Unknown .380 ACP --AP

Recently I came into the possession of an unknown .380 ACP --AP.
I hope someone can tell me more about this cartridge.

Thanks, Richard
380%20AP-1 380%20AP-2 380%20AP-3

I had hoped someone would chime in on this by now. All I can say is while it is certainly a Winchester cartridge case, I am not aware of any projectile in that form coming from Winchester (have never seen it by ANYONE before, actually). It is hard to tell, but the case may be reloaded. There is a long mark after the “W-W” that could be an ejector mark, or even from the underside of an extractor. Or, it could just be something that happened to the round in handling. Still, the case itself, in the picture, does not look like it has been fired before. Of course, that is proof of nothing, since Winchester sells components.

If I had to bet money on it, I would definitely say this is not a Winchester-made loading of any type. Hopefully, someone may recognize this very odd bullet. Is the grey tip lead, or steel?

John Moss

It lookes like something turned on a lathe, and shoved into a bullet that was cut/drilled to take it… the edges of the jacket looks course, as if cut.

JohnMoss and BadgerJack thanks for the replays.
The tip and core is made of steel. I agree with John that the case and headstamp do not indicate the origin of the complete cartridge. The core is indeed made on a lathe. The rough finish is even worse shape with the NATIONAL cartidges. So in this case I don’t immediately think of “homemade”.
I have been able to buy 2 of these cartridges that are exactly the same. The seller had no information about these cartridges. Perhaps these are left over from a test. I hope there is someone who is familiar with this cartridge and can give more information.
Greetings, Richard

John, I have been waiting to see a response also. Like you, I have not seen a similar bullet. The closest I have seen is the round by the American Arms Co, Salt Lake City UT in the mid-1980s. The core looks similar and they were loaded in W-W cases, but these were loaded in plastic sabots in 9x19mm, not in a drilled out jacketed case. The core had a very flattened conical tip, but without the flattened tip of this round. The AACO round was intended to defeat Soviet body armor.

I agree that this does not look like a garage round, but more likely something similar to the AACO round. During the mid1980s this was a big deal since the Soviets were introducing/using body armor with titanium plates. I suspect the pictured round may have been made in this timefrome since I seem to remember the W-W headstamp was dropped sometime between the mid-1980 and mid-1990s. Somone please correct me on that.


Why would an AP bullet be flat tipped?
Would that not defeat the purpose of “Armour Piercing”?

Not certain I am phrasing this correctly:
Maybe more of a “shock-type” round, with the flat tip expending more energy onto the target?

It seems to work as the Russians are using this design for decades now.
Also it may be worth to clarify if that core on the .380 is hardened.

Source: internet.

EOD I have no equipment or access to equipment to measure the hardness of the core.
Based on the cores I have seen over the years, the color of the material corresponds to hardened cores from other projectiles. Not a hard fact, but only a good estimate.


It reminds me of the shape, style, and era of the experimental 9mm High Standard solid steel projectiles tested in 9x19 by the Airforce. Some of the variants were truncated, and this .380 core looks just like a scaled-down version of it. Of course it might also be homemade and have a coincidentally fitting bit of steel stuffed into a hollowed-out JHP bullet, but that sure does look a good fit to be random.

Photo previously posted by Lew: