.38 special vampire cartridges

This is certainly the appropriate time of year for these cartridges to pop up.

They were purchased from a moving sale of the belongings of the widow of author and gun collector Horace Greeley IV by a New Jersey antiques dealer. The appear to be quite similar to the cartridges in a cased and engraved ‘Vampire hunter’s’ Colt Detective Special revolver that is in the NRA museum. Information on the revolver can be found here:


The headstamps on these two are shown below. A similar cartridge has been listed on Ebay, but it has a PMC headstamp. The revolver set is thought to have been put together in the mid-70s, but I am not sure that the Winchester or PMC headstamps would date from that early.

Thanks for pointing that out Guy. I have seen similar copies of these before that don’t look quite the same, but the one that the seller showed on Ebay looks identical and I believe his description (saying that it was cast from the same mold). His perfect feedback and other genuine collectibles for sale are also a help in assuming it to be “real”. I bought it anyway, and so I’ll post some better pics and data about the weight, etc. when I receive it. I think the Woodin Lab has one, and so I’ll have to compare overall cartridge weight with Bill sometime.

The round with the “WINCHESTER” headstamp would have to have been loaded much later than
the 1970s to have that headstamp. In the seventies, it was still W-W.

I suppose if someone has the mould then any number of these could be out there.

I figured that would be the big question. Given the price I paid, I was hoping that only a few dozen of these are out there, and that hundreds of them don’t start popping up for sale as keychains, or repeatedly on Ebay for $5.00 or wherever. I’m eager to see if the metal is pewter or lead or what, since silver seems unlikely because it cools after being cast and shrinks. Maybe it’s a sterling silver, or not silver at all, who knows?

Look closely at the mouth on your example and compare it to the cartridges in the cased set. The upper lip on the vampire’s right side on the cased cartridges is curled up more than on the left side. On the cartridge you bought, the left and right sides of the mouth appear to be symetrical, with much less of a ‘sneer’.

The seller’s description indicated it was silver, so it would be disappointing if it wasn’t.

A good observation Guy, but I will optimistically chalk that detail difference up to the fact that the one in the auction was a raw casting not meant for high-end display (I guess), and the ones in the case with the very expensive gun are detailed with ink and minor adjustments by a jeweler or engraver. It figures that the ones in the case would be of high refinement, and the bullet in the front even has blood on his mouth. I’ll have to compare mine to the one at the Woodin Lab, and maybe his is a raw casting also?

While looking up more info I found that the original article on this was from Guns & Ammo, April, 1998. There are apparently 2 cover variations for that issue which I found strange, and the vampire gun is the major difference:

In the one on the left it shows the gun on the cover as well as an NAA Guardian, but on the right it just shows an address label. Maybe a mailed circulation version vs a store-shelf version? I never knew they made different covers.

On a second close-look, I’m hoping the difference is just due to use of ink which creates shadow and makes for more detail, plus the auction photo is a little blurry and the flash blurs out detail. Fingers-crossed…

Silver is for Werewolves.Wood is for Vampires.

You won’t believe, but once I told to Russian customs officers that the Finnish blank cartridges with a dark blue wooden bullet is cartridges against vampires. That bullets are made of an aspen. I joked and customs officers with serious faces wrote down all my words in the report.

Yep. Thats what I use.Lapuan Patuuatehdas. No complaints so far. Not many Vampires in Texas any more.Shame.

There was an article back in the Dec 1984 issue of Guns magazine from Joe Zambone (of Magsafe fame) about “Dracula Dropper” bullets. He was talking about turning wooden bullets out of dowels for using as self-defense rds in places where you didn’t want over-penetration,… or when you wanted to slay vampires. Here are pages 1 & 2 of that article:

The mystery of the “Vampire bullet” is solved as to its origin. At the Woodin lab I found the same cartridge with PMC headstamp in a plastic tube, and it had a factory original promo-sheet of sorts rolled up in it, which was about 3" wide, by 9" long and it explains the story. The cartridge, or more precisely the bullet, is called the VE-1, for “Vampire Eliminator 1” and was made around the late 1980’s by Creative Cartridge Company out of Canton, Connecticut. The index card from the lab is dated 1989. It must have been a very short-lived venture since these are scarcely seen other than their popular occurrence at the NRA museum.

Matt, here is a picture of the cartridge and fired bullet illustrated in G&A April 1998:

majorbeau: In certain mythology, vampires have something of a silver allergy. Merely touching it causes pain, if not outright burns. Wounds caused by silver objects refuse to heal or heal slowly.

That is good to know.Don’t hear much about Vampires here in Texas seems like the Zombies have pretty much ate them all up.