.38 S & W in .38 Spl/.357 Mag Chambers?

Discussion in 'Revolver Handguns' started by Bob Wright, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. Bob Wright

    Bob Wright Member

    871
    4
    18
    A response to a query in the current Shooting Times magazine states that the .38 S & W is a snug fit in .38 Special or .357 Magnum chambers. I tried several brands of .38 S & W cartridges in three different revolvers, two Model 19 Smiths, and a Model 36.

    No go. The closest I came to getting them into the chamber was about to the crimp. To get them fully chambered would have required the use of a good maul.

    Some one's misinformed.

    Bob Wright
     
  2. Bob Wright

    Bob Wright Member

    871
    4
    18
    Belatedly, some S & W Victory revolvers sold by mail-order had their chambers reamed to accept .38 Special cartridges. Firing these resulted in bulged case heads on .38 Special cartridges when used.

    Bob Wright
     

  3. AsmelEduardo

    AsmelEduardo New Member

    2,443
    0
    0
    .38 S&W vs. .38 Spl vs. 357 Mag
    Having a 9,71mm the .38 S&W won't fit when should enter 9,56mm (.38spl) or 9,54mm(357Mag)... 0.2mm it's too much...


    .38S&W
    [​IMG]

    .38 Spl.
    [​IMG]

    357 Mag.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. shoez

    shoez New Member

    96
    0
    0
    Why would you want to shoot this obsolete, anemic , not to mention expensive round anyway? Cabella's has winchesters for close to $30 per 50 rounds and .357 mags were only $22. The .38 S&W uses a .360-.361" bullet and the .38 special and .357 mag use a .357-358".

    Now, why Smith and Wesson did this with bullet diameters when they invented the .38special, I'll never know. I don't know why they didn't lenghthen the original 38 case. Might have something to do with the military using the .38 long Colt which is a .358" bullet in a slightly shorter case than the new .38 special, so therefore the Long Colt rounds could be fired in the .38 special, possibly helping Smith sell the military on adopting the more powerful Special, while being able to use older colt ammo they had. I have no basis of fact on this, just my theory.
     
  5. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    21,516
    827
    113
    38 S&W- no. .38 Short Colt- yes. No that pricy IF you are a handloader- and you can do some VERY light recoil indoor target loads.
     
  6. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

    3,250
    0
    0
    There's a reason why the 38 S&W isn't made anymore - no penetration!
    I have 100 yr. old H&R break action revolver that I shot in my basement many years ago. I shot at a block of wood and the bullet bounced off and missed my head by inches....I still have 5 rounds of 146gr. factory ammo for it. The NYC Police Dept. stopped using this round in the 1920's. I have wiped my prints off of it, and this gun will go in the cold dead hand of the person that breaks into my house at night...that's about all it's good for!
     
  7. Bob Wright

    Bob Wright Member

    871
    4
    18

    The Super Police load for the .38 S & W utilized a 200 gr. bullet, and, as the .380 Mk I was the British service Cartridge from the late 'twenties until replaced with the 9mm. Maybe by current standards anemic, but very popular in small frame revolvers, and effective, for many years. the round is also known as the .38 Colt New Police, which is identical except for a flat nosed bullet.

    Bob Wright

    Bob Wright
     
  8. rugermike

    rugermike New Member

    112
    0
    0
    As he said above.
    The 38 S&W is .386 OD at the rim and .385 at the end of caseing(tapered caseing. The 38 Special, 38short Colt, and 357 Magnum are all .379 straight wall case OD. 38 S&W can not be fired in a 38spl, 38 short Colt, or a 357Mag and visesa, versa, DO NOT TRY to shoot 38 S&W in any of the other 3 mentioned there is a .007 difference in the case and bullet OD width. And the inferior case metal frames for the very light load of the 38 S&W will not hold up to the powder pressures of the 38+p's or the 357 mag even if the shells will load into the chambers. JUST DON"T DO IT!:confused:
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2009
  9. Bob Wright

    Bob Wright Member

    871
    4
    18
    The .38 S & W was introduced in the 1880s or so for the top-break Smith & Wesson revolvers. Smith introduced the .38 Special in 1899 as a replacement for the .38 Army (.38 Long Colt) and was intended for use in the solid frame hand ejector revolvers just coming into use at the time. But the Army was not interested in another .38 revolver, so Smith continued to work on the round, changing it to semi-smokeless, then smokeless, powder and introducing it to the public in 1905, in the K-Framed revoler.

    Bob Wright
     
  10. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

    3,250
    0
    0
    I believe the NYC Police Dept. retired this round at the turn of the last century because of it's lack of stopping power and its' inability to penetrate a winter coat. My experience with a piece of wood at 10 feet bears this out. It may have been an effective round compared to the .31 cap and ball Remington Pocket Police, but "effective" is not a term I would apply to the .38 S&W. In fact my .36 cal cap and ball Colt replica revolvers have better ballistics than the .38 S&W.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2009
  11. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    21,516
    827
    113
    It was ALLEGED that the reason the 200 gr military load used by the Brits actually had some effectiveness, was that when that 200 grain bullet hit you, odds are it was traveling sideways. :eek: Problem with trying to get that thing to stabilize. Vaguely recall something about Germany protesting that the round violated the Geneva Accords....
     
  12. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

    3,250
    0
    0
    The history is interesting, but I have an H&R revolver chambered for this round. I've shot over 150 rounds through it (when ammo could still be found on the shelves) and I can attest to the dismal performance of this round. I'd rather use a slingshot than a .38 S&W. Any round that bounces straight back at you when aiming at a block of wood 10 feet from the muzzle is NOT the kind of round that I would call "effective". Unless of course you could place all 5 rounds in the head.