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Old April 24, 2019, 12:16 PM   #101
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Shooting .38 Special ammunition in .357 Magnum, will in time cause a build-up of carbon and gunk in the chambers,to the point even .38 Special cartridges won't chamber properly.
While true, "over time" means round count, and the number of rounds needed for the dreaded "carbon ring" to be come an issue varies with the ammo used, AND this also assumes one does not clean their gun.

lately, I've been beginning to wonder if this is really the problem so many mention. Everyone agrees it can happen, and can be an issue when it does, but no one seems to give their personal experience of having it happen. There's no one saying "I shot 127 rnds of 38 and then couldn't chamber a .357..." if they are saying that, I'm not seeing it here on this forum...

I can't give you any numbers about it, either, but that's because in over half a century of recreational handgun shooting, I've never had it happen, to me.

Maybe I don't shoot enough, or maybe I don't shoot dirty enough ammo, or maybe I clean my guns well before build up becomes an issue. I don't know, only that I've never had the problem. I KNOW it is possible, but if it is a big concern where are all the "it happened to me" posts???
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Old April 24, 2019, 12:52 PM   #102
Bill DeShivs
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Working at a shooting range in the 1970-1980 era, I saw carbon rings frequently in .357s used to shoot .38 Special on the rental guns.
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Old April 24, 2019, 01:05 PM   #103
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44AMP:

I've experienced the carbon ring/crud build-up in several of my Blackhawk/Super Blackhawk revolvers. This was not restricted to the .357 Magnum nor from shooting shorter cased ammunition.

From my observations, this occurs at around 4,000 ~ 5,000 rounds being fired.

There is a slight gap between the mouth of the case and the shoulder in the cylinder's chamber, and this is where build-up occurs. Let a case get a little long, from repeated loadings and firings, and this will start to make extraction sticky, or makes chambering loaded rounds difficult. This is carbon mostly, and the powder/load combination has little to do with it.

To remedy the situation, I use a .50 caliber bore brush (for .44 and .45 caliber revolvers) chucked in a drill press, after a soaking with Hoppe's No. 9.

This my experience.

Bob Wright

P.S. As to not cleaning my guns, I clean them as soon as possible after each rang session. Carbon is not easily removed by usual gun solvents.
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Old April 24, 2019, 05:54 PM   #104
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Thank you for your personal experience, and the 4,000-5,000rnd number.

While I don't clean mine every single time, I do clean them much more frequently than every 1,000 rnds. let alone 4-5 times that.

There was one exception, I deliberately didn't clean a Ruger 10/22 for over a decade, just to see what happened. Not a real clean, just a wipe out of what I could reach with the action open and the mag out.

Didn't keep a round count, but it was at least 10,000, and the gun was still running normally.

When I did take it down, everywhere I hadn't wiped or the bolt didn't travel over was 1/4" or more deep in debris. Yet the gun still worked and shot as if it were squeaky clean.

I can see where if shooting really dirty crap, very soft slugs, etc., that it could become an issue in a few hundred rounds. If that's the case, I'd shoot different ammo!
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Old April 24, 2019, 08:50 PM   #105
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As I've said, that build-up is carbon, and has nothing to do with "crappy" ammunition nor soft slugs. Carbon and ash is the result of burning powder, any powder. The same stuff that builds up in an auto's engine from burning gasoline.

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Old April 24, 2019, 09:22 PM   #106
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I don't know why anyone would wonder why people would want a 38sp. It is a good snubby caiiber and excellent target round in guns like K38. What is a 357 good for? It is better than a 38sp - more powerful. Marginal for deer, boar ect. Most people end up shooting either 38 or equivalent loads in their 357 anyway. By that logic you would have to put 44sp vs 44mg.
That ends up the same way. Most are shooting 44sp level loads in their 44mgs too. While you are at it if you have a 44mg why would anyone want a 41mg?
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Old April 24, 2019, 10:32 PM   #107
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.357 Magnum is just the tame and easy version for people that can't handle the nuclear fireball of the .357 Maximum!

.41 Magnum is for buying nice revolver for substantial savings because people can't reload.

44 Special is because while a 9mm will probably expand, .44 is simply a big hole.
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Old April 25, 2019, 06:19 AM   #108
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Whats the practical purpose for anything but (insert X round here)? I mean if we ALL shot 9MM think how easy it would be. Why aren't we all carrying Medusa revolvers and shooting any 9MM (.38, .357, .380, I think there are like 30 choices) diameter ammo we come across?

Maybe we should all be shooting .357. Maybe its 44 Mag (you can always load to 44 special). Or 41 Mag. Or 10MM. Or?
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Old April 25, 2019, 07:16 AM   #109
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some people keep trying to make this about the caliber instead of the gun.
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Old April 25, 2019, 07:18 AM   #110
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About the gun: what is the practical purpose of making a gun in a caliber that virtually no one will shoot it in and requires more expensive manufacturing processes, warranty claims, and considerations?

Much less leeway in making a 12 ounce gun that can shoot a high pressure 357 magnum cartridges than making a 12 ounce gun that can shoot the low pressure 38 round. Less leeway means more expensive to manufacture, greater risk of failure, and increased costs to the consumer.
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Old April 25, 2019, 06:00 PM   #111
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Personally I have taken a position that is quite the opposite of the OP. Since learning about the 38-44 cartridge introduced by S&W in 1930, I no longer see the need for the 357 Magnum.

The original loading was claimed to drive a 158g bullet at 1125 fps and it was S&W's response (in revolver form) to the Colt 38 Super chambering in the 1911. Both the Super and the 38-44 were touted as car stopping rounds, capable of penetrating the steal doors and trunks of the 1930s autos.

The introduction of the 357 Magnum in 1935 (the 38-44 paved the way for the Magnum) cut into the popularity of the 38-44 but not seriously until the introduction of the Highway Patrolman 357 Mag in the 50s. In the Depression era few could afford the pricey "Registered Magnum" and most LEOs opted for the more affordable Heavy Duty.

To experience what the original 38-44 was like try a box of Buffalo Bore Heavy +P 38 Special 158g SWCHP-GC. If you're a hand loader 11-11.5g of 2400 behind a 158g lead or plated bullet in 38 Special cases will deliver close to the original 38-44 performance.

For me the 38-44, either in my hand loads or carrying Buffalo Bore Heavy 38 Specials does everything I need a medium bore to do. No need to put up with the extra blast and concussion of the Magnum loads.

YMMV,
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Old April 25, 2019, 07:14 PM   #112
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If I could only have one handgun I would want the versatility of the 357, but for those of us who aren't limited to just one, sometimes it's nice to have one that fits a narrow, specific need.
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Old April 25, 2019, 11:49 PM   #113
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One of my favorite pocket carry is a J-frame 38 snub. Love it. Not concerned about ballistics.
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Old April 26, 2019, 07:50 AM   #114
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Dave T (and others):

Please be advised the cartridge you are referring to is the .38-44 Special.

The .38-44 Smith & Wesson was introduced around 1892 or so and was a target round with the bullet seated entirely within the case intended for the No. 3 top break Smith & Wesson.




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Old April 26, 2019, 09:00 AM   #115
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To remedy the situation, I use a .50 caliber bore brush (for .44 and .45 caliber revolvers) chucked in a drill press, after a soaking with Hoppe's No. 9.
What I found that works also is if you are a reloader expand a couple of 357 case's and put them in the cylinder and push them in. Works as a scraper and will not damage the cylinder/
For SD I prefer 38 spl for a fast more accurate follow up shot
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Old April 26, 2019, 11:48 AM   #116
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Please be advised the cartridge you are referring to is the .38-44 Special.
Bob is correct. The full name is .38/44 S&W Special.

it may be argued that it is actually not a separate cartridge, just a load variation of the .38 S&W Special.

My copy of Cartridges of the World does not list the .38-44 as a separate cartridge. 1931 Remington ammo is labeled ".38/44 S&W Special"
(with a slash, 38/44 not a dash, 38-44)

The one gun I have available to inspect (a post war short action Heavy Duty) is marked "38 S&W Special Ctg" on the barrel.

I believe that folks have simply dropped using "Special" when talking about the 38/44 for the same reason we generally do not say ".38 S&W Special" , only .38 Special. Since "everyone" knows what we're talking about, using the full correct name isn't needed, and face it, we're lazy about that.
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Old April 26, 2019, 01:21 PM   #117
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I'm going to introduce a premise. Not certain how much I endorse it but it exists:

38 Special or .357 Magnum

After the fact when the question if you were "just waiting for your chance" comes into play which one sounds better? The .38 is considered by many as barely adequate. The .357 is a "man-killer".
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Old April 26, 2019, 01:33 PM   #118
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I have been following most of this thread. I carry a Smith and Wesson Airweight 5 shot 38. No need for a 357 there. I have a 4" K frame. Did not want a 357. I shoot Bullseye with it and some times hunt frogs. Accuracy is Excellent and most of what I shoot are hollow base wadcutters for frogs or Bullseye. If I want biger for SD, I take my LW Officers ACP. Had 2 357 in my life time. sold them both.

To each his own.
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Old April 27, 2019, 12:15 AM   #119
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We've covered a lot of ground, some of it relating to the OP's question, some not, as usual.

lets look back at what was asked,

Quote:
I mean today, why make a .38 spl only gun?
The obvious answer is "because we can sell them". But the market today isn't what it once was, a lot of people's preferences have shifted, even over just the last 20-30 years.

Lots of people who once would have bought a .38 Special now buy semiautos. And lots of others "want a car that can do 140mph even if they're only going to drive 70".

Which leaves a much smaller potential market than there used to be. Many of the available .38s are either the same guns they've been making for a long time, or updated versions. There are a few new designs, but not many, it has almost become a niche market. (what's bigger than a niche, a shelf??)

Look where most of the discussion went, to snub nose CCW class guns. where it seems certain models of .38 are a couple ounces lighter and a few dollars cheaper than .357s. That's enough for some people.

But is it going to be enough to keep that segment of the market alive? And, if so, for how much longer?? WE love our guns, and we feel like our favorites ought to me made, and made well in perpetuity. And irrationally, we think they always ought to be as cheap as possible. Gunmakers, even those who do it for love, and not just to make a product to sell, even they simply cannot stay in business that way.

If sales drop too far, they can't afford to make them, no matter how much they might want to.

I think its entirely possible that new .38 spl only guns will become very scarce within a few decades, because of market factors alone.

I have a .38 Spl Colt Agent. I'm happy with it, it is very nice, and it is many years out of production. If I were in the market to replace it, I'd look at .357s unless I found a great deal on a .38, that fit my needs, but it wouldn't be a new gun, most likely.
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Old April 27, 2019, 08:02 AM   #120
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Don P said:
Quote:
What I found that works also is if you are a reloader expand a couple of 357 case's and put them in the cylinder and push them in. Works as a scraper and will not damage the cylinder
One thing I did try, and use at times, was to punch out the primer on a fired case, then drill and tap for a 1/4-20 thread. I made a short length of steel rod, threaded about 1 1/2" of the end. Then run a nut on the rod, thread the case on and use the nut as a lock nut. I also slotted the mouth of the case to sort of act as a "saw tooth" cutter.

This still leaves a short distance to the chamber's shoulder, so wire brushing is still required. Maybe if I'd have used a .357 Maximun it would work better. But this also allows me to change cartridges to .44 or .45.

This used i my drill press.

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Old April 27, 2019, 09:35 AM   #121
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The full name is .38/44 S&W Special.(with a slash, 38/44 not a dash, 38-44)
What was I thinking? I didn't spell out the complete name of the cartridge and used a dash instead of a slash. Oh the humanity!

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Old April 27, 2019, 12:05 PM   #122
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Yeah, I see your point, how could I be so callous of other's feelings to simply spell out the way the name appears on the label of 1931 ammunition for that round. What was I thinking??

I am sorry, I suppose that's almost as rude as showing a picture of an ammo box that the maker labeled ".45 Long Colt".
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Old April 27, 2019, 01:04 PM   #123
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I'm positive that Mr. Wright knows more about revolver history I ever will, but I've always thought, and many, many others think of the term .38/44 as referring to the more powerful Keith loads developed for the Smith N frame models as shown in their early catalogs. Even Colt advertised their Colt Official police as being able to handle the 38/44 loads. In those days this was similar to our present day "Ruger Only" loads.

And when you google 38/44 You will find tons of people referring to this as the the old hot .38 special loads, not that antiquated 1892 target load in Bobs photo.
From Wikipedia:
"In response, Smith & Wesson introduced the large frame .38/44 Heavy Duty in 1930. It was based on the .44 Special Smith & Wesson Triple Lock revolver and was made with a 5-inch (13 cm) barrel and fixed sights.[3][4] The following year, Smith & Wesson began production of the .38/44 Outdoorsman with a 6.5-inch (17 cm) barrel and adjustable sights.[1]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith_%26_Wesson_.38/44
http://smith-wessonforum.com/reloading/461365-38-44-load-developement-s.html

FWIW, I believe the Buffalobore Outdoorsman to be the equivalent of that famous old load, yielding 1177 fps with 158 HC from a 4" barrel

"Elmer Keith, though a confirmed big bore sixgunner by this time, also was a fan of the .38/44 and soon developed what was to become known as the .38 Keith load. Using a bullet he designed, Lyman's #358429, a long nosed semi-wadcutter of 168 grains, and 13.5 grains of the then relatively new #2400 powder, he basically came up with the Magnum that was soon to follow. This load, in the +++P category, does 1450 fps from a long barrelled sixgun and is too hot for any .38 Special being made today. It is only for use in heavy-framed .38 Specials such as the .38/44 Heavy Duty, Colt New Service, and Colt Single Action Army."
http://www.sixguns.com/range/Mademag.htm
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Old April 27, 2019, 01:58 PM   #124
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The .38 has it's place, there's just a lot more competition these days.
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Old April 27, 2019, 02:27 PM   #125
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As a matter of fact, the designation ".38/44" or ".38-44" means the exact same thing in both cases:

The original .38/44 indicated it was a (nominal) .38 caliber cartridge intended for the .44 Framed revolver, in this case the S&W No. 3 top break.

The later round was the same thing: a (nominal) caliber cartridge intended for use in the heavier .44 Framed revolver, in this case the .38/44 Heavy Duty and .38/44 Outdoorsman.

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