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Old April 24, 2009, 11:13 AM   #1
Thud
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380 acp in 38 Spl. revolver?

I'm not saying I'd do it, but could it be possible? Safe? Imagining You have moon clips to keep the 380 cases in position....
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Old April 24, 2009, 11:33 AM   #2
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With enough money, time and expertise I suppose almost anything is "possible". The practicality of such a project escapes me. The only reason I can imagine for pursuing such a venture would be to be able to use cheaper ammunition (i.e., the ability to use the less expensive .22 rf in a revolver chambered for the .22 Magnum) but in this case there would be little if anything saved by using .380 ammunition in a revolver chambered for .38 Special.

Maybe somebody else has a better take on this but, imo, it would be money wasted .
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Old April 24, 2009, 12:00 PM   #3
pendennis
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The .380 is a .355" bore. The .38 is a .357" bore. Lots o' rattle room down the bore.

Think of the European designation for the .380 - 9mm Kurz.
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Old April 24, 2009, 12:28 PM   #4
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Maybe somebody else has a better take on this but, imo, it would be money wasted .
Right with you on this one.
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Old April 24, 2009, 12:53 PM   #5
Bill DeShivs
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It quite simply won't work. The .38 Spl. is a rimmed cartridge. The .380 is rimless.
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Old April 24, 2009, 01:00 PM   #6
David Armstrong
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It is possible and has been done. Search for "Medusa revolver".
Edited to add: No moon clips necessary, as they used a modified extractor star that worked with rimmed and rimless ammo.

Last edited by David Armstrong; April 24, 2009 at 11:36 PM.
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Old April 24, 2009, 01:03 PM   #7
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Could possibly be done with a chamfered cylinder and moonclips . . . but why?
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Old April 24, 2009, 01:09 PM   #8
Mike Irwin
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"It quite simply won't work. The .38 Spl. is a rimmed cartridge. The .380 is rimless."

That's what the moon clips would be for.

Not to mention the fact that w/o moon clips the .380, being shorter than the .38, would fall into the cylinder until it came to rest against the shoulder in each chamber.
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Old April 24, 2009, 01:11 PM   #9
Chindo18Z
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It won't work for safe & reliable carry, but it can certainly fire and send a bullet down the bore.

I knew a young man who accidently killed himself with a .380 ACP loaded into the chamber of a .357 revolver. He just wanted to see if a cylinder full of .380 would fit. They did.

When he went to not so carefully eject the loaded cartridges, the extractor star evidently rode over one (or all) of the rimless rounds, one of which (unbeknownst to him) remained in its chamber. He most likely simply tipped the revolver skyward, cylinder open, and rapped the ejector rod. This, combined with gravity, caused 5 of 6 rounds to fall out.

A few moments later, for unknown reasons, he was staring directly down the muzzle while cycling the revolver.

Bang. The .380 bullet entered above his eyebrow and exited the opposite side temple. DRT...in a room full of friends just returned from an afternoon of shooting, and now drinking beer and watching a ballgame on the television while cleaning weapons.

A lot of safety takeaways from that one.

In answer to the original question: As long as the shorter .380 rounds are rearmost in the chamber of a .38/.357 revolver, the firing pin can detonate the primer. The bullet is perfectly capable of launching down the roughly same sized bore. Accuracy will suffer.
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Old April 24, 2009, 02:43 PM   #10
Jim Watson
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The practical answer is no.

The cost no object, results no object answer is yes.
Mill the cylinder for moon clips. (There is not enough room for the thickness of the clip and the rim.)
Make moon clips (A 9mm P clip will not retain a .380, maybe well enough to fire if you juggled everything in place, but not securely enough for carry and loading.)

Put up with the inefficiencies of a short undersized round firing a short undersized bullet down the long cylinder.
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Old April 24, 2009, 02:44 PM   #11
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it works in a 940, I assume it would in a SP101 in 9mm. Not in a .38.

Ammo's not that rare and expensive yet...
is it?
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Old April 24, 2009, 06:49 PM   #12
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Don't ask why, ask why not.
My S&W 360J is rechambered for 9x23. I can shoot 9x23, 9x21, 356TSW, 9x19, and, in a pinch, .380.

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Old April 24, 2009, 07:21 PM   #13
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WC145 - I don't quite see how your revolver answers the question of .380 ACP in a .38 Special revolver.
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Old April 24, 2009, 09:10 PM   #14
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A .38 Super will run through a .357 mag. Just have to be careful when kicking out the empties with the semi-rimless Super.
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Old April 26, 2009, 09:49 AM   #15
harry carey
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1) why not get a S&W 547 in 9mm NO MOONS necessary. 2) S&W made a perf. ctr. Super 38 rev , w/ moons. 3) convertibles 9mm/357, use cast bullets, 356 for 9mm and whatever you want for 357. in 357 you may load 357 thru 360. see that old wm. Mitchell article in rifle mag. note: old S&W rev. have large chambers. 4) I load wadcutters in my 547. there is a way to load 357 wc in it but is a pain in 9mm case, but possible , I am shooting them today ! 356 cast works best. copper on handgun bullets is just a fad. my handgun bullets are not cold and do not need a jacket!!!
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Old April 26, 2009, 04:21 PM   #16
Daryl
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Quote:
The .380 is a .355" bore. The .38 is a .357" bore. Lots o' rattle room down the bore.
That's not necessarily true. I "aquired" about 1000 bullets that are 115 gr JHP, .355 in diameter.

Since I don't shoot anything 9mm, I've been loading them in .38 special cases, and they shoot very well. I jjst have to make sure I get a good crimp on the bullet, or it'll be a little loose in the case.

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Old April 26, 2009, 04:35 PM   #17
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I'm not sure why some people are trying mightily to turn this thread into a 9mm (or even .38 Super)/.38 special compatibility question but the op's original question was .380 ACP in a .38 Special revolver- can it be done? Well, can it?
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Old April 26, 2009, 08:52 PM   #18
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I'm not sure why some people are trying mightily to turn this thread into a 9mm (or even .38 Super)/.38 special compatibility question but the op's original question was .380 ACP in a .38 Special revolver- can it be done? Well, can it?
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Old April 26, 2009, 09:11 PM   #19
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Yes, it can be done IF you have the revolver machined to take moon clips, or it is one of the few revolvers having a special extractor that can support rimless cartridges. Other tricks are possible, but not really practical.

.380 standard pressure is 21,500 psi, about the same as .38 Special +P, but there are fewer square inches, so the total pressure is in the .38 Special range.

Since .38 Special is widely available and still reasonably cheap, and .380 ACP is hard to get and expensive, the question is rather hypothetical. Revolvers made for the 9mm Parabellum were mainly for foreign police agencies who wanted revolvers for PR reasons, but wanted to be able to use the free 9mm ammo provided by the military.

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Old April 27, 2009, 01:04 AM   #20
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WC145's revolver says .38 Special on it.
Does it still shoot that cartridge besides the others listed? is what I'd like to know.
Nice little revolver there, BTW.
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Old April 27, 2009, 07:29 AM   #21
Lolgasm
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Quote:
Ammo's not that rare and expensive yet...
is it?
380 ammo is $1/bullet if you can find it
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Old April 29, 2009, 12:02 AM   #22
brando77
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i have a taurus 85ul and i used the 9mm star clips and they worked for the most part,the star clip doesn't have the same firing pin distance as a 38 spl case and i had to double strike 12-16 out of 50,accuracy was terrible due to the .002 smaller bullet,but it was fun,velocity was so slow that i could see the bullets as they flew,which is no bueno,i only did it to get rid of some 380 ammo a friend gave me,all in all it's a waste of time and ammo.
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Old April 29, 2009, 12:22 AM   #23
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Yes, it can be done.

I've done it.

Part of my never ending quest for minor bits of knowledge, I shot several rounds of .380 ACP from a S&W M15 revolver with no modifications. It was just an experiment. Cases did NOT eject with the extractor star, surprising no one, I presume.

However, it is not something reliable. The rounds in the cylinder have to be in the rear of the chambers. Tilting the revolver muzzle up, then carefully lowering to firing level will do it. But then one must repeat the process for each round; it's not a load and shoot operation. (Perhaps if one were shooting uphill?)

I did not test for accuracy; had enough trouble just making the stuff go off. However, like Daryl, I have loaded and fired various 9mm rounds from .38 Special cases in .38 Special revolvers with reasonable accuracy. The bullet to bore diameter difference just isn't that big a problem.

As the cylinders were not counter bored, no alteration would be required for 'moon clips', but they would have to be very thin. All in all, not worth the effort.

Of similar interest, French partisans used captured 9mm Luger ammunition in .38 Special revolvers during WWII. They used a center punch to splay out the rims enough to headspace and extract. Perhaps not the best idea, but there was a war on. This information from an article in American Rifleman (I think) some time in the 1960s.
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Old April 29, 2009, 08:53 AM   #24
johnwilliamson062
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If you carried a 380 primary and wanted a 380 bug I can see where this would be useful.
Don't know why you would do that, but if you did...
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Old April 29, 2009, 12:03 PM   #25
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alright, I have a dumb question, slightly off topic. I have a bunch of old fench military .380 rounds and the boxes are labeled 9mm court which as far as I can figure means 9mm short, same bullet?
I got a feeling I am going to catch a little grief for this question but if I don't ask I'll never know.
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