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Old 04-14-2018, 12:02 AM
dmy dmy is offline
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.357 vs .38 split vs .38 S&W .357 vs .38 split vs .38 S&W .357 vs .38 split vs .38 S&W .357 vs .38 split vs .38 S&W .357 vs .38 split vs .38 S&W  
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Default .357 vs .38 split vs .38 S&W

I know that .357s can shoot .38 specisls. Can a .357 and .38 special revolver also shoot .38 S&W cartridges without and modification to the cylinder? Also, if the cylinder is cut for .357/.38 special moonclips, can you use moonclips on .38 S&W cases? Thanks for your responses, as I am unfamiliar with .38 S&W cartridges.
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Old 04-14-2018, 12:23 AM
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To my knowledge the S&W is larger dia. so it will not fit 357/38 spcl. Cylinders cut for moonclips in the 357/38 spcl can still shoot without using the moonclips.
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Old 04-14-2018, 01:00 AM
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38 s&w case shape & bullet is different than a 38 special. They are not interchangeable.

38 special can also shoot 38 long colt.

357 magnum can shoot 38 special and 38 long colt.
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Old 04-14-2018, 01:12 AM
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The big difference between the .38 S&W and .38 S&W Special is size.
The S&W is shorter but more important, .361" in diameter where the Special is .357" in diameter. Therefore, I would have to say no. Sorry, but my knowledge of moon clips is limited to that big one in the sky.
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Old 04-14-2018, 01:51 AM
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As OldChief says, the .38 S&W is slightly fatter and should not fit into a .38 Special chamber. There is a slight chance it may anyways (disregarding a modified cylinder; the Brits did that to some .38 Spl. M&PĎs in WW II).

However, back in the old days, when (at least according to the folks who look at the past with rose-colored glasses) old-fashioned craftsmanship was king, things actually didnĎt turn out with that much precision all the time, and you will find quite a few reports of older Smith & Wessons in .38 Special with chambers that will take a .38 S&W, even though theyĎre not supposed to. In respect to the barrels, the difference of a few hundredths of an inch is irrelevant anyways, especially with lead bullets. So depending on what you have, you might just try
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Old 04-14-2018, 02:55 AM
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The usual .38 version that shoots both .38 Special and .38 S&W were British Victory M&P's originally chambered in .38 S&W (British .38/200) and in the post war years had their chambers bored out to accommodate the longer .38 Special cartridge. Cogswell and Harrison did a large number of these. They often have upgraded sights and grips too. The problem comes when the .38 Special cartridges are fired in these re-chambered guns. The rear of the cases expand to fill the .38 S&W portion of the chamber. The cases look quite swollen, almost a bottle neck. This also weakens the brass, particularly on nickel plated case, with resizing if you reload. Accuracy also suffered a bit as a .357/.358 bullet went through a .359/.361 bore.

On the other hand .38 Short Colt and .38 Long Colts can safely and accurately be fired in .38 Special and .357 Mag guns. Cases and bullets are the same diameter as .38 Special and .357 Mag. The Colt cases are just shorter, the bullets lighter, the ammo more expensive and also harder to find. Magtech makes a .38 Special SHORT if you're looking for a soft recoiling round that's a cheaper and easier to find alternative to the Colt rounds. MidwayUSA usually has them.

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Last edited by ADP3; 04-14-2018 at 02:56 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 04-14-2018, 09:58 PM
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My model 627 will shoot both the 38special and the 357Magnum bullets with or without the Moonclips installed. I am finding the copper tipped 38's very hard to find up here and the price has risen quite a bit on them as well. 357 has risen in price also but not quite as bad as the 38spc has.
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Old 04-14-2018, 11:36 PM
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Well, this is one of those situations where "I know it won't work because" just doesn't pan out. The correct answer is "maybe".

Naturally .357 and .38 Special cannot chamber in .38 S&W guns, but depending on several factors .38 S&W will chamber in .38/.357 revolvers about half the time. This is in spite of it being "theoretically impossible"!

This goes around quite frequently and everyone who "Knows" it won't work always jumps in first, in spite of the fact that both I and others have refuted this "wisdom" several times. It has been a couple of years but I simply had to find out for myself instead of letting everyone get away with this common knowledge information that simply is not always true.

What happened? Well, I had at the time some 12 .38/.357 revolvers, both Colt and S&W. I also had some older .38 S&W factory ammunition on hand, so I took what seems to me the obvious way to find out, I tried it! I know, a strange concept instead of just believing what "everyone knows". Well, guess what???? 6 or 7 of my .38/.357 revolvers would accept new, factory .38 S&W cartridges. Several others posted replies to my post and reported the same experience!!!!! So, about 1/2 the time a .38 S&W CAN be fired in a .38/.357 revolver.

So what can be learned from this? Next time just maybe you should try out the concept before posting what "can't be because" and "everyone knows", because you just might discover it CAN be done and the know-it-alls really don't!
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Old 04-15-2018, 11:35 AM
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A few years ago when this topic came up on another forum, I had a box of Remington .38 S&W on the shelf because I have a S&W Terrier in that caliber. I also had 17 different revolvers - mostly S&W but also a few Colts - in .38 Special or .357 Mag. I tried the .38 S&W cartridges in each chamber of each of the revolvers and they fit easily in all 102 (17 X 6) chambers. I didn't try, and haven't tried, firing any of the .38 S&Ws in any of those revolvers, but I suspect they'd work just fine, likely of course firing to a different point of aim.

Since then, I read somewhere that modern .38 S&W ammo is made smaller in diameter than it was originally, so when this topic came up here I took 10 of the Remington S&W cartridges and my trusty Mitutoyo digital calipers and measured the diameter of the case mouth and base. The case mouths averaged .3804" (range of .3798 to .3811) against the nominal diameter for .38 S&W of .3855. The bases averaged .3812 (range of .3808 to 3815) vs. the nominal meausurement of .3865. So, they do appear to be a good bit on the small side, for what that's worth.
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Old 04-15-2018, 11:43 AM
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I like words, but I tend to be a visual sort.

Here's an image to answer your question.
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Old 04-15-2018, 01:10 PM
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In the face of everybodyís willingness to experiment, letís keep one thing clear:

There is no INTENTIONAL compatibility between .38 S&W and .38 Special/.357 Magnum.

The .38 Special was NOT designed as a longer and more powerful .38 S&W. The company abandoned its own .38 and instead made the new Special round compatible with the .38 Colt to tap into the military and civilian market for that round, which was quite popular and the official service caliber in 1899. They even wrote it on the barrel in the early years.

As I indicated above, any .38 S&W that fits a .38 Special is the result of generous tolerances, either in chamber or ammo production. Itís not SUPPOSED to fit
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Old 04-15-2018, 01:27 PM
Dirty Harry Callahan Dirty Harry Callahan is offline
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The short and final answer here is that .38 S&W is slightly larger in diameter to .38 Special/.357 Magnum, ergo it most likely won't fit in the cylinder.

That being said, if you really want to be able to fire obsolete cartridges like .38 S&W out of your .38 Special/.357 Magnum Revolvers, then there's always the .38 Short Colt and .38 Long Colt, which the .38 Special is based on and therefore shares the same diameter with.
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Old 04-15-2018, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Harry Callahan View Post
The short and final answer here is that .38 S&W is slightly larger in diameter to .38 Special/.357 Magnum, ergo it most likely won't fit in the cylinder.

That being said, if you really want to be able to fire obsolete cartridges like .38 S&W out of your .38 Special/.357 Magnum Revolvers,........
Obviously you did not read either my post or that of FlyFish! In my case ca 50% of my revolvers in .38/.357 WILL chamber .38 S&W. In FlyFish's case he determined that 100% of his .38/.357 revolvers would accept .38 S&W cartridges. And here you are still insisting that it cannot work because the nominal dimensions appear that it shouldn't! Well in 23 or 24 of 29 revolvers that FlyFish and I tried it in 82% of the time it worked!!!! That translates to most likely WILL fit, not won't Nominal dimensions don't mean anything!

For the record my comment about "new factory .38 S&W" referred to un-fired factory load, not recent production. One of the cartridges I tried, and that would fit, was an old UMC from at least the 1930s that is in my collection. So much for the assertion that it worked because "modern cartridges are smaller".

two-bit cowboy,

The question was will a .38 S&W fit in a .38 Spl. or .357 Magnum chamber! It was not will a .38/.357 fit in a .38 S&W! Just what is it that you believe your photo is demonstrating? The question is diameter, not chamber depth.
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Old 04-15-2018, 05:29 PM
Dirty Harry Callahan Dirty Harry Callahan is offline
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My post was directed at the OP.

That being said, you're waaay overreacting to a simple post I made. I'm sorry if you're having a bad day, but so am I, so please don't take it out on me. I hope that your day improves.

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Old 04-15-2018, 05:48 PM
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I sat down and tried to chamber a 38 S&W into three different 38 specials . A Colt Police Positive Special , S&W J Frame and S&W K frame and also a Ruger Blackhawk 357 magnum.
The 38 S&W would not chamber in any of them, the case is too large.
The 38 S&W ammo is factory Winchester 145 gr. lead RN, not reloads.

If your 38 special/357magnum will chamber 38 S&W something's wrong, check to see if the pistol was rechambered from 38 S&W.
Gary
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Old 04-15-2018, 08:35 PM
S&Wrevolverfan S&Wrevolverfan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwpercle View Post
I sat down and tried to chamber a 38 S&W into three different 38 specials . A Colt Police Positive Special , S&W J Frame and S&W K frame and also a Ruger Blackhawk 357 magnum.
The 38 S&W would not chamber in any of them, the case is too large.
The 38 S&W ammo is factory Winchester 145 gr. lead RN, not reloads.

If your 38 special/357magnum will chamber 38 S&W something's wrong, check to see if the pistol was rechambered from 38 S&W.
Gary
Gary, if you didn't or haven't, try several different rounds and see if the case sizes vary. Some may work.

Because of this thread I just tried it in 10 S&W revolvers, older and newer, and found that the only box of current factory Remington .38 S&W I have varies in case diameter. A few fit, but most don't. So I guess it's possible it depends on the size of the cases.

I would have never known or even thought about it if it wasn't for this thread.

Not trying to take sides, just posting what I found out about the one box of Remington .38 S&W I have and that the case sizes vary in it, but Winchester may be more consistent than Remington with their case sizes though.

Last edited by S&Wrevolverfan; 04-15-2018 at 08:55 PM. Reason: To add the Winchester comment.
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Old 04-15-2018, 09:36 PM
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AND one more reminder:

This is largely a theoretical exercise. No reason to get worked up. Why would anyone WANT to shoot .38 S&W out of a .38 Special in the first place?

These days, .38 S&W is harder to find, and itís more expensive, with lower performance. Plus the residue issue. Nothing to be gained

Remember that many re-imported BSRís were reamed out to take .38 Special after the war.
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Old 04-15-2018, 10:00 PM
S&Wrevolverfan S&Wrevolverfan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Absalom View Post
AND one more reminder:

This is largely a theoretical exercise. No reason to get worked up. Why would anyone WANT to shoot .38 S&W out of a .38 Special in the first place?

These days, .38 S&W is harder to find, and itís more expensive, with lower performance. Plus the residue issue. Nothing to be gained

Remember that many re-imported BSRís were reamed out to take .38 Special after the war.
I agree, I have no reason or desire to shoot .38 S&W from one of my .38 specials/.357 magnum revolvers.
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Old 04-15-2018, 10:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Absalom View Post
AND one more reminder:

This is largely a theoretical exercise. No reason to get worked up. Why would anyone WANT to shoot .38 S&W out of a .38 Special in the first place?

These days, .38 S&W is harder to find, and itís more expensive, with lower performance. Plus the residue issue. Nothing to be gained

Remember that many re-imported BSRís were reamed out to take .38 Special after the war.
Friend of mine has one of those re-chambered Victory revolvers, brought it to me, knowing I'd buy almost any old S&W, even his "bad shooter." He showed me the fired 38 Special brass and it did indeed have kind of a reverse bottleneck, in that the base was strong enough to not expand, but the neck was not.

Anyway, long story short, we bought Lee dies, proper brass and bullets and it now shoots fairly decently, thank you. And when we recreated the old Brit 38-200 load, which, great fun, is why one would want to shoot the 38 S&W.
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Old 04-16-2018, 07:20 AM
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I surely dunno, but I do like 200 gr. bullets. Wish(or maybe someone makes)a 200 plated bullet. This forum is great, somebody will know!
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Old 04-16-2018, 11:37 AM
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I'd rather listen to someone who has real life knowledge about something who has done something and not just talk about it VS guys who think they know something but never tried.
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Old 04-16-2018, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwpercle View Post
If your 38 special/357magnum will chamber 38 S&W something's wrong, check to see if the pistol was rechambered from 38 S&W.
Nope. Here's a photo of just 1 of my 17 .38/.357 revolvers (this one a no-dash 586 from 1985) showing how nicely it will chamber .38 S&W cartridges. I can assure you that nothing is wrong with this gun, or with the other 16 revolvers I own that will chamber these factory Remington .38 S&W cartridges, nor have any of them been rechambered. These cartridges drop right in easily and fall right out again without being forced.
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