.38 rimfire

.38 Long rimfire
5 rounds of .38 Rimfire long.JPG
TypePistol, Rifle
Place of originUnited States
Service history
Used byUS Army
Production history
VariantsShort, Long, and Extra Long
Bullet diameter.375 in (9.5 mm)
Neck diameter.376 in (9.6 mm)
Shoulder diameter.376 in (9.6 mm)
Base diameter.376 in (9.6 mm)
Rim diameter.435 in (11.0 mm)
Rim thickness.052 in (1.3 mm)
Case length0.873 in (22.2 mm)
Overall length1.380 in (35.1 mm)
Primer typeRimfire
Ballistic performance
Bullet mass/type Velocity Energy
150 gr (10 g) External lube 980 ft/s (300 m/s) 320 ft⋅lbf (430 J)
Test barrel length: Rifle
.38 Extra Long rimfire [1]
Place of originUnited States
Base diameter.378 in (9.6 mm)
Case length1.48 in (38 mm)
Overall length2.025 in (51.4 mm)

.38 rimfire cartridges are a type of ammunition that have been in service in the United States since the mid-nineteenth century. The cartridges are produced in short, long and extra long variants.

Much like the smaller .32 rimfire, the rounds were originally manufactured loaded with black powder. In the early 1900s, manufacturers switched to the "new" smokeless powder.

The .38 rimfire was preferred to the .32 rimfire for hunting and self-defense purposes because of its larger size and increased power.


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 the country's entry into World War II and was never resumed by the major manufacturers. Factory loaded ammunition is no longer available except as collector items.

Uses and variants[]

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 rifle , or .38 long rifle. 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. Hopkins & Allen produced revolvers and rifles chambered for the .38RF. Rifles of this caliber were produced by Remington (the revolving rifle of 1866), Ballard, Stevens and Frank Wesson, and revolvers by Enterprise, Favorite, Forehand & Wadsworth, and Colt.[2]

See also[]


  1. ^ Barnes, Frank C. (2012). Richard A. Mann (ed.). Cartridges of the World (13th ed.). p. 0. ISBN 978-1-4402-3059-2.
  2. ^ Barnes, Frank C. (2012). Richard A. Mann (ed.). Cartridges of the World A Complete Illustrated Reference for over 1500 Cartridges. Gun Digest. p. 500. ISBN 978-1-4402-3059-2.