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Handloading Forehand & Wadsworth Nr. 38

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Hi All Around !

I recently acquired a nice mechanically sound Forehand & Wadsworth Nr. 38 Double Action Revolver. Are there any readily available modern cartridges one could resize and load with smokeless powder for this particular revolver? Any suggestions?

any help is greatly appreciated,


Do you know what caliber it is chambered for?  Brief Google search showed one in .38 S&W and another in .38 rimfire with heeled bullet.

looking at the hammer, it's for a centerfire cartridge. therefore, .38 S&W and probably with heeled bullets - serial number shows manufacturing date around 1880.

This is probably a straight .38 S&W chambering.  Easy Peasy.  By the late 1870s almost all these small top breaks were chambering the S&W round.  A black powder lubed 140-160 grain .358-.361 bullet over a full case of 3f black powder is a fine load.  Would NOT use smokeless in this style and vintage revolver.


 :) PLUS ONE for Drydock  ;)

38 S&W cases are available as are some suitable Heel Base bullets.

I would also re-iterate:  NO SMOKELESS powder.  The guns were originally manufactured for Black Powder and in no way should smokeless be used.  Pressure spikes are entirely different with smokeless.  BP ONLY!!

Be Safe Out There



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