Ruger No.3 in a 38-55

35 Whelen

Active Member
I have an opportunity at a Ruger No.3 that was originally a 22 hornet, it was rechambered and rebored to a 38-55. I have thing for straight walled cases and think it would make an awesome stalking rifle with cast bullets. It has had the front scope mounting block removed and a three leaf fold down rear sight installed. He did a piss poor job at putting on a fiber optic front's too long and looks ghastly, but I am confident I can get a skinner Patridge sight to work far better. The owner claims he shot it and has several 38-55's, he does not know who did the work on the rifle, but it all looks good aside from the front sight. Could I have your thoughts and comments on the rifle? Is there anything to look out for on the 38-55, I have heard twist rate and chamber dimensions vary a bit, He claims it is a true .375 diameter bore and has only shot cast in it. Please offer any insight you might have and what else I should perhaps look out for or be aware of? Thanks for your time. Here's a couple of pics .



Active Member
If it's a true .375 bore, odds are it was rebored by JES. I have a Marlin 336 done by him and it's a tack driver. I use Starline 2.082" cases and an Accurate mold, 38-250B, sized .377. My most used load is 10 gr Universal (or Unique) for 1220 fps, but can go up to 1600 fps with either 4198 or 3031. There are heavier loads but I have a glass shoulder. I wouldn't think that steel buttplate on the #3 would be much fun at 18-2000 fps.

Charles Graff

Moderator Emeritus
My experience is limited to one rifle, a Sharps Borchardt which was a 45-70 military rifle rebarreled to 38-55 by Axel Peterson an old time Denver gunsmith. I acquired the rifle in 1965 and still have it. I see no reason why a Ruger No. 3 in 38-55 should not make a great easy to handle hunting rifle. However, I do think, the work done on it, would only diminish the value and not enhance the value.


Redlands, Kalifornistan
I have a Winchester 1894 that started life as a flatband 25/35 but got a spoiled chamber thanks to a dacron filler with a cast bullet load. I had JES rebore it to 38/55 in 2013, and I view the change as a considerable upgrade. The 38/55 is more useful by accident than the 25/35 ever was on purpose. It is a great caliber, and when Marie and I are in bear country locally our "truck rifle" is the 38/55 instead of the usual Mini-14.

One thing to be aware of......I think A LOT of the existing loading data for the 38/55 was developed using undersized bullets in oversized bores. USE CAUTION with printed data--make haste slowly when stair-stepping charge weights.

The Rugers #1 and #3 are not heavyweight rifles, but can manage MONDO pressure levels. My Ruger #1 in 45/70 weighed 7-1/4#, and launching 350 grain Hornady softpoints at 2100 FPS was......"exhilarating", to paraphrase the late Charles Askins. The laws of physics get no plea bargains.
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Well-Known Member
I have an early, original Win 94 in .38-55, it has been a project getting a bullet that wil
1) chamber and 2) fit the bore well enough to group decently. I have succeeded with
it, but ran into the mag tube backing out, and haven't yet solved that issue. Ongoing
Round-TUIT shortage is impacting that project, too.


35 Whelen

Active Member
The rifle sold before I could come up with the funds for it..........thanks for all the comments

Todd M

Active Member
Always have wanted a 38-55, being a sucker for straight walled cases myself. Another one is a straight walled longish .22.