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Old 01-30-2010, 07:33 PM
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Default .38 S&W auto vs. .38 Special vs. 38 S&W

Just found some old S&W .38 auto in some boxes I inherited. Not familier with this round. Can I shoot it in a .38/.357 revolver? Looks like the same round but shorter.

Also-I have some .38 S&W. They seem fatter than the .38 special and on another forum I get mixed answers if I can fire from a .38/357 gun.
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Old 01-30-2010, 08:07 PM
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I'm not certain to which cartridge you refer. There was the old Colt .38 ACP and the later .38 Super. There was a .35 S&W auto cartridge. There's the .380 ACP. There was the .38 AMU.

Is this Smith & Wesson brand ammunition, perhaps in a blue box with white lettering?

I've fired .38 S&W factory loads in .38 Special guns over the years, at least the ones that will chamber. In a given box of factory .38 S&W ammunition I've found that some will chamber and some won't. Some can be forced with varying degrees of success. If one becomes stuck then it must be prodded out with a rod. When firing .38 S&W ammunition in a .38 Special the results are "underwhelming." Accuracy is reasonable at close range and cases eject normally. Nothing detrimental happens and nothing enriching happens either.
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Old 01-30-2010, 08:22 PM
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.38 Auto is also known as .38 Rimless Smokeless. It's a John Browning design originally chambered in the Colt 1900 "Sight Safety". The case dimensions are virtually identical to the .38 Super, but the .38 Auto is much lower pressure.

Colt 1902 Pocket (Hammer) top - .38 Rimless, Smokeless


.38 S&W is a shorter/fatter cartridge than a .38 S&W Special and the two are not interchangeable.
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Last edited by s&wchad; 01-30-2010 at 08:37 PM. Reason: Pic added
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Old 02-01-2010, 12:37 PM
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No boxes on either. Just marked " Peters .38 S&W" and another group "Peters .32 S&W". The ".38 auto" was a typo.......sorry. That was .32 Auto which I understand only goes in .32 semi-autos and not revolvers.
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:05 PM
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The 38 S&W uses a larger .361" bullet and not a .357" one, so no it can't be shot out of .38/.357 gun.

Last edited by handgunner356; 02-01-2010 at 03:08 PM.
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