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9mm vs .38 Special

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  • 9mm vs .38 Special

    In my "Gun Digest" 9 mm handgun rounds generally have better performance (velocity and energy) than the .38 Speical - yet the .38 comes in a significantly larger cartridge case.
    Why?

  • #2
    Originally posted by mimike View Post
    In my "Gun Digest" 9 mm handgun rounds generally have better performance (velocity and energy) than the .38 Speical - yet the .38 comes in a significantly larger cartridge case.
    Why?


    That is because the 9mm shell(casing) is stonger built to withstand more pressure, so although smaller it can safely hold more powder and hence superior ballistics. The .38 has more volume but would be very unsafe if loaded to 9mm pressures.

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    • #3
      All said and done... both rounds will kill you dead as a door nail.
      My worst jump story:
      My 13th jump was on the 13th day of the month, aircraft number 013.
      As recorded on my DA Form 1307 Individual Jump Log.
      No lie.

      ~
      "Everything looks all right. Have a good jump, eh."
      -2 Commando Jumpmaster

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      • #4
        Originally posted by mimike View Post
        In my "Gun Digest" 9 mm handgun rounds generally have better performance (velocity and energy) than the .38 Speical - yet the .38 comes in a significantly larger cartridge case.
        Why?
        Because the .38 Special was originally a black powder load when it was introduced in 1898. They needed the case capacity for the original loading, which was something like a 158 grain bullet on top of around 20 grains or so of ff. Modern smokeless loads usually use less than half that amount of powder, but they never redesigned the case.

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        • #5
          Thanks for the input, all of it makes sense.

          Most .38 spec are revolvers so length of the cartridge wasn’t so significant.

          I’m guessing that by the time black powder wasn’t used in the .38 the .357 mag was here and I think it uses the same size cartridge as the .38 spec, so there was not sense to shorten the .38 spec to take new propellants.

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          • #6
            Actually, the 357 is a longer cartridge than the 38. They did this so the new cartridges wouldn't chamber in the older guns, since many couldn't handle the much higher pressures.

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            • #7
              Yeah, a tenth of an inch longer. Sure that's saved a lot of hands and eyes.
              Skip

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              • #8
                I prefer 9mm. .38's kill my ears.
                This bass guitar kills TERRORISTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by rebpreacher View Post
                  I prefer 9mm. .38's kill my ears.
                  I always thought you packed one of these.

                  My worst jump story:
                  My 13th jump was on the 13th day of the month, aircraft number 013.
                  As recorded on my DA Form 1307 Individual Jump Log.
                  No lie.

                  ~
                  "Everything looks all right. Have a good jump, eh."
                  -2 Commando Jumpmaster

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    No. No. If my great-uncle George knew what I do he'd s--t.
                    My wife says I have dog ears. I can't stand wind or loud noises in my ears. Except for music.
                    This bass guitar kills TERRORISTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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                    • #11
                      The other one is that the .38 case is rimmed and the 9mm is a semi-rim. The later is usable in automatics whereas the .38 only really works with revolvers.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by johns624 View Post
                        Actually, the 357 is a longer cartridge than the 38. They did this so the new cartridges wouldn't chamber in the older guns, since many couldn't handle the much higher pressures.
                        I really like my ruger 357...........

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                          The other one is that the .38 case is rimmed and the 9mm is a semi-rim. The later is usable in automatics whereas the .38 only really works with revolvers.
                          I remember firing a .357 semi auto years ago.......mind you our range was only licensed for .38 special. Seemed to work fine.I do seem to remember that the biggest issue with those guns was that to accomodate the .357 cartridges, the pistol grip had to be 'long'

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Johnny_BoomBoom View Post
                            I remember firing a .357 semi auto years ago.......mind you our range was only licensed for .38 special. Seemed to work fine.I do seem to remember that the biggest issue with those guns was that to accomodate the .357 cartridges, the pistol grip had to be 'long'
                            They can be made, but I agree with TA on this one. I'm not a big fan of rimmed cases for semi-automatics, too many potential feeding problems. If you were shooting a Desert Eagle you may have had one of the good ones. They had some major reliability issues with the design.

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                            • #15
                              Just noticed that Coonan Arms makes a 1911 in .357mag. Radically different mag design to overcome the rimmed case, but it's a 1911.....of sorts.
                              Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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