The ."357" specia!

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by RustyShackleford101, Apr 26, 2012.

  1. RustyShackleford101

    RustyShackleford101 New Member

    Ones anybody know why .38 special is marked as a .38 caliber, where, in fact it fires a . 357 caliber bullet?
  2. Jstrong

    Jstrong New Member

    The .357 magnum cartridge is refering to the bullet diameter whereas the .38 in .38 special is referring to the case neck diameter if I'm not mistaken.

    That's the reason IIRC,but if you have even delved a little into the world of cartridge history you will find that the developers really don't need (and often don't have) a reason to designate a cartridge diameter differently in the name that it actually is. Usually simply because they think it sounds better.

    ---Shoot To Thrill---

  3. sputnik1988

    sputnik1988 Active Member

    From what ive read, there was a .38 round out back in the day that was crap and they didn't want anyone to think that the two cartridges may be related. Don't know how true that is .
  4. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away.......

    There was a ball and cap revolver (Colt Navy) that had a .36 bore (actually, about .374). When a conversion was made to allow those to fire metallic cartridges, they were .36 caliber bullets, but were "heel seated" bullets- bullet gripped only at the base, by a case the same size as the bullet.

    The next generation of revolvers made to fire metallic cartridges used a bullet loaded inside the case. This meant the case had to be larger than the bullet. A .36 bullet had a .38 cartridge case.

    After a few evolutions, that became the .38 Long Colt. While became the .38 Special. Which in 1935 reverted to it's actual dimensions when the .357 Magnum was named.

    There were reports that S&W was concerned that their new, really hot stuff round would be compared to the fairly weak .36 Navy ball & cap revolver.

    So- why is a 45 ACP not 45, nor a 44 magnum 44? PS- the .50 BMG does not fire a .50 diameter bullet.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012
  5. RustyShackleford101

    RustyShackleford101 New Member

    I heard about the .50 bmg. The ATF wanted to classify the Barrett m82 as a DD because the "big fifty" was .510 caliber but the barrel was I think 50 caliber because the bullet was compressed when it entered the barrel so gas wouldn't escape.