Colt 1878 DA Revolver 38-40 experience/help

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  • Last Post 21 December 2017
oscarflytyer posted this 20 December 2017

Colt 1878 DA Revolver 38-40 experience/help

Have a chance to get a Colt 1878 Frontier DA Revolver in 38-40/38 WCF. DOM 1893. Makes it a BP period/frame. So, some questions...

1) Assume it is recommended to shoot only BP loads? 
2) What about very low pressure smokeless loads?
3) If BP loads only, any BP load recommendations? I will be casting 180 grn pure lead bullets.

Thanx

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RicinYakima posted this 20 December 2017

I only have experience with the RCBS 180 grain Cowboy Match. Both 5.0 grains of Bullseye and 6.5 grains of Unique have gone through many original guns with no problems. Both are listed at about 11,000 CUP, less than black powder. FWIW, Ric

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David Reiss posted this 20 December 2017

Check your cylinder throats so you can size the CBs appropriately. The throats on the .38/40 varied quite a bit.

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
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BigMan54 posted this 20 December 2017

Ric is dead on about the powder charges.  But casting of 1/20 is a better choice. It's what my old man used in his Bisley, #40188 SWC. I use the RCBS #40-180-CM or #40143. My old mold will let me size to .402, try it. It works better in older guns. If they'll chamber a fat round.

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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oscarflytyer posted this 20 December 2017

Thanx guys.  I am loading 44-40 for a Uberti clone.  Ric's loads are almost identical to what I am using for the 44-40 with 215 grn bullets.  If I get this one, I would like to shoot it, certainly no desire to hot rod it.  Just punch paper for fun.  I kinda figured if it is in good shape mechanically, it could manage the lower end loads with cast.  Also appreciate the 1/20 advice.  May mix some up and use it for both 44-40 and 38-40.

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Ed Harris posted this 20 December 2017

While 1:20 tin-lead is good, softer 10 or even 1:40 is better with the very mild loads used.

 

I use 1:40 from Roto Metals for most of my non+P revolver loads in all calibers.  

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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rjmeyer314p posted this 21 December 2017

I had one of these in 41 Colt. They're sometimes called the gunsmith's friend, because they break so often. If you get one, the best parts source is Popert's. They also have a booklet on how to repair it.

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RicinYakima posted this 21 December 2017

I found the 1878 model much stronger than 1877 Lightening and Thunderer. While the same design, they are about 20% bigger due to the scale up for the .45 Colts cartridge.

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