38 Special


These are all 38 Special cartridges of new Rem. or Win cases, can anyone tell me what the bullets are?
The 5th one in the first picture appears as it’s sometype of a mixture of lead and something else as it is
light weight.
Thank You Carolyn



From left to right (top photo), they appear to be:

  1. Glaser safety slug (older production style)

  2. Can’t tell?? It is either a HP bullet with primer (exploder) and painted black, or maybe an older Glaser Black? but it doesn’t look like the Glaser black I have which looks more like #1, but black

  3. A HP bullet made to be an exploder or incendiary load - painted blue

  4. Glaser safety slug - (oldest production style)

  5. A frangible load of some sort or maybe one of Remington’s old Hi-Way Master metal penetrating loads - can’t tell from the photo. Remington’s Hi-Way Master load was solid Zinc in .38spl and weighed 110gr. Sometimes they oxidize a little to look like frangible loads do with the grainy texture.

  6. A Magsafe prefragmented - but it’s hard to tell as the resin core with shot isn’t readily visible in the photo.

  7. A “starburst” incendiary load. An after market “gun show” load from the likes of Jim Haak who sells to Ammotogo, Hi-vel, Hitechammotogo, etc…

  8. Glaser safety slug - (oldest production style)

  9. An Incendiary load from similar origins as #7


The bullet that has the Black tip I can take a tooth pick and push it against the tip and it moves like it’s spongy or soft # 2
The bullet in # 6 has nothing in it, it’s just a very big HP
The bullet in # 5 is in a Rem case and the texture is porous or grainy in appearance. How could a bullet made out of Zinc be good as a Metal Penetrator
Thank you, for helping me identify the various cartridges


I don’t know what the black one is. The hollow copper projectile might be a Hi-Vel “Hypersonic” load as they called it. The Remington Zinc Metal Penetrating loads were hard enough to penetrate vehicle bodies which is what they were made for. I’ve seen old loads that start to look grainy for whatever reason - due to oxidization I guess. Here’s a pic from an auction that shows one, in the top row, second from right:


It’s as if some of those zinc projos have a thin shell that starts to deteriorate over time?


Thank You for all your help


Here’s a box of Remington-Peters .38 Special Highway Patrol metal penetrating cartridges with the 110 grain zinc bullet like the one Carolyn had asked about. I was a little concerned when I bought these that they might not be the original cartridges for the box, as I initially expected them to have the cone shaped metal penetrating bullet that I was familiar with in .357 magnum and .45 ACP, however, I believe they go by the name ‘Highway Master’. Were these intended for law enforcement use only? If so, why is that not on the box somewhere.


Great photo Guy! Some of those zinc bullets really do get grainy looking after a while, but I have also seen some that somehow retain all of their original darker gray sheen and look new. Humidity, oxygen exposure - who knows?

As far as not having print on the box saying “for law enforcement only” - I don’t know, but I can speculate that it just wasn’t needed. I checked dozens of other box photos that I have for Peters, Remington and Western/Winchester .38spl .45acp and .357mag metal piercing cartridges and none of those say for L.E.O. either. I know that the printed brochures from these companies did tout these cartridges as being for law enforcement and would sometimes say that they were available to law enforcement only. These cartridges came from an era when you could still mail-order guns and the only laws on the books were about machine guns, so things were more relaxed and non L.E. getting some of these cartridges was no big deal.


On second look at that black tip cartridge in the photo, maybe it’s an “Eliminator-X” ? It looks like it might have the remnants of a thin white “X” on the tip? These were some sort of “detonating compound” and were made with some kind of compound in the HP and then had some kind of filler int he tip as a cover. Maybe it is the spongy stuff you described? Is their a white-X upon closer look?


Number 6 could be a PMC ‘Ultramag’ which was solid copper, completely hollow with a plastic disc at the base acting as a gaschesck. Although they had PMC headstamps so not sure about yours if it has a Rem or Win headstamp?


At first glance I thought that was a PMC Ultramag as well. But the proportions of it look wrong, unless the photo is out of whack? The tip looks too short and stubby to be an Ultramag projectile, If it were one, it would definitely have a PMC headstamp like they all did. Maybe it’s an Ultramag projectile that got loaded deeper into the case and it just looks stubby, or maybe it’s just a quirk of the angle of the photo? Also, all the original .38spl PMC Ultramag that I have seen was loaded in nickel-plated brass, and that one is just brass. I have seen the .44spl version in plain brass.


I had to dig this out of the storage box to find it. The bullet cavity is .220 in dia and .200 in depth. The bullet protrudes .220 from the case mouth. I don’t think this is a H.P. more likely something is missing from the cavity. The case is Brass with a WINCHESTER 38 SPL h/s flat nickel primer with red primer sealant.