loading the 38 S&W (not 38 special)

kwh
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loading the 38 S&W (not 38 special)

Postby kwh » 11 Mar 2016, 21:21

This is a real old timer designed by S&W about 1876 .For many years it was one of the most common revolver cartridges in the world.Seemed like everyone made revolvers in this caliber,both US and foreign.A lot of handy little pocket guns in this caliber were built.The S&W model 33 in that caliber was built up to 1974 and is still commonly encountered.The 38 S&W case is a little larger in diameter than the 38 special and the factory bullet diameter is .360".The Brits bought a LOT of K frame "Victory" models in 38 S&W during WW2 and they are still pretty common on the market. Colt built a lot of of revolvers in 38 S&W too but they are generally stamped "38 Colt new police".Wonder why :roll: There are a lot of old 38 S&W victory models around that were rechambered to 38 special.Problem is that the rear of the chamber is oversize for the 38 spcl.I had one of those long ago and if you shot anything but 2.7 bullseye and a 148 gr wadcutter in it it would split the case.I currently have one revolver in this cartridge,a S&W victory model that went to Australia for WW2.I generally load 2.2 gr bullseye and a 148 hollow base wadcutter and it shoots very well indeed and pretty closely duplicates factory ballistics.If you want more power you can load a 150 swc and 4.5 of unique but I dont.If I need more power I will use another revolver.NEVER use the 4.5 unique load in anything but a solid frame S&W or Colt revolver! I shot some of those in an old Iver-Johnson when I was a kid.It didnt blow up but it sure did loosen up and get out of time in a hurry.The slightly undersize 38 special bullets caused no accuracy issues whatever for me.When I get the new 38 DA top break I will try a few 2.2\148 rounds in it and see how it does.The Brits used a 200 gr bullet in the 38 S&W during WW2 and claimed it was as good a stopper as the 455 Webley-------I bet the guy who made that decision never had to use that pistol! Of course now they are claiming that the 9mm is a much better stopper than the 45 ACP .I KNOW whoever figured that one out never shot anyone with a 9.Sorry for the OT comment---The 38 S&W is a fun little cartridge that was found in a lot of very good quality revolvers and they are often found pretty cheap.For pests and fun try a .357-.360 round ball and 1 1\2 gr bullseye.Death on rats!

kwh
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Re: loading the 38 S&W (not 38 special)

Postby kwh » 12 Mar 2016, 20:05

Make that two guns in 38 S&W.Cleaning pistols today I found a S&W 1905 4th change 5" in 38 S&W with Brit proofs but no military markings and no "V" in the serial.I had forgotten I had it.

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Mountain dewd
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Re: loading the 38 S&W (not 38 special)

Postby Mountain dewd » 13 Mar 2016, 10:12

Thanks for the great info, Kurt! I have always been tempted to pick up a 38 s&w, and I reckon it is high time I do. Your "gallery load" is a neat idea. Never thought of using it for the 38 smith.
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heck
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Re: loading the 38 S&W (not 38 special)

Postby heck » 13 Mar 2016, 10:47

Thanks for the info about the .38 s&w, Kurt. Never really thought about picking one up but now I might have to keep my eyes open for one.

kwh
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Re: loading the 38 S&W (not 38 special)

Postby kwh » 13 Mar 2016, 19:16

Not my first choice for a defense gun,but they are fun to shoot.Glad you all enjoyed the post.

44man
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Re: loading the 38 S&W (not 38 special)

Postby 44man » 12 Jun 2017, 09:22

Always fun. I fixed one years ago and lived in Cleveland. Can't shoot in the yard. I piled 2X4's in the back of dads car to test. I leaned it over the seat and shot. All bullets were sticking up in the first 2X4. Just not much there. I don't know why it was considered a defense round. A coat would stop it.
I never understood the old stuff with small power guns like the .25. Yet they are still fun to shoot. More like a pellet gun.

kwh
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Re: loading the 38 S&W (not 38 special)

Postby kwh » 17 Jun 2017, 21:03

Jim I dont know either.Maybe it was a case of "better a J frame in your pocket than hollering for help"?

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Re: loading the 38 S&W (not 38 special)

Postby 44man » 18 Jun 2017, 07:02

When it comes to deer I overdo everything. I had all kinds of trouble with 45# bows and deer going 200 yards, I could see the arrow still going in as the deer ran off. One hole and hard to track. Found a stronger bow of 62# and a heavy arrow stopped the foolishness. Eventually I was shooting 82#.
Then when I could use a revolver I used my .44 with 240 XTP's, back to one hole with 3 deer shot I recovered all 3 bullets. Back tracking showed no blood sign at all. I was lucky and seen them go down. Changed to the LBT 320 gr and again they worked. I still use 300 to 330 gr bullets.
I bought the BFR in 45-70 after killing deer with the .45 Colt and 325 and 335 gr bullets, figured the added velocity would be better and promptly lost 3 deer. Just a hole poker with no blood sign. Wrong hardness bullet. Made a WFN mold and it was worse. It needs a softer nose.
The .475 just dropped deer so when I got the .500 JRH (.500 S&W special.) I ran into trouble again with a poked hole. I cast a softer nose and turned it into a meat grinder and dropped deer.
So is does not depend on how big or how fast, it is the bullet.
The .357 always scared me for deer with the light, quick expanding bullets while a heavy would either not fit or be too tough. The .41 came out with problems the same but it got a better choice after a while. Another I have no use for.
After 30 years and near 200 revolver kills, I am still searching for perfection in each gun because they all differ.

44man
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Re: loading the 38 S&W (not 38 special)

Postby 44man » 18 Jun 2017, 07:10

I came to believe in penetration no matter but the bullet must destroy in a deer before exit. That is where it gets tough. I opened many deer with pink lungs with just a hole through them. The hard cast WFN was worse because the pressure wave off the flat nose moved tissue out of the way. Softer is better but I can't get soft to shoot right so making half the nose softer turned the bullet into a mean machine.


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