.38 Caliber

    One of the most popular cartridges of all time with probably more handguns chambered for this caliber than any other. S&W came out with this in 1902 as an improvement over the .38 Long Colt. Originally the .38 Special was a blackpowder round that was converted over to smokeless. The cartridge case suffers from too much capacity for most of the modern propellants being offered but it has handled the conversion over to smokeless quite well despite this problem. As firearms and the strength of those guns improved demands for higher performance was being called upon this cartridge. The industry responded in 1974 by developing +P loadings (158 grain at 1000 FPS.) Brass is headstamped +P. On occasion when using hard cast lead bullets that are sized .001 over nominal diameter in +P cases that are slightly thicker some excessive bulging of the case can occur preventing the round from chambering. It's a good idea to keep your brass separated to avoid the problem. The problem is not an issue with most .357 brass. All bullets listed are usable in the .357 Magnum and most can be driven to Magnum velocities with any of the Magnum speed powders available. (AA No. 9, 2400, WW296, H110, IMR 4227, Li'L Gun Etc.) As an advanced handloading technique for those who carry snub nose revolvers for concealed carry use (I have a Smith 442) the problem with these guns is that they will not clear the brass out of the cylinder with the length of the ejector rod for a rapid reload with a speed loader as the brass is longer than the ejector rod. My cure for this is simple. I cut the brass back to a length of .900 to create in effect a rimmed .38 Super. You cannot load to .38 Super specs but you can get some impressive performance out of the short cartridge.
    Just click on any bullet to get more detailed information. If you are still uncertain about which bullet will best meet your needs just drop me a line president@pennbullets.com or give me a call (412 767-4670 Monday - Friday 10 AM - 5 PM EST) and I will help.

Bob P.