Shooting .38 special in .357 revolver? - Page 2 - Pistolsmith

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Old 04-12-2011, 09:34 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.
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Old 04-12-2011, 01:01 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

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Old 04-12-2011, 03:37 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 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, 12:02 PM   #14
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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?


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, 01:20 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, 07:22 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, 06:51 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.

Old 01-31-2013, 09:50 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, 01:06 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, 06:56 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 11:16 AM.

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