The ammunition chart in the Kuhnhausen book (with which I know you are familiar) relates the 38 Colt Pol Pos (New Police) and the 38 S&W to the BS, but not the 38 Colt short. No personal knowledge, however. /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif
It shoots a treat in the Banker's Special. I've got the remainder of a box of Remington .38 Short Colt upstairs in my gun closet. A wrist rocket sling shot will provide equivalent performance with the 130 grain lead round nosed bullet. Pulling this from memory but seems like it only did around 630-650 fps over the chronograph from the snub-barreled Banker's Special. It's truly mighty!
I did actually use the Banker's Special and the .38 Short Colt to take out a feral dog with a single shot to the head at my parents' rural home a couple of years ago. Well, it wasn't a very big dog. I'd chronographed the .38 Short Colt load that day and it and the Banker's Special was what was available when the need arose.
No. The Bankers Special is chambered for the 38 S&W or as Colt prefered to call it, the 38 Colt New Police cartridge. It seems S&W and Colt each had a severe dislike for marking their revolvers with a cartridge name that made any reference to the other company, so each had a similar cartridge with their own name. Both cases were identical and I believe the Colt loading used a slightly different style bullet to justify the duplication.
The 38 short colt , and it's big brother the 38 long colt, had a straight wall case similar in diameter to the 38 special, but much shorter. Some of the older Colt 38 cylinders were bored straight through and would allow the more potent 38 spec or .357 mag to chamber, but definitely not safe to shoot.
The 38 S&W, and it's Colt duplicate, used a tapered case with a larger diameter at the base than the 38 short cartridge. The 38 short would probably be a loose fit and fire with a danger of severely bulged and/or ruptured cases. Some of the later WWII 38 S&W revolvers were reworked by reaming the chamber shoulders deeper to accept the straight walled, but smaller OD 38 special cartridge and case bulging and splitting resulted. If you wish to shoot your Bankers Special, the safe way is to find a box of 38 S&W....(NOT 38 S&W SPECIAL)
The 1933 Colt's catalog shows the Banker's Special using ".38 Colt Police Positive (New Police) and .38 S&W cartridges."
The ammo chart shows the following as taking the .38 Colt Short: Official Police, Officers' Model, Shooting Master, New Service, Police Positive Special, Single Action Army, and Detective Special.
As mentioned, .38 Short Colt has about the oomph of the .41 rimfire. I was in a gun shop a few years back that still stocked the Remington variety. It's probably still sitting on the shelves gathering dust.
The .38 Short Colt is so puny that I'm not certain the case would bulge if the cartridge was fired unconfined.
Seriously, the .38 Short Colt did not bulge or split when fired in my Banker's Special and gave normal extraction.
A LEO friend carried a S&W Victory .38/200 that had been converted to .38 Special for some years. His department issued 110 grain +P for everything from practice/qualification to duty use. He fired gobs of this ammo in the old Victory. All that happened to the case was that it would show a small step mid-ways up the side where the end of the original chamber occurred. I never saw a split. This was the only opportunity I've had to observe .38 Special fired in such a conversion. The revolver itself seemed to be content with such use and exhibited no excessive end shake, the primers showing no excessive flattening. After several years of watching him shoot the old thing I convinced him to purchase a S&W Model 66.
Barnes "Cartridges of the World" indicates the dimensions of the .38 Short Colt as: bullet diameter .357, neck diameter .377, base diameter .378, and rim diameter .433.
The .38 S&W shows: bullet diameter .359, neck diameter .386, base diameter .386, and rim diameter .433.
The .38 Special shows: bullet diameter .357, base diameter.379,and rim diameter .440.
The .38 Special is entirely too long for the Banker's Special's short cylinder.