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Old January 26, 2006, 10:31 PM   #1
JesperA
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380 Revolver- Finding Ammo

I am picking up an old Webley R.I.C. in 380 revolver. Couple of questions. I have heard/read that 38 short Colt, is basically a copy of the 380 revolver round, and as such will work in a 380 revolver handgun.

Has anyone here tried this?

Thanks,

JesperA
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Old January 26, 2006, 10:50 PM   #2
Sir William
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NO! 38 S&W will interchange. I suggest Winchester X38SWP 145 gr Lead, round nose.
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Old January 27, 2006, 12:40 PM   #3
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Quote:
NO! 38 S&W will interchange.
I believe that is correct but cannot guarantee it. What is important is to recognize that the S&W .38 is a different round from the .38 Special.
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Old January 28, 2006, 07:47 PM   #4
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Yes, .38S&W will interchange with the .380 British ammo. It will, however, shoot low, way low. The reason is that the original British loading used a 200grn SP bullet presumably to make the round more effective. It was later changed to a 170something grn FMJ bullet due to the Hauge Convention. In fact .38/200 is an alternate name for the same cartridge. In any case, 145grn is considerably lighter than either the original 200grn or revised 170ish grn loading and will therefore shoot low with factory sights.
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Old January 29, 2006, 12:00 PM   #5
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Just remember that the Webley R.I.C. was made for black powder loads. The quality of the steel only took those loads into account whereas the WWI and WWII guns all were proofed for smokeless loads. The R.I.C. is a neat find, a real Sherlock Holmes piece. Enjoy!
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Old January 30, 2006, 12:09 PM   #6
Jim Watson
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I am away from my references, but think that .380 Revolver is not the same as .380-200, and an RIC can considerably predate the Enfield & Webley 1920s service revolvers. Some more checking is needed.
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Old January 30, 2006, 12:42 PM   #7
Mike Irwin
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Jim is right.

.380 revolver is an ancient round, late 1860s, early 1870s, whereas the .380/200 military revolver round dates from the 1920s.

You're going to have to slug the bore to see what bullet diameter you're going to need. Chances are it's a true .38, not a .357 in a .38 case.

If it's a true .38, you MIGHT be able to get by with hollow-base wadcutters, which on firing will expand into the rifling.
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Old January 31, 2006, 09:18 PM   #8
JesperA
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I managed to find some 380 revolver ammo from Fiocchi. There were 2 kinds, 380 revolver short, and 380 revolver long. Does anyone know what the difference between the 2 are?

-JA
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Old January 31, 2006, 10:05 PM   #9
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Jim and Mike are right. The .380 Revolver (as used in the R.I.C.) is NOT the same as the .38 S&W (or .38/200 if you prefer the Brit version.) In fact the .38 S&W shouldn't chamber as the head diameter is too large.
You are right in that the 38 Short Colt was derived from it and can be fired in the R.I.C's. The Fiocchi ammo you have found is correct. The difference is that the Long is about 1/4" longer than the Short. I would guess that either one will fit your chamber.
If you need to fabricate ammo for it, you could probably base the case on a .38 Spl. (not .38 S&W). The head diameter is right but the rim may need to be thinned and turned down a little and the case will need shortening.
One thing about the early British cartridges, they didn't appear to be sticklers on bullet to bore fit. They liked undersized hollow base bullets and just let them upset to fit the bore. (Just look at all of the different .45 loadings that were considered interchangeable) They weren't target guns, but they did "git-r-done"
And, as stated above, remember these were black-powder rounds, so take it easy.

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Old February 1, 2006, 12:01 AM   #10
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There were foreign copies of RIC revolvers. The question is, do you have a true RIC revolver? If it is a genuine RIC, I suggest NOT firing it at all. If it is a close foreign copy, I strongly advise against even loading it. If you have a later Webley & Scott MK IV, it is a 380-200 and 38 S&W IS the interchange. IOWs, what DO you have? The ammunition does vary and modern loads could batter it badly.
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Old February 1, 2006, 01:54 AM   #11
JesperA
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It is a Belgian copy of a Webley RIC. I will post some pics when I get back home on Friday.

The rounds I managed to find are Fiocchi 380 revolver short, lead bullets.

As for the test firing, I was going to leave that to one of my crazy friends' who has a passion for risk taking

-Jesper
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Old February 1, 2006, 04:39 AM   #12
Sir William
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OK. Is this a good copy? Maybe. Can you tell us what markings are on the revolver? Some were proofed and are safe for even modern cartridges and many foreign close copies were grenades. It could be a spurious Basque hand built POJ that WILL fly open/apart.
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Old February 1, 2006, 04:00 PM   #13
JesperA
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Here's a couple of pics of the revolver I managed to find on my comp. I'll post better pics when I get back home on Friday (apologies for the awkward sizing)

The revolver has the older round Beligan proof on the rear face of the cylinder, so it is 1892 or before (well based on the info I managed to find, correct me if I am wrong).

SEE BETTER PICS BELOW

-JA

Last edited by JesperA; February 3, 2006 at 07:17 PM.
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Old February 1, 2006, 09:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
I am away from my references, but think that .380 Revolver is not the same as .380-200, and an RIC can considerably predate the Enfield & Webley 1920s service revolvers. Some more checking is needed.
My mistake, I didn't read the original post carefully enough. Sounds like a reloading proposition to me.
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Old February 1, 2006, 10:18 PM   #15
Sir William
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I suggest NOT even loading that revolver. Wallhanger.
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Old February 3, 2006, 07:16 PM   #16
JesperA
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Pics of the Revolver

I am attaching a bunch of pics. The revolver was made by Auguste Francotte in Belgium (more well known for their high end shotguns)

The serial #'s on the frame, cylinder and pistol grip all match
Bore looks good for something from the late 1800's

Based on all the initials stamped on the bottom of the pistol grip and back of the grip it looks like the revolver was issued & re-issued a bunch of times

Now for the fun part... Hoping that Francotte put the same craftsmanship into the revolvers that they put in their shotguns, we took it out and shot it. A total of 7 rounds in DA & SA. All shots went off, no problems








Fun to shoot, but based on the age, I don't think I will shoot it that much.

Based on the stampings on the grips, butt, and rear cylinder, anyone have any idea if this was a police revolver at some point in time?
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Old February 4, 2006, 05:52 PM   #17
Sir William
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Well I see all kinds of stamps and markings. I don't see any proof marks that suggest shooting modern loads is OK. These were generally made for cheap sales. A used Trainter was a better deal back then. The recessed cylinder chambers are a nice touch. I still think it is a wallhanger/curio. It is in good condiion and I would not shoot it. The grips alone are reason enough to retire it.
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Old February 4, 2006, 06:48 PM   #18
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S.W.
I think the point you are missing is that these "modern" loads he is shooting are loaded to low pressures because they probably will be fired in BP proofed guns.
Besides, the cylinders and breeches on BP guns are probably stronger, in the short run, because of the pressure curve of black powder. i.e. BP explodes so max pressure is at the cylinder, smokless powder burns and the pressure builds all the way out the barrel. With a short barrel and a low pressure load, there just isn't time for the "pressures" to build to a dangerous level.
Yes, if you start shooting hot "handloads" or fast burning smokless powders in a low quality BP designed gun, you are asking for trouble. A Francotte is not a "low quality" gun. The property marks indicate that sombody's Police Force or Military felt the same way.

Dean
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Old February 4, 2006, 11:12 PM   #19
Sir William
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I still say it is in good or better than expected condition with the original grips, put it up as a curio. I would not fire it due to the condition. Why ruin it?
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Old February 4, 2006, 11:49 PM   #20
deadin
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I guess we just have different philosophies. I feel that unless a gun is in "unfired" condition, and is safe to fire, there is no reason not to fire it.
Example: Not too many people can say they have shot a S&W Revolving Rifle.
I can.

Dean
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Old February 5, 2006, 12:47 AM   #21
Sir William
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I have. Red marble type furniture in a reblued 320 example. A friend has one that was a POJ whn he found it in a nickel finish. Antique store find. $47.50. He only spent $800.00 restoring it. He wanted something different. My own idea of different is a Albion built belly gun in 380.
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Old February 5, 2006, 12:59 AM   #22
Mike Irwin
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"Not too many people can say they have shot a S&W Revolving Rifle."

Yo. Right here.
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