Was the 38 Smith and Wesson special cartridge introduced commercially with smokeless or black powder as propellant? Jack
Originally with black powder, but it was quickly offered with smokeless, I think within a year or so.
For what it’s worth, from the IAA catalog collection:
From UMC the .38 S&W Special first appears in the 1900 catalog (it’s not in the 1899) listed as a black powder loading with 21-1/2 gr. of powder, a 158 gr. bullet and No.1 primer. It is also listed as a smokeless loading without description of bullet weight and using a No.6 primer.
From Peters retail price lists, the .38 S&W Special is not in the 1898 catalog but is in the next available 1901 issue loaded with King’s Semi-Smokeless Powder and a No.1-1/2 primer. A smokeless loading is not found in the 1902 issue but is in the next available 1904 issue with a No.6 primer.
When actual loading and distribution took place may well be different all together.
Dave and Strelok: Thanks for your responses. I have used the older catalogs but forgot later ones are available in the IAA catalog collection too. Jack