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Old July 28, 2012, 07:41 PM   #1
mcd_sports
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Revolver Dummy Question .357 and .38spcl

Can all .357 revolvers shoot .38 special?

I recently shot a .357 GP100 at a gun range, but shot .38 special in it. Is that something that you can do in only certain .357 revolvers or can you do it in any .357?

Thanks
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Old July 28, 2012, 07:50 PM   #2
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yep--sure can.
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Old July 28, 2012, 07:57 PM   #3
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Works like that. You can shoot .38spl out of a .357, but NOT .357 out of a .38spl. Case is too long.
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Old July 28, 2012, 09:25 PM   #4
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There are no dumb questions. I feel like that's what makes TFL stand apart from the other forums. . . the majority of members on this forum are here to help.

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Old July 28, 2012, 09:27 PM   #5
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Old July 28, 2012, 09:30 PM   #6
freebird72
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I can not remember what gun it was, but my buddy has this old .38 gun that would hold .357 shells if you pushed really hard on the cylinder to close it. Do not do that lol.
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Old July 28, 2012, 09:36 PM   #7
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Thanks all.

Any other calibers that are similar where you can use a multiple rounds in the same gun (other than the Governor and Judge)?
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Old July 28, 2012, 09:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Any other calibers that are similar where you can use a multiple rounds in the same gun (other than the Governor and Judge)?
.44 magnums can shoot .44 special, and guns chambered in .454 can also shoot .45 colt

Also the .327 magnum can chamber .327 mag, .32 mag, and .32 long
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Old July 28, 2012, 09:48 PM   #9
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A simple explanation is that when they developed the magnum rounds in similar existing calibers they made the case a bit longer so they couldn't be chambered in the guns chambered for the weaker round. 38 Spcl-357 Magnum, 44 Spcl-44 Magnum. The loads were essentially really hot loads for the parent caliber. Too hot for most guns chambered for them. Hence the longer case to prevent blowing up the older guns.
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Old July 28, 2012, 09:52 PM   #10
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.38 Long Colt can also be shot in a .38 Special or .357 Magnum revolver, .44 Russian can be fired in a .44 Special or .44 Magnum revolver, and .45 Schofield can be fired in a .45 Long Colt, .454 Casull, or .460 S&W revolver. It has been hypothesized that part of the reason that the .41 Magnum never gained the popularity of the .357 or .44 Magnum is that it has no widely available sub load like the other two do (there was a lower powered "police load" but it was still a .41 Magnum rather than a .41 Special).
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Old July 28, 2012, 09:52 PM   #11
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There's the 44 family:

44Russian (oldest and shortest) to 44Spl to 44Magnum to 445Supermag (which can eat all the rest of these). (The 44Russian is actually the ancestor of all modern centerfire ammo as it fits backwards into the shell - the previous answer was a bullet as narrow as the shell with a "heel" on the back end to go into the shell - only the .22Short/LR family uses that now.)

The 45s:

45LC - 454Casull - 460S&W

.22s:

.22Short - .22Long (obsolete) - .22Long Rifle (the "standard .22"). There's also a .22Magnum but while the bullet can go down the same barrel, the shell width spec is off so you can't shoot .22LR/Short in a .22Magnum chamber. There are however revolvers with two cylinders, one in .22LR/Short and one in .22Mag user-swappable.

The 32s:

32S&W - 32S&WLong - 32H&RMagnum - .327Federal (The .32ACP is broadly similar and has just a tiny little rim on it. It can be shot in any revolver of 32S&WLong or up, but in DA revolvers you could hang up the rim so it's not recommended. Works OK in single actions. ALSO, the oldest 32S&W guns were compatible with black powder only loads - this is also an issue with the oldest 44Russian and 45LC ammo.)

The 38/357 family:

38Spl - 38Spl+P - 357Magnum - 357MAXimum (The 38S&W is an older round of a different lineage and width.)

Let's see...I know there's others but those are the most common.
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Old July 29, 2012, 12:24 PM   #12
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After a bunch of 38s you may have to de-crud the chambers to get 357s in there.
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Old July 29, 2012, 12:33 PM   #13
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Good point and the only real downside. When you fire a round a little crud builds up in the cylinder in front of the case mouth. As long as you are shootig the same length ammo it won't be a problem. But shoot a lot of shorter 38's and the longer 357's will no longer fit in the cylinder until you give each cylinder a good cleaning.
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Old July 29, 2012, 01:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
When you fire a round a little crud builds up in the cylinder in front of the case mouth. As long as you are shootig the same length ammo it won't be a problem. But shoot a lot of shorter 38's and the longer 357's will no longer fit in the cylinder until you give each cylinder a good cleaning.
Once again.. coming from a newbie, me... Do you not typically clean revolvers after every time you go shoot like you would a semi-auto?
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Old July 29, 2012, 01:28 PM   #15
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In case you are wondering where "357 magnum" came from and why not 357 special, its because the CASES are .38 cal while the bullets are .357 cal. So these measurements refer to different parts of the cartridge but the cal of the bullet itself is the same diameter. A .357 magnum is 0.125 in taller than a 38 special so that it would not fit in a 38 special since most would not handle a 357 magnum without serious injury to the shooter and damage to the gun.
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Old July 29, 2012, 01:32 PM   #16
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Once again.. coming from a newbie, me... Do you not typically clean revolvers after every time you go shoot like you would a semi-auto?
Some do and some don't. Realistically, with a good quality revolver firing good quality ammunition, there's really no reason that you have to clean it every time you fire it though many, myself included, do anyway.

However, the afforementioned carbon deposits could potentially be problematic even if the revolver was cleaned after every range session. The amount of carbon buildup is going to depend, among other things, on how much ammunition is shot befor the gun is cleaned. While shooting 50 rounds of .38 Specials is unlikely to cause a noticeable issue, many people shoot 100-200 rounds or more in a single range session and that could become problematic. Also, depending on the level of carbon buildup, it can sometimes be more difficult to remove than you might think.
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Old July 29, 2012, 07:57 PM   #17
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Just take a belled out .357 case to your chambers. Easiest way I've found to get rid of carbon build up from shooting .38 spec in a .357 mag wheelie.
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Old July 29, 2012, 09:19 PM   #18
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As to cleaning revolvers, I clean as soon as possible after a range session. Not that the ammunition necessitates it, but also to remove dust or grit that may have been blown onto my guns, and to remove oils or sweat that may have been left on the surface.

I don't strip or disassemble, only far enough to clean the chambers, bore and exterior of the gun.

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Old July 29, 2012, 10:01 PM   #19
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All good info. Thanks.

Where does .357sig fit in?
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Old July 29, 2012, 11:07 PM   #20
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357 sig is a semi auto cartridge. Sig used that name because they were trying to duplicate the performance of .357 magnum in a semi auto.
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Old July 29, 2012, 11:22 PM   #21
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Sig used that name because they were trying to duplicate the performance of .357 magnum in a semi auto.
And .355 Sig didn't sound cool.
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