Military 38 Special

What kind of bullet was used in the military 38 special loads made by Federal with nickeled cases?


Pivi - what are the headstamps. I have never seen a US military .38 special load with a nickeled case (Military Proof loads could exist I guess, but since the military simply buys commercial .38 Special revolvers, proofed by the factory anyway, I am not sure if it does or not).

Like Winchester with their “WCC+P+ ##” dated headstamps, Federal has produced police loads for various agencies with a quasi-military headstamp style, usually just “FC ##” with a two-digit date. I have seen thoise in both plain brass cases and nickeled brass. They usually have hollow point bullets in them, but the weights can vary depending on who ordered them.

I am out of my field here, but for the major part (not always) the military bullet has been a GM FMJ RN bullet of varying weight, depending on when and for whom made. The ogive of the ones I have seen the ost is reminiscent of the ogive of .38 Super bullets, but they are usually 158 grains (again, not always).

Yes,it is headstamped “FC ##”.So it is a police load not a military one.

John,did they use FMJ hollow points or SP hollow points in those loads (with exposed lead) ?

Plain clothes US military police ( Govt agents?) used to be armed with .38 spec revolvers and they had some over here at Lime Grove Ruislip. I have seen them on the range they used at RAF Northolt. They were using civilian Winchester +P and they were complaining because they were told to shoot it off and get rid of it but they wanted to practice with their new .40 auto pistols. We offered to help out but they declined.

That was about 5 years ago or so. Lime Grove has gone now.

One reason why some US military .38 Special FMJ look like .38 Super FMJ is because they may very well use the same bullet. M41 and PGU-12/B both use ~130 grain FMJ.

Vince - When I was with the 380th Military Police (Crime Lab) at Oakland Army Terminal, we spent a couple of weeks across the Bay at the San Francisco Presidio with the 60th Military Police Detachment (C.I.). It was the first time that I knew any American soldier ever carried a concealed weapon in Uniform, even though I was on my second enlistment. The Criminal Investigators carred 2" barrel Colt Cobras or Detective Specials, I forget which, with standard 158 grain lead RN bullets - commercial ammunition. They had a glass cabinet full of them in the office. I was shocked the first day I walked in the place and there was a Sgt. with his jacket off wearing one of them in an inside waist-band holster. They had a special credential that included the words “Authorized Concealed Firsrms,” or something like that. I knew before that that the plain clothes guys in ASA, CIC and CI wore concealed guns, but not uniformed guys as well. I guess they still do. that was in the early 1960s.

I remember well the Colts, because I still have a CCW permit and one of the guns on it is a Colt Cobra. I use factory match wadcutters in it for bullet weight, velocity retention and accuracy, since any .38 is a minimal defense caliber out of a 2 inch barrel anyway. They are very, very accurate out of the 2" barrel, which always amazes me.