Why not more revolvers in non 38/357 calibers? [Archive] - Glock Talk

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sharpshooter
07-09-2012, 11:15
For CCW it seems a 38 special is barely "enough", and 357 magnum is painful to shoot. Both of those rounds are VERY old.

Why aren't there better alternatives? A shorter cartridge would mean a shorter/lighter cylinder, which means you could have a 1/8" or 1/4" longer barrel without making the gun longer. What about 357 Sig or 45 Glock or a new cartridge with better numbers than a 38 but less recoil than a 357 mag?

9mm revolvers are rare, I've never actually seen one. True you loose velocity with a 2" barrel but it's still faster than a 38.

fnfalman
07-09-2012, 11:18
Manufacturers can barely sell .357 SIGs and .45 GAPs in autopistols. What makes you think people are going to buy them in wheelguns?

9mm revolvers are rare because they can't be sold in large enough numbers to justify the cost of production and distribution.

Gliderguy
07-09-2012, 11:25
This may be the very driving force that brought the 327 federal into existance.

CBennett
07-09-2012, 11:26
im guessing because many of the other pistol calibers involve those moon clips and such. while I dont mind them some just dont like to mess with them.

countrygun
07-09-2012, 11:45
For CCW it seems a 38 special is barely "enough", and 357 magnum is painful to shoot. Both of those rounds are VERY old.

Why aren't there better alternatives? A shorter cartridge would mean a shorter/lighter cylinder, which means you could have a 1/8" or 1/4" longer barrel without making the gun longer. What about 357 Sig or 45 Glock or a new cartridge with better numbers than a 38 but less recoil than a 357 mag?

9mm revolvers are rare, I've never actually seen one. True you loose velocity with a 2" barrel but it's still faster than a 38.

The .327 is probably going to be it in that direction. Bottle neck rounds like the .357 Sig don't work well in DA revolvers the bottleneck tends to push the case back out of the chamber.

Revolver shooters that want velocity have the magnums, and pray tell, unless you have a prejudice against the "age" of the .357 magnum, what is wrong with it?

Revolver shooters, in SD revolvers tend to know they have fewer shots and slower reloads so the tend towards bigger/heavier bullets. I know If I were going to carry a 125 grn bullet in a 2" 38/357 I just carry a 9mm auto. getting more velocity out of a 2" revolver is problematic from a blast and recoil standpoint.

I have 1 .38/,357 snub but when I carry a "shorty" it's a .44 special.

I have wondered why someone doesn't "legitimize" the ".41 special" made by cutting down .41 mag brass. It has quite a following among "wildcatters" who can afford custom guns. It would give .40S&W ballitics with heavier and different bullet shapes and be usable in .41 mags, ala the .38/,357 relationship. It would eliminate the "rimless extraction/moonclips issue as well.

Gregg702
07-09-2012, 11:51
.38 Special +P is just fine, IMO.

Metal Angel
07-09-2012, 11:57
This may be the very driving force that brought the 327 federal into existance.

I'm curious, how does the 327 fit ballistically in the spectrum of standard carry revolver/auto calibers?

OP- even .45acp revolvers are just as big as .38spl revolvers. The cylinder is usually shorter, but the space for the cylinder is just as long, and they have longer forcing cones to compensate. I don't know why they don't do it like you are suggesting. It makes sense to me. .38spl is WAAAAY too long for what it is.

fnfalman
07-09-2012, 12:08
I'm curious, how does the 327 fit ballistically in the spectrum of standard carry revolver/auto calibers?

Similar to the .357 SIG caliber.

.38spl is WAAAAY too long for what it is.

That's because way, way back when .38 Special was loaded with blackpowder when it first came out. Nowadays, with smokeless powder AND improvement in powder technology, you don't need that much case space.

However, answer me this: what do you gain by cutting the case of the .38 Special down? Practically speaking and not academically speaking.

How much weight do you save in ammo? How much weight do you save in the gun? Do all these savings offset tooling up to make new rounds and new guns AND hope that there will be a customer base for ammo and gun?

.45 GAP isn't exactly flying out of the door and setting the world afire.

countrygun
07-09-2012, 12:12
Similar to the .357 SIG caliber.



That's because way, way back when .38 Special was loaded with blackpowder when it first came out. Nowadays, with smokeless powder AND improvement in powder technology, you don't need that much case space.

However, answer me this: what do you gain by cutting the case of the .38 Special down? Practically speaking and not academically speaking.

How much weight do you save in ammo? How much weight do you save in the gun? Do all these savings offset tooling up to make new rounds and new guns AND hope that there will be a customer base for ammo and gun?

.45 GAP isn't exactly flying out of the door and setting the world afire.


Well said

ronin.45
07-09-2012, 12:22
.38+P has plenty of energy for SD.

I will be first in line if S&W ever brings out an airweight in 9mm with moon clips. I like to keep my caliber selection to a minimum.

fnfalman
07-09-2012, 12:24
.38+P has plenty of energy for SD.

I will be first in line if S&W ever brings out an airweight in 9mm with moon clips. I like to keep my caliber selection to a minimum.

I can dig that. I like the low cost of the 9mm ammo.

Decguns
07-09-2012, 12:26
The fact of the matter is that the 38 Special and 357 Magnum still work. If you believe in one shot stop statistics, the 357 Magnum is king of the hill... easily beating out the 40, 41, 44 & 45's. If it's not broke... don't fix it.

The 327 Magnum gives you 357 performance in a smaller package. Basically 6-7 shots in a 5 shot size revolver. Since the 327 is based off of the 32 H&R Magnum, you get the same ability to shoot cheaper and lower recoiling ammo just like the 38/357. It's not a leap in performance so much as it's the wonder-nine of the CCW revolver world.

bhk
07-09-2012, 12:28
Regular .38 and .38 +Ps may be 'not enough' and regular .357s may be 'too much,' but there are other alternatives in this chambering. Lightly loaded factory .357s cartridges like the 125 grain Gold Dots and the 125 grain Remington Golden Sabres fill the nich between the .38 +Ps and full-house .357 loads. These are 'perfection' for small .357 revolvers. Check them out! The .38/.357 revolver is one of the best all around firearms ever invented.

Jim Watson
07-09-2012, 12:42
There are a lot of different things you can shoot in a .357 Magnum across the power spectrum from .38 wadcutters to full power Mag-numbs.

For example, Buffalo Bore sells heavy .38s that are comparable to the old .38-44 High Velocity, somewhat more than current +P+.
Or you can buy - or handload - .357 Magnum "intermediate" loads to do about the same thing in the longer case with no danger of slipping a bomb into your Airweight .38.


There are such things as 9mm, .38 Super, and .40 SW revolvers but they are not common and don't do anything a properly loaded .38 or .357 won't.

Foxtrotx1
07-09-2012, 12:49
.38+P has plenty of energy for SD.

I will be first in line if S&W ever brings out an airweight in 9mm with moon clips. I like to keep my caliber selection to a minimum.

I'm in too. Standardizing my ammo for handguns down to just 9mm would be nice.

ChicagoZman
07-09-2012, 12:53
Have never found my .357 revolvers to be lacking in the variety of ammunition they can shoot. Very light target loads to 1500 fps 158gr hollow points.

And you can get revolvers chambered in plenty of calibers. Taurus makes a compact .40 and you can get plenty of guns in .327, .41, .44. 45Colt, .410, .45ACP, etc.

countrygun
07-09-2012, 12:54
The .357 revolver is great BECAUSE of it's age. more loads in .38/357 have been designed over the years, and are factory available than any other centerfire pistol round. Probably more than any TWO other rounds. anyone who can shoot can find something they are comfortable with and those who want performance over "comfort" or find performance "comforting" can get it in one gun.

I choose the .44 for my snubbie because I reload and my "rural" lifestyle causes me to lean towards a heavier bullet.

Metal Angel
07-09-2012, 12:55
Similar to the .357 SIG caliber.



That's because way, way back when .38 Special was loaded with blackpowder when it first came out. Nowadays, with smokeless powder AND improvement in powder technology, you don't need that much case space.

However, answer me this: what do you gain by cutting the case of the .38 Special down? Practically speaking and not academically speaking.

How much weight do you save in ammo? How much weight do you save in the gun? Do all these savings offset tooling up to make new rounds and new guns AND hope that there will be a customer base for ammo and gun?

.45 GAP isn't exactly flying out of the door and setting the world afire.

The reason the OP wants to shorten it is to shorten the cylinder altogether. 9mm seems to be about 3/4 the length of .38spl, so if you shortened .38spl to the length of 9mm, you could shorten the cylinder another 1/4" or so and either have an overall length 1/4" shorter than the current j frame, or have a barrel 1/4" longer while retaining the same overall length j frame.

Meh, seems like a lot of work for a little change to me. And with how much .38spl already costs, I'm sure this new .38spl short would be $35 a box for target ammo.

fnfalman
07-09-2012, 12:56
Regular .38 and .38 +Ps may be 'not enough' and regular .357s may be 'too much,' but there are other alternatives in this chambering. Lightly loaded factory .357s cartridges like the 125 grain Gold Dots and the 125 grain Remington Golden Sabres fill the nich between the .38 +Ps and full-house .357 loads. These are 'perfection' for small .357 revolvers. Check them out! The .38/.357 revolver is one of the best all around firearms ever invented.

A 9mm out of a snubbie isn't going to be any more powerful than a .38 Spl +P.

fnfalman
07-09-2012, 12:58
The reason the OP wants to shorten it is to shorten the cylinder altogether. 9mm seems to be about 3/4 the length of .38spl, so if you shortened .38spl to the length of 9mm, you could shorten the cylinder another 1/4" or so and either have an overall length 1/4" shorter than the current j frame, or have a barrel 1/4" longer while retaining the same overall length j frame.


I understand the concept. That's why I ask for people to think in "practical" terms. What do they as the owners get out of the package and what do they as the gun companies get out of the package.

Meh, seems like a lot of work for a little change to me. And with how much .38spl already costs, I'm sure this new .38spl short would be $35 a box for target ammo.

Exactly my point.

countrygun
07-09-2012, 13:12
I think the thread is based on lack of research and testing on the part of the OP,

"For CCW it seems a 38 special is barely "enough", and 357 magnum is painful to shoot. Both of those rounds are VERY old."

I doubt a .357 Sig does something that isn't covered somewhere in the .38-.357 spectrum.

Metal Angel
07-09-2012, 13:13
Meh, seems like a lot of work for a little change to me. And with how much .38spl already costs, I'm sure this new .38spl short would be $35 a box for target ammo.

.327FM on the other hand... That does sound interesting to me. I guess that cartridge has been flying under my radar. It's so skinny it seems like manufacturers could fit 6 rounds in a standard J frame cylinder, or, slim down the cylinder for 5 rounds. Both ideas I like.

A quick search just confirmed that the SP101 in .327FM does in fact have a 6 round cylinder :cool: Unfortunately, it doesn't look like they make it in the pocket friendly model with the concealed hammer :crying:

Does Smith make a J-frame in .327FM?

fnfalman
07-09-2012, 13:15
I doubt a .357 Sig does something that isn't covered somewhere in the .38-.357 spectrum.

But it is "new". Not "very new", just "new" - if you can call something that's nearly twenty years old "new".

fnfalman
07-09-2012, 13:18
Does Smith make a J-frame in .327FM?

Nope.

The cartridge was pioneered by Ruger. It'll take a while before other companies would consider chambering it in their guns. Kind of like nobody wanted to put the .40SW in their guns because of the "SW" in the name. Some even went to call it .40 Auto. Probably the same reason for the .45 Automatic Colt Pistol round got renamed . 45 Auto.

Gun manufacturers are a bunch of fickle kids when it comes to "the other guy's invention".

Bullman
07-09-2012, 13:30
I also think that the original poster needs some education in what would be considered "enough". I really don't think that .327 Federal is going to give him any great gains over a .38 +P. There have been great advances in bullet design and powder technology since the old .38 special garnered it's reputation as a poor stopper. Using good ammuntion, I would carry a .38 anywhere.

Jim Watson
07-09-2012, 13:33
Actually, S&W does make a couple of models in .327 Federal/Ruger. Kind of expensive, but there they are:
http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Category4_750001_750051_757767_-1_757751_757751_image#http%3A%2F%2Fwww.smith-wesson.com%2Fwebapp%2Fwcs%2Fstores%2Fservlet%2FCategoryOnlyResultsDisplayView%3FpageSize%3D%26pageVi ew%3Dimage%26catalogId%3D750051%26top_category%3D757751%26parent_category_rn%3D757751%26beginIndex%3 D0%26categoryId%3D757767%26langId%3D-1%26storeId%3D750001%26filterResults%3D766187%2C766366%26useFilter%3D1%26identifier%3D1341862225506

Nearly everybody in the business has brought out a 9mm revolver at one time or another and sales were slow. We can fantasize over a Modern I Frame with frame and cylinder just long enough for 9mm (as the original I frame was just long enough for .32 S&W Long and .38 S&W) but they are not likely to tool up for such a niche product.

ChicagoZman
07-09-2012, 13:36
Delete

fnfalman
07-09-2012, 14:02
That's gotta be fairly new. I don't remember seeing those two offerings last year when I browsed the SW catalog.

Actually, S&W does make a couple of models in .327 Federal/Ruger. Kind of expensive, but there they are:
http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Category4_750001_750051_757767_-1_757751_757751_image#http%3A%2F%2Fwww.smith-wesson.com%2Fwebapp%2Fwcs%2Fstores%2Fservlet%2FCategoryOnlyResultsDisplayView%3FpageSize%3D%26pageVi ew%3Dimage%26catalogId%3D750051%26top_category%3D757751%26parent_category_rn%3D757751%26beginIndex%3 D0%26categoryId%3D757767%26langId%3D-1%26storeId%3D750001%26filterResults%3D766187%2C766366%26useFilter%3D1%26identifier%3D1341862225506

Nearly everybody in the business has brought out a 9mm revolver at one time or another and sales were slow. We can fantasize over a Modern I Frame with frame and cylinder just long enough for 9mm (as the original I frame was just long enough for .32 S&W Long and .38 S&W) but they are not likely to tool up for such a niche product.

countrygun
07-09-2012, 14:05
I heard that Charter Arms has dropped the .327 from their line

Berto
07-09-2012, 14:28
There are a lot of different things you can shoot in a .357 Magnum across the power spectrum from .38 wadcutters to full power Mag-numbs.

For example, Buffalo Bore sells heavy .38s that are comparable to the old .38-44 High Velocity, somewhat more than current +P+.
Or you can buy - or handload - .357 Magnum "intermediate" loads to do about the same thing in the longer case with no danger of slipping a bomb into your Airweight .38.


There are such things as 9mm, .38 Super, and .40 SW revolvers but they are not common and don't do anything a properly loaded .38 or .357 won't.


:goodpost:

Happypuppy
07-09-2012, 14:48
I think we don't see more calibers due to lack of demand. The .38 special and the .357 mag are 2 of the best rounds available, and often out of the same gun to boot!


Sent using 2 cans and string

OrangePwr9
07-09-2012, 16:52
If the OP would learn to reload, he'd quickly learn that a .357 revolver is one of the most versatile arms ever invented. 'Old', indeed.

Bruce M
07-09-2012, 18:07
Add me to the list that thinks that the benefits from a shorter .38 cartridge would be minimal compared to the expense.

Metal Angel
07-09-2012, 19:06
If the OP would learn to reload, he'd quickly learn that a .357 revolver is one of the most versatile arms ever invented. 'Old', indeed.

Heck, I don't even reload and I know how versatile .357 is. Even commercial loads are as diverse as the fish in the sea. I do see the OP's point about .38spl being too long for what it is, and if it had originally been shorter, we could have revolvers even more compact than the Smith J-frames, but at this point, .38spl has been around for so long that it would be very costly to replace, and probably just not worth it.

On the other hand, if all the manufacturers agreed to cut a third of the brass off all their .38spls, you could still load them in old revolvers without a problem, and new revolvers could start to take advantage of the change. The money saved on brass would cancel out the money spent on modifying their machines for the new case, and very soon .38spl would be cheaper than it is now. I don't reload, so I don't know how much room for adjustment you have in your press... I assume this would screw over reloaders, which would also be good for manufacturers.

With the way things work in the firearms industry, I doubt this will ever happen. Honestly, I wish they would cut down on the number of calibers available.

With revolvers, you could practically eliminate everything but .44mag and .357mag and those two could be loaded for everything in between, which would make both cartridges cheaper to buy. Autos are not that simple, but you sure as hell don't need .357sig AND .40s&w. I don't care which, but eliminate one please... And .45gap? When can we just move on and forget about that. 10mm needs to gain in popularity, and I wouldn't mind some other manufacturers using 5.7x28 or 4.6x30, but certainly there is no need for both.

Variety is the spice of life, but with a little less variety, we could have cheaper ammo and more firearms chambered in the cartridge we want, and not the cartridge we don't want.

Just my .02

FLIPPER 348
07-09-2012, 19:28
For CCW it seems a 38 special is barely "enough", and 357 magnum is painful to shoot. Both of those rounds are VERY old.




.38sp is plenty, always has been ......always will


man-up on the .357 thing

countrygun
07-09-2012, 19:42
Heck, I don't even reload and I know how versatile .357 is. Even commercial loads are as diverse as the fish in the sea. I do see the OP's point about .38spl being too long for what it is, and if it had originally been shorter, we could have revolvers even more compact than the Smith J-frames, but at this point, .38spl has been around for so long that it would be very costly to replace, and probably just not worth it.

On the other hand, if all the manufacturers agreed to cut a third of the brass off all their .38spls, you could still load them in old revolvers without a problem, and new revolvers could start to take advantage of the change. The money saved on brass would cancel out the money spent on modifying their machines for the new case, and very soon .38spl would be cheaper than it is now. I don't reload, so I don't know how much room for adjustment you have in your press... I assume this would screw over reloaders, which would also be good for manufacturers.

With the way things work in the firearms industry, I doubt this will ever happen. Honestly, I wish they would cut down on the number of calibers available.

With revolvers, you could practically eliminate everything but .44mag and .357mag and those two could be loaded for everything in between, which would make both cartridges cheaper to buy. Autos are not that simple, but you sure as hell don't need .357sig AND .40s&w. I don't care which, but eliminate one please... And .45gap? When can we just move on and forget about that. 10mm needs to gain in popularity, and I wouldn't mind some other manufacturers using 5.7x28 or 4.6x30, but certainly there is no need for both.

Variety is the spice of life, but with a little less variety, we could have cheaper ammo and more firearms chambered in the cartridge we want, and not the cartridge we don't want.

Just my .02


Do you want to pay for all the lawsuits from this new round being fired in 100 + year old.38 long Colt and Short Colt revolvers?

The .38 spl was not made at it's current length due to black powder. It was done like the .44 magnum to keep it from being loaded in older guns. The 1892 Colt is an example. The .38 special was a smokeless round from the ground up. they lengthened the .38 Long Colt case for safety.

bhk
07-09-2012, 19:46
The very idea of reducing the number of available cartridges (or reducing the number I personally use) sounds sad to me. That is taking a good portion of the fun out of this hobby! It would be like reducing the number of car/truck models available to just the three or four the public really NEEDS. How very,very boring.

Berto
07-09-2012, 19:56
This has been tried with the 9mm Federal back in the eighties. It flopped.

The .38sp is a near perfect balance as it is, enough case volume to take bullets however light you want and as heavy as 200gr, all while keeping pressures low and allowing smaller, lighter guns and managable recoil.
Also keep in mind, a mini cylinder in a shortened J frame puts the blast gap right over your support hand. Combine that with a higher pressure round needed to match .38sp from a smaller case= bad.
Anything you want from 9mm can be had with a +p rated small .38sp, if you're willing to deal with the recoil, in addition you have the choices of heavier bullets and more flexibility of bullet shapes and composition.
Buffalo Bore and Corbon load (or loaded) 110gr that easily hit 9mm +P+ numbers, 125gr matched 9mm and the 158gr that exceeds 9mm's few 158gr loads...and you can keep going up to 173gr, 180gr and 200gr bullet weights as well.
If you want it, you can find it.

Andrewsky
07-09-2012, 20:25
Also keep in mind, a mini cylinder in a shortened J frame puts the blast gap right over your support hand.

Thanks for bringing this up. You must be one of the rare few on here that actually shoots their guns.

Bluestreakfl
07-09-2012, 20:29
I'd like to see something with a 5 round capacity, in the size of a j-frame, chambered in .45 colt.


Sent from my phone booth

countrygun
07-09-2012, 20:34
I'd like to see something with a 5 round capacity, in the size of a j-frame, chambered in .45 colt.


Sent from my phone booth


I had plenty of experience with the first generation Charter bulldogs in .44 special and I have over a years worth with this new one, including stout handloads. That comes pretty close.

Bullman
07-09-2012, 20:34
I'd like to see something with a 5 round capacity, in the size of a j-frame, chambered in .45 colt.


Sent from my phone booth

that is a lot of brass to stuff in a j frame. I think the closest you will find is the Charter Arms .44 Bulldog pug.

countrygun
07-09-2012, 20:36
that is a lot of brass to stuff in a j frame. I think the closest you will find is the Charter Arms .44 Bulldog pug.

You know, if Colt would bring back the Detective Special as a 5 shot big-bore........Hmmm.

dnuggett
07-09-2012, 20:59
Most factory specs rate their standard 9mm with a higher velocity and more energy than .38 Special +P. Once you get up to the $35 a box Buffalo Bore, etc. then things start to even out.

I used to pocket carry a 442 loaded with Buffalo Bore 158gr 38 Special +P as a BUG. Ditched it for a 940 with Speer Gold Dot 9mm. If I decide to get real fancy I'll go with some Ranger +P.

As Berto suggested you can get quite fancy with the .38 Special.. if you load or pay quite a premium for the ammo. I'm not inclined to do either. A 9mm J-Frame made a lot more sense to me. YMMV.

samurairabbi
07-09-2012, 21:07
The .38 spl was not made at it's current length due to black powder. It was done like the .44 magnum to keep it from being loaded in older guns. The 1892 Colt is an example. The .38 special was a smokeless round from the ground up. they lengthened the .38 Long Colt case for safety.
This scenario is intriguing. I do have one question about it.

If the .38spl was a smokeless round sized to prevent it being loaded in black powder firearms, then why did the cartridge designers stay with a low 18000psi spec in its operating pressure, when any new firearm designed for the .38spl could have accomodated much higher pressure?

Jim Watson
07-09-2012, 21:33
Well, because some people have the idea that the .38 Special was indeed introduced loaded with black powder. Ken Waters says the .38 Long Colt was loaded with 18 grains of black and a 150 grain bullet, the S&W Special with 21 grains of black (I have seen everything from 20 to 21.5) and a 158 grain bullet.

Berto
07-09-2012, 21:37
This scenario is intriguing. I do have one question about it.

If the .38spl was a smokeless round sized to prevent it being loaded in black powder firearms, then why did the cartridge designers stay with a low 18000psi spec in its operating pressure, when any new firearm designed for the .38spl could have accomodated much higher pressure?

My own guess on that is because they were satisfied with the results. In 1934-5, when .357mag came along, people were not accustomed to 'heavy' recoil and probably felt the 158gr at 900fps was plenty good.
Unlike the Europeans, we liked bigger case volume low pressure revolver rounds too, whereas .30 and 9mm Luger were the new direction in handguns just as they had gone smaller bore high pressure in the rifles.

Berto
07-09-2012, 21:43
Most factory specs rate their standard 9mm with a higher velocity and more energy than .38 Special +P. Once you get up to the $35 a box Buffalo Bore, etc. then things start to even out.

I used to pocket carry a 442 loaded with Buffalo Bore 158gr 38 Special +P as a BUG. Ditched it for a 940 with Speer Gold Dot 9mm. If I decide to get real fancy I'll go with some Ranger +P.

As Berto suggested you can get quite fancy with the .38 Special.. if you load or pay quite a premium for the ammo. I'm not inclined to do either. A 9mm J-Frame made a lot more sense to me. YMMV.

I love the 9mm J frame idea too, it just seems hit or miss with getting good extraction or having problems with binding because of the tapered case backing out.
The ones that like them, love them, but I know a few folks that had lots of problems, too.
You can't really get mouse fart loads in 9mm either, which is too bad...but they need to work recoil operated guns, so they load into a decent pressure range.

dnuggett
07-09-2012, 22:52
I love the 9mm J frame idea too, it just seems hit or miss with getting good extraction or having problems with binding because of the tapered case backing out.
The ones that like them, love them, but I know a few folks that had lots of problems, too.

I suppose I was lucky enough to have a hit. My 940 has been great. The moon clips in the 940 have kept the casings from backing out and work fantastic for extraction. I can't see either being an issue in mine, but I haven't had it a good long while either, as I recently switched. I'll keep my fingers crossed...

countrygun
07-09-2012, 23:32
This scenario is intriguing. I do have one question about it.

If the .38spl was a smokeless round sized to prevent it being loaded in black powder firearms, then why did the cartridge designers stay with a low 18000psi spec in its operating pressure, when any new firearm designed for the .38spl could have accomodated much higher pressure?


It is the same story as the .44 special. the guns were still BP frames and metalurgy Yes I was in error about the special bieng A always smokeless. It was the .44 special that was the first "smokeless" pistol load, but not by much. Any way the specials Have been kept at the low pressure to avoid lawsuits and injuries. Skeeter Skelton proved that the special case could reach .357 levels but he seated the bullets further out for powder space, probably with 2400, and to prevent the rounds from seating in a .38 chamv

countrygun
07-09-2012, 23:42
This scenario is intriguing. I do have one question about it.

If the .38spl was a smokeless round sized to prevent it being loaded in black powder firearms, then why did the cartridge designers stay with a low 18000psi spec in its operating pressure, when any new firearm designed for the .38spl could have accomodated much higher pressure?


Yes I erred, the .44 special was the first all smokeless pistol round but not by much. they designers stuck to pressure levels comensurate with the designs and metalurgy of the day. The improvements in steel didn't always keep up with the improvements in powder.

We still see that with both the .45 Colt a BP originally, and the .44 special which was "Smokeless all the way".


Skeeter Skelton proved that there isn't a problem getting .357 levels in a .38 case but he loaded the bullets out to prevent seating in a .38 chamber and fired them in .357 guns.

CajunBass
07-10-2012, 03:04
The real reason is because the companies involved are in business to make a profit. You don't do that by trying to reinvent the wheel. They tried 9mm and 10 mm revolvers. I'd hate to be the guy everybody looked at when the CEO asked "And whose bright idea were these?"

The 38/357 are the king of the hill because they work. Because they work they sell. It's really pretty simple.

Jim Watson
07-10-2012, 12:27
Again, Ken Waters says that the .44 Special was loaded with 26 gr of black where the .44 Russian had 23. By 1907 the black and smokeless loads may have been concurrent, but the Special was not smokeless ONLY.

One Internet Expert said that the various "special" calibers indicated a round meant to be factory loaded with smokeless and reloaded with black in a day before nitro propellants were standardized. That is certainly the case with the .32 Winchester Special and might well apply to .38 and .44 Special.

countrygun
07-10-2012, 12:32
Again, Ken Waters says that the .44 Special was loaded with 26 gr of black where the .44 Russian had 23. By 1907 the black and smokeless loads may have been concurrent, but the Special was not smokeless ONLY.

One Internet Expert said that the various "special" calibers indicated a round meant to be factory loaded with smokeless and reloaded with black in a day before nitro propellants were standardized. That is certainly the case with the .32 Winchester Special and might well apply to .38 and .44 Special.

According to Keith and Cooper the .44 special was factory loaded with smokeless powder but was often reloaded with black powder. Keith did it many times and CAS shooters are known to, but the .44 Special came along well into the smokeless era.

(edit to add)

I did a quick check in Taffins 'Book of the .44"

The .44 Special was simply the .44 Russian case lengthened from .97” to 1.16” and as such was an improvement over the .44 Russian but only mildly. With the lengthening of the case the powder charge increased from 23.0 to 26.0 grains of black powder under a round-nosed 246 grain lead bullet; yes the .44 Special was originally a black power load. Everyone doesn’t agree the first .44 Specials were black powder with some holding out for smokeless; it is a sure thing there was no smokeless powder which could be used in the .44 Special with a charge of 26 grains nor in the .44 Russian with a charge of 23 grains. The .44 Special has never been loaded to its true potential by the ammunition factories and it is only very recently that the load has been offered in defensive type loadings with 180 and 200 grain hollow point bullets as well as 1,000 fps loads using 255 grain bullets.

I recall the debate in my younger days and it was the general thought that it was for the sake of comparison, that a BP load was mentioned. I don't remember as long ago as the mid-seventies, anyone having seen a BP loaded factory round.

The "Triple-Lock Hand Ejector came out in 1908. it seems dubious that the round was intended for BP and put in a frame capable of smokeless pressures. Although I grant some rifles did make the transition and the Colt SAAs of later blackpowder design did as well.

It seems more logical to follow the Keith logic that the length was added to keep the smokeless loads from ending up in the older BP guns.

I would not be terribly irreparably depressed to find an original BP loaded factory round, in that BP was still used well into the 20th century as a preference and in deference to older guns. It would still seem odd to me that a pistol designed to be able to handle smokeless would have been loaded with BP. especially given the Triple Lock's design, the "third lock" would have been in an ideal postion to get problematic with the fouling for which black powder is known.

Metal Angel
07-10-2012, 13:20
The very idea of reducing the number of available cartridges (or reducing the number I personally use) sounds sad to me. That is taking a good portion of the fun out of this hobby! It would be like reducing the number of car/truck models available to just the three or four the public really NEEDS. How very,very boring.

On second thought... I agree with you. I just want ammo cheaper and more available.