Can a .38 distinct shoot .357 Magnum? No; .357 Magnum was especially designed so it can not be fired indigenous handguns chambered in .38 Special, however you can shoot .38 special in a pistol chambered in .357 Magnum.

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In fact, you wouldn"t want to shoot .357 Magnum in any gun that"s specifically made to shoot .38 Special. It would be dangerous.

The .357 Magnum/.38 Special concern is a usual conundrum as soon as it come to specific guns and details calibers, as specific chamberings loan themselves come multi-caliber use. However, you have to be cautious about doing so until you understand more about multi-caliber weapons.

Not fully understanding what guns and what calibers can be used in the exact same gun has actually led to accidents, which have the right to lead to injury, which provides this a gun security issue.

So, if you"re a total newbie, and also you"re a little confused around what some human being say around .357 and .38 Special, or about 5.56mm and also .223 or what have actually you, let"s dive in and learn a little more. The way, you can safely operate such weapons while making use of multiple calibers.


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To define WHY a .357 Magnum revolver can likewise shoot .38 unique (as well together 9mm and also .38 supervisor in part cases) we require to recognize a bit around how firearms work.

The straightforward version goes choose this:

The projectile is seated v a bullet in the chamber. The cartridge is virtually as huge as the within of the barrel. Once the cartridge is discharged, the propellant (powder) in the bullet creates press behind the bullet, advertise it out of the barrel.

How the cartridge seats in the gun is referred to as "headspacing." exactly how a cartridge headspaces relies on the gun and the cartridge design.

Revolvers headspace top top the in salt - the rim of the cartridge is flush with the cylinder - and semi-auto pistol cartridges headspace on the situation mouth, the lip of the instance that the projectile (the bullet) is seated into.

Shotgun cartridges headspace on the rim as well. Countless - however not every - rifles headspace top top the shoulder, the part of a rifle cartridge whereby it tapers toward the projectile.

Many don"t, though; numerous semi-auto rifle design headspace in ~ the case rim and also the shoulder. Older rimmed rifle cartridges frequently headspace top top the pickled in salt (.45-70, .303 British) and some magnum rifles headpsace top top the belt the a belted pickled in salt magnum.

But why walk this issue when it pertains to .38 Special and also .357 Magnum?

Revolvers universally headspace top top the rim, and also the .38 Special and .357 Magnum have actually the exact same rim diameter, case diameter and also projectile diameter. The .357 Magnum, however, has actually a longer case.

That said, .357 Magnum additionally has twin the chamber pressure of .38 Special. Firing .357 Magnum in a .38 one-of-a-kind firearm can quickly (and practically certainly will) result in a catastrophic malfunction. Unless you don"t like having actually hands, don"t do it.

However, .357 Magnum is too long to headspace in the room of a .38 one-of-a-kind revolver cylinder. This is through design; when the .357 Magnum to be invented, Remington (who an initial made the commercially) did so for specifically that purpose.

And that is the idea with any kind of gun that"s claimed to or actually have the right to fire lot of calibers. There is more than one caliber/cartridge that will headspace and also therefore will fire.

With that said…


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However, other guns are not. What"s been uncovered over the year is that a variety of different chamberings can actually headspace an additional cartridge, sometimes with a little force...but usually with results ranging from innocuous come disastrous.

Typically the starts with someone who heard that you can shoot X v a gun created Y. Again, in some situations - such as .38/.357 - it"s true, but in others it"s simply not.

But what can take place if girlfriend do?

The best-case scenario is the the shooter has actually errantly chambered a ring that can safely headspace in the gun, however the projectile is smaller than the boring diameter. Because that instance, if someone has actually - in error - placed a .243 cartridge into a .308 rifle.

In this case, the projectile will leave the barrel in ~ a very slow velocity as many of the gas has currently gone out of the barrel. Accuracy will certainly be almost nonexistent and that"s pretty lot it.

The worst case scenario is if the projectile is bigger than the bore or if the cartridge doesn"t totally headspace yet the activity closes anyway.

In this instance, a catastrophic breakdown will result. The bullet can totally split the barrel if you"re happy in the an initial case, yet otherwise this will result in rupturing the chamber. In other words, kaboom.

So...with that in mind...how have the right to you use multi-caliber firearms safely?

First, by learning what weapons or calibers important do enable for safe use of different calibers, and they space few, and also exactly how that works. In various other words, the means things are.

Second is by understanding how and also why that"s possible in those instances, so you understand why things space the means they are.

Thirdly by no taking chances based upon what world tell you. If girlfriend hear something indigenous someone, look the up. If you don"t uncover information confirming it, don"t execute what they"re suggesting.

So, what are some common examples? right here are a few common ones. There may be some uncommon ones, but we have the right to leave lock for one more time.


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The differences between .223 Remington and also 5.56mm NATO are minute, however substantive enough to make a difference.

5.56mm NATO has a contempt chamber architecture (meaning the room of the gun) and is loaded to greater pressure, yet the case, projectile and all exterior dimensions room the same. In various other words, 5.56mm is essentially .223 Remington +P. Now, what does that mean?

5.56mm ammunition will chamber in rifles that use the .223 Remington room design, and .223 Remington ammunition will certainly chamber in rifles v a 5.56mm NATO design. However, that also method that 5.56mm NATO rifles room designed come withstand an ext chamber pressure.

Therefore, using 5.56mm NATO in a rifle that"s actually chambered for .223 Remington will certainly put much more wear and tear on the rifle and may be unsafe. However, utilizing .223 Remington ammunition in a rifle through a 5.56mm NATO room is perfectly fine.

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The exact same is true for .308 Winchester and also 7.62x51mm NATO and also for the same reasons. Different chamber size and greater pressure, however it"s the exact same case and projectile size.