.38 Special Super-X Metal Piercing

The brass cased item on the left also features an extra cannelure that would crimp just below the copper jacketed nose. I am wondering if there is a time frame that can be associated with this variation of the more common nickel plated brass product, an example shown on the right.


I have the brass case version that you show coming from the box shown below at right with the factory-blackout marks over the words “nickel plated case”. That box has an F code lot number for 1952, and they are the same cartridges except that mine have the serrated crimp up high, and the smooth crimp down low.

The nickel-plated version you show, I have in the other box shown below at left. This box with the “nickel plated case” and red “lubricating alloy” print has an N code lot number for 1938.

I believe the box with the blackout print is quite rare, and beyond just having the two versions shown below, I presume there is a version which shows the “nickel plated case” text not blacked out, and I also have a fourth box which shows neither the “lubricating alloy” print or the “nickel plated case” text at all - however this box came with nickel plated case loads anyway. Then of course you get into a couple variations of the later all-yellow box, and then the most recent all-white boxes. The very first box in the mid 1930’s was the Super-Speed box which had two versions. There is a lot of variation on these, with things like single crimp, double crimp, case metal, bullet ogive (2 types), headstamp, and the type of crimp and I must have 10 or so .38spl variations from the 1930’s to the 1970’s. I have 5 box variations on the .357mag metal piercing type with as many cartridge variations.

The Western box codes are described here that I referenced from:


Thank you very much for that information. I had guessed the brass case came about due to war time material issues but wasn’t sure about which war! It is amazing that there are so many variations of crimp/cannelure, etc. for just this one loading. This was the first brass cased .38 Spl. I was able to find and have yet to come across a brass .357 Mag.

Many more variations for me to collect!


Dave - I think it is possible to find instances of the suspension of the nickel finish on the cases of some ammo from WWII. You also find boxes with either printed on the inside of the end flaps or on a separate little square of paper, and explanation of the cessation of the use of nickel-plating on cases and a “quality statement” about it not diminishing the overall quality of the product.

This is a lineup photo of all the metal piercing cartridges in .38spl, and .357mag that I have, or am aware of. A couple of the cartridge photos are not taken by me, but are spliced into the lineup photo. You can see two .38spl brass case variants with the two bullet types, and one in .357mag. The Super-Speed .38 on the right (near center) is a splice-in photo, and looks a bit out of scale from being at a different angle. It is the same as the other Super Speed load next to it except for case crimp though.:


Great lineup. Thanks for posting that.


I seem to remember a discussion about .38 Super Auto cases (id by nickel plating to distinguish from .38 A.C.P.) not getting plated during the war(s). The contract boxes of .38 Super were also brass cased as I recall. Have to wonder if there were some old Colt autos that got beat up by folks using what looked like the right ammunition…