1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why no revolver/pistol crossover calibers?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Hoffy, Oct 8, 2007.

  1. Hoffy

    Hoffy Well-Known Member

    Could someone please educate me why there are few calibers that are used in both revolvers and pistols?
  2. Josh Aston

    Josh Aston Well-Known Member

    because revolvers generally use rimmed rounds and autos use rimless rounds.

    For the most part rimmed rounds won't feed that well in autos and rimless rounds won't headspace well in revos.
  3. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    Most autopistol cartridges are rimless. So they require clips or complicated trick extractors to work in a revolver.

    Revolver cartridges are rimmed, which makes them hard to feed from a magazine. Most revolver cartridges are longer than comparable autopistol cartridges and an auto with conventional butt magazine gets pretty unwieldy if made for a revolver cartridge.

    The 1917 .45 ACP Colts and Smiths were wartime expedients that still have a fair following in the S&W 625 series. The various 9mm DA revolvers originated in response to French police interest. S&W 10mm, .40, and .38 Super revolvers were targeted at marketing niches. Which turned out to be too small to bother with. Ruger single action convertibles were meant to take advantage of rod ejectors to let non-handloaders shoot surplus ammo.
  4. pinkymingeo

    pinkymingeo Well-Known Member

    Generally there's not much need. Who wants a 32acp revolver? On the other hand, 45acp shines in revolvers. Much more versatile than in semi's. The handloader can use a big variety of bullets and OAL's. It can be a serious hunting round. Another "niche" caliber that really makes sense is 10mm. In a N-frame Smith heavy loads approach the power of .41mag, but are much more pleasant to shoot. 380? Forget it.
  5. RPCVYemen

    RPCVYemen Well-Known Member

    Different design parameters lead to different design choices.

    Size Paremeters

    Autoloader calibers have a strong size limitations - especially with regard to size, compared to revolvers. There is a limit on the length of a cartridge due to the fact that you need to wrap a grip around 8-15 of them, and that grip has to be usable for people with normal sized hands. For a revolver, cartridge length is not so important. I have friend who has a BFR in 45-70! An Autoloader in 45-70 would have a very large grip.

    The classic revolver cartridges were designed at a time when black powder dominated, or are derived from those cartridges. Volume was very important - the 45 LC is an enormous cartridge because it needed to be when it was introduced. Even though black powder no longer predominates, since the cases were large anyway, revolvers were adopted by hunters. Hunters seek a lot of power out of a handgun. In fact, many autoloader loads are pretty wimpy when compared to their revolver compatriots. A standard 45 LC load (255gr@900fps) would be a pretty warm 45 ACP load, and a powerful 45 LC load (300gr@1300 fps) would be an extremely powerful 45 ACP load. Most 40 S&W or 10mm loads are a good deal lighter than 41 Magnum loads.

    Power Parameters

    Another design limitation of autoloader cartridges is that they need to cycle the action of a "standard" autoloader. That implies a "power floor" - a manufacturer tries to sell a 9mm round that is too weak to cycle most 9mm autos will be out of business.

    Because revolver cartridges do not have to cycle a slide, they can also be extremely light. A manufacturer can sell extremely light 38 wad cutter loads and be confident that they will function properly in every revolver out there. The same manufacturer can produce fire breathing 357 magnum loads that will work fine in many of the same revolvers. At a hand waving level, the powered required by a revolve is pretty much bounded by "bullet must exit barrel" and "cylinder/top strap must survive intact". That's a pretty broad range of power when compared to an autoloader.

    Different design requirements lead to different design choices.

  6. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

    The longer length of a revolver cartridge ought to pose problems in a semi as well; hard to feed, and long slide action.
  7. Hoffy

    Hoffy Well-Known Member


    All of these points make a lot of sense!
  8. 40SW

    40SW Well-Known Member

    You should also realize that all revolvers are pistols and so are all semi automatics handguns. A pistol is any firearm that you can COMFORTABLY shoot , aim, and fire, with one hand. Doesn't have to be, but thats the overriding definition. Alot of gun rags make the distinction in only refering to semi automatics as pistols, nothing could be further from the truth.
  9. critter

    critter Well-Known Member

    Yet somebody (maybe AMT) made a semiauto in .357 mag. The Desert Eagles are made in .357, .44 mag, etc. Could also consider that .22 rimfire comes in both semiauto, revolver and rifles too. Then you have revolvers using semiauto (rimless rounds) with moon clips. It can be done.
  10. karlsgunbunker

    karlsgunbunker Well-Known Member

    .45acp and 9mm revolvers are readily available.
    I have 2 .45acp Taurus Revolvers and they still make a 9mm as does S&W.
  11. warriorsociologist

    warriorsociologist Well-Known Member

    Don't be so hasty to judge him and tell him what he "should" start doing. No offense, but just because you operate with that definition does not make it universal.

    Personally, I must say the way I was trained (Military & Federal LEO), both "pistols" (semi-autos) and "revolvers" (well, "wheelguns") are commonly classified as handguns and fit your general definition (one-handed/non-shoulder discharge weapons)... It's a simple distinction, actually, but when I hear someone generally refer to a revolver as a "pistol" (vs. a revolver or a "handgun")...I immediatly liken it to someone calling a magazine a "clip." Again, it seems there are "different schools" of training...and this is just my experience.

    Which of us is "right"...well, that's probbaly not too important...but it's also for neither of us to decide.

  12. 40SW

    40SW Well-Known Member

    Nobody is being judged. My definition is factual and correct. Thank you for your LEO and federal training, but it does not mean that a revolver is not a pistol. Federal and leo training does not make it correct.
  13. Quiet

    Quiet Well-Known Member

    So, are 10mm revolvers.
  14. 40SW

    40SW Well-Known Member

    A 45colt and a 9mm are BOTH PISTOL CARTRIDGES., because there are pistols chambered for them.
  15. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    And all these years, I thought a Model of 1847 Army Pistol (Colt Walker) was a horse pistol, not a Horse Revolver! :what:

  16. 40SW

    40SW Well-Known Member

    You are exactly right, the term pistol is about 500 yrs.old, obviously predates "revolver" by a FEW (sarcasm) years. (northern italian town: pistoia).
    Beretta started making pistols a VERY long time ago.
  17. warriorsociologist

    warriorsociologist Well-Known Member

    Ok...well, for starters, thanks for being a NRA instructor...

    :rolleyes: And from what font of knowledge are you getting your information? 40S&W, I never claimed to have the "end all be all" answer. SInce you raised the "fact" claim though, all I can say is that in my experience dealing with how weapons are categorized at crimes scenes, my categorization scheme is what I have seem more often. Further, again since you now have me a bit amused by the energy you seem to be putting into the defense of your opinion (and your sarcasm has a little to do with it too) a quick internet search reveals the following from the GFT:

    Sure there are "more than one / two ways to skin a cat", but remember it was you who issued the claim to have THE aswer when you told another poster he should start thinking like you and that "all the gun rags" were wrong (again, because they didn't agree with you). Remeber, the same logic you apply to me & them also applies equally to you. Of course you are entitled to your opinion, but please remember it is exactly (and no more than) that. Further, it's not exactly polite or wise to believe your opinion trumps everyone elses.

    So by that logic, because I have a T/C Encore pistol in .308 (and one that can fire .410 shells..for that matter) makes the .308 a "pistol cartridge" too? Look, let's not get sidetracked here. This is about semantics and not worth leaving "The High Road" to dicker about.

    I think this is where we are on this:

    You --> Everything that can be fired with one hand = "pistol"
    Me --> "insert same idea here" = "handgun" (of which, there are several "types" (revolvers, pistols, single-shots, etc). Just like there are many types of "rifles" (bolt actions, semi-autos, etc.) and "shotguns" (you get the point).

    Heck, 40S&W, the very forum you founded & own even suggests that you agree with my definition at some level since on it you maintain two sub-forums entitled:
    ...remind me again...what's the point of arguing about this????

    SO...I sincerely don't want this thread to go downhill becuse of this issue so please, 40S&W, if you want to debate me on this point, start a new thread or send me a PM. I'm not going to contribute to the trashing of this thread by reply again about this here.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2007
  18. 40SW

    40SW Well-Known Member

    I wish I could lay claim to the definition, but here is the source. My definition is verbatim from the below listed source. If you have a problem with it, please write the NRA.
    The NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Handbook.
    Page VII
    Definition of Pistol.
  19. savit260

    savit260 Well-Known Member

    Deuling pistols

    Revolving pistol.(revovler)

    Auto loading (automatic) pistol
    Pistols all, and all handguns. ;)
  20. 40SW

    40SW Well-Known Member

    excellent illustrations and 100% correct.

Share This Page