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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A buddy and I were trying to figure out what exactly the difference between a .380 and a .38 considering that .38 and .380 are the same measurement. I know that they are 2 entirely different rounds but are they the same diameter with different powder charges or what? We speculated that it was the powder charge thing but I need a definitave answer.
 

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The 380 is a shortened 9mm. Cases for 380 and 38 are totally different with 380 being rimless for autos and 38 rimmed intended more for use in revolvers. Powder charges are way different as well and required different powders. Pressures are different as well.
Bottom line is they are totally different. JMO.
 

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From the Lyman info -- not the same bullet: Groove diameters have been measured as small as 0.355" to as large as 0.362". Such variations can play havoc with accuracy. Because chamber restrictions it is generally not safe to load bullets of a diameter larger than 0.355".

Hornady makes at 115gr 0.355 bullet for them. All cast bullets should be sized to 0.355.

The .38spec eats all types from 0.355 up to 0.358 (cast); with the most common being 0.357.

Also, there is a great deal of difference in the case dimensions (all angles). I would not recommend using .38spec bullets for reloading the .380.
 

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So where does .38 Super fit into this?
 

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.38 super was introduced as a "magnum" type loading for the old .38 automatic round. It's a semi rimless cartridge.
 

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Ok let's see if I can get this right.

.355/.357 cals--- .380,9x17,9x18,9x19,.38super,.38superauto, .357sig,.38smith&wesson,.38 spl,.357mag

all of these cals use between a .355 and .357 size bullets but there cases are not the same.
 

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Crosscannons the numbers are not always right. They had to come up with different names for each cal. Take the .357 sig. It's a .40 s&w case bottle necked down to a .355 size bullet. But a .357mag is a .357 sized bullet. Same with a .38spl it's a .357 size bullet.

Hope this helps.
 

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When the boogeyman comes, all the .3-- calibers can hide in the shadow of the .45ACP. Boogeyman don't want none... :sheepaid:
 

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You can drop one from your list, it's actually ".38 Smith & Wesson Special", only one caliber. Just no one uses the "S&W" anymore, same as is starting to happen with the .40.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
thanks guys, those all definantly fell under the "definitave answer" category

Slabsides, I will be sure to add your comment to the mix as well while I'm explaining this to my buddy
 

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Xd357 said:
I hate to call you on this but there is a .38 smith&wesson.
Duhhh. You, sir, are of course absolutely correct. I KNEW I should have taken a nap when I got home yesterday :p

It's much better to be right. Thanks.
 

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I guess there is nothing else to say since everyone has already completely answered to question in every which way size or form. I was going to say something but im just going to sit back and watch haha :lol4:
 

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Well, there are technically others. I am sure there are more than these, but here are a few that come to mind that also share the same size bullets but with different cases (albeit very slightly different in some instances):

9X21 - never has been very popular in the states, originally designed I think for countries that were unable to shoot military rounds due to legal reasons. Rather silly to allow a case lengthened by 2mm to be legal, but I didn't write the laws.

9X23 - (also 9 Supercomp) a slightly tapered case about the size of a .38 Super but with a much stronger case and able to be loaded at significantly higher pressures (52K cup I think?). This one duplicates or exceeds a .357 magnum with some bullet weights in a 1911, but never really caught on. There is some discrepency about who had the idea first. Jeff Cooper had a "Super Cooper" early on, John Ricco had reamers made, but Winchester was the first big company to put this one out.

9X25 Dillon wildcat - a 10mm case necked down to 9mm. Kindof like a .357 Sig on steroids.

.356 TSW - I know very little about this one. Team Smith and Wesson created this one for competition but then pulled out and the cartridge died.

.38 Supercomp - also like the .38 MMC and 9 Supercomp, a rimless .38 Super (rather than semi-rimmed which can lead to rim lock) for better feeding in high capacity magazines.

.38 TJ - another rimless .38 Super designed by Todd Jarrett and Hornady. Has a much longer extractor groove so that the brass is easily fully resized in standard loading dies.
 

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shoeshooter said:
You can drop one from your list, it's actually ".38 Smith & Wesson Special", only one caliber. Just no one uses the "S&W" anymore, same as is starting to happen with the .40.
I don't follow you on the high lighted and underlined part of your statement.
 

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I think is is referring to people calling the .40 S&W just a .40 nowadays instead of its real name. that is all.
Same as .45 or .45 acp call it what u like I guess.
 
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