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38 S&W NOT Special

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Joespapa, May 1, 2014.

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  1. Joespapa

    Joespapa Member

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    Got my hands on an old "top break" S&W chambered in 38 S&W and been shooting it with Black Powder and having a blast!
    So what I'm interested in is any info on those old wwII British "top-breaks" chambered in that caliber. Saw a couple at the last gun show I went to. Wanted one but I would like to find out about 'em from someone that has some experience with them. I believe both Webley and Enfield made them?
    Any info would be appreciated.
     
  2. 45_auto

    45_auto Member

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    I have a 1942 Webley MkIV (.38 S&W). It's a great piece of history and fun to shoot. Shoots great with standard .38 caliber 158 grain SWC over 3.2 grains of Unique, just over 700 FPS
     
  3. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    A friend has a Webley. Unlike the old S&W Top Breaks, he is not afraid to shoot it with Smokeless. Pretty strong action, and unlike the S&W Top Breaks they were made well into the Smokeless era, so they are safe to shoot with factory Smokeless ammo.
     
  4. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

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    Pictures please.

    IF it is a S&W, it is not a Webley or an Enfield, and if it is either of those two, it is not a S&W. Though all three made revolvers that would fire .38 S&W, the rounds issued for the Webley Mk IV and Enfield No. 2 Mk I were labled ".38/200" or ".380 Mk IIz Revolver".
     
  5. DPris

    DPris Member

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    I have a snub-ized Enfield that shoots .38S&W just fine.
    Yes, originally the British round used a heavier bullet, but those & the .38S&W are the same caliber & can be fired interchangeably in either Webleys or Enfields.
    Denis
     
  6. BobWright

    BobWright Member

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    JRH6856:

    I believe the Original Poster differentiated between his S&W and "those British Service revolvers."

    Just to clarify my understanding lest there be confusion here abouts.

    Just as a matter of interest, here are some period cartridges:

    [​IMG]

    Bob Wright
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  7. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

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    Sorry. I didn't mean to imply otherwise. I was confused as to whether the OP had purchased a S&W. or an unidentified British service revolver that fired .38 S&W.
     
  8. Radagast
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    Radagast Moderator Staff Member

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    I've shot half a dozen Enfield & Webley top breaks in .38 S&W / .38/200.

    uniformly, they all shot low with 148 grain factory ammo, but did better with heavier handloads. Accuracy was minute of barn door for some, others were about two inches at 10 yards.
    The trigger is absolutely awful in double action, to heavy for my digital scale to read.
    Ejection is fast and positive. They are an interesting gun to shoot. I only sold mine because I couldn't find any ammo for three years.
     
  9. DPris

    DPris Member

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    JR,
    Some days I think we're ALL confused.
    I was confused over your confusion. :)
    Denis
     
  10. Crowman

    Crowman Member

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    I have an early production 1932 Enfield .380/200 that shoots to point of aim with hand loaded 200 grain cast bullets, prints low with lighter American .38 S&W factory loads. Haven't put a spring gauge on it, but the double action on mine is very smooth and single action is light and crisp, probably due to early production run. Sights are pretty good for a military issue revolver. I put together a WW2 vintage khaki webbing ensemble consisting of belt, holster, ammo carrier and lanyard rig for it. It's a fun gun to play with.
     
  11. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I have an Enfield No.2 in 38 S&W and I usually shoot a 170gr flat nose .360" bullet. I also make up some 38/200 ammo from time to time just to respect the history. The Enfield is a very strong revolver and can safely shoot smokeless powder loads.

    If you are looking for bullets to load for your S&W Missouri Bullets has a 145gr .361" bullet for a very fair price.
    http://www.missouribullet.com/results.php?category=5&secondary=29
     
  12. Joespapa

    Joespapa Member

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    I'm using .358 hollow base wadcutters right now....appreciate the info, all who replied .
     
  13. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    When the British decided to change over from the iconic .455, which had the reputation of killing a man instantly from a hit anywhere on the body (the same "rep" the .45 ACP has with the ignorant), they ran tests and found that the power of the .455 could be equalled by a .38 caliber firing the American "manstopper" load with a 200 grain lead bullet, and that was the one they first adopted. They later realized that the Hague convention had banned lead bullets, so they settled for a 178 grain jacketed bullet (second from the right in Bob Wright's excellent picture). So early revolvers were sighted for the .38/200 while wartime ones were sighted for the jacketed bullet.

    But by the time the bullet was changed, the term ".38/200" had become so ingrained that British writers even today use it in reference to those revolvers, and S&W called the M&P when made in the .38 S&W caliber for our WWII Allies the ".38/200", even when the .38 Special version for the U.S. was called just the Military & Police, or the "Victory Model."

    Jim
     
  14. Deaf Smith

    Deaf Smith Member

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    Well I have a few S&W .38s.

    [​IMG]

    The guns look ALOT better in life than in this photo but..

    You have a RAAF .38 S&W revolver at the top. I took the 'trench art' grips off and put some regular S&W grips.

    Then a Colt Police Positive .38 S&W marked "Chase Manhattan Bank', a bank guards gun.

    And last my Webley Pocket Model .38 S&W.

    [​IMG]

    And this is the RAAF close up. The trench art grips beside it. The trench grips were made of Plexiglas and backed by aluminum (I bet from a downed aircraft.)
    In the grips were shinny circles I could not tell what.
    Those circles were actually two New Guinea 1939-1941 Shillings and two six pence (one from New Guinea and the other Australian.)

    Below it is my Italian 1934 military .380 made in 1941.

    Deaf
     

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    Last edited: May 4, 2014
  15. sixgunner455

    sixgunner455 Member

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    Never shot one, but watched a guy shooting hand loaded wadcutters through one last month as he won the local retired military pistol match. Shot the x and 10 ring out of the target. My old M&P was hitting low with my handloads, so I only came in second.
     
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