Winchester Sells 38 S&W Ammo...


March 8, 2010, 03:38 AM
The ammo is:
Winchester Super-X Centerfire Pistol Ammunition X38SWP, 38 S&W, Lead Round Nose, 145 GR, 685 fps, 50 Rd/bx

Is this ammo for a 38 Special revolver?

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Race Bannon
March 8, 2010, 04:12 AM
No, .38 S&W and .38 S&W Special are two different rounds and are not interchangeable.

March 8, 2010, 08:34 AM
The 38 S&W is shorter, slightly larger in diameter (.360") and much less powerful than the 38 Special. Confusion arises with S&W's insistence on including "S&W" in all caliber nomenclature. The whole world says 38 Special except S&W which uses 38 S&W Special.

The 38 S&W is the British service round of WW II and many S&W revolvers in this caliber were delivered for Great Britain's military. They also used this round in the break-action Enfield revolver seen below.

The caliber was also used for small frame revolvers popular for pocket carry in days past, like the Terrier pictured below. You can see how short the cylinder is and how small the whole gun is.

Due to the cost and scarcity of factory ammo this caliber demands reloading for economy. Although factory loads are mild, the 38 S&W can be improved. I have pushed a 125 JHP to 975 FPS clocked from the 2" Terrier seen above which is 100 FPS faster than factory +P 38 Special runs from a 2" revolver.

March 9, 2010, 12:46 AM
From what the Winchester reps have told me, .38 S&W continues to be one of the best selling of the "Bastard" calibers.

The shop sells almost fifty boxes a year of .38 S&W and that is quite good for an oddball caliber.

March 9, 2010, 02:06 AM
The .38 S&W cartridge is older than the .38 Special. In the latter 1800's the competition between Smith and Colt was such that each developed cartridges for their own revolvers. Yes, there was a .38 Colt that was a completely different round with a bullet diameter of .357-358.

Below is a 1892 vintage S&W "Safety Hammerless" that was chambered for .38 S&W.

The .38 Short Colt was designed for the cap and ball Colt .36 Navy revolvers when they started being converted to metallic cartridges. Due to Government complaints that this cartridge was not powerful enough, Colt developed the .38 Long Colt. Oddly enough when Smith created the .38 S&W Special, they did so by trumping the .38 Long Colt lengthening this cartridge again rather than persisting with their own .360 diameter .38 S&W.

The .38 Special was developed for the newer solid frame "Hand Ejector" style revolvers which could more easily withstand the higher pressures. The Military and Police Model first produced in 1900 was the first to use the .38 Special, the bullet for which is .357-.358.

When Smith did this once again developing the .357 Magnum the cartridge was again lengthened not for case capacity but to prevent it being used in .38 Special revolvers. It was lengthened yet another time to create the .357 Maximum. Since all this development really built on the .38 Short Colt, the .38 S&W is considered an orphan cartridge.

March 9, 2010, 04:31 AM
It's good you asked but if you put both side-by-side there would be no doubt in your mind they were different. The difference is even greater than that of the .380 Auto and 9mm Luger.

March 9, 2010, 07:46 AM
I am sitting on a number of 38 sp. and 1 38 S&W. Guess which one I carry?

March 9, 2010, 08:55 AM
Thanks for the info.

March 9, 2010, 09:27 AM
So which one DO you carry?

I like the idea of a Terrier or a Bankers' Special with decent handloads. You can do better than .38 Special as we can see from above post. And the revolver is smaller and easier to carry.

If I were to carry a revolver, I think I'd go that route. Where do you get bullets for reloading?

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