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  #1  
Old 10-13-2017, 05:45 AM
Rumblur Rumblur is offline
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38spl and 380acp are close to same power, how?

Cartridge size wise, a 38spl is really big compared to the 380acp. How is it, the ballistics are almost the same?
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  #2  
Old 10-13-2017, 06:07 AM
Hana9 Hana9 is offline
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Very interesting question. I'm also interested in the difference. Is anybody has some experience
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  #3  
Old 10-13-2017, 06:29 AM
Rwehavinfunyet Rwehavinfunyet is offline
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Comparison of .38 special and .380 ballistics....

The ballistics are not the same, since the .38 special is capable of driving heavier bullets at higher velocities. Most .380's shoot .355" bullets that weigh 115 grains or less....most factory ammo uses 90 - 95 gr. projectiles....

A good .38 special +P round using a 125 gr. JHP bullet can produce close to 1250 fps out of a 6" revolver.....

Check out the ballistics for Buffalo Bore .38 special +P ammo with 125 gr. JHP bullets:

http://www.ballistics101.com/38_special.php
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  #4  
Old 10-13-2017, 06:44 AM
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guy sajer guy sajer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumblur View Post
Cartridge size wise, a 38spl is really big compared to the 380acp. How is it, the ballistics are almost the same?
What is the source for your data ?
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  #5  
Old 10-13-2017, 06:45 AM
Nitro.45 Nitro.45 is offline
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Sure, you can lighten up .38 and shoot dink loads if you want, which is the max load for the .380. The Special can go way past the capabilities of that pop gun.
Like fun guy said, you can get a heavier projectile going double the velocity at 1250.
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  #6  
Old 10-13-2017, 09:09 AM
revolvergeek revolvergeek is offline
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I hear that argument a lot (not much difference between the two) when people are comparing small .380 autos to Airweight snubs loaded with standard velocity ammo. I have to clarify to them that .38 spl performs very differently out of longer barreled revolvers, particularly when handloaded.
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  #7  
Old 10-13-2017, 01:23 PM
mr380acp mr380acp is offline
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A 380acp is ballisticly similar to the old Colt .36 cap and ball which back in the day was a common caliber carried by gunfighters
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  #8  
Old 10-13-2017, 03:17 PM
K1500 K1500 is offline
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.38 spl and 9mm nato are a lot closer.
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  #9  
Old 10-13-2017, 05:56 PM
earlwb earlwb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumblur View Post
Cartridge size wise, a 38spl is really big compared to the 380acp. How is it, the ballistics are almost the same?
The .38 Special was designed for revolvers back circa 1898 when it first came out. It was originally loaded with black powder. That is why the cartridge case is so large in capacity.

The .380 ACP was designed for semi-automatic pocket pistols. It came out in 1908 and was derived from the earlier version .38 ACP design. it is a rimless cartridge designed for semi-auto pistols. But notably it was designed to use smokeless powders for propellant. Thus the cartridge case is much smaller in capacity.

The .38 Special can handle bullet weights up towards 200 grains, whereas the .380 ACP is limited to a max of about 115 grains. A typical .38 special bullet is 125 grains to 158 grains in weight. The typical .380 ACP bullet is 80 to 95 grains in weight.
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  #10  
Old 10-13-2017, 06:57 PM
Kosh75287 Kosh75287 is offline
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Out of equal length barrels, the .38 special can probably launch a 125 gr. bullet at 1000 f/s, while a .380 does well to make 750 f/s. To the extent that the .380 is any where in the neighborhood, is because its chamber pressure is around 21,000 psi, while the .38 Special's runs about 80% of that. Even then, the comparison may not be as close as you think. The larger case capacity of the .38 Special enables it to move heavier projectiles faster with lower chamber pressure.

If the larger .38 Special case is loaded such that its chamber pressure is as high as the .380 ACP (DON'T do it), such a load would clearly leave the original cartridges in the dust. A closer comparison to the .38 Special would be the 9x19mm Luger.
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Last edited by Kosh75287; 10-13-2017 at 09:32 PM.
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  #11  
Old 10-13-2017, 08:24 PM
Striker2237 Striker2237 is online now
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As a non-revolver guy I am about to ask a really stupid question; If you loaded a .38 to use lots of the case capacity would it essentially become a .357 mag?
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  #12  
Old 10-13-2017, 08:52 PM
Kosh75287 Kosh75287 is offline
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Quote:
If you loaded a .38 to use lots of the case capacity would it essentially become a .357 mag?
It's been a while since I read the history, but I think the .357 DID come to be, out of experimentation with the .38 Special loaded with slow(er) burning smokeless powders, and fired in large-frame revolvers.

While the original .357 Magnum loadings operated at about twice the chamber pressure of a .38 Special +P, I think more recent loadings have chamber pressures in the neighborhood of 60% to 70% greater.
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  #13  
Old 10-14-2017, 05:23 AM
Cappi Cappi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Striker2237 View Post
As a non-revolver guy I am about to ask a really stupid question; If you loaded a .38 to use lots of the case capacity would it essentially become a .357 mag?
short answer, yes


as Kosh noted, it was developed from 38spl.
Elmer Kieth (among others) was instrumental in it's development.
S&W bankrolled it and did the commercial cartridge and gun development

I wouldn't suggest loading 38spl anywhere close to 357mag pressures though.
Too easy (IMO) to mistakenly shoot them in anything but 357mag chambered/rated guns

It's my understanding, the only reason 357mag case is a 10th of an inch longer was/is to prevent chambering in 38spl guns


Edit to ask;
Does anyone know if 38spl and 357mag brass are identical internally? ( 'cept for length, obviously)


to the subject;
what's the velocity of 380 in "typical" 80-90gr defense ammo in the "typical" carry* 380 (*read small/short barrel)
compared to "typical" 125gr 38spl defense ammo in a "typical" carry (*read short barrel snubby)


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Last edited by Cappi; 10-14-2017 at 05:38 AM.
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  #14  
Old 10-14-2017, 06:00 AM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is online now
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Look at Ballistics by the Inch, real gun velocities.
With the hottest loads available, a S&W M642 will get a 110 to 940 fps, a Ruger LCP will get a 90 to 1054 fps.
216 vs 222 ft lbs muzzle energy.

I have the Smith, a friend has the Ruger, looks like we are about equal.
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  #15  
Old 10-14-2017, 08:58 AM
Nitro.45 Nitro.45 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Watson View Post
Look at Ballistics by the Inch, real gun velocities.
With the hottest loads available, a S&W M642 will get a 110 to 940 fps, a Ruger LCP will get a 90 to 1054 fps.
216 vs 222 ft lbs muzzle energy.

I have the Smith, a friend has the Ruger, looks like we are about equal.
I think this is the point exactly. You can dumb down the .38 to shoot pip squeak loads (I show many loads for 110 gr that exceed 1000 FPS fwiw), but at the same time you can go way past the capability of the .380 with a 140gr XTP traveling at the same velocity you state above. Your comparisons are spot on, but that is the max performance the .380 will ever see. No disrespect intended.
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  #16  
Old 10-14-2017, 10:24 AM
Randall M Randall M is offline
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.38 Special was created by S&W in 1898. Iit was a Black powder
load.. S&W lengthened the case of the 38 Long Colt in
order to get more black powder in the case 19.5 g BP
was replaced by smokeless powder a couple of years later.
and the smokeless powder charge leavves empty space.
Same thing happened with other blackpowder cartridges
like .45 Colt, .44-40 etc.

.380 ACP was derived from the .38 ACP a few years laters
by JM Browning smokeless from the ground up.

& no the .380 is not in the same league as .38 Special

R-


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  #17  
Old 10-14-2017, 12:36 PM
Randall M Randall M is offline
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.38 SPecial was loaded to what is today +P by Remington & others
labeled as Hi-Speed with warnings to only use in large revolvers
before the release of .357 Mag in 1935.

Jim Watson's comparison of the snubbie vs LC? makes them close
but a longer 4" - 6" and it'll add velocity / power.

R-
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  #18  
Old 10-15-2017, 05:58 AM
Rumblur Rumblur is offline
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I should've been more clear in my questioning... I assumed you guys would figure out 38 vs 380 in similar sized guns and 380, not having a +P spec (I know BB makes one... ) there is no reason to compare the "hot" 38 rounds. Just very basic store bought or std pressure SD stuff.

In looking at SD sized guns around 2" barrel length and standard pressure, run of the mill ammo - the fps and ftlbs are very similar (I was looking at say, Hornady Critical Defense or Federal Hydra Shok etc)

Now don't quote me, and don't take it into "well if you had a 6" barrel and if a monkey flew out of Oklahoma on a twister with smokeless ball cut mocha latte X wing propellant..." No, I'm talking off the shelf, standard pressure, standard everything, SD pocket / belly / nightstand gun etc. The numbers look pretty close I thought.

Thank you for the "designed for black powder" - THAT explained the most. More efficient powder in a smaller case is what I assumed, but not being a handloader, I had to ask.

Yes, I know a hot 38 and a decent 9mm are more comparable. but the numbers were close enough with the 380 that I wanted to know more about the how/why david and goliath compared as they did.
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  #19  
Old 10-15-2017, 08:02 AM
M Yaworski M Yaworski is offline
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If you look at the charts, they can look the same. In the real world everything changes.

According to Federal, their 158 gr .38 Spl has 210 ft-lbs of energy at the muzzle. And their .380 with a 95 gr bullet has 205 ft-lbs of energy at the muzzle. That's from their test barrel. The smaller bullet will slow down faster.

I carry a .380 sometimes, I carry a .38 other times. For my needs, both are fine.
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  #20  
Old 10-15-2017, 09:34 AM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is online now
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Have to compare like to like. A .38 "snubnose" is comparable to a pocket .380.

Saying a .38-44 Heavy Duty will beat the .380 is not useful information, it weighs three times as much as the typical plastic "mousegun" and has a completely different set of applications.
If I am carrying a 4-6" revolver it will be a .357 or maybe a .44 or .45. If I am carrying a 4-5" auto, it will be a 9mm P or .45. But the .380 and .38 get out of the house more.
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  #21  
Old 07-07-2018, 01:56 AM
Rumblur Rumblur is offline
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I am still trying to wrap my head around this one.... numbers wise, they are very close power / damage potential wise. So if that's the case - why does my steel 38spl kick twice as hard as my LCP2 380? Surely the slide can't be absorbing THAT much of the recoil, can it?

Standard projectiles are 90gr vs 158gr, I get that heavier bullet is a lot more recoil. But still...

Paul Harrell, are you reading this? Can you meat target them for us??
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  #22  
Old 07-07-2018, 02:37 AM
toofew1911s toofew1911s is offline
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38 special bullets though heavier are traveling a lot slower out of a 2" than 380 out of 3 1/2" bbl. Most 38 spl velocities are under 900 fps. Most 380 velocities are over 1,000 fps with some reaching over 1200 fps.
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  #23  
Old 07-07-2018, 07:52 AM
david_root2000 david_root2000 is offline
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Chronographed factory 380 I get 850-865 fps for 95 grain ball and 915 for factory 90 gr. HP.

This is out of an LCP.

I never fired factory ammo out of my 2" 38.

Maybe some one else can help.

Handloads can get another 100 for out of my 380.

David
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  #24  
Old 07-07-2018, 04:30 PM
toofew1911s toofew1911s is offline
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You can compare 38 spl to 380 here.
http://www.ballistics101.com/380_acp.php
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  #25  
Old 07-07-2018, 07:00 PM
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dsk dsk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumblur View Post
I am still trying to wrap my head around this one.... numbers wise, they are very close power / damage potential wise. So if that's the case - why does my steel 38spl kick twice as hard as my LCP2 380? Surely the slide can't be absorbing THAT much of the recoil, can it?

Standard projectiles are 90gr vs 158gr, I get that heavier bullet is a lot more recoil. But still...

Paul Harrell, are you reading this? Can you meat target them for us??
No meat target, but...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFlWvdUboMM
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