.38 SPL in a .357 revolver?


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LV_Tom
July 30, 2011, 02:15 AM
I inherited my brothers .357 Dan Wesson revolver. Most of the ammo that came with it is .38 SPL. I've been told that this will work in the .357 and is cheaper than shooting .357 ammo. Is this valid?

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Blue Brick
July 30, 2011, 02:18 AM
Yes.

LV_Tom
July 30, 2011, 02:34 AM
It looks like a well manufacture weapon. I haven't fired it as of yet

Josh45
July 30, 2011, 02:41 AM
I can tell you that it is. I have a .357 GP100 and fired 45 rounds of .38 SPL without a problem.

ArchAngelCD
July 30, 2011, 03:34 AM
You can use any .38 Special ammo (including .38 Special +P) in a .357 Magnum revolver but not the other way around.

Also, like above you can fire any .44 Special ammo in a .44 Magnum and any .45 Colt ammo in a 454 Casull.

As a matter of fact, you can fire .45 Colt, .45 S&W (aka 45 Schofield) and 454 Casull ammo in the .460 S&W Magnum revolver.

bigggbbruce
July 30, 2011, 04:00 AM
I prefer 357 in my 357 cause 38spl just doesn't have the same pop...

But I load 38spl in 125gr to +P and just a touch hotter (.1 or .2 gr more) and get enough zip to make it better... I like 158gr in 357 but in 38 it just seems weak...

Heavier bullets use less powder... factory 125 +P are alright as well...

baylorattorney
July 30, 2011, 04:45 AM
You can use any .38 Special ammo (including .38 Special +P) in a .357 Magnum revolver but not the other way around.

What he said +1

Walkalong
July 30, 2011, 11:03 AM
The only downside is the carbon buildup just in front of the .38 Spl case mouth. If left unchecked it can make chambering .357 difficult and make pressures go up due to the restriction.

Clean it out every once in a while and no worries. Millions of .38 Spl rounds are shot through .357's, if not billions.

A search will bring up many discussions here on the subject. :)

Lucky Derby
July 30, 2011, 11:52 AM
Way back in the 1930s the .357 Magnum was developed as a way to give the .38 Special more power, without blowing up weaker .38 Special guns. They slightly legnthened the .38 case to create the .357. This was not done to increase the powder the case contained, it was to insure that .357 would not be loaded into .38 special chambers. They intended for .38s to be used in .357s as a way to make the guns more versatile.

retDAC
July 31, 2011, 02:55 AM
The only downside is the carbon buildup just in front of the .38 Spl case mouth. If left unchecked it can make chambering .357 difficult and make pressures go up due to the restriction.

Clean it out every once in a while and no worries. Millions of .38 Spl rounds are shot through .357's, if not billions.

A search will bring up many discussions here on the subject. :)
There used to be a writer named Russ Gaertener. In one article he mentioned he discovered the hard way shooting a lot of +P .38s in an unplated carbon steel .357 cylinder can literally corrode the small areas of chambers where the case mouths of .357s would normally cover the chamber walls. Seems this was in a Model 27 or 28 Smith. He did not say whether he left it uncleaned and it got damp or if this was merely from firing.

I can still look it up if anybody cares.

wlewisiii
July 31, 2011, 03:07 AM
Please do look it up. I find it hard to believe that if it were such a problem that so many would fire so many rounds of .38 special out of so many .357's with so little publicized problems if it were even half that much of a problem.

splithoof
July 31, 2011, 03:15 AM
I have fired thousands of .38 Specials in a S&W 28, and that gun shoots like it was new, just a bit smoother. Same for a 686 and a few carbines.

ArchAngelCD
July 31, 2011, 03:40 AM
Because I like to shoot both .38 Specials and .357 Magnums in my magnum revolvers I carry a simple little fix for the carbon ring "problem." I carry a fired .357 Magnum case with a chamfer in my range bag. If I get a carbon build up in the cylinders all I need to do is insert the case in in each charge hole and it will clean out the carbon ring. If the fouling is extensive all that's required is a slight tap on the case to remove the carbon. Problem solved...

Sunray
July 31, 2011, 03:44 AM
"...Is this valid?..." Absolutely. However, if you ever decide you want to shoot .357's, you'll have to clean the cylinders first. Shooting .38's in a .357 leaves a lube gunk ring(not carbon). Not a big deal though. A .45 calibre brush cleans it right out with no fuss.
When you start reloading, you can load .357 cases to .38 velocities with no fuss and it makes the lube gunk ring go away.

LV_Tom
July 31, 2011, 12:46 PM
Thanks for all of your input.

Waywatcher
July 31, 2011, 03:58 PM
.38 specials are 100% ok to use in a .357 revolver. It is like shooting 2 3/4" shells in a 3" chambered shotgun.

Over the last year, I have put about 4000 rounds of .38 specials through my GP100. I clean it every 150-200 rounds to prevent build up of carbon in the chambers. I have probably put about 300 magnums interspersed in the last year.

GRIZ22
July 31, 2011, 04:32 PM
In one article he mentioned he discovered the hard way shooting a lot of +P .38s in an unplated carbon steel .357 cylinder can literally corrode the small areas of chambers where the case mouths of .357s would normally cover the chamber walls.

I have fired thousands of rounds of 38 in 357s including many +P and +P+ and never saw this happen. I oversaw several hundred revolvers which were fired the same way and never saw this in any of them, stainless or carbon steel. This is over a period of aboout 35 years.

If you clean your revolver after you shoot you will have no problems with 357 being chambered. If you are having problems with this you are not cleaning often enough or well enough. I have often fired several hundred 28s in a 357 in one session and never had a problem as I cleaned the gun properly after use.

I think too much is made of this "carbon ring", "residue" stuff because people don't clean their guns properly and/or often enough.

The Lone Haranguer
July 31, 2011, 04:39 PM
The only thing to watch for is carbon/lead buildup behind the chamber shoulders if you wish to switch to .357 Mag. Normal cylinder cleaning procedures will largely keep this at bay, however. Also, the lower powered round may not shoot to the point of aim, but the sights are adjustable.

retDAC
August 1, 2011, 08:31 AM
Please do look it up. I find it hard to believe that if it were such a problem that so many would fire so many rounds of .38 special out of so many .357's with so little publicized problems if it were even half that much of a problem.Okay wlewisiii, I looked it up. Just for you!:D Took awhile to find it. :(

Recall I stated he mentioned this in passing.

In the Handloader's Digest Ninth Edition, copyright 1981 by DBI Books Inc., in an article titled "The Forty-One: All-Around Magnum", page 128, left hand column, fourth paragraph, starting in the second sentence:

"... and only the mildest .38 Specials should be fired in .357 chambers. Full .38 loads can erode chamber walls ahead of the case mouth, as I discovered to my sorrow."

Before anybody says (posts) anything, please keep three points in mind:

1) I only mentioned this as maybe possible. Should have been specific about that. :uhoh: I and some of my friends have also fired lots of .38 Specials in unplated carbon steel .357 chambers with no noticeable erosion. Weird things do happen sometimes though. Maybe Gaertner had such an experience.

2) Gaertner wrote this and two other articles I specifically remember. One concerned the conversion of a S&W M28 to .41 Magnum. The other about reaming forcing cones for better accuracy. In each of these he obviously put in a lot of study and showed experience and competence. I can still find those articles also if it matters.

3) Of course I only know him through his writing. You and I only know each other through our writing. :eek:

If something well outside the mainstream ever happens to any of you, do you want people to totally dismiss you and imply it's impossible because they haven't experienced it and never heard of it before?

As Clint Eastwood once said: "Well do ya?" :what:

SleazyRider
August 1, 2011, 09:11 AM
Good point, RetDac, and I'm impressed with your memory!

wlewisiii
August 1, 2011, 11:13 AM
Thank you, I appreciate your time. Not sure what happened unless there was older corrosive primers and/or powders but obviously something did.

reppans
August 1, 2011, 11:19 AM
I think too much is made of this "carbon ring", "residue" stuff because people don't clean their guns properly and/or often enough.

I find shooting .357s out a .357 to be a normal quick and easy clean-up. But cleaning .38s out of a .357 to be pain, owing all to that stubborn crud ring.

Because I like to shoot both .38 Specials and .357 Magnums in my magnum revolvers I carry a simple little fix for the carbon ring "problem." I carry a fired .357 Magnum case with a chamfer in my range bag. If I get a carbon build up in the cylinders all I need to do is insert the case in in each charge hole and it will clean out the carbon ring. If the fouling is extensive all that's required is a slight tap on the case to remove the carbon. Problem solved...

I'm trying this next... .40 or .45 cal bore brushes on a slow speed drill is still too much work for me.

retDAC
August 2, 2011, 05:23 AM
Good point, RetDac, and I'm impressed with your memory!
Thanks for the kind words SR.

DickM
August 2, 2011, 09:06 AM
"... and only the mildest .38 Specials should be fired in .357 chambers. Full .38 loads can erode chamber walls ahead of the case mouth, as I discovered to my sorrow."

The part about this story that I don't understand is why the .38s are eroding the chamber walls when (apparently) the .357s, whose case mouth is only .135" further along the chamber, aren't doing it as well. It's the same steel isn't it?

Big Juan
August 2, 2011, 09:53 AM
This thread and a dozen like it always bring out the "OMG!!! Don't shoot too many 38Spls in your .357...crud rings....OMG!!!!" crowd. Look, it's basic. Of course you can shoot 38Spls of any stripe (+p, +p+ in newer, stronger frames) in your gun, but it's design is one factor and your shooting comfort is another. Factory 38Spls are pretty mild for target practice, but unless you have a high tolerance for stinging hands, you wouldn't want to shoot more than a few full load 357Mags in a string. The trajectories are different for each brand in either caliber, so you need to sight the gun in for what you're going to use it for. Whether your packing the piece as a concealed weapon for defense or plinking at the target range on Sunday, it's a totally different game. Use factoy loads for defense and powder-puffs for plinking.
Some of the ideas here about cleaning gunk rings out of the chambers are great, but why bother messing it up in the first place. Get a minimal reloading outfit: a hand press, dies for the caliber, powder, bullets of choice, 357 brass and some primers, plus a powder scale and a manual and learn to load your own.
The best solution I found was to put 38Spl loads in 357 cases. Mild, fast burning powders like Trail Boss pop a lead or plated slug out there PDQ, without all the recoil, blast and mess (minimal cleanup). It's much cheaper to reload my own than buy factory 38's, and I can re-use the brass multiple times because I'm not building small scale artillery shells. You can shoot and have fun, then, occasionally check your accuracy with a full load. Practice and shot placement. (And all those folks that holler "forty something" when the perfectly acceptable and respectable 357 Mag is mentioned can go blast the bad guys to pieces. Your 357 at ranges out to about 50 yards is just as deadly. You have a nice gun there. Take good care of it and it will take care of you. The range is hot. Squeeeeeeze.

ColtPythonElite
August 2, 2011, 09:57 AM
I've shot thousands and thousands of .38's out of .357's and never had a "crud" ring interfer with chambering a .357 round. I guess that 5 minutes I spend after shooting my guns running a bore brush thru them has always paid off.

Tallinar
August 2, 2011, 11:48 PM
I load .357 cases with .38 special-level loads. Problem solved.

Personally, the only .38 special +P I really have any use for is factory SD ammo.

If I find myself handloading any .38 specials, they are pipsqueek level loads for plinking anyway.

;)

leadcounsel
August 3, 2011, 01:53 AM
Way back in the 1930s the .357 Magnum was developed as a way to give the .38 Special more power, without blowing up weaker .38 Special guns. They slightly legnthened the .38 case to create the .357. This was not done to increase the powder the case contained, it was to insure that .357 would not be loaded into .38 special chambers. They intended for .38s to be used in .357s as a way to make the guns more versatile.


I'm puzzled by why the designers, back in the day, didn't make the ".357" a ".385" or ".39" to ensure that the more powerful round wasn't inserted into a .38... weird how they made the diameter SMALLER...

Warp
August 3, 2011, 02:10 AM
I'm puzzled by why the designers, back in the day, didn't make the ".357" a ".385" or ".39" to ensure that the more powerful round wasn't inserted into a .38... weird how they made the diameter SMALLER...

...so that you could fire .38spl in a .357.

Walkalong
August 5, 2011, 11:41 AM
I'm puzzled by why the designers, back in the day, didn't make the ".357" a ".385" or ".39" to ensure that the more powerful round wasn't inserted into a .38... weird how they made the diameter SMALLER...They are both are the same caliber. Weird how they first called the .357 a .38. ;)

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