CAS TOPICS > The Darksider's Den

How did we get these "Calibers"?

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Mako:
Dave,
Very true, and then the marketing departments did NOT want to make the new style "Central Fire" cartridges seem less manly than the previous conversion cartridges with bored through chambers.

.36 Navys became .38s with a heeled bullet the same diameter as the case.  The .44 Army became a .44 with the heeled bullet.  Those all make a lot of sense marketing wise.

But there is one that makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE! care to guess which cartridge that is?

Step up and supply your guess to that one folks.

~Mako

U.S.M.R.:
Actually the early Russian cartridge used a 472 gr. outside lubricated bullet.
I’ve read that the 32 special, .38 special, and the .44 special cartridges were made to be loaded with either black or smokeless powder for people that didn’t believe smokeless was here to stay.

DeaconKC:

--- Quote from: Mako on April 10, 2024, 01:00:49 PM ---Dave,
Very true, and then the marketing departments did NOT want to make the new style "Central Fire" cartridges seem less manly than the previous conversion cartridges with bored through chambers.

.36 Navys became .38s with a heeled bullet the same diameter as the case.  The .44 Army became a .44 with the heeled bullet.  Those all make a lot of sense marketing wise.

But there is one that makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE! care to guess which cartridge that is?

Step up and supply your guess to that one folks.

~Mako

--- End quote ---
.38 WCF

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Hair Trigger Jim:

--- Quote from: DeaconKC on April 10, 2024, 02:19:48 PM ---.38 WCF

--- End quote ---

I once saw a thread where someone suggested the "38-40" was actually correct but just written with the powder first, 40 grains of powder and a .38 caliber bullet.  It was a forum that I wasn't a member of, and the conversation had long since ended, but I wanted so badly to explain how incorrect that was on several levels, starting with the fact that it wasn't originally a "38-40" but just a .38!

Mako:
Well, there are two on the right track.

But to Hair Trigger I think that may have been someone trying to force logic into why Winchester would call it a .38.  I have heard that argument before because someone found there were some later boxes marked noting they had 38 gr of powder with a 180gr bullet.  Every box I have seen offered as evidence listed the cartridges as being suitable for 1873 and 1892 rifles which date them at least to 1892.  The earliest boxes had no such statement, see below as an example.

Remember it was not .38-40 to begin with, it was exactly what DeaconKC called it, .38 WCF no mention of the 40. 

A lot of people will tell you that you can't get 40 grains of black powder in a .44 WCF or .45 COLT with modern solid head cases.  You can. you can also cram 40 grains into a .38 WCF case.

But, Hair Trigger brings something to the table.

I wish the person who could tell us what he disassembled was around. I didn't ever see John's final matrix of his measured commercial ammunition charges.  Did anyone on this forum ever see one?  We can try the "way back machine" to retrieve the information if he did.

~Mako

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