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Thread: Who all takes advantage of the multi caliber functionality of their handgun?

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    Member Medo's Avatar
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    Default Who all takes advantage of the multi caliber functionality of their handgun?

    Greetings all,
    It just struck me, how all the firearms manufactureres go out of their way to point out any multi caliber functions of their wheelguns, ie: 44spl in a 44 mag. Now, that being said, you can read 100s of posts on dozens of forums warning people never to shoot spl through magnum, as it will cause micro scratching in the cylinder, unremovable leading in the cylinder (yeah right) and anything else they can come up with that in their opinion will make the gun unusable or unreliable when using the full length loads the gun was made for. So, while every manufacturer I have ever seen touts their multi cartridge use guns, theres alot of people who say its wrong and should never be done.
    Personally I have shot thousands of 44 specials through my mag, 1000s of schofields through my 45 colt. 1000s of 38 special through the magnums. It has never effected my accuracty with mag loads, let alone become uncleanable to the point that the mag rounds wont go into the cylinder.
    So, after 30 years of that, I tend to agree with the manufacturers that you can indeed use the versitility of these guns without fear.
    I decided now that I would like to hear some other folks chime in on their opinion on the subject. You dont have to agree with me, I dont mind hearing opposing views as long as it isnt a nonsensical ramble. I would like to hear what different folks with different shooting habits and needs have found in regards to this. So, chime on...
    Thanks for any input, Im sure everyone will find this thread interesting....

  2. #2

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    The versatility was one of the selling points for the .460 I purchased. Compared to the .500, with the .460, I have the option to shoot some much lighter loads (45 Colt) initially to get more comfortable with the gun before loading up for bear.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I have never heard anyone say that you cannot use all rounds rated for your pistol. I have heard of people having cases get stuck by switching between special and full house loads during the same range session. I can't see that as being a problem if you clean the cylinders before changing between the differing rounds.
    On a different note, I am looking forward to getting a 40 s&w barrel for my 10mm so that I can afford to shoot more! The eaa witness is a simple swap-a-roo. Drop the slide and toss in the new barrel, no need to swap springs or mags!

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    Have never used a less powerful cartridge in any handgun owned. Generally they are sighted in with hunting loads and put away. If I want to plink or practice its done with the same brass loaded lighter or a different handgun. Dont like changing dies or messing with sights once they are dialed in.
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    I switch up and down all the time and have never had a problem. I do take the time to swab my 460 cylinder clean before moving up most of the time since the very high pressures of the 454 and 460 are known to imbed trash in the chamber walls. With 357/38, 44s/44mag, 45Colt/45acp and so on I have also been over 30 years of doing it with no problems at all.

    I have a 357 Blackhawk that was my saddle gun in Arizona when I worked as a cowboy in my young days. It once went 5 years or more and had way over a thousand rounds of 357 and 38 through it in that time. Aside from the bluing rubbing off and grips getting broken when I was bucked off and landed on it she is still good as new on the inside . . . still one of my favorite handguns. I have one just like it with less than 500 total rounds through it that looks no different inside than the abused one does.
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    I thought the best way to answer was to check my supplies of brass and loaded ammo. All told I've got 1850 rounds of 44 Special and 3100 44 mag. I've got something over 5,000 rounds of 38 Special and 1150 rounds of 357 mag. There's 800 rounds of 45 Colt and 600 rounds of 454. Admittedly I've got guns that shoot only 44 Spec, 38 Spec and 45 Colt too, but you get the picture.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    My .357 mags predominantly eat .38 spls as they are more pleasurable to shoot, less expensive, easier/cheaper to reload, etc. When one of the mags is in a SD posture, it is loaded with .357 mags. Every so often, I'll shoot a cylinder full of mags just to remind myself of what the gun will do. The mags work flawlessly in spite of the fact that tens of thousands of 38's have been shot through these guns (Ruger SS and S&W 66).

    Never really messed with the sub-calibers for the big guns (41 & 44). Never really saw the point as they aren't used for "plinking" but for personal defense.
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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I've been using 44spl in my 329PD quite a bit, as it is much more pleasant to practice with that round in a gun as light as this one. It's not perfect practice for carrying it in the woods loaded with magnum rounds, but I figure it is better to put 50 rounds through it to work on my accuracy rather than 10 rounds before my hands are done.

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    I had a .357 that would chamber and fire both 38 spl and 357 in the same shooting session with no issues. I intend to take full advantage of the versatility on my 460V when I pick it up too. I like to shoot a lot, and even handloading will be cheaper using 45 colt for everyday shooting. I even ordered some 454 casull ammo for it to try it out.

    I agree with anchskier - the S&W 500 would have been a hundered bucks cheaper, but the versatility of the 460's ability to fire 454 and 45 Colt sold me.

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Shoot a lot more of the mild than the wild.38's in the 357 and 45colt in the 454. I'm at least ten to one on the lighter loads

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKsoldier View Post
    I had a .357 that would chamber and fire both 38 spl and 357 in the same shooting session with no issues. I intend to take full advantage of the versatility on my 460V when I pick it up too. I like to shoot a lot, and even handloading will be cheaper using 45 colt for everyday shooting. I even ordered some 454 casull ammo for it to try it out.

    I agree with anchskier - the S&W 500 would have been a hundered bucks cheaper, but the versatility of the 460's ability to fire 454 and 45 Colt sold me.

    So I'm gong out on a limb here you are getting a 460???

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    Quote Originally Posted by 323 View Post
    So I'm gong out on a limb here you are getting a 460???
    Yup. Already ordered. I'll be picking it up when I get home.

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

    Noone has a more intimate understanding of, or deeper appreciation for freedom, than a soldier who has fought for it in a country where it does not exist.

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    I almost always shoot 38s in my 357s. If I want more power I switch guns. The 41mag doesn't have a special and if I want light loads for it or my 44 I just load them lighter. So no, I don't use different length cases in my guns, Just load to the power level I want with the longest case it will hold except for the 357. I use 38 cases in it because I have 5 or 6 thousand and for hunting bunnies the 38 works fine. I do have a sub caliber insert for my 350 Rem Mag to shoot 38s in it, but cast bullets in the 350 cases work better so I don't use it either. If you handload the versatility thing doesn't matter.

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    Default funny , I kind of always thought that

    it was engineered that way, to shoot lesser powered rounds as a practice, then switch over to the big stuff as needed.
    Living n the desert the first round was always the snake shot , then depending on what I was hunting I matched the consecutive cylinders apropreately..
    My preference is to carry both rifle and pistol the same cal,and load.
    I know, I know, but I do things my way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arleigh View Post
    Living n the desert the first round was always the snake shot , then depending on what I was hunting I matched the consecutive cylinders apropreately.. .
    Always did the same thing in Arizona but with at least 2 snake shot. 2 snake shot because sidewinders often come in pairs, are very fast, and can be quite aggressive down in the dry river bottoms. Iíve been bluff charged by brown bear and was not as freaked out by that as from being charged by little bitty pissed off sidewinders!


    Quote Originally Posted by Arleigh View Post
    My preference is to carry both rifle and pistol the same cal,and load.
    I know, I know, but I do things my way.
    Me too, why pack a bunch of different ammo when you can pair up guns.
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    I guess you could say that since I handload all my guns are "multi caliber".
    I don't even have any 44 sp brass, but I sometimes load 44 mag cases to 44 sp velocities. The same is true of my 450 Marlin, 358 NM, 38sp, etc. That's the nice thing about being a handloader! I don't need 2 or three different types of brass to have complete versatility in my gun...
    Vance in AK.

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vance in AK View Post
    I guess you could say that since I handload all my guns are "multi caliber".
    I don't even have any 44 sp brass, but I sometimes load 44 mag cases to 44 sp velocities. The same is true of my 450 Marlin, 358 NM, 38sp, etc. That's the nice thing about being a handloader! I don't need 2 or three different types of brass to have complete versatility in my gun...
    Very true but when you have as many different loads for the same calibers around as I do it's nice to take advantage of the case head stamps to cut down on the bookkeeping nightmare.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ADfields View Post
    Very true but when you have as many different loads for the same calibers around as I do it's nice to take advantage of the case head stamps to cut down on the bookkeeping nightmare.
    That's a huge deal for me. In fact, I have three standard "loads" for my magnum handguns. The light stuff goes into the special cases, and the hot stuff goes into the newest magnum cases. But I don't fire hot loads out of cases more than four times before relegating them to my "mid-range" bin. Those are moderate loads too hot for the special cases, but not full snort magnums. My standard loads for both 357 and 44 mag turn in somewhere between 1,000 and 1,100 fps. In truth, those loads are what I shoot more than either specials or full mags.

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    I can't recall EVER seeing a manufacturer tout shooting a lesser caliber in a Magnum as reason to purchase a particular model.
    Just because you can doesn't mean you should. I did not buy a magnum revolver to shoot the lesser caliber, and won't.
    It does nothing to perfect my proficiency. I have the appropriate gun for that and my lifestyle (budget) allows me to pursue that. If I don't have the jingle to buy the Magnum load the gun doesn't get used.
    And yes, carbon build up in the cylinder can without a doubt be a potential problem.
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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Default No...

    Smith & Wesson clearly advertises most of their .357 mag revolvers as ".357MAG/.38+P" calibers. They list many of their .44 mags as being ".44MAG/.44SP" calibers. Obviously, they do claim the multi-caliber application of these guns and since the gun is advertised and sold as both .357MAG & .38+P (which is just a hot loaded .38spc, the cartridge is identical) or .44MAG & .44SP, the user is fine to shoot either cartridge in these guns... per the manufacturer.

    Carbon build up is quickly and easily fixed by cleaning the gun, which you should do every time you shoot it. You'd have to shoot hundreds or perhaps thousands of rounds of "dirty" ammo to build up enough crud to make chambering of a 357 difficult. And if you did get to that point, 60 seconds with a brush and some Hoppes will fix it.

    I have a couple 357's that have had tens of thousands of rounds of 38spc run through them. It does nothing bad to the gun and they chamber and shoot 357 loads perfectly. If anything, I believe that running 38's through the guns had extended the gun life due to less wear-n-tear from magnum loads.
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