WESTERN SUPER-MATCH .38 SPECIAL, 148gr WC- Collectible?



I’m new here and this is my first post. I’ve searched for this Super-Match ammo on the site an haven’t found any reference as to it’s current desirability. I know it’s good shooting ammunition though.

I recently received a full case of this Western Super-Match .38 Special 148WC ammunition. The case was still sealed. I opened it up and opened one box to check condition. The ammo is like new. I don’t know when it was made but the rounds are in a styrofoam tray.

Here are my questions. Does this ammo qualify as collectible? Or should I just go ahead and shoot it? If it is collectible, what would be a realistic price range?

These aren’t the best pictures but they’ll give you the general idea. The ammo is essentially perfect New Old Stock. The boxes are in perfect shape.

Thanks in advance!


What’s the lot number? Should be printed under one of the 50-rnd box flaps.


Ah, thanks…should have thought of that.

60CN21 is stamped on the inside of one flap. I checked two boxes.

I take it this is 1960 ammo then?


Most likely…December 12, 1969…


Thank you Army! I appreciate that. If it’s not too much trouble can you explain how those letters equal that date?

Also, for everyone…is this ammo in new boxes relatively rare and worth preserving?

I’m not a collector; if it’s common, I’m just going to shoot it. I’d hate to do that if a real collector would want it.

I have no dreams of getting rich. New ammo of this type is about $25 a box. If I could trade it out for that, I’d be a happy camper. I have a S&W Model 10 that was tuned for competition back in the 60s and it loves this type ammo.

Thanks for any perspectives.


I’ve never seen a .38 Special caliber revolver or auto pistol that didn’t like this stuff (in the case of autos, I am talking about custom guns or the smith & Wesson Model 52 that were made exclusively for wadcutters). I shot thousands of rounds of this ammo - I used to use my reloads, which were good but did not quite match these factroy rounds in accuracy, the only instance I can remember when I couldn’t better the factory accuracy in any caliber I load, for 25 yard timed and rapid fired, and these for 50 yard slow fire. I also used them for PPC shooting. Great stuff.

However, not sure that they would bring any more to collectors than it would cost you to replace them for shooting. I have shot very little .38 Special in the last 12 years since I got into CAS, and still have an unopened case of this stuff (2000 rounds) with, I believe, the same basic box design. Also a few boxes on the shelf. It is certainly not a rare box, and the cartridges are common.

Just my opinion - if it were mine, and I had a quantity of it, I would shoot it, but allow collectors in the interim to buy a box (if you have a lot of it) at whatever the current price of .38 factory wadcutter is. If you have a lot, you might put a couple of boxes away for posterity. I am too old to bother with that, and one of these days, I will take all my 38/357 Mag Revolvers to the range for a full day, and have a shooting orgy with my case of it.

John Moss



If you are a young guy, save it. If you are an old guy, do what John says.

They won’t make any more 1960s cartridges so they will be real collectors items someday. It’s just a matter of when. Like John and most other collectors, I have put away some of the boxes that were contemporary to my shooting days but I think it will be my grandkids who will actually come to appreciate them.




Toad…60CN21…The 60 is a line number, shift number, loading machine, or whatever…C = 1969, N = December, and 21 = day of month reversed, so really it is 12…Lew C. gets credit here for “dechipering” these codes over the years…



My only reservation, Ray, is that between Toad and I, if he has the same case-packing as I do, we have 80 boxes of this stuff, enough for every collector who would want a box it for the next 100 years, probably. That’s a lot of money sitting on the garage floor waiting for collectors to buy it at market price, which it is well worth just for its shooting quantities. That’s about a thousand bucks worth of shooting ammo sitting idle. Not a very good investment, even in these days, in my opinion, if he saves it for collectors.

The shooting fun derived from 40 boxes of that ammo is worth that price. But remember, the older it gets, the harder it will be to sell it to shooters at any kind of good (for Toad) price. Will collectors pay big bucks for a full box someday? Maybe, if there are any left in our shrinking community. But he will have to find 40 of them! The question is, could he make a better investment than to hang onto a full case of that for years? I think so.

John Moss


Ok guys, thanks! This is the info I’ve needed.

First, I’m an old dude; when this ammo was new on the shelf, I was 18 years old and had been shooting for years. :) I still enjoy shooting. I’ve got a lovely S&W Model 10 that was owned by the Chief of Guards at the Federal Reserve in KC back when this ammo was new. He was a competition shooter and was VERY good. He had this revolver well tuned. I love to shoot it, it’s smooth as glass. So, I am sure it will enjoy shooting this ammo, as I will.

Randy, I’d have NEVER figured that out! Thanks much!

Ray, I probably will save 4-5 boxes for posterity out of the 40 in the case. One for each son and one each for each grandchild and a spare for a later grandchild!

Once again, the help has been greatly appreciated. It makes the decision easy! I love the smell of burnt powder!



I think you made the right decision.

Now, here’s what will actually happen. You’ll live to be 95 and that ammo will be worth 500 a box. You will tell everyone,[i] "Dagnabit, I can remember when I had 40 boxes of that stuff and I shot most of it. #@%&*%@.[/i]

Been there , done that. ;) ;)



Yeah, I’m sure that will happen…if I live that long. I kinda rode this life hard and put it up wet a lot of times.

Probably it’ll be my sons saying “I remember Dad shooting up a ton of that stuff just for the heck of it!” :)


There is nothing wrong in shooting any ammo for the heck of it. Every one you shoot makes the rest that little bit rarer.
But seriously 1969 .38 Special is never going to be that rare.