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View Full Version : S&W Mod 10 rechambered for 38 special - is that good?


tracyballard
April 09, 2009, 11:44
As I look around at S&W revolvers, I notice some model 10's, and earlier, that have been rechambered from 38 S&W to 38 special. Is that common/safe/no problem? avoid??

charles isaac
April 09, 2009, 13:32
If it is a Commonwealth Victory Model, it was originally a .38-200. .38 S&W and .38-200 bore and chambers are larger in diameter than the special.

Split cases and poor accurracy are common problems with these conversions.

jdmcomp
April 09, 2009, 14:28
CI is correct. These should be avoided except as wall hangers.

The chamber of the 38 S&W is much larger at the base and the bullet diameter is somewhat larger even though both cartridges are called 38. These converted guns were done by reaming out the chamber to allow the longer 38 special to fit in the cylinder, and did not address the larger base diameter problem. These guns can be dangerous to shoot with any 38 special load. (Now comes some yokel who states he has been shooting his converted Brit Victory model with Plus P loads for years with no problems. I suspect that he is too dumb to count all of his fingers.)

Early on, the barrels for the 38 S&W chambered guns had larger bores but most agree as the war effort (WWII lend lease) grew S&W used the smaller bore barrel for both cartridges. Don't know how to support that claim, but many have measured bores for late war Brit guns and found the smaller bore diameter used.

Model 10 S&Ws are probably the most common revolver out there and they can be found in very good condition for moderate prices today. Why saddle yourself with something that is best a 6 chambered hand grenade when you do not have to?

tracyballard
April 09, 2009, 14:44
that's about what I figured. I didn't want to mess with one unless it was a lot better than what I'm hearing....

bykerhd
April 09, 2009, 19:42
I'm not familiar with the .38-200 Smith.
But if the conversion just involved deepening the chamber slightly for the .38 Special, wouldn't the .38-200 STILL work just fine ?
Or, am I missing something ?
As long as the .38 Special was avoided I would imagine it might be safe to use ?

Certainly no collector value though.

tracyballard
April 09, 2009, 19:50
I'm looking for something that could serve as a defensive arm if needed, so I would prefer .38 special as a minimum.

doubletap
April 09, 2009, 21:09
The O.D. of the 38 Smith and Wesson (38-200 cartridge) is larger than the 38 Special case, hence they will usually bulge if you shoot 38 Spec. in a rechambered 38 S&W cylinder.
Smith also made the barrels to a different spec., .360" instead of the .357-358" for the 38 spec. and 357 mags. This probably wouldn't make a difference with jacketed bullets but could well be a problem with cast. If you're looking for a shooter just get a Model 10/12/13/64/65 in 38 special and be done with it, won't cost much more and infinitely more enjoyable in the long run.

Brian in MN
April 10, 2009, 01:16
Originally posted by bykerhd
I'm not familiar with the .38-200 Smith.
But if the conversion just involved deepening the chamber slightly for the .38 Special, wouldn't the .38-200 STILL work just fine ?
Or, am I missing something ?
As long as the .38 Special was avoided I would imagine it might be safe to use ?

Certainly no collector value though.

Read JD's post again. I thought he did a very good job of answering your question. The only thing he might have added is that it probably isn't a good idea to shoot .38 S&W out of the butchered guns either. I have a really nice one that the twits at Lithgow ruined. Anyone fires .38 S&W out of it and they will be shaving lead for sure.

jdmcomp
April 10, 2009, 06:59
Just FYI, the 38-200 was simply the 38 S&W loaded with a 200 gr bullet, also known as the 38 Police load in the US. It was thought the heavier bullet would make up for the smaller bore when the Brits switched from 455 to 38 caliber. In an era of no body armor it worked ok but had no range nor penetration whatsoever. Very weak compared to the 45 ACP. I do not know anyone loading this round presently. Even the Brits switched to a 178 gr fmj bullet to meet international codes for war. I handload them for my Brit guns and am at the last of my bullets and know not where to find more.

Boring out the chamber opens the chamber up where the bullet would be (with a round chambered) with the 38-200 and when fired would allow the bullet to flop around exiting the cylinder and jumping into the forcing cone, resulting in shaving of lead and destroying accuracy.

Sorry for not posting the case drawings for the cases in question but this forum does not allow me posting of images.

elbo
April 10, 2009, 10:43
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