.38 Short Colt

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.38 Short Colt
Type Revolver
Place of origin  United States
Production history
Designer Colt
Manufacturer Colt
Bullet diameter .359 in (9.1 mm)
Neck diameter .379 in (9.6 mm)
Base diameter .379 in (9.6 mm)
Rim diameter .445 in (11.3 mm)
Rim thickness .060 in (1.5 mm)
Case length .765 in (19.4 mm)
Ballistic performance
Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy
93 gr (6 g) LRN 791 ft/s (241 m/s) 165 ft·lbf (224 J)
129 gr (8 g) LRN 777 ft/s (237 m/s) 181 ft·lbf (245 J)
Source(s): Hodgdon Online reloading data

The .38 Short Colt (or .38 SC) was a heeled bullet cartridge intended for metallic cartridge conversions of the .36 cal cap & ball Colt 1851 Navy Revolver from the American Civil War era.[1]

Later, this cartridge was fitted with a 0.359" diameter inside-lubricated bullet in the 125–135 grain range.[2][3]

Remington is one of the few producers of this cartridge today with a 125grs LRN bullet. Magtech produces this grain weight and Ten-x manufactures a 95gr load, as well as blanks.

Visually, it resembles a .38 S&W but the case dimensions are slightly different. The .38 Short Colt case is the parent to .38 Long Colt and .38 Special.

There is no problem firing this cartridge in .357 revolvers, but some shooters worry that the long bullet jump might make accuracy difficult. The "bullet jump" has not, however, been proven to have any affect on accuracy.


  1. ^ Taffin, John (2005). Single Action Sixguns. Iola, Wisconsin: Krause Publications. p. 37. ISBN 0-87349-953-0. 
  2. ^ Barnes, Frank C. (1997) [1965]. McPherson, M.L., ed. Cartridges of the World (8th Edition ed.). DBI Books. pp. 64, 91. ISBN 0-87349-178-5. 
  3. ^ "Tab IV - Pistol and revolver cartridges". C.I.P. Retrieved 9 July 2013.