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#5705262 - 04/17/15 03:22 PM ? 357 mag / 38 spc Question
DCmac Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 11/04/13
Posts: 72
Loc: SW OK
Has it always been that .357 magnum rounds won't fit in .38 special, or is that a relatively recent safety feature?

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#5705272 - 04/17/15 03:29 PM Re: ? 357 mag / 38 spc Question [Re: DCmac]
BigPig Offline
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Registered: 08/27/09
Posts: 9478
Loc: Forney, Tx
357mag is too powerful for dedicated 38spl, at least that was the case back in the day. I always buy 357mag, that way I have a choir of calibers. Don't see a reason to buy a dedicated 38
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#5705298 - 04/17/15 03:49 PM Re: ? 357 mag / 38 spc Question [Re: DCmac]
Korean Redneck Offline


Registered: 06/24/09
Posts: 2274
Loc: Houston
The way I've always understood it to be is the same concept as chamberings for shotgun shell. A 3" shell can chamber in a 3.5" gun BUT a 3.5" shell will NOT fit a 3" gun because chamber is not long enough. So some guns many not even be able to close the cylinder if it's a dedicated 38 special.

As for the dedicated 38, i'd highly consider getting one. While I don't fear damage or anything like that to my revolver, but I have noticed 38 shells just do not eject very well. I'm paranoid enough of a person to get a dedicated 357 and a 38 if i liked both calibers enough.

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#5705301 - 04/17/15 03:54 PM Re: ? 357 mag / 38 spc Question [Re: DCmac]
nsmike Online   content
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Registered: 05/02/12
Posts: 4214
Loc: MN
The 357 mag is an out growth of experiments with hot loads in S&W 38/44 revolvers. When they decided to standardize it, they lengthened the cartridge a bit, to preclude cambering the magnum in guns not designed for it.
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#5705450 - 04/17/15 05:54 PM Re: ? 357 mag / 38 spc Question [Re: DCmac]
Marc in Bastrop Online   content
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Registered: 11/02/10
Posts: 709
Loc: Bastrop County
OK, I'll watch.


Edited by Marc Kurth (04/17/15 07:34 PM)
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#5705644 - 04/17/15 07:17 PM Re: ? 357 mag / 38 spc Question [Re: DCmac]
fgdn Online   content
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Registered: 12/10/06
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popcorn
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#5705888 - 04/17/15 09:33 PM Re: ? 357 mag / 38 spc Question [Re: DCmac]
charlesb Offline
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Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 1408
Loc: West Texas mountains
If I'm going to shoot .38 spl, I'd rather do so with a gun chambered for 38 spl than in a .357 mag or max.

In a .38 spl revolver, it will shoot more accurately. Also, extended shooting of .38 spl in a .357 mag or max can create a "ring" in the chamber that will cause excessive pressure, next time you shoot the round that the chamber is actually made for.

The idea is that you can shoot the shorter .38 spl in the longer .357 mag or max chambers in a pinch, just don't make a habit of it.

One of the most accurate revolvers that I have ever owned was a S&W K-38 target revolver with a 6" barrel and target sights. I still have a lot of the 158 grn wadcutter cast bullets that I shot in that gun. What a sweetheart!
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#5706265 - 04/18/15 10:30 AM Re: ? 357 mag / 38 spc Question [Re: charlesb]
colt45 Online   content
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Registered: 08/19/06
Posts: 5386
Loc: bastrop county
Originally Posted By: charlesb
If I'm going to shoot .38 spl, I'd rather do so with a gun chambered for 38 spl than in a .357 mag or max.

In a .38 spl revolver, it will shoot more accurately. Also, extended shooting of .38 spl in a .357 mag or max can create a "ring" in the chamber that will cause excessive pressure, next time you shoot the round that the chamber is actually made for.

The idea is that you can shoot the shorter .38 spl in the longer .357 mag or max chambers in a pinch, just don't make a habit of it.

One of the most accurate revolvers that I have ever owned was a S&W K-38 target revolver with a 6" barrel and target sights. I still have a lot of the 158 grn wadcutter cast bullets that I shot in that gun. What a sweetheart!



is this info 1st hand info or documented? no offense intended, just curious
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#5706285 - 04/18/15 11:00 AM Re: ? 357 mag / 38 spc Question [Re: DCmac]
Beaubien Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 02/18/15
Posts: 473
Loc: In the mountains east of ABQ
I agree with Charles. The jump from the cartridge to the forcing cone is greater when shooting a 38 in the 357. This may affect accuracy, but probably not by much.

It will indeed create a ring if you do not clean your gun well.

Having said this I would not hesitate to shoot 38s in a 357.

Google it and you will find supporting information.

Original 38 specials were not designed to handle the increased pressure of the 357 round. The additional length of the cartridge prevented clambering in most guns and also increased powder capacity. Even if you can get the cylinder to close, or in the case of a revolver with a loading gate, rotate, you should never shoot a 357 in a dedicated 38.


Edited by Beaubien (04/18/15 11:06 AM)
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#5706318 - 04/18/15 12:01 PM Re: ? 357 mag / 38 spc Question [Re: DCmac]
ChadTRG42 Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 09/16/09
Posts: 9397
Loc: Lewisville, TX
Originally Posted By: DCmac
Has it always been that .357 magnum rounds won't fit in .38 special, or is that a relatively recent safety feature?


The 357 Mag is a longer round than a 38 spc, and should not chamber in a 38 spc chamber. If the pistol is a 38 spc, the 357 mag round will slide into the revolver's cylinder, but will not close due to the length. The 38 spc is a 16K-17K psi round, where the 357 Mag is about a 32K-34K psi round (about double the pressure).

Firing the 38's in a 357 mag is fine. Yes, if you shoot these often, there will be a build up in the cylinder that will make chambering the 357 mag ammo difficult. But a simple cleaning of the cylinder will easily fix it when you want to shoot 357 mag. I shot many rounds of 38's in my 357 with good accuracy. They make a great plinking round for practice.
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#5706319 - 04/18/15 12:04 PM Re: ? 357 mag / 38 spc Question [Re: DCmac]
skeeter22 Offline
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Registered: 10/26/04
Posts: 3730
Loc: Lake Highlands, Brady
^^^^^^word^^^^^

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#5706347 - 04/18/15 12:56 PM Re: ? 357 mag / 38 spc Question [Re: DCmac]
deerfeeder Online   happy
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 04/27/07
Posts: 7440
Loc: Southwest, Tx
If you can make the 357 round go into the cylinder of a gun designed just for 38 special, you won't be able to close the cylinder therefore rendering the piece intolerable.
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#5706400 - 04/18/15 02:17 PM Re: ? 357 mag / 38 spc Question [Re: ChadTRG42]
GasGuzzler Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/15/13
Posts: 1639
Loc: Cooke County, Texas
Originally Posted By: ChadTRG42
Originally Posted By: DCmac
Has it always been that .357 magnum rounds won't fit in .38 special, or is that a relatively recent safety feature?


The 357 Mag is a longer round than a 38 spc, and should not chamber in a 38 spc chamber. If the pistol is a 38 spc, the 357 mag round will slide into the revolver's cylinder, but will not close due to the length. The 38 spc is a 16K-17K psi round, where the 357 Mag is about a 32K-34K psi round (about double the pressure).

Firing the 38's in a 357 mag is fine. Yes, if you shoot these often, there will be a build up in the cylinder that will make chambering the 357 mag ammo difficult. But a simple cleaning of the cylinder will easily fix it when you want to shoot 357 mag. I shot many rounds of 38's in my 357 with good accuracy. They make a great plinking round for practice.


This ^^^^ .38S and .357M use the same dies.

(also note .44S/.44M use the same dies and .40SW/10mm use the same dies)
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#5706408 - 04/18/15 02:23 PM Re: ? 357 mag / 38 spc Question [Re: colt45]
charlesb Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 1408
Loc: West Texas mountains
Originally Posted By: colt45
Originally Posted By: charlesb
If I'm going to shoot .38 spl, I'd rather do so with a gun chambered for 38 spl than in a .357 mag or max.

In a .38 spl revolver, it will shoot more accurately. Also, extended shooting of .38 spl in a .357 mag or max can create a "ring" in the chamber that will cause excessive pressure, next time you shoot the round that the chamber is actually made for.

The idea is that you can shoot the shorter .38 spl in the longer .357 mag or max chambers in a pinch, just don't make a habit of it.

One of the most accurate revolvers that I have ever owned was a S&W K-38 target revolver with a 6" barrel and target sights. I still have a lot of the 158 grn wadcutter cast bullets that I shot in that gun. What a sweetheart!



is this info 1st hand info or documented? no offense intended, just curious


First hand. After shooting .38 spl for a while in a longer 357 mag or max chamber, a brisk scrubbing is called for to be sure to get any gunk out of the chamber.

If you're just shooting them every once in a while, regular cleaning will handle any residue just fine.



Edited by charlesb (04/18/15 02:25 PM)
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