Thirty-eight on a forty-five frame. (guns, weaponry)

RafaelX

Senior Member
Polish
Hello,

The context is that guy A asks guy B how he committed the crime, to which B replies: "Thirty-eight on a forty-five frame."

As I understand it, he means that it was a caliber 38 remodeled into 45 or something of that sort... Am I right?

Cheers,
Rafael
 
  • sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    The term comes from the U.S. Army/Colt Model 1911 .45-caliber pistol, which was sold to both the military and civilians.

    Colt came out with a conversion unit, i.e. parts to add onto the basic frame to enable the user to fire the much cheaper .22 caliber ammunition for practice while maintaining the same trigger pull, weight, etc.

    That was called a .22 on a .45-caliber frame. The use of the expression has spread.

    Since that time, other calibers (such as the .38 you mention) have been added to the basic Model 1911, which is still thought of as the ".45-caliber frame." It doesn't need to be a modification, nor does it need to be based on the Model 1911. Some revolvers were produced with smaller calibers on larger frames as well.

    The expression is also used metaphorically. I sometimes refer to clueless adults as having a .22-caliber brain on a .45-caliber frame, for example. :)
     
    Last edited:

    RafaelX

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Since that time, other calibers (such as the .38 you mention) have been added to the basic Model 1911, which is still thought of as the ".45-caliber frame."
    The expression is also used metaphorically. I sometimes refer to clueless adults as having a .22-caliber brain on a .45-caliber frame, for example. :)
    Thank you very much, sdgraham! As a vote of thanks I'm putting this down for your amusement (found in the course of my current research):

    I knew this one girl in college who was described as a "38 on a 25 frame", but that may be something else. Or as they say in the Navy, "She carries a lot of sail for such a small craft." ;)

    :D
     
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