38 S&W in a 38 Special

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by whitesquirrel44, Jul 12, 2006.

  1. whitesquirrel44

    whitesquirrel44 New Member

    Nov 23, 2005
    I know of the dimensional differences between the 38 S&W and the 38 Special. My question is: Can you shoot a 38 S&W in a 38 Special or 357 Mag. revolver? They appear to fit just fine in the cylinder. I'm just worried about the distance between the bullet and the barrel. The bullet would have to travel a good distance before hitting the rifling. What do you think?

    Here's some background, I ordered a 38 S&W top break from GunsAmerica and before it came in, I bought a box of shells at a local gun & knife show. When the revolver came in, it was a 32 S&W. I wanted the 32 as well but now I have a box of shells with no gun.

  2. JohnK3

    JohnK3 New Member

    May 5, 2003
    .38 Special was a "beefed up" .38 S&W. The .357 Magnum, in turn, was a "beefed up" .38 Special.

    You should be able to use .38 S&W in your .38 Special revolver. Same with using it in a .357 Magnum.

  3. inplanotx

    inplanotx Active Member

    Jan 28, 2002
    The main difference between the two rounds is that the 38 S&W, also called the 38 Super Police and 38 Colt New Police has a bullet diameter of .360 whereas the 38 Special has a normal bullet diameter of .357/.358. Since this 38 S&W was a very under powered cartridge by today's standards, I would opt for taking the box of rounds back to the dealer and try and get a box of 38 Specials in trade or for a nominal amount.

    Also, with such a short cartridge, you will have to make sure you clean the chambers very well due to the ring of carbon that will be left in the chamber. You might find extraction problems if you do not clean it very well. Good luck.

  4. whitesquirrel44

    whitesquirrel44 New Member

    Nov 23, 2005
    I'm glad I asked. I have 3 reloading manuals and only one shows the 38 S&W. That book shows the bullet diameter to be .357" or .358", same as 38 Special. I have factory ammo that may be .360" diameter. Thanks for the info. I may have to buy another gun.
  5. inplanotx

    inplanotx Active Member

    Jan 28, 2002

    Today's reloading manuals do use the .357/.358 bullets, but accuracy is not so good if used in a 38 S&W bore which should be .360. If used in a 38 Special or 357 Mag bore they should be fine except for the extra care in cleaning the cylinders after using the shorter case.
  6. MidnightRambler

    MidnightRambler New Member

    Jun 12, 2006
    I've asked trainers etc in the past and they've always strongly advised against shooting 38 s&ws in a 38 special.
  7. lead

    lead Well-Known Member

    May 16, 2004
    Be happy, you just found a good excuse to go buy another gun! "But honey, I had to, I already had the bullets!" :D
  8. whitesquirrel44

    whitesquirrel44 New Member

    Nov 23, 2005
    It wouldn't be the first time! A few years back my reloading equipment was given to me by a family member who was getting rid of some stuff when he was moving. Included was two boxes of 8mm Mauser ammo. I took that to mean, I needed a Mauser.
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