View Full Version : .38 S&W vs .38 special ammo

June 07, 2009, 20:14
I recently read that .38 S&W ammunition is interchangable with .38 special in a .38 special revolver.

I didn't think it was, anyone know for sure?

June 07, 2009, 21:13
No, it isn't. The .38 S&W has a fatter cartridge case, a slightly larger diameter bullet and proper .38 S&W chambers are also too short to let you fit .38 Special cartridges.

If both the .38 S&W and the .38 Special chambers are original and in spec, niether cartridge will fit in the others' revolver.

Because the shorter, fatter S&W ammo is harder to find, some individuals and companies have run .38 Special chamber reamers into .38 S&W cylinders. When fired with .38 Special ammo, the brass swells and often ruptures. There are a lot of WWII S&W Victory and M&P revolvers that have had this done to them. You should avoid them.

June 07, 2009, 21:33
Thanks Buff, that's what I thought. I rarely read any of the gun magazines anymore because of the nonsense. Guess you shouldn't believe everything you
read on the toilet.