1911Forum
Forum   Reviews   Rules   Legal   Site Supporters & Donations   Advertise


Go Back   1911Forum > General > General Gun Discussion


Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-09-2005, 09:03 AM
MikePGT MikePGT is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 13
Difference between .38 and .380 ACP?




I apologize for not knowing any better, but I figure if there's anyone to ask, it would be you guys!

What is the difference between .38 caliber and .380 ACP? And is it possible to 'trade' ammo between guns? (Like, if you have a .380 ACP can it shoot standard .38s?)

Thanks for your help guys!!!
  #2  
Old 03-09-2005, 09:07 AM
Kruzr's Avatar
Kruzr Kruzr is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Surf City, USA
Posts: 12,693
yes, there is a big difference and no, they are not interchangable. Mr. Camp has a nice write-up on capabilities. Look at the pics of both, the difference will be obvious.

http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/3...alor380acp.htm
  #3  
Old 03-09-2005, 09:33 AM
MikePGT MikePGT is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 13
Great article, but that's more of a comparison between .380 and .38 Special.

What about standard .38 and .380?

Thanks for the help though
  #4  
Old 03-09-2005, 09:47 AM
WAPS WAPS is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Shelton, CT.
Age: 47
Posts: 336
Re: Difference between .38 and .380 ACP?

Hello Mike,
The simple answer to your question is NO they are not in anyway interchangable. A 38 spl. cartridge is typically a revolver cartridge, and is considerably longer and wider than a .380 acp cartridge which is often refered to as a 9mm Kurtz or Corto (Which means short).

A .380 acp is actually very close (but shorter) in size to a 9mm cartridge. While it is NOT reccomended, a .380 acp cartridge can be fired from a 9mm handgun, however there will likely not be enough energy to function the slide, therefore it should not be tried as this action can cause jams and potentionally other damages to occur to the weapon.

A 38 spl. cartridge, is however interchangeable with a 357 Magnum weapon (Usually a revolver) (However some semi-automatics are currently available), and can be safely fired through them. The difference between the two is again the height of the case and the powder charge contained therein.

I hope this helps.

Be Safe

Bryan S. Williams
Williams Associates Protective Services, LLC
www.wa-protective.com
__________________
Bryan Scott Williams
Williams Associates Protective Services, LLC
www.wa-protective.com

Knowledge - Integrity - Discretion - Honor
  #5  
Old 03-09-2005, 10:00 AM
Kruzr's Avatar
Kruzr Kruzr is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Surf City, USA
Posts: 12,693
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikePGT
Great article, but that's more of a comparison between .380 and .38 Special.

What about standard .38 and .380?

Thanks for the help though
And where did you see this "standard 38"?

380 ACP is "standard" 380.
  #6  
Old 03-09-2005, 10:03 AM
DarthSane DarthSane is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: The Frigid Southern Shore of Lake Superior
Age: 44
Posts: 89
I think maybe he means the difference between a .380 ACP and a .38 Super.
  #7  
Old 03-09-2005, 10:04 AM
patpimp patpimp is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 242
I think he is referring to another post with an old Beretta Autoloader in "38"...

I think we need more details as to the actual chambering...
__________________
carrying right now: S&W 642 Airweight or Kimber BP Ten II.
In Progress: Stripped Bushy Lower waiting for an Identity.
Others: Kimber Custom Eclipse II, Springfield Defender, Para-Ord P12, Bushmaster Bullpup, DPMS Bull Classic...etc.
  #8  
Old 03-09-2005, 10:31 AM
MikePGT MikePGT is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 13
Ok...First, I apologize for the confusion on this!! I really don't know much about this stuff other than my trusty Colt .45, but I'm trying to learn

Let me see if I can clear this up any....

As far as I can tell, there are only two sizes of .38 caliber pistol bullet. There is the .380, and the .38 special. Is this correct?

Here's the story,

After a visit at the local Walmart, I saw that there were only two sizes of .38 available... a 'standard' .38 (which I'm assuming is the .380 ACP) and the .38 special. The special is the longer of the two (which fits in my Smith .38 special gov't issue), and the other .38 is much smaller of a bullet...only maybe 2/3 the length of the .38 special, which seems to fit my Beretta 1934. My only question is if this is the correct ammo for the Beretta, since it would make an ideal ccw gun. If you want to see pics, look at the post in this forum started by me and titled "What Beretta is this?" (or something like that)

Again, I greatly appreciate all the help (and patience!!) you all are showing.

Thank you so much!!!!!!
  #9  
Old 03-09-2005, 10:42 AM
P-51 Bullitt P-51 Bullitt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Plano, TX
Age: 66
Posts: 545
Don't take this the wrong way.......

But....if you have to ask what ammo at walmart goes in your pistols, you need some SERIOUS instruction in the use and handling of firearms!
__________________
AEA
"Life is a waiting game. You wait to be Born, wait to Die and wait for everything in-between".
  #10  
Old 03-09-2005, 10:45 AM
MikePGT MikePGT is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 13
well, I have a fairly thorough knowledge of the basics, but this one perticular gun is causing me confusion. If it helps, I'm NRA certified in pistol. I'm not afraid to learn though, which is why I'm asking.

By the way, what's the deal with P-51? Do you like the airplane or something? Just wondering why your screen name is that.
  #11  
Old 03-09-2005, 10:47 AM
RickB's Avatar
RickB RickB is online now
1911 Aficionado
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Posts: 16,616
The Beretta 34 is chambered in .380 ACP, aka 9mm Kurtz and 9mm Corto. I have a 34 that I inherited from my father, and he used it as a carry gun when travelling. I don't like that the safety has to be swung through a 180 degree arc to disengage; not very quick or easy.
There is also a .38 ACP, and a .38 Super; both auto pistol cartridges that are not interchangeable with .380. Of course, there are LOTS of ".38" caliber rounds, most of which are actually closer to .36", but the most common in the U.S. are .38 Special for revolvers, and 9mm Parabellum. Foreign ".38s" include 9x18 Makarov, 9mm Bergmann-Bayard, 9mm Largo, .380/200, 9mm Japanese Service Revolver, and on and on.
__________________
If you're not shooting you should be moving. If you're not moving you should be reloading. If you're not shooting, moving, or reloading, you should be taping or picking brass. - Z.C.
  #12  
Old 03-09-2005, 11:06 AM
P-51 Bullitt P-51 Bullitt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Plano, TX
Age: 66
Posts: 545
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikePGT
well, I have a fairly thorough knowledge of the basics, but this one perticular gun is causing me confusion. If it helps, I'm NRA certified in pistol. I'm not afraid to learn though, which is why I'm asking.

By the way, what's the deal with P-51? Do you like the airplane or something? Just wondering why your screen name is that.
I own a Bullitt (spelled correctly) Mustang and that is my Handle on the Forum I am a member of (IMBOC).

Most peeps do not know that the original prototype designers of the Mustang had the P-51 Mustang in mind when they designed it. The Marketing peeps are the ones that actually called it a "Pony" car and hence the Mustang Horse was chosen in place of the airplane.

So, P-51 Bullitt = Mustang Bullitt
Attached Thumbnails
avatar.jpg  
__________________
AEA
"Life is a waiting game. You wait to be Born, wait to Die and wait for everything in-between".

Last edited by P-51 Bullitt; 03-09-2005 at 11:10 AM.
  #13  
Old 03-09-2005, 11:16 AM
Phil Ca Phil Ca is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Central Valley, PRK
Posts: 24
Does anyone remember the revolver from France that had multi-caliber ability? It would fire a number of different rounds. It might be an interesting thing to have to shoot up odd-ball ammo that keeps creeping into ones shooting bag.

When I was in Vietnam I asked my mother to send me 25 rounds of .38 Special ammo. When the box from home arrived with the rounds neatly wrapped as candies on top of the cake I noticed right away that they were a tad short. Upon opening the "candies" I discovered that the ammo was actually .38 Super and not .38 Special.

When I had an occasion to go to our HQ near Saigon I went to the airstrip and hitched ride on a C-123 cargo plane. The A1C who was the crew chief was carrying a semi-auto Colt that looked like a .38 Super. I asked him and he said it was and that he was having a tough time finding ammo for it. I opened my musette bag and showed him the 25 rounds that I had. He did a quick canvas of the pilot and co-pilot and when we landed at Ton Son Nhut airfield the trade was made. Both pilots were carrting 4 inch .38 Special revolvers. I had a model 40 hammerless S&W 2 inch.

Last edited by Phil Ca; 03-09-2005 at 11:24 AM.
  #14  
Old 03-09-2005, 11:21 AM
P-51 Bullitt P-51 Bullitt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Plano, TX
Age: 66
Posts: 545
I remember a LLAMA Auto that would shoot two calibers, although I do not remember what calibers they were.
__________________
AEA
"Life is a waiting game. You wait to be Born, wait to Die and wait for everything in-between".
  #15  
Old 03-09-2005, 11:25 AM
waktasz waktasz is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: SE PA
Posts: 1,022
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikePGT
As far as I can tell, there are only two sizes of .38 caliber pistol bullet. There is the .380, and the .38 special. Is this correct?
Prepare to be thoroughly confused.

.38 special fires a .357" diameter projectile and has a rimmed case, suitable to using in revolvers.
.380ACP bullets are the same as 9mm, I believe, which is .355. .38 super, which is basically a longer, stronger cased, semi rimmed, 9mm cartridge uses .356 or .355 bullets (I THINK. This is the favored competition cartridge in open division in IPSC and the different sizes allow you to perfect your loads to your gun.)
  #16  
Old 03-09-2005, 11:36 AM
BEER BEER is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: houston texas
Age: 39
Posts: 40
if i were in your shoes, i would take the pistol to a local gun shop or pistol smith and ask them face to face about the pistol and the correct ammo for it. having the firearm in thier own hand may help clear up any confusion and they will more than likely be able to SHOW you the differences in the different rounds and how they should and should not fit the chamber. i know i myself have a hard time understanding written instructions sometimes until i actually watch the process or do it for myself once or twice but in the case of a firearm i've always found it to be a wise idea to err on the side of caution. i would also call beretta directly and get any info i can from them such as date of manufacture, possibly an instruction manual for that model, availability of parts and whatever else they have to offer. if you want to use this as a carry gun then all this info may be very handy some day.
  #17  
Old 03-09-2005, 11:44 AM
ranger ranger is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: SF Bay Area, CA, USA
Posts: 3,665
If you go back a little ways, you'll find a plethora of ".38" caliber cartridges.

The .38 Smith & Wesson is probably the 'standard' .38. Then the .38 special came out as sort of a 'magnum' version, before the term was used. Then the .38 Special was made into a 'magnum' version, called the .357 Magnum.

But way back, there's also .38 Colt, .38 Long Colt, .38 Super, .38 Automatic.
There's some other 'cowboy' cartridges even older, that escape me at the moment.

At least a couple of these were GI issue, but I also forget which ones at the moment. But it was the one used in the Spanish American war, that was ineffective against the Moros, that prompted the return to the .45 caliber, which resulted in our beloved .45 ACP.

So, sorry, but I don't think there is a "standard" .38 caliber cartridge.

Right now, I'd say, by far, the most popularly used, and the most manufacured, .38 caliber, with .38 in the name, would be the .38 Special, with .380 Auto, and .38 Super right behind. (Not counting 9mm because it doesn't have '.38' in it's name; obviously it is the most widely used cartridge with this bullet's diameter.)

I have the book at home, I could look some up for you, or you could try an internet search, and find out most of this.
  #18  
Old 03-09-2005, 02:00 PM
MikePGT MikePGT is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by P-51 Bullitt
I own a Bullitt (spelled correctly) Mustang and that is my Handle on the Forum I am a member of (IMBOC).

Most peeps do not know that the original prototype designers of the Mustang had the P-51 Mustang in mind when they designed it. The Marketing peeps are the ones that actually called it a "Pony" car and hence the Mustang Horse was chosen in place of the airplane.

So, P-51 Bullitt = Mustang Bullitt
Wow that's a nice car! I would love to have either one of those or a new Mach 1...both beautiful cars! I'm a commercial pilot and full time flight instructor, and love the P-51 Mustang. That plane is also where the phrase "The whole nine yards" comes from
  #19  
Old 03-09-2005, 02:00 PM
AGE AGE is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Florida
Age: 79
Posts: 662
Mike,

Confusing isn't it. You might be interested to know that the bullets from all of these ".38s" which are very close to .357" diameter can be fired in any of these guns. By bullets, I mean the projectile part of the cartridge that goes out the barrel when fired. For instance, take a .38 special case, size and deprime it, add a new primer, a little powder (very little actually, anywhere from 2.8 to about 11 grains of various powders--ya gotta get this from a reloading manual), and seat the bullet pulled from any of the .38s, and you can fire it safely in a .38 special or .357 magnum.

Somebody came out with a revolver called the "millenium" thad had gizmos to hold the various auto cartridges in 1999 that could fire almost any of a dozen or so ".38" cartridges that was supposed to outfit the sirvivalist against Y2K ammo shortages. It was Ruger, S&W or Taurus I think--anybody remember this?
__________________
AGE
  #20  
Old 03-09-2005, 03:06 PM
Blondie Blondie is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Idaho
Age: 66
Posts: 42
Hi Mike,
A "bullet" is the missile, or projectile only. A "cartridge" is the whole unit of assembled ammunition - case, powder, primer, and bullet. And "caliber" refers to the diameter of the projectile (bullet) or the approximate diameter of the bore of the gun. There is a lot of confusion with those three words - bullet, cartridge, and caliber. The confusion can sometimes overwhelm a newcomer, especially when you consider that at Walmart you can probably find at least 4 different types of .38 caliber cartridges - .380 ACP, .38 Super, .38 Special, and .357 Magnum. I'm not sure, but you might be able to find even more than that. And to make the confusion even worse, not a darn one of the cartridges I named are a true .38 caliber - they're actually only .35 caliber - that's why a .38 Special will work in a .357 Magnum.

You said you understand your "Colt 45." If you'll look at Walmart for cartridges to use in your Colt 45, you'll probably find at least 3 types of .45 caliber handgun cartridges. One will be the .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol), another the .45 Colt, and the third will be the .454 Casull. I'm not sure which cartridge is right for your handgun, but as you'll quickly notice, the .45 ACP is an entirely different cartridge than the .45 Colt, and the .454 Casull looks like an extended .45 Colt. However, all three cartridges are the same caliber - .45. Furthermore, which one is a "regular" .45? Beats me. But I'll bet the .45 caliber cartridge most often refered to in this forum is the .45 ACP.

I hope I haven't muddied things up even more for you. One of the best souces of information like this I know of is Frank Barnes's book, "Cartridges Of The World." You can find it at most stores that sell a lot of ammunition and reloading supplies, or at amazon.com. Sometimes us old guys, who have been around different guns and ammunition most of our lives, tend to use words like caliber, bullet, and cartridge as if everyone should know what we're talking about. I suppose it's not much different than my wife (a computer whiz) trying to teach me about this computer. When she does, we usually end up in a shouting match. I just don't get it - why is it alright for her to say things like "click on that," when she means "DOUBLE click on that?"

Last edited by Blondie; 03-09-2005 at 03:18 PM.
  #21  
Old 03-09-2005, 03:09 PM
BEER BEER is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: houston texas
Age: 39
Posts: 40
the only revolver i can think of like that was the medusa which was a foriegn made gun, i never did see or hear much about it other that a quick description in some gun rag a few years back, although i'm not positive that i'm not confusing it with the mataeba auto revolver either. they were both pretty rare and details were rather obscure in my neck of the woods.
  #22  
Old 03-09-2005, 03:17 PM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is online now
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Florence, Alabama, USA
Posts: 12,864
Probably just more confusion for Mike, but the Medusa multi-cartridge revolver was a US design and product. Phillips and Rogers started out making gimmick conversion cylinders for Smith & Wesson but then went to building whole guns. Gary Reeder has something similar now.

Korth and Manhurin make .357 Magnum revolvers with 9mm Para cylinders available.
  #23  
Old 03-09-2005, 03:52 PM
MikePGT MikePGT is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 13
Thanks for all the help guys!! I really appreciate it!!

As for my so called quest...I took my gun into the local gunsmith/shop, and he took a look at it and told me that it is a Beretta 1934 model that takes the .380 ACP rounds. I got a box of 50, but it's well below freezing outside, so I may wait to try out this gun I also have a Smith .38 special, and once I saw the rounds for the .380, I had it all figured out

Thank you everyone for the information...it came in handy!!

Blondie...you're correct on my .45. It's a USGI Colt .45, and it takes the standard .45 ACP rounds. I use either Remington or Winchester (which ever one is cheaper) and they both work fine. I also have a Firestorm .45 Govt which takes the same rounds.

As for the .38 vs. .357 debate, you're correct to say that the size of the bullet is the same, but from what my ccw instructor taught me, the main difference is the amount of powder behind the bullet. The .357 has more powder, which increases the muzzle velocity of the round. For this reason, it is ok to shoot .38 bullets out of a .357, but not the other way around, because most .38 guns are not built to handle the increased stress the .357 puts on the gun itself. Make sense?
  #24  
Old 03-09-2005, 03:58 PM
P-51 Bullitt P-51 Bullitt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Plano, TX
Age: 66
Posts: 545
Well....from that report you have already learned a lot! Yes, all you say is correct.

Now Guys.......

This got me to thinking about that LLAMA Auto that shot two calibers......I cannot remember what they were, but I can only assume that it was .38 Super and 9mm. Am I correct?

And if I am correct, can we shoot 9mm in a new Colt .38 Super?

(I don't consider this as hiacking this thread, as the topic of the original poster has been resolved).
__________________
AEA
"Life is a waiting game. You wait to be Born, wait to Die and wait for everything in-between".

Last edited by P-51 Bullitt; 03-09-2005 at 04:02 PM.
  #25  
Old 03-09-2005, 04:07 PM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is online now
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Florence, Alabama, USA
Posts: 12,864
Bullitt

The Astra 400 had more of a reputation for handling different cartridges than did the Llamas or Stars. They were made for 9mm Largo (9x23 Spanish, 9mm Bergman-Bayard) but would handle .38 Auto (NOT .38 Super, this is a blowback action) if you got one with the breechface wide enough for the semirim, and sometimes 9mm Para. Not always, the late Maj George C. Nonte once did an article showing what could go wrong.

Some Stars were marked 9mm/.38 but that meant 9mm Largo not Parabellum, and .38 ACP not Super. .38 Auto or ACP was the original 1900 round for the old twin link Colt/Browning guns. In 1925 they increased the chamber pressure by more than half again and chambered the Government Model for it under the name of .38 Super. The outside dimensions are the same, the loadings are very different. The Spanish ".38" marked guns are made for the older less powerful cartridge.

I dunno about Llamas.

9mm Para will go way down in the chamber in my Colt .38 Super barrel. It might headspace on the extractor and shoot almost normally but it might not. It could get ahead of the extractor and still fire due to the long firing pin protrusion of a 1911, that is one problem Nonte had with the Astra and it led to fireworks with blown caseheads.

Best not to improvise unless you are stranded way away from correct ammo and in a life and death situation.

Last edited by Jim Watson; 03-09-2005 at 04:50 PM.
Closed Thread

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:08 PM.


NOTICE TO USERS OF THIS SITE: By continuing to use this site, you certify that you have read and agree to abide by the Legal Terms of Use. All information, data, text or other materials ("Content") posted to this site by any users are the sole responsibility of those users. 1911Forum does not guarantee the accuracy, integrity, or quality of such Content.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2011 1911Forum.com, LLC. All Rights Reserved