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The cartridge of the century

Surprisingly, not 9mm.

9 Responses to “The cartridge of the century”

  1. Tim Says:

    Which century? To that end, why not ‘millenium’?

  2. Lyle Says:

    I wish the author would mention the odd reason why we now call a 36 a 38 and where the .357″ diameter came from. That was the heel diameter for the original 38 Long Colt which had a major diameter more like .380″. It was similar to our 22 LR which uses a heeled bullet roughly the same diameter as the outside case diameter.

    The 38 Long Colt was used in 36 caliber percussion revolvers bored through to take metal cartridges (back then still going strictly by bore diameter rather than groove diameter). So the major bullet diameter was close to .380″ and bore close to 36, but since the case had to fit the original chamber diameter, the bullet heel was made to around .357″ to fit inside the case which in turn fit inside the original 36 percussion chamber of around .380″.

    The heeled bullets had the lube groove exposed outside the case, and that became a problem when handling loose cartridges, so when manufacturers started making guns designed from the ground up to use metal cartridges, they used the same cartridge case, reduced the bullet’s major diameter to the .357″ heel diameter, eliminating the heel, and used a smaller bore.

    And that is how we ended up with the “38” cartridges, based on the 36 percussion revolver, which use a .357″ bullet.

    A similar progression took place in regarding the 44 percussion revolvers. In that case cartridges split off to become the modern 45s and the modern “44” which takes the .429″ bullet based on the heel diameter of the 44 Colt cartridge used in conversion revolvers.

    That’s also how we ended up with two different “45” diameters; the original (I would say “true”) 45 which uses a .458″ bullet, and the 45 that grew out of the 44 percussion revolver which takes a .451″ bullet and is actually a “44” by 1860s standards.

    If you’re confused enough, just look at this bullet made for a conversion cartridge for a “44” percussion revolver and it’ll become clear;

  3. Lyle Says:

    Here’s another bullet, showing the genesis of our modern “38” caliber designation. Notice the major diameter of .375″ , the heel diameter of .357″ and the outside-the-case lube groove. It’s for the 38 Long Colt cartridge, to be fired in a converted 36 caliber percussion revolver frame and barrel having a bore of .36″ and groove diameter of .375 to .380″

  4. ben Says:

    Lamest cartridge of the century. Poo poo!

  5. James Brack Says:

    Cartridge of the Century in the USA. When looking at the world, the 9mm luger certainly is the cartridge of the century. 1902 to present, with no end in sight.

  6. Tam Says:

    Cartridge of the Century in the USA. When looking at the world, the 9mm luger certainly is the cartridge of the century. 1902 to present, with no end in sight.

    I agree. It certainly wasn’t intended to be an award title or anything, but I should have guessed it would be taken that way.

    Anyway, Lucky Gunner doesn’t sell ammo overseas, so machts nichts. 😉

  7. Tam Says:

    Gosh, Lyle. You should tell the writer all that. They probably didn’t know.

    (Although they ate up too much word count as it is explaining that .36″ was derived from 100 Bore… 😉 )

  8. David H. Says:

    I appreciate she took the entire century into consideration.

    It’s like job performance reviews – how often are they about the last three months vs the last twelve months?

    It would have been pretty easy to take everything from 1980 forward into account instead of recognizing what rested in the most holsters over the 20th Century.

  9. Hartley Says:

    Isn’t .38 Special just “9mm Rimmed”?