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PAGING DR. TAFFIN.

I just bought a pre-war Colt .38 revolver. The last patent date is Oct. 5,1926 and the serial number is L615XXX. It has mother-of-pearl grips and the Colt medallion in silver. It's blued with a 4" barrel and--I believe --it's a .38-40. It has some holster wear but the action is as smooth as butter. I loved John Taffin's May "Handloading" column on reloading the .38-40. I'd like to know if you can still buy factory .38-40 or do you have to handload for it?

Chris G.

Via email

Chris: Thank you for writing and for the kind words. If you have a .38-40, it should be marked on the barrel ".38 WCF." In this case it would be the large-framed Colt New Service. I'm guessing you have an Official Police chambered in .38 Special. Check the barrel markings as to caliber and model. If it's a .38-40, Black Hills and several other companies offer .38-40 loads for Cowboy Action shooters. I use a lot of them in my New Service and SAA .38-40s. Attached you'll see a picture which shows why I like the .38-40 so much! GoodShootin' and God Bless.--John Taffin

I've known for a while that I don't shoot enough. I have NIB guns just idling in storage. Anyway, when John Taffin recently wrote about .38-40 revolvers, he also mentioned a Winchester M92 of the same caliber. Of the many guns I seldom shoot, I have a Marlin Safety saddle gun in .38-40. My grandfather bought it in 1899. I never knew him so I don't know how much it was fired. It passed to my father who never used it. After John's article, I took it out. It's in good condition and accurate. The only load I had on hand was one designed for Cowboy Action, which I presume is on the light side. The rifle has an adjustable rear sight that may be common for this model. Before I fire at a distance, I was wondering if John might have an idea of the effective range for the load I have for it--a 180-gr. flat-point. His articles are always interesting and informative. I need to start shooting what I have. If I don't do it now, when will I?

Dean Hall

Via email

Dean: That's a real old classic Marlin you have. Adjustable sights were always somewhat optimistic as to distance. I have a .44-40 with a ladder sight graduated out to 1,000 yards! (no, I don't think so!). Be happy with 100 yards or thereabouts. Those cowboy loads are perfect for those old rifles, I'd stick with modest loads like them. Good Shootin' and God Bless.--John Taffin

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Title Annotation:CROSSFIRE: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Author:G., Chris; Hall, Dean
Publication:Guns Magazine
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Jun 11, 2019
Words:447
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