38 Special with headstamp "HV"

I need a help with this cartridge and it’s headstamp.

What is a bullet loaded in this cartridge? For what purpose it was made?
What is a meaning of “HV” in it’s headstamp?

Those “HV” heastamps are from the early 1930’s and meant “high velocity”, and that descriptive bit became redundant after a while and didn’t need to be mentioned. Is the bullet hard rubber? I have seen one just like it in green which was a rubber non-lethal bullet. It’s not necessarily from the early 30’s since the case might have been reloaded, but it’s certainly not any newer than the 1970’s and not older than 1932.

The R-P 38 SPL HV headstamp should be post-1960 and is found in 158 grains HV loads (box index 6538). That load was discontinued in 1975.

My understanding is that the long dash between the headstamp R and the P began in 1960, and there was a shorter dash used later, when production was moved from Bridgeport to Lonoke. I’m not sure of the dates when the HS change to the short dash occurred and the long dash was discontinued. But the long dash would certainly indicate a post-1959 manufacture. Maybe someone can clarify the long dash vs. short dash transition.

That’s a handload of some sort, and from the looks of the case it’s been reloaded several times.

The bullet is made of white hard plastic

Is it the dash that indicates it is post-1960? I thought the headstamp in general was from back around the 1930’s and that the HV headstamp wasn’t much seen after that?

Prior to 1960, the typical Remington headstamp was REM-UMC. I don’t know about the HV, dates in use, or what types of ammunition it was used for. I assumed that it may have been used by Remington for use on early +P type ammunition, competitive with that being put out at the time by Super Vel, etc. using lightweight expanding bullets at higher velocities. Even though I don’t, I’d think someone here should know more about the meaning and history of the HV.

The REM-UMC headstamp was started in 1912 when it was decided to combine the marketing of Remington Arms Co. and Union Metallic Cartridge Company, both firms being owned by Marcellus Hartley. Over the years, the REM-UMC headstamp saw several variations in the style and size of lettering but it wasn’t until 1960 that it was changed to R-P.

These dates are approximate because there are exceptions, but it’s a fairly good rule to follow when dating cartridges.

The “dash” vs the “dot” has been discussed on previous forum threads. A search should be done if you’re interested in the details of those headstamps.

Regardless, that 38 Special HV case is no older than 1960, and it could have been hand loaded at any time after that.


I did a search for the previous posting on the “Dash” topic and found it was stated that the evidence suggests Remington’s long dash to short dash transition took place in 1970. Whether that was true for all calibers I have no way of knowing. I would imagine the long dash could have survived well beyond 1970, but was changed as HS bunters wore out and were replaced.

I seem to remember reading on here that some .38 Special was loaded to close to .357 Magnum levels for use by various police departments. This was to avoid bad press that would result if the public thought the police were using “killer magnum bullets” or similar. Could this be one of those rounds?