Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default .38 Special and .357 magnum

    I'm a newbie to handguns...

    I have my mind set on a Single Action Army revolver, specifically, a Uberti Cattleman with 7.5" barrel.

    My question is, if I buy the Cattleman in .357 magnum, will I be able to fire the .38 special through it no problem?

    I'd love to get it in 45LC, but 45 is so expensive, so I figured shooting .38 special would be more affordable.

    Anyway, I just wanted to confirm that if I bought a Cattleman in .357, that I could indeed shoot .38 specials through it, instead of .357?

    If it's designed to shoot .357, will firing .38 special decrease accuracy or something? Or is there no difference?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: .38 Special and .357 magnum

    Yes, you can shoot .38 with the .357. Accuracy differences between the two start to show up when you shoot at long distances. 7 to 15 yds, the difference is none to negligible.

  3. #3
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    Ligonier, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: .38 Special and .357 magnum

    You will lose no accuracy at normal handgun ranges while fireing comparable quality .38Spl. In fact you may find your accuracy is better due to more controlable recoil. Bear in mind there are a multitude of .38Spl loadings out there to choose from. If you are looking for accuracy over stopping power you might want to try a mid-range wadcutter target round. I usualy use these when I'm trying to punch the tightest groups I can out of my S&Ws.

    BTW, Those Ubertis are nice revolvers. Good choise and have fun.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: .38 Special and .357 magnum

    Thanks guys - much appreciated.

    I'll be sure to post pics after I pick up the Cattleman - hopefully sometime soon. Would love to get some nice grips for it too.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: .38 Special and .357 magnum

    This is just my OPINION from observations and experiences I have had over 45years of shooting.

    Advantages of shooting .38 Specials in a .357 Magnum is cost, comfort, and less wear and tear on the gun.

    Factory .38 Special are cheaper than the Magnum ammunition so the price of shoot per shot is less $$$.

    Because of less recoil and muzzle blast, the Specials are more fun/pleasant to shoot.

    Being less powerful the .38s are easier on the gun. So, in theory the firearm should have a longer life span.

    The problem shooting .38 in a Magnum is chamber fouling. This causes chambering problems when loading the longer round. Fixing the chambering problem is simple. Buy a bronze chamber cleaning brush and use it. IMHO don't use a stainless steel chamber brush because they can/will damage the bore and chambers.

    In the 20's & 30's the ammo was corrosive. Corrosive ammunition would cause the chamber to corrode causing fouling & a ring in the chamber.

    When the .357 Mag was chambered, having a longer case, it would swell into the ring causing stuck/sticking cases. This can happen today mainly in Carbon Steel revolvers. If shorter ammo is fired and NOT cleaned out, moisture can allow the steel to rust under the build up. When you finally clean the gun there may be a corroded ring in the chamber, and if it's bad enough you will have extraction problems.

    To solve the extraction problem give the revolver a cleaning every time you shoot Specials out of a Magnum revolver.
    The oracle is in. Age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill!!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: .38 Special and .357 magnum

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayfaerer320 View Post
    I'm a newbie to handguns...

    I have my mind set on a Single Action Army revolver, specifically, a Uberti Cattleman with 7.5" barrel.

    My question is, if I buy the Cattleman in .357 magnum, will I be able to fire the .38 special through it no problem?

    I'd love to get it in 45LC, but 45 is so expensive, so I figured shooting .38 special would be more affordable.

    Anyway, I just wanted to confirm that if I bought a Cattleman in .357, that I could indeed shoot .38 specials through it, instead of .357?

    If it's designed to shoot .357, will firing .38 special decrease accuracy or something? Or is there no difference?
    MOUNTAINORACLE, great opinion.

    Keep in mind, you can shoot .38 special through a gun designed for .357 magnum, but you CANNOT shoot .357 magnum through a gun designed for .38 special.

    .

  7. #7
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    Default Re: .38 Special and .357 magnum

    The Uberti Cattleman has always been one gun on my "to buy list". The are well made and the finish on them are beautiful. As long as you take good care of it, and follow the advice that "MOUNTAINORACLE" gave, you won't have any problems at all with it. Not sure if anyone else can understand my feelings about revolvers but I've always found them to be a more relaxing enjoyable gun to shoot compared to the semi's. Don't get me wrong, I love my semi's it's just revolvers are in a league of their own.

    I still have to laugh a little when I think about the first time I saw 38 special with a lead wadcutter in it... My first thought was, someone smashed the bullet into the casing! That ain't safe!... lol... Funny looking things but are fun to shoot and easy to reload...

  8. #8
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    Default Re: .38 Special and .357 magnum

    Quote Originally Posted by MOUNTAINORACLE View Post
    . . . The problem shooting .38 in a Magnum is chamber fouling. This causes chambering problems when loading the longer round. Fixing the chambering problem is simple. Buy a bronze chamber cleaning brush and use it. IMHO don't use a stainless steel chamber brush because they can/will damage the bore and chambers . . . To solve the extraction problem give the revolver a cleaning every time you shoot Specials out of a Magnum revolver.
    Excellent post by Mountain Oracle; sage advice.

    "SCRAPER CASE" -- I can only add that an aid to cleaning chamber fouling left by 38 Specials in a 357 chamber is an empty 357 case that has its mouth slightly belled by an expander die to fit the chamber ID. Such a case makes a perfect carbon/crud scraper. You may have to apply some force to push the belled scraper case into a chamber, and it may take some taps with a soft-faced hammer on a brass drift or cleaning rod section to remove it the first time from the chamber into which it was inserted, but it works like gangbusters at peeling the fouling out. Be sure to rotate the scraper case about 120 degrees and reinsert it again, and repeat. That gets the majority of the buildup out, and makes it easier for a brush and either Hoppes, Gun Scrubber, or G96 Gun Treatment to do the rest.

    "UBERTI CATTLEMAN" -- I have three of these revolvers, all 4-5/8"; two are in 45 Colt with auxiliary 45 ACP cylinders, and one is in 32-20. The only problem I've had was breakage of two early-Colt-style hand springs, which are easily enough replaced. These break on ANY 1873 Colt-style revolver into which they are still installed. Newer versions have a coil spring and plunger pin pressing on the hand and secured in the frame by a plug screw. Otherwise, my Ubertis have been fine performers and very well regulated w.r.t. POI being POA at around 25 yds, my favorite handgun shooting distance. Groups are tight; the guns certainly shoot better than I can hold as I'm sure they would bear witness if placed in a Ransom Rest. When I two-hand them on a sandbag, they've rewarded me with 1.5" groups and slightly better. Excellent choice and value in an 1873 Colt clone.

    Noah
    If you are not part of the solution, you are the precipitate.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: .38 Special and .357 magnum

    I would second the comments by Mountain Oracle and Noah. What I use is a bronze chamber brush chucked into an electric screwdriver. Simply remove the cylinder and run the brush into the chambers whilst rotating slowly with Ed's Red or Hoppe's on the brush. Works very well and is easy on the chambers.

    I use the 148 grain wadcutter loads at around 650 fps in my K frame 38's and 357s as I can use the same rounds in my Model 52s as well. Fun loads and extremely accurate if you do your job correctly. Dave_n

  10. #10
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    Sep 2009
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    Default Re: .38 Special and .357 magnum


    This is a great tip! Thanks Noah.


    "SCRAPER CASE" -- I can only add that an aid to cleaning chamber fouling left by 38 Specials in a 357 chamber is an empty 357 case that has its mouth slightly belled by an expander die to fit the chamber ID. Such a case makes a perfect carbon/crud scraper. You may have to apply some force to push the belled scraper case into a chamber, and it may take some taps with a soft-faced hammer on a brass drift or cleaning rod section to remove it the first time from the chamber into which it was inserted, but it works like gangbusters at peeling the fouling out. Be sure to rotate the scraper case about 120 degrees and reinsert it again, and repeat. That gets the majority of the buildup out, and makes it easier for a brush and either Hoppes, Gun Scrubber, or G96 Gun Treatment to do the rest.


    Ham radio: when all else fails.

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