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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Awhile back I had an old 1906 Marlin94 in38-40 relined and it has worked out well. The smith who did it is not accepting any new work as he is back logged a year.
I recently acquired an older Colt SAA with a 4&5/8" barrel that has been nickel plated. From the looks of it that had been done after market as there is some wear that is under the plating. Slugging the barrel, I get a .406 dia. on the lands which is considerably over the .401 that my Marlin now slugs out as. That gun I use.403 sized cast bullets from Dardas

The only bullet I could possible use is to buy some 41 mag cast bullets and then size them down to maybe .4075 -.408 and that may be a tough thing to load them in a 38-40 case that has the very thin neck walls. Then there is the question if that load would even fit in the chambers. I don't want to go to the expense of a custom mold and the incur that problem.

So I was thinking about having the barrel relined.

Does anyone know of a competent smith that has done this? The smith I used before has recommended Gary Erb in Oregon . I have emailed him but have received no reply.

This handgun does not have matching S/N's and since it has been nickel plated the collector value is considerably diminished.

Thoughts, advice, welcomed.

Thanks
 

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If you cast your own bullets, there are many new and old 403 moulds from Lyman. Most of them cast .406, you can pan lube and not size them and they would shoot fine. I had a lot of them till my Father sold them all to a collector at a ruinious low price, $3.30 apiece. Kaiser told me later one of his artiries to his brain was completely blocked, Amazing he did not have a stroke and die, they said.
 

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Gary Erb is top shelf, just got my 1900 Colt SAA 38 WCF from his where he fitted a brand new barrel with proper markings and it is first class. It is just as cheap in the long run to get a new barrel then to reline that old barrel. Redman's used to reline barrels and he did one for me, but not cheap.
 

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IIRC, the .38-40 and .41 barrels have the same bore. Some, mabey all, .38-40 marked barrels have a tiny '.41' stamped on the bottom of the barrel underneath the base pin. My 1900 vintage .38-40 is so marked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Taking the base pin out, I see no marking but it could have been worn off I guess if it wasn't very deep. Gary Erb told me all the barrels were .406.

When questioning him about relining or rebarreling. He didn't think he could match the nickel plating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Could someone possibly take a photo and post it so I could se what/where this .41 marling looks like? Also, what is everyone shooting in these handguns so marked, bullet wise?
Thanks
 

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Could someone possibly take a photo and post it so I could se what/where this .41 marling looks like? Also, what is everyone shooting in these handguns so marked, bullet wise?
Thanks
My camera doesn't do well with close ups. Pull the base pin and take the ejector housing off as well. That should give you a good view. Wipe off any oil or crud under the housing that might be there. The '.41' should be on the barrel under the base pin or thereabouts next to the frame. It's a very small mark, you might need a magnifying glass to see it. I had to use mine. As I said earlier, I don't know if all barrels are so marked, but some at least are.

Edit to add: My 1903 era .41 SAA has the tiny '.41' mark as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ok, I found some 41 colt bullets that are double based, both flat based and hollow based. Reading, they have been used in 38-40's. If seated in a 38-40 case, will they chamber in a 38-40 SAA Colt, or must the cylinder be modified to take them? Biggest Diameter ( including brass)that will chamber in this gun is .404.

I took off the ejector shroud, and base pin. Examined the barrel and no marking .Could have been worn off as the barrel definitely slugs .406. This gun could have been nickel plated after market.

I would really like to get this shooting as I also have a 1902 Marlin 94 in38-40 that I had relined.
 

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I had a .41 SAA, made in 1913, I traded off, it was renickled and had a 38 40 marking on the bottom of the barrel and 41 on the side. I looked it up and found out about this issue. I just checked my high condition 1878 DA in 38 40 it also has a V then 41 under the base pin.
 

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saddlesore, let me ask something that has not been addressed: what year is your Colt made? I ask this as IMO .41 Colt works far better with real blackpowder as it causes better bullet obturation than smokeless. Do not under any circumstances shoot smokeless in a blackpowder gun as it could "grenade".

With that said, if you are going to shoot blackpowder then merely have a competent gunsmith open up the chamber mouths to 0.406".

I ask this only as there are many people who post here thinking they can shoot smokeless in an old BP era gun and that is not the case. When they discover this they quickly lose interest as loading BP ctgs. is a tedious process requiring devotion and work. So, let's get this out of the way first before we proceed.
 
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