Old Ammo-too old to shoot.
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Old 03-07-2014, 10:11 AM   #1
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Default Old Ammo-too old to shoot.

Ok folks, hear is the questions( no I don't know Everything, no one does). FIL left me and the Mz. Some old ammo,..probably from the 1960's. 2boxes of 38Spl. And 1 box of 38S&W. What models shoot the S&W round, and what does the ammo cost today in that caliber? Is it worth picking up an older gun that can chamber that ammo and shoot it.( for fun or in Comp.)?

On the 38Spl. Even if 40 years old( does not look rusted at all) can we shoot this ammo( not +P) in any modern Revolver?


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Old 03-07-2014, 11:40 AM   #2
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Quote:
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On the 38Spl. Even if 40 years old( does not look rusted at all) can we shoot this ammo( not +P) in any modern Revolver?
I have shot 38 spl ammo older than 40 years in a modern revolver. To do this, I was:

1. Assured to myself that it was factory ammo, and not someone's unknown reload, and

2. The cartridge looked good in all respects - no signs of corrosion, pitting of the case or compromised integrity in any way.

I actually shot a vintage WW I .45 ACP round in a modern revolver not too long ago. I was a hang fire with a bit of a delayed detonation. But it definitely went bang........
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Old 03-07-2014, 11:41 AM   #3
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Ok great, thanks. We have plenty of Centerfire Ammo, but these two boxes are def, from the late 60's..


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Old 03-07-2014, 11:52 AM   #4
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You can shoot 38 S&W in the 38 spl or 357 mag revolvers. The 38 spl is a hotter load and about 1/8" longer than the 38 S&W just like the 357 is a little longer than the 38 spl. This was done to prevent the hotter loads from being fired in the weaker guns. I have factory ammo from the 70's that shoots very well.

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Old 03-07-2014, 12:20 PM   #5
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You can shoot 38 S&W in the 38 spl or 357 mag revolvers.
No, JTJ they are too fat to even fit in the chamber. You were thinking of 38 short colt shells.
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Old 03-07-2014, 12:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTJ View Post
You can shoot 38 S&W in the 38 spl or 357 mag revolvers. The 38 spl is a hotter load and about 1/8" longer than the 38 S&W just like the 357 is a little longer than the 38 spl. This was done to prevent the hotter loads from being fired in the weaker guns. I have factory ammo from the 70's that shoots very well.
Maybe-----

38 S&W is NOT "in the same family" as 38 Special. The baby of the 38
Special bunch based on case dimensions is the 38 Short Colt.

38 S&W uses a larger diameter case, and in it's original loading used a bullet
that was roughly .003 larger in diameter that 38 Spl.

It may or may not chamber in a 38 Spl. gun, and the pressure may be higher
because of the larger bullet.

38 S&W was originally for small (usually top break) pistols by S&W and others
in the 1800's. It also fits some Webley and Enfield revolvers, and several swing out cylinder models by several manufacturers. It's headed toward
obsolete---no one I know of currently makes a gun in 38 S&W.
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Old 03-07-2014, 12:47 PM   #7
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38 S&W cases are a larger diameter than 38 special. They will not fit in the chamber of a 38 special. I reload for both.

Old cartridges are a crap shoot. I would not be afraid to fire them if they are not corroded and are factory ammo. But I had some WWII 8MM Mauser ammo that I got with a rifle of the same. But when I tried to shoot the ammo I had to hit each primer 3 or 4 times to get it to go bang. My new handloads went bang every time. So it was definitely the ammo. I ended up breaking down all the old ammo and using the powder and bullets in new cases.

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Old 03-07-2014, 12:50 PM   #8
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New 38 S&W ammo is very hard to come by. I would not buy a gun to be able to shoot a box of ammo. If you want an old gun just because you want it, that is different. But if you don't reload you may never be able to shoot the gun again unless you get lucky and find some ammo on the internet.

I would not be surprised if you could sell that box of ammo for top dollar.

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Old 03-07-2014, 11:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillM View Post
Maybe-----

38 S&W is NOT "in the same family" as 38 Special. The baby of the 38
Special bunch based on case dimensions is the 38 Short Colt.

38 S&W uses a larger diameter case, and in it's original loading used a bullet
that was roughly .003 larger in diameter that 38 Spl.

It may or may not chamber in a 38 Spl. gun, and the pressure may be higher
because of the larger bullet.

38 S&W was originally for small (usually top break) pistols by S&W and others
in the 1800's. It also fits some Webley and Enfield revolvers, and several swing out cylinder models by several manufacturers. It's headed toward
obsolete---no one I know of currently makes a gun in 38 S&W.
I have seen 38 S&W fired in a 38 spl but maybe he had a larger than normal cylinder bore . I did check my loading book and you are right it is larger in diameter. Case is .007 larger and bullet is .003 larger. Rim is the same at .440
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Old 03-07-2014, 11:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick1967 View Post
... I would not be surprised if you could sell that box of ammo for top dollar.
That's a good point! Definitely see if any of that old ammo has more collector value than just using it as throw away range ammo.
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