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Old 07-15-2011, 07:43 PM
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Default Help finding Smith & Wesson .38 Super revolver

My father in law describes a revolver he grew up with raising horses in Mexico. He knew it was six shot, nickle plated, querno de venerdo (deer horn, Im assuming ivory type grips), "long" barrel (his words!) and in .38 super. He hasnt seen the gun in many years, and doesnt dare attempt to file to bring it here as the gov down there is too corupt. I'd really like to try n find him the same gun he grew up with.

The gun was in the family before the 70s btw as he immigrated durring that time.

I have posted this up in other areas of the net, and never thought to look here. I have been told that back then, many of the revolvers had been converted to shoot .38 super, as that is the only caliber civilians are allowed to own. If you have any information on what model gun was actually modified, I'd really like to try and track something down like this for him.

Thanks for the help!

-Jay
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Old 07-15-2011, 08:12 PM
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Hmmm. '.38 super' was/is a rimless cartridge developed by Colt for some models of 1911. Supposedly able to punch through all known body-armor in the 1930s.

While it is certainly conceivable that some revolvers were converted to take moon clips of .38 super, I have never heard of such a thing.

Still, if it exists or existed, someone one this bulletin borad should know about it.

Good luck
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Old 07-15-2011, 09:09 PM
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The .38 Super is "semi-rimmed" and will fit and function fine in many .357mag revolvers. I don't know about pre-70's but S&W has made at least a couple of revolvers chambered specifically for the .38 Super in the recent past.
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Old 07-15-2011, 09:09 PM
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The 38 Super actually has a semi rimmed case. It can be fired in 357 Magnum revolvers however extraction can be an issue due to the small rim. I would not recommend it in revolvers chambered for 38 Special due to the much higher pressures of the Super. I'm not aware of any vintage S&W revolvers that were chambered specifically for the 38 Super.
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Old 07-15-2011, 09:19 PM
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Hummm....

So no one knows of any specific gun...?
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Old 07-15-2011, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jevonniespapi View Post
Hummm....

So no one knows of any specific gun...?
Performance center 686-7 .38 super. Obviously not an old production.
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Last edited by ColdBlueSteel; 07-15-2011 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:05 PM
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What i ment was- what model back then wld b the likley candidate to be converted to shoot .38 super?
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:09 PM
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Possibly a 38/44 HD, but more likely a Model 27 or 19. Hard to say.
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:35 PM
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I think that .38 Calibre period ( not any specific .38 Calibre ) was the largest permitted to Civillians to own Arms for in Mexico.

While S & W did not offer any Revolvers chambered for .38 ACP or .38 Super ( until recently ), either Cartridge ( including 9mm Largo and other close relatives ) will fit and fire in almost any regular .38 Special, though of course the pressures of either exceed those of .38 Special, so these are much 'hotter' Cartridges, to the tune of about 26,000 psi and 35,000 psi respectively, if memory serve.

I have never heard of any 'conversions' being done in the old days, to properly allow the use and extraction of .38 ACP or .38 Super in an erstwhile .38 Special Revolver, but I have always felt that S & W and Colt should have offered them.

Since by the early 1930s, both S & W and Colt advertised all of their .38 Special Revolvers to be able to handle the ".38-44" or ".38 - Heavy Duty" Cartridges, and, these often enough enjoyed Ballistics ( 158 Grain Bullet, 1250 FPS ) which we now realize were well into what we would now call .357 Magnum Territory, I am confident that those same Revolvers would manage .38 Super just fine, though only as the now and then thing which their use of .38-44 Cartridges would or should be at most - strictly a now and then thing, and not a steady diet, and done with the appreciation that the Revolver may burst a Cylinder or stretch the Frame...so, not to be taken lightly in my view.

Last edited by Oyeboteb; 07-15-2011 at 10:39 PM.
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Old 07-16-2011, 09:34 AM
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I'm guessing that it was a heavy duty, or 357, and the confusion arises from translating the model name from American English to Mexican Spanish and back again.
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Old 07-16-2011, 09:52 AM
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My guess is the revolver was carried with 38 Supers because that ammo physically fit and was available. There is also a chance the revolver was actually marked 38 Largo, not 38 Super and over time the memory changed. 38 Largo in this case referring to the marking found on many Spanish copies of the S&W K frame chambered in 38 Long Colt. Then at some point the person sees a box of ammo marked 9mm Largo and it told it is similar too 38 Super. So the revolver chambered in 38 Largo is now remembered as 38 Super.
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Old 07-16-2011, 01:39 PM
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Take your father-in-law to a gun show and ask him to show you the kind of revolver he remembers having back home in Mexico. Probably the only way you'll ever solve this mystery...
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Old 07-16-2011, 08:39 PM
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Default Mexican cartridge restrictions

Just a related note. I think the Mexican Government restricted all military cartridges, not just everything over .38. Runs my mind the 45 Automatic Short and others have been popular there, because they are not military. Some, like the short 45 were made specifically for this.
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Old 07-17-2011, 03:10 PM
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Default 38 Super?

I have always felt the N feels large in my hand and the K much less bulky. Could you ask him to hold an N-frame and then a K-frame and tell you which feels about the same as his old one? Might help...

Then you have some more details to figure out! But it would not surprise me to find that he had been shooting 38 Super in a K frame.

Regards,

Dyson
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