.380 round compared to .38 Colt round

Discussion in 'Handgun Talk' started by Old Bill, Jul 25, 2008.

  1. Old Bill

    Old Bill New Member

    Messages:
    448
    State:
    Oklahoma City
    I was digging around in a box of gun stuff today and found some .38 Colt rounds. These were purchased to use in a very old S & W .38 revolver many years ago.

    As you can see by the size of the rounds, the standard .38 was made before the .38 Special round was developed and is much shorter in size.

    I just thought you might like to see the .38 Colt round compaired to the .380 round used in many small automatic's like the Kel Tec P-3AT.

    The .380 rounds are Winchester Ranger 95 gr T-Series. I'm not sure what the .38 round might be, however, I'm guessing the bullet is around 125 ga. The markings on the base is R*P .38 SH Colt.

    http://oomur.pair.com/wwpotter/images/B-.380 .38 Colt.JPG
     
  2. bootshowl

    bootshowl New Member

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    2,288
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    Indiana, J
    You don't see those very often. I think those are actually from the black powder era guns. Very light charge. I think the last guns I saw chambered for it were some imported Webley's from Britain. Thanks.
    :wink:
     

  3. olefin

    olefin New Member

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    3,908
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    Interesting. They look like the S&W .38 shells I have.

    I have this old S&W .38.
    [FONT=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]Using the serial number shows this gun was manufactured during 1895-1909.
    [/FONT]
     
  4. Old Bill

    Old Bill New Member

    Messages:
    448
    State:
    Oklahoma City
    Olefin, the S&W I have is very much like the one you have, except mine is no where near in the excellence condition your gun is in!

    Also, my gun has a concealed hammer, and has the barrel cut off...leaving the barrel length at about 1 1/2-inches. I'd take a photo of it, but it is in a safety deposit box at the bank.

    My gun was actually given to my wife by an old lawman, a good friend of ours. I believe it was his throw-down gun....er..that is...his back-up gun!!:cool2:

    I ended up with Colt shells because there were no S&W ones available at the time. I believe the Colt shells, which I bought about 20 years ago, are interchangeable with the S&W shells.

    Do you ever fire the S&W.38?
     
  5. olefin

    olefin New Member

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    3,908
    State:
    Texas
    Interesting!

    Back in the late 40's my older brother bought mine from a retired law man in OK. He had carried it for many years when he worked. The action is still like new.

    Yes, I've fired it several times, still have a box of shells. The gun was stolen from me once. The law were chasing the ones that had it and they threw it out of a car window. Landed in someones yard. A kid found it, gave it to his mother and she turned it in to the police. Only damage was a chip broke out of the handle.

    Bill, is the gun on the right like yours?

    I bought my wife this concealed hammer S&W .38 SPL several years ago for carry. Great little carry weapon, especially for a womans purse. I've also reloaded .38 SPL and .357 for many years.
     
  6. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    I know that police departments used the original .38 revolvers for a good while, then the 'super .38' came out, which was considerably more powerful. Was this the .38 Special, or the .357 Magnum?
     
  7. Old Bill

    Old Bill New Member

    Messages:
    448
    State:
    Oklahoma City
    Olefin, the gun on the right is almost identical to mine.

    One difference is the shorter barrel, which I believe was cut off by a gunsmith since there is a front blade slight. However, I guess it could have come from S&W that way. The barrel is cut off just where the second curve (up from the hinge pin) meets the straight area of the barrel.

    A major difference is that my gun has a grip type safety (I can't recall the proper name...you have to squeeze the back part of the handle for the gun to fire).

    I have fired the gun many times in the past, but it had a small part in the trigger area that was defective and was replaced with a home-made part. Since this part could fail and the trigger not work, I don't believe the gun would be safe to carry for self-defence.

    I will try and get to the bank early next week and take a photo of it. Heck, with my faulty memory I may be getting my guns all mixed up!:eek:oooh:
     
  8. Old Bill

    Old Bill New Member

    Messages:
    448
    State:
    Oklahoma City
    Jerry, I believe the term "super .38" refers to the ".357, but I could easily be wrong.

    Most likely olefin will know the correct answer.
     
  9. olefin

    olefin New Member

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    3,908
    State:
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    Bill, I kind of thought that would one would be like yours. Have you ever checked out the serial number to see when your gun was built?
    I would like to see a picture of it. I'll be looking for your post.

    I was mistaken about having a box of S&W 38's... only have 5 that's in the gun. Must have shot all of them.

    I've never heard of the term "super .38", so I'm no help.

    Here is a picture showing comparison to the 357 Magnum, .38 SPL and S&W .38.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Old Bill

    Old Bill New Member

    Messages:
    448
    State:
    Oklahoma City
    Thanks olefin for posting the photo showing the different size shells.

    I will go to the bank on Tuesday and take some photos of my .38, and try and find the serial number.

    I'm attaching a photo of a S&W .38 that I carried for awhile, until I got approval to carry a Glock auto. The cylinder on this revolver had been bored out so that .357 bullets could be fired in it! I never did fire .357's in it, but the previous owner did. At this moment I can't remember what model it was...maybe a model 65 or 66?

    Jerry, I googled "super .38" and got this hit...among many others.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.38_Super

    Seems it is a different bullet, and not the .38 Special nor the .357!
     

    Attached Files:

  11. olefin

    olefin New Member

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    3,908
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    Bill, thanks for the neat picture with your gun, badge and ID.

    Wow, that sounds a little risky to me. Don't blame you for not shooting .357 in a .38 SPL.... I sure wouldn't!

    I always tried to pay special attention when loading .357 and .38 SPL, so far never had a mix up.

    I'll be checking back.
     
  12. massa_jorge

    massa_jorge New Member

    Messages:
    2,137
    State:
    TEXAS
    the .38 super would be like a lighter shorter .357 sig, only there was no sig when the super was conceived. it actually had good ballistics, from what i have read, only most folks i have ever seen shooting the round (super) was in the competition circuit.
     
  13. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

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    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    "The cartridge was designed for use in the M1911 pistol and was capable of penetrating the body armor and automobile bodies of the time.[3]"

    Thanks for the link, Bill. The above reminded me where I heard the term 'super .38'. It was on a TV special about the development of body armor.
     
  14. olefin

    olefin New Member

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    3,908
    State:
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    Bill, I got to thinking about the person that bored out your .38 SPL.

    Looking at maximum pressures for the two shells

    .38 SPL...........17,000 PSI
    357 Magnum...35,000 PSI

    Special built .38 SPL gun, rated to fire +P+.... 25,000 PSI

    Shooting a .357 Mag in the best .38 SPL would be very risky business.


     
  15. Old Bill

    Old Bill New Member

    Messages:
    448
    State:
    Oklahoma City
    That's for sure! I value my hands much too much to do that. I feel the same way about those cheap .410 derringers that are for sale!:crazy:

    I was able to take some photos of my old .38 this morning. I thought I also had a box of the .38 short Colt bullets in the safety deposit box. But, not a .38 bullet was to be found. Several boxes of 9MM for my Glock 19, but no .38 shells.

    The SN on my old .38 is 1551XX. Any idea what year that would have been made?

    Here are the photos of the gun.

    Looking at the two pins that were used to hold the front sight in place makes me feel that the barrel on my gun was cut off after it left the factory. In the photos that you showed, the factory mounted front sight doesn't appear to have pins holding it in place. Or am I not seeing the pins?
     

    Attached Files:

  16. olefin

    olefin New Member

    Messages:
    3,908
    State:
    Texas
    Great pictures there Bill. Nice looking gun. I've never seen one of those old S&W .38 break opens with a handle safety.

    No, mine doesn't use pins on the front sight. The sight is a machined part of the barrel. Agree, sounds like someone sawed of the barrel and reattached the sight on yours.

    I've tried to find that web site where I found the age of my gun but so far I've had no luck. It's been several years. I'm still looking.

    That looks like a very old serial number.. is the XX part of the number?

    I will continue to check for a date.

    So what do you think of these people's .410 derringers?

    Thanks for the pictures. I'll post back when I find something.
     
  17. Old Bill

    Old Bill New Member

    Messages:
    448
    State:
    Oklahoma City
    Dayton, the XX does represent two more numbers. Years ago I got in the habit of not listing the full SN of guns I owned, and old habits are hard to break. The complete number is 155170. Is that anywhere close to the SN of your .38?

    That .410 looks like a quality made derringer! Of course, it does weigh a ton and costs big bucks, but, it would sure be a fine weapon!

    Please don't spend a lot of time looking for the SN website. I am curious, but not enough for you to spend any amount of time searching for the site.

    Thanks,
     
  18. olefin

    olefin New Member

    Messages:
    3,908
    State:
    Texas
    I kind of thought that was what the xx was for.
    Mine is much higher, like 383000! But they may have used different numbers for different models?

    So far the only thing close I found to your gun... is for serial number 218211....38 S&W Break Open, grip safety Hammerless (4th Model), made c.1906.

    I don't mind looking, not good at it but may stumble on something.

    Wife wants the Bond 410 "Snake Slayer".
     
  19. Old Bill

    Old Bill New Member

    Messages:
    448
    State:
    Oklahoma City
    I was at our local library today and found a book on S&W guns. The standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson, 2nd edition.

    olefin, you were right about my old .38 revolver. It is listed in the S&W book as a .38 Safety Hammerless Revolver, 4th Model. Also know as a "Safety", "New Departure" or "Lemon Squeezer"!

    4th Model's SN range from 116003 to 220000, and were manufactured from 1898 to 1907. A total of 104,000 were made.

    There was a 2-inch barrel model made called a Bicycle Model, but I believe the barrel on my gun is only about 1 1/2-inch long. Too bad because the Bicycle model is quite rare and worth big bucks!:eek:oooh:

    I also found what I believe is information on your .38 revolver. It appears to be a 4th Model .38 Top-break Double Action revolver. SN's range from 322701 to 539000, and were manufactured from 1895 to 1909. A total of 216,300 were made.

    The book states "that there is a slight premium for pre-1898 antiques, before number 382022". so based on that, i would guess your gun was made in 1899 or shortly thereafter??

    olefin, I'll be glad to copy these pages and send them to you if you would like to see them. Just send me a PM with your email address.
     
  20. Old Bill

    Old Bill New Member

    Messages:
    448
    State:
    Oklahoma City
    I do too! Wow! That's a great looking snake gun!

    Or great for anything or anyone else...but, alas, like so many things I desire...the cost is way too high for a poor old man like me! Sob!:wink: