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Old 02-25-2013, 06:54 AM   #1
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Default .38 special?

Can somebody explain the difference between a .38 and a .357 I've noticed on most .38 specials it also says .357

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Old 02-25-2013, 07:18 AM   #2
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Can somebody explain the difference between a .38 and a .357 I've noticed on most .38 specials it also says .357
the 38 Spl. and the 357 magnum share the same size diameter bullets and case diameter. the 38 Spl. is a shorter case than the 357 Magnum. the 357 Magnum will hold a larger powder charge.

the bullet is .357" in diameter. now why is the 38 special called that when it's bullet is the same as the 357 Magnum? honestly i don't know the answer to that.
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:11 AM   #3
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It used to be that the .38 was a different bullet type. Kind of shaped like the .22lr today. The casing was close to .380, the outside of diameter of the bullet was the same with a rebated base that sat inside the casing. Then they changed the style of bullet to what we have today. With a crimp of the bullet outside diameter instead of the rebated base diameter, which was .358.

The .357 never had the rebated base bullet.
wikipedia answer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebated_heel_type_bullet

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Old 02-25-2013, 10:43 AM   #4
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A quick look at a ballistics chart will answer your question. The 357 is much more powerful.
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Old 02-25-2013, 11:30 AM   #5
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Can somebody explain the difference between a .38 and a .357 I've noticed on most .38 specials it also says .357
As a safety issue the .357 magnum case is 0.125 inches longer than the .38 Special. This prevents accidental firing of the higher pressure .357 magnum in .38 Special revolvers. The projectile diameter is the same for both rounds at 0.357 inches, which is slightly larger than the 9x19mm at 0.355 inches.

From what I can remember the .357 magnum was designed to replace the .38 Special used by many agencies due to the notoriously poor penetration of the subsonic .38 Special of that era. The .38 Special was next to useless against people seeking cover behind a car or solid wall.
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Old 02-25-2013, 12:53 PM   #6
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The .357 is a descendent of the .38 Special. The diameter of the case and bullet are the same, but the .357 case is slightly longer to prevent firing the more powerful .357 ammo in a .38 special handgun. You can shoot .38 Special in a .357 magnum revolver, but not the other way around.0

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Old 02-25-2013, 04:29 PM   #7
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Man, caliber designation and bullet diameter variations is just something you're going to have to learn to live with in this pursuit.

Everybody knows that the .38 Special is actually .357", and the .44 is actually .429". And the .38-40 is .401" more or less. It's sort of like learning Latin.

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Old 02-25-2013, 04:34 PM   #8
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If you have a choice of buying one revolver or the other. Get the .357 mag. It'll fire both .38spl and .357 mag ammunition.

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Old 02-25-2013, 04:35 PM   #9
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Incidentally, the use of a lengthened .38 Special case was not a given in working up the .357 Magnum. Several small caliber rifle cases were considered, including the most promising being the .35 Winchester Self Loading round. Also a modified .38 Super case.

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Old 02-25-2013, 05:47 PM   #10
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Now to throw in a little more confusion...

The cast bullets for the .38/40 will work in .40S&W and 10mm.

The .44 and the .38 both started life as blackpowder rounds (though not known as Special or Magnum)
The 9mm is .356" bullet with a case that tapers.
The .380 ACP has a bullet diameter of .355"
The .38 ACP has a bullet diameter of .356" (same as the 9mm)
The .38 Super has the same dimensions of the .38 ACP, but the .38 Super should never be shot in a .38 ACP pistol.

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