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Taurus 380 UL revolver take 38SPC WC ammo, or could it?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Ohen Cepel, Sep 2, 2019.

  1. Ohen Cepel

    Ohen Cepel Member

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    So, for years I had hoped for a compact 38SPC revolver made to the smallest size possible to take wadcutter ammo only. This would allow the cylinder and frame to be as short as possible.

    Well, it seems the Taurus 380 UL may be just the thing, or near to this idea. For those who own them, do you know if wadcutter .38 will fit into them? Should be enough length in the cylinder but I'm not sure if it would need to be reamed to allow the 38 to fit into it.

    I'm also not sure if there is enough room for the case rims in the cylinder.

    Don't want a 380 revolver but if this could be reamed to be what I have pondered I'm game to try it.
    Pressure levels should be fine.

    Issues I'm missing here?

    Yes, it is a limited idea but with some gain to it and if it only cost the a little cylinder ream job that is fine.
     
  2. Havok7416
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    Havok7416 Member

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    This won't work the way you are thinking. The gun is designed for .380 which is rimless and in this application uses thin moonclips. The .38 Special is a rimmed cartridge with a thicker rim. Just buy a .38 Special revolver. It will be cheaper and safer than the calamity you are planning.

    Edit: The cartridge dimensions aren't the same even if you throw out the length.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
  3. mcb

    mcb Member

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    I suspect the cases would not chamber with the case month getting stopped in the chamber throat of the 380 ACP chamber. You would likely have to run a 38 special chamber reamer into the cylinder.

    As for head space moonclips would likely make this idea work once the chambers are dealt with. 380 ACP being a rimless cartridge will use a thicker ~.035 moonclips similar to other rimless cartridges. Nominal rim thickness is .045, this make the head space ~.080.

    38 Special has a thicker rim at a nominal .058 but 38 Special typically uses much thinner moonclips usually between .020 - .025 inch thick. .022 thick moonclips are available and would make the same .080 headspace. Assuming the chamber spacing is the same as some existing 5-shot 38 special moonclips it should headspace close enough to work.
     
  4. Ohen Cepel

    Ohen Cepel Member

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    Thanks for the input.

    I have several .38's so that isn't the goal. Goal it to have as small of a .38 as possible designed for 38WC ammo to keep it short and light. If you look at the 380 compared to a J frame you'll see that is it sized much smaller in all dimensions.

    mcb-good points on the rim.

    It may not be worth doing with the 380 as a base, or may get too $$ to make sense to same some length and weight. However, I have seen people go after larger follies :) Myself included.........
     
  5. ontarget

    ontarget Member

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    I may be wrong here but I don't think the 380 and 38 Spl use the same bullet diameter either. So I'm thinking your barrel will not work even if you ream your chambers.
     
  6. Apuesto

    Apuesto member

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    You could purchase a .38 special revolver and have a machinist/gunsmith mill down the cylinder to your desired length and then set the barrel deeper into the frame. The frame size will be the same, but you will have a lot less barrel sticking out.

    Would be an ugly duckling though ...
     
  7. Havok7416
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    Havok7416 Member

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    They are .002 different. This isn't enough to make an appreciable difference and in fact many people reload .357/.358 bullets into 9mm class (.355/.356) class pistols and vice versa.
     
  8. ontarget

    ontarget Member

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    My bad. I thought there was a bigger difference.
     
  9. zaitcev

    zaitcev Member

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    I think that unlike e.g. Korth/Nighthawk, which has a bespoke short cylinder, the Taurus 380 UL uses the same cylinder as its 38 Special equivalent, Taurus Model 85. {Update: Actually, they are not the same. The diameter is 1.342..1.346, but the M85's cylinder is longer.}

    I took a picture for you to demonstrate the cylinder size of the Taurus M380:

    taurus_380.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
    Jeb Stuart and weregunner like this.
  10. DWFan

    DWFan Member

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    The .380 ACP headspaces on the case mouth which means there is no taper into the cylinder throats so you'll have to lengthen the chambers to fit the longer .38 Special brass. Special brass is slightly larger in diameter but should fit as long as the chambers are absolutely clean. Bullet diameter shouldn't be an issue. The .380 operates at 21.5 kpsi so pressure shouldn't be an issue either. I can't speak about the .380 clips but the factory clips for the Raging Thirty .30 Carbine are only .020" thick. Clips from TK Custom are either .020" or .025".
     
  11. mcb

    mcb Member

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    A quick look at the 380 ACP cartridge drawing show why they use such a thin moonclips.. Nearly every other rimless revolver on the market uses moonclips that are ~.035 thick but 380 ACP does not have as generous of an extractor groove as other common rimless handgun cartridges. None the less if the 380 is using such thin moonclips it would mean there is material on the cylinder to be removed if you really had you heart set on converting it to 38 Special.
     
  12. walnut1704

    walnut1704 Member

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    I'm pretty sure the frame and cylinder are a tad shorter than the 85. But maybe not. If you reload....

    https://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/reloads/70480-wildcat-making-rimmed-380-case-m380-revolver.html

    Added: Various print reviews of the Taurus .380 say that the frame and cylinder are smaller than the .38 Spl.

    "The M380 is not chambered for .38 Spl. like most of the defensive wheelguns in this category and it’s not a “J-Frame” either. Instead, it fires .380 ACP cartridges using Taurus Star Clips—more commonly known as moon clips—to hold fresh cartridges and to eject the spent cases. This revolver dodges the label "J-Frame" because of its reduced dimensions. That's where the "Mini" in the name comes from. The barrel, frame and cylinder have all been trimmed down to take advantage of the smaller .380 cartridge, while the grip, trigger guard and trigger are all still the same size as a typical .38 Spl. The result is a lighter, more compact revolver that still feels good to hold and to operate."

    https://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/2012/2/1/taurus-m380-ib-mini-revolver/
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
  13. Ohen Cepel

    Ohen Cepel Member

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    Thanks for the input from everyone. Several things to ponder here to see if it makes any sense. I like the article on the guy cutting 38 to make a rimmed version. Would be easier than modifying the gun I know.

    Shooting Times article that just came out has a pic of the 380 UL next to a J-frame to show the size difference. Its not huge, but is there.
    https://www.shootingtimes.com/editorial/taurus-380-revolver-review/365617
     
  14. straightshooterjake

    straightshooterjake Member

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    I like the idea of a .38 special revolver made as small as possible. If I did have a wadcutter only revolver, I would consider using the Federal HST .38 +P micro load. These rounds are pretty much the same size as a wadcutter, but they use a very wide hollow point bullet loaded flush with the case mouth. Lucky gunner did a review if you want to see pictures.

    https://www.luckygunner.com/lounge/tested-federal-hst-38-special-p/

    And though I do like the idea of a smaller .38 special revolver, there is an even smaller revolver that I would like to see. I have been hoping for a 5 shot .32 H&R Magnum revolver with a reduced frame and cylinder to make the 5 shot .32 as small as possible. I never expect to see such a thing, but I can still hope.
     
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  15. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    Why not cast wadcutters and size them to .355/356, same principle unless you are looking for more punch?
     
  16. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm Member

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    Lack of space in the .380 case?
     
  17. mcb

    mcb Member

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    If you 're loading for a revolver you can leave the bullet sticking way out past SAAMI OAL. As long as you have enough bullet in the case to keep it from moving and the cylinder can still turn you are good to go.
     
  18. JohnEReb

    JohnEReb Member

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    Comparing my S&W 442 to the American Rifleman article posted by walnut1704 with specs on the Taurus, we have the following.

    The weight and width of both revolvers are the same. The 442 is shorter in height, 4.25" vs. 4.80" for the Taurus. The OAL of the Taurus is less, 5.95" vs. 6.375" on the 442.

    So the only thing you are gaining as far as size with the Taurus is an OAL of .425" less than the S&W. If less than a half inch of OAL is important to you, maybe it would be easier to get the J Frame and whack a little off the barrel to make it shorter?
     
  19. Cokeman

    Cokeman Member

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    You could always get one and shoot .380s out of it. ;)
     
  20. once0217

    once0217 Member

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    You may want to look at the Taurus 85 View/No View models. It is a very small compact 5 shot revolver.
     
  21. Jeb Stuart

    Jeb Stuart member

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