38 Special Snubies

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by JTJ, Jun 29, 2017.

  1. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

    Federal HST has a new load seating the bullet fully in the case to reduce volume. See link below. Am I over simplifying by asking why not just shorten the 38 spl case to 9x19 volume and use 9x19 loading data. Or you could use 38 short cases but run the risk of someone using it in an old gun not suitable for modern pressures. It would eliminate the ejection problems with the snubies short ejector rod.
  2. CaptMidnight

    CaptMidnight New Member Supporter

    This incorporates a light rapid expanding bullet. Federal notes this in intended for the Ultra-Light .38 pocket pistols. The traditional long heavy .38 bullets develop heavy recoil in the Ultra-Light revolvers.
    The short bullet is seated flush to accommodate a small charge of fast burning powder. Air space must be reduced to allow a reliable and consistent burn rate.

  3. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

    That is all specialized design and mfg. It is one solution for consistent loads. By restricting the volume you dont get dispersed powder charges and less velocity variance. The wad cutter target loads used to seat flush with the case mouth. Kapok was used for a long time to keep the powder charge in place. A simple product using readily available components could be produced just by shortening the 38 spl case and using 9x19 load data. 135 grain Gold Dots seem to work very well in snubies. Also 125 grain Rem Golden Sabre. Not a lot of difference between 124 and 125 grain bullets. The HST does nothing to ease ejection with the short ejector rod on snubies.
  4. noylj

    noylj Member

    Looks like nothing more than a HBWC loaded with the hollow base forward.
    Lighter bullet, so shorter.
    Sounds like a lot of mAdman verbiage that means nothing.
    NO, you will never be able to use 9x19 load data, as 9x19 loads to 35ksi and even .38 Spl +P is only 20ksi.
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  5. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

    There are snubies chambered in 9mm. Basically I am suggesting a new cartridge. Could be called 38 spl short or 9mm rimmed.
    Rifling82 and SixGunsRattlesnake like this.
  6. Greg_r

    Greg_r Well-Known Member

    9mm rimmed is not a new idea. There was the short lived 9mm federal rimmed introduced in the 1980's. S&W and Charter Arms chambered revolvers first it. Unfortunately it was found out (after the fact) that the 9mm Federal chambered and fired in the old 38 S&W revolvers, which was not a good thing.
    Rifling82 likes this.
  7. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

    Someone did not do their homework. The 38 spl was designed for black powder so it has too much volume for smokeless powder. Yes it works but it would be a lot more efficient with a shorter case. Seating the bullet deep helps but as noylj posted it looks like an old SD load with a deep seated hollow based wadcutter loaded backwards. A friends dad used to load them for his bug and his fellow LEOs bugs. He did a lot of target shooting and loaded them normally for that.
  8. Kilibreaux

    Kilibreaux Member

    You have a valid question.

    The fact is, the .38 Special is about 50 years PAST it's expiration date.

    A "rimmed" 9mm would do a much better job, especially if chambered in a "clean sheet design" snubbie with cylinder length sized for the shorter cartridge! However, if you check the historical record you'll find "that ship has sailed" for the foreseeable future.

    A bullet fully seated into the case is fine...people have been loading wadcutters that way for decades, but this only serves to increase the "run" before the bullet reaches the slight taper where the chamber necks down from case diameter to bullet diameter....which generally is not good for accuracy...though wadcutters seem to be accurate in the .38 Spl.

    If S&W developed a completely NEW revolver with a shorter cylinder and frame, they could create a gun much smaller than the J-frame. Why don't they? Because J-frames are selling like hot-cakes and there is little incentive to reinvent the "wheel" as it were.
    Rifling82 likes this.
  9. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member Admin Moderator Lifetime Supporter

    You may have some valid points, however, Cartridges of the World has a lot of "orphan" cartridges that just never caught on. 9mm Ultra. .35 S&W auto. etc etc etc. One of the marketing advantages of .38 Special- you can find it just about anywhere.

    I agree that it was designed as a black powder load, and it could be done better. However, there is a certain "inertia" in marketing anything. The traditional 12 g shotshell is 2 3/4 inches long because that was how long they needed to be for a charge of black powder and felt wads. Try changing THAT- and you have a bunch of shotguns that will not cycle a shorter, more efficient shell.
    Rifling82 likes this.
  10. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

    Then just use the 9mm Federal. Oh wait that proved to be a total dud and only lasted a year.
  11. mikld

    mikld Member

    Yes, you could shorten the 38 Special case for reducing powder capacity and shoot it in a normal 38 Special chamber, just like shooting 38 Special in a 357 Magnum chamber. I believe it would take some math to determine the length of the "new" case to equal that of a 9mm Parabellum's case capacity, but all this would just be for "grins" as both the 38 Special and 9mm have been developed to do just about anything needed from a cartridge. Yes the 38 Special was designed as a black powder cartridge and yes the case capacity is quite large for the smokeless powders used today, but the 38 Special just plain works as is...

    BTW, I tried the HBWC loaded backwards in the '80s and found it to be a dismal failure; some the skirts would collapse, some the skirts would tear off, on some the cavity would clog and act like a solid, accuracy was terrible (6"-8" at 15 feet), and a very few would perform as wanted with a mushroom. Overall not consistent performance for a SD round...
  12. locutus

    locutus Well-Known Member Supporter

    A solution searching for a problem.:p
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  13. CaptMidnight

    CaptMidnight New Member Supporter

    The Old .38 Special is now 115 years old. It was loaded with a 158 grs lead bullet and 21.8 grs of black powder. It fired the bullet at 800 fps. Humm? things have not changed that much in over a century. :D
  14. Chainfire

    Chainfire Well-Known Member Supporter


    The .38 spl. is a fine defensive round just as it is. It will killafella in a hurry. The snubbie is for up close and personal anyway, gaining a few fps isn't going to make a hell of a lot of difference. I have a .38 snubbie right by my knee as I type, it is to make noise and a distraction until I can reach for my shotgun. I am quite satisfied that the ammo inside will serve it's purpose.

    Obsolete? I don't think so.

    Attached Files:

  15. Dallas53

    Dallas53 Well-Known Member Supporter

    i have to agree. why look for solutions to problems that don't really exist.

    there's nothing wrong with trying to come up with new cartridges, but the reason that many like the 38 Spl. still exist after all these years, is simply because it still gets the job done.

    and realistically, look at how many cartridges that are used in SD pistols, and how long the major ones have been around. several of the more popular ones are still being used even well over a hundred years after they were introduced.
  16. gwpercle

    gwpercle Active Member

    Don't count the 38 special out just yet especially with the +P loadings.

    Federal's "new" load reminds me a lot of the hollow based lead wadcutters that we used to load with the hollow base out first for a ultimate hollow point load , 3.5 grains of Bullseye would give 800 fps and would mushroom out to .715 " diameter.
    Looks like that old idea is making a comeback !
  17. tinbucket

    tinbucket Well-Known Member

    If you load your own .38 specials don't have to be anemic, unless the revolver is not that strong.
    The .357 magnum loading was developed in .38 cases at first.
    You won't spit out a 110 or 125 grain bullet at 1800 fps vut some loads are pretty stout and very safe.
    Loads or lead bullets are just about all going to be pretty slow.
    Lead bullet loads is what the original .38 was about.
  18. Missouribound

    Missouribound Well-Known Member

    A "rimmed" 9mm basically is a .38.
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  19. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

    The main purpose was efficiency. It takes about 1.5 grains more powder to get the same velocity with the same weight bullet in a 38 spl over a 9mm.
  20. RMc

    RMc Member

    In the late 20th century, Federal and Charter Arms did just that. The rimmed cartridge was called appropriately the 9mm Federal. Shortly after the new revolver and cartridge were introduced, it was discovered that the 9mm Federal (rimmed) would readily chamber in the many old .38 S&W top break revolvers. Both the new round and revolver were quickly discontinued.
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