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S&W 38/44 Outdoorsman. What factory load was this revolver designed for?

N320AWN320AW Senior MemberPosts: 648 Senior Member
This has always confused me. This 38 special was built on a large frame. Well, anyone here old enough to tell me just WHAT ammunition was available in the 1950's for this gun? I grew up in this era and don't remember any special hot loads for the 38 special!

Replies

  • WeatherbyWeatherby Senior Member Posts: 4,953 Senior Member
    similar to the box in the background it was 38 special ammo that approached 357 velocity

    IMG_0628_zpsed48ecf8.jpg
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 17,664 Senior Member
    The .38/44 round was simply a hot-loaded .38 Special with a muzzle velocity of 1,125 fps.

    For your reading pleasure....

    http://www.38-44heavyduty.com/38-44_HEAVY_DUTY_HISTORY.php
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • RazorbackerRazorbacker Senior Member Posts: 4,646 Senior Member
    I didn't read Jayhawker's link but my understanding is, this model was introduced primarily for LE use. The load was meant to shoot through car doors and such like. if you've got a line on one, you suck.
    Teach your children to love guns, they'll never be able to afford drugs
  • RazorbackerRazorbacker Senior Member Posts: 4,646 Senior Member
    And now I've read the link and it's a good one.
    Teach your children to love guns, they'll never be able to afford drugs
  • N320AWN320AW Senior Member Posts: 648 Senior Member
    I didn't read Jayhawker's link but my understanding is, this model was introduced primarily for LE use. The load was meant to shoot through car doors and such like. if you've got a line on one, you suck.
    At one time way back when, the .357 was kind of advertised as being able to shoot through an engine block. Now why a cop would want to put a hole in a car engine is beyond me. The driver is the better target.

    No, I don't have a line on one.
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 12,384 Senior Member
    N320AW wrote: »
    At one time way back when, the .357 was kind of advertised as being able to shoot through an engine block. Now why a cop would want to put a hole in a car engine is beyond me. The driver is the better target.

    No, I don't have a line on one.

    To disable the car when there is not a reason to kill the driver. It was done back in the day when such practices were permissible. The Georgia State Patrol used to carry armor piercing rounds (six) in their belts to do this. I don't know if these were ever used, though.

    Nowadays, shooting at a vehicle is generally verboten.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 27,457 Senior Member
    I've got one of those .38/44 revolvers. But it isn't the Outdoorsman.

    100_0212.jpg
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  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 25,000 Senior Member
    Gene L wrote: »
    To disable the car when there is not a reason to kill the driver. It was done back in the day when such practices were permissible. The Georgia State Patrol used to carry armor piercing rounds (six) in their belts to do this. I don't know if these were ever used, though.

    Nowadays, shooting at a vehicle is generally verboten.
    Oconomowoc, Wi police did the same. When I was a teen, one of the LEO,s would be seen in the lobby of the movie theater and available to BS with us about his gear and ammo.
  • RazorbackerRazorbacker Senior Member Posts: 4,646 Senior Member
    tennmike, obviously the Outdoorsman is the grail. Still. you suck so bad you don't even need a bullet puller.
    Teach your children to love guns, they'll never be able to afford drugs
  • WeatherbyWeatherby Senior Member Posts: 4,953 Senior Member
    Sweet tennmike
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 27,457 Senior Member
    Weatherby wrote: »
    Sweet tennmike

    Thanks!
    I got it from a private estate sale around 20 years ago. It belonged to a guard at Oak Ridge National Laboratories. When I saw it, I knew I had to have it. Got some holster wear on the muzzle, and the grip backstrap is missing some bluing from handling. It shoots better than I can. It likes wadcutters.......a lot.
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  • WeatherbyWeatherby Senior Member Posts: 4,953 Senior Member
    DID it happen to come with the original grips ?
  • DurangoKidDurangoKid Member Posts: 183 Member
    The S&W 38/44 was invented to take the driver out. The idea was to shoot through the steel trunk lid and both seat backs to hit the driver. This was in the 1920s when gun battles were fought on the roads. This all led to a special hardened cylinder in 1935 with the then new .357 Magnum.
    The .357 was able to crack the water jacket on an engine block not shoot through the block.
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Yep, hot .38s back in the day when folks who owned guns were supposed to be responsible enough to actually read the box and see it said 38/44 not .38 Spl and have enough common sense to use it as intended. I don't ever remember reading about any 38/44 ammo blowing up regular .38s from the old timers.


    I'm not sure a low end .357 mag load would blow up a .38 service revolver of the day or more or less was a pressure testing like load at the edge of the envelope.


    One thing is for sure, they are fairly rare and desirable by S&W collectors. I do remember hearing a blues song where the lyrics mention "I've got a .38 on a .44 frame...." or something similar meaning it was a one mean butt kicking revolver to have. I've also seen reference to them in books before.


    OK from:http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-158300.html

    "This is something that keeps coming up in blues lyrics.

    The George Thorogood version:I got a thirty-eight pistol
    on a forty-five frame
    shoots tombstone bullets
    and a ball and chain.The Hot Tuna version:Gotta .38 special man and .45 frame
    You know the thing don't miss 'cause I got dead aimIs this sort of a monster desirable, or even possible?



    "One of the many versions of "Railroad Bill" contains the following stanza:

    verse 5
    I've got a "thirty-eight special"
    on a "forty-four frame,"
    How in the world can I miss him
    when I've got dead aim.
    I'm gonna ride old Railroad Bill."

    And a Colt .38 on a .45 frame? from same thread

    "SW 38/44 Heavy Duty

    Colt New Service in 38 Special (a 45 Colt Frame)"
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Jayhawker wrote: »
    The .38/44 round was simply a hot-loaded .38 Special with a muzzle velocity of 1,125 fps.

    For your reading pleasure....

    http://www.38-44heavyduty.com/38-44_HEAVY_DUTY_HISTORY.php

    Thanks for the link. So the Heavy Duty (version of, model 20) was actually made up until 1966, interesting.

    So the Austin PD ordered some in 1964. I wonder why because the .357 had been around since 1935? PC back then or they just knew a good revolver to issue?
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 27,457 Senior Member
    Weatherby wrote: »
    DID it happen to come with the original grips ?

    No. It came with the "Goodyear" high traction grip installed.
      I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer”
    ― Douglas Adams
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