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  #1  
Old 01-18-2013, 11:42 PM
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Default .38 cartriges, whats the difference?

What's the difference between a .38 S&W and a .38 special cartridge?
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Old 01-19-2013, 01:18 AM
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The shorter .38 S&W dates to 1877 while .38 S&W special was introduced in 1899. The two do not interchange because the.38 S&W has a few thousandths larger diameter case and bullet. There is a much greater variety of .38 special loads on the market and they are a lot easier to find in stock. Usually only the largest gun stores will have .38 S&W and it will be more expensive. Most folks don’t consider the .38 S&W to be powerful enough to be a good choice for self defense, but the British Empire used it as their primary military hand gun cartridge from the mid-1930s through WWII.

Last edited by k22fan; 01-19-2013 at 04:26 AM.
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Old 01-19-2013, 01:34 AM
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The two are not interchangeable and should not be fired in the wrong revolver.

.38 S&W
Designed by S&W in 1877
Bullet diameter .361"
Neck diameter .3855"
Base diameter .3865"
Rim diameter .440"
Rim thickness .055"
Case length .775"
COAL 1.240"

.38 S&W Special
Designed by S&W in 1898/1899
Parent Case .38 Long Colt
Bullet diameter .357"
Neck diameter .379"
Base diameter .379"
Rim diameter .44"
Rim thickness .058"
Case length 1.155"
COAL 1.55"
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:18 AM
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So the .38 S&W is for the older guns while the .38 special will work for the modern guns and the 357 magnum. Thanks for clearing that up for me.
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:25 PM
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Worked for the "Wild,wild,West", back in the day..........
before the big 40 cal type,took everything by storm.

Was good for squirrel hunting.............
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:20 PM
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Sometimes a picture helps...

Attachment 98789

.38 SPL vs .38 S&W

Last edited by Alnamvet68; 08-11-2013 at 07:50 AM.
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Old 01-19-2013, 11:08 PM
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Thanks guys. Cleared that up for me.
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