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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I put this here since it's both ammo and handguns...

I've been trying to put together a brief list of history dates when different calibers were invented. Please comment about any mistakes or omissions you see..



Firearms Cartridge History
for mainly handguns up until 1960

1836 Colt revolver with black powder & percusion caps

1857 First 22caliber rimfire, 22Short with black powder

1873 .45Colt centerfire for Colt revolver

1887 .22LR rimfire by Stevens Co. with "smokless" powder

1899 .32acp by John Browning

1902 .38special by Smith&Wesson

1903 Colt makes .32acp pistols in USA

1904 9mm Luger (9x19)

1906 .25acp and .380acp (9mmKurz, 9x17) by John Browning

1908 Colt makes .380acp pistols in USA

1910 .45acp by John Browning

1911 Colt makes .45acp pistols, the "1911"

1935 .357magnum

1940 Baby Browning .25acp pistols in Belgium

1950 Makarov 9x18, Russian

1955 .44magnum

1960 .22WMR (22magnum), by Winchester


FWIW,
og
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thank you, gunfan!!

Best I'm able to find about the .32S&W types is these appeared in the late 1800's, maybe around 1890, as revolver rounds, of course. They have the typical rim of a revolver round.
Maybe this is where John Browning got his idea for the .32acp and just used a .32S&W case cut shorter for his semi-auto pistol. Perhaps that's why the .32acp has a slightly rimmed cartridge. I, personally, have no use for .32acp, poor penetration in all my tests over 3 yrs. Sold and traded all my 32's. The "rimlock" problem is not good either.

As for the .22WRF, you are correct, it is much older than the .22WMR and appeared in the late 1800's also. There are still a few WRF firearms around so the ammo is still available, but hard to find. You can fire WRF in a revolver chambered for WMR, but not the other way around. Here is a fair article on rimfire history for anyone wanting to know more.....

http://www.chuckhawks.com/history_rimfire_ammo.htm

Cheers,
og
 
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The .45 ACP was invented in 1905. AHG ran a big article about it being 100 years old, last year.

Of course, it took five more years for Browning to perfect the platform, and another year, still, for the army to adopt it; hence the name "Colt 1911."
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Makes you wonder if Browning got his 45acp idea from the old 45Colt revolver round as well. Just speculating, perhaps he started out with it as rimmed cartridge like his .32acp by just cutting down a 45Colt case. Maybe the big rim caused jaming in his new pistol design and he finally went with the rimless .45acp design we have today. Very little details in published history on any of Browning's personal thoughts about his inventions.
FWIW,
og

edit...
actually, the .45acp has a little bit of "rim", only .002" larger than the case. But nothing as severe as the .32acp with the rim .020" larger than the case. The 9mm also has the small .002"larger rim and only the .380 and Mak 9x18 have rims exactly the same as case diameter. Info like this best found on ammoguide.com where there is also some history.
 
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The .32 S&W Long came about in 1898. This was in response to the east coast police deparments desire for a more powerful round than the .32 S&W. Theodore Roosevelt chose it as the first centerfire round to be issued to the officers of the NYPD.

Scott
 

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A couple of comments:

I believe the 9mm Luger or Parabellum was invented in 1902.

The .45 ACP was indeed designed from the .45 Colt.

The .38 S&W was the cartridge from which the .38 Special (correctly; .38 S&W Special) was designed, but the relationship ends there. They are not remotely close ballistically.
 

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Actually, the .38 S&W Special round's ancestor is the .38 Long Colt.

S&W lengthened the case to 1.155", increased the bullet weight to 158 grains, increased the powder charge from 17 to 21.5 grains of blackpowder. The .38 Long Colt drove a 150 gr RNL to 750 fps in a six inch barrel. The Special drove its 158 gr RNL to 855 fps.


Roadster
 

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Not to be argumentative, but why would Smith and Wesson use a Colt cartridge as the antecedent to the .38 S&W Special given that they, S&W, only needed to lengthen their proprietary cartridge and then upscale their guns to suit?

Have a look at the calibre markings the next time you have the chance to look at a Model 10 and a Police Positive side by side. I'll wager the M10 says ".38 S&W SPECIAL" and the Colt says ".38 SPECIAL".
 

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abninftr,

I don't know the reason that S&W decided to base their new .38 S&W Spl round on the .38 Long Colt. All I know is that they did. And it is a good thing for us .38 Spl shooters that the .38 LC was chosen over the .38 S&W round.

All of my older S&W M&P's and Model 10's and 12's are indeed marked ".38 S&W Special". My old 1937 made 38/44 Outdoorsman is marked ".38 Smith & Wesson Special".

When Colt dropped the .38 LC chambering and went to the .38 S&W Spl in their Army Special, the caliber marking was ".38 Colt Special". One of my old prewar Police Positive Specials is marked the same way. Same cartridge except that the Colt Spl bullet has a blunt nose compared to the round nose on the S&W cartridge. I've got W.R.A. black powder rounds headstamped ".38 S&W Sp'l" and ".38 Colt Sp'l".

My newer postwar Colt .38's such as my 1st Issue Cobra and a Diamondback are stamped ".38 Special".

Colt has always refused to use the letters S&W on any of their revolvers. That is why such cartridge designations such as the .32 Colt New Police (.32 S&W Long), the .38 Colt New Police (.38 S&W), and the .38 Colt Special were used.

shooter58,

The .38 Colt Super Auto is based on the .38 ACP. Same case and bullet. Just higher operating pressure. The .44 S&W American was introduced circa 1869 and it was the first centerfire handgun cartridge to be used in this country. The .44 S&W Russian was developed as a military round for the Imperial Russian Army in 1870. It is loosely based on the .44 American, but it is a bigger diameter case that used a 246 grain RNL inside lubricated bullet instead of the 205 gr RNL outside lubricated taper heel bullet of the .44 American. The Russian was a more powerful and more accurate round.

The .44 WCF (Winchester Center Fire) was introduced in 1873 chambered in the new Winchester Model 1874 lever action rifle. The orginal load consisted of a .427" 200 grain inside lubed flat nosed bullet over 40 grains of black powder. The 1873 and the .44 WCF were the replacements for the older Model 1866 and the .44 Henry Flat rimfire round. In due course the round became known as the .44-40 Winchester. I've seen a Colt New Service DA revolver chambered for it marked .44-40 WCF.

The history of cartridge development in this nation is a somewhat complex one. And the assignation of cartridge names and caliber markings is somewhat haphazard. One only has to look at the .38 WCF aka .38-40 Winchester to see what I mean. This cartridge isn't a .38 but was called one because if it was named for its true caliber it would have been called the .40-40 WCF. And that would have created confusion with the .44-40 WCF.

And so it goes......


Roadster
 

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Okay, I think I know where some of the confusion about the .38 SPL comes from.

A little history to clear the muddy waters.

S&W brought out the .38 S&W in 1877. It is one of the oldest centrefire cartridges, and was originally a blackpowder cartridge for their top-break revolvers. Just after the end of the 19th century, the US Army, particularly those serving in the Philipines was less than thrilled with their new .38 Colt revolvers. S&W, seeing that a change was coming, scaled up the .38 S&W to create the .38 S&W Special. That was in 1902.

One could easily be confused the events, but the only connection was an attempt to poach the Army contract from Colt. History repeated itself in a way when S&W developed the .40S&W to replace the 10mm after the FBI found the "10's" were so problematic, but that is another story.

In 1909, Colt introduced the identical cartridge, ".38 Special". I don't doubt that Colt at one time called it ".38 Colt Special". Colt has a long history of offering forth the pretense that any good idea was theirs. Their ".38 Colt New Police" and ".38 Super Police". were nothing other than the ".38 S&W", dare I say it, similarly mis-represented.

Regardless, Colt were the late-comers to the party, and Smith & Wesson used their proprietary cartridge as the basis for the "Special".

Access to all sorts of reference material is one nice things about being in "the industry".
 

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Actually, according to Goddard (author of The Government Models) the .45 ACP cartridge was invented around 1903 and John Browning made up two tool room modifications of the pocket 1902 in the caliber.

He did this in anticipation of the 1904 trials. I am not sure about patent dates.

First loads were 200 grs at 900 fps.

Jim
 

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Kinda too busy to look these up right now but some worth adding are:

.44 Colt Center Fire - used in several factory conversions and the 1872 "open top" cartrige gun.

7.62 Mauser (broomhandle) - 1896???
9mm Mauser Export - the caliber for the "Red 9"
.38 Browning Auto (long) - 1898???
.44 Spl - 1907 I think????
.45 Schofield
9.8mm Colt - the first .40 S&W :) - 1910
.41 Magnum - 1964?


Gotta run, probably some more...

Great project!

Jim
 

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Jim,
Seems like we left out the .41's. There was the .41 Colt "Thunderer" DA revolver in the late 1800's and the .41 Magnum in the 50/60's. One oddball was the .41 Special, but it's a custom proposition.
Will try to get dates and data to report back with...
Wes
 

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Jim,
Seems like we left out the .41's. There was the .41 Colt "Thunderer" DA revolver in the late 1800's and the .41 Magnum in the 50/60's. One oddball was the .41 Special, but it's a custom proposition.
Will try to get dates and data to report back with...
Wes
Roger that. I think that the .41 Colt did come out with the Thunderer. I have seen a couple of SAAs in .41 so it possibly could have been a touch earlier.

A friend probably had a couple of the first .41 Special....he had New Line Guns in St. Louis convert two of the first L frames for the cartridge. Sometime in the mid to late 70s (I forget when the L frame came out right now).

Jim
 
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