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Old December 27, 2012, 07:46 AM   #51
Alnamvet68
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This is rollmarked on a 2012 production S&W...

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Old December 27, 2012, 08:31 AM   #52
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[.38 S&W] will not fit in many guns chambered for the .38 S&W Special.
I had always assumed this to be the case as well. I found myself with too much time on my hands one winter afternoon and decided to check it out. At that time I owned 19 revolvers in either .38 Special or .357 Magnum and exactly one (an S&W M32-1) in .38 S&W. As a result, I had a couple boxes of Remington .38 S&W ammo hanging around. I took a few of the .38 S&W factory rounds and checked each of my .38/.357 revolvers to see if they would chamber. Much to my surprise, every one of the factory rounds I checked easily dropped into every chamber of all the .38/.357 guns.

FWIW, I also handload the .38 S&W and simply use regular .38 (i.e., .358" lead) caliber bullets, rather than hunting down the "correct" .360 diameter. The bullet is a bit of a sloppy fit in the case until you roll crimp them, but accuracy is perfectly acceptable for a little snubby like the Model 32 (aka Terrier).
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Old December 27, 2012, 11:20 AM   #53
Mike Irwin
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"This is rollmarked on a 2012 production S&W..."

Then it is .38 Special, not .38 S&W.

S&W hasn't chambered any guns for that cartridge in quite a few years.
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Old December 27, 2012, 11:33 AM   #54
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Much to my surprise, every one of the factory rounds I checked easily dropped into every chamber of all the .38/.357 guns.
A relic Model 37 with alloy cylinder that I put back in firing condition would accept the .38 S&W in two chambers but not in the other three.
All chambers had been cleaned throughly.
The two chambers that accepted the .38 S&W appeared to have bulged a bit, which was a not uncommon problem with the early alloy cylinders. They had recalled the alloy cylinder guns and replaced with a steel cylinder, which makes those with the alloy cylinder a bit more collectable.

If you have a .38 special or .357 magnum that will accept the .38 S&W you either have undersized .38 S&W cases or swollen or otherwise slightly oversized chambers.

PS
.38 S&W neck dimension is .3855 with base .3865.
.38 Special neck is .379, base is .379.

Last edited by Rainbow Demon; December 27, 2012 at 11:40 AM.
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Old December 27, 2012, 12:17 PM   #55
Alnamvet68
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I know that it is a 38 Special, and I know that it's also +P rated, but I am at a loss as to why S&W won't roll mark all 38 Special revolvers the same? Sticking with S&W 38 Special +P on all their revolvers that are chambered only for 38 would make life so much easier for the many who question such things. I understand that all new production 38's are all +P rated, but not all revolvers will display the +P rating, necessitating the uninitiated to have to ask, is my new S&W +P rated. Not too long ago, while at a gun show, a customer at a booth inquired about why the new 360J was not +P rated, and the brain surgeon at the booth stated unquivocally that if it didn't have the +P rating "stamped" on the gun, it's not +P rated.
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Old December 27, 2012, 12:48 PM   #56
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If you have a .38 special or .357 magnum that will accept the .38 S&W you either have undersized .38 S&W cases or swollen or otherwise slightly oversized chambers.
Perhaps the former (I only checked using a handful of Remington factory cartridges from the same box), but I seriously doubt the latter (every chamber on all 19 guns, all of which are either S&Ws or Colts?).
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Old December 28, 2012, 09:51 PM   #57
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.38spl +p is the one you want in a .38 anything. After that youve got .357 magnum and then you have to go up in bore size.
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Old December 28, 2012, 10:20 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alnamvet68
I know that it is a 38 Special, and I know that it's also +P rated, but I am at a loss as to why S&W won't roll mark all 38 Special revolvers the same?
So why'd ya ask what ya did?

Just a guess, but they probably don't have room to stamp everything on all their barrels.
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Old December 29, 2012, 01:19 AM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alnamvet68
I understand that all new production 38's are all +P rated
That's a dangerous bit if misinformation there. Where did you learn it?

Advice #10 in my "10 Advices for Novice Handloaders" is this one:

Verify for yourself everything you learn. Believe only half of what you see and one quarter of what you hear. That goes double for everything you find on the internet from casual sources.

Especially that nimrod at Bass Pro

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Old December 29, 2012, 01:20 AM   #60
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To the original poster: Thanks for asking our advice. I am surprised that this thread has gone on so long for a relatively simple question. But the fact is that anyone who invents a cartridge gets to name it whatever they want whether it makes sense or not. That creates a LOT of potential for confusion.

My advice: Go to a REAL gun store and ask them to look at the gun (It would be polite to leave it in the gun case, put it on the counter and talk to them first). Tell them your story and let them check the gun to verify the proper ammunition. If you don't have a gun case, leave it in the car and talk to the counterman.

Before you leave, buy two boxes of their ammo. Their advice is worth it. Or one box and a gun case.

Or, take the gun to a gunsmith. You may get a free verification of the right ammo or for about $25 he might give the gun a thorough examination for safety and shootability (chamber-barrel alignment, cylinder lockup, stuff like that).

Or you could open the crane, read us all the numbers stamped in there (model number, principally) and we could know from the model number. Photographs would help.

But the Gunsmith will be the most authoritative source and has a vested interest in giving you correct information and will tell you that he doesn't know if he doesn't. He has reputation on the line and no ulterior motives.

Good luck,

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