Ballistics by the inch

.38 Special

Here is a post pertaining to the testing and results obtained for the .38 Special caliber.

November 26, 2008 - Posted by | .38 Special


  1. Strange that the 135 grain Gold Dot +P shoots 141 ft/sec faster in a Smith 642 with a 1 7/8th inch barrel than it does in the generic 2 inch barrel.

    Comment by Burke Chester | December 17, 2008 | Reply

  2. One thing to remember, Burke:

    One note: in every case with the T/C Encore the length of the barrel was measured from the end of the barrel back to the breech face. This is how semi-auto pistols are measured, but revolvers are measured as the length of the barrel in front of the cylinder gap. Take this into consideration when comparing calibers using our numbers.

    So, it’s really more like you’re looking at 3.5″ with the T/C (I just measured from the back of the cylinder to the end of the barrel.) And looking at the numbers, that makes perfect sense.

    Jim D.

    Comment by James Downey | December 17, 2008 | Reply

  3. I just don’t understand these numbers. If the T/C for 2″ was actually 3.5″ as stated in the post above, velocity should be higher for the T/C. It was lower with the Speer, significantly lower.

    I enjoyed reading about these tests on the website-however, I’m having some difficulty with the comparison numbers with the 642.

    In any event, the most credible data I guess would be in comparing the T/C velocities alone for the various barrel lengths, and noting the percentage reduction in velocity as barrel length is shortened.

    Comment by Ted Burns | December 22, 2008 | Reply

  4. Ted, sorry – I wasn’t clear enough. To get a good comparison using a revolver, you have to measure from the back of the cylinder to the end of the barrel. On my 642 that is right at 3.5 inches. So, then you look at the testing data we have with the T/C, find the numbers for 3″ and 4″, and that will give you a bracket for where the 3.5″ comparison would fall. One example:

    Corbon 110 – 3″ = 851 fps, 4″ = 1013 fps with the T/C. Same ammo through my S&W was 940. In other words, it landed right between the 851 and the 1013 measurements with the T/C, as you would expect.

    Does that help?

    Jim D.

    Comment by James Downey | December 22, 2008 | Reply

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