RA67 38 Special ID?


#1

Can anyone help identify this cartridge? The case is very bright, especially the base - can it be chrome plated? It looks like a military headstamp but doesn’t appear to have had a primer crimp. The projectile is all lead with a very small dimple, not really a hollowpoint.

Thanks,

Tom


#2

Looks like a common reloaded round to me.

Additional, I just checked Otto Witt’s great book on 38’s and it states that the known R A 38Spl cases have all been brass, no nickel cases, and the bullets loaded have been 130FMJ with the exception of a single 158LRN loaded in RA 60 cases.


#3

Thanks for the info. Is it common to nickel plate cases and reload them?


#4

Nickel plating of cases by reloaders would not be that difficult to perform by anyone familiar with basic electroplating principles, but I can’t imagine why anyone would go to the trouble. I still have somewhere some WWII GI .30-'06 casings that were nickel plated, but I have no idea by whom or why.

Unlike WCC headstamps, I don’t believe that Remington used RA headstamps on non-military .38 Special ammunition. There are several variations of .38 Special military loads, the most common being the M41 having the nominal 130 grain FMJ bullet. However the USAF, back in the days of revolvers, pre-M9, used a .38 Special round designated as the PGU-12/B. It also had a 130 grain FMJ bullet, but with a heavily knurled cannelure, and manufactured with a very high bullet pull. It was also higher pressure than the M41, with a nominal MV of 1125 fps. The idea of the PGU-12/B was to prevent “pranksters” from pulling bullets from the M41 and making double-charged loads, which allegedly caused some revolver damage. I’ve had some old-time USAF air policemen and CATM folks tell me about this practice.

There was also another military .38 Special cartridge designated the XM142 (or M142) having a 158 grain FMJ bullet, at about the same 950 fps MV of the M41.


#5

I believe there is also a cluster bomb release cartridge that uses a .38 Special case with a cylindrical steel bullet. The bullet is stepped, with the exposed portion the same diameter as the outside of the case. I wonder if a prankster ever tried firing that through a revolver?


#6

There is also a .38 Special igniter cartridge used in naval aircraft seat ejection systems. As far as I am aware, these are specially loaded only at the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Indian Head MD, and they manufacture their own primers. I saw that operation about 10 years ago.

I was told USAF also used commercial .38 Special wadcutters and RN lead bullets for some non-combat applications.