Late 30's metal piercing 357 Magnum


Hello all, I picked up a box of this ammo, made by Western cartridge co., the box is full and in great condition, the ammo is shiny and looks new. I was wondering it’s value and scarcity, attached is a photo of the box and a couple of cartridges:
All help will be appreciated,thanks.


seen the same box in 38spl at agun show it was full…25.00


I didn’t pay much more than that for this, but most people don’t realize this is kind of rare ammo hence my putting it here. I thought a collector might be better able to price it accurately.


I am a 30 year collector of pistol caliber AP …its the most common ap/metal piercing rounds their are.



Western SUPER X metal penetrating ammunition can be found in catalogs well into the 1960s and possibly even the 1970s.

Someone may be able to date your box by the colors and lettering. How did you arrive at the “late 30s” date?? The 357 magnum cartridge itself was not introduced until 1935.



Western used this style box until about 1954.


A box of this was up for auction on Gunbroker about three weeks ago. The winning bid was $200. That seems to be a very high price (I was not the winning bidder).

Perhaps someone on the board can answer a question about this ammunition: I have always understood that the “metal piercing” feature of this ammunition was the bullet shape alone and that “metal piercing” ammunition of that era did not have the steel core or a bullet or bullet core composed of a metal other than lead (which generally defines armor piercing pistol ammo manufactured over the past two decades.) Does anyone know anything about the bullet composition of this Western ammo?

Thanks in advance. This is a superb forum.



You’re correct. The metal penetrating bullet differed primarily in the conical shape of the point and a much thicker copper jacket. The “metal” it was designed to penetrate was nothing more than an auto body and possibly an engine block. A standard FMJ bullet will do that so it was probably mostly advertising hype. The earliest metal piercing bullets were jacketed only on the front half, the rest of the bullet being a standard lead slug. In Western advertising of the day it was touted that “The conical nose opens a hole in the body steel and the main lead section then rips through, usually emerging on the opposite side of the car. . . With this ammunition, police officers now can ‘turn the heat’ on the hoodlum. . .” Metal piercing cartridges were also made in 38 Special and 45 ACP.



I agree that these may be some of the more common AP pistol ammo when found as single cartridges, but I personally don’t have a full box in my collection and don’t recall having had the opportunity to buy a full box before; perhaps I’mm lookinmg in the wrong places. So if some of those who consider boxes of these to be so common would sell me a box in the same condition as the one pictured here for $25, I’ll take it.



I want to correct a statement that I made in my first post. I looked at some of the old Western catalogs and brochures that I have and they were, indeed, selling the metal-piecing ammunition in the late 1930s. So your box could date from that time period. I hope it does.


How many boxes do you want? I will let you have them on the standard e-bay terms, $25 per box plus $200 shipping and handling. :) :)



This type ammo will pierce a class 2A spectra/aramid type vest no problem out of a snub in its +P loading and a 3a vest out of a4 inch and in its .357 loading its well …very good.

Their not as weak a AP as most people think.The hi way masters are just as good also.

I know this for fact as I used my old vests when they would expire for testing.It had nothing to do with the age of the vest.

A class 3 will stop most all common ball type rounds that are not m39b or steel core type designs.

These MP rounds have no “core” just a thick jacket around a “wadcutter” lead body and the most important PART for “AP” a pointed tip.

See far left of pic for a cutaway.

Next couple boxes I see I will pick up and post for sale here.It might be my location THAT MAKES THEM SEMI COMMON. OUT WEST

The original poster only paid maybe 30.00 for his box…200.00 was paid by someone who is lacking full knowldge in this type ammo.

I still say that a full box of these is the most common AP type round their is(not counting m39b or german steel core in 9mm) when did ya last see a full box of THV or ARCANES or for that matter even a box of 45acp hiway masters.


I have been able to find three variations of the Hiway Master over the years, not in great condition, but all full when purchased.