Great information. As noted, there is lots of information out there that states 38 Special was designed as a smokeless round, but discussions like this put some facts on the table that clearly show black powder 38 Special rounds were out there. That is a great box of BP and the first one I have ever seen. Keep it clean and safe.
Interesting that Mike's study of barrel markings on the Model 1899 show that the first example of a 38 SPECIAL CTG was done around s/n 7500 and that would correlate with a 1900 ship date.
My only question about the text of the book Alk8944 referenced is why would the government send 38 Special ammunition to S&W if that was the company that invented the caliber?? I also wonder if he could have been confused and 38 Long Colt was what the government sent to S&W?? The reason I ask is that 18 grains of BP is about the amount that was used in the 38 LC round?? Probably more questions than answers, but one reference from Charles R. Suydam still leaves room for more research. Wonder if the government testing documents are out there, like the Army tests conducted on the 38 Safety in the 1890 trials?
I just remembered a bit of information is contained in Roy's book about the issue. It is reported that the factory sent the Army 1000 38 Hand Ejector revolvers chambered in 38 Long Colt (38 US Service Cartridge). This was done in 1899. That information supports the above comments that maybe the author was a little confused about the calibers?? If as stated, the Army or Navy sent ammunition to S&W, it would support the thought it was 38 US Service Cartridge and not 38 Special. That trial was in 1899 and it was already known that problems existed with this ammo not being powerful enough for the military. This is the very reason why the 38 Special could have been invented around 1900, as evidenced by the fact that more BP could be loaded in the longer cases.
SWCA 2515 Grip is a verb
Last edited by glowe; 01-11-2017 at 09:22 PM.
Reason: added content