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Old 08-25-2007, 01:37 AM   #1
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38 Special still Viable?

What gives the .38 Spl any appeal in the present era? It's bulkier, and offers less performance than any propperly loaded 9x19. Generally speaking, the .38 Spl+P is 124gr @ 1150 from a 4" barrel whereas 9x19 loaded to what it was safely built for is 124gr @ 1275 from a 4" barrel.

Without going to far into platforms since this is primarilly about ammo, if the .38 Spl weapon, typically a revolver, is not deemed capable of safely firing 357 Mag, what is it good for in contemporary times as far as utility is concerned also considering the revolvers drawbacks compared to modern, quality designs?

Hate to sound GK-esque, but the topic somehow latched onto my brain. The question is asked with all sincerity.
 
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Old 08-25-2007, 11:02 AM   #2
 
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IMO, .38 Spl revolvers are good target guns. A long barrel .38 can be surprisingly accurate.

But for combat, IMO people who buy .38 only revolvers foolishly trade a few ounces of gun weight (which really won't be noticed, if they are, then they're just a whiner) for a massive drop in capability versus a .357.

As to why a .357 instead of 9mm, some people prefer revolvers.
 
Old 08-25-2007, 02:04 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaRkWoLf
What gives the .38 Spl any appeal in the present era? It's bulkier, and offers less performance than any propperly loaded 9x19. Generally speaking, the .38 Spl+P is 124gr @ 1150 from a 4" barrel whereas 9x19 loaded to what it was safely built for is 124gr @ 1275 from a 4" barrel.

Hate to sound GK-esque, but the topic somehow latched onto my brain. The question is asked with all sincerity.

DW its not gun kidish to have a relevent question.

when you look a comparison of the 38 spl and the 9x19 this is one place where oranges are oranges. ballisticly both rounds for all intents and purposes are the same. theres only a differance in the projectile that they shoot. most 38 spl rounds can be gotten with a quit large and effecient hp design. where as the 9x19 is not designed around a hp bullet with a large nose cavity. 9x19 ammo like most auto pistol bullets expand erregularly at best and not at all at worst, this is not dependent on the projectil weight or velocity. its a design flaw that all auto pistol bullets suffer from, in as much as the bullet has to feed through the action with 100% reliability, so expansion is secondary. where as the revolver round doesn't have feeding issues to deal with, it will expand regularly and quit dependably, even at low veloicities. when comparing the 9x19 with the 38 spl though it is best to compare standard 9x19 with 38 spl +p ammo. generally a 9x19 will push a 124 gr bullet at 1275 fps, this is true but you can get 9x19 ammo to produce about 1350 fps with out much worry with the same bullet. the 38 spl on the other hand factory ammo generally now days will give you about 900 fps out of a 125 gr bullet. now if you jump to the 38 spl +p you'll see about 1325 fps to 1425 fps depending on barrel length out of the same bullet. the one over riding factor that really gives the 38 spl the edge over the 9x19 it that its bullets will work as advertised, first time every time, where the bullets fired by the 9x19 may or may not expand but are guranteed to over penatrate every time. now this is with like bullets not super light or super heavy bullets. for instance a 9x19 with an 85 gr to 90 gr bullet can get about 1450 fps to 1500 fps out of a 4 inch barrel, where as a 38 spl with the same weight bullets will get between 1450 fps and 1600 fps out of the same 4"'s. the 38 spl is still a great round and it will be an effective round long past the life of the steel framed auto gun. with the proper load the 38 spl is one of the most accurate target cartirages in the world. the 9x19 can't say that. the one thing i like about the 38 spl is that i can shoot it in my .357 mag. and its even in the longer cylinder of the .357 more accurate than the 9x19. when you really come down to it, its a, can you put the bullet where you want it no matter what case it starts out from.
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Old 08-25-2007, 02:53 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies.

NH,

Good point about typical projectile design.

Where have you found 38 Spl+P with 124 @ 1325+?!? Corbons are only 1125 IIRC. I've always wondered why the case capacity of it isn't fully utilized.

A tad off topic:

Whats your load for 9x19 using 124gr @ 1350? My projectiles of choice are Speer TMJs if that is of any relevance.
 
Old 08-25-2007, 10:05 PM   #5
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The .38 Special was designed to be an improvement over the .38 Long Colt with slightly better ballistics and an inside lubricated bullet. Both have similar capacity as both were designed for black powder. Utilizing case capacity, with most smokeless powders, effectively generates .357 Magnum pressure.

The .38 Special is very accurate, lack of free bore in a .38 Special vs. .357 Magnum chamber further improves accuracy, it is controllable, and pleasant to shoot. I have always found it delightful to reload and somewhat forgiving. Case life is excellent and you do not have to stoop to pick up brass.

I'd agree with the posts regarding bullet design. I'd disagree regarding questionable accuracy of the 9mm Parabellum as I find it quite distinguished in the right platform. In a four to six inch barrel, the .357 Magnum provides excellent performance. In a compact snubby, I prefer the controllability of a .38 Special and I still like the former S&W and later Federal 125 gr. NYCLAD. I've never been sold on 2" .357 Magnum ballistics and recoil vs. ultra-light frames add challenges that I feel are unnecessary.

Actually, a modern I frame Smith, chambered for the .38 S&W, loaded at a +P or +P+ level with proper bullet design would be the ticket for a compact yet controllable revolver. The 9mm Federal almost did that but it died on the vine without being utilized in the compact, Terrier frame. 9mm Parabellum revolvers with similar dimensions could work too but revolvers in this caliber have never caught on.
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Old 08-26-2007, 08:51 PM   #6
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DW sorry it took so long to get back on the load you wanted. i looked up my loads that i useand here they are. just rememberwhats safe in my pistol my not be in yours. the load for a 124 gr is a rnlb, sp primers, win cases, and 5.0 grs of 700x at just over 1300 fps in my pistol. the other load uses a 115 gr hornaday hp, sp primer, win cases, and 5.6 grs of 700x at just over 1325 fps. these loads shoot good in my guns giving me about 2"'s at 25 yrds. but every gun is aa animal of its own. work the loads up to what i use if you can. most american factory ammo is on the low side speed wise anyway, so 1125 out of your corbons is not supprising.
 
Old 08-27-2007, 03:04 PM   #7
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A good .38 is lighter, smaller and more controllable than a .357 mag.

My personal carry pistol is a snub nose .38 special. I could have picked a .357, but I wanted something a little tamer.

The .38 special is also a very accurate round when fired from a full size gun.

It's been doing what it does for a very long time. I trust it. Hell, I don't even carry a reload...if (5) .38's Gold Dots won't do it then I can't get it done.
 
Old 08-27-2007, 10:42 PM   #8
 
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now WERE talkin'!!! 'friends/fellows/soon-too-be-friends/SWORN BLOOD ENEMIES' .

I think the .38 special pistol cartridge is the 'GREATEST' simply because "THATS WHAT 'i' CUT MY RELOADING-TEETH ON",,,er,,,that,,,along with the .30 cal carbine,,,BOTH PUSSEY-ASSED-WEAK "killers"!!![must be why I've ALWAYS 'TOOK A SHINE TO THEM"] er,,,ALONG WITH MY 'claw-hammer/chain-saw'
 
Old 08-30-2007, 11:12 AM   #9
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Nothing wron with a .38 special....especially a K-frame4to 5 incher with an appropriately stout load/proper builet combo.Buffalo Bore makes some intersting loads.
 
Old 09-03-2007, 05:48 PM   #10
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Think about it, would you like to get shot by one?? Ammo is cheap, reloading components also. A practiced marksman can get rounds down range in a contact as fast as an automatic, no bells or whistles to confuse a new shooter. Reloading is fast and easy if you are willing to take the time and practice, plus people look at somebody armed with an automatic differently than those armed with an auto. That could work in your favor.
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Old 09-25-2007, 10:59 PM   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garand
Think about it, would you like to get shot by one?? Ammo is cheap, reloading components also. A practiced marksman can get rounds down range in a contact as fast as an automatic, no bells or whistles to confuse a new shooter. Reloading is fast and easy if you are willing to take the time and practice, plus people look at somebody armed with an automatic differently than those armed with an auto. That could work in your favor.

I don't want shot with a .22 short, but I'll defend myself with my .45's.
 
Old 09-26-2007, 12:04 AM   #12
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The argument "would you want to get shot by one" is perhaps the poorest argument for a cartridge ever devised - of course I don't want to get shot by anything. However, if I had to get tagged somewhere that wasn't immediately going to kill me, I'd rather the thing be something less efficient at making me croak than something extremely efficient; not saying that the .38 Special and 9mm Para in question are far enough to matter substantially in that regard.
 
Old 09-26-2007, 12:15 AM   #13
 
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whatever !,,,[I.E. AIN'T YOU THE 'TARD' THAT WANTS TO 'chime-in' ABOUT
PEOPLE 'takin'/usin' PAIN-MEDICATION !!!{****-face},,,LIKE 'you' KNOW WHAT YOUR ABOUT. HA. ]
 
Old 09-26-2007, 12:24 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brass hammer
whatever !,,,[I.E. AIN'T YOU THE 'TARD' THAT WANTS TO 'chime-in' ABOUT
PEOPLE 'takin'/usin' PAIN-MEDICATION !!!{****-face},,,LIKE 'you' KNOW WHAT YOUR ABOUT. HA. ]
How insightful to the thread.

As for the post you're mentioning, I simply didn't correctly interpret what you said; and since I knew a dumb **** (hospitalized and lucky to still be alive) who did exactly what I thought you said, I replied out of concern.
 
Old 09-26-2007, 12:43 AM   #15
 
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well, THANKS FER'UR CONCERN{****-FACE]

as a matter of fact!,,,I have suvrived ABOUT[3] shootin' incidents!!!!,,,AND "I'M ALWAYS READY FER'#4",,,****-FAC,,,,ER,AH,,,"SPORTS-FAN"!


[yer'never-ready. TRUST-ME!]
 
Old 09-26-2007, 01:20 AM   #16
 
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Okay, is this 'tard Andy or Gun Kid?
 
Old 09-26-2007, 01:39 AM   #17
 
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let's say!!!,,,"THE GUND-TARD of ANDY KID",,,and YER' ALL IT.



W.T.F.?[why, with the "black-luck of black-clouds" LOOMING!!!
SHOULD A PERSON 'even' WASTE THEIR GOD-GIVEN-TIME on the INTERNET.


[although, my reason being, was HANDED-OUT LASTNITE BY MY FRICKIN'-DOG!!!,,,SEEMS he 'hit "miss colleen" @FULL-TILT-BOOGIE-SPEED right below her left knee[broke my little sweeties leg],,,I GOT HER BACK AT 0330 THIS MORNING,,,and I ain't been HAPPY/PLAYFUL-SINCE !,,,BE-****IN'-WARE.]
 
Old 09-26-2007, 02:17 AM   #18
 
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There's a lesson here for you young guys. You know the wild chick you always wanna nail at parties? She'll probably have a kid that grows up to be like our friend here. USE A RUBBER!
 
Old 09-28-2007, 10:28 PM   #19
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaRkWoLf
What gives the .38 Spl any appeal in the present era? It's bulkier, and offers less performance than any propperly loaded 9x19. Generally speaking, the .38 Spl+P is 124gr @ 1150 from a 4" barrel whereas 9x19 loaded to what it was safely built for is 124gr @ 1275 from a 4" barrel.

Without going to far into platforms since this is primarilly about ammo, if the .38 Spl weapon, typically a revolver, is not deemed capable of safely firing 357 Mag, what is it good for in contemporary times as far as utility is concerned also considering the revolvers drawbacks compared to modern, quality designs?

Hate to sound GK-esque, but the topic somehow latched onto my brain. The question is asked with all sincerity.


It just occurred to me- maybe the .38 isn't that great, now that, as a nation, we're fatter.
 
Old 10-30-2020, 11:05 AM   #20
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Looking back on this thread, I'm wondering how many hundreds of thousands of .38 Special revolvers whose date of manufacture spreads from 1909 to lets say 1999 are still used in North America on an annual basis from plinking, to target practice, to competition, to self defence?
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