Remington 38 Spl shot load-ca' 1954

I was tryng to organize some things and ran across this box. Dirt common??? Worth taking to SLICS??? Put on Gunbroker??? or put it back in the bottom of a deep box???

Was this normal commercial or some kind of special order???


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I do not recall this ever being a normal commercial load from Remington, but then, there is nothing about the box label, especially, that says that this is a Remington Factory load. It may be a commercial reload from some other custom-cartridge maker. Harder to tell reloads, when done well, on revolver loads than on auto-pistol calibers, since the case doesn’t take a beating - seldom any pronounced extractor marking and no ejector marking.

I am not talking microscopic markings here.

Are the words “SHOT LOADS” printed on the box, or are they from a rubber stamp. They are so well-applied, I admit that they look printed on my screen, but I have seen rubber-stamp markings that ARE that well stamped. Easier to tell when you are holding the box.

What is the material of the over-shot wad?

John Moss

For edification - what establishes these cool loads as circa 1954?

The box date code is F27P which indicates the box was loaded with ammunition in 1954 and during one of the months during the second half of the year, on the 27th of that month. F= second half of 1954. P is the code for the month. These were 6 letter words that changed constantly and it would require a list of these codes to know the month.

The “SHOT LOAD” looks printed to me, but I am no expert. These are not exactly aligned with the label, but in all cases it looks like the right side bottom of the letter is slightly lower. than the left. Had they been stamps, I would have expected any misalignment to be random. This looks like the label was printed and then overprinted wit the “SHOT LOAD”. i have seen Winchester boxes with such overprints but don’t recall a Remington box.
Just my opinion since I am no expert in this area.

The wad material is dark bluish-gray and very hard and very smooth. There are 17 rounds in the box and the headstamps are all identical. If it was reloads, I expect some headstamp variation. If it was some loader other than Remington using new primed cases, then I’d expect the box to be a box for primed cases overstamped as shot loads, Not a wad cutter box. The box, of course, is too shallow to accommodate a normal 38 Special load. Looks like a Remington product to me but this isn’t my area.

It occurs to me that these could be an order for a trick shooter like you use to see at State Fairs who was using a 38Spl revolver and breaking glass balls or whatever being thrown in the air!

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The cases all having the same headstamp is not surprising. A reloader could have purchased the cases from a police department or some other armed institution. I did that with .45 auto, and had 2,200 once-fired, nickel cases all with the same headstamp. The only problem was they had been fired in a TSMG, and my Star loader didn’t have the leverage to resize them without huge, tiring effort, so I had to resize them all on my old RCBS A2 which made the job easy.

As to boxes, right now I have a full, original case of .38 Special Remington boxes, for Targetmaster Kleanbore 148 rain Wadcutter ammo, Index 6138. the boxes are all empty and all the same, but are mixed date codes and the two or three I just looked at do not have the same date code as the case. There are 40 boxes, again, all the same. The case is addressed to to the San Francisco Office of the FBI. Date code on the case is L19S.

Just offered as examples of the acquisition of mass boxes, all the same. My intention was to use the case and its boxes for my own .38 WC loads, but the need never came up. The .45 cases have since been reloaded dozens of times, and always put back in the original boxes.

These things are not a particularly unusual happening with ammunition, even with individual folks reloading for their own use. We are always scrounging around for buys in cases, containers, etc. New brass and plastic boxes are expensive, when you are loading a cartridge by the thousands, instead of just a box here and there.

Don’t take this to mean I am “declaring” that box to be simply non-factory reloads. There is not enough documentation to know one way or another and one man’s guess is every bit as good as another’s. My main suspicion is the top wad - the over-powder wad. I would think at a large factory, they would have used a more conventional card wad.

I, also, am not expert in this area (or any other, for that matter).


I have the cartridge & have it listed holding #7 1/2 size shot.

But an unknown maker.

The trick shooter, sounds to me like the answer.

Be interested in the box if you wish to sell.

For what it’s worth (this has nothing to do the the box pictured above) here is another REM-UMC 38 Spl shot. This one has a clear plastic wad. I know nothing else about it…

rem umc 38 spl shot hs
rem umc 38 spl shot wad


Have the same Paul, I think mine might be a spreader loading as it seems to have a thin ? insert in the somewhat-middle of the load, but otherwise the same & sorry no other information recorded in my notes

The first box, with card wads and a 1954 date on the box certainly goes with the era of trick shooters at state fairs, but what is the reason and what might be the date for the cartridges with clear plastic wads? I have seen “snake loads” for revolvers for sale, but all I remember have the shot in a plastic bullet-shaped container.

including to two mentioned I have a least 6 shot loadings without any containers extending from the mouth.
One even has a professionally printed “8S” topwad under a clear plastic cover.
So important point waterman, both trick shooters & snake loads could be the end use.

Thanks everyone. I appreciate the great comments.

John, your case dates from the first half of 1957. I agree that a reloader could have purchased bulk boxes and fired cases from the police of others. Ideal for reloading as shot loads.

I don’t care whether the box is from a reloader or Remington!

I know very little about 38 Special. Are the two crimps common on Wad Cutter loads or are they associated with these being shot loads? I decided to look at the crimps on all the cases and found 14 had the double crimps, but 3 had a single crimp a bit higher up than the top crimp on the round pictured. I suspect these were originally ball loads and goes a long way to supporting John’s reload theory. the other point of interest is that these three all have WRA headstamps. a small point I had missed. Being reloads, these rounds could have been loaded anytime after mid-1954.

Thanks for the offer Pete but I think I will add it to my “Dupes for Trade” box!