.38 Special Heavyweight

I pulled what I thought was a 158gr RN lead bullet from a R-P plated case. It looked to big so I weighed it, 200gr. I suspect these came from the 1950’s but I have not been able to bracket the dates that Remington offered 200gr bullets. I did not find them in recent catalogs. Can anyone give me an accurate range (of manufacture) on these?

Unfortunately, I cannot tell you when Remington began making the 200 grain .38 Special load. My earliest catalog is 1938, and it is in that catalog. The loading was discontinued in 1989. It is in the 1989 catalog, but does NOT appear in the 1990 catalog.


The 200 grain load was popularly known as the 38 Special Police or Super Police. It was touted as having greater stopping power than the standard 38 Special ammunition. But the ballistics were actually no better than the lighter bullets. Because of the heavy bullet it did result in more recoil in the light police revolvers which may have actually worked to the average cop’s disadvantage.

Ron M can probably give you the dates of manufacture. I know it was being manufactured in the 1930s and may even date to the introduction of the 38 Special in the early 1900s. I think it was still being offered into the 1990s.

When I was a young lad after WW II my first handgun was a S&W 38 Special and of course I had to have a few of those Police loads ready to be used against assorted crooks who might challenge me. And the occasional elephant or rhinoceros


Ray - it was only in the Remington catalog until 1989. It doesn’t appear in the 1990 catalog.

Thanks gentlemen!
I have found that Winchester also made them (200gr) and touted them as police loads, but this thread was on the Remington.


I did not mean to imply that the 200 grain cartridges were “officially” called Police or Super Police by Remington, Winchester, or Peters. That was what most shooters called them, informally. There was no mistaking that big, blunt 200 grain bullet.

Ron has all the Remington literature and maybe he can clear up this little point. The oldest reference I have is from 1950 and Remington called them simply O.P. (Oil Proof). Winchester and Western both called them O.P. I.L. (Oil Proof Inside Lubricated) and Peters were O.T. (Oil Tight)


The earliest Winchester catalog that I have that shows the 200 grain lead bullet is dated January 3, 1933. This is not necessarily the first year of production of it. I have no Wichester catalogs between about 1919 and 1933, a big hole in that series.

The cartridge was offered until the 1985 catalog, although shown with the note “these will be obsolete subject to existing inventories.” It is not shown on the 1985 price list, dated January 2, 1985, oddly, since it is in the catalog for that year, regardless of its status. It does not appear at all in the 1986 catalog. In this period, and perhaps even until today, it was not uncommon for Winchester and Remington to swap their “slow-mover” lists, and then to divide them up. That is, if both companies were making a slow mover, but one that still had some sales, Winchester would agree to cease production of one item and Remington would cease production of a different item. This actually worked to the benefit of the shooters using these loads, as it insured them of at least one supplier until sales simply no longer supported production of the load by anyone.

It would be nice if someone could find the beginning dates for this load for both Winchester and Remington. It is not hard to do if one has the catalogs to do it.

Ray, there is a box of Winchester 200gr on an auction site and it clearly states on the box, “Specially Adapted For Police Use”. That is where I drew my reference to ‘police loads’ from.

I have a 1937 WESTERN AMMUNITION HANDBOOK that shows the 200 grain load as the 38 Special Super-Police. So, I suppose for Western & Winchester, at least, it was officially called a Super Police cartridge.

That still doesn’t answer the question on the Remington cartridge. Looking back at the original question I just now noticed that the headstamp was R-P. Wouldn’t that date that particular cartridge to 1960 or later??

I don’t mean to change the subject but thought you guys might be interested in the section of the WESTERN handbook that talks about the new Metal-Piercing cartridges. I guess that 1937 was still part of the “gangster” era and the write-up goes like this:

The ability of “red-hots” to make quick getaways in fast automobiles because older cartridges available to law enforcement agencies did not give sufficient metal penetration led to the development of Western Super-X Metal Piercing cartridges. With this ammunition, police officers now can “turn the heat” on the hoodlum. The deadly effectiveness of these cartridges has been definitely proved by police in actual combat with dangerous killers."

It goes on to describe tests against metal targets, shows photos of bullet holes in automobiles, and has a diagram of an automobile showing the different angles from which a bullet will pierce the body. Interesting reading.


Ray - you finished answering the Remington question that I started answering.
My answer told when they disappeared from the market (no longer catalogued). You answered when the R-P headstamp came in, which I didn’t have at hand. The cartridge for which this thread was posted, therefore, was made between 1960 and 1989. Unless one had the box it came from, and could accurately decipher the Remington lot number, I do not know of any easy way one could pin it down any closer than that.

Here is the first listing (1931) by Remington Arms Co. It was always listed as “.38 Smith & Wesson, Special, Kleanbore, Lead Bullet, Oilproof, 200grs.” Remington never listed it as a special police load. Also note that Remington agreed with Ray about the ballistics, as can be seen by the note at the bottom of the listing.

From 1931 Dealer Price List (click on image to enlarge for easier reading)

I had a box of these in the late 1980’s but I shot them all up



It’s flattering that you would say that “Remington agreed with Ray about the ballistics” when it would be more appropriate to have said that Ray agrees with Remington.

It seems that we never learn from the past. I recall in 1964 when the 41 Magnum was introduced as the perfect police load. The average police officer of the time was not able to effectively handle the 357 Magnum and here we were going to give him a cartridge that came close to Harry Callahan’s 44 magnum? It was doomed to fail, which it did.

It took all levels of government a long time to realize that investing in a few boxes of ammunition and giving LEO’s a chance to learn to shoot was far better than bigger guns and bigger bullets. Today’s police are far better trained than they were just a few short years ago, adding greatly to their effectiveness and own personal safety.

Support your local cops! JMHO