Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by savagelover, Sep 30, 2022.
I had a Model 28 to scratch that itch for a while. The 38/44s have a different vibe to them though!
Without getting into history and ballistics, there is no .38 Special load that a .357 Magnum gun cannot handle.
Oh ya, easily.
A .38/44 HD is one of my grail guns as well. Ive only ever seen ONE in the flesh and it was big $$$ even 7-8 years ago.
I did see an Outdoorsman recently- but it was rather rough and still priced like a minty M27.
Just use published data with traditional slow powders like 2400 and you will get a close safe load that takes advantage of the extra barrel length.
If it will feed properly, yes. .38/44 pressures are comparable to or less than the .357 magnum, your Rossi is a .357 magnum rifle .
The ‘92s can be picky eaters. You might get better feeding with .357 cases.
I've also heard a lot of folks say that these loads were dangers because .38 brass is weaker. Hogwash! I tested the theory with el cheapo Winchester .38 brass and gave up after 22 loadings using Keith's 2400 data.
I've had two of these guns, always wanted a nice 4" HD. First was a really nice 6.5" that I ended up trading for a Mundenized 629. Later came a well worn and awfully refinished 4" that was too bad to fix.
It seems that you were testing longevity, not strength.
And correct me if I am wrong but Keith did indeed use the 358156 crimped in the lower crimp groove in order to make space for the extra charges. In essence he just made .357 Magnum loads in .38 brass. No need for that today though. But the man had a pair for sure.
This 5" is the old long action version of the S&W N-frame. Don't know if the letter will be legible but S&W says it shipped from the factory in 1938 to El Paso, Texas.
This 4" Heavy Duty is from about 1952-3 and has the more modern short action. As you can see it shows a lot of holster wear but mechanically it is quite sound. The DA trigger pull is factory original heavy but smooth and a joy to shoot. It came with the incorrect smooth target stocks, which I've replaced with period correct diamond checkered Magna stocks and a grip adapter. Unfortunately I haven't taken a picture of it with the proper handles.
I load 11.5g of 2400 behind a 158g bullet to duplicate the original ballistic performance which S&W claimed was a 158g projectile at 1125 fps. The only factory ammunition I know of that duplicates the original 38-44 is Buffalo Bore's Heavy 38 Special +P 158g SWCHP-GC. Their solid bullet Outdoorsman version should be the same but I haven't fired it. The SWCHP-GC is my everyday carry load and I have more experience with that one.
Could you please direct me to the source of this information? Thanks.
Never mind. I found it.
As has been stated, when S&W developed the high velocity 38 Special load, they chambered it in a large N frame revolver. This size was chosen because the cylinder was large and would have more steel between the chambers than the cylinder of a K frame revolver. S&W did not feel the steel available at the time was strong enough for the pressure developed by the the high velocity 38 Special rounds in a K frame cylinder.
The N frame had been developed for the 44 Hand Ejector, 1st Model (the Triple Lock) in 1907. So the logical choice to name the new revolvers was 38, for 38 caliber, and 44, for the N frame usually associated with 44 caliber revolvers.
There were two versions of the 38/44 revolvers. The 38/44 Heavy Duty model with fixed sights was introduced in 1930. This 38/44 Heavy Duty shipped in 1931.
The 38/44 Outdoorsman with adjustable sights was introduced in 1931. This 38/44 Outdoorsman shipped in 1933.
This photo of a 38/44 Heavy Duty cylinder illustrates how much steel surrounded each chamber.
In 1935 Smith and Wesson, aware that a shooter might chamber one of the high velocity rounds in a conventional 38 Special revolver, lengthened the case by about 1/8", creating the 357 Magnum cartridge. A new revolver, simply called The 357 Magnum was created at that time for the new 357 Magnum round. This led to the Registered Magnums, which had a production number stamped on the frame and they were registered at the factory to the owners. In 1957, when S&W changed over to a model number system, The 357 Magnum revolver became the Model 27.
How can you have one without the other?
You test strength by assessing at what pressure it fails. Counting the times something can be reloaded is just counting the times something can be reloaded, not a strength test.
Also, the source I found for the 40,000 psi number (actually 42,000 psi) said that was what Elmer Keith's handloads were, but it does not say that was the pressure of the 38/44 factory ammo.
I recently purchased a model 28 to see what all the fuss was about. Yeah, 357 needs an N frame, not doubt about it. A K frame model 19 isn't the ideal platform.
But he favored lighter bullets than Keith, loading a 146 gr cast HP to amazing velocities.
I can't find any data on the .38 Special-HV round, how close was it velocity-wise to the .357 Magnum?
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