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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
 

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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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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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A quick look at a ballistics chart will answer your question. The 357 is much more powerful.
 

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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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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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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.

Bob Wright
 

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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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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.

Bob Wright
 

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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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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.

LOL, awesome. In the spirit of over-answering the question ..I give you the most awesome ballistics calculator ever! I just can't resist another opportunity to post this.
 

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With modern propellants.....theres plenty of space within a .38 special case for anything a shooter needs to do,given the scope of the bullets diameter.Hey,somebody had to say it....Elmer Keith,knew it.
 

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In a full sized revolver,a .38 special makes about 200 ft lbs of muzzle energy and a .357 makes about 600 ft lbs of energy.
 

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.38spl/357RemMag?

Want the whole story?

Google Elmer Keith
 

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That is cute, but 1180 fps for the 240 gr. JHP? In a .44 Magnum? I can do better than that with a .44 Special.

Bob Wright
The .44mag dual bond (JHP) in 240 grain clocked in at 1300. The round you chose was a 240g soft point under defense rounds. The 240g dualbond, JHP was listed under hunting rounds. Just sayin.

It's obviously not for re-loaders but it does show some general differences in ammunition for the undereducated, like our OP.
 

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38 Special

Back before the turn of the centry the .36 cal. cap & ball revolvers were very popular so when smokeless powder came along, they didn't want the public to be confused. So that's where the 38 cal. cartrige came into being. DOGWALK
 

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Back before the turn of the centry the .36 cal. cap & ball revolvers were very popular so when smokeless powder came along, they didn't want the public to be confused. So that's where the 38 cal. cartrige came into being. DOGWALK
Smokeless powder or the self contained cartridge?

The .44 and .38 were black powder at one time. But both were self contained cartridges.

Cartridges evolved from heeled bullet designsTo convert a heeled-bullet cartridge to a non-heeled design, it was necessary to either enlarge the case diameter, or shrink the bullet and bore diameter. Examples of both choices can be found, but some of the more evident and confusing examples are cases where the bullet diameter was reduced. Many shooters wonder why a .38 caliber firearm actually shoots bullets of diameter .357 inches, and a .44 caliber firearm shoots .429-inch-diameter (10.9 mm) bullets. In both of these cases, the name of the caliber derives from older heeled-bullet designs, and the name was kept even when the bullet was shrunk to fit inside the case. The .38 S&W cartridge, for example, dates to 1877 and has a nominal outside case diameter of .380 inches, while the inside of the case is .357 inches. Older .38 caliber cartridges, like the .38 Long Colt, did use a heeled bullet, so rather than create a new ".35" or ".36 caliber", Smith and Wesson kept the designation ".38" even though it no longer accurately reflected the bore diameter. The later .38 Special continued the trend, and even automatic pistol cartridges like the .38 Super and .380 ACP retained the .38 caliber designation, even though they were .357s. This continued until 1935 and the introduction of the .38 Special-based .357 Magnum cartridge. The newer (1956) .44 Magnum, however, retained the designation of its parent .44 Special cartridge, even though it fired a .429 inch bullet. The legacy of heeled bullets is the cause of confusion among many shooting enthusiasts over the actual physical diameters of the bullets they fire in their guns.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebated_heel_type_bullet
 

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I have never understood why the .44 special is 0.430" while the .44 magnum is 0.429".Who can enlighten me?I have wondered for years.
 

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I have never understood why the .44 special is 0.430" while the .44 magnum is 0.429".Who can enlighten me?I have wondered for years.
The .44 Special is .430" as sized for cast bullets, but is .429" in non-cast. The .45 ACP is .452" for cast, and .451" for round ball.

The key is the lead being able to grip the land and grooves.
 
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