I discovered a new research tool for identifying unknown headstamps… a tech-savvy 15 year old! I was going through some range pick-up brass yesterday and found a .38 Spl. with a new-to-me headstamp, “.38 SPL SB AF”. I figured it was either Santa Barbara or Squires Bingham, but what the heck was “AF”? Air Force? My 15 year old son asked what it was and I told him I was not sure. He said he could identify it for me using his computer. Thinking he had no chance with this obscure (to me) headstamp, I said “sure, go ahead!”. I’ll be darned if he didn’t find it in about three minutes! Santa Barbara, “AF” is a code for “86” (1986). He looked up the headstamp using Google Images, and sure enough, the headstamp, as typed into the search engine went directly to the AFTE website headstamp images page.
The unanswered question then is who was SB making 38 Spl. for in the 1980s and why the need to code the date? What was the original load?