Looking for information on .380 revolver round


Hello. First post here. I recently bought (in a used bookstore, of all places!) a box of assorted .38 S&W ammo. Among these were two packets of what I take to be military contract ammo loaded by Fabrique National.

I am looking for general information on the details of the cartridge loading; bullet weight, velocity, etc. Anything at all would be of interest.

I have done a search of old posts on this site and have run across passing mention of a “2Z” load. Can anyone explain the significance of “2Z”?

By the way, I was over on the FAQ side of the house and ran across the post by membername strakv, concerning the technique of using a flatbed scanner to get shots of headstamps. Worked like a charm, thanks! JTL


Re 2Z; 2 = Mk2 Bullet Z = nitrocellulose propellant.



Hi Jimlay,

The cartidges you shown look more . 380 Revolver MKII than . 38 S&W



The cartridges pictured are certainly .380 Mark II rounds. However, they only differ from the .38 Smith & Wesson cartridge by bullet shape and weight. Case dimensions are compatible between the two different designations, ie: .38 S&W cartridges may be fired in any Smith & Wesson UK-contract revolver, or any Enfield or Webley Revolver, although usually with the fixed sight handguns the zero is off when used with the light 146-grain bullet of the .38 S&W. The British rounds may be fired in modern, good-quality .38 S&W caliber revolvers as well, although I have always resisted the temptation to try them in my old Smith and Wesson top-break Safety-Hammerless revolver, due to their heavier bullet, since I have no chamber-pressure figures comparing the two rounds. They would kick more anyway. Don’t want to damage that old gun - it shoots great and I use it for the pocket-revolver events in Cowboy Action Shooting.


Thank you, gentlemen. I was under the impression that the .38 S&W and the .380 Revolver rounds were indeed physically similar, but Mr. Moss raised a good point about the type of revolver to use them in. It happens that I too have a S&W Safety Hammerless top break (fifth model) and I wouldn’t want to stress it in the least way. I appreciate your answers, and thank you all again! JTL