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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I was just looking at cda926's thread about his .41 Army Special and got to wondering about something. Since the .40 S&W is so close to the .38-40, would a rimmed version for sixguns make sense? I never think about such things preferring old calibers that already exists, but I got to thinking about this looking at that .41 Colt. This just popped into my head so I won't be surprised if there's already a cartridge I'm forgetting that is close to this already (besides the .38-40). But a non magnum with a bigger bullet than .357 in a case more modern than .38-40 might be interesting, but maybe a long jump into the barrel like .45 ACP in a SAA.
 

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With half (or full) moon clips in a custom cylinder, it could be done now in a smokeless frame .38-40 SAA. However, the with the .38-40 being the original 40 caliber cartridge, and low enough pressure for even black powder frames; yet more than enough case capacity for hotter hand loads, I would be perfectly happy with a .38-40.
 
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With half (or full) moon clips in a custom cylinder, it could be done now in a smokeless frame .38-40 SAA. However, the with the .38-40 being the original 40 caliber cartridge, and low enough pressure for even black powder frames; yet more than enough case capacity for hotter hand loads, I would be perfectly happy with a .38-40.
There is no need for clips in a SAA or other Single Action. Don't work too well, anyway.

Bob Wright
 

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The danger of any such modification would be if some rube fitted a .40 S&W cylinder to a BP framed SAA and shot it. Th problem is that it would hold the pressure. For awhile.

The good news regarding .40 S&W is that it has greatly increased the availability of light, expanding bullets for hand loading the .38-40, such as the R.I.P. and Ruger's ARX. Those lightweight bullets can be loaded to very high velocity under low pressures - ideal for the .38-40 for those who prefer such. The original .38-40 was no slacker in the defense department.

The "ancient" .38-40...

Ballistic performance
Bullet mass/typeVelocityEnergy
180 gr (12 g) SP1,160 ft/s (350 m/s)538 ft·lbf (729 J)

Compared to the "modern" .40 S&W.

Ballistic performance
Bullet mass/typeVelocityEnergy
10.69 g (165 gr) Federal FMJ1,130 ft/s (340 m/s)468 ft·lbf (635 J)
7.45 g (115 gr) Cor-Bon Glaser1,400 ft/s (430 m/s)500 ft·lbf (680 J)
10.04 g (155 gr) Federal HST1,160 ft/s (350 m/s)463 ft·lbf (628 J)
8.74 g (135 gr) Underwood JHP1,400 ft/s (430 m/s)588 ft·lbf (797 J)
12.95 g (200 gr) Doubletap FMJ FP1,050 ft/s (320 m/s)490 ft·lbf (660 J)

From the Wiki:

"Ballistically the .40 S&W is almost identical to the .38-40 Winchester introduced in 1874, as they share the same bullet diameter and bullet weight, and have similar muzzle velocities."
 

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I was just looking at cda926's thread about his .41 Army Special and got to wondering about something. Since the .40 S&W is so close to the .38-40, would a rimmed version for sixguns make sense? I never think about such things preferring old calibers that already exists, but I got to thinking about this looking at that .41 Colt. This just popped into my head so I won't be surprised if there's already a cartridge I'm forgetting that is close to this already (besides the .38-40). But a non magnum with a bigger bullet than .357 in a case more modern than .38-40 might be interesting, but maybe a long jump into the barrel like .45 ACP in a SAA.
This is exactly what the knowledgeable gunwriters had in mind when the .41 Magnum was introduced. I believe both Skeeter Skelton and Bill Jordan campaigned for a moderate level .40 ~ .41 caliber cartridge that could be produced in a K-Frame Smith or Python sized Colt. But the .41 Magnum got blown out of proportion when it hit the market and dang near duplicated the .44 Magnum.

Bob Wright
 

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This is exactly what the knowledgeable gunwriters had in mind when the .41 Magnum was introduced. I believe both Skeeter Skelton and Bill Jordan campaigned for a moderate level .40 ~ .41 caliber cartridge that could be produced in a K-Frame Smith or Python sized Colt. But the .41 Magnum got blown out of proportion when it hit the market and dang near duplicated the .44 Magnum.

Bob Wright
A .40 or .41 Special in a medium frame was the original idea, if I remember correctly. Still a great idea.
 
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This just popped into my head so I won't be surprised if there's already a cartridge I'm forgetting that is close to this already (besides the .38-40). But a non magnum with a bigger bullet than .357 in a case more modern than .38-40 might be interesting, but maybe a long jump into the barrel like .45 ACP in a SAA.
Just for arguments sake I will mention the all but obsolete Herters .401 Powermag. Buffalo Arms has brass and .40 S&W and .38/40 bullets can be used in reloads. Somebody might be making loaded ammunition.
 

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This is all predicated on the assumption that the round will find wide usage in a world now dominated by semi-autos, and a manufacturer will produce the round in hopes of making a profit.

No agency I'm aware of still uses revolvers - and the round 'and' associated weapon - would have to appeal to someone with buying power beyond that of a handful of revolver aficianados - and today, revolvers are just not seen in general usage.

You might ask 'Starline' - they're the ones who initially brought back .45 S&W and .38-40, and being smaller, might have an interest in filling that niche as a reloading component.

It'd have to appeal to handgun hunters, as well - who already have proven ballistics (and successes) with existing .357 and .44 Magnum loads.
 

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I get the idea is interesting but the .40 caliber is on a downhill slope today...police agencies are dropping it in favor of improved 9mm technology. The FBI did that and their decision making leads the pack and other agencies figure if the FBI does it it must be good for them...without realizing what's good for the FBI isn't necessarily the best for other law enforcement agencies. Still...the .40, while not dead...isn't the hot ticket sales-wise it used to be. The biggest market for it now will be replacement ammunition for civilians who shoot it.

A rimmed .40? If someone wants to pony up the R&D funds for a company like Starline plus an ammunition supplier to make a run to test the market...maybe. If someone makes a .40 rimmed, why not a 10mm rimmed? Someone might actually make a revolver for that...maybe.
 
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The 38-40 is the original .40 bottle necked cartridge. The .401 Herters Powermag could be loaded down to 40 S&W levels.

401 A.jpg

401 B.gif
 

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If Ruger already makes (or made) a .40 caliber revolver, and they also make a .41 Magnum Super Blackhawk, it can't be much different to make one in 10mm. The question is...is there a market for that?
 

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A rimmed .40? If someone wants to pony up the R&D funds for a company like Starline plus an ammunition supplier to make a run to test the market...maybe. If someone makes a .40 rimmed, why not a 10mm rimmed? Someone might actually make a revolver for that...maybe.
I have a Ruger Blackhawk convertible that has a 38-40 and a 10mm Auto cylinder. The 10mm cylinder headspaces on the lip of the cartridge case like the old US Model 1917 revolvers did. The ejector rod kicks them out after use.

Smith and Wesson, Taurus and Charter arms make 40 S&W revolvers too. The Charter Arms Pit Bull has a unique ejector design that makes half moon clips unnecessary.
 

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I believe the late Tom Ferguson suggested a shortened .41 Magnum in one of the "Handguns for Law Enforcement" books? I suppose my favorite .38-40 requires a large framed handgun, so perhaps a modernized version of the .41 Colt would make sense for a medium framed revolver. But then what would that do that a .357 Magnum in a K Frame wouldn't be better at?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just for arguments sake I will mention the all but obsolete Herters .401 Powermag. Buffalo Arms has brass and .40 S&W and .38/40 bullets can be used in reloads. Somebody might be making loaded ammunition.
Good one. The .401 would be pretty close allright. Perhaps longer, though I've never seen a cartridge before. I did like the looks of the Herters guns themselves.
 

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Sheriff Burp, I am surprised that you don't already know about the .41 Special. Starline offers brass for it now:
https://www.starlinebrass.com/brass-cases/41-Special/
it is simply the .41 Magnum with the same case length as the .38 Special and .44 Special. A 210 grain cast Keith style bullet at between 850 and 1000 fps would be a great load. Some pistolsmiths have converted S&W L Frames to the round which I think is the perfect frame size for that cartridge. Brain Pearce did an article on the .41 Special in Handloader a while back. However I doubt that we will ever see widescale acceptance of it in today's age of plastic autoloaders. I would love to convert a 4" Model 586.
 

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Given the SAA ejection system, it would be easy to have a .40 S&W cylinder made for my 2006 .38-40, since the .40 S&W, like most auto cartridges, headspaces on the case mouth intead of the rim. Easy - but not cheap. ;)

You do have to use moon clips with my S&W 646 .40 S&W, but I use Rimz brand and have no problems. Lots of fun, and .40 S&W ammunition seems to be everywhere, since it's popularity with users is fading.

 

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Maybe the .40 S&W rimmed might appeal to Cowboy Shooters. Like stoking .357 Vaqueros with mousefart loads of Trail Boss in a .38 Short Colt case?
 
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