Bullet question!

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by tjeffords, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. tjeffords

    tjeffords Member

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    My friend just got a s&w .38 spl 6 shot revolver. he did not know the caliber and went out and bought .38 supers, .38 specials, and .357 magnums. Now that I have had the chance to look at it and let him know its a .38 special he asked if he could shoot the rest from the revolver. honestly anything i did not have a definite answer to it.

    So i told him just shoot the .38 specials. But i got to thinkin the .357 mag is basically a more powerful elongated .38 spl i was wondering you could shoot the mags out of it. i figured i would ask you all.

    I know where the .38 supers are for semi autos and have head space issues so thats a no go.

    Just wonderin what your thoughts are. For now its just .38 spl.

    Im just tryin to get the use of the bullets he bought and cant return.

    thank you in advance.
  2. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    If its chambered and proofed for the .38 spec then thats all itll shoot safely. .38 supers wont index becasue its a rimless cartridge and the .357 mags wont fit the chambers, and if they do theyll blow the gun up.

    Now a .357 mag chambered revolver can safely shoot both .38 spec and .357 mag ammo indescriminantly, because, dimensionally speaking, the .357 mag is merely a sixteeth longer, and since the longer chamber is proofed for the higher pressures the low pressure .38s wont hurt a thing and would even be a very welcome change for the shooter.
  3. tjeffords

    tjeffords Member

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    thank you.

    I thought i could go from .357 mag to .38 spl but i wasn't sure in reverse.

    I always like askin before i blow my self up. I think ill just get inserts for my shotgun and buy the rounds off him.

    i knew the specials would not work.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
  4. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    Offer the un-needed ammo here in the buy sell trade section.. Trade it for stuff you can use.
  5. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    American ammo designations have historically been done by marketing departments not engineers. Thus there is a lot of confusion about calibers. A US 38 caliber barrel is actually 0.357" not 0.38" or 0.380". A 357 magnum is an extra long and extra powerful 38 Special. Thus, you can safely shoot 38 specials in a 357 Magnum; but the 357 Magnum will not go all the way into a modern 38 special chamber. It will go into some very old 38's and will likely wreck such an old revolver when fired as the pressure is about 3X normal.

    The 38 Super will not go all the way into the chamber of either the 38 Special or the 357 Magnum as it is too fat at the rear.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2012
  6. Mosin_Nagant_Fan

    Mosin_Nagant_Fan Active Member

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    I though 38 supers where the same bullet diameter as the 9mm, which is the slightest bigger then the 38spl and the 357mag.
  7. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    Actually, 9mm/38 Super use a 355 bullet, while the 38 special/357 use a 357 bullet.

    You may be thinking of the 38 S&W, which uses a 361 bullet, or maybe 9mm Makarov, which uses a 364 bullet.
  8. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    beat me to it alpo.
  9. Mosin_Nagant_Fan

    Mosin_Nagant_Fan Active Member

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    Alright, thinking backwards. XS
  10. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Just FWIW, .38 ACP/.38 Super is not rimless, it is semi-rimmed and WILL fit and fire in some revolvers. It is too large in diameter to fit into a .38 Special chamber, but will fit into the chamber of a gun made for .38 S&W, with potentially disastrous results, since the .38 Super pressure is 36.5k psi, two and a half times the pressure of the .38 S&W the gun was designed for.

    Jim
  11. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    Well said, Jim K.
  12. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    How you gonna get a 38 Super, with a case length of 0.900, into the chamber of a 38 S&W, with a case length of 0.775?

    Unless it's, maybe, one of the cheap guns, where they did not put a step in the chamber. I just checked mine - all three actual S&Ws - and there is no way a 38 Super fill fit.
  13. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    For those who are new to or have little knowledge of firearms and ammo; this might be helpful.

    The clerk at a mass merchandiser, like WalMart, is not likely to have much more knowledge about guns and ammo than you do.

    You will likely save a few bucks on a box of ammo at "Wallyworld" as compared to buying it from a full service gun shop; but you will not likely get any advice that a prudent person would trust.

    Some non US based ammo manufacturers often put most of the country correct names by which a cartridge is known in the markets that their product it is likely to be sold in. Often, US manufacturers put only one name on their boxes.

    If you are not certain of what you are doing, relative to guns and ammo, you would be wise to consult with your local expert(s). What you do not know can get you hurt.
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