When was the last time you got a free sample of Pistol Ammo?

The box on right is a free sample of 6 38 special rounds. Box on the left is abox of reloading 38 bullets for the same cartridges. USAC of Tacoma, Washington around 1984-85 tried to get the public interested in this plastic/brass cartridge that was very easy to reload. I have shot several hundred and had no trouble with the cases. Most of used a Lee priming punch and seater to reprime and a Lee dipper for powder. The special bullets in the left box just snapped in. USAC had a reloadind tool but I never used one. I guess that the public was not ready for plastic.

Those were a great idea for people learning how to shoot who could reload and shoot over & over again for not much money. The problem was that the kind of people who might appreciate that were also the kind of people who would tend to not want to handle powder and do reloads. The price of loaded ammo (cheap or surplus shooting ammo) was also not so high as to cause anyone to seek a cheaper alternative most of the time. I think the experienced / professional shooter crowd scoffed at these and were hard to pull away from their traditional loading & reloading techniques which saw no savings in plastic since they tend to do things in bulk for already low prices using brass. That being said, they make for a nice collectible.

Picture One: Group picture of four boxes:

Caption: At top is a more “head on” photo of the .38 Special box already show, with the “Samples Only” statement easier to spot and red. The blazer .38/357 is interesting in that it it is mixed caliber. I have never opened it and the label obscures most of the cartridges, but it appears to hold five rounds of .38 wadcutter and five rounds of Soft Hollow Point .357 Magnum of unknown bullet weight.

The super Lite is not pistol, but interesting anyway and related to the topic. The Blazer 9mm, with its side label shown below the main picture, was not a FREE sample, but was a sample box of unusual quantity (ten rounds of FMJ 9 mm) and I thought, again, related to this topic as it was a sample box.

Picture two: side label of 9 mm box shown in picture one.

Picture three: Winchester .45 Bonus Pack.

Caption: Again, this is not a free sample, but an interesting box with a cartridge sampling enclosed. It has 45 rounds of regular brass-cased 230 grain FMJ ammunition, and then five rounds of the 230 grain SXT JHP loading, in nickel cartridge cases. An unusual packaging for sure, and not one that seems to be seen much at shows or the like. It was produced years ago, like all of the ones I have shown.

I hope the above boxes are of some interest.

John Moss

Not exactly cartridge related, but I did some of the patent drawings years ago for USAC…I believe they also made “giveaway” displays showing some of the cartridges…


For those who haven’t seen one, this is the reloading tool used to make those rounds. I fired many hundreds of these back then and they were quite accurate.

After several firings of the plastic case, the bullet might be a little loose after reloading. USAC suggested depriming the case, then boiling it in hot water for about 5 minutes to restore elasticity.