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Old May 13, 2018, 07:34 AM   #26
Laz
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I believe the .38 Special +P was developed for Sky Marshals to use in their Model 19s for just this reason, positive extraction.
The idea of an extended shootout requiring a reload in a pressurized cabin at altitude presents a chaotic picture.
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Old May 13, 2018, 08:47 AM   #27
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Wouldn't a 38 short be very similar to a 380 acp? I understand one is rimmed and one is rimless.
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Old May 13, 2018, 08:51 AM   #28
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The idea of an extended shootout requiring a reload in a pressurized cabin at altitude presents a chaotic picture.
Its not gonna happen. The shooting proficiency standard for Air Marshals precludes that.
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Old May 13, 2018, 01:20 PM   #29
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I'm by no means an expert so this is purely subjective but...i think .380 may be loaded a little hotter. I've shot the .38 special shorts in my Charter Arms snub revolvers and recoil is very mild. The recoil in my .380 Taurus TCP or S&W Bodyguard is more pronounced. I'm not 100% sure of the following numbers but, I think muzzle energy on the. 38 special short was around 130ft lb and velocity was in the high 600's for f.p.s, while .380 I think is around 200ft.lb. energy and close to 1000 f.p.s.
The .38 special short is, in my opinion, a little anemic for self defense, unless you could reload it a little hotter.
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Old May 13, 2018, 01:56 PM   #30
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I have never had an extraction problem from my 38 snubs. I aim the muzzle up and rap the ejector rod with force and the cases come right out without any hang ups unless a case snags on the grip. I think this is an answer looking for a problem.
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Old May 13, 2018, 02:04 PM   #31
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Sounds like a revolver in 9MM would fill the bill.
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Old May 13, 2018, 02:20 PM   #32
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I think this is an answer looking for a problem.
I think it's marketing. I often read threads where the larger revolvers have the benefit of a full length ejector rod. So, instead of lengthening the e-rod, or getting a larger revolver, get the .38s with shorter cases and your ejection worries are over.

But wait, there's more.

Your speed loaders will be easier to use with the shorter cartridges, and/or your loaded speed strips will take up less room.

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Old May 13, 2018, 06:09 PM   #33
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Late to this dance . . . . I reload 38 Colt Short and Long all the time. In the Short, I usually use a 120ish grain cast lead (all i use is my cast) and the same for the 38 Colt Long - a 120is or a 149is grain lead bullet. I shoot the out of anything from a J frame to a 6" barrel and anything in between the 6 and my Smith Model 36 snub.

As far as a SD round - that's a personal thing. However, I don't think anyone would volunteer to stand in front of one of my 38 Colt Shorts to find out.

The 38 Colt Short was originally developed as a black powder cartridge to use in the Civil War Colt Navies ('51 and '61) which had conversions to cartridge such as the Richards & Mason. I load mine in both black powder as well as smokeless. My best result with the smokeless is using either Red Dot or Bulls Eye - others will work though. The charge is minimal as far as grain weight but I've never had a problem killing a critter like a woodchuck, possum or coon with a 38 Colt Short. It's my favorite plinking / woods walk cartridge to use in my Smith Model 36 3". They even do well out of my 357 Handi Rifle.
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Old May 14, 2018, 09:27 AM   #34
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Hmm, I've got a 2.5 inch barrel Model 19 with a shortened ejector rod, and I have no problem ejecting full length .38 Special cases.

Quote:
...you kick open the cylinder, point the muzzle up & punch the ejector rod.
Yep, that's how it's done. One other comment regarding the concept of a shortened .38 Special case, it would be basically unreloadable with your .38 Special dies, as you wouldn't be able to get the case far enough up into your seating die to apply a crimp.

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Old May 14, 2018, 12:55 PM   #35
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One other comment regarding the concept of a shortened .38 Special case, it would be basically unreloadable with your .38 Special dies, as you wouldn't be able to get the case far enough up into your seating die to apply a crimp.
Correct....but....

I had tossed around the idea of buying a Davies derringer in .38 spl and trimming back the cases to - - pretty much what the OP is saying here.
No real reason why, just--because.

I would have used my old Lee "pound em in pound em out" reloading set to crimp the case mouth.
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Old May 14, 2018, 01:03 PM   #36
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It's been a while since I've reloaded anything, but I think you could crimp them with a 9mm crimp die.
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Old May 14, 2018, 05:53 PM   #37
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zxcybob - you are correct on using the 9 crop die to crimp the 38 Colt Short - and you can adjust it outing your press to use on 38 Colt Long as well. While I prefer a roll trip on my 38s, I am not aware of anyone that makes a roll crimp die for the 38 Colt Short or Lng (currently anyway). I use (and I believe that is what Lee includes in their die sets for the 38 Colt Short/Long) a 9mm taper crimp die on mine. I've never had an issue with "bullet jump" using a taper crimp on them.

If a person wanted to, I would think that you could take a standard 38 Spec roll crimp die and shorten it by cutting the bottom off. I use the Lyman 310 tong dies quite a bit for many of the calibers i reload for pistol and rifle. Somewhere along the line, I came up with a roll crimp die that works on the Short/Long. It doesn't appear to be a "shortened" 38 Spl crimp die. I sometimes use that just for fun as I enjoy the 310 tools.

I think it may depend on the brand of dies you have but you can certainly size the brass using a standard 38/357 sizing die. I de-prime all of my brass using a "universal depriming die" but you could certainly do that in one step if you use your sizing die with the primer punch in it. I think most 9mm expanding dies will work - depends on what diameter bullet you are using - some change out the expander plug on the end of the stem if needed - a 9mm seating die should work as well and then the 9mm crimp die. Depending on your brand of dies, you might have to use a combination of dies to get the job done but it is a very "doable" thing to reload the 38 Colt Short/Long. I ended up just buying a set of Lee dies as they aren't that expensive and I use a 4 hole turret press and have a dedicated turret plate for those particular dies.
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Old May 22, 2018, 01:01 PM   #38
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Shortening the .38 Special does have some advantages. Because the .38 Special was originally a black-powder cartridge, it has excess case volume which makes it:

powder position sensitive - if the powder is knocked forward in the cartridge it will ignite and have a different pressure curve than if the powder were knocked back toward the primer. This results in wider ES and higher SD and inconsistencies in velocity and in some cases, point of impact and hollow-point expansion.

require a long extractor rod - most snub nose revolvers have short ejector rods that only push the cases part way out, depending on inertia, or gravity to complete the ejection and if conditions fail, they must be pulled out with fingers.

excess cylinder length - revolvers could be made more compact overall or they could be given longer barrel lengths without increasing the overall length

9x19mm and .380 ACP offer similar ballistics to the .38 Special but in cartridges of dimension intended for use with smokeless propellants. The 9x19 typically has a higher power factor because of the higher pressure rating specification. It should be apparent that 19mm is sufficient case capacity for the .38 Special's power factor goals using smokeless propellants.

The .45 ACP was developed specifically to have similar ballistics to the .45 Long Colt, but using no more case capacity than necessary with smokeless propellants.

.45 ACP, 9x19mm, and .380 ACP do not typically work well in revolvers because they are rimless and they are typically taper-crimped instead of roll crimped. Using factory production cartridges in a revolver will require the use of moon-clips and the bullets are more likely to jump the crimp. It is probably easier to add a roll-crimp to the 9x19mm cartridge than it would be to add a rim to it. The bullets should also feature a cannelure or crimp groove, which are not typical of .356" diameter bullets.

Roll-crimping short cases would require a die that is for a suitably short specification. My LEE factory crimp die for .38 Special bottoms out at 1.050". It could be modified by removing material from the bottom and reforming the mouth on a lathe. A .38 Short Colt die would work perfectly.

While loading shortened .38 Specials, which are essentially .38 Short Colt, to .38 Special pressures could eliminate powder-position sensitivity and make ejection with short ejector rods more positive, there isn't published data for loading to .38 Special pressures with the shorter OAL. Seating wadcutters deeply usually requires light powder charges to avoid overpressure conditions. When the base of any type of bullet is seated that deeply, the pressure with the same charge as standard OAL cartridges is going to be greater. Of course, wadcutters are proof that it can be done in the .38 Special.

The last issue, the excessive length of the cylinder, could only be addressed by the manufacture of revolvers for a shorter cartridge, either 9mm or .38 Short Colt. To do this properly would involve either making a 9mm rimmed cartridge or establishing a cartridge nearly identical to the .38 Short Colt but with a pressure specification similar to 9mm Luger.

It seems the .32 caliber revolvers could also benefit from a high pressure rated cartridge without the excessive length of something like the .327 Federal Magnum.

I was never fond of the notion that a cartridge must have an excess of length to prevent it from being loaded in a firearm that is unsuitable for the pressures it will generate. As a reloader, I have always had the freedom to exceed maximum pressures and blow guns up at risk to my own life, and cartridge length has never protected me from that.

This reminds me of the optimist who says the glass is half full, the pessimist who says it's half-empty, and the engineer who says the glass is twice as big as necessary.

Last edited by labnoti; May 22, 2018 at 01:06 PM.
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Old May 22, 2018, 01:15 PM   #39
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While loading shortened .38 Specials, which are essentially .38 Short Colt, to .38 Special pressures could eliminate powder-position sensitivity and make ejection with short ejector rods more positive, there isn't published data for loading to .38 Special pressures with the shorter OAL. Seating wadcutters deeply usually requires light powder charges to avoid overpressure conditions. When the base of any type of bullet is seated that deeply, the pressure with the same charge as standard OAL cartridges is going to be greater. Of course, wadcutters are proof that it can be done in the .38 Special.
You could load wadcutters in shortened cases to their normal OAL; the powder won't know the difference. The trick will be crimping them. Wadcutters are a decent defensive load if you don't load them down to ridiculous levels. This might be a good use for the bag of cut-down Special cases I made to shoot in my Webley and Police Positive.
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Old May 22, 2018, 02:32 PM   #40
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You need to be careful about cutting down 38 special cases. Eventually there’s some case wall thickening as you go down. And that case wall thickening happens earlier in 38 special cases than you will find for the case wall thickness in a 38 short colt case. Then when you seat the bullet you might end up swaging it and creating some pressure issues or seeing poor accuracy. I think you’re better off buying some 38 short cold or 38 long colt cases from star line than cutting your own.
Also some powders are much more case position sensitive than others. Winchester 231, for example, is quite position sensitive and I have found that it does not yield consistent velocities with lighter bullets because there is so much space left in the case. So a 125 grain bullet loaded to full case length in a 38 special case with Winchester 231 tends to have lots of velocity variation. Titegroup on the other hand is not position sensitive. (But I don’t like it in 38 special for other reasons.) bull’s-eye is pretty good for not being case position sensitive. You can also go with bulky powders like American select. Which is my preferred powder for 38 special and all target loads.
Also as to the comment above, there are lots of revolvers chambered in 9 mm and even one chambered in 380. Most of the 9 mm revolvers are built on the same frames that are used for 38 special and 357 mag. So the cylinder window is the same length. They don’t shorten the cylinder window. Smith and Wesson makes the 625. On this revolver they don’t make the frame or cylinder window smaller but they do have the barrel and forcing cone extend into the window much farther. And the cylinder is shorter to accommodate the 45 ACP cartridge without a lot of bullet travel in the cylinder chamber. Taurus makes a 380 revolver specifically sized to the 380. It is very small. But as is typical with Taurus, there are quality issues that have caused complaints about that particular gun.
I shoot 38 short colts in my 357 mag revolvers all the time. And I have benchrest tested them for accuracy. From what I can tell the travel of the bullet down the chamber before it hits the forcing cone has not made a significant change in accuracy. For example in one of my guns I can usually get a 2 inch group at 25 yards using 38 special handloads. Out of the same gun using 38 short colt loads I can get a 2 1/2 inch group. So unless you’re a bulleye shooter the bullet travel through the cylinder doesn’t matter very much for accuracy.
I do admit that it would be nicer to have a smaller cylinder for concealed carry purposes. But I can’t see anyone building a small snubnose revolver around the 38 short colt. That’s not to say I wouldn’t be very happy if they did. It would be awesome. But no gun manufacturer could make money off of that gun because it would be essentially made only for handloaders. I guess maybe if enough people emailed Taurus and asked them to chamber their 380 revolver in 38 short colt +P+ it could be worth a shot. But don’t hold your breath.
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Old May 22, 2018, 04:40 PM   #41
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Stop me if you have heard this one...

Charter Arms made a few revolvers for the 9mm Federal, a rimmed version of the 9mm P.
But as radny says, it was on the .38 Special frame and cylinder length.
And, unlike labnoti, they got worried that somebody would load a topbreak .38 S&W with it and get the results you might expect from triple the design pressure.
Didn't sell very well, either, so it was dropped
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Old May 23, 2018, 07:42 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by TruthTellers View Post
Yeah, the thing is the .38 S&W is weak. It's so weak, I can't even call it a mouse fart cartridge, maybe an ant fart.
I carried a 38 S&W for years with confidence.
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Old May 23, 2018, 10:32 PM   #43
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A gunzine article went through several of the figures of merit for the .38 S&W and concluded it was comparable to .380 ACP.
Considering the number of posts recommending .38 Special midrange wadcutters, I don't think you are seriously undergunned with .38 S&W.
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Old May 24, 2018, 12:21 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by zxcvbob View Post
You could load wadcutters in shortened cases to their normal OAL; the powder won't know the difference. The trick will be crimping them. Wadcutters are a decent defensive load if you don't load them down to ridiculous levels. This might be a good use for the bag of cut-down Special cases I made to shoot in my Webley and Police Positive.
Could use the Lee wadcutters in .38 Short like this guy did:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0ngDpnSfwg
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Old May 24, 2018, 10:26 AM   #45
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Short cases would be great for gamers, less power in the real world is not such a good idea.
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Old May 24, 2018, 10:30 AM   #46
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Old May 24, 2018, 11:27 AM   #47
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Quote:
The .38 Short Colt ejects fine, but it is woefully inadequate as a defense round. Handloaded, maybe
Why woefully inadequate???

Quote:
Short cases would be great for gamers, less power in the real world is not such a good idea
Hummmm, lets see. Folks are injured and killed by 22 LR, 25ACP, 32, 380 ACP.
So, I guess if one is to be shot, the woefully less power 38 short colt is the round to be shot with.
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Old May 24, 2018, 03:58 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Don P View Post
Why woefully inadequate???



Hummmm, lets see. Folks are injured and killed by 22 LR, 25ACP, 32, 380 ACP.
So, I guess if one is to be shot, the woefully less power 38 short colt is the round to be shot with.
You're absolutely correct in that folks are shot with those rounds. But they do get pretty angry when they find out!
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Old May 24, 2018, 11:18 PM   #49
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When i load 38 short colt it’s a 135 gn bullet going 1060 fps. That’s 9mm levels. Nothing to sneeze at.
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Old May 24, 2018, 11:22 PM   #50
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You're absolutely correct in that folks are shot with those rounds. But they do get pretty angry when they find out!
Not if they get shot in the head. .380, .38 S&W, and .38 Colt are probably the bare minimum I would use for a body shot. Anything .22, .25, .32 ACP, I'm aiming for the head and face.
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