.38 Spcl. Question.

This is a discussion on .38 Spcl. Question. within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Anyone here remember the 200gr. / .38 Special factory load....what ever happened to that ? Was a real hefty slug. A LEO I knew carried ...

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Thread: .38 Spcl. Question.

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array xXxplosive's Avatar
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    .38 Spcl. Question.

    Anyone here remember the 200gr. / .38 Special factory load....what ever happened to that ? Was a real hefty slug. A LEO I knew carried off duty in his Mod.36.

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    I have an old box of Winchester marked "Super Police" or some such. I'd rather have any brand of expanding bullet than one of these, I think they were like 700 or 800 FPS. Not much energy.

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    I remember them. Fired a few but never over the chronograph. They seemed very mild to shoot.

    I once bought a quantity of Remington 200 grain lead round nose component bullets and played with them, hand loading in both the .38 Special and the .38 S&W cartridges. I used the maximum charge weight of 2400 as listed in the Lyman 46th manual and one of the 200 grain bullets to effectively take a white tail buck at about 15 yards. Gun used was a Smith & Wesson Model 14 .38 Special revolver with a long 8 3/8-inch barrel to achieve 925 fps from the heavy bullet.

    I think the concept still has some merit with a more square nosed bullet shape, especially in a snub revolver.
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    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    I did some calculations comparing the recoil. Original specs for a snub show 600fps with a 200gr bullet. If we guess at the powder charge a little, and use the original model 36 at 1.25 pounds:

    The 200gr load has 9.2 ft/lbs of recoil energy at .8lb/sec
    The 158gr LRN has 8.3 ft/lbs at .8lb/sec
    The old/new 125gr Nyclad is 7.7 ft/lbs at .8lb/sec
    The 158gr LSWCHP+P is 10.6ft/lbs at .9lb/sec

    I can see how it fell out of favor as a self defense load.

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    Senior Member Array AZ Desertrat's Avatar
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    I got about 500 rounds of that 200gr. ammo when my dad passed. He had them for target shooting in his Model 10 4 inch. I used them up in my Taurus or S&W 649 snubby....can't remember which, but they were nothing special. I prefer to stick with 158gr. FMJ or LRN for targets.
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    I remember an article many years ago where a police department was testing a 200gr 38spl load, they were using old car bodies, none of the rounds penetrated. One officers comment was “Stop or I’ll dent your door”.
    When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
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    VIP Member Array crzy4guns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superhouse 15 View Post
    I did some calculations comparing the recoil. Original specs for a snub show 600fps with a 200gr bullet. If we guess at the powder charge a little, and use the original model 36 at 1.25 pounds:

    The 200gr load has 9.2 ft/lbs of recoil energy at .8lb/sec
    The 158gr LRN has 8.3 ft/lbs at .8lb/sec
    The old/new 125gr Nyclad is 7.7 ft/lbs at .8lb/sec
    The 158gr LSWCHP+P is 10.6ft/lbs at .9lb/sec

    I can see how it fell out of favor as a self defense load.
    Looks like it has all kick and no bite.
    God bless our troops!

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    Federal has reintroduced the .38 spcl nyclad.....

    http://www.gunsholstersandgear.com/2...009-shot-show/

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    VIP Member Array JAT40's Avatar
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    I just received the NRA mag. American Rifleman. On pg. 36 & 37 they have a small write up on S&W Victory & Colt Commando Revolvers that shot the .38/200 cartridge.
    While people are saying "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, ... and they will not escape. 1Th 5:3

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    "...a police department was testing a 200gr 38spl load, they were using old car bodies..."

    I did some tests on a '54 Buick once and that was a whole different world as far as handgun penetration goes. That thing was tough. A factory 255 grain lead .45 Colt would only penetrate one side of the rudimentary "fins" that the car's styling featured just behind the tail lights. One the other hand, the .38 Special 158 grain lead round nose sailed right through the windshield which was of the "sandwich" type safety glass.

    I'd take notice if a manufacturer would provide a heavy-bullet load featuring a properly shaped 200 grain bullet at 850-900 fps from two to four-inch .38 Special revolvers. The recoil wouldn't be prohibitively heavy and one would in effect have a modernized version of the .41 Long Colt, a round that had a pretty good reputation.

    Oh, and don't hide in the passenger compartment of a '49 Studebaker to avoid being shot with a .410 slug. It'll zip right in there with you and some even exit the opposite side.

    In Junior High a friend and I shot his grandfather's then 20 year old '49 Studebaker Starlight Coupe, which was sitting out in the pasture, with a quantity of .410 slugs from a tree house situated about 100 yards from the car. His grandfather wasn't much pleased about it though it'd long sat there as rusted junk with the tires and wheels off of it. I think that David got creamed over the incident.

    Now I think about puncturing that uniquely curved rear window glass with the slugs and have to wonder what an original rear glass would be worth now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAT40 View Post
    I just received the NRA mag. American Rifleman. On pg. 36 & 37 they have a small write up on S&W Victory & Colt Commando Revolvers that shot the .38/200 cartridge.
    The .38/200 is the British name for the .38 S&W cartridge. It is not interchangeable with the .38 S&W Special cartridge.

    .38 S&W - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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    VIP Member Array JAT40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Crunch View Post
    The .38/200 is the British name for the .38 S&W cartridge. It is not interchangeable with the .38 S&W Special cartridge.

    .38 S&W - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Thanks Capt. learn something new today.
    While people are saying "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, ... and they will not escape. 1Th 5:3

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    Member Array LouisianaMan's Avatar
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    I'm new to this forum, but was excited to see this thread about 200g .38 Special loads. I'm a long-time shooter, and these are my new "favorite"!
    I am just about to load up some 195g LRN .38s for the first time, which is close to the original poster's question. Bottom line: I've read lots of info that corroborates concerns with this round destabilizing after impact, although some feel this is good (larger wound channel, less fear of overpenetration) and some bad (reduced likelihood of boring though into the vitals).
    I have fired several hundred 200g LSWC-K bullets, however, and these strike me as very effective within the lead bullet "envelope." In other words, hardcast lead bullets don't expand, but they DO penetrate--certainly in flat point form, and especially in FP semi-wadcutter form!
    From a 2" Colt Detective Special at 10 feet, with an average muzzle velocity of 718 fps over my chronograph, this LSWC-K bullet (from Mt. Baldy Bullets; also avail. from Colorado Cast Bullets) bored straight through six water-filled milk jugs, then penetrated up to the front shoulder in the 2x12 board, knocking the 16" board down and then falling out in the process.
    Granted, I can't prove what that "means," but penetration through 3 feet of water is encouraging. . .and the bullet track did not veer at all. In other words, that shoulder "bit in" and bored straight through. Also granted, different opinions exist on the threat of overpenetration, but I offer this info here as a possible alternative to the less-than-impressive factory loads you all have experienced.
    I would love to get my hands on a box of the old factory loads so I could chronograph it and compare it to my handloads. I don't seek "hot" loads; indeed, I loaded "my" round specifically to approximate velocities (and therefore pressures) associated with the old factory rounds.
    Final notes:
    .38 S&W standard load = 146g bullet. The 1920s-era "Super Police" was a 200grain LRN slug, and this was the basis for the British .380/200 service round (an FP bullet). The 200g load MV was in the 625-650 fps range.

    .38 S&W Special, a different cartridge, standard load was typically 158g LRN in the early days, and a "Super Police" load existed for it, too, in 200g LRN bullet, I *think*. A more powerful "Highway Patrol" 200g bullet existed, or perhaps this was simply the most common name for the .38 SPL 200g load. . .anyway, I've seen the figure 730 fps (6" barrel MV) quoted, as well as 770 fps. I'm not sure if the former was the "Super Police" and the latter the "Highway Patrol"? Would love to learn more!
    Final comment: my purely subjective "feel" is that "my" load is standard pressure, but nonetheless powerful--the felt recoil was NOT wimpy. When I loaded it to 761 fps, the torque was pretty powerful! Until I can pay to pressure-test that heavier load, however, I will shoot it only in my Ruger Service-Six or in a .357.
    I think the LRN configuration is marginal for CC/SD, but I believe the LSWC-K is a far more effective bullet profile.
    I know the original question related to factory ammo, so I hope my post isn't off-topic. I am also aware of the "factory vs. reload" argument, so don't mean to ruffle feathers or start that discussion!
    Happy shooting, and stay safe.

  15. #14
    Member Array LouisianaMan's Avatar
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    Just posted the info below on a similar thread about the 200g .38, so please excuse putting up with it again. By the way, I will do a penetration test on this or a similar load this coming weekend, and/or on a few of the original factory loads, and let you know.

    "I just loaded 10 rounds with 200g LRN (I think they're 358430) and 3.5g Unique, measuring each charge. Velocity from my Ruger Police Service-Six 4" barrel .38SPL was 710.5fps at 5' from muzzle. Standard deviation was 9+, i.e. single digits. I haven't measured barrel-cylinder gap in that gun yet. OAL was 1.540, bullet crimped into top lube groove just beneath the shoulder of the bullet. I won't quote group size, but will simply state it was tighter than I usually shoot! :-) Temps were mid-90s, humidity. . .YES!

    Per the Lee 2nd Ed. reloading manual, standard pressure .38SPL is 3.4g - 3.6g; +P is 3.5g to 3.7g. I'm not sure why the overlap. I forget the exact velocity the book stated, but for 3.5g it's about 760-ish. Bbl. length unknown, but I'd guess 6" from the numbers he gives.

    Will soon modify this load and do a penetration test and post results."

  16. #15
    Member Array LouisianaMan's Avatar
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    See the other thread for the full penetration test results with the 200g bullet over 3.8g Win 231, which was apparently a Winchester factory load at one time. Bottom line: a 663fps slug from a 2" bbl. Colt D.S. penetrated 5 jugs of water (30") at 1- feet.
    This load from my 4" Service-Six chrono'ed 725fps.
    By the way, the velocity from the D.S. makes this round almost a duplicate of the old British .38/200 load of WWII, from a 5" barrel.

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