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.38 s&w?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by LJ-MosinFreak-Buck, Mar 12, 2012.

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  1. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Member

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    At my LGS there are a pair of top-break revolvers in .38 S & W and I would like to know where I could buy ammo if I were to purchase one, and what you guys thought of them. They are both H&R, though model I am unsure. Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012
  2. Salmoneye

    Salmoneye Member

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    .38 S&W is available at most online retail ammo sources, and even my LGS has it...

    It is still made in many countries around the world...

    CheaperThanDirt only shows Remington in stock, but I found cheap (appx $20/50rds) Partizan ammo on a few other sites...
     
  3. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Correct, .38 S&W ammo is still available but it's on the expensive side. I like those older top-break revolvers especially in .38 S&W or even .32 S&W.

    I just found some online that's not all that expensive compared to the Remington Express ammo I've seen around. This one is only $19.95/50 rounds, not all that bad today!
     
  4. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Member

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    Might have to pick one up then. Get paid Monday, so... :roll eyes:
     
  5. RUT

    RUT Member

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    >>38 S&W or even .32 S&W.<<

    Anemic and more anemic yet.............. :p
     
  6. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Member

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    I've an affinity for top-breaks. Lol
     
  7. RUT

    RUT Member

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    Well, I have one of each, and they're pretty much relegated to the "paper weight" department. :D
     
  8. RevolvingGarbage

    RevolvingGarbage Member

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    I would say .38S&W is at least as good as .380, though bullet selection in factory ammo limits you to only 146gr RNL or maybe copper plated bullets. Its a whole lot better than .32ACP or .25ACP/.22LR. If one reloads, a full 147gr wadcutter at 700 FPS will do the job just fine.
     
  9. Murcielago

    Murcielago Member

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    My grandmother kept an Iver Johnson .38 S&W in her bedside table. None of us worried about her being under-gunned.
     
  10. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Member

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    Well like someone stated on a similar post, they would probably last longer when loaded with black powder for the propellant. Any thoughts?
     
  11. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Member

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    And I'm not planning to carry it. Just my affinity with top breaks and an occasional range session.
     
  12. LubeckTech

    LubeckTech Member

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    The British used them in both wars and then some with 200gr bullets!!
     
  13. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I load up and shoot some 38/200 rounds in my Enfield revolver. It's fun to try and replicate those wartime rounds. (I know they went to FMJ bullets because of the Geneva Convention rules)
     
  14. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Harrington & Richardson top-break pocket revolvers are roughly divided between "Old," and "New" models. The first have a flat mainspring, and the cylinder can be rotated by hand when the trigger and hammer are forward. These were made up to about 1908, and should not be fired unless the cartridges are loaded with black powder.

    The New Models were made up to about 1941, and have coil mainsprings. When the hammer and trigger are in the forward position the cylinder cannot be rotated. They are considered to be safe to fire using current-day ammunition loaded with smokeless powder.

    With occasional exceptions, accuracy is not particularly outstanding, partly because of the revolver's construction, and partly because the sights are difficult to see, even under the best of conditions.

    In recent years they have attracted some collector interest, but only if they are in outstanding condition.

    If one has to be repaired by a gunsmith (if it can indeed be repaired) the bill may come to more then the revolver’s worth. If you buy one keep this in mind.
     
  15. Pyro

    Pyro Member

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  16. PRM

    PRM Member

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    Depends on the year of manufacture. Some of them were built during an era when there were only black powder cartridges and these should only be fired with cartridges loaded with that propellant. Later production, were produced during the smokeless era.

    I would think anything made after 1910 should be OK with smokeless (Some sources put the smokeless era back to 1900). Modern 38 S&Ws are loaded fairly light because of the older guns. You could always go with caution and re-load with black powder. It is easier on the gun. Black powder is a little more trouble - gotta keep the gun clean because of its corrosive nature. But, I have had a lot more fun shooting the black powder cartridges than the smokeless. I have a Perfected Model S&W that dates to 1914 that is one of my all time favorite guns.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2012
  17. Nushif

    Nushif Member

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    One thing I notice when shooting my older revolver in 38 S&W is regardless of how much it's supposed to only bounce off an attacker and make them laugh, the suckers are accurate! Like ten yards one hole accurate. And the recoil feels just right for such a small gun.
    Gonna be honest here. I like the round. If I'm gonna fight the proverbial methed up ex-Marine crack addict fire-team with their stolen M4s, Interceptor vests and kevlars, when they come stealing my XBox I won't want to use a handgun no matter the caliber anyways.
     
  18. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

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    If you decide to reload the .38 S&W is a safer round because the case is short and if you accidently double charge one you can see the powder. The .38 special case is so long that you can double or even tripple charge it and still not see deep enough into the case to notice. This is a danger with older revolver rounds that were originally designed for bulkey black powder.
     
  19. 230RN
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    230RN Marines raising the left-leaning Pisa tower.

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    There's been one in the family for a while and I kind of liked it, and did reload it with some nominal charge of fast smokeless --enough to go bang. The tactical implications of it were significant, though, because after using it, I realized how awkward side-breaking revolvers were to load and reload in comparison.

    With the top-break, you just flip the barrel and the cases are extracted automatically to the point where only a flip of the wrist is enough to shuck out the empties, and reloading was much easier with the whole face of the cylinder open for a refill. I also loved the fact that the cylinder came off easily for cleaning.

    Oh, and the fit, finish, and machining were outstanding on the Smith brand model. There's beauty there, even if you never shoot it. The rifling in that thing is mirror-smooth!

    When I got a five-shot J-frame, I often wondered if the HKS 36 speed loader would have been suitable for fast reloading, but the S&W .38 is no longer immediately available to me to try it. (The .38 S&W cartridge case is slightly bigger in diameter than the .38 Special / .357 Magnum case.)

    I did reload cut-down .38 Special cases for it, but (A)I had a lathe, and (B) the .38 SPL cases expanded a little too much for me to continue experimenting in that direction. In addition, the bullets were larger than .357, so I used unsized .38 SPL cast bullets from a mold I had. One thing that bothered me about it was the bolt notches in the cylinder were cut directly over the chamber walls, resuting in an apparent (to me) weakness.

    I've often thought that if they could beef up the locking system for higher-powered cartridges it would be almost ideal for a defense revolver from a fast-reload standpoint, and when I voiced this opinion on-line, someone pointed out that the Russians had made (are making?) a top-break in .357.

    Conclusion? If I were in your LGS, I'd buy it, but only use factory ammo.

    Terry, 230RN

    REFS:

    (Ballistics for .38 S&W 146 grain bullet --not too bad, if that's all you got --152 ft-lb at bellybutton distance):

    http://www.magtechammunition.com/store/p14details508.php

    Note there is no +P loading... in capital letters, no less. :)

    (Comparison to .380 ACP 95 grain bullet, 190 ft-lb):

    http://www.magtechammunition.com/store/p14details446.php?pagePath=00000000,00000102itemList=

    COMMENT:

    My personal preference would be to go for the heavier bullet with slightly less energy with no other choices. But that's just me.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2012
  20. RevolvingGarbage

    RevolvingGarbage Member

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    When I carry my old .38 S&W I.J top break snub, I carry the reload in a slightly modified HKS 36 speedloader. The modification was just a little sanding on the star piece so that it didn't hold the cartridges so tight. Works great!
     
  21. LJ-MosinFreak-Buck

    LJ-MosinFreak-Buck Member

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    Thanks guys. Might be talking to the shop owner about purchasing then. Gotta go renew my purchase permit, though.
     
  22. 230RN
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    230RN Marines raising the left-leaning Pisa tower.

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    "Gotta go renew my purchase permit, though" = "infringement"

    Good to know about the HKS 36 at least lining up the cartridges right, and the tip about trimming the star. Thanks.
     
  23. Hondo 60
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    Hondo 60 Member

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    Just another reason to learn how to reload.

    I find it very relaxing and fun all in the same breath.

    Plus you can tailor your ammo to your liking.
    For example: you can make "OH MY GOSH" 44 magnums that Dirty Harry wouldn't fire,
    or you make what are called "mouse fart loads" - Very soft shooting loads
    (I have a box of OMG, but mostly mouse farts)

    My point is, if ammo is hard to find or expensive, I can just load up a couple hundred & go to the range.
     
  24. Deaf Smith

    Deaf Smith Member

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    Nuth'en funner than my old Webley!

    [​IMG]

    I think there is a few bullet manufactures that make .360 diameter lead slugs to.

    Deaf
     
  25. Nushif

    Nushif Member

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    I ... want .... that gun! So bad.

    [edit]

    As in, where can I buy one? Where do I find one?
     
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