Cimarron M94 Winchester in 38-55 Win

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  • Last Post 27 April 2022
Aaron posted this 16 April 2022

Today I shot my brand new Cimarron (Uberti) M94 in 38-55 Win. Without the longer Starline brass with thinner case wall at the mouth, I could only get bullets sized to .377" to chamber. Bore size (groove to groove actually) is .380" so chambering a .381" bullet just isn't going to happen until Starline gets the longer brass back into dealer shelves.

Suprisingly however, the rifle grouped well at 60 yards with the smaller bullets. I am using the Lee 379250 in a 20:1 binary alloy and lubed with White's BP-01 lube. The load shot well, recoil was exceptionally manageable and the results were well - surprising. I expected holes all over the place but darn if the load didn't give me minute of deer accuracy!

I can't wait for Starline to get the longer brass out so I can really make this girl sing.

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Lee Guthrie posted this 16 April 2022

Your groups were similar to mine out of a Win 94 in 35-55, i.e., dismal.  I was up to .3785 using RCBS  375-250  250gr  FNGC with a 50/50 coww/lino and straight lino alloys.  The .3785 was the biggest I could get and that was with pure lino.  At one point I was considering rebarrel to .375 Win.   My backorder to Starline has gone unfilled.

That bullet with 50/50 coww/lino, and 2:1 coww/lino sized .377 in my Big Bore 94 in .375 Win is capable of groups less than half the .38-55, so I did not alter the mould.  Interesting article on Starline website about why the different brass is necessary.

I hope you get your brass soon.  The day after I get mine.   big_grin

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oscarflytyer posted this 17 April 2022

my brand new Cimarron 1894 would not reliably cycle the long Starline brass.  I got a few long and short Starline pieces to test.  Test pieces functioned but when I bought the 250 bag, they would not.  And some were a tad longer than 2.125".

I am using Western Bullet's commercially cast Lyman 375296 FN GC bullet sized .379".  (Have a Lee mold/just have to pick it up).  Mine will cycle all the odds and ends shorter brass I scrounged...  And seems to work if I trim the long brass back to ~2.110"-2.115".   

Quick test load I used was 22.0 grns of IMR-4198.  25 yd indoor group was 1.18" offhand.  So prob < 3" at 75 yds in the deer woods with a rest out of the stand.  Perfectly usable where I hunt.  I AM using peep sights (had top receiver d&t'd for Skinner peeps) cause I can't see/use std buckhorns...

Before you get a big stash of the long brass, I would recommend getting 3-5 test pieces and trying them in your rifle.  And, once mine breaks in, maybe it will cycle the longs reliably...

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Aaron posted this 17 April 2022

Lee,

For an old guy with aging eyes and open sights, I will take that group! I purposefully used a softer alloy (20:1) in the hope the bullets would bump up in the barrel. I think they did or that group would have been a 12" group for sure. I do have some harder commercially cast bullets to try as well but doubt they will perform like these ones cast from the Lee mold. That will be an experiment for another day.

I am kind of marking time here until the longer Starline brass arrives which this Uberti chamber will relish. All of the reading I have done so far indicates that the Cimarron (Uberti) 1894 in 38-55 likes the longer brass. My attempts to chamber larger bullets bear out the reading results. Winchester short brass at 2.080 has a mouth wall at .0095". The Starline brass (short or long) has a wall thickness of .0072" which allows larger bullets farther forward as well. My rifle has one of the pre-SAAMI chambers of larger length.

I sent Starline a note to the effect that you were tired of waiting for the brass and they should bump me up over your request. excited

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Aaron posted this 17 April 2022

my brand new Cimarron 1894 would not reliably cycle the long Starline brass.  I got a few long and short Starline pieces to test.  Test pieces functioned but when I bought the 250 bag, they would not.  And some were a tad longer than 2.125".

Quick test load I used was 22.0 grns of IMR-4198.  25 yd indoor group was 1.18" offhand.  So prob < 3" at 75 yds in the deer woods with a rest out of the stand.  Perfectly usable where I hunt.  I AM using peep sights (had top receiver d&t'd for Skinner peeps) cause I can't see/use std buckhorns...

 

Mine seems to hang up too with the short brass. The cartridge rim seems to be at the very back of the receiver recess. I have tried a more deep crimp to ensure a smooth surface and the impingement seems to be at the crimp point AND at the case rim in the relief groove on the receiver wall. Now having said all that, I learned with my 1886 in 45-90, that these rifles like to be cycled aggressively. Such is the case with this 1894 too. If I "go for it", the cases cycle OK. It just seems to be a very unnecessary act to have to cycle so hard.

I am wanting that long brass for the mouth wall thickness primarily. My chamber cast indicates that Uberti is chambering these using a cutter made from an original rifle chamber cast. This chamber is definately a pre-SAAMI chamber. Measurements and experiments bear that out! Call me crazy, but I knew all this before I ordered this specific rifle. Cimarron commissioned these rifles from Uberti and to my eye, they are the most beautiful and functional reproductions. One does need to be an experienced handloader/bullet caster to make this rifle sing.

With the longer brass, I know I can always trim it to the perfect length for a specific bullet. So far, that Lee bullet is doing just fine but as you know, I will play with others as well. I have some commercially cast "hard" bullets from Hunters Supply but they have to be resized to .377 to fit this chamber with Winchester brass.

 

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admiral posted this 17 April 2022

I have used the Starline "short" 38-55 brass for as long as it's been around in my Winchester Crazy Horse. It has a .380" barrel and the .0072" case neck allows loading/chambering a .381" bullet with ease. I personally I prefer the 2.080" brass as I never have to trim it. My bullet is an LBT 250 gr. with no crimp groove so just a quick pass through the Lee FCD with no regard to brass length. Just load to the same COAL. When I first got that rifle I had to thin down Winchester brass case necks from .010" to .008" on the lathe before Starline had their offering. I use all my 2.080" Winchester 38-55 brass in my Marlin model 375. It chambers the 2.080" brass just fine even though .375 Win brass is supposed to be .060" shorter.

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Ross Smith posted this 17 April 2022

Am I understanding this correctly? The case walls are too thick to allow larger diameter bullets? Can't they be reamed?

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Aaron posted this 19 April 2022

Am I understanding this correctly? The case walls are too thick to allow larger diameter bullets? Can't they be reamed?

You are correct. Forget the SAAMI drawings regarding 38-55 chambers. Uberti cuts their chambers to original 1894 dimensions which are a tad different than SAAMI specs which came about much later.

Winchester brass mouth wall thickness is .0095". With a bullet sized to .377, that gives a total diameter of .3960" which fits. Any bullet sized larger to groove diameter will not chamber. Starline brass addresses this matter by fielding two lengths of brass, both of which have mouth wall thicknesses of .0072". With the Starline brass one can size bullets correctly to match groove diameter with a total diameter of .3945" which will chamber in the Uberti produced guns for Cimarron.

Current Winchester (Miroku) guns have smaller groove diameters of .375" as do most current Winchester rifles. There are a few out there with larger groove diameters but most are .375" unlike the original rifles at .380".

I hope I explained this well. Bottom line is the Uberti produced 1894 rifles in 38-55 use original chamber dimensions and bore sizes unlike modern rifles of this caliber by other manufacturers. My T/C Contender custom barrel uses a .375 groove. I can shoot jacketed bullets in it all day long or cast if I wish.

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Lee Guthrie posted this 19 April 2022

I have no idea what it takes to make an Uberti 1894 in .38-55 shoot well, but a modern manufactured Winchester 1894 (those licensed by Winchester to Browning and manufactured by Browning) chambered in .38-55 have a tendency to shoot patterns instead of groups.  Starline brass has created a solution by making brass that resolves the original chambering "error". 

SEE: https://www.starlinebrass.com/articles?id=2540  

I have two '94 Big Bores in .375, both of which shoot well with cast bullets sized .377 and seated to the intended crimp groove.  My TC barrel is in .375 groove, and it shoots quite nicely loaded with the same ammo, including harvesting several deer and other critters.  I've never done a chamber cast of the TC, but it would appear that it does not make the same error as the Win '94 chamber.

 

My '94 in .38-55 just will not shoot, and at least most other owners I have talked to have the same problem.  Supposedly they have the same barrels, just chambered differently.  Unfortunately, my order for correct brass is still unfilled, and as of a few minutes ago still has the red dot on ordering.

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Aaron posted this 19 April 2022

as the Win '94 chamber.

  Unfortunately, my order for correct brass is still unfilled, and as of a few minutes ago still has the red dot on ordering.

I too am waiting for Starline to make some of the brass. I can't wait to get my hands on some of it.

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GregT posted this 27 April 2022

Every so often I read here and other forums about "old eyes". I have a collection of military rifles for the most part that still have the original barrel sight. As I was easing into "old eyes" I eventually lost the ability to use those original sights--which made shooting most rifles from my collection impossible. At the same time this was occurring, I had begun to use reading glasses, the cheap ones you can get at any Walmart, etc. I was looking down the barrel of one of my Mausers one day, had my readers on, and WOW, I could see the sights crisp and clear! The glasses were 2x. Not only did the readers clear up the sights, both front and rear, to a clearness I had never experienced before, but upon looking out the window at my mailbox about 75 yards down the driveway, it was crisp and clear also! I tried different powers of reading glasses, and 2x seem to be the best. Higher powers in the readers begin to blur out the sights and the target. Needless to say, reading glasses are mandatory for any of the iron sight shooting I do now, rifle or pistols. I know all eyes are different, but try the cheap readers out. I bet they work for you!

GregT

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