The .38 Special, also commonly referred to as .38 S&W Special, .38 SPL, .38 SPC, or 9x29mmR is a centerfire handgun cartridge designed by Smith and Wesson. This round was the standard service ammunition for the majority of police departments in the United States from the 1920s to the 1990s and was also commonly used by militaries during the same time period. Today, the .38 Special is still one of the most popular revolver rounds available and is used for target shooting, personal defense, and small game hunting.
Designed by Elmer Keith, Phillip B. Sharpe, and Douglas B. Wesson, the .357 Magnum was developed as a response to Colt's .38 Super. The introduction of .357 Magnum ammunition gave consumers another pistol cartridge option for deep penetration of car doors and ballistic vests of the time. Today, .357 Magnum ammo is popular for plinking, target shooting, hunting, and self defense.
.357 Magnum and .38 Special Reloading
While the numbers in the names may lead you to believe otherwise, these two calibers have identical diameter chamberings at 0.357 inches. This means that use the same diameter bullet, making them essentially interchangeable.
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