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  1. #1
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    Correct term for WWII British Revolver Cartridge, .380" or ".38-200"?

    Hello

    I have been wondering about this question for a bit, this might seem like a dumb question but I had to ask anyway.

    The question is about the .38" calibre WWII British Revolver Cartridge.

    Of all the photos of actual WWII British and Commonwealth SAA Cartons that I have seen, the label clearly reads .380", also the same applies to the headstamps on the cartridges as well.

    But, I see many people using the term ".38-200" to describe this cartridge. I am living in the United States and hear that term being used here the most, so I not certain if this is "American Collector Slang" or not?

    I understand that the original .380" Mk. I Revolver Cartridge was a 200 grain lead bullet. So the term ".38-200" makes sense in practical terms, that much I understand.

    I also understand that the version of the cartridge used during WWII and afterwards, the .380" Mk.II Revolver Cartridge had a 178 grain (I think?) Ball (aka "FMJ") Bullet instead of a 200 grain lead bullet. I hear some people use the term ".38-200" to describe that cartridge as well, even though it does not have a 200 grain bullet.

    I tend to use the term .380" Revolver Cartridge. Am I correct or not, or is ".38-200" a "correct" term as well?
    Thanks
    Mark
    Last edited by TomcatPC; 2nd December 2010 at 05:08 AM. Reason: Dyslexia reared it's ugly head...again.

  2. #2
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    I call the cartridge the .38 S&W. What you call it is also correct, but I like to give credit to the Fine American company who first made the round.......
    Smith & Wesson.

    The .38 S&W is a revolver cartridge developed by Smith & Wesson in 1877. Though similar in name, it is not interchangeable with the later Smith & Wesson .38 Special cartridge due to a different and shorter case shape and slightly larger bullet diameter.

    The British military adopted a loading of this cartridge as the Cartridge, S.A., Revolver Ball, 380 in, MkI 38-200 with the "200" referring to the weight of the lead bullet in grains. In 1937, this cartridge was replaced in British Service by the Cartridge, S.A., Revolver Ball, 380 in, MkII. The main difference between it and the previous round was that that it had a 178 grn. FMJ bullet.









  3. #3
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    British .380

    Whilst the background of the British .380 round is as you say, the nomenclature you give is wrong. It never had "38-200" as part of the title nor was it known officially as that in British service.

    The correct title was " Cartridge SA Revolver Ball .380 inch Mark I" when introduced (or Mark Iz if loaded with nitrocellulose).

    I believe the term originated for the original S & W police load to identify the heavier than normal bullet.

    Regards
    TonyE
    Researcher, collector and pedant
    British military small arms and ammunition.
    https://sites.google.com/site/britmilammo

  4. #4
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    A .380" box lable to prove the point

    Tony
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    "Si vis pacem,para bellum"

    Member of COYCC

  5. #5
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    .38/200

    Despite what TonyE says, there were some British-made cartridges that had ".38-200" in the headstamp. AFAIK, they all had the 200-grain lead bullet. I have in my collection a Kynoch-made box (empty, unfortunately) which has a label stating ".38/200 Revolver Cartridges". They would have been for commercial sale, rather than military. The military ones just had the usual military headstamp.

    Roger.

  6. #6
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    38-200

    Roger, I said it was not known as that in British service. i was not talking about commercial loadings.

    Regards
    TonyE
    Researcher, collector and pedant
    British military small arms and ammunition.
    https://sites.google.com/site/britmilammo

  7. #7
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    Hello

    So by me using the term .380" (in referring to actual British Military Service nomenclature), I am correct in using .380"?

    I have one Canadian made box for .380" Mk.IIz cartridges, that I posted on another website whilst in a online debate about the name of the cartridge and some people there said I was wrong, that the cartridge was called .38-200 and not .380", even though the box said .380" LOL.

    Thanks, been wondering about this for a bit, and just now had the guts to ask.
    Mark

    P.S. Is the .380" Mk. II or Mk. IIz Cartridge difficult to locate (either live or inert) in the United States?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyE View Post
    Whilst the background of the British .380 round is as you say, the nomenclature you give is wrong. It never had "38-200" as part of the title nor was it known officially as that in British service.

    The correct title was " Cartridge SA Revolver Ball .380 inch Mark I" when introduced (or Mark Iz if loaded with nitrocellulose).

    I believe the term originated for the original S & W police load to identify the heavier than normal bullet.

    Regards
    TonyE



    Hi Tony, OK, thank you, my post stands corrected. I copied and pasted that info to try to help answer the question. I maybe should have read it a little closer, or waited for the experts like yourself and others to answer.
    Although, it's still the .38 S&W to me, no matter what other names it has.

    This thread has reminded me I actually need a nice box of British WW2 dated ammo to go with the Albion Enfield pistol I have.
    Here's a few photos of the revolver that shoots the ammo that's been discussed here. It's my only British WW2 (Scottish actually) gun in my collection, and one of my favorite's.

    Quote Originally Posted by TomcatPC View Post
    P.S. Is the .380" Mk. II or Mk. IIz Cartridge difficult to locate (either live or inert) in the United States?
    Hi Mark, I'll let you know, I'm going to look for a WW2 dated box of bullets. I think I've seen them a few times on Gunbroker before. Years ago they were easy to find, not anymore like all WW2 ammo here in the US.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Kilroy was Here; 6th December 2010 at 03:37 AM.








  9. #9
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    .38

    ...and here are a couple of pictures of the ammo. First the .380 ball Mark I and Drill D Mark I, second a selection of ball Mark II, Drill D mark II, Inspectors U Mark I and blank L Mark IT.

    Nice pistol by the way, especially as it is an Albion.

    Regards
    TonyE
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    Researcher, collector and pedant
    British military small arms and ammunition.
    https://sites.google.com/site/britmilammo

  10. #10
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    Didn't the MkI end production in 1937? could be why WWII dated MkI .380" are hard to find

    Tony
    "Si vis pacem,para bellum"

    Member of COYCC

 

 
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