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Old 05-17-2008, 08:39 PM
gunfan gunfan is offline
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While we all know that this old 146-grain lead bullet, running at a maximum of 755 fps from a Victory Model generating betwen 184-185 fpe is about as poweful as the standard .380 ACP (a.k.a. 9mm Short, 9mm Browning, 9mm Kurtz.) Would any of us hesitate to use this revolver for defensive purposes? In a pinch, I can imagine that the 6-shot miltary revolvers have aided a fair number of the enemy combatants to "shuffle off" this "mortal coil."

The way I see it, these lower-powered, easily managed revolvers could crank off six quick shots before the foe knew what had happened! The 180+ fpe is not much, but dumped on a .361" area would come as quite a trauma to an individual. Multiply this trauma by two or three would likely spell the demise for many a man (or woman.)

What do you say?

Scott
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Old 05-17-2008, 08:39 PM
gunfan gunfan is offline
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While we all know that this old 146-grain lead bullet, running at a maximum of 755 fps from a Victory Model generating betwen 184-185 fpe is about as poweful as the standard .380 ACP (a.k.a. 9mm Short, 9mm Browning, 9mm Kurtz.) Would any of us hesitate to use this revolver for defensive purposes? In a pinch, I can imagine that the 6-shot miltary revolvers have aided a fair number of the enemy combatants to "shuffle off" this "mortal coil."

The way I see it, these lower-powered, easily managed revolvers could crank off six quick shots before the foe knew what had happened! The 180+ fpe is not much, but dumped on a .361" area would come as quite a trauma to an individual. Multiply this trauma by two or three would likely spell the demise for many a man (or woman.)

What do you say?

Scott
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Old 05-17-2008, 10:18 PM
Kamerer Kamerer is offline
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I've given this a lot of thought since I want a Victory badly, and wondered if I should settle for a UK .38/200 over a US .38 Spcl. model (they are much easier to find). I decided against .38 S&W for the following reasons:

1) Lack of ammunition choices
2) Hassle of reloading yet another caliber
3) Lack of correct reloading supplies for this round

The only factory loads I know of are 146gr. RNL and one FMJ loading - nice for plinking but I don't like for defense. They also are loaded to under 700fps.

.38 S&W bullets were originally .361 and barrels are bored for that. Most use .38 bullets to reload, so they'll be undersized at .357 and .358 for the lead - thus, besides not being able to BUY good defensive ammo for it, you can't easily BUILD any either that is totally correct.

So, I'm not going near what is effectively an obsolete cartridge.

And I think Bill spelled it "mortall coile" or something like that...
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Old 05-18-2008, 04:00 AM
Bell Charter Oak Holsters Bell Charter Oak Holsters is offline
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Well, this has been discussed previously, or at least I seem to recall a discussion concerning practical carry of revolvers chambered for the .38 S&W.

Anyway, I carried one as a back up for many years. Many detectives I worked with carried them as well. Chopped and bobbed Colt Police Positive models and S&W Terrier's were very popular pocket pieces. The customized Colt's were a favorite, probably because it was smaller than the Detective Special and had a six round cylinder compared with the five shot S&W Terrier or Chief Special. These types of guns and a host of smaller caliber handguns carried as backups were commonly referred to as a "New York Reload."

As for the cartridge, by today's standard it is admittedly anemic when compared with the wide variety of .38 Spl. +P and the small and lightweight .357 revolvers produced on the J frame by S&W. However, I don't believe I would feel particularly underarmed carrying one for personal defense and yes, it is a very controllable cartridge to rapid fire. Availability and cost of factory produced ammunition may be an issue in and of itself. I think quite a few guys on the forum reload it though and could offer comments concerning that. The 38/200 military ball cartridge had a reputation as a notoriously poor performer. Despite this, it certainly must have killed and disabled many enemy troops. For what it's worth, S&W continued to produce the Model 32 Terrier up until the 60's. I believe that with the right handload and perhaps a jacketed hollowpoint bullet it could certainly be as effective as any .380 ACP, .32 ACP. or for that matter, .32 Long. Though unlikely any commercial manufacturer would undertake the development of a correctly sized bullet today. So I suppose I'm suggesting that one's perspective might rationalize an answer to your question. Personally, I don't think anybody is lining up to volunteer to be shot with one!
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Old 05-18-2008, 04:41 AM
canoeguy canoeguy is offline
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.38 S&W is a fun cartridge to reload and plink with, but I wouldn't rely on it for self defence.
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Old 05-18-2008, 05:26 AM
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A friend has a Victory S&W that he keeps in his nightstand as the "house-gun."

I reloaded some 158 grain SWC (that mike .361") to .38 special velocity (900fps)and they seem fine. With handloads, and cast bullets, it is simple to load suitable self-defense loads in k-frames. Just mark the boxes carefully.

He doesn't own any old top-break revolvers where these loads would be too hot.

JERRY
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Old 05-18-2008, 05:49 AM
mkk41 mkk41 is offline
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I'm sure there's thousands of .32 and .38 S&W chambered Smith , Iver Johnson , and H&R break-top revolvers , stashed away in dresser and nightstand drawers by those who have had them forever and are just not active or interested shooters. They ain't 'gun people' and they think that little popgun is good enough for them.
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Old 05-18-2008, 05:59 AM
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imjin138 imjin138 is offline
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One of my house guns is a beat Enfield in 38 S&W, I can hit a soda can on the roll with the gun. It is very controlable,as cartridges go. I have thought about reloading for it and still might do so.

I see a lot of Iver-Johnsons and I know of one guy who keeps his Police Positive in it for home defense. His father carried it on duty until he retired sometime in the 50's
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Old 05-18-2008, 06:44 AM
Bell Charter Oak Holsters Bell Charter Oak Holsters is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by canoeguy:
.38 S&W is a fun cartridge to reload and plink with, but I wouldn't rely on it for self defence.
Sorry, but I disagree. Folks rely upon all sorts of cartridges (and weapons) for self defense, for many different reasons. Many of them admittedly are not ideal man stoppers such as the .45 ACP, 10mm, .45 Colt, .44 Mag or Special and the .357 Mag but, there are other considerations. I have, and I would not hesitate again to use a .38 S&W for self defense.

Today, in the advent of so many states issuing CCW permits we might conclude more folks are carrying than perhaps ever before. Modern ammunition and relatively modern arms do indeed offer a better choice for self defense. But at the same time, I wouldn't overlook less contemporary guns or ammunition. There is a practical side to carrying a handgun. The social or business circumstances, the wardrobe, the climate and other factors which may preclude one from carrying a large, high capacity weapon that might be ideal for self defense. Smaller guns and cartridges fill that niche well. No they may not be ideal man stoppers, but it beats being the "runner up". Personally, I have attended many post mortem examinations where the decedant's had been shot. I assure you that of those, many of the victims were killed with small caliber bullets, much smaller than the .38 S&W. Most were not head wounds either, but wounds to the torso. Many of these were .22 LR, .25ACP and .32's of different varieties. For what it's worth.
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Old 05-18-2008, 07:26 AM
Calaveras Slim Calaveras Slim is offline
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Kamerer is right on a few points but a little off on a couple. While he is right that the 38S&W is a weak sister for defense, the new Speer gives loads for the 38S&W that moves them right along. I cast my LRN and size to .361 and can send them out pretty good. I do use the 125gr JSP at 900+ for home defense. Only cuz my wife can handle this round.

Additionally, Midway sells the 158gr MAGTECH brand of LRN that have a hollow base that works well with the 38S&W. They expand to fill the barrel and out to 15 yds, pretty accurate.

I agree there are better rounds for defense, but in a pinch, I wouldn't hesitate to touch one of these off.
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Old 05-18-2008, 09:26 AM
gunfan gunfan is offline
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With the proper handloads, I can imagine that even the Enfield break-top and H&R break-top models would aquit themselves well. Properly placed, the .38 S&W must have been moderately effective, or it would not have remained in S&W and H&R's production lineup into the 1960's.

While I would prefer to use my Charter Arms "Undercoverette" (in .32 H&R Magnum) to fill this role, I believe that the .38 S&W would perform as well as a properly loaded .380.

Scott
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