38 Colts


Below are five 38 Colts with 1, 3 and 5 being shown for comparison and 2 and 4 being those I have questions about. Left to right are a 38 Special, a 38 “intermediate”??, a 38 Long, a cut down 38 Long and a 38 short. The 38 “intermediate”: measures rim: .437, base: .380, cm: .378, cl: 1.078 and has Gould-type HP bullet. The cut down 38 long measures rim: .439, base: .379, cm: .379, cl: .880 and has a slightly skewed bullet. Appropriate case lengths for the other rounds are 38 Spec: 1.148, 38 Long: 1.03, 38 Short: .662. Is the “intermediate” a 38 Spec. cut down to a too long but close 38 L or something else and is the cut down 38 L cut to a length that would fit anything? Product of a bored/sloppy reloader? Other ideas? Thanks. Rich




The .38 “intermediate” seems to be actually a .360 N


No 4, the one you call the cutdown, is the outside lubricated version of the .38 Long, and is not cutdown at all. The skewed bullet is probably the result of a buildup of lead oxidation on the base of the bullet where it is in contact with the black powder. Variations of this outside lubricated .38 long were first introduced beginning in the early 1870s for use in converted percussion revolvers, and continued in production until the 1890s The longer case that is more commonly associated with the .38 long was developed for the inside lubricated bullet that was developed at the Frankford Arsenal in the early 1890s.


[quote]The .38 “intermediate” seems to be actually a .360 N


Rich - your 4th round has a headstamp, it would seem, although I cannot read it on my screen, from your picture. I would think that the headstamp would tell you two things - the manufacturer, and if it is a .360 as Chassepot offered, or a .38 Colt with outside-lubed bullet as Guy says. I suspect the latter is the correct answer, but am not sure. The headstamp should tell you a lot. If you can’t interpret the headstamp, or I am hallucinating in believing there is one in the picture, relate that on the Forum and perhaps the guys can pin it down for you.


The headstamp is W.R.A.Co. .38 L.



The second cartridge from the left is a .360 N


While Dan Shuey does indicate this cartridge is for the Colt Lightning, the Winchester label on the box he shows in the book says it is For Colts Double Action , Single Action, and Other .38 Caliber Pistols’, which would indicate it is for not only the Lightning, but the Colt New Line and Single Action Army revolvers, as well as other Colt revolvers, which would include the Navy caliber percussion revolvers converted to metallic center fire and perhaps others.


Thanks gents. Yes, the (fuzzy) W.R.A.Co. headstamp made the manufactrurer easy to peg on that one. But I know next to nothing about the European stuff, though obviously I can learn something by picking through the 25