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Old April 27, 2010, 01:48 PM   #1
ccwNJ
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Police Positive 38 S&W and 38 Short Colt

Will a Police Positive stamped 38 shoot both the S&W (not special) and Short Colt ammo? Any difference in the ammo, and were some police positives made for the short and some for the S&W?
Thanks.
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Old April 27, 2010, 02:35 PM   #2
Webleymkv
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.38 S&W and .38 Short Colt are not interchangeable cartridges. The .38 Short Colt is actually the parent case for the .38 Long Colt, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, and .357 Maximum and thusly is smaller in diameter than the .38 S&W. While the .38 Short Colt did originally use the same .360-.361 bullet diameter as the .38 S&W, it used heel-based bullets while the S&W used the more modern inside-lubricated bullets. When loaded with inside-lubricated bullets, the .38 Short Colt will have a bullet diameter of .357-.358.

.38 S&W ammo probably would not even fit in a .38 Short Colt chamber due to it's larger case diameter. While .38 Short Colt ammo would probably fit in a .38 S&W chamber, it would almost certainly bulge or split the case if fired and most would consider such a practice to be unsafe.

As far as I know, Colt never produced the Police Positive in .38 Short Colt. Instead they were chambered in .38 Colt New Police. The .38 Colt New Police cartridge is nothing more than a .38 S&W loaded with flat-nosed rather than round-nosed bullets and the two cartridges are completely interchangeable. If you have a Police Positive chambered for .38 Colt New Police, it is perfectly safe and acceptable to fire .38 S&W ammo in it.
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Old April 27, 2010, 04:43 PM   #3
ccwNJ
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ok so what round does the gun take 38 short or 38S&W?

The gun is stamped police positive 38. The serial no. is 178xxx which looks to be from 1928?
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Old April 27, 2010, 05:01 PM   #4
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Colt avoided, by all kinds of tricks, the use of the hated letters "S&W" in their catalogs and advertising. So the .38 Police Positive was made for the ".38", the ".38 Police Positive Cartridge", the ".38 Colt Police", and the ".38 Colt New Police", depending on the review or the ad; all were the same as the .38 S&W. In very fine print, they noted that revolvers so chambered would "accept" (reluctantly, I am sure) .38 S&W cartridges.

AFAIK, the .38 Colt Police Positive was never chambered for the .38 Short or Long Colt. The .38 Police Positive Special would, however, accept .38 Short Colt, .38 Long Colt and .38 Colt Special (the latter aka the .38 S&W Special), but not .38 S&W.

Jim
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Old April 27, 2010, 05:50 PM   #5
ccwNJ
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next question is where can I find ammo for this? Long colt, short colt, special colt - none of the larger websites carry this or if so they are out of stock.
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Old April 27, 2010, 05:55 PM   #6
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Your gun will safely fire .38 S&W ammunition. Most good gun shops as well as "big box" stores like Bass Pro Shops and Gander Mountain should have a box or two of .38 S&W ammo as it's still loaded by both Winchester and Remington.
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Old April 27, 2010, 05:57 PM   #7
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I think the answers above, including mine, may have been too technical or too detailed, so here is the short version.

Buy the cartridge called .38 S&W. That is the name of the cartridge. Most well stocked gun stores have it. No long or short or Colt anything.

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Old April 27, 2010, 06:06 PM   #8
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But what if it is marked 38 S&W CTG?
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Old April 27, 2010, 06:13 PM   #9
ccwNJ
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Jim,

Sorry, your answer was very informative but a little confusing:

"all were the same as the .38 S&W"

Followed by:
"AFAIK, the .38 Colt Police Positive was never chambered for the .38 Short or Long Colt. The .38 Police Positive Special would, however, accept .38 Short Colt, .38 Long Colt and .38 Colt Special (the latter aka the .38 S&W Special), but not .38 S&W."

and THANK YOU for the replies/info.

Last edited by ccwNJ; April 27, 2010 at 07:25 PM.
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