Top Break CALIBERS of the 20th Century

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Millelacs posted this 09 December 2019

I'm watching The Godfather, Part II where Vito Corleone goes to a house so his buddy can repay Vito for holding a bunch of handguns.

 

A police officer comes to the door, when they're rolling up the carpet.

 

Vito's biddy hides next to the door, with what looks like a top break revolver drawn.  It's dark so it's hard to tell just what it is.

 

It makes me wonder, what NON-MILITARY calibers were were top breaks made in the 20th century?

 

This rules out Schofields, 44 Russians, military Enfields etc.

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BigMan54 posted this 09 December 2019

Smith&Wesson's;

.32Short & Wimpy, and .32Smith&Wesson Long.

Got a Iver Johnson .22Short 

 

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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RicinYakima posted this 09 December 2019

Most were 38 S&W's. However, they were 146 grain pure lead bullets at about 650 f/s. The average man weighted 145 pounds and knew that if you were shot in the thorax or abdomen, you were going to die of infection. Wild Bill Hickock once shot his own deputy with a S&W .38 baby Russian once in the abdomen, and he died on the spot. FWIW, Ric

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BigMan54 posted this 09 December 2019

Ric,

The OP said Non-military.

38S&W was chosen by Britain after WW1 as their issue Handgun Cartridge.

 

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 09 December 2019

.22 S, L & LR, .32 S&W, .32 S&W Long, .38 S&W that all, I think. I have all of these in Iver Johnsons. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
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M3 Mitch posted this 09 December 2019

The only other top-break revolver cartridge I can think of beyond the ones already listed is the .455 Webley, it and the 38 S&W have been British military issue.  I think the Godfather guys would be using the 38 S&W, most likely. 

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RicinYakima posted this 10 December 2019

Sorry guys, but the British never adapted the 38 S&W cartridge. What they did was use it for a study by Webley for a new cartridge with the 200 grain "Super Police" load performance. After the Webley and Enfield law suits were finally over, the British adapted the ".380" Revolver Mk1" and later the ".380" Revolver Mk 11z". While it used a brass case of the 38 S&W external dimensions, it was not an exact duplicate in performance or physical form. FWIW

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Millelacs posted this 10 December 2019

BigMan54 said,

 

Ric,

The OP said Non-military.

38S&W was chosen by Britain after WW1 as their issue Handgun Cartridge.

 

What is interesting here is that the .38 S&W was first a civilian cartridge, and second  adopted as a military cartridge as the .38 / 200 renamed the .380-200 / .380 Revolver Mk1, which some people consider a "different" cartridge" rather than a different loading of the same cartridge.

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Millelacs posted this 10 December 2019

RicinYakima said,

Sorry guys, but the British never adapted the 38 S&W cartridge. What they did was use it for a study by Webley for a new cartridge with the 200 grain "Super Police" load performance. After the Webley and Enfield law suits were finally over, the British adapted the ".380" Revolver Mk1" and later the ".380" Revolver Mk 11z". While it used a brass case of the 38 S&W external dimensions, it was not an exact duplicate in performance or physical form. FWIW

 

Saying the .380 Revolver Mk1 cartridge is a different cartridge than the .38 S&W is like saying a 125 gr 30-06 is a different cartridge that a 150 gr 30-06.  They're the same cartridge, just using different bullets.

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RicinYakima posted this 10 December 2019

What is interesting here is that the .38 S&W was first a civilian cartridge, and second  adopted as a military cartridge as the .38 / 200 renamed the .380-200 / .380 Revolver Mk1, which some people consider a "different" cartridge" rather than a different loading of the same cartridge.

Which was sold as a commercial cartridge by Webley Scot and Sons and never used by the military.

 

Ball Mark I

  "Cartridge S.A. Ball Revolver .380 inch Mark I" and "Cartridge S.A. Ball Revolver .380 inch Mark Iz" were approved to design DD/L/1055 in November 1930 and shown in Lists of Changes Paragraph A.6480 dated January 1932. The Mark Iz was shown as obsolescent in Lists of Changes in October 1934 and the Mark I in June 1938. 

The case was straight sided and rimmed with a Berdan primer and a purple primer annulus. Most had a case cannelure to position the bullet. The headstamp included the code "I" or "IZ", although the only Mark Iz rounds known were made by Kynoch in 1931.

 

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Millelacs posted this 10 December 2019

RicinYakima wrote:

 

What is interesting here is that the .38 S&W was first a civilian cartridge, and second  adopted as a military cartridge as the .38 / 200 renamed the .380-200 / .380 Revolver Mk1, which some people consider a "different" cartridge" rather than a different loading of the same cartridge.

Which was sold as a commercial cartridge by Webley Scot and Sons and never used by the military.

 

Ball Mark I

  "Cartridge S.A. Ball Revolver .380 inch Mark I" and "Cartridge S.A. Ball Revolver .380 inch Mark Iz" were approved to design DD/L/1055 in November 1930 and shown in Lists of Changes Paragraph A.6480 dated January 1932. The Mark Iz was shown as obsolescent in Lists of Changes in October 1934 and the Mark I in June 1938.  The case was straight sided and rimmed with a Berdan primer and a purple primer annulus. Most had a case cannelure to position the bullet. The headstamp included the code "I" or "IZ", although the only Mark Iz rounds known were made by Kynoch in 1931.

 

A different bullet, a different headstamp code.  How many different 7.62 NATO bullets and headstamps are there?  They're still 7.62 NATO cartridges.

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Ed Harris posted this 10 December 2019

IIRC the top-break revolver DeNiro used in Godfather II was a Webley & Scott Mk. III Metropolitan Police in .380 Rimmed, which dated from the WW1 period.  The basic design was modified to meet military requirements in the late 1920s and later became the MkIV shown below.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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BigMan54 posted this 10 December 2019

So how come My Dad used .38 Smith & Wesson ammo/brass in his WW2 Enfield Revolver without a problem ?  And My Friend and I use .38 Short & Wimpy brass/ammo for our S&W WW2 Era M&P Revolvers. And My H&R uses the same ammo.

????

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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RicinYakima posted this 10 December 2019

For the same reason you can use 45 Schofield, or 45 US Model 1909, in a 45 Colt cylinder; it fits into the chamber and has a center fire primer. It will go bang, but doesn't mean that is what it was designed to use. Yep, the S&W 38 Hand Ejectors where made in .38 S&W; yes they will fire the thinner rimmed .380 Mark 1 Ball ammo. But if you look at the H&R, I bet it will be marked 38 S&W, which was what it was made for.

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Ed Harris posted this 11 December 2019

And many S&W .38 Special and .357 cylinders are sloppy enough to accept Remington .38 S&W ammo, but not Fiocchi, Kynoch, Starline or Winchester.

My 1970s S&W Model 37, 36, all FOUR of my 12-2s (YES - I happen to LIKE that model!!!) .38-44 Heavy Duty and Model 28 Highway Patrolman can use the Remington brand of .38 S&W as "shorts."

My S&W 940 stainless Centennial can use 9mm Luger with clips or .38 S&W without clips.

 

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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Millelacs posted this 11 December 2019

.          RicinYakima said:

.          Yep, the S&W 38 Hand Ejectors where made in .38 S&W; yes they will fire the thinner
.          rimmed .380 Mark 1 Ball ammo.

OK, here's a reason why I can accept the .38 S&W and .380-200 / .380 Revolver Mk1 are different cartridges.

From the posts above, it appears that
.38 S&W revolvers will fire thinner rimmed .380-200 / .380 Revolver Mk1 cartridges.  That doesn't mean that .380-200 / .380 Revolver Mk1 revolvers will fire .38 S$W cartridges.

The same is true with .38 Super and 9mm Largo.  The .38 Super rim is thicker and wider in diameter  than the 9mm Largo.

.38 Supers would not function in my 9mm Largo Star Super until the extractor gap was opened up a bit.  Prior to modification, the gap was small enough it prevented the cartridge from chambering, and jammed the firearm.  I've never seen a 9mm Largo cartridge, but I would think it would function in a .38 Super,
.380 Mark 1 Ball ammo fires in a .38 S&W.

 

Edit:  I'd always read (common knowledge ??) that the .38 S&W and .380 British cartridges were the same, except for the bullets.  Sometimes it's good to be corrected.

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Ed Harris posted this 11 December 2019

The S&W Victory Model Lend-Lease revolvers were chambered in .38 S&W, but the front sight height on the barrel forging was of correct height for the heavier .380 MkII cartridge.  Both of my Victory Models shoot low with US 146-grain commercial ammo, but shoot to the sights with heavier bullets such as Accurate 36-176P and 36-190T.  The Ruger India models were similarly targeted.  For a right-handed shooter a clue is that if the gun shoots to the right and low, you need a heavier bullet to correct zero.  My 2.5 grains of Bullseye with a 190-grain bullet is about a half grain too much for a W&S top-break, but shoots well in the S&W Victory and Ruger Service Six India model.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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M3 Mitch posted this 11 December 2019

Probably there are only a few of us who would have wanted one, but, I certainly would like to have a Ruger India Model Service Six.  Probably too late now, too bad someone didn't suggest that since the Indian Government had already paid development cost, why not try marketing some of these gats to the US market?

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Ed Harris posted this 12 December 2019

Probably there are only a few of us who would have wanted one, but, I certainly would like to have a Ruger India Model Service Six.  Probably too late now, too bad someone didn't suggest that since the Indian Government had already paid development cost, why not try marketing some of these gats to the US market?

 

Some of the contract overruns were sold to Ruger employees and members of the Ruger CoIlectors Assn., which is how I got mine.  They appear on GunBroker occasionally, but are pricey.  There was no development cost involved, the gun was the same as the Ruger Government Model which was sold in .38 Special to the US Army and GSA Federal Protective Service, just in a different chambering.  The French Model was the same gun in 9mm using moon clips, and the first 10,000 India models were actually assembled with leftover parts from the French order, rechambering the cylinders to .38 S&W.  Those guns could use either 9mm with moon clips, or .38 S&W without clips, as the cylinders had the clip clearance turned on their outer circumference, while the extractor star stood proud enough to headspace the rimmed .38 S&W rounds. 

My S&W 940 is chambered the same way and is a versatile pocket gat.

 

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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Mike H posted this 13 December 2019

All very interesting,what I really appreciated was the description of the testing of the sighting of the revolvers,there is so much information in those old manuals.Thank’s for showing it.

Mike.

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BigMan54 posted this 16 December 2019

I have 3rds of ancient REM. 38S&W ammo. None will fit in any .38Spl or .357Mag that I have; Colts, S&D's, Ruger's and various spaghetti revolvers. Even My Kids Marlin 1894CS. 

Fits fine in the .38S&W chambered H&R Top Break and S&W Victory model. 

Not that it matters. 

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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