.38-55 Winchester
38-55 Winchester
Type Rifle
Place of origin United States
Production history
Designer Ballard Rifle & Cartridge Company
Designed 1884
Case type Rimmed straight
Bullet diameter .3775 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Neck diameter .392 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Base diameter .421 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Rim diameter .506 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Case length 2.085 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Overall length 2.510 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm)
Rifling twist 1 turn in 18"
Maximum CUP 30,000 CUP
Ballistic performance
Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy
255 gr (Bad rounding hereScript error g) 1,321 ft/s (Bad rounding hereScript error m/s)988 ft·lbf (Bad rounding hereScript error J)
255 gr (Bad rounding hereScript error g) 1,593 ft/s (Bad rounding hereScript error m/s)1,437 ft·lbf (Bad rounding hereScript error J)
Source(s): Whelen, Townsend. The American Rifle. The Century Co.: 1918, p. 272.

The .38-55 Winchester cartridge (actually .3775 caliber) was introduced in 1876 by Ballard. It was used by Marlin Firearms from 1875 on for various single-shot target rifles and their 1893 lever action rifle. It was later offered by Winchester in its Model 1894. Winchester continued to use the round in various rifles until about 1940, and also used it in a few commemorative editions of rifles since then. In addition, Marlin offered it in some 336s and it was used in non-lever action rifles such as the Remington-Lee bolt-action and Colt's New Lightning pump-action rifles.[1][2]

A modernized version of the cartridge debuted in 1978 as the .375 Winchester, designed with higher pressures and to be used in modern firearms only. It is not safe to fire factory .375 Win ammunition in rifles chambered in .38-55, especially in older examples. The brass is very similar (shorter by approx. 1 mm), but using modern, higher pressure .375 loads in an older rifle could cause serious injury to the shooter.[3]

The .38-55 is renowned for its exceptional accuracy at ranges up to 330 yd (Bad rounding hereScript error m). It is often used to hunt black bear and deer at moderate ranges,[4] and is also used in Cowboy Action Shooting side matches.


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