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Old 07-03-2023, 10:33 AM
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Default Why not Elmer Keith that 38 special

So, while I was sitting on my throne reading the latest edition of my Shooting Illustrated I started pondering the 38 special. There is a review of the new Taurus Defender 856. You can put a red dot on it. Nothing that I was that wowed by. In looking at it, it appears to be a very sturdy 38 revolver. It is listed as a +p. That is what got me thinking.

With the better metallurgy in pistols today, why can't you do the Elmer Keith and load the 38 to 357 velocities I understand that you will want to keep these loads away from the older models but, in something like this Defender, I would imagine that you should be able to shoot some hot stuff out of it. Even if you didn't in a 38 Special revolver, why can't you reload some really hot rounds and use them in a 357.

All of this leads to the ultimate debate, why not just buy a 357 and then you can go either. Well, that is for another thread. If someone is willing to buy a good quality 38 Special, why can't you load it hot?

Just something I was pondering on my throne.
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Old 07-03-2023, 11:12 AM
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I have quite a few .38 Special chambered S&Ws. I'm perfectly happy with the power levels obtained with .38 Special pressures.

However, if I were ever lucky enough to glom onto a .38 Heavy Duty or Outdoorsman, I would probably be tempted to assemble some .38-44 loads for it.
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Old 07-03-2023, 11:21 AM
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You can load a round as hot as you want for "Your" revolvers.

Responsible loaders only load to a 38 +P with a well marked box or container
just in case they get into stray guns, if using 38 cases.

A 357 case speaks for itself in what you are loading.
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Old 07-03-2023, 11:22 AM
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Almost 50 years ago I asked the exact same question, and the dealer said "This is the best advice you are ever going to get" as he laid a new 686 (no dash) on the counter for a price that started with a 2!!
I still have it, and also the 38 revolvers that I used strictly for 38s. All are still tight.
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Old 07-03-2023, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IAM Rand View Post
So, while I was sitting on my throne reading the latest edition of my Shooting Illustrated I started pondering the 38 special. There is a review of the new Taurus Defender 856. You can put a red dot on it. Nothing that I was that wowed by. In looking at it, it appears to be a very sturdy 38 revolver. It is listed as a +p. That is what got me thinking.

With the better metallurgy in pistols today, why can't you do the Elmer Keith and load the 38 to 357 velocities I understand that you will want to keep these loads away from the older models but, in something like this Defender, I would imagine that you should be able to shoot some hot stuff out of it. Even if you didn't in a 38 Special revolver, why can't you reload some really hot rounds and use them in a 357.

All of this leads to the ultimate debate, why not just buy a 357 and then you can go either. Well, that is for another thread. If someone is willing to buy a good quality 38 Special, why can't you load it hot?

Just something I was pondering on my throne.
I was just shooting these through my 1959 and 1968 Blackhawks the other day.

Any gun designed for 357 Mag should be able to handle the Keith loads.

They are definitely stout, but likely very similar to full power 357s.

I was getting almost 1400 fps with the Keith 173 gr. SWC out of the 6.5" Blackhawk with 13.5 gr of 2400.

12.5 suits me fine as I'm just knocking down steel rams at 100 yards. By the way, no sticky extraction or flattened primers with these loads, in regular, mixed 38 special cases.

Would I shoot them in a lightweight Taurus? Probably not. And nowadays they don't really make beefy 38s anymore. They are all 357s.

Last edited by smithra_66; 07-03-2023 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 07-03-2023, 11:30 AM
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Elmer Keith had a habit of blowing up guns during his experiments.
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Old 07-03-2023, 12:07 PM
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Stress the gun, stress the brass, push the limits…?why not just get a .357. If that’s not enough, a .44 then a 454…. Me, I’d rather download a hotter cartridge than vice versa.

If you were limited to owning 1 gun, I could understand trying to load for a variety of applications.
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Old 07-03-2023, 01:22 PM
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It can be done and it can be fun, but I quit it a few years back. With nearly a dozen .38's, including pre-War and aluminum J-frames, and loading hundreds of rounds (at least) per year, I'm concerned that one of those young bombs could inadvertently wind up in the wrong gun. Even if I manage to avoid that, they're gonna be sold at a yard sale after I'm gone. Labels can be faded or lost entirely, boxes can split or spill.
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Old 07-03-2023, 01:48 PM
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I have a "care free" solution for wanting 357 Mag levels in a revolver. Get a 357 revolver. I have 2 Taurus revolvers I shoot my 38 Special handloads in. If I have some warm 38 Special ammo to shoot (+P to +P+) I'll take my Taurus 605. If I have some mild/normal 38 Special loads, I'll grab my Taurus M85. I have loaded 38 Special brass to mid-level 357 levels, buy only fired them in my 357 Magnums...
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Old 07-03-2023, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Venom6 View Post
...I'm concerned that one of those young bombs could inadvertently wind up in the wrong gun. ...
I had this talk with a friend who does handload ammo on request, and he said about the same. He will load "up-to" +P and "down to" wadcutter target loads, but not outside that range. Occasionally, up to 38/44 specs with color-coded cartridges and what he considers "correct" projectiles for the load. He thinks handgun ammo is too easy to mix up when not in retail boxes.
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Old 07-03-2023, 02:20 PM
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I only shoot those reloads done by other people in my ol ugly Model 10. She'll hold 'em don'tcha know! lol
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Old 07-03-2023, 02:21 PM
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Why not drive your KIA Soul 120 miles an hour?
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Old 07-03-2023, 02:24 PM
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Why not drive your KIA Soul 120 miles an hour?
Hot digity dog...I gotta get me onea them KIA's...
Ummm wait a minit...does that KIA mean what I thinks it means??
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Old 07-03-2023, 03:49 PM
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My thought on this was that the 38s of ole were um, how shall I say, underwhelming when it comes to strength. Since the 357 is just a slightly longer 38 spl, why not. I understand that people like the 38 because it is easier to handle. They keep on making them so why not up the power for those that can handle it.

Personally I am a 357 guy. I am a masochist. I don't mind it rough. I have a 460 that I am trying to get sub MOA at 100 for hunting. It just seemed to me that if they are building them stoutER, if that is a word, then why not push a little more and get a little more. The gun I referenced above claims to be +P. What is that exactly? 700 +/- to 900 or 1000. Eh, why not try 1100-1300 for a 38. Do they really form the case that much different from the 357 to the 38. I guess I could really lose my mind and trim the 357 down to a 38 and kick it up.

I guess I am trying to justify in my own mind why people still build the 38 revolver when you can get just as much from a 357 and carry it with 38s for the kinder/gentler crowd.
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Old 07-03-2023, 04:24 PM
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Ya know, if the Taurus 856 was designed and rated for 357 mag pressures using adequate metallurgy, why didn't they just chamber it in 357 mag so those inclined could use 38 special or 357 mag?

The answer may be pretty simple, they only designed it to take 38 plus p pressure and force.

Course if someone just thinks it "appears" sturdy, why not just be a tougher guy and load it to 357 mag pressures? And it is not the brass design as much as the firearm design in 357 to take the pressure and force of the round.

S&W (among others) make small light 357 mags, and they aren't just 38 specials with bored out cylinders. They are specifically designed to take 357 mag pressures/forces. So perhaps instead of supercharging a 38 special, just buy a 357 mag.
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Old 07-03-2023, 05:34 PM
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If you’re loading with medium to slow burn rate powders you can safely exceed the factory performance levels for 38 special. By how much, that’s up to you. I see posts here regularly about guys who love Buffalo Bore, Underwood, and other boutique ammo companies who load “hot” 38 special ammo. Well guess what, they’re able to do that because they aren’t SAAMI members and some of those loads might slightly exceed SAAMI specs. No big deal as long as you adhere to the warnings on the box about what to use them in, generally modern guns in good repair.

It takes a little common sense and reason, don’t go stuffing cases full of Bullseye and don’t be hotrodding old top break Iver Johnson top breaks.

It has been a common practice for decades to judiciously exceed 38 loading data, mainly due to the absurdly low MAP of the SAAMI specs. Thousands of loaders have been doing it safely for a long time without blowing themselves up or rattling their guns apart. Many writers have even published data in magazine articles that likely exceeds SAAMI specs.

S&W has been heat treating their revolvers for nearly a century now. Do you really think they use any different steel, heat treatment techniques, or mechanical engineering on a M13 than they did for the same vintage M10? Elmer Keith wrote of firing hundreds of his heavy 38s, using way more 2400 than I will under his 173gr SWC, in a prototype M37. He then sent it back to S&W and they supposedly measured and examined it and couldn’t find any evidence of damage.

Use your head and your chronograph and you can safely pump the old 38 up a little.
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Old 07-03-2023, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SnidelyWhiplash View Post
Elmer Keith had a habit of blowing up guns during his experiments.
Actually he blew up exactly one gun,. A single action colt in 45 colt and he did it by using 458 slugs.
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Old 07-03-2023, 08:23 PM
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It is very easy to get 1,000 fps with a cast 158 gr SWC out of a 4" S&W 38 spl without exceeding the 20,000 psi limit for +P. All it takes is the right powders like Longshot, Power pistol or CFE pistol or Autocomp. That should be enough performance from the old .38 and is surely safe in model marked K frames that have the same steel and heat treatment as the K frame .357s.
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Old 07-03-2023, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IAM Rand View Post
... Do they really form the case that much different from the 357 to the 38.
Simply, yes the case heads are different. The 357 requires more material to account for the higher pressure. Yes cutting down 357 brass to fit in a 38 will solve your brass issues but won't account for all the engineered featured and metallurgy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IAM Rand View Post
I guess I am trying to justify in my own mind why people still build the 38 revolver when you can get just as much from a 357 and carry it with 38s for the kinder/gentler crowd.
Your thinking here makes little sense - the 357 has always been more than the 38.

A 38 chambered revolver shooting 38 will be inherently more accurate the a 357 firing the same ammunition. Any free bore is in handgun chamberings is a boon to accuracy.

More powder capacity and higher pressure equals more velocity.
Simple laws of physics.

Buy the gun with the "power" you want to start with.

More guns have been damaged /blown up by trying to make a cartridge something they aren't and I am not just taking about 38s.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

On a different note good luck with your 460 S&W hunting endeavors. It just takes practice the gun is fully cartridge and S&W revolvers are capable - it just takes lots of time behind the gun.

Being able to make the a "long"shoot is nice but improving you stacking skills to get that up close and personal shoot is even more satisfying.
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Last edited by ruggyh; 07-03-2023 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 07-06-2023, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruggyh View Post
Simply, yes the case heads are different. The 357 requires more material to account for the higher pressure. Yes cutting down 357 brass to fit in a 38 will solve your brass issues but won't account for all the engineered featured and metallurgy.



Your thinking here makes little sense - the 357 has always been more than the 38.

A 38 chambered revolver shooting 38 will be inherently more accurate the a 357 firing the same ammunition. Any free bore is in handgun chamberings is a boon to accuracy.

More powder capacity and higher pressure equals more velocity.
Simple laws of physics.

Buy the gun with the "power" you want to start with.

More guns have been damaged /blown up by trying to make a cartridge something they aren't and I am not just taking about 38s.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

On a different note good luck with your 460 S&W hunting endeavors. It just takes practice the gun is fully cartridge and S&W revolvers are capable - it just takes lots of time behind the gun.

Being able to make the a "long"shoot is nice but improving you stacking skills to get that up close and personal shoot is even more satisfying.
Do you have any source that mentions 357s being thicker in the head? I don't think they are. The lines don't complicate themselves that much. They just make 38s and 357s out of the same stuff and cut the 38s a bit shorter!

Also, the 38 Special was basically the 357 magnum. 1/8" difference in length doesn't mean that much. In 1935 Elmer Keith wanted the factories to duplicate his turbo 38 Special that he was shooting out of the relatively new 38/44 Heavy Duty revolvers. The length was added and the new cartridge called the "357 Magnum" simply so it would not chamber in old k frames or Colt D-frames of the day. It was not to add more powder capacity. S&W did not want the liability of one of these high pressure rounds getting into a small frame gun.

When the 38 Special was lengthened to create the 357 magnum, a problem arose. The cylinders didn't get any longer! So long bullets that worked in 38 length brass no longer fit into a S&W N frame or a Colt E-Frame gun.

So even today, if one wants to get Magnum performance using the long Keith 173 gr. SWC (which is BY FAR the most accurate bullet at really long ranges), then one must use 38 Special brass.

So it's a little more complicated than you make it. The 357 is great, but it only leaves room for stubby little bullets sticking out in many revolvers (such as N frames, Pythons, etc). You have to push the long bullets in so deep that whatever powder advantage you had, you lose over the 38.

The 38 gets a bad rap as a "weak" cartridge simply because it's loaded to anemic pressures as a result of SAAMI specs because there are millions upon millions of old, weak guns out there. In a strong gun, it is every bit the equal, and sometimes BETTER, than the 357 magnum!

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Old 07-06-2023, 01:13 PM
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I am surprised, the folks who openly admit they own and shoot Taurus revolvers when this is a Smith & Wesson Forum

Please no hate mail - This is meant to be a joke.
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Old 07-06-2023, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smithra_66 View Post
Do you have any source that mentions 357s being thicker in the head? I don't think they are. The lines don't complicate themselves that much. They just make 38s and 357s out of the same stuff and cut the 38s a bit shorter!

Also, the 38 Special was basically the 357 magnum. 1/8" difference in length doesn't mean that much. In 1935 Elmer Keith wanted the factories to duplicate his turbo 38 Special that he was shooting out of the relatively new 38/44 Heavy Duty revolvers. The length was added and the new cartridge called the "357 Magnum" simply so it would not chamber in old k frames or Colt D-frames of the day. It was not to add more powder capacity. S&W did not want the liability of one of these high pressure rounds getting into a small frame gun.

When the 38 Special was lengthened to create the 357 magnum, a problem arose. The cylinders didn't get any longer! So long bullets that worked in 38 length brass no longer fit into a S&W N frame or a Colt E-Frame gun.

So even today, if one wants to get Magnum performance using the long Keith 173 gr. SWC (which is BY FAR the most accurate bullet at really long ranges), then one must use 38 Special brass.

So it's a little more complicated than you make it. The 357 is great, but it only leaves room for stubby little bullets sticking out in many revolvers (such as N frames, Pythons, etc). You have to push the long bullets in so deep that whatever powder advantage you had, you lose over the 38.

The 38 gets a bad rap as a "weak" cartridge simply because it's loaded to anemic pressures as a result of SAAMI specs because there are millions upon millions of old, weak guns out there. In a strong gun, it is every bit the equal, and sometimes BETTER, than the 357 magnum!
Or you can use the original .357 Magnum bullet, the H&G # 51, a 160 grain cast plain base SWC. It doesn't have to be deep seated. It will shoot as accurately as the Lyman #358429, maybe better in some instances. It's also a very good .38 Special bullet.
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Old 07-06-2023, 02:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IAM Rand View Post
Why not Elmer Keith that 38 special?
I Am Rand; your original posit is a good and valid one. I have asked and proposed the same on several occasions.

However cogently the facts are presented, you will ultimately be shouted down by unfounded and illogical straw-man arguments. Research has revealed that S&W 38 and 357 revolver frames and cylinders have had the same metallurgy and same heat treatment for many many decades - since the inception of the 357 magnum.

From a mechanical engineering standpoint there exists no valid documented evidence to conclude that a modern S&W 38 special revolver is not capable of easily accommodating 357 magnum pressures.

Another member of this forum has graciously aided my own research and has provided me with original factory documentation regarding metallurgy and heat treatment of frames and cylinders that supports such a conclusion.

I must stress that this is a factual engineering conclusion - not the result of lawyers scrambling frantically to prevail in frivolous lawsuits and to preserve their own employment . . .

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Old 07-06-2023, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by smithra_66 View Post
Do you have any source that mentions 357s being thicker in the head?
NO in writing but have sectioned a variety of case to be able to determine this. The older 38 cases (ballon head) are the weakest it the head area.

Additionally the 1/8" is huge due to the cross sectional area of the cartridge

Quote:
Originally Posted by smithra_66 View Post
The 357 is great, but it only leaves room for stubby little bullets sticking out in many revolvers (such as N frames, Pythons, etc). You have to push the long bullets in so deep that whatever powder advantage you had, you lose over the 38.
And you would have any less in a 38 case shoot out of a 38 revolver.

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Originally Posted by smithra_66 View Post
The 38 gets a bad rap as a "weak" cartridge simply because it's loaded to anemic pressures as a result of SAAMI specs because there are millions upon millions of old, weak guns out there. In a strong gun, it is every bit the equal, and sometimes BETTER, than the 357 magnum!
The SAAMI specification are for the gun and ammunition at the time of inception (when they were created) to insure that all gun marked with the caliber are safe to use the ammunition.

Those "weak gun" you perceive are what the cartridge were intended, period.

If you want to hot rod 38 Special no one is stopping you , but I would preface declaring to everyone it is safe without knowing exactly what they have or intended is irresponsible and unsafe.

I will say again plenty of damaged /blown up guns to prove my point.

I dont think the owner of the picture guns started the day sayin let go blow up a gun.



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Old 07-06-2023, 07:29 PM
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I dont think the owner of the picture guns started the day sayin let go blow up a gun.
He probably didn't plan on shooting any squibs either . . .
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Old 07-06-2023, 08:47 PM
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I’d wager that one or more of the pictured blown up guns, only one of which is a 38 and the other two “Magnums”, were the result of a double charge of fast powder and not an intentional “hot” load.

In fact I’d bet there have been more revolvers blown up throughout history from accidental double charges than from intentionally overloading in search of more performance.

Skelton, Keith, and others wrote of using 38 cases for magnum or near magnum performance back when magnum cases were hard to obtain. Ray Thompson even designed a cast bullet to be used in this capacity. The excellent 358156 dual crimp groove Lyman design has been a standard for taking advantage of the “short” cylinders of N frame 357s for decades.

The “Treasury” loads of the 1980’s and 1990’s were marked +P+ because they were over +P pressures. There is no SAAMI spec for +P+. I don’t know how much over +P they were but I doubt they were into 357 territory, I’ve never heard of a gun being blown up with them.

Nobody is forcing anyone to load any way other than what they are comfortable with. But if you are knowledgeable, use the tools available to you, and some caution it can be done safely.

Handloading requires concentration and some deductive reasoning, even when strictly following the manual. Back when many manuals didn’t have pressure tested data, and I’m not just talking about the infamous Speer manual.

I’ve shot thousands of 158-173gr SWCs over 6.0gr of Unique. Old Lyman manuals listed higher loads than it, while modern manuals list 5.0 to 5.4gr as maximum.

Lately I’ve moved to using Alliant Power Pistol for my heavy 38 loads. 6.0gr is in spec for +P and gives 1050fps, just about the the same performance as 6.0gr of Unique.
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Old 07-06-2023, 09:20 PM
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Nothing against the 38. I just think it is under utilized for what it could be. From my reading, Keith and S&W decided that the case should be lengthened so that it wouldn't be loaded in 38's that couldn't handle the increased pressures.

With today's revolvers I don't think there is that issue. Shooting a 460 mag has been a real experience for me. I have had some reloading data but, have had to "experiment" a little. Would I try hotter loads in my model 49, NO. I am not sure that I would even try hotter loads in my 19. In my 627, well, that is a different story. I have even tried to recreate Keith's 173gr swc in a 38 case. I just think that the 38 is given the short shrift when it comes to power, especially with today's revolvers.

Didn't think I would start such a conversation as it appears that I have. Just think that the 38 could be so much more, other wise it appears to be a cartridge of yesterday.
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Old 07-06-2023, 09:54 PM
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Back in the 60’s and 70’s when LEO were required to carry model 10’s around here, 2 very reputable gunsmiths reamed a bunch to 357. I’ve never heard of a problem and I personally have owned several of these that were shot a lot by cops with full bore 357’s and were tight as new.
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Old 07-07-2023, 12:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smithra_66 View Post
........
........
........

The 38 gets a bad rap as a "weak" cartridge simply because it's loaded to anemic pressures as a result of SAAMI specs because there are millions upon millions of old, weak guns out there. In a strong gun, it is every bit the equal, and sometimes BETTER, than the 357 magnum!
IMO the LRN bullet had more to do with the bad rep of the 38 Special than the pressure limits. Remember, that ammo was called "The Widow Maker."

I'm sorry but I can't agree the .38 Special is better then the .357 Magnum no matter which gun you use.

Each cartridge has it's place... (the 38/357 is my jam lol)
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Old 07-07-2023, 12:28 AM
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Originally Posted by SnidelyWhiplash View Post
Elmer Keith had a habit of blowing up guns during his experiments.
He blew up 2, both black powder Colts in .45Colt calibre. One with too much Black Powder and a .458" 300gr bullet and one with Kings Semi Smokless powder. One blew a weak casehead and took off the loading gate and nearly severed his trigger finger. The other was worn out primer pockets and a chainfire of 2 or 3 rnds went off and took off the top three chambers and the top strap. I challenge you to offer proof of any other BLOWN UP GUNS. You sir have been getting your history from inter-web chat rooms and are misinformed. Produce documentation of any other blown up guns. You cant....................................
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Old 07-07-2023, 01:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddixie884 View Post
He blew up 2 both black powder Colts in .45Colt calibre. One with too much Black Powder and a .458" 300gr bullet and one with Kings Semi Smokless powder. One blew a weak casehead and took off the loading gate and nearly severed his trigger finger. The other was worn out primer pockets and a chainfire of 2 or 3 rnds went off and took off the top three chambers and the top strap. I challenge you to offer proof of any other BLOWN UP GUNS. You sir have been getting your history from inter-web chat rooms and are misinformed. Produce documentation of any other blown up guns. You cant....................................
Do you by any chance have proof there were only 2 guns destroyed while Elmer Keith was developing loads? It would make a good read.
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Old 07-07-2023, 06:45 AM
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Do you by any chance have proof there were only 2 guns destroyed while Elmer Keith was developing loads? It would make a good read.
Keith wasn't one to hide things...he wrote about the two guns that were blown up and if there were more he would have probably written about them...

...and it comes back to do you have any proof that there were more?

As to using what would be .38-44 loads in modern manufactured .38 Special revolvers, I do... Underwood, Buffalo Bore and Lost River Ammo all make 158 LSWC ammo that are in the 28k psi range and don't seem to be blowing anything up. My standard load is a 357158 with 6.0 grains of Unique that basically duplicates the original .34-44 load. These are right at 1000 fps from a 2" 649-2...

These guns are also or have been available in 9mm that is rated at 34k psi...so we are worrying about what?

Bob

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Old 07-07-2023, 07:10 AM
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Interesting to say the least:

No difference between 38spl cases and the 357mag cases other than the 357mag case is longer as others have stated.

A modern case (left) next to a balloon headed case (right).


After Keith's initial 173gr swc design he created shorter nosed versions of his swc.


What Keith wrote in his book sixguns


Keith's loads from the book sixguns
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Old 07-07-2023, 07:25 AM
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Modern revolvers like the s&w 586/686, dan wesson 15 series and ruger's gp100 have no issues using the keith 358429/439.

A picture of a couple different "keith" style swc's for the 35cal's.


My favorite is the cramer #26 (silver/uncoated bullet). That large bottom drive band makes the bullet have higher velocities with the same powder weight/charge compared to the other 3 swc's.

The "thompson" bullet used by skeeter that has the 2 crimp grooves that was in a earlier post. I cast these, if you look closely you will see that there is a standard sized hp hole and an special order large hp pin/hole in the other 1. The small is for the 357mag & the large 38spl.


Myself I prefer these 640 series 158gr hp's and 170gr fn's that have a double crimp groove.


At the end of the day more people have blown up their revolvers using bullseye powder and a wc bullet. It got so bad hercules put this statement out trying to give reloaders an understanding of the consequences of their actions.
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Old 07-07-2023, 08:37 AM
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Your gun, your ammo, your hands, your health care insurance, do what you want. As for me, I do not want to damage my firearms, I do not want to significantly shorten the life of my brass, I do not like it when my hands get cut and bruised, I do not enjoy visits to the ER. If I reload 38 Special brass, it would get loaded to not more than 38 Special +P levels. When I want 357 Magnum or near magnum loads, I use 357 Magnum brass and fire it in revolvers made for 357 Magnum.
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Old 07-07-2023, 11:10 AM
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I have a model 60-15 3Ē .357 which I bought new. Installed a .38 cylinder which was purchased new from Brownells. Both cylinders are identical except the .38 has shorter chambers and longer throats. I would expect that the metal and heat treat are the same but cannot verify that. I believe that shooting .38ís that are loaded to .357 pressures would not be a problem in this gun but I have no desire to do this. I changed it to .38 because I only shoot 135 grain Speer Short Barrel Gold Dots through it.
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Old 07-07-2023, 03:53 PM
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Bob "Superman" is right we know of these events only because Elmer wrote about them and he wrote about everything he did. In his famous article in "The American Rifleman" in 1946? entitled "The Last Word" he wrote about loading with number 80 powder that with a bullet of his design in his wife's .45Colt he split the barrel in 3 places. He designed his SWC bullet desighn and discovered 2400 powder and the rest is history.....
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Old 07-08-2023, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
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He probably didn't plan on shooting any squibs either . . .
The damage done is clearly from excessive pressure

Squibs are exactly the opposite
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Old 07-08-2023, 11:19 PM
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The damage done is clearly from excessive pressure

Squibs are exactly the opposite
Squids clog the bore, then normal load blows up gun because of barrel obstruction causing excessive pressure with no way to get out.
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Old 07-08-2023, 11:24 PM
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There is absolutely no way a slightly over pressure load is going to blow up a gun. It may cause premature wear, loose gun etc. But most guns are designed to handle twice the pressure that is intended to be fired in it. Most if not all guns blown up not related to an obstructed bore was either a double charge or the wrong powder effectively being a double charge.

Folks who believe otherwise have no clue about how engineers design things.

Rosewood
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Old 07-08-2023, 11:45 PM
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There is a country song that goes something like, "Why do I drive so fast? My truck has nothing to prove."
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Old 07-09-2023, 12:50 AM
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Originally Posted by rosewood View Post
Squids clog the bore, then normal load blows up gun because of barrel obstruction causing excessive pressure with no way to get out.
The barrel fails as result of the force of the second round colliding with the first bullet not from pressure resulting from fire normal round (internal ballistics). These are technically refereed to as obstructions.

Cylinder failures are always the result of over pressure, barrel ruptures are typically the result of obstructions.

Peak pressure in 38 special (and most other strait wall handgun cartridges) occur before the bullet even leaves the cartridge.

Even when slower powders such as 4227 is used in even the largest of handgun cartridges such as the 460 S&W or 500 S&W and operate at twice the pressure of 357, the bullets still have not left the brass before the peak pressure has been reached.
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Old 07-09-2023, 01:04 AM
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Do you by any chance have proof there were only 2 guns destroyed while Elmer Keith was developing loads? It would make a good read.
You can't prove a negative. You are an adult, think about it..................
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Old 07-09-2023, 01:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosewood View Post
There is absolutely no way a slightly over pressure load is going to blow up a gun. It may cause premature wear, loose gun etc. But most guns are designed to handle twice the pressure that is intended to be fired in it. Most if not all guns blown up not related to an obstructed bore was either a double charge or the wrong powder effectively being a double charge.

Folks who believe otherwise have no clue about how engineers design things.

Rosewood
Over pressure does not have to come from a double charge.
All one has to do is create a load above the design pressure. In 38 special this easily done with current powders in use today without a "double charge". Many powder in use today can easily create 250 kpsi with charge weight of 125% of a 85% MAP load.

On the matter of metal failure this a much more complex question to answer. Alloys and process involved vary between manufactures and even within models and firearm's design requirements vary widely.
First and foremost you can not tell from just looking a firearm how much damage/ fatigue has occurred after an over pressure round has been fired or much pressure is going to cause that failure.

Most modern cylinder and revolver frames can endure quite a bit of abuse. The point of failure will be the total sum of the metal fatigue and the resultant tears in the grain as result of exceeding the elasticity of the alloy in use.

Proof testing is usually performed at 125% of the of the max design pressure. I doubt even the strongest revolver produced would take very many 200% loads before it became seriously compromised or suffered a catastrophic failure.

Engineers do design with some measure of insurance so their products will be safe. They design to to economic requirements not some measure of indestructibility.

Take your risk as you see them.

PS. I am an engineer.
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Old 07-09-2023, 01:43 AM
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You can't prove a negative. You are an adult, think about it..................
What I was asking is, since you are so very sure it was only 2 guns I thought you might have seen that written somewhere. It's very hard to be so sure unless you read everything ever written about Elmer Keith. It was just a curiosity, even "adults" become curious sometimes, no?
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Old 07-09-2023, 04:27 AM
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I can't be sure because the gentleman is dead but I may not have read everything about the man. Only everything I can find. I am just so tired of every keyboard cowboy telling how many guns he was to have blown up. Therefore I have a tendency to ask them to prove their claims. I have done this several times and have never had one of them offer any information to back up their statements. You know I'm right you are just mad cause he didn't use HS6........................
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Old 07-09-2023, 04:52 AM
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I can't be sure because the gentleman is dead but I may not have read everything about the man. Only everything I can find. I am just so tired of every keyboard cowboy telling how many guns he was to have blown up. Therefore I have a tendency to ask them to prove their claims. I have done this several times and have never had one of them offer any information to back up their statements. You know I'm right you are just mad cause he didn't use HS6......................
LOL, HS-6 didn't even enter my mind but now that you mention it....

I really have no idea if you are correct or not on the number of guns.
I'm not one of the people who said anything about how many guns busted. I doubt it was many. Back in those days they didn't have the testing equipment of today so sometimes, oppsss. lol
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Old 07-09-2023, 05:07 AM
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Underwood and Buffalo Bore are already loading the .38 pretty hot, so I guess a reloader could do the same. FWIW, I recently chronographed some Underwood .38+P 125 and 158 grain ammunition in 2" and 4" revolvers. In the 2" gun, Underwood's .38+P exceeded .357 velocities in the same weights as shown on the BBTI site. In a 4" revolver, Underwood's 38+P was still quite respectable, but the .357 really starts pulling away in the 4"..
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Old 07-09-2023, 07:24 AM
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I read thru the entire thread. Interesting discussion. If I am planning to kill a mammal of any type, I shoot the biggest baddest I can find, or that which I have on me at the time.

Since 99.5% or more of my shooting is at harmless paper targets, or defenseless tin cans or plastic bottles, I load to the middle of the published ranges, Funny thing, every tin can I hit dies...the only ones who survive are the ones I miss.

So hotrodding loads is for all the rest of you.
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Old 07-09-2023, 11:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stansdds View Post
Your gun, your ammo, your hands, your health care insurance, do what you want. As for me, I do not want to damage my firearms, I do not want to significantly shorten the life of my brass, I do not like it when my hands get cut and bruised, I do not enjoy visits to the ER. If I reload 38 Special brass, it would get loaded to not more than 38 Special +P levels. When I want 357 Magnum or near magnum loads, I use 357 Magnum brass and fire it in revolvers made for 357 Magnum.
That's great unless you want to use the Keith 173 gr. bullet. Then you'd have to use Special cases, unless you have a gun with a really long cylinder like a S&W model 19.
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