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What if the .38 spc. really was .38 hundredths ??

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by MIL-DOT, Feb 16, 2011.

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  1. MIL-DOT

    MIL-DOT member

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    .....instead of .35 ? That would have put it just a little shy of the now-in-vogue .40, so I'm wondering if the .38 really was a .38, would it's popularity not have waned in recent years?
    ( :D I ask this as a once-commited "bottom-feeder" fan, that has recently become enomored with .38's,.357's and old Smiths.)
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011
  2. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    Thirty-eight thousandths (.038") would be a mighty small bullet. :neener: I am sure you meant if it were a true .38 caliber (.380"). It is very hard to say if it would have affected its popularity, but probably not.
     
  3. Don357

    Don357 Member

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    Of course you know that when the .38 was .38, it was designed like a .22 rimfire. If you measure the outside of a .38/.357mag case, it should be .38 in. I think that the TRUE .38 would actually be a .41, if it were of a modern design. The inside measurement of a .41 Remington case would probably be close to .38 in.

    Just some brain fodder to chew on.
     
  4. MIL-DOT

    MIL-DOT member

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    Uh, OK.....Uh.....nevermind. :D
     
  5. franco45

    franco45 Member

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    I just bought another 38 special, a Charter Arms Undercover. In the past year I have bought a S&W 642, 2 Charter Arms 38s and a S&W pre model 10 M&P K frame. As you can tell I still like them.
     
  6. Waywatcher

    Waywatcher Member

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    Yeah, the outside dimension of the brass case of a .38 special is 0.379" and the bullets are 0.357" to 0.358"

    The bullet is really closest to 0.36"
     
  7. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Well, there was the 9.8 mm Colt; a true .38.
    How many of them do you see around?
    (They made two prototypes, got some ammo made, but abandoned the project when the 1911 was adopted by the US Army and guaranteed them a lot of sales.)
     
  8. flightsimmer

    flightsimmer Member

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    Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't the 38-40 a pre 10mm .380-.401 sized bullet?
     
  9. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Well, it was very close to .40 but it sure wasn't in a .380-.400" range.

    The .41 Long Colt started out with a .401" heel type bullet but later got a .386" hollowbase so they could have inside lubrication to try to keep up with .38 Special and .44 Special.
     
  10. evan price

    evan price Member

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    OK, What if the 44 special was really .440" instead of .429"?

    Would anyone care?
     
  11. David E

    David E Member

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    The 38-40 uses .401 diameter bullets.

    Davidsons had a sprecial run Ruger Blackhawk convertible with a cylinder for 38-40 and another for .40 S&W.
     
  12. Oyeboten

    Oyeboten Member

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    Don't forget, the .357 - .358 Diameter of the .38 Special Bullets, the Bullets tend to become a larger Diameter once they are experiencing a rapid deceleration in a resistive Target medium.
     
  13. Buck Snort

    Buck Snort Member

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    To answer your question Mil Dot, if the "38" actually measured .380 inches across then the world would be a wonderful place, the lamb would lay down with the lion, and peace and harmony would reign everywhere!! What else would you expect?
     
  14. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    The value of a few thousanths of an inch difference in bullet diameter is highly over-blown. Learn to place the bullet where it counts. A few thousanths of an inch will not make up for poor marksmanship. If you want more horsepower, add 1/10th inch to the case length, load it with, say, 17 grains of 2400 instead of 5 grains of unique, and top it with a good 140 grain JHP like Speer makes. THEN, you'll blow that .40 right out of the water. ;) Of course, you STILL need to know how to put that bullet where it counts. There's no getting around that.
     
  15. sixgunner455

    sixgunner455 Member

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    If the .38 Special had actually been a true .38 caliber bullet ... then the .357 MAGNUM might never have been born. I mean, really, how uncool would .380 MAGNUM sound? Nobody would buy that! And then SIG's bastard stepchild, .357 SIG, wouldn't have the same cachet as a 9mm SIG, or a .38 SIG, now would it? :D


    As far as the .38-40 - the 10mm LITE and the .40 S&W originally were loaded up with 180 gr .38-40 bullets, because it is actually a .40. Not really a shock, but most calibers are only labeled in the ballpark of what their actual diameter is.
     
  16. Dave T

    Dave T Member

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    Hear this all the time and up to a point it is true. However, I just saw a secutiry camera footage of a street shooting in Philadelphia. Victim fired 6 rounds of 380 right into the center chest of his assailant. The attacker just kept coming. A bit more power would have been very helpful.

    Dave
     
  17. sixgunner455

    sixgunner455 Member

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    Dave, any handgun caliber can have a failure to stop. .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, 9mm, .22 - doesn't matter. Any of them can fail to stop the target. Friend of mine got shot in Sacramento by a gang-member. .22 bullet went through his arm and into his chest.

    That was 20 years ago. He's still got that bullet in there. Not near anything important, just resting against a rib. Sure, a more powerful round might have done more, but it might not.
     
  18. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    A .45 isn't necessarily more powerful than a .357, just has a bigger bullet for what THAT'S worth, and you won't do much if you shoot him in the shoulder and it's always a crap shoot whether shooting him in the chest will stop him. A good JHP would be preferable to a FMJ, too, which most carry in the .380 due to lack of penetration with JHPs. However, a .38 does not have that penetration problem pushing a much heavier bullet with more momentum AND energy.

    Yeah, I'd carry a high cap .458 win mag pistol if they made one, if I could conceal it, and if I could control it after the first shot. There are trade offs one must accept.

    The original question was wheather a .38 in .380" would be any better than a .357" and I say no. I don't think it'd sell any better, either, not that .38 special is a poor seller even today!
     
  19. randytrapper

    randytrapper Member

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    "Dave, any handgun caliber can have a failure to stop. .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, 9mm, .22 - doesn't matter. Any of them can fail to stop the target. Friend of mine got shot in Sacramento by a gang-member. .22 bullet went through his arm and into his chest."

    Thats just it, there are so many unknowns.
    We had a fellow working for us that flew to coop and shot his GF. In defence she put her hands up and the bullet went threw her hand and up her arm exiting and hitting her in the neck. Killing her. He then put the gun in his mouth and managed 3 shots before unconsciousness. Afterwards, on the news he looked like he had 2 black eyes, but all in all not to bad.. Go figure. It was a .25 ACP. There are always extremes and this case happened to have them both!
     
  20. Manco

    Manco Member

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    If most people believe that the bullet's diameter is .38" because it's called .38 Special, which is probably the case, then the actual diameter doesn't matter much in terms of perception and popularity.
     
  21. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Ruger made .38-40/10mm convertible Blackhawks in 1990 for Buckeye Sports. The .38-40/.40S&W convertible made for Davidson's was a large frame Vaquero.
     
  22. sixgunner455

    sixgunner455 Member

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    Saw one of those Vaqueros the other day. Sweet revolver.
     
  23. texlaw67235

    texlaw67235 Member

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    I had always read that your handgun was just enough to get to your rifle,that you should have had to begin with.
     
  24. Haxby

    Haxby Member

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    The 41 Magnum would have been a lot more popular if the bullets had really measured .410 inch.

    Oh. Wait. Never mind.
     
  25. jhvaughan2

    jhvaughan2 Member

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    If the .38 was .38 back in '99, it would have been a .41.

    (Dig the 41 Long Colt)
     
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