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Discussion Starter #1
Especially in the era of plastic and the 9mm cartridge.
What are your thoughts on it’s continued popularity despite the undisputed power and efficiency advantage of other cartridges?
 

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I think the simplicity and reliability of a revolver is one of the reasons seeing how a lot of the smaller revolvers do not utilize the extra power the 357 mag offers. The fact you can shoot it in 357 mag revolvers helps a lot. I think the ability to use lead cast bullets in it makes it cheap to shoot especially for people that cast their own bullets. Even though I like the 9mm and think it is close ballistic wise to the 38 special I think the 38 special is just a tad bit better in that aspect. I personally do not own a snub nose revolver for CC but I definitely can see why people choose them over other firearms.
 

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I think it is analogous to the 30-30 in that regard. It works for its intended purpose and the guns chambered for it are very popular. I know that's why I like it.
 

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I can only really explain why its my go to cartridge for EDC,etc. Its a good general purpose handgun cartridge for me. First and foremost is its a revolver cartridge.
It does enough work to be a viable self defense round without excessive recoil or noise to make practice enjoyable. I can chamber anything that says 38 special on the box from shot shells to heavy hardcast. Much like 9mm is in autos the 38 special is pretty size efficient for the work it does. I carry a 5" 357 magnum revolver in the brush a lot but, I consider the 357 magnum more of a specialty cartridge designed for longer barrels and larger critters than humans.

Put that 38 special in a 4" revolver and it becomes a very accurate easy to shoot firearm with what I consider to be ample power for most uses. I know I will get flamed a bit but, here in Wyoming when I am in areas with no Grizzlies I prefer to carry a 4" model 10 instead of the 357.
Moose, Wolves, Cougar, etc. or misguided humans all can be easily dispatched with a mid sized 38 special loaded with the proper ammo for the task. Or a 9mm if you prefer an auto.

I love 45 acp and 44 special too but, cost and size efficiency is just not there for me for regular use. The 44 special and 45 acp wheelguns have huge cylinders too.
 

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Because the cartridge works. The revolver is a complex mechanical firearm thoughtfully field tested and extremely reliable. The platform and cartridge just work. Excels in it's role of personal defense.

When the polymer guns have all cracked and shattered rest assured, a 38 special revolver twice their age will still operate.
 

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Also interesting to note that the .380 is 113 years old and was invented by St. John Moses Browning himself. It was a shortened version of an earlier cartridge he developed, the .38 ACP. In 1929, .38 ACP was reintroduced in a higher pressure loading as .38 Super.
 

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Because the cartridge works. The revolver is a complex mechanical firearm thoughtfully field tested and extremely reliable. The platform and cartridge just work. Excels in it's role of personal defense.

When the polymer guns have all cracked and shattered rest assured, a 38 special revolver twice their age will still operate.
I agree with your first part but have we really seen where polymer guns have cracked and shattered. I have a polymer wheel barrow that has lasted for years and the only issues I have had with it was with the wood and metal.
 

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Also interesting to note that the .380 is 113 years old and was invented by St. John Moses Browning himself. It was a shortened version of an earlier cartridge he developed, the .38 ACP. In 1929, .38 ACP was reintroduced in a higher pressure loading as .38 Super.
Which brings us to the 1911 and Walther PP and it's descendent the PPK. These firearms will also be around and working well after polymer firearms half their age have stopped working.
 

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I agree with your first part but have we really seen where polymer guns have cracked and shattered. I have a polymer wheel barrow that has lasted for years and the only issues I have had with it was with the wood and metal.
Years does not a century make. What we do know is that the plastics of the 1950's and 1960's became brittle with age. Closest other thing I can think of is aluminum airframes that stress fracture with age.

Will polymer hold up better? Time will tell and I likely won't be around then, but my thought is it won't last with the same integrity as metal.
 
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Years does not a century make. What we do know is that the plastics of the 1950's and 1960's became brittle with age. Closest other thing I can think of is aluminum airframes that stress fracture with age.

Will polymer hold up better? Time will tell and I likely won't be around then, but my thought is it won't last with the same integrity as metal.
Yes years are not centuries but the metal and wood still broke down first. I realize that this tool was left out in the weather and for the most parts firearms are not but the plastic is still fine. I love metal revolvers but like a lot of polymer guns as well and I think with care they will be around for 100 years without cracking or shattering.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Let’s try to keep it on topic...it’s not plastic vs steel.
 

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I like a 38 spl! I can load it as hot as I ever want to shoot from an airweight gun! And I can load it down to the recoil of a 22! And that ammo is still safe to shoot in any other 38 spl pistol.
I like the "idea" of a 9mm revolver but you give up the ability to tailor the ammo to the chore at hand.[ and still be able to shoot that ammo in any other 9mm.]
I have a Pre Model 10 revolver that was made in 1917. it is still just as viable today as a SD gun as it was in 1917!
I don't see the 38 spl going away any time soon. DR
 

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I think it will be around a long, long time because there are so many of them out there. There are probably more .38 handguns than any other caliber.
 

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Every time I go to the range and shoot up all my 357 mag rnds I say to myself, well, I reckon I oughta shoot up these little 38's. Never fails, after the first cylinder I've got a smile on my face. Its like shooting a 22. Confidence that your bullet goesbwhere you tell it to go is everything. Sometimes I'm out of 357 rnds so I'll load my 38's when I carry. Either XTP's + P's or SWC +P's. I never feel underpowered.
 

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I think it will be around a long, long time because there are so many of them out there. There are probably more .38 handguns than any other caliber.
No way to prove it, but it is very possible that the .38 Special has stopped more bad guys in non-military settings in the US than any other caliber since its inception.
 

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No way to prove it, but it is very possible that the .38 Special has taken down more bad guys in non-military settings than any other caliber since its inception.
Nope, .22s. I read it on the internet.
 
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