The.38-55 Winchester cartridge was originally known as the.38-55 Ballard, and it was employed by Marlin Firearms for single-shot target rifles and their 1893 lever-action rifle from 1875 to 1893. Winchester employed the round in numerous rifles until around 1940, and it has subsequently been utilized in a few commemorative versions of firearms. The 38-55 Winchester is what you would call a medium bore cartridge that kicks even harder than small-bore cartridges and makes it the perfect match for any big game animal, especially when hunting in relatively short range.
When compared to 200 grain and 220 grain.35 Remington bullets, the.38-55 Winchester cartridge offers a substantial advantage in both bullet cross-sectional area and sectional density. When shot in rifles weighing eight pounds or less, the cartridge kicks less than 15 ft. lbs. Remember that 375 Winchester factory ammunition is loaded to a far greater pressure than.38-55 Winchester factory ammo and should never be shot in a weapon chambered for that caliber.
With a 255-grain bullet, the.38-initial 55's black powder loading was rated at slightly over 1,300 fps, but subsequent smokeless powder ammunition produced by Winchester, Remington, and Peters improved velocity to over 1,700 fps. The updated version of the cartridge was created with increased pressures and was intended to be used only in current rifles. At modest ranges, the.38-55 is employed to hunt black bears and deer, as well as in cowboy action shooting side matches.
Overall, the 38-55 Winchester is an excellent hunting caliber; but, because the trajectory is far from flat, you may want to aim for approximately two inches high at 100 yards and dead-on somewhere about 130 or 140 yards.