The .38 rimfire cartridge was a common round for many antique revolvers and rifles from the 1870s to the early 1900s. It was a common self-defense round for a small revolver that was often kept in a vest pocket through the 1890s. Production in the United States of rimfire calibers larger than .22 ceased upon our entry into World War 2 and was never resumed by the major manufacturers. Factory loaded ammunition is no longer available except as collector items.
The .38 rimfire cartridge was available in short, long, extra long, and also shotshells. Most of the revolvers and rifle which were produced were chambered for either .38 short, or .38 long. While there were a few different rifles produced for the .38 extra long cartridge and a few rolling block, falling block, and bolt action rifles had smooth bore barrels which had a slight choke which enabled it to shoot the .38 RF shotshells, which was good for hunting small game at close ranges. A very common company that had revolvers and rifles chambered for the .38RF was Hopkins & Allen. Others include the Remington revolving rifle of 1866, Ballard, Stevens and Wesson rifles, and Enterprise, Favorite, Forehand & Wadsworth and Colt revolvers.