U M C S & W self lubricating bullets

Just purchased several of these. Looked them up in the Journal CD and there is a couple of short articles but am not sure if the full line is listed. Anybody have a complete list?

Gourd–Back on 7 Mar 2013 we had a whole discussion of these. I posted the following ad listing all the calibers made. There was one other caliber not listed. It was a .41 S&W (Experimental). I have reposted it below.

Was self lubricating bullets with the lubricant pushed out from holes in the actual bullet a S&W patent or did other manufacturers use the same principle? What was the actual lubricant made of? Vic

Vic–It was a S&W Patent. They contracted U.M.C. to make them. I have no idea what the lubricant was for sure, but I would make a guess and say it was beeswax.

Re: Smith & Wesson Self Lubricatins Bullets
These rounds are also found without headstamp, still manufactured by U.M.C. The original loading was with black powder, the later smokeless loadings have a bullet seating cannelure. There is also an extra long version of the .32, its was a limited production item but nowhere as rare as the .41. Obtaining an example of each of the variations is a big challenge. Also, I think I read somewhere there is another experimental Smith & Wesson cartridge which is loaded with this type of bullet but the holes in the side of the bullet are not visible because the bullet was seated so that they were below the case mouth. Any of you collectors that know more than I think I do please feel free to comment!

.32 S&W (also known with a REM-UMC headstamp), .32 S&W long, .32 S&W long expmtl. 1.1" case, .38 S&W (also known with a REM-UMC headstamp), .38 Spl. (also known with a REM-UMC headstamp), . 41 S&W, 44 S&W Russian & 44 S&W Schofield (plain)

The Russian, .38 & .32 S&W are also found without headstamps (plain)

Perhaps 26 rounds total for a complete collection if you count primer, headstamp and case cannelure (with & without) variations within the case types.

Could you post a picture, if/when you have time, of the .41 S&W, or known Self Lub .38-44, or any of the S&W Self Lubricating bullets that have a flat point. Like in the ad Ron posted. (If you have some.) I have only seen the round nosed type, mainly the .32’s.

Dan, this 32 S&W Long is the only flatnose type in my small collection of self-lubes. By Pete’s count, I am well short of halfway toward a complete set. The picture of the .41 S&W was shown as lot 464 in Vol. IX, Num. 2 of Buttweiler’s auction cataloges and is about as close to one as I ever expect to get.

I don’t have the .41 S&W self-lube, & a .38-44 S&W is new to me & not on my list of known variations.

As far as I’m aware all have 4 holes, a hollow based bullet with a pusher for the lube, as the illustration shows, & regardless of bullet profile. My unheadstamped .38 S&W by UMC has a small flat tip very like the illustration while the headstamped version has a typical round nose, however my Schofield also has a small flat tip. Rich B has the 32 long covered so. Best I can do.

Thank You Rich and Pete!

I have to wonder how these bullets were manufactured. Were the four small holes drilled or what? They had to have been far more expensive to make than conventional lead bullets.

That was my first thought, how does it justify the expense? not to mention fiddly and slow, hard to crank up to any sort of volume production when the bullets would almost certainly have had to have been assembled by hand. Black powder loads I can see a certain amount of justification for having extra lube but not with smokeless powders.

The other question that came into my mind was whether the extra lubrication was actually needed for some of these calibres when they were only likely to be fired once in a blue moon. So would fouling be an issue?. Also is it going to leak out in high summer temperatures?

I could see the logic perhaps for a serious target or military bullet where there was a high through put and fouling could have been a problem. I would have thought the idea would have been more appropriate for rifle calibres

Even the more police / military based pistol calibres the likelyhood of any really sustained firing would have been very remote. They didn’t exactly go in for a lot of training in those days. Would the agencies buying such ammo pay a higher price to cover such an eventuality? Not on this side of the water

There has been quite a bit of discussion concerning the cost of the Self-Lubricating calibers vs. the standard bullet. Here are the retail costs per 1000 rounds, according to the 1910 U.M.C. catalog:

.32 S&W… $11.00
.32 S&W, Self-Lubricating… $13.50

.32 S&W Long… $12.00
.32 S&W Long, Self-Lubricating… .$14.50

.38 S&W… $13.50
.38 S&W, Self-Lubricating… $16.00

.38 S&W Special… $16.50
.38 S&W Special, Self-Lubricating… $19.00

.44 S&W Russian… $20.00
.44 S&W Russian, Self-Lubricating… $22.50

These are the only calibers still being listed in 1910, but it gives the relative diference of the the two types.

Thanks everybody for the boost. The patent I have for this bullet is: 499,487 issued to Daniel B. Wesson on June 13, 1893. Drawing shows a flange on the base of the lubricant tube which apparently was not used in the production rounds. I have a separate bullet and the tube is not visable and the plug is either lead or lead was swadged over it. Different from Paul Smiths sectioned cartridge in the October 2006 Better Half photo. Have wondered myself how the thing was assembled. The lower half of my bullet almost looks like it was turned as there are what looks like tool marks on it and it is .004" smaller than the upper half. Looked in my copy of Modern American Pistols & Revolvers by A.C Gould (1894). Gould tested “several hundred” rounds of the cartridges of “38” caliber no mention of which one in Smith and Wesson revolvers with barrels of from 3 1/4" to 6" and claimed every trial was excellent.

Gould particularly commented on the ability of the self-lubricating bullets to be fired in lengthy strings of shots without cleaning. He was testing ammo using black powder, and with this propellant he thought cleaning every ten shots was required to avoid severe fouling in dry weather with conventional lead bullets. Jack