The 38 S&W cartridge was designed by Smith & Wesson in 1877 well before the later developed 38 Special cartridge and has a slightly larger diameter with a rimmed casing. This caliber is also known as S&W 38 Corto as well as .380 Rim. This hard to find cartridge with a 145 grain full metal jacket bullet is available from Fiocchi's line of ammunition and is a great find for your classic revolver. It's a clean and accurate option for target or range shooting.
Each round has a boxer-primed brass casing, non-corrosive propellant and is reloadable.
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I wrote a review of this ammo in 2020. I wish I had ordered a LOT more then. It's still good ammo and I jumped right on it when I saw they finally had some 38 S&W. It's gotten scarce and valuable......
I shoot a lot of 38 Smith. This is about the hottest factory load you can find. It is fairly snappy in my Victory. About the only way you'll top it is with a custom loader like Matt's Bullets. But as far as velocity, this is pretty good for 38 Smith. You can't beat Lucky Gunner's service either. I swear I order something from these guys and someone throws the ammo through my window five minutes later.
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Q: I own a Taurus .38 Revolver. CAL 38 Special is engraved on the barrel. Will this ammo work in this gun?
Posted On: 9/4/2022
By: Michael Mitchell
A: Thanks for reaching out Michael! I'm glad you asked. The 38 S&W (aka 38 S&W Short) is not the same thing as the 38 S&W Special (aka 38 Special). Your revolver is chambered for 38 Special, which means it cannot fire 38 S&W. Fortunately, 38 Special is a much more popular cartridge that will give you many more options. Here's everything we currently have in stock: https://www.luckygunner.com/handgun/38-special-ammo
If you just want ammo for target shooting, then any of these options should treat you well: https://www.luckygunner.com/handgun/38-special-ammo?ammo_use_type=1439 (I personally recommend Blazer Brass, Federal or PMC)
If you're looking for self-defense ammunition, then you want a jacketed hollow point (JHP) bullet that will expand while penetrating soft tissue. I'd recommend this ammo particularly: https://www.luckygunner.com/38-special-125-gr-xtp-jhp-hornady-25-rounds-1
Note that some ammo is designated 38 Special +P. This ammo is loaded to a higher than standard pressure. The bullet will fly faster and hit harder, but also produce more recoil. If you have a modern Taurus handgun, then it is rated to safely fire +P ammo as well, although I cannot say for certain whether 38 Special +P is safe for your revolver based on the info you provided.
Q: Dear Luckygunner,
As Remington 38 S&W 146 gr is impossible to find, will the 38 S&W - 145 gr FMJ- Fiocchi round fire safely from my Smith & Wesson model 683-3 .38 S&W SPL revolver?
I have only sent the Remington brand through the pistol.
Posted On: 8/15/2022
By: Eric Kruger
A: Thanks for reaching out Eric! I want to make sure we're speaking on the same terms here. Now, to my understanding the Smith & Wesson Model 638 is only available chambered for 38 Special (full name: 38 S&W Special). The ammunition on this page is 38 S&W (also commonly known as 38 S&W Short). Since your revolver is chambered for 38 Special (as well as more powerful 38 Special +P), it cannot fire 38 S&W. The good news is 38 Special is a lot more popular. Your revolver can fire any of the ammo here: luckygunner.com/handgun/38-special-ammo
Perhaps you are accustomed to Remington's 38 Special 146gr LRN ammunition. I'm sorry we haven't got it in stock for you. I believe Black Hills 148gr wadcutter ammo will give you comparable (albeit not identical) recoil and ballistic performance: luckygunner.com/38-special-148-grain-hbwc-black-hills-ammunition-50-rounds
Please let me know if you have any other questions about 38 Special ammo!
Q: Is this the .38 that was sued by the military around the turn of the century thru the First World War and into the second?
Posted On: 6/11/2020
By: LIam gowers
A: I don't believe the 38 S&W had a big career in the U.S. Military, but the British issued Webley revolvers chambered for it. Now the 38 Special, on the other hand, that was developed by Smith & Wesson around the turn of the century specifically for the U.S. government. It was common for WWII airmen to carry a 38 Special in case their planes ever went down in unfriendly territory.
You may also be interested in these .38 Smith & Wesson products: