chambering should do the trick.  I’m not a big and slow guy for lung/heart shots.   Seen too many puny deer walk for what seems like miles double lung punched with a slug to trust the concept much.
    I’m baaaaaaaaack… 😬
  • Big Al1Big Al1 Senior Member Posts: 8,512 Senior Member
    Lol AL
    The only lever I have the 94
    Both boxes are 255 grain JSP so I thought they should penetrate but sounds like clean pass through now 
    If it's an older '94 the jacketed ones may not be very accurate! Most jacketed measure .375, my 1894 is from about 1908 and the bore diameter is .380. I only shoot cast in mine.
  • JunkCollectorJunkCollector Posts: 1,089 Senior Member
    Mine is from 1903 I've shot some JSP out of mine already and they did well.

    Bear is a very close range affair here.

  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 9,382 Senior Member
    There is probably nothing on this continent that the .38-55 hasn't killed with cast bullets.  You're basically tinkering around with .44 Magnum weight and velocity ranges with more penetrating capability thanks to the smaller frontal area.  If you have confidence in the jacketed bullet construction, you're good to go.

    Big Al's got a point - it is worth knowing your groove diameters for that caliber.  They can like cast bullets in the low to low-middle .380's.  It is a sweet shooting round when you get it figured out.  All of the "cool" of the classic single shot era falling blocks without the .458-level discomfort.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 12,615 Senior Member
    edited September 2021 #15
    I wonder about factory ammo.  I would think they're loaded mildly because of old guns; I know many historical cartridges are, especially in the US...lawyer loads. 
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • Elk creekElk creek Senior Member Posts: 7,413 Senior Member
    I wouldn’t hesitate to take the 38-55 with that Ammo to go after bear. Last bear hunt I was on my friend anchored his with a 348 win while the other in pair party with a 7 mag. The 348 was a better choice. Ken Waters was kind to the 38-55 in one of his articles and stated “I’d rather have a 255gr slug at 1500 than a 170 grain at 2100, of the 30wcf. If you want to get bloody in the big woods carry  the 38-55” 
    Aim higher, or get a bigger gun.
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