.38 caliber

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.38 caliber is a frequently used name for the caliber of firearms and firearm cartridges.


The .38 is considered a large firearm cartridge; anything larger than .32 is considered a large caliber. [1] :42 Prior to 1990, the standard sidearms of police in the United States were revolvers that fired the .38 Special cartridge, seconded by revolvers firing the .357 Magnum, a lengthened version of the .38 Special. [1] :68

Handgun cartridge table

Cartridge nameBullet
.380 ACP .356 in (9.0 mm).680 in (17.3 mm).980 in (24.9 mm)RimlessBarnes[ who? ] 1997, p. 274
.38 Casull .356 in (9.0 mm).933 in (23.7 mm)Rimless [2]
.38 Short Colt .357 in (9.1 mm).762 in (19.4 mm)1.052 in (26.7 mm)RimmedBarnes 1997, p. 274
.38 Long Colt .357 in (9.1 mm)1.030 in (26.2 mm)1.320 in (33.5 mm)RimmedBarnes 1997, p. 274
.38 Special .357 in (9.1 mm)1.15 in (29 mm)1.550 in (39.4 mm)RimmedBarnes 1997, p. 274
.38 ACP .358 in (9.1 mm).900 in (22.9 mm)1.280 in (32.5 mm)Semi-rimmedBarnes 1997, p. 274
.38 Super .358 in (9.1 mm).900 in (22.9 mm)1.280 in (32.5 mm)Semi-rimmedBarnes 1997, p. 274
.38 Super Comp .358 in (9.1 mm).896 in (22.8 mm)1.280 in (32.5 mm)RimlessStarline cartridge dimensions
.38 S&W .361 in (9.2 mm).780 in (19.8 mm)1.200 in (30.5 mm)RimmedBarnes 1997, p. 274
.380 Revolver Short.375 in (9.5 mm)0.700 in (17.8 mm)1.100 in (27.9 mm)RimmedBarnes 1997, p. 274
.380 Revolver Long.375 in (9.5 mm)1.000 in (25.4 mm)1.400 in (35.6 mm)RimmedBarnes 1997, p. 274
.38-40 Winchester .401 in (10.2 mm)1.300 in (33.0 mm)1.590 in (40.4 mm)RimmedBarnes 1997, p. 92

See also

Related Research Articles

Revolver handgun that has a cylinder containing multiple chambers and at least one barrel

A revolver is a repeating handgun that has a revolving cylinder containing multiple chambers and at least one barrel for firing. Before firing a round, the hammer is cocked and the cylinder rotates partially, indexing one of the cylinder chambers into alignment with the barrel, which allows the bullet to be fired through the bore. The hammer cocking can be achieved by either the user manually pulling the hammer back, via internal linkage relaying a rearward movement of the trigger, or both. By sequentially rotating through each chamber, the revolver allows the user to fire multiple times until having to reloading the gun, unlike older single-shot firearms that had to be reloaded after each shot.

.38 Special firearm cartridge

The .38 Smith & Wesson Special is a rimmed, centerfire cartridge designed by Smith & Wesson. It is most commonly used in revolvers, although some semi-automatic pistols and carbines also use this round. The .38 Special was the standard service cartridge of most police departments in the United States from the 1920s to 1990s, and was also a common sidearm cartridge used by soldiers in World War II. In other parts of the world, it is known by its metric designation of 9×29.5mmR or 9.1×29mmR.

Colt Single Action Army Revolver

The Colt Single Action Army, also known as the Single Action Army, SAA, Model P, Peacemaker and M1873, is a single-action revolver with a revolving cylinder holding six metallic cartridges. It was designed for the U.S. government service revolver trials of 1872 by Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company—today's Colt's Manufacturing Company—and was adopted as the standard military service revolver until 1892.

.357 Magnum revolver cartridge

The .357 S&W Magnum (9×33mmR), or simply .357 Magnum, is a smokeless powder cartridge with a .357-inch (9.07 mm) bullet diameter. It was created by Elmer Keith, Phillip B. Sharpe, and Douglas B. Wesson of firearms manufacturers Smith & Wesson and Winchester.

.44 Magnum Rimmed, large-bore cartridge

The .44 Remington Magnum, or simply .44 Magnum (10.9×33mmR), and frequently .44 Mag, is a rimmed, large-bore cartridge originally designed for revolvers. After its introduction, it was quickly adopted for carbines and rifles. Despite the ".44" designation, guns chambered for the .44 Magnum round, and its parent, the .44 Special, use 0.429 in (10.9 mm) diameter bullets.

.44 Special cartridge

The .44 Special or .44 S&W Special is a smokeless powder center fire metallic revolver cartridge developed by Smith & Wesson in 1907 as the standard chambering for their New Century revolver, introduced in 1908.

The .357 Maximum, formally known as the .357 Remington Maximum or the .357 Max, is a super magnum handgun cartridge originally developed by Elgin Gates as the wildcat .357 SuperMag. The .357 Maximum was introduced into commercial production as a joint-venture by Remington Arms Company and Ruger in 1983 as a new chambering for the Ruger Blackhawk. Shortly thereafter, Dan Wesson Firearms and Thompson/Center Arms introduced firearms in this cartridge. United Sporting Arms chambered it in their Silhouette series single-action revolvers. It is a .357 Magnum case lengthened 0.300 inches (7.6 mm). Based on the .357 Magnum cartridge, a revolver or single-shot pistol designed for the .357 Max can fire .357 Magnum, .38 Special, .38 Long Colt, and .38 Short Colt rounds. Intended primarily as a silhouette cartridge, such high velocity and energy levels have hunting applications. SAAMI pressure level for this cartridge is set at 40,000 pounds per square inch (280 MPa). Despite good performance, the high pressure and velocity of the cartridge caused flame cutting of revolver top straps, and the cartridge has since been dropped by all manufacturers who so chambered their revolvers. Single shot pistols and rifles are still available in this caliber, and remain popular among handloaders. Unprimed brass is still produced every few years by Remington, and is also a stock item from Starline.

.41 Remington Magnum revolver cartridge

The .41 Remington Magnum or 10.4×33mmR as it is known in unofficial metric designation, is a center fire firearms cartridge primarily developed for use in large-frame revolvers, introduced in 1964 by the Remington Arms Company, intended for hunting and law enforcement purposes.

.32 S&W cartridge

The .32 S&W cartridge was introduced in 1878 for Smith & Wesson pocket revolvers. It was originally designed as a black powder cartridge. The .32 S&W was offered to the public as a light defense cartridge for "card table" distances.

.32 S&W Long cartridge

The .32 S&W Long, also known as 7.65x23mm, is a straight-walled, centerfire, rimmed handgun cartridge, based on the earlier .32 S&W cartridge. It was introduced in 1896 for Smith & Wesson's first-model Hand Ejector revolver. Colt called it the .32 Colt New Police in revolvers it made chambered for the cartridge.

Wildcat cartridge Custom cartridge for firearms

A wildcat cartridge, often shortened to wildcat, is a custom cartridge for which ammunition and/or firearms are not mass-produced. These cartridges are often created in order to optimize a certain performance characteristic of an existing commercial cartridge.

A rim is an external flange that is machined, cast, molded, stamped or pressed around the bottom of a firearms cartridge. Thus, rimmed cartridges are sometimes called "flanged" cartridges. Almost all cartridges feature an extractor or headspacing rim, in spite of the fact that some cartridges are known as "rimless cartridges". The rim may serve a number of purposes, including providing a lip for the extractor to engage, and sometimes serving to headspace the cartridge.

Heeled bullet design of bullet where the internal diameter of the barrel is often, but not always, the same diameter as the cartridge case

A heeled bullet is a specific design of bullet where the internal diameter of the barrel is often, but not always, the same diameter as the cartridge case, and the bullet has a step at the rear to allow it to fit inside the case. Heeled bullets mostly disappeared with the advent of smokeless powder cartridges, though older rimfire designs, such as the .22 caliber rimfire cartridges, still use heeled bullets, and many cartridges that date back to the black powder era still reflect their heeled bullet origins in their caliber designations.

A powerhead, bang stick, smokie, or shark stick is a specialized firearm used underwater that is fired when in direct contact with the target, not to be confused with other types of underwater firearms which fire specially designed projectiles and do not require direct contact with the target. Powerheads are often used for spear fishing and against sharks or alligators for sport, defense, or to kill nuisance animals. The term powerhead refers to the firearm-like part of the device; when attached to a shaft to form a spear, it may be referred to as a bang stick or shark stick. The spear in question may be handheld or launchable from a spear gun.

.32 H&R Magnum cartridge

The .32 H&R Magnum is a rimmed cartridge designed for use in revolvers. It was developed in 1984 as a joint venture between Harrington & Richardson and Federal Cartridge. The .32 H&R Magnum is produced by lengthening the .32 S&W Long case by .155", to 1.075".

Overpressure ammunition

Overpressure ammunition, commonly designated as +P or +P+, is small arms ammunition that has been loaded to a higher internal pressure than is standard for ammunition of its caliber, but less than the pressures generated by a proof round. This is done typically to produce rounds with a higher muzzle velocity and stopping power, such as ammunition used for defensive purposes. Because of this, +P ammunition is typically found in handgun calibers which might be used for defensive purposes.

Snubnosed revolver A short barrelled revolver intended for concealment.

A snubnosed revolver is any small, medium or large frame revolver with a short barrel, generally 3 inches or less in length. Smaller revolvers are often made with "bobbed" or "shrouded" hammers, and there are even "hammerless" models, all allowing the gun to be drawn quickly with little risk of it snagging on clothing. The shrouded and hammerless models may even be fired through a coat or jacket pocket. The design of these revolvers sacrifices power and range for maneuverability and concealment.

Colt New Service Type of Revolver

The Colt New Service is a large frame, large caliber, double-action revolver made by Colt from 1898 until 1941. Made in various calibers, the .45 Colt version with a 5½" barrel, was adopted by the U.S. Armed Forces as the Model 1909.

.500 S&W Magnum revolver cartridge

The .500 S&W Magnum (12.7×41mmSR) is a fifty-caliber semi-rimmed handgun cartridge developed by Cor-Bon in partnership with the Smith & Wesson "X-Gun" engineering team for use in the Smith & Wesson Model 500 X-frame revolver and introduced in February 2003 at the SHOT show. It has two primary design purposes: as a hunting handgun cartridge capable of taking all North American game species, and to be the most powerful production handgun cartridge to date.

Colt New Line

The Colt New Line was a single action pocket revolver introduced by the Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company in 1873.


  1. 1 2 Wright, James D.; Rossi, Peter H.; Daly, Kathleen. (1983) Under the Gun: Weapons, Crime and Violence in America Hawthorne, New York: Aldine de Gruyter. ISBN   0-202-30306-3.
  2. ".38 Casull". Archived from the original on 2011-09-30. Retrieved 2011-11-13.