38 super ammo question

DCortez

TGT Addict
Jan 28, 2009
6,607
36
Houston, Cy-Fair
I have two S&W 642's (.38 spl +p).

One will fire 38 super +p and the other only makes a dent on the primer and will not fire the ammo. I emailed S&W and they said both guns could use this ammo and both should fire it. Any thoughts or ideas?
 

Texas1911

TGT Addict
May 29, 2017
10,623
38
Austin, TX
Whoa, do not fire .38 Super in a .38 Special gun. The pressures are nearly double and the bullet is larger than the bore.

Are you sure you didn't mean .38 Special +P? If so, have you tried double striking the primer? Is the ammo factory and new? What brand is it? Some brands are known to have hard primers and it's possible you have a relaxing spring.
 

DCortez

TGT Addict
Jan 28, 2009
6,607
36
Houston, Cy-Fair
I was having a hard time finding 38 special. I specifically asked S&W about that Super +p ammo, before buying, and they said it was okay to fire. The brand was Winchester and the box was brand new. The super +p is shorter than the special +p, but the bullet (lead) size looked identical.

Sounds like I should have trusted my gut and kept looking for special +p.
 

Charley

Active Member
Aug 7, 2008
459
28
San Antonio
Whoa, do not fire .38 Super in a .38 Special gun. The pressures are nearly double and the bullet is larger than the bore.

Are you sure you didn't mean .38 Special +P? If so, have you tried double striking the primer? Is the ammo factory and new? What brand is it? Some brands are known to have hard primers and it's possible you have a relaxing spring.
I must be missing something... My .38 Supers run all day on jacketed .355 or cast .356 bullets. My .38s and .357s run on .357 and .358 diameter bullets. How does .355 or .356 become larger than a .357 .38 Special bore? I do agree about the pressure, though... Don't do it!
 

DCortez

TGT Addict
Jan 28, 2009
6,607
36
Houston, Cy-Fair
It took S&W 7 or 8 days to get back to me, that should have been a sign that the janitor was returning emails for their support group. Cheesed, but safe, and a little wiser. :(
 

robocop10mm

Active Member
Jan 9, 2009
997
36
Round Rock
.38 special is a rimmed revolver round. .38 super is a semi-rimless semi-auto pistol round. The two are NOT interchangeable. DO NOT TRY TO FIRE .38 Super in a .38 special.

If someone in a gun store said it would work, take the Super ammo back and tell them they are idiots. Say it in a loud clear voice so everyone esle knows the gun store employee is a complete MORON.
 

dbgun

TGT Addict
Mar 17, 2008
2,797
48
Houston, TX.
.38 special is a rimmed revolver round. .38 super is a semi-rimless semi-auto pistol round. The two are NOT interchangeable. DO NOT TRY TO FIRE .38 Super in a .38 special.
It's a good thing i read this thread awhile back. I just got back from the Academy in Pasadena, where a guy was asking for some .38 special ammo, which they didn't have. The guy then sees a couple of boxes in Winchester White box of 38 super +P and asked the kid behind the counter if he could shoot them in his 38 revolver. The kid tells the man, "Yes you can, my manager just told me so the other day". Maybe I should have minded my own business, but I told them that that you can't shoot the 38 super (a semi-auto bullet) in a 38 special revolver. They did have some MagTech HP's in 38 spl. that the guy bought, after all.
 

mortdooley

Active Member
Jul 25, 2008
265
18
Texas Gulf Coast
Just last week I loaded a box of 38super and I can tell you that the bullets are the same as 9mm because that is my source for all 38super loads. Now to confuse the issue let me add that I do not own any 38super dies. I used 30mauser shell holder,38special resizer and flairing dies and 9mm seating and crimp die. These loads are fired from a Star model M 9mm Largo. Now if I had a 38spl revolver and no ammo I would hand load lower pressure rounds in super cases but would not push my luck and firearm by loading to 38super pressures. Just because it fits doesn't make it safe and not many people behind a gun counter are experts at mix and match.
 

dbgun

TGT Addict
Mar 17, 2008
2,797
48
Houston, TX.
Here's a link that shows which cartridges can be interchanged. You'll note that .38 Super is not listed as interchangeable with .38 Specials,
<A href="http://yarchive.net/gun/ammo/cartridge_interchange.html" target=_blank>[URL="http://yarchive.net/gun/ammo/cartridge_interchange.html"][URL="http://yarchive.net/gun/ammo/cartridge_interchange.html"][url]http://yarchive.net/gun/ammo/cartridge_interchange.html[/URL][/URL][/URL]

Thanks, for the link.
 

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