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salvaging ammo- turning 9mm into 38 spec?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Blade&Bullet94, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. Blade&Bullet94

    Blade&Bullet94 Well-Known Member

    i had a curiosity. since 9mm and 38 spec are the same caliber, would it possible to take a 9mm, use a bullet puller to pull out the bullet, empty the powder into a dish, and deprime the live primer, and use the materials to reload a 38 spec? as i said im mostly just curious, since this probley isnt a practical source of ammunition, butto a prepper or survivalist it might be useful.
  2. JLDickmon

    JLDickmon Well-Known Member

    that's just it.. they're not the same.
    nothing interchanges between the two but the primer size

    bullet diameters are
    .355 for the 9MM
    .357 for the .38
  3. imaybail

    imaybail Member

    9mm vs .38 Spl.

    9mm bullets are .355 vs. 38 special bullets which are .357 or .358.
  4. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Well-Known Member

    A jacketed 9mm bullet is .355" but a .38SPL is .357"

    A 9mm bullet might fire in a .38SPL case, but it would be lose in the .38SPL brass and would not be accurate as it would not be spun properly by the larger bore.
  5. PapaG

    PapaG Well-Known Member

    But it could work...which is what the OP asked. Supervel used slightly undersized, ultralight bullets in their high velocity ammo...and I just miked a 38 spec from some old stock and it was .356, only .001 different.
    might not be accurate but it might be a lifesaver.

    Here again, I got drawn into a not likely scenario.
  6. JLDickmon

    JLDickmon Well-Known Member

    he asked specifically about a prep or survival situation..
    in which case the smart feller would have cubbyholed a nice cache of them years previous...
  7. Tomcat47

    Tomcat47 Well-Known Member

    De-priming live primers.....:eek:

    You go first!.....wait need anything from the store?....
  8. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Well-Known Member

    All the time. You just have to be slow and smooth.
  9. GLOOB

    GLOOB Well-Known Member

    Yeah, sure. There have been a number of revolvers made that can shoot both 9mm and 38 special. Even one that didn't require a cylinder swap. Accuracy generally suffers, though. Lots of reloader have shot 38 bullets through a 9mm, as well, with proper adjustment of charge.

    Practical? No. But I expect some dude has loaded a 12 gauge with gravel, before, just for the heck of it.
  10. Blade&Bullet94

    Blade&Bullet94 Well-Known Member

    but i dont understand, ive seen revolvers that come with interchangable cylinders for 9mm and 357-38, or 45 colt/45acp. how do those work if the bullets arnt the same size?
  11. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Well-Known Member

    Whether they work depends on where in the manufacturer's organization you sit. If you're in marketing or accounting, they work great. If you're in engineering, not so much.
  12. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Nothing at all wrong with de-priming live primers.
    Unless the cheap 9mm is Berdan primed, which you can't de-prime.

    Otherwise it is perfectly safe, and done all the time by experienced reloaders.

    I agree it would be possible to make .38 Spl loads out of pulled 9mm, if you just had too.

    But the result would not be ideal in a .38 Spl.
    The recycled primer would work just fine.
    As would most 9mm powder charges dumped straight into a .38 Spl case with the same 9mm bullet weight & size used in it.

    But why not just keep a 9mm pistol around if you have all that extra 9mm ammo to fool around with?

    9mm/.357 convertables work just fine.
    As do .45 Colt. .45 ACP convertables.

    A 9mm fired in a 9mm chambered cylinder runs 35,000 PSI pressure.
    Kicking a .002" undersize bullet in the butt with that much pressure upsets or swells it to fit the .357 bore.

    A .38 Spl. however, is running less then half that much pressure, and hitting a Jacketed 9mm bullet in the butt with half a kick won't make it much bigger, if any.

    .45 Colt, and .45 ACP use the same .452" size bullets to start with.

    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
  13. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Well-Known Member

    rc is right as usual.

    Thing is, in a real, no kidding survival situation it'd probably be easier to find a 9mm platform lying around than a .38SPL platform.
  14. Blade&Bullet94

    Blade&Bullet94 Well-Known Member

    as i said, this is mostly a curiosity, in current times there isnt much point to it i know. i just thought i might ask about it befor i tried it, for the sake of satisfying my curiosity. im asking about the validity of turning 9mm to 38, not why i would have to.
  15. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Cops, solders, and 3/4'ths of the worlds new handgun owners are gonna be dropping 9mm pistol's like flys in the situation you worry about.

    .38 Spls?
    Not so many laying around in the aftermath, I betcha.

    And usable 9mm ammo would be better trading stock in a survival situation then cobbled together .38's, I betcha that too!

    You are gonna need water, food, heat, and toilet paper much worse then .38 Spl ammo!
    I betcha that three!

  16. oldgold

    oldgold Well-Known Member

    Once upon a time, I had several thousand 9mm FMJ bullets and wanted to load .38s.

    Out of a GP-100 accuracy was lousy. The Python I had shot good groups.
    I suspect the Python barrel is a little tighter.

    As far as decapping live primers, in fifty years of reloading I've decapped more live primers than most guys on here have loaded. Never had one go off.
  17. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't use a powder I can't identify that came from breaking down ammo. The charge would be too light,it might launch the bullet out the barrel. Then again a stuck bullet in the barrel is the most likely scenario. Re use the primer and the bullet throw the powder on your plants or lawn,it makes great fertilizer.
  18. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I never thought about it before?

    But I would argue that a typical 9mm powder charge, dumped straight into a .38 Spl case, and capped with a typical 9mm bullet, would be very close to a typical .38 Special standard pressure load.

    At most, a low end .38 +P.
    But certainly not a squib, stuck bullet, or over-pressure event.

  19. Blade&Bullet94

    Blade&Bullet94 Well-Known Member

    one problem with that highlander, i live in a household of smokers.... i would rather not burn the block down. XD
  20. Blade&Bullet94

    Blade&Bullet94 Well-Known Member

    well i guess the only way to put this to bed is to try it out.i need to get a bullet puller anyway, and im going to see if my boss (i work at the local gunshop) can tell me the bore of my revolver, iv heard several peopel say Llama commanche 2s are pretty accurate, so maybe its got a tighter barrel and itll work. when get everything ready, ill head to the range and record it, and post a link to my video on this thread.

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