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38 Short Revolver - Can it shoot 380 Auto

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by Blastem!, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. Blastem!


    Jan 16, 2009
    My buddy has a very old revolver and has found that the ammo is kinda expensive and hard to find. He was wondering if 380 auto will work in the revolver.

    Thanks for the input.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2010
  2. Jeepnik


    Mar 5, 2008
    NO! First off the .38 short is a rimmed case and headspaces on the rim. The .380 is a rimless and headspaces on the case mouth. I haven't tried it this particular round, but usually (unless it's a revolver chambered for a rimless case) the round would just drop straight thru the cylinder.

    While there are exceptions, it's really best to stick with the round that a firearm is chambered for. Beyond whether it will fit or even fire, you could end up shooting a round that is of a higher operating pressure than the firearm is rated for. Things can come apart real fast when you do that.

    If he wants to shoot .38 short inexpensively, he can get a basic reloading set up fairly cheaply. But be warned, if he does, he'll figure out he can reload all other calibers with the attendant savings, and will end up making you jealous about the cost of his ammo. Then you'll end up reloading, and you'll motivate someone else, and so and so on. It's a vicious spiral.:supergrin:

  3. JRWnTN


    May 12, 2004
    What ammo is the revolver designed for? There's a .38 Short Colt. I've heard some refer to the .38 S&W as a ".38 Short", but the two are not the same.
  4. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson

    Jul 10, 2001
    .38 Short Colt is uncommon in guns other than pre WW I Colts and some foreign guns for the European equivalent.
    Most of the inexpensive competitors for S&W like H&R, IJ, F&W, etc. are for the .38 S&W. They are so common and the round is clearly shorter than .38 Special that it is often CALLED .38 Short. There was also some usage of .38 Regular as opposed to .38 Special.

    I don't think you could easily make .380 work in a revolver. It is a true rimless, unlike the semirimmed .32 ACP which some people shoot in .32 revolvers. Good thing, it would be an overload for a lot of these old wrought iron and mild steel guns.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2010
  5. Blastem!


    Jan 16, 2009
    Thanks a lot for the help, I know nothing of old guns and even less if it is an old revolver.

    I'll pass on the info.