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| .38-40 Winchester colspan="3" style="text-align: center; font-size: 90%; border-bottom: 1px solid #aaa; line-height: 1.25em;"

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.40 S&W, .38-40 Winchester .44 S&W Spl, and .45 ACP cartridges. Type Pistol Place of origin United States colspan="3" style="background: lightsteelblue; text-align: center; vertical-align: middle;"

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| Production history Designer Winchester Repeating Arms Company Produced 1874 to 1937, now in production again. colspan="3" style="background: lightsteelblue; text-align: center; vertical-align: middle;"

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| Specifications Parent case .44-40 Winchester Case type rimmed, bottlenecked Bullet diameter .401 in (Expression error: Unexpected < operator.

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 mm

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Neck diameter .416 in (Expression error: Unexpected < operator.

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 mm

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Shoulder diameter .4543 in (Expression error: Unexpected < operator.

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 mm

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Base diameter .465 in (Expression error: Unexpected < operator.

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 mm

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Rim diameter .520 in (Expression error: Unexpected < operator.

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 mm

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Rim thickness .058 in (Expression error: Unexpected < operator.

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 mm

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Case length 1.30 in (Expression error: Unexpected < operator.

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 mm

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Overall length 1.59 in (Expression error: Unexpected < operator.

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 mm

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| Ballistic performance Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy style="vertical-align:middle; border-bottom: 1px dotted #aaa;

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" | 180 gr (Expression error: Unexpected < operator.

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 m/s)

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Source: Cartridges of the World, 11th ed

[1]

The .38-40 Winchester was introduced by Winchester Repeating Arms Company in 1874 and is derived from their .44-40 Winchester. Though this cartridge was introduced for rifles, it is a better pistol cartridge than rifle cartridge. It is not particularly well suited to hunting game but it is excellent for self defense. Current loadings are intended for pistols[1].

Design & History

It is unclear why this cartridge was introduced since it is very similar to the .44-40 from which it was derived, differing only .026" in bullet diameter and 20 grains in standard bullet weight. The goal may have been to reduce recoil while maintaining a similar bullet sectional density[2]. One unusual design element of this cartridge is that factory ammunition was loaded with a different case profile than the standard chamber for this cartridge, factory ammunition having a much longer neck than the standard chamber. Most reloading dies are designed to size fired brass to the chamber specification rather than that of the original factory ammunition case profile[3].

The renewed interest in this caliber can be explained by the increasing popularity of Cowboy action shooting[3]. Several handguns have recently been chambered for this cartridge, including Ruger Vaqueros. Most modern reloading data for this cartridge is found in the handgun section of reloading manuals.

Performance

Though introduced as an "all-around" cartridge, the .38-40 is a marginal performer on deer[3]. Ballistically, it is remarkably similar to the much newer .40 S&W, sharing the same bullet diameter, bullet weight and velocity, making the .38-40 as suitable for self defense as the newer cartridge if similar bullets are used.

Synonyms

  • .38-40
  • .38-40 WCF

Categories

Cartridge:rifles

  1. 1.0 1.1 Barnes, Frank C. [1965] (2006). in Skinner, Stan: Cartridges of the World, 11th Edition, Iola, WI, USA: Gun Digest Books, 92. ISBN 0-89689-297-2. 
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  2. Waters, Ken [1980] (1990). Pet Loads, volume 2, 5th Edition, Prescott, AZ, USA: Wolfe Publishing, 443-447. ISBN 0-935632-33-6. 
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  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 (1998) in Jones, Allan: Speer Reloading Manual, 13th Edition, Lewiston, ID, USA: Blount, Inc., 394-400, 542-542. 
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