38 special heavy loads

For the few minutes it took to read it was nice to feel like a young man in the ’70’s again.

Mostly it was with our .22s, but sometimes we shot our dad’s duty gun (a 6” Python) with the hot .38 Special cartridge issued by the Patrol. Wow! Loaded 5 rounds.

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One thing about the Treasury loads is that they were semi-jacketed, with a copper cup at the base. Thank you, Mike, for a great story.

I just found an box of Winchester 38 +p+ 110 HP in my cabinet. The Federal version was issued by LASD starting I believe in 1979. Just like Winchester. Of course, he might be wrong, and an oral report isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

A friend used some of my 205 grain RNFP rifle bullets in a single shot 357 magnum rifle with excellent results. All Handguns subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. In shootings I am aware of with it fragmentation occurred when fired from 4 or 6in revolvers. It could have been +P with some special, requested feature like a nickel case or low flash powder that they couldn’t get “over the counter.”.

Naturally, I discarded it from the tests.

Alex,Any J-frame dated 1994 or later is rated for +P, IIRC. To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine. Current +P limit is 20,000 PSI, .38-44 loads were significantly above this limit and even higher than the pressure level indicated by the old Lyman book. Sir, thank you for the excellent information and for your LE service as well. People who answer phones and email at firearms/ammo companies in my experience are clueless and reading from a script. I'm thinking that I'm going to enclose mine with the 30 year old 5 shot cylinders of my (and my mama's) J-frame Smith & Wesson revolvers. This despite their revolvers having shot maybe a million rounds of the stuff. I confirmed my original source statement that the .38LE was +P+.

A dozen loads is a small portion of the myriad factory loads available in this caliber, but it was enough to get a fair idea of what to expect from the snubbies.

Some claim the .45 ACP has too much kick, but it didn't bother her in the slightest. It consists of a swaged lead hollowbase wadcutter loaded backward so that the hollowbase becomes a hollowpoint. It was called variously the "FBI load" and the "Chicago load," or just the ", blood spatter experiments, in which I found myself shooting heavy sponges saturated with fake blood, did NOT expand at all, and tumbled within 4 feet, says that he achieved considerably higher velocities (. It’s important to note that I did not legally need Lee’s permission, however, it’s not right to take a man’s property without his permission, even if he technically doesn’t own it, so I called Lee and got his blessing before resurrecting Super Vel. Far as I know he is still with us. Looking at the data, we can see there are a number of 125-grain loads that offer penetration in the desired 12- to 15-inch range.

I started opening doors and drawers to inspect my surroundings.

Make sure your handgun is rated for +P before using any of these loads. Low pressure, easy on the frame and lockwork, but works very much like the .45ACP - heavy and slow - and all energy stays in the target. It was full of ammo.

There was still one officer on my department carrying a .41 still in 1990. Should have said the chrono was the Winchester. I also included one handload, an old recipe that has been around for years and touted by some as the ultimate snubbie load.

If you could go back in your time machine to the 1950s or 1960s to visit with an American police officer, you could pretty much bet your return ticket that he’d be carrying a .38 Special revolver loaded with cartridges that contained 158 grain, round nose lead (RNL)  bullets. Mike Wood is a certified revolver nut, an NRA Law Enforcement Division-certified Firearms Instructor, and a columnist at PoliceOne.com. But how does one know for sure if the old 38 Special S&W under the dealer's counter could safely handle these loads? The Federal load was used by such agencies as the U.S. Border Patrol (1980 – 1984) and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (late 1970s to 1992) as their mainstay, while others (such as the CHP) used it intermittently with the Winchester product, as contracts changed.

Worked a homicide years ago. It would be neat to “discover” another +P+ load that I didn’t know about. At the time, the FBI was starting to look hard at the 158 grain lead semiwadcutter hollowpoint (LSWCHP) which had been pioneered by the Saint Louis Police Department (accordingly, the Winchester product code for this load was “W38SPD”). Winchester would only sell the ammunition directly to law enforcement agencies (a “For Law Enforcement Use Only / Not For Retail Sale” warning on the box would later cause consternation among the misinformed when surplus made its way into the commercial market), and even they had to sign a waiver that acknowledged the potential for firearm damage as a result of the nonstandard pressures.


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