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Old October 21, 2012, 06:51 AM   #1
kcub
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38 Long Colt safe to shoot in 38 special?

I made a mistake and bought the wrong box.
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Old October 21, 2012, 07:49 AM   #2
Mike Irwin
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Yes.

All of the dimensions, except case length, are the same. The .38 Long Colt is loaded to lower power, so there are no issues shooting it in a .38 Special chamber.
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Old October 21, 2012, 08:48 AM   #3
Jim Watson
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Once upon a time, the manufacturers actually put stuff like that in their catalogs and manuals... if you could call a one sheet leaflet a manual.
Nowadays they are so full of legal department generated warnings, that there is no room for complicated stuff like ammunition selection.
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Old October 21, 2012, 09:04 AM   #4
NO-BODY
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So if we look at a .357 mag is it right to say its okay to use,

.38 Long Colt
.38 S&W
.38 S&W Short
.38 Short Colt
.38 Special
.38 Special +P
.38 Special +P+
.357 MAG

any others or corrections???
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Old October 21, 2012, 09:22 AM   #5
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.38 S&W (I don't know about S&W short) won't chamber in a .38 special/.357 chamber. The case is larger in diameter. I just measured and the .38S&W is .386 and the ..38 Special is .376.

I may be off a couple of thousands as I am using a caliper with a vernier scale and 61 year old eyes.
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Old October 21, 2012, 11:08 AM   #6
Webleymkv
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Quote:
.38 S&W (I don't know about S&W short) won't chamber in a .38 special/.357 chamber. The case is larger in diameter. I just measured and the .38S&W is .386 and the ..38 Special is .376.
Actually, in some case it may chamber. I still have six rounds of Remington 145gr LRN .38 S&W that I bought at the same time I got my Webley Mk. IV in the spring of last year. Those cartridges will, in fact, chamber just fine in my S&W Models 28-2, 36 no-dash, and 66-2. However, after being fired in my Webley and re-sized in my Lee dies, the cases or reloaded cartridges would no longer chamber in anything but my Webley nor would the cases tightly grip a .358" cast bullet unless a fairly heavy roll crimp was applied (they'd grip a .360" cast bullet normally). Virgin Starline cases would not chamber in anything but the Webley and I cannot say one way or the other about Winchester, Prvi Partizan, or Fiocchi cases as I haven't tried them.

I suspect that the Remington .38 S&W ammo is probably sized close to the same OD as .38 Special and probably uses .357-.358" bullets with hollow bases and meant to obturate to larger bores. This is probably done out of deference to some of the later Colt and S&W revolvers in this chambering which were known to have rather tight bores (I've heard of Colts with groove diameters as tight as .356"). It is probably also worthy of note that my Webley shot the Remington ammo quite poorly. Not only did it shoot very low (most Webleys had their sights regulated for 178-200gr bullets) but accuracy was also poor. Handloads with 158gr .358" cast bullets shot noticeably better and handloads with 200gr .360" cast bullets better still.
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Old October 21, 2012, 12:28 PM   #7
Mike Irwin
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.38 Short Colt > .38 Long Colt > .38 Special > .357 Magnum > .357 Maximum

In that list, a revolver chambered for a specific cartridge will also chamber and fire ones to the left of it, but not ones to the right.

For example, a .38 Special will chamber and fire .38 Short Colt and .38 Long Colt, but will not chamber/fire a .357 Magnum.


One VERY important note...

Some early handguns (late 1800s early 1900s) made in both the US and overseas, particularly Spanish copies of S&Ws, have chambers that will sometimes accept .357 Magnum rounds.

NEVER EVER fire a .357 in one of those revolvers!
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Old October 21, 2012, 07:30 PM   #8
Jim Watson
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.38 S&W is not of the same development path as .38 Colt and Special.
Its nominal case OD is larger and may or may not go in a Special chamber depending on tolerance overlap. I have seen it both ways, go or no-go.

There is no such thing as a .38 S&W Short. Or Long for that matter.
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Old October 21, 2012, 09:22 PM   #9
Mike Irwin
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You'll occasionally see printed references to the ".38 S&W Short," same with the ".32 S&W Short."

As Jim notes, and to the best of my knowledge, neither name was ever officially used by either a revolver or ammunition manufacturer.
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Old October 21, 2012, 09:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
So if we look at a .357 mag is it right to say its okay to use,

.38 Long Colt - Yes
.38 S&W - No
.38 S&W Short - huh?
.38 Short Colt - Yes
.38 Special - Yes
.38 Special +P - Yes
.38 Special +P+ - Yes
.357 MAG - well yes since it IS a .357 magnum!

any others or corrections???
And to add a few:

.38 Colt New Police - No
.38 Auto - Yes but no... some .357 chambers will accept them, most won't*
.38 Super - Yes but no... some .357 chambers will accept them, most won't*
.38 Largo - No
.380 Webley (.380/200) - No

* but still not a wise idea.

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Old October 21, 2012, 10:33 PM   #11
Bob Wright
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Deaf Smith wrote:

Quote:
.38 Colt New Police - No
.38 Auto - Yes but no... some .357 chambers will accept them, most won't*
.38 Super - Yes but no... some .357 chambers will accept them, most won't*
.38 Largo - No
.380 Webley (.380/200) - No
.35 Win. Self Loading - Yes*


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Old October 21, 2012, 10:54 PM   #12
Bob Wright
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For what its worth, many Colt and S&W revolvers origninally chambered for .38 S&W/.38 Colt New Police became surplus in the mid-'Fifties and the original cylinders were simply rebored to take the .38 Special round.

Worked very well for the sellers, not so much so for the buyers.

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Old October 24, 2012, 05:58 AM   #13
Hal
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Quote:
So if we look at a .357 mag is it right to say its okay to use,

.38 Long Colt
.38 S&W
.38 S&W Short
.38 Short Colt
.38 Special
.38 Special +P
.38 Special +P+
.357 MAG

any others or corrections???
In the case of the Medusa, the list extended to the 9mm family as well.
IIRC, something like 25 different cartridges.
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