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Old 12-06-2008, 18:49   #1
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Question about shooting 38 special in a 357 mag

I'm looking into buying "one of each", a single action 6 gun and a lever rifle in the same caliber.

In my research, i've seen articles that imply that you can shoot .38 special in all .357 mag guns. is this true?

if so, why have I also seen seen manufacturers offer their single action 6 guns in both .38 special and .357 mag versions? Like here (http://www.taylorsfirearms.com/produ...SmokeWagon.tpl).

I need a quick education on this subject. Any takers?
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Old 12-06-2008, 19:16   #2
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Well, it is a FACT that you can shoot .38 Special in ALL .357 Magnum revolvers. It is essentially the very same size cartridge, EXCEPT that the .38 Special case is SHORTER by a margin. They will fit into any .357 Magnum as they are shorter. The .38 Special is of course of LESS power, but the dimensions of the cartridge OTHER than the length are exactly the same.

Of course, you CANNOT fire .357 Magnum cartridges in a .38 Special chambered gun as they will not fit into the chamber. They would be too long.

As for .38 Specials in a LEVER ACTION rifle chambered in .357 Magnum. I believe it can be done, but since the rifle is made and marked .357, it may have a difficult time running the shorter .38 Special cartridges through the action. You should be able to fire them as single shots though, if you want to take the time and tedium to load the chamber by hand for each shot.

I hope this helps some.
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Old 12-06-2008, 21:03   #3
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Originally Posted by jhc5 View Post
I'm looking into buying "one of each", a single action 6 gun and a lever rifle in the same caliber.

In my research, i've seen articles that imply that you can shoot .38 special in all .357 mag guns. is this true?

if so, why have I also seen seen manufacturers offer their single action 6 guns in both .38 special and .357 mag versions? Like here (http://www.taylorsfirearms.com/produ...SmokeWagon.tpl).

I need a quick education on this subject. Any takers?
I have a .38spl simply because it is a lighter gun for CC, the .357 are always heavier. The fact that you can shoot .38 in .357 allows for cheaper practice and some people are bothered by the recoil. Same goes for any .44 mag, .44 spl's can be shot out of those also (price isn't much of a savings though in this case)
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Old 12-06-2008, 21:28   #4
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Thanks for they replies. Both of you explained it well. It seems that it would be best to buy the .357 and shoot which ever you prefer.

However, I would like to find a lever action that will cycle .38sp and .357mag. Does anybody have any experience with a rifle that will do this?
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Old 12-07-2008, 02:39   #5
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I have a puma lever action rifle that shoots both .357 and .38 special very reliably. It was made by Legacy Sports International and is pretty accurate. I would highly recomend one.

Dick
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Old 12-07-2008, 12:01   #6
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Originally Posted by Big Dick Dubloon View Post
I have a puma lever action rifle that shoots both .357 and .38 special very reliably. It was made by Legacy Sports International and is pretty accurate. I would highly recomend one.

Dick
Is it pretty well made? What's the stock look like? I've been thinking about getting a lever gun in one of the handgun calibers to play with, but the ones I've seen are pretty expensive.
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Old 12-07-2008, 13:20   #7
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Originally Posted by Shakey View Post
Is it pretty well made? What's the stock look like? I've been thinking about getting a lever gun in one of the handgun calibers to play with, but the ones I've seen are pretty expensive.
Here is a link about the Puma lever action which might be helpful:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=252284

Last edited by sticks; 12-07-2008 at 13:30.
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Old 12-08-2008, 16:22   #8
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Thanks for the links. I checked them out. I'm going to look around for one. Like to get my hands on it and look it over.
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Old 12-09-2008, 07:02   #9
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Originally Posted by jhc5 View Post
Thanks for they replies. Both of you explained it well. It seems that it would be best to buy the .357 and shoot which ever you prefer.

However, I would like to find a lever action that will cycle .38sp and .357mag. Does anybody have any experience with a rifle that will do this?
I have a Ruger New Vaquero chambered for .357 mag/.38 Spec. and its companion piece is a Marlin 1894 Cowboy Limited. The Marlin has no problem digesting either .357 or .38's. One caveat here; CCI Blazer ammo in .38 Special is just barely long enough (OAL) to feed in the Marlin and Marlin states in their manual that CCI Blazer should not be used in the rifle.
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Old 12-10-2008, 17:37   #10
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I also have a Marlin 1894C , and I love it. It takes whatever I feed it. Like Twolves said above the manual says not to use aluminum cases. I don't think it is the length as much as the way things expand. Either way, my Marlin shoots hot .357 with a mild thump, and .38s feel like a .22. Same thing in my companion Ruger GP100. You know you are shooting when you fire .357, but .38s feel weak. LOL

I have heard good things about the Puma and the Henry. I vote for whatever lever .357 feels right. Although my Marlin is VERY sweet.
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Old 12-11-2008, 07:20   #11
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Originally Posted by Seabear1500 View Post
I also have a Marlin 1894C , and I love it. It takes whatever I feed it. Like Twolves said above the manual says not to use aluminum cases. I don't think it is the length as much as the way things expand. Either way, my Marlin shoots hot .357 with a mild thump, and .38s feel like a .22. Same thing in my companion Ruger GP100. You know you are shooting when you fire .357, but .38s feel weak. LOL

I have heard good things about the Puma and the Henry. I vote for whatever lever .357 feels right. Although my Marlin is VERY sweet.
Seabear, you're right, the Marlin manual says this on page 3: "Warning: Do not use aluminum-cased ammunition in this rifle, since it may cause malfunctions." But then on page 4, it says this: "Warning: Do not use Blazer brand ammunition in this rifle. The design is not compatible with the Marlin feeding system, and may result in live rounds inadvertently remaining in the magazine."
Since Blazer makes both aluminum and brass-cased ammo, I have to assume this has to do with the OAL of the round, especially since their .38 Special brass-cased rounds are barely at the minimum length specified in the manual.
Otherwise, I'd have to guess that the people at Marlin are just ragged off at CCI for some reason or other.
I've used Blazer ammo, both brass and aluminum, for years as practice ammo with no problems whatsoever but it's always been in pistols like my Kimber .45 and SA XD Tactical 9 mm. So far, I haven't tried it in the 1894 because of the warnings. The Marlin has been on a steady diet of Winchester white-box, both .38 Special and .357 mag.
This has piqued my curiosity though and I'm thinking about seeing if I can e-mail Marlin and get their take on this.
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Old 12-11-2008, 11:10   #12
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Originally Posted by Twolves View Post
This has piqued my curiosity though and I'm thinking about seeing if I can e-mail Marlin and get their take on this.
Mine too. It may also just be that they have not revised the manual in a while. If I am not mistaken, when Blazerfirst started making ammo, they only made aluminum. I may be wrong, but I don't recall seeing any brass back then.
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Old 12-11-2008, 11:55   #13
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Originally Posted by Seabear1500 View Post
Mine too. It may also just be that they have not revised the manual in a while. If I am not mistaken, when Blazerfirst started making ammo, they only made aluminum. I may be wrong, but I don't recall seeing any brass back then.
Hmm...you may be right about that. I don't remember when I first started using Blazer but the aluminum-cased rounds may have been all that was available then. The brass has been around though for 4 or 5 years, I think, and isn't the Marlin 1984 Cowboy newer than that? As I look at the manual, however, it just says Model 1894 on the cover and the regular 1894's have been around for a long time, right?
I couldn't find an e-mail address on Marlin's website so I've been trying to reach them on their toll-free number but the line has been busy every time I've tried. If I can reach them and get an answer, I'll post it.
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Old 12-11-2008, 14:27   #14
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Cool. It may just be a case of like you said. Marlin doesn't like Blazer. Stranger things have happened.
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Old 12-11-2008, 19:44   #15
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I use specials in all my .357's and .44's. I use the magnums for power and specials for fun or light jobs. My Marlin 1894 .44 Mag is such a joy with specials that I have to watch so my wife doesn't claim it as her own.
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