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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a S&W "Victory" model, s/n 391xxx (circa 1943), with US Property GHD on the left top strap, and .38 S&W Special Ctg on the barrel...but the cylinder will not hold standard .38 Special cartridges--they only go in about 3/4's of the way before sticking. There are no British markings on the gun only US; all s/n are matching, as are the matching numbers on the frame/yolk.

Any ideas?
 

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Mainly because the Victory Model was chamber for .38 S&W Special but not the .38 Special. They are two completely different cartridges. I know it's confusing. The Victory was also chambered for .38 S&W for lend-lease arms sent to our allies.

After the war some Victory models were chambered for the .38 Special but none of the wartime handguns were so chambered.
 

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Yes...

...try chambering some .38 S&W loads. Perhaps someone fitted a barrel marked ".38 S&W Special Ctg" on a revolver fitted with a cylinder for the former cartridge.

Be aware that some unscrupulous vendors took surplus .38 S&W models and reamed the chambers so that the .38 Special load would chamber. Unfortunately, the rear part of the chamber was too large for the .38 Special and, even with light target loads, case splits were not uncommon.
 

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Ok, now I am confused--the .38 S&W Special is not the same cartridge as the well-known .38 Special? I thought the common .38 Special was developed by S&W and just had the S&W dropped over the years for simplicity...

And I thought the .38 S&W (.38/200) was actually a bit larger diameter bullet than the .38 Special, so not sure how it could possibly fit in this cylinder if the modern .38 Special will not completely fit...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah, I'd run across that thread doing my research...but everything I've read says that the .38 S&W Special and the .38 Special are one and the same round. I get that the .38 S&W is a different round entirely, but it is larger in diameter than the .38 Special, so if the cylinder was mismatched to the barrel markings on my revolver, I'd expect that a .38 Special round would slide into the cylinder albeit with some looseness at the rear...in the case of my gun, the .38 Special round will not chamber completely, leaving about one-fourth of the case sticking out the back end of the cylinder.

I'm struggling to come up with a scenario whereby the .38 Special round will not fit fully into the cylinder, so sorry for seeming dense
 

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Sorry to Confuse You

Ok, now I am confused--the .38 S&W Special is not the same cartridge as the well-known .38 Special? I thought the common .38 Special was developed by S&W and just had the S&W dropped over the years for simplicity...

And I thought the .38 S&W (.38/200) was actually a bit larger diameter bullet than the .38 Special, so not sure how it could possibly fit in this cylinder if the modern .38 Special will not completely fit...
The .38 S&W (which the Brits, at one time, called the .380/200) and the .38 Special (into which name S&W inserts "S&W" in their barrel markings) are indeed differently dimensioned. The .38 S$W is shorter and fatter than the .38 Special, hence its chamber will not allow the .38 Special to enter all the way before it is blocked by the step to the throat. And, while the .38 S&W is shorter than the .38 Special, its larger diameter prevents it from entering a .38 Special chamber.

Once again, if you can get hold of some .38 S&W loads, see if they will chamber in your revolver. Not all of the .38 S&W Victory Models went to Britain. Among the ones that didn't, some went to US Navy.
 

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Be aware that some unscrupulous vendors took surplus .38 S&W models and reamed the chambers so that the .38 Special load would chamber. Unfortunately, the rear part of the chamber was too large for the .38 Special and, even with light target loads, case splits were not uncommon.
I had an K-frame Smith that had been originally chambered for .38 S&W for Lend Lease. It wound up back stateside and sold into the civilian market. Someone re-bored the cylinder and did such a sloppy job even .38 Specials were lose. I didn't keep it very long. I think I used it as down payment on a worn out Colt SAA BP revolver. Didn't keep it very long either. :censored:
 

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Pappy Hour,

Fwiw, most of the gun-shows around The Alamo City & South TX generally have Victory Model cylinders, in both .38 calibers, FOR CHEAP.
(I bought a perfectly acceptable cylinder for my Colt's Commando Model in .38SPL for 15 bucks a couple of years ago at the Austin gun-show.)

Addenda: IF it was my WWII-era S&W revolver, I'd check the barrel for proper size & start hunting the correct/matching cylinder.

yours, sw
 

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See if I can make this work.
.38 S&W + Iver Johnson break top. Also .38 Special.
Notice that the longer cartridge is .38 Special, the short cartridge is .38 S&W.
 

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