Why not a short 38 Special???

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by redscho, Dec 14, 2013.

  1. redscho

    redscho New Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
  2. donthav1

    donthav1 Active Member

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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?
     

  3. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

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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.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2013
  4. SSGN_Doc

    SSGN_Doc Well-Known Member

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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.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2013
  5. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    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
     
  6. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

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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.
     
  7. Overkill0084

    Overkill0084 Active Member

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    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. :D
     
  8. oldman10mm

    oldman10mm Member

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    got a 'link' for info on a '9mm federal' rimmed,can't find anything about it ?
     
  9. oldman10mm

    oldman10mm Member

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    Thank You !!! INTERESTING !!! Now the search will begin for one of the revolvers.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2013
  10. Trez

    Trez Well-Known Member

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    Or you can get a Medusa and shoot what ever .38/.357/.9mm you like out of it...

    (Sorry, cant resist... :p )
     
  11. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    IMO, the 38 Special case works just fine the way it is. if it ain't broke, don't fix it, is my motto!
     
  12. oldman10mm

    oldman10mm Member

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    Nothing wrong with 38sp,I shoot them, just something different.
    Went into 'research mode' about 9mm revolvers.

    9mm rimmed Federal for Charter Arms Pit Bull.

    9mm was available in S&W 547, S&W 940, Ruger Speed Six, Ruger SP101, and Taurus 905.

    Saw a S&W 940 today at the Medina Ohio gun show in 'collector grade'? 2" blue for $1100
     
  13. redscho

    redscho New Member

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    Thanks for all the responses to the short 38 question, its been a great education.:)
     
  14. twoolddogs

    twoolddogs New Member

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    The 9 mm federal cartridge was introduced in 1989. Federal discontinues the 9 mm Federal cartridge in 19925. The 9mm Federal cartridge is obsolete.

    Warning: The 9mm federal cartridge will fit into a .38 S&W chamber. This is a very hazardous condition since the chamber pressure of the 9 mm federal cartridge is 35,000 psi and the .38 S&W is 14,500 psi.

    Firing a 9 mm Federal cartridge in a .38 S&W chamber is very likely to result in an immediate and disastrous explosive disassembly of the revolver (particularly one of the top break variety) and injury to the shooter and bystanders.
     
  15. John_Deer

    John_Deer New Member

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    The 38 super is hot round, very comparable to a 357. If 38 super ammo was more common in the US I would have 1911's chambered in 38 super. I went to Argentina to race horses. They love the 38 super and ammo is plentiful.
     
  16. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    well my LGS carries it. two of the pawn shops i shop at carry it. even our WalMart carries small batches of it.

    plus if you reload, you are not dependent upon what stores carry as far as ammo. i generally don't let what a store carries as far as ammo dictate what firearms i buy anymore.