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Thread: F&W 38caliber

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy Littlewolf's Avatar
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    F&W 38caliber

    grips marked F&W, nickel plating is failing on the barrel ridge where the stamping is/was, looks like Foremann & (something) Co made in USA. from the breech face of the frame to the face of the cylinder says 1.290", an empty 38spl will slide in cylinder will turn freely on double action, cases will pop right out with the auto ejector. there are no cylinder chamber throats to measure max case length from.
    what i'm getting at is what caliber would this be so i can order or cut the right brass length and with no throats in the chambers i'm guessing i will need a mold for a heeled boolit?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Thumbcocker's Avatar
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    Forehand & Wadsworth
    You'll go far providin' you ain't burnt alive or scalped."

    Will Geer as Bear Claw in "Jeramiah Johnson"

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy Littlewolf's Avatar
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    thanks thumbcocker.

    "not about feedin', just the company i keep"

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    Forehand & Wadsworth is right. Cartridge will be 38S&W not 38special. F&Ws a little more desirable than a lot of the other brands of the era.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    thought it was 38s&w but op is saying 38 special fits??
    is this a off shoot of iver johnson??

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy Littlewolf's Avatar
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    an EMPTY 38spl will slide in and out of chambers and mayhaps 3/16" shorter than cylinder. 38spl is 1.149" trim length . my cylinder from surface of frame breech to front face of cylinder is aprox 1.290. cartridge over all length of 38S&W if i remember what i read yesterday corectly is 1.240 ish. i am thinking 38S&W would be correct

  7. #7
    Boolit Bub
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    This actually sounds like a .38 Short Colt heel bullet chambering. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.38_Short_Colt

    F&W top breaks were made under contract by Hopkins and Allen, who later bought Forehand arms around the turn of the century.

  8. #8
    Boolit Bub
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  9. #9
    Boolit Bub
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    http://www.accuratemolds.com/bullet_...=38-120C-D.png

    And the bullet. I seat heel bullets and then dip lube them.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy Littlewolf's Avatar
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    i'll keep that in mind drydock i'm going to go inside this pistol before i start making ammo for it

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I have one of those in 32 S&W. I imagine you are describing a break frame revolver. If so, likely made in the late 1880's. A black powder gun. First Forehand & Wadsworth until the late 1880's, then Forehand Arms to early 1900's, finally Hopkins & Allen bought them out early 1900's. That was the succession of ownership. If the gun is in good mechanical shape, you can use smokeless powder, if you keep the loads light, although black powder is recommended. Those frames spring easily. I have a book on Forehand Arms, from Cornell Publications. It's quite informative. By the way, the cylinder chambers are bored straight through on these models. No cylinder throats. Vast difference between bore diameter and cylinder. I had to have a custom mold made for a heeled bullet to get mine to shoot decently. Original factory ammo, was possibly hollow base bullets, expecting obturation to seal cylinder during firing.
    Last edited by GBertolet; 03-04-2020 at 11:53 PM.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    Are you sure it's a center fire? These guns were also chambered in .38 rimfire, you might want to check what the firing pin is lined up with.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy Littlewolf's Avatar
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    roadie its center fire.
    GB its in reasonable shape. the cylinder bores and barrel show obvious (to me anyway) that a considerable amount of black was fired through it. the caming teeth on the back of the cylinder are worn but the cylinder still turns and aligns in double action. the hammer doesn't hold on single action, may just need a detailed cleaning, or i may need to make a part or two.

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy Littlewolf's Avatar
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    back up just in case

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy Littlewolf's Avatar
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    i found a parts lot that contained everything but a frame to fix up this cute little F&W.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Littlewolf View Post
    i found a parts lot that contained everything but a frame to fix up this cute little F&W.
    Wow that is handy , hope they are all good , that is just to easy.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check