Why isn't the .357 Mag a .38 Mag? [Archive] - Glock Talk

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country85
08-23-2012, 08:56
This may be in the wrong place but figured I'd try it here, Mods feel free to move:

So I'm sitting here at the bench while ago decapping some 44 mag cases and came across a 44 special case that slipped in to the mag pile. I don't load 44 special so haven't really thought about them much, except that my plinking load is probably low enough pressure to be a 44 special load. But this got me thinking about all the normal or "special" loads compared to the "magnum'' loads. And all but one I can think of are designed and designated the same. The normal or "special" case is the same diameter and has the same name designation as the magnum load. Examples I can think of off the top of my head: 22 magnum is a longer 22 long rifle(even though 22 mag is slightly bigger diameter), 22 long rifle is a longer 22 short. 44 magnum is a longer 44 special, 32 magnum is a longer version of like 3 or 4 32 caliber loads. But what about the 357 magnum.

If you look at the 357 magnum compared to the other cartridges that have a "normal" or magnum load, then in my opinion it would look like this:

.38 special would be a ".38 short"
.357 magnum would be a ".38 special"
.357 max would be the a ".38 magnum"

I just wondered why when they "invented" the .357 magnum they actually decided to get technical? Shouldn't they have called it a .357 to start with?

Just wanted to see what the general opinion was on this, forgive my rambling :faint:

Zombie Steve
08-23-2012, 09:17
No real sense to it other than to say the folks that invented it wanted to call it that.


...and you should load up some .429 specials. :supergrin:

Three-Five-Seven
08-23-2012, 10:06
The .357 Magnum was the first "Magnum" cartridge and the first to use that name. It was developed back in the 1930s and marketed by Smith & Wesson. Marketing has always trumped practical issues in cartridge development.

For example, the .357 Sig is really a 9mm, but designers wanted you to know -- by the name -- that it duplicated the FBI load in a pistol. The .38 Winchester Center Fire is actually a .40 caliber round (.401), or 10mm, but Winchester wanted you to feel more familiar with the cartridge by naming it that way. One of the dumbest is the .444 Marlin, but I'm sure others will have their own candidate (like the equally stoooopid 450 Marlin name).

Probably, Smith & Wesson named the cartridge the way they did out of strong concern that people might try to purchase the cartridge for use in .38 special firearms. The biggest concern at that time was safety, after all. After people understood the relationship of the .357 magnum and the .38 special, manufacturers were more willing to more closely associate the "magnum" length cases with their parents.

So, because it was the first "magnum", the .357 was marketed cautiously.

country85
08-23-2012, 10:16
No real sense to it other than to say the folks that invented it wanted to call it that.


...and you should load up some .429 specials. :supergrin:

I may just have to do that lol, recommend any good loads? Something gentle since I was shooting H110 loads with 310 grainers yesterday lol

On a side note(guess I hijacked my own thread) ever want to make a 44 rifle kick like hell push a 245 LSWC with 22 grains of H110, very hot load with no signs of pressure but you couldn't pay me to put that in a pistol

country85
08-23-2012, 10:21
The .357 Magnum was the first "Magnum" cartridge and the first to use that name. It was developed back in the 1930s and marketed by Smith & Wesson. Marketing has always trumped practical issues in cartridge development.

For example, the .357 Sig is really a 9mm, but designers wanted you to know -- by the name -- that it duplicated the FBI load in a pistol. The .38 Winchester Center Fire is actually a .40 caliber round (.401), or 10mm, but Winchester wanted you to feel more familiar with the cartridge by naming it that way. One of the dumbest is the .444 Marlin, but I'm sure others will have their own candidate (like the equally stoooopid 450 Marlin name).

Probably, Smith & Wesson named the cartridge the way they did out of strong concern that people might try to purchase the cartridge for use in .38 special firearms. The biggest concern at that time was safety, after all. After people understood the relationship of the .357 magnum and the .38 special, manufacturers were more willing to more closely associate the "magnum" length cases with their parents.

So, because it was the first "magnum", the .357 was marketed cautiously.

Very interesting, thanks for that, for some reason I was thinking the 357mag was developed alot later, I must have been thinking of the 44. And I gotta ask since I don't have any experience with the 444 or .450, but I"m guessing the .444 is really a .429 and the .450 is the same also?

Havasu
08-23-2012, 10:25
The current method of designating calibers is the diameter of the bullet. When the .38 Special was designated the method of the day was the diameter of the case.
I personally like the distinction because it makes it so easy to know which cartridge you are talking about.

Hoser
08-23-2012, 12:23
So what would the 38 Short and 38 Long be called?

Three-Five-Seven
08-23-2012, 12:39
So what would the 38 Short and 38 Long be called?

Ulysses S. Grant ?

No, wait, that's who's buried in Grant's Tomb...

dkf
08-23-2012, 12:47
Very interesting, thanks for that, for some reason I was thinking the 357mag was developed alot later, I must have been thinking of the 44. And I gotta ask since I don't have any experience with the 444 or .450, but I"m guessing the .444 is really a .429 and the .450 is the same also?

Yeah the .444 marlin is basically a lengthened .44 mag. It is good cartridge for shorter range (under 300yds) hunting larger furry animals. I used to have a Marlin lever in .444. Wish I still had it.

The .450 marlin has a belted case but looks like a shortened version of the .458mag big game cartridge. The bullets are larger than standard .45cal at .458".

Colorado4Wheel
08-23-2012, 13:18
I think the better question is "Why isn't the .38 Special and .357 Special"? Or even. "Whats so Special about the .38 Special"?

sig357fan
08-23-2012, 13:29
I believe the “38” designation came about after the Civil War when converting 36 cal. ball and cap revolvers to use a loaded cartridge. The round developed at the time used a heel type bullet like used in a 22 rimfire and was, as previously noted, the same diameter as the brass at 38 cal., the first cartrage developed like this, I believe, was the 38 Colt or 38 Short Colt. The 38 designation followed dispite the change in the bullet dia. until the 357 Mag came along.

sig357fan

fredj338
08-23-2012, 13:33
Naming cratridges is not a science. Why was it call a 38sp instead of 36special? Why a 44mag when it's really a 43mag? IS what it is, not getting better anytime soon either.

countrygun
08-23-2012, 13:52
I believe the “38” designation came about after the Civil War when converting 36 cal. ball and cap revolvers to use a loaded cartridge. The round developed at the time used a heel type bullet like used in a 22 rimfire and was, as previously noted, the same diameter as the brass at 38 cal., the first cartrage developed like this, I believe, was the 38 Colt or 38 Short Colt. The 38 designation followed dispite the change in the bullet dia. until the 357 Mag came along.

sig357fan


I think this is close to it. In the revolvers you bought actually a .38 caliber ball, but it was squeezed down in loading to .36. Hence "It takes a .44 caliber ball" As cartridges came along the gun manufacturers wanted to use the same barrel making equipment and it was easier for the public and sales advertising to continue with .38 and .44

The .45 colt was really the first handgun cartridge name to actually reflect the bullets approximate diameter.

janice6
08-23-2012, 13:58
Interesting. Thanks guys.

smokeross
08-23-2012, 16:23
Yeah the .444 marlin is basically a lengthened .44 mag.
Uhm....not really. The case is completely different. Only the bullet diameter is the same. The shell holders do not interchange. It is not a lengthened 44 mag.

dkf
08-23-2012, 17:00
Uhm....not really. The case is completely different. Only the bullet diameter is the same. The shell holders do not interchange. It is not a lengthened 44 mag.

I was dumbing it down for him because I did not have time to go into much detail. The two cartridges are far closer than you realize. You put one of each round next to each other (and don't have a caliper to measure) it will look like the .444 is just a longer .44mag. I am however aware of the difference as I have both rounds in my possession and actually measured each round.

The rim dimensions are identical the only difference being a tiny 1/64" x 45 degree chamfer at the top of the rim groove on the .444. The SAAMI drawings for the .44mag do not show the relief groove above the rim however the brass manufacturers added one anyway to help in the machining process. The .444 has an external tapered case walls where as the .44mag is a straight wall case.

FYI Lee #11 shellholder fits both .44mag and .444marlin.

country85
08-23-2012, 19:10
Very interesting, Seems I created a bit of a stir, I don't have a problem with why they are called what they were called, just wondered why, the outside case diameter makes alot of sense, Just to think if we stilled named cartridges like the 45-70 were named, we'd never need a load book again, tells you bullet diameter and load to use in the name lol

country85
08-23-2012, 19:13
So what would the 38 Short and 38 Long be called?

well considered the 38 short is actually the 38 short colt(or the 38 smith and wesson depending which one you're speaking of), and the 38 long is a colt, average the case length and give it to savage to name it, they were always good for coming up with off the wall different cartridges lol

Jim Watson
08-23-2012, 19:40
"The .357 Magnum was the first "Magnum" handgun cartridge"

Little correction there, there were all manner of magnum rifle rounds predating the .357.


There are several schools of thought on the .38 Special name.
Some say it was just "special" in relation to the .38 Long Colt.
A whole 158 grains of lead and 21.5 grains of powder versus 150 and 18 doesn't sound all that special, but it was what they had to sell.
One source says it was the same convention as the .32 Winchester Special, a cartridge to be sold loaded with smokeless, reloaded with black.

Zombie Steve
08-23-2012, 20:45
Lots of magnums before the .357.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-AifUWEepgwg/UBvvxdK4yUI/AAAAAAAAAFg/u3GS5tZSlRI/s640/wine-bottle-sizes.jpg

I'm going to work on my new cartridge called the 7mm (it will be thirty caliber) Balthazar.

:tbo:

Chris Brines
08-23-2012, 20:52
Idk but I love me some 357 magnums and 38 specials. Just thought I'd throw that out there, in case anyone was wondering.

country85
08-23-2012, 22:04
Lots of magnums before the .357.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-AifUWEepgwg/UBvvxdK4yUI/AAAAAAAAAFg/u3GS5tZSlRI/s640/wine-bottle-sizes.jpg

I'm going to work on my new cartridge called the 7mm (it will be thirty caliber) Balthazar.

:tbo:

LMAO!!!!!

I'll have to let you shoot my new 7.03mm Weatherby, I mean 277 Weatherby, or is it .270 Weatherby, O hell is it a magnum or a special? :tongueout:

country85
08-23-2012, 22:06
Idk but I love me some 357 magnums and 38 specials. Just thought I'd throw that out there, in case anyone was wondering.

I have about 250 125grain RNFP that I cast that's in a jar collecting dust

country85
08-23-2012, 22:10
[QUOTE=Zombie Steve;

I'm going to work on my new cartridge called the 7mm (it will be thirty caliber) Balthazar.

:tbo:[/QUOTE]

I have some 310 grain 44's cast out of pure lead that I have labeled Thor's hammer(seriously lol), sent a foot tall piece of pine flying back about 10 or 15 feet

Berto
08-23-2012, 22:14
I suspect the whole thing came about because there were already so many .38's already in existence....38 Colt, .38-40, .38 S&W (.38/200 .380 British), .38 Special, .38 Super, .38 Auto, etc.

Chris Brines
08-23-2012, 23:22
I have about 250 125grain RNFP that I cast that's in a jar collecting dust

Well whats the hold up?

quantico
09-01-2012, 00:03
All I know is that we need a 41 magnum auto cartridge... a little heavier and bigger than 10mm and fast fast fast. with a bit better control than a 44 magnum... and in an auto loader... imagine the 357 sig 's daddy .

countrygun
09-01-2012, 00:19
All I know is that we need a 41 magnum auto cartridge... a little heavier and bigger than 10mm and fast fast fast. with a bit better control than a 44 magnum... and in an auto loader... imagine the 357 sig 's daddy .


They made it once. The .41 Askins Avenger.

There is also the .41 action express

I would really like a bottlenecked .41 auto round that could chuck a 220 gn bullet at around 1,100-1,200fps especially in a 1911 platform, that was more than a wildcat. You could run it fast with 170s but I don't think you are going to get anything both heavier and faster than a full on 10mm in most current platforms, You get up into Desert Eagle territory in order to do that.

Which reminds me I think they dinked around with a .41 auto mag along with the .357 AM and of course the .44