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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  CAS TOPICS  |  Shooter's Meeting (Moderators: Marshal Halloway, Camille Eonich)  |  Topic: Three .38s in one? 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Three .38s in one?  (Read 8458 times)
Will Pluggum
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« on: March 03, 2004, 04:49:39 pm »


     I was just looking at a cimmeron thunderer ( I think) at a local gun shop and noted the barrel is marked .38 S&W special, .38 COLT.  Now I know the 38 s&w is different from the .38 special.  Is this thing able to chamber all three rounds?  Thats how I'm reading it.   BTW, he's asking $400 for it.  Good fit, soft  blue sheen to the frame, I like it. Grin
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Big Hext Finnigan
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« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2004, 05:54:41 pm »

What you saw was a Lightning.  The Thunderer comes in 357 mag and up.  The S&W Special and the Special are the same thing.  The Colt is smaller still.  Yes it will chamber the three rounds (cause two are the same Wink)

Right now, prices are jumping up like crazy.  So $400, while high to me, could be a good price.  If you have regular to large hands, you willl probably not like this gun as a main match pistol.

Keep handling them purties out there.. You got time.
Adios,
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Will Pluggum
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« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2004, 06:04:27 pm »

Yeh..I hear ya...i'm just window shoppin.  This cimmeron didn't have the birdheads grip thou.  It had the standard saa grip.  I knew they were going to release a lightening with the standard grip but didn,t know it was on the market already.  I looked at a BH  lightning today also and found the grip to small for me.
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Will Pluggum
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« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2004, 06:09:43 pm »

I you sure about that Hext?  Wasn't the .38 S&W the fore runner of the .38 Special?  I'm almost sure it was.  Same difference, it would still funtion in a .38 Sp.


Also.....I have several modern firearms I'm thinkin about selling to buy CAS or trading towards  CAS guns.  I'm thinkin the auction board would be the place for that...........
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Will Ketchum
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Pete Ersland


« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2004, 06:32:35 pm »

Just so there is no confusion.  The 38 Smith & Wesson is not the same cartridge as the 38 Smith & Wesson Special.

The 38 S&W was first chambered in the Smith & Wesson break tops and has a case length of .775.  The 38 Smith & Wesson Special, now more commonly know as just the #8 Special has a case length of 1.16.

The 38 S&W is also know as the 38 Colt New Police.  Confusing I know.  Since I'm not familiar with the revolver you are referring to I can't comment on what caliber it is.  I did think that they meant the 38 S&W and 38 Long Colt but that doesn't make sense to me either since the 38 Long Colt was loaded with a heeled bullet and the early guns had a bore of .375.  Latter production guns used inside lubed bullets and bores of .357.  This cartridge was later extended from it's original 1.03 to become the 38 Smith & Wesson Special with it's 1.16 case length. 

To add to the confusion there was also a 38 Short Colt which had a case length .762 and used a heeled bullet Huh

I hope I helped somewhat but fear I just added to the confusion.

Will Ketchum
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Big Hext Finnigan
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« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2004, 06:39:11 pm »

In this case, the Model P Jr. you handled, is chambered to accept a 38 special cartridge and will therefore take the smaller length cartridges as well.
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Will Pluggum
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« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2004, 06:59:27 pm »

   I thought I remember the .38 SP coming after the .38 S&W as , in it's day, the .38SP was consider a magnum caliber, thou they didn't use that term.  It was the latest and greatest developed because the police of the time wanted something more powerful.  As for Cimmeron's barrel being stamped .38S&W Special, .38Colt, why didn't they just say .38 Special and avoid the confusion!?!?
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Marshal Halloway
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« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2004, 07:05:56 pm »


In my .38 Cimarron Lightning, I use .38 Long Colt. At first, I used some factory .38 Specials, but had to use extra force to get them into the chambers. I will continue to use the .38 Long Colt. They chamber easily.
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Will Pluggum
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« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2004, 07:09:52 pm »

Ahhhh...so Mr. Ketchum was right when he suspected it was long colt.  Are you comfortable with that smaller Grip?  Do you find yuorself shouffling it around in your hand trying to get a grip on it?
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Big Hext Finnigan
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« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2004, 07:14:52 pm »

Ok.. It's not long colt, it's special.. Cimarron, like all the other Uberti dealers, put a "period" look on the guns.  If you look at some of the new Opentops in 44 special, they just say 44 cal. 

If you want to use a smaller cartridge, you can, but make no mistake, the 3/4 frame Uberti will chamber a standard 38 special case.

Adios,
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Marshal Halloway
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« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2004, 07:16:40 pm »


I have small hands and the grip is ok for me. I even changed to birdshead grips on my .45 large frame model P's.

Once in awhile I use the Lightning as pistol #2 in a cross draw.

Normally, I use two .45s in standard holsters. I can shoot with both hands, so for me a cross draw is not a necessity.
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Will Pluggum
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« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2004, 07:18:35 pm »

OK...I think we've come full circle now, it will chamber all three....thanks
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Foothills Drifter
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« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2004, 08:30:29 pm »

Howdy......
Dang....I think I will stick with 45 colt Wink

Good shootin......
Vern... Cool
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Will Ketchum
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Pete Ersland


« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2004, 09:42:14 pm »

Marshal, you know those birdshead grips aren't NCOWS legal. Smiley

I hope you kept the issue grips so you can switch back. Wink

As for small hands we will have to compare because I have small hands to but have no problem with Ruger Vaquero grips and never have liked the Colt P frame grips because I don't like putting my pinky underneath.  I much prefer the Bisley grip. But that's what makes horse races.

Will Ketchum
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Marshal Halloway
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« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2004, 10:36:05 pm »

Marshal, you know those birdshead grips aren't NCOWS legal. Smiley
I hope you kept the issue grips so you can switch back. Wink

Howdy Will!

Yep, I know and I do have the issue grips for NCOWS purposes. Wouldn't be fun to shoot a NCOWS stage shouting bang, bang!

Btw, my rifle is in .45, so I have a little problem there too, but it is always nice to have a good excuse to get hold of another rifle (.44-40).

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Marshal Halloway
Will Ketchum
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Pete Ersland


« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2004, 11:26:23 pm »

Marshal, no problem with 45s in a rifle with NCOWS.  Although there weren't any rifles in that caliber if they were ruled out then Henrys and 66s would have to be ruled out since they weren't available in the calibers offered today.

It's pretty difficult to tell by looking at a rifle if it's 45 or 44-40 unless you actually can see the maring on the barrel.

Heck, I have enough guns to euip you anyway  Grin

Will Ketchum
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« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2004, 04:39:48 am »

 8)The 38S&W came first....it is a short roiund that is fatter than the "38 Colt".  When S&W developed their new 38 round, they lenthened the "38 Colt" case, and originally creffered to it as the "38 S&W Special".  In the late 19th and on well into the 20th Century, the rivalry between Colt and S&W was fierce....so much so that some of the 1950 Target models made by S&W that chambered the "45Colt" cartridge had a barrel mark of "45 Caliber"....they wouldn't put the word "Colt" on their barrel!  Likewise, Colt did not like advertising for S&W with their guns either........SAA's were made in "38 Colt" caliber, and after the turn of the century, Colt marked early 1st gen SAA's, chambered for "38 S&W Special" with the "38 Colt & S&W Special" marking, which is where Cimarron got the idea.

Now to further confuse folks, the 38 Colt was originally loaded in the case we now call the "Short Colt", and used a heeled bullet, propelled by 17-or so grains of gunpowder.....which we now call "Black Powder"...the heeled bullet was constucted much like today's 22LR, in that the main section of the slug was the same basic dimension as the outside of the case, and had a small tail section that sat in the case....these were "outside" lubed, meaning the lubricant was on the bullet, like the waxy film on 22's.....the original "38 Colt" was fired from conversions with the standard .375 bore, and later the Lightning '77 DA, which also had the .375 bore.....outside lubed bullets are a mess in general as you get all kinds of crud on the bullet, especially if you drop it in the dirt.  As "inside lubricated bullets became more or less standard, with the lube grooves cut into the slug, the "39 Colt" cartridge was modified by lengthening it to cover the lube groove(s)....to compensate for the oversized bores of most "38 Colt" guns, the bullet had a hollow base which would bump up and engage the rifling to put some spin on the slug....lengthening the case allowed the powder charge to remain the same.  A properly loaded 38 Colt, using a heeled bullet and the shorter case, is the same basic OAL as a 38 "Long" Colt cartridge....when you use a traditional inside lubed bullet with the 38 "Short" Colt case, you cut down the powder capacity drastically.

The 38 Colt was a more accepted round than the 38S&W, as it was generally a more 'powerful' round.....38S&W always used an inside lubed bullet in that stubby case, so there just wasn't a lot of powder in there.....when S&W designed the 38 "S&W" Special, they took the 38 "long" Colt case, and lengthened it to allow for a few more grains of powder, and more power....but using the same basic case, the owner could use either cartridge in it.....S&W did this again in 1935 when they designed the "357 S&W Magnum" cartridge.

So, hopefully this helps somewhat, but the 38 S&W, and the 38 S&W Special are two distinctly different cartridges.

As a side note, during WWII, S&W made a lot of M&P's (Model 10) in 38 S&W for use by Britan, the Brits liked the cartridge loaded with a 200gr slug......these were called the Victory models, and many came back stateside and were reamed to accept the longer 38 Special cartridge, which doesn't work so well as the cases swell up the length of the original chamber!

If you have a 357 magnum, you can use 38 SPL, 38 "Short" Colt (with an inside lubed bullet), or 38 "Long" Colt....38SPl's can use the last three cartridges, but if it's a "38S&W", that's the round you're stick with.

Personally, I like 45's!  Tongue
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