A few of the CAS shooters in this area have hand guns and rifles in 38-40 . I have an oringinal 89 Marlin that has been in the family for over a 100 years . I know my grand dad hunted deer with it and the ammo was store bought so it was more than likely smokeless . I have only shot Cleanshot in it . I believe a full case of BP would be enough to take down a deer .
While not as common as .45 and .44-40 in this area, the .38-40 is still very well represented. Those that have 'em love 'em. They have enough
power for knockdown targets, yet recoil is low enough to allow fast target re-acquisition. Many old timers liked the .38-40 because it "shot hard". If I sound enthusiastic about this caliber, I am! I have 3 rifles chambered for it and 3 revolvers. I use black powder, Cleanshot, W-231, and HP-38
in this caliber and they all perform well. I think Winchester-Western
used to sell a hotter load for use in 1892 Winchester rifles only.
I have read old accounts which stated that in the '73 Winchester, the .38-40 was considered adequate for deer to 200 yds.
Started CAS with my grandpa's Win '92 rifle w/octagon 24" barrel in .38-40 that he bought new in 1912. Didn't want to wear it out, so semi-retired it. It is now limited to CAS pistol caliber rifle long range side matches, in which it is outstanding if I do my part. Prior to its CAS usage, I did kill several deer with it, using upper end handloads with jacketed 180 grain HP .400 bullets intended for .40 S&W and 10MM Mag. Found that it was actually too destructive with those bullets, especially if shots were under 50 yards. Would probably do better with a jacketed soft point. Not a difficult round to reload, but requires care to make sure case is perfectly centered under sizing die, or it will easily crumple one side of the neck as it enters the die. Brass is pretty thin in neck area. Found Starline brass to be most durable.
I've got a 1873 Winchester rifle in 38-40, handed down to me from one of my Uncles. Pretty rough on the out side but the linkage is tight as brand new. Carried a lot and used little, I guess. It will group 5 shots smaller than the palm of my hand at 100 yds, off the bench.
Every year I plan to use it deer hunting, but at the last minute I reach for the 06. This year I plan to take a deer with it for sure!
The rifle has got one knife cut notch on the comb of the stock. My uncle said it was there when he had bought it back in the 40's. Doesn't know the story behind it.
A forum community dedicated to the great outdoors and hunting enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about hunting, fishing, survival, archery gunsmithing, optics, reviews, accessories, classifieds, and more!