A recent revision in Indiana hunting laws allows hunting with rifles chambered for cartridges of limited power. The maximum cartridge length allowed is 1.625 inches and it must be at least 35 caliber. This matches almost perfectly a .357 Maximum.
Having a single shot H&R rifle in 38-55 I have been speculating about experimenting with a “38-55 ShortÃ¢â‚¬? made by trimming cases to this maximum legal length. This would require cutting off about .46 inches from the standard 38-55 case. I'm wondering if this could be safely and effectively fired in a 38-55 chamber in a similar way that 38 Specials can be shot in a .357 magnum or 32 S&Ws fired in a .327 magnum.
Some possible problems with this idea:
Bullet jump ”€œ If seated to the crimp groove the bullet would jump a long way before reaching the rifling. Could this be reduced to a tolerable jump by seating the bullet long with most of it outside the case mouth? If seated long will the increased powder space allow loadings approaching regular 38-55 levels?
Case taper - While the .357 magnum case is straight, the 38-55 does have a slight taper so at a point 1.62 inches from the head the diameter is a little larger than at the case mouth. Will this cause a problem in gripping the bullet or aligning the base with the bore axis? Or does the case increase in thickness enough (or too much) to offset this taper?
While looking up a load in my Hornady Handbook, I stumbled on a cartridge I had forgotten about the 375 Super Magnum. Developed for metallic silhouette shooting it is based on a .375 Winchester case and has a length of 1.61 inches. This is almost exactly the round I have been “dreaming upÃ¢â‚¬? and proves that new ideas probably aren't new after all.
I'm wondering if any of the CBA Forum readers have ever heard of using the .375 Super cartridge in a 38-55 or .375 Winchester rifle. I suspect the pressures that the .375 Super is loaded to are far greater than the 38-55 so full loads may not be prudent in many (maybe all?) 38-55s. But the H&R single shot is offered in many modern rifle cartridges such as 25-06 and is probably stronger than most 38-55's. I'd be very interested in any comments especially those pointing out why this is a wacky idea and why I'll likely blow myself up if I try it.