HGR 004 - Odd Handgun Cartridges

HGR 004 - Odd Calibers

Ryan discusses the odd cartridges of the handgun world

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Welcome to Handgun Radio! I’m your host Ryan Michad and this is your home for all the news, information and discussion in the handgunning world.  Brought to you by the Firearms Radio Network.

Review of The Past Week:

  • Got a chance to video review one of my favorite handguns, the FEG P9R. The P9R is made by FEG in Hungary, and is a double-action facsimile of the Browning High-Power.  It also has some similarities to the early Smith & Wesson double-action semi-automatic series.
  • Got some great feedback on the last episode, Reloading Handgun Cartridges.  Don’t forget to subscribe in iTunes and leave us an iTunes review!
  • We are also on Stitcher Radio now. You can download Stitcher Radio for free in the iTunes app store and search for Handgun Radio.
  • Any questions or suggestions? Email me at ryan@handgunradio.com

Half-Truth of the Week:

  • “90% of Americans support universal background checks.” How many times have you heard that repeated?
  • In Statistics, you survey a small group of people about a particular subject. You ask the small sample group how they feel about something, and if the sample group is diverse and representative of the large population, you can extrapolate that the results will be similar for the millions of people in the United States.
  • However, if you survey a sample of people from a place you know to be rather left leaning, you can skew a statistic by drawing your sample group from that left leaning area.
  • The real percentage for support is more around 65%.
  • The Phoenix News Times had a great article on the 90% myth.

Main Topic: Odd Cartridges

  • There are some cartridges out there that aren’t quite “mainstream”; i.e. they aren’t ones you can typically go to your local Wal-Mart and buy.
  • A “Parent Case” is the original case that the new round is formed from. For example, the parent case for .357 SIG is the .40 S&W.
  • A Wildcat cartridge is a cartridge that is not yet recognized by SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute) and therefore, does not have any standardized pressures or dimensions.
  • These are just some of my favorite oddball cartridges
  • .25 NAA: This is a cartridge designed first as a wildcat cartridge, and then adopted by North American Arms for their Guardian series of pistols.  They used a .32 ACP as a parent case, and made it into a bottleneck to accept a .25 caliber bullet.  A similar thing was done with a .380 ACP parent case to make the .32 NAA.

  • 7.62x38mmR or 7.62 Nagant: The 7.62 Nagant was a specialty cartridge designed for use in the 1895 Nagant Gas-Seal revolver.  Used by Soviet Russia for a number of years, the 1895 Nagant used a special camming mechanism that cammed the cylinder forward to seal the chamber against the forcing cone and prevent any powder gases from escaping between the barrel/cylinder gap.  The 7.62 Nagant cartridge had a deeply seated bullet with an extended case mouth to help with this gas seal.

  • 7.62x25mm Tokarev: The 7.62x25mm Tokarev round was based upon the 7.63 Mauser round that was chambered in the C96 Mauser “Broomhandle”.  The Russians had used the Broomhandle and really liked the 7.63mm cartridge, so they designed their own, higher-pressure variant (Don’t even THINK about using 7.62 Tokarev in a C96 Mauser.) The 7.62x25 is a high velocity cartridge that was chambered in many handguns used by the Soviets and their satellite states in the Cold War, including the TT-33 Tokarev, the CZ-52, as well as many submachine guns.  The 7.62x25mm does have surprising penetration abilities, and with some loads can penetrate some forms of armor.

  • .38/45 Clerke: Designed by Bo Clerke in the early 1960’s, the .38/45 Clerke was a .45 ACP case necked down to .38 caliber. This allowed for reliable feeding while using semi and full wadcutter bullets.  The bottleneck shape of the cartridge enhances feeding reliability when using non-conventional bullets shapes in an autoloader.

  • 9X25mm Dillon: Designed by Dillon Precision, the 9x25mm Dillon was developed from the 10mm Auto parent case.  The .357 SIG is the .40 S&W case necked down to 9mm. The .40 S&W is a shortened version of the 10mm Case.  This cartridge can be considered a .357 SIG on steroids.  The round is said to have been developed to feed more powder gases to the compensators on USPSA and IPSC guns.  The round used so much slow burning pistol powder that it actually had a reputation for burning out barrels and breaking equipment because of increased slide velocity.

  • .38 Super (+P): The .38 Super +P is based upon the .38 ACP cartridge from the early 1900’s.  Developed in 1920 to help defeat the increasing use of armor by Prohibition-era gangsters, the .38 Super was first chambered in the Colt 1911, and was used extensively by Police as well as the criminal element in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  A redesign of the barrel by Bar-Sto Precision after World War Two gave the .38 Super a new lease on life and helped to cure the accuracy problems that plagued it during the beginning of its life. It is now known as one of the more popular calibers for USPSA and IPSC competition.

  • .50 GI: The most modern cartridge on the list, the .50 GI was designed alongside the Guncrafter Industries Model 1, which was a 1911 pattern pistol.  The .50 GI uses a rebated rim, meaning that while the outside diameter of the cartridge is .50 inches, the rim is rebated and is the same exact diameter as a .45 ACP rim.  It is available in the 1911 pattern pistol as well as Glocks using a conversion kit produced by Guncrafter Industries.


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