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Old 04-10-2011, 10:01 AM   #1
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Shooting .38 special in .357 revolver?

I've heard lots of opinions, guesses, and remarks about shooting .38 special loads in a .357 revolver. Many of them boil down to "Just because it will fit doesn't mean you should do it" with no further clarification. Others go on to add that a regular diet of .38 special will make it hard to chamber .357 when you want to. Reading some shop manuals lately I encountered the idea that the buildup before the cartridge case of .38 special in the chamber of .357 can cause a constriction of the case mouth and a subsequent potential extreme increase in pressure of an otherwise normal .357 load--with the result being a catastrophic failure of the shell case and possibly the revolver.

Does anyone know of any studies of the effects of reduced chamber diameter in a .357 and how severe the pressure increase could be? How much .38 special (lead, RN and SWC) would it take to effectively jam-up a .357 chamber?

Or if you haven't got any hard scientific research, how about colorful apocrypha and 3rd hand stories?

Thanks.
Dave
 
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Old 04-10-2011, 12:03 PM   #2
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GunShows....GunStores...A lot Of Gun Forums , PoolHalls , FernAnChrome gyms , LiveStock Auctions an a lot of other venues are CESSPOOLS OF MISINFORMATION....Regular diet of 38Ss...Here We need to determine what a regular diet is...1rd per day , 100 rds per day....1000rds per day? Buildup in the chamber? If the 357 cartridge drops in there can't be much constriction , can there?....Granted there are FOOLS that would force the 357 in if it took a 200ton press....if there is enough neglect in a chamber to cause a failure , I hate to think what the barrel looks like since in theory buildup should be six times worse than a chamber....so My answer ...on a revo, maintained as it should be there won't be any problems...not maintained ?...Who knows..

The only studies I know of this is like this ....somebody knows a rocket scientst that bags gros. at the A&P when He's laid off that knows somebody that knew somebody tthat inheirtd a Colt that that had a mispelt Kolt on makein it rare and worth millions, carry the new somebody on an on, finally this mispelt Kolt exploded from bein left under a Giddeon bible tooo long , an investigation showed beyond doubt a 357 blew the cyl. apart , wrecked the topstrap and launched the toliet roof over into Tippydoo parish...Un fortunately all the real data from this research was stored in the musty archives of the racket scientists rectal cavity.....Misinformed in the beginnin...Hand repaired tennis rackets thus , racket scientist

Wild Bill
 
Old 04-10-2011, 01:34 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Bill Caldwell View Post
My answer ...on a revo, maintained as it should be there won't be any problems...not maintained ?...Who knows..
Wild Bill
Kinda what I was thinkilng, WB. You got kin in the Shreveport area? You talk like some of my East Texas cousins.
Dave
 
Old 04-10-2011, 02:54 PM   #4
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Ain't likely that Billy's got kinfolks in Tejas. His family tree ain't got any limbs on it...

The .357 Magnum is nothin' more than a stretched out .38 Special...done to keep foolish young men from stickin' six of'em in a Victory Model and de-fingerin' his hands.

Just run a brush and a patch through the chambers when ya get done shootin' and the gun'll never
know the difference.
 
Old 04-10-2011, 03:51 PM   #5
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I'm much less experienced here than the previous posters, I'm sure. I have however been shooting three different .357s from 3 different manufacturers for over 20 years, and countless others during that same period that have come and gone. I've run a couple thousand rounds of .38 through 'em, and never had an issue when going back to the magnums. I've heard this mentioned a time or two, but personally never had it happen or was able to even hear of a specific "second hand" story of it. I wish I could come up with as colorful a way of saying it as ol WB, but the point os still the same, I believe.

Damn, he does have a way with words though, don't he?
 
Old 04-10-2011, 06:41 PM   #6
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I have an old article by Russ Gaertner where he mentions he did ruin some .357 chambers by shooting too many +P .38s in them. He didn't give any details.

Accuracy can vary widely according the gun and load.
 
Old 04-11-2011, 04:18 AM   #7
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ret...He probably experiencerd some chamber erosion behind the throats. It also happens when firing too many .22 Shorts in a LR chamber...but it takes a helluva lot of it.
 
Old 04-11-2011, 06:03 AM   #8
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Come On Tree Trimmin Johny....CYLINDER Erosion , unless caused by a Victor Cuttin torch with a#4 tip will not cause a Quality made Revo to simultaneous disassemble....A 357 case will withstand so much PSI...How much I don't recall an that point is not important to this discussion...Granted cly. erosion will cause difficult extraction but a BLOWUP , come on people....I've picked up Smiths with badly eroded cyl....Sleved cyl . and the revo runs as long as a new one will , due to My short memory , and due to bein good at slevein holes seldom was the repair detectable and sometime the revo was sold without the buyer bein aware a repair had been made , not due to larceny in My heart but due to My short memory...

Wild Bill
 
Old 04-11-2011, 08:04 AM   #9
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Yep, Billy. If a forcin' cone will erode...and a topstrap will flame cut...so will a chamber.
I had a 1942 USGI Colt send the barrel downrange once after the steel had been eaten through the leade area. Found it stuck in the berm with the bullet still in it. The spooky thing was that the slide cycled and chambered the next round...and I woulda fired it if I hadn't seen the front 2/3rds of the barrel arc toward the berm.

Avoid the hot-rod +P stuff and stick with lead bullets and the barrel will likely be worn smooth before it causes a problem.
 
Old 04-12-2011, 04:58 AM   #10
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JOHN....If anybody else in this World had told the BARREL TO THE BERM story I would have cast the JAUNDICE Eye upon them but from time spent around You I've came to know You as a True Paradigm of Truth....I also know the Meticulous care You bestow upon Your weapons so HOW IN THE HELL DID A BARREL CUT UP THAT BAD ESCAPE Your closer than most GunHands scrutinty....Just for learnin 's sake I would have had to fire the one that chambered....Back to the OPs question....I don't know the PSI a 357 case will take but for instance I know a 9x23 is rated at 45000psi...Everything starts happenin' in the case , question was about the chamber erosion caused by 38 Specials erodein' the chamber cause the revo to BLOW UP..This question is some distance from Top Strap cuttin' and throat cuttin or constriction.....like You I've seen first hand the damage caused by the later two....Far as that goes I've shot a lot of 9x19 in 9x23 chambers with no apparant damage , if the extractor headspaces the cartridge it will fire , Now to Jihack this thread futher , keepin' a commander frame the same height so we can mag 8 rds but shorten the slide and barrel as much as possible and hand cycle after each rd , this is to get the shortest 1911 possible , what do You think.....I don't mean as a commercial venture , just the shortest 1911...I think with pratice and at close range a GOOD HAND could hang with a Single Action.....lots of Us do 1 second reloads , Lt Bolton is a lot faster than
one second.....Think about HOT 45s loaded in cutoff 30/06 cases just for close in work

Wild Bill
 
Old 04-12-2011, 08:34 AM   #11
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Bill...The gun was one that belonged to my daddy, and I hadn't shot it very much. It laid in the back of the vault for years, and when I decided to limber it up about 10 years ago...I ASS-U-MEd that it was okay after a quick visual and safety check. I guess the damage had been done for many years. I kept that barrel and chamber around here for a long time. Dunno if I can find it, but If I can, I'll post a picture.
 
Old 04-12-2011, 12:01 PM   #12
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Hey , Son ....I don't doubt You....We could probably write a book about the FAR OUT things We've seen that were firearms related.....Not one of the dumbest , not even close to the top was the Smith 44 Special I bought from a Bartender in Twist Arkansas , We were playin a club close to Twist , I think it was the Cotton Club , ask the Bartender if he had any pistols He'ed loaned money on, Smith 44 Special , barrel bulged , Four bullets in the barrel , bartender had never noticed the bulge....Some Hand lodged one in the barrel , sent three more up against the first one

Wild Bill
 
Old 04-12-2011, 02:37 PM   #13
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Yep, Billy. I once watched a squib cycle a slide and load the next round. I was lookin' straight at the gun and the shooter...jawin' with her other half while she ran the plates. The slide recoiled...kicked the empty out...and went back to battery. No plate fell and no dirt kicked up on the berm. I knew it was a squib.

Before I could get her attention, she dropped tha hammer and split the barrel up both sides at 9 and 3. The bulge was an inch behind the muzzle and it locked the gun up solid.

It was Tommy Abernathy's pistol...one of a His'n'Hers pair that he'd tweaked for a married couple, and the day that hers came unwrapped was the maiden voyage for both.
 
Old 04-15-2011, 11:02 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DTHughes View Post
I've heard lots of opinions, guesses, and remarks about shooting .38 special loads in a .357 revolver. Many of them boil down to "Just because it will fit doesn't mean you should do it" with no further clarification. Others go on to add that a regular diet of .38 special will make it hard to chamber .357 when you want to. Reading some shop manuals lately I encountered the idea that the buildup before the cartridge case of .38 special in the chamber of .357 can cause a constriction of the case mouth and a subsequent potential extreme increase in pressure of an otherwise normal .357 load--with the result being a catastrophic failure of the shell case and possibly the revolver.

Does anyone know of any studies of the effects of reduced chamber diameter in a .357 and how severe the pressure increase could be? How much .38 special (lead, RN and SWC) would it take to effectively jam-up a .357 chamber?


Or if you haven't got any hard scientific research, how about colorful apocrypha and 3rd hand stories?

Thanks.
Dave

I can't give you any scientific studies but I can give you first hand experience over 35 years. Once we transitioned from 38 specials to 357 magnums we still practiced and qualified with 38s. We carried S&W K frames(19 or 66). Some of the officers I worked with would have 100s to 1000s of 38s through their weapons,sometimes without cleaning, then chamber their duty 357 ammo for street use. I never remember anyone not being to chamber a 357 round.
 
Old 01-23-2013, 12:20 PM   #15
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I've shot .38's in .357 guns for a number of years(40 plus). It doesn't hurt anything, I do clean the guns every 200 or so rounds and the chambers look like new. The .38's may or may not be as accurate as light loaded .357 cases, I don't know why some .38 loads are very accurate and others aren't, I blame it on the long chamber in the .357 but some .38 loads are great.
 
Old 01-24-2013, 06:22 AM   #16
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I have been firing 38's in 357 guns all of my adult life and I have never seen it to cause a problem chambering and firing 357 loads when desired.

If you do a reasonable cleaning of your gun after use there should not be any buildup.

I think that the worries that are out there are more theory (read that as old wives tales) than fact.
 
Old 01-26-2013, 05:51 AM   #17
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Having shot thousands of .38 hbwc loads in a mod 66-1 in PPC, I can tell you it's not an issue. You do need to clean the ring of lead out before loading .357 mag loads as they won't chamber. Jacketed bullets probably not an issue. Some choreboy copper padding on a brush spun in a drill motor will do quick work of it without harming anything.

enjoy..
 
Old 01-31-2013, 08:50 AM   #18
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Kinda like the 22 short in a long rifle thing. I shoot lots of 38's in my 357..cheaper, easier on the hand and ears, never a problem. I do like using the SS "Tornado" brush on the cylinders...cleans them right out. Now before the fight begins...I use Tornado only on smooth bores- cylinders, shotguns. Real Brass for rifled, plastic for bad fouling with bore "stuff"
 
Old 02-26-2013, 12:06 PM   #19
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I have shot more .38 in .357 and never had a problem.
I have to agree Internet poop

And yes I know this is a old thread.
Hey I am trying to catch up:-)
 
Old 03-03-2013, 05:56 AM   #20
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Well here goes!

I am a 38 Super fan.
Got 3 1911's in 38 super.
Also I have 2 model 60-14's and one 4" 686 S&W, and then there is the Rossi 38-357 lever action rifle.
Well guess what! I shoot 38 supers in all of them, and if the ejector grabs the small rim, I put them in.
38 supers are pressured at 36,000 psi, just under a 357.
They are around $19.00 a box. Far cheaper to shoot than the 357's.
Just about as cheap as the 38 wad cutters that they sell at the range.
I do clean my guns, but there is no evidence of any fragments when I do.
I say someone is being too picky about the fragmentation of the bullets.
Then again, I would not shoot a 38 super in a 38 cal gun.
I have seen 44's after being blown apart. It was not pretty.

Last edited by HiPowerLover; 03-03-2013 at 10:16 AM.
 
Old 03-04-2013, 07:44 AM   #21
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What happens to the case when you fire a .38 Super in a .357?
 
Old 03-04-2013, 02:03 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retDAC View Post
What happens to the case when you fire a .38 Super in a .357?
I could see the case cracking from expansion.

Accuracy should go to hell.
The .38 Super bullet is .355" (.38 Super - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), the .357 Magnum is .357" (.357 Magnum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

Shooting a .355" down a .357" barrel will not grab onto the lands and grooves enough to produce the required spiral.

Will the case fit the cylinder? I never tried it, never had the inkling to try it.
 
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