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I'm not a gunsmith or even a "revolver guy", but I would be willing to bet that gun manufacturers don't buy two different grades of raw material for .38 and .357 cylinders. Buying two smaller lots of different materials has to cost more than buying twice as much of one.
 

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Would I be incorrect to believe a cylinder in a .38 Special revolver will withstand pressures similar to a .357 magnum?
Specifically, to that question posed - yes.

The guns that broke frames were not Rugers. They were not made in the US.
Sounds like RG to me!

Ruger has stated in the past the cylinders for 38 and 357 in their Six series revolvers were identical save for the actual chambering.
That is because the "Six" series DA revolver was designed from the get go as a 357. The 38 special chamberings later on were for agencies that requested them, and perhaps some jobber special runs for the public.

Buying two smaller lots of different materials has to cost more than buying twice as much of one.
What you say is true, but just consider that gun manufacturers use so much material for all the various arms they produce, its likely that your well stated argument does not apply.
 

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The guns that broke frames were not Rugers. They were not made in the US.
I'm guessing they were the Heritage Rough Riders.
 

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^^^ LOL
 

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I started out as a revolver guy. I have never thought highly of purchasing a .38 special revolver, and would always purchase a .357 magnum revolver since you could shoot either full power .357 magnum ammo or lighter .38 special ammo. I had mostly S&W K frames and N frame revolvers, most of my N frames had 6" barrels. One of my favorite pistols was a S&W model 19 combat masterpiece, .357 magnum with a 4" barrel.....it was extremely accurate. I also had a model 29 .44 mag, and a mode 57 41 mag......both of these N-frame revolvers were very accurate with the right handloads. When I started shooting NRA Bullseye, I gradually sold all of my revolvers and used the money to purchase one of the first year production Dillon 1050 reloading machines and some competitive 1911 pistols. When I first started shooting USPSA in the mid 1980's, the caliber of choice was the .38 super, in a 1911 pistol, that held 10 + 1 rounds, which was a competitive advantage over a 1911 .45 with 8 round mags. At that time, there were no different gun categories in USPSA.....everyone competed against all shooters. Now USPSA has many different classes: Open, Limited, Revolver, etc. and competitors can shoot Major or Minor loads, but Minor loads require greater accuracy or the suffer a loss of points and time. I still shoot USPSA, but have an Open race gun with an STI Tru Bor barrel with integral 3 port compensator, and I reamed the chamber for 9mm Major loads. I still prefer the C-more red dot optic. Most of my semi auto guns I built myself, and are STI 2011's in various calibers. I have a few 9mm singles stacks; one has a 3.5" slide and barrel. My choice for a self defense gun is an STI 2011 Commander, with hot loaded .38 super rounds. The gun holds 16 rounds in the flush fit 126mm mag with one in the chamber, and I carry it cocked and locked. I make my own loads and use Speer Gold Dot 125 gr. bullets......the gun is extremely reliable and very accurate! 😉
 

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Read in one of their books that S&W uses the same materials in their blue and stainless revolvers. Whether chambered for .38 Special , .357 Magnum or others. Part of ISO-9001 standardization. No having different materials in-house that require different heat treatment procedures. Having done tool & die work for 40+yrs , I've seen it happen. We go thru truckloads of tool steel direct from Carpenter. We'd have the apprentices or helpers wipe down the 16ft lengths of steel down with acetone and spray paint each type of steel with it's own color code. Useable size cut-offs pieces get repainted. After material and machining costs, you don't want to use the wrong heat treat temp or process.
Wait, how can blued and stainless steel be the same material? Can stainless be blued or something?
 

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If a person shoots 38 specials at the range most of the time, then they would be better off with a 38 as opposed to a 357. The shorter cylinder will allow the bullet to be closer to the barrel forcing cone than a 357 would. That will aid accuracy. And if a lot of 38s are shot from a 357 the residue from the shorter round will make it difficult to chamber the longer 357 rounds unless the cylinder is cleaned very well, it can be a PIA, ask me how I know. It makes since to own both revolvers, actually several of both revolvers, let's say 5 of each just to be on the safe side.
 

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^^^^. I typically used had handloaded light loads in 357 cases when magnum loads were not first loads in the diet of the day It wasn’t an accuracy concern, the guns shot with 38 cases, it was preventing fouling from the shorter case causing difficult chambering of magnum
case ammo.
 
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Ruger GP-100 and SP-101 have 357 length cylinders with 357 capable steel. Even if the Ruger GP-100 or SP-101 is marked 38spl it can be reamed to accommodate 357 with no worries. The SP-101's 357 and 38spl cylinders are made exactly the same except for final finishing. Same thing for GP-100 cylinders. Any Ruger SP-101 or GP-100 revolver can accommodate 38spl +P+ round all the way to 357 pressure. Only issue for 38spl +P+ in a Ruger SP-101/GP-100 is the 38spl case.

Note: There are some older SP-101s from the early 90s that have a shorter cylinder that can't accommodate 357 over 125gn but those are rare. Ruger upgraded the SP-101 with a longer cylinder sometime in the early 90s.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
The root cause of a lot of posts.
I am manfully resisting the temptation. I am two generations behind in hideout guns and only have red dots on a couple of .22s.
Problem? I don't see no stinkin' problem. :rolleyes: Took me 70-years to be able to afford my second childhood. Only this time I'm not hoping my parents will buy me the gift I want; I'll just get it myself. :)

Grumpy
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
One way to have a general idea might be: if one of our members who has been reading this post and owns a Ruger Service Six, chambered for the .38 Special, could measure the length of the cylinder and post a photo I can compare that to the Security Six I have.

Grumpy
 

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Wait, how can blued and stainless steel be the same material? Can stainless be blued or something?

WOW! :oops:

Really? :rolleyes:

Guess I should have said they used the same chrome-moly alloy for their blued gun parts and the same stainless series for their stainless guns.

BTW; the end with the hole goes toward whatever ya want to shoot. :cool:
 

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Guess I should have said they used the same chrome-moly alloy for their blued gun parts and the same stainless series for their stainless guns.
Yah, I guess you should have.

From your original statement, it seems you are claiming they use the exact metallurgy / alloy percentages in both?

A little confusing, for me, as well.
 

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I'm not claiming anything. Only quoting what I read in one of the many books on S&W.
AISI 4140 chrome-moly is what was described as being the alloy used for MOST blued steel firearms and parts. It's pretty much the firearms industry standard combining good machinability and strength, and minimal size change when properly heat-treated.
416 stainless is the most common alloy used for machined parts , being the corrosion resistant equivalent of 4140 while having the same mechanical properties as 4140.

Bluing is a controlled form of corrosion , and although the 400-series of stainless alloys commonly used in firearms will rust , the higher chromium content of stainless alloys prevents conventional bluing.

Different alloys are used for investment casting. Ruger uses a proprietary stainless alloy , described in the Big Red Ruger book as ''Terehune Anticoro'' after the engineer that came up with it.

FWIW; the old AISI 3-4 digit system for steel analysis is losing out to so-called 'trade names'. And the powder alloys used for MiM are another story.
 

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Early days, S&W advertised heat treatment as what made a gun strong enough for .357 Magnum.
Of course. Metallurgy and heat treatment are a science all their own. Had a few weeks of it during my toolmaker training and apprenticeship, and it's been a constant learning curve ever since. The story of the 'low-number' 1903 receivers is a good example. Every alloy is different and when a steel suppliers heat-treat specs for a certain alloy say heat to critical temperature for hardening , they mean it! Generally within 50 degrees. Preferably on the plus side. Which is why we have our heat-treating oven calibrated every 6mos.
 

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As far as metallurgy, I was reading up on the Ruger Alaskan a few years ago and was somewhat shocked to read the pressure numbers that they tested their cylinders to. Iirc, it was in excess of 90,000 psi..
They basically said you couldn't blow it up if you tried.
So I'd say that yes, metallurgy has come a ways in the last 40 years.
 

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Mentioning the big Rugers…I have never heard of a blown up Redhawk or Super Redhawk. I have heard scary stories of some development proof loads used in the Redhawk…all before the internet.
 

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Design, too.
There is a thread about the strength of the Arisaka 38.
F.W. Mann wrote of his "Hamburg Rifle" with interrupted screw locking lugs and safety firing pin and said he had ruined a "Government pressure gauge" with it and that he had bulged a barrel without blowing the primer.
They didn't have modern alloys but they did have good designs.
 

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As far as metallurgy, I was reading up on the Ruger Alaskan a few years ago and was somewhat shocked to read the pressure numbers that they tested their cylinders to. Iirc, it was in excess of 90,000 psi..
They basically said you couldn't blow it up if you tried.
So I'd say that yes, metallurgy has come a ways in the last 40 years.
Mentioning the big Rugers…I have never heard of a blown up Redhawk or Super Redhawk. I have heard scary stories of some development proof loads used in the Redhawk…all before the internet.
In R.L. Wilsons Big Red Ruger Book , he quotes Bill Ruger in regard to the "purpling" of early Ruger rifle and revolver frames after bluing. This was due to the high silicon content of the steel alloy used in their castings. The high silicon content made the molten metal flow into the intricate details of the investment-cast molds better. It also makes some hell-for-strong steel. S-series tool steels are some of the toughest alloys. Hi-impact tools like jack-hammer chisels and teeth for metal-shredding machines are made from S-series tool steel (S-5/S-7). However , it was determined to cause the bluing fade or 'purpling'. Bill Ruger said he noted the same purpling in the receivers of early and highly prized Weatherby and Colt/Sauer rifles , both of which were made by JP Sauer of W Germany , which were also investment cast, and very strong.
 
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