Why not a short 38 Special???
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Why not a short 38 Special???


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Old 12-14-2013, 05:04 PM   #1
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Default Why not a short 38 Special???

The 38 Special was introduced in 1898 as a black powder cartridge. The black powder load required a case size of 1.155 in. The 9 mm Luger came along in 1902 as a smokeless powder cartridge with a case size 0.754 in. Since both fire relatively the same size bullet, one has to wonder why the 38 Special has not been shortened for the smokelss powders of today. It has been over 100 years now, seems like someone would have done it.
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Old 12-14-2013, 05:35 PM   #2
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if they did it back then, I'm sure someone would've shot them out of their 38 S&W top break & blew their gun apart.

it seems when there is an improvement to a cartridge, you don't redesign the old one, you build a brand new one. part of that is marketing too, "like the 38 long colt? now we have a bigger better version of that round, the 38 special!" "feel your 38 special is underpowered? introducing the bigger, badder, 357 magnum!"

I agree it's an interesting idea & manufacturers seem to have no issue bringing out new whiz-bang cartridges even today...perhaps they feel the 35 to 38 caliber market is already saturated?
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Old 12-14-2013, 05:55 PM   #3
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It's all about pressures. If they loaded hot hot 38 spl's rounds stupid people would blow their guns up. Buy a .327 mag if you want hot.
the 38 short colt is a short 38 spl.
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Old 12-14-2013, 06:01 PM   #4
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Get a 9mm revolver and moon clips.

Or if someone made a ready supply of 9mm rimmed rounds. Then we could have a short cylinder snubby using 9mm pressure loads with no issue of mixing up .38 loads.

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Old 12-14-2013, 10:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SSGN_Doc View Post
Get a 9mm revolver and moon clips.

Or if someone made a ready supply of 9mm rimmed rounds. Then we could have a short cylinder snubby using 9mm pressure loads with no issue of mixing up .38 loads.
That has already been done, look up "9mm Federal". A rimmed 9mm round. Smith and Wesson made a revolver for it. Better performance than the .38 Spl in a compact package.

Newer, higher performance rounds based on older designs ALWAYS get longer to prevent knuckleheads from putting the new round in older, weaker guns
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Old 12-14-2013, 11:07 PM   #6
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My sister bought 38 Super recently for her 38 Special. Fortunately it won't drop in the cylinder. Easy for novices to make mistakes.
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Old 12-14-2013, 11:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redscho View Post
The 38 Special was introduced in 1898 as a black powder cartridge. The black powder load required a case size of 1.155 in. The 9 mm Luger came along in 1902 as a smokeless powder cartridge with a case size 0.754 in. Since both fire relatively the same size bullet, one has to wonder why the 38 Special has not been shortened for the smokeless powders of today. It has been over 100 years now, seems like someone would have done it.
Short answer: If you shortened it, it would no longer be a .38 special.

You could of course shoot .38 Long & Short Colt, though with their bunny fart pressure ratings (7500 & 12,000 respectively,) there really isn't much point. I'm sure finding brass could be a challenge too. .38 S&W is a hot rod (14,500) compared to the Colts, but it uses a .359 to.361 bullet, which renders it non-applicable here.
One has to wonder what problem would be solved by shortening the.38 special's case. It would raise pressures a fair bit and kill one of the nicer things about it. The fact is, the .38 special is a pretty good performer considering it's operating pressure. It's also proven exceptionally versatile over the decades. It's an extremely accurate target cartridge when loaded appropriately and it's a valid SD round when dialed up to full strength. All the while, not being fussy or temperamental. It's ridiculously easy to reload, and with the low operating pressures, the brass will last a long time.
The 9mm Luger only performs as well as it does because it runs at pressures equal to or higher (depending whose standards you're using) than the .357 magnum.
Modern powders have no problem working just fine with all that extra space. I have used small charges of Bullseye with no downside, as have many others over the last century I'm sure. If one is truly concerned about filling that massive cavern that is the .38 special case , then Unique or Trail Boss should do the trick.
The real fun starts when you add a bit more than 1/10th of an inch to the .38 special case and dial up the pressures to 35K.
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Old 12-15-2013, 12:01 AM   #8
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Why not a short 38 Special??? - Ammunition & Reloading
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Old 12-15-2013, 12:42 AM   #9
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got a 'link' for info on a '9mm federal' rimmed,can't find anything about it ?
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Old 12-15-2013, 01:10 AM   #10
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http://www.ammo-one.com/9mmFedRim.html
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