He Must Have Loaded .38 Special In His Magnum

8 rounds stuck in a 357 barrel

What happens if you get a round stuck in the barrel of your .357 Magnum?  The proper response is not to keep firing in the hope that the next bullet will unblock the stoppage.

That is a terrible way to ruin a good gun.

(Originally here, but this page led me to it.  Thanks to Greg for the heads up!)



16 thoughts on “He Must Have Loaded .38 Special In His Magnum

  1. Wow.

    Were they all squib loads? You’d think at the VERY least there would be a HUGE bulge in the barrel after 7 properly loaded rounds slammed into the bullets jammed in front of them.

    Can’t seem to find a good description of the mishap that led o this photo.

  2. Am I the only one to count the bullets in the barrel? EIGHT! And the guy says when the first one stuck, “Then some brainiac decided to fire the seven remaining rounds in the cylinder to unjam it.”

    An 8-round cylinder in .357Mag? I never heard of that before.

    • Click the picture twice for the highest definition. Looks like it is the pinkish background that kinda sorta looks like copper.

      (If we are talking about the same thing, of course. Might not be.)

        • Could be evidence of photoshopping.

          I don’t see anything in the picture that is inconsistent with my own experience, but there has been some speculation that it is a fake.

  3. Bullet-in-bore (BIB) malfunctions are very common when light loads are used with jacketed bullets in .38 Special revolvers which have a large cylinder gap, greater than about 0.008″. Jacketed bullets don’t seal the bore as well as soft lead, and there may be gas leakage past the bullet, as well as greatly increased bore drag, compared to a lubricated lead bullet. This situation is worsened when jacketed bullet velocity is less than about 750 fps, especially when barrel length exceeds about 4 inches.

    The US Army Ball M41 130-grain FMJ service cartridge supposedly attained 950 f.p.s. in the solid, industrial test barrel in use at the time, but typical revolver velocity was often less than 800 fps when fired in typical 4-inch service revolvers. Such BIB events were extremely common in worn out training guns having large cylinder gaps.

    The common 130-grain FMJ .38 Special “Range Ammo” sold today is very similar to the old Army M41 Ball load and the same cautions apply.

    DO NOT shoot this ammo in guns having cylinder gap of greater than 0.008″ or in barrels longer than 4 inches.

    If you experience a low report which doesn’t sound normal, open the cylinder, eject the empties and any unfired rounds and call a range safety officer to inspect the gun. At out range safety officers are equipped with a Brownell’s Squibb Rod and a lead-faced dead blow hammer to knock out stuck bullets. We get one or two such events a day! I have not seen this happen in a 2-inch snubby, but would never say “never.”

    This is the price we pay for reduced lead pollution on indoor ranges.

    • There is nothing wrong with shooting .38 Special in a magnum.”

      Well, duh. I’ve been doing it myself for more than 30 years. It is also standard practice in my charity firearms training course to load up .38 Special ammo in the Magnums to ease the student into using the big guns.

      The reason I speculated that the shooter was using .38 Special instead of .357 Magnum is because the barrel wasn’t burst, even though multiple rounds were fired. The bullets also don’t appear to be too deformed, which indicates some rather low pressures.

  4. I have seen a .38 spl revolver with a (6″- 8 3/8″?) barrel completely filled with projectiles. (IIRC there were 14 or 15 bullets, FMJ RN) The shooter stopped only when the cylinder seized, which it did because the last bullet filled the forcing cone, locking the cylinder and barrel, and swelling the cylinder. The gunsmith had to saw off the end of the barrel with a jeweler’s saw to swing the cylinder out. After removal, he cut the barrel lengthwise and it was full from the muzzle to the forcing cone. After replacement of the barrel and cylinder, and magnafluxing of the frame, the gun shot accurately, which I found amazing.

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