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Old 01-11-2022, 03:44 PM
Daimler1989 Daimler1989 is offline
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Default .38 Special +P Winchester JSP flat

Hi all,

no google search could help me finding information abourt a .38 Special +P Winchester JSP flat (no hollow point) cartridge with nickel plated cases. So I ask here: Can someone provide any information on this ammo? Sorry that I can't provide any information on bullet weight.

Let me explain. I am a court reporter writing for daily newspapers in Germany. Currently I am reporting on a court case against an illegal gun dealer, who who allegedly sold a gun to an assassin. This assassin, a right-wing extremist, killed a high ranking German politician in 2019 with a Rossi Model 27 revolver, the ammo he used was a .38 Special +P Winchester JSP flat. Now I'm interested in how old this ammo could be - the weapons expert for the court (an official of the state criminal investigation department) did not provide any information on this matter. The murder weapon itself comes from Switzerland and was reported lost by the rightful owner about 20 years ago.

I would be very happy if well-informed users here could help me.

best regards from Germany
Ulrich
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Old 01-11-2022, 04:07 PM
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If you had the box the ammo came in I probably have the date code for it.
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Old 01-11-2022, 04:51 PM
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Winchester-Western first offered +P ammunition (including .38 Special) in the mid-1970s, but I can't provide an exact year. The idea was to provide a more powerful loading which exceeded the maximum chamber pressure established by SAAMI (the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturer's Institute) and had a higher muzzle velocity than standard .38 Special loadings. Probably the most popular version of the .38 Special +P load used a 125 grain partially jacketed bullet (other bullet weights are available) with lead exposed at the nose (aka Softpoint), normally with a nose cavity (hollow point) to produce greater expansion upon impact with body tissue, thereby causing more damage. I do not know if W-W ever offered a similar .38 Special +P bullet design without the hollow point, but their earlier +P ammunition in .38 Special was cataloged as being hollow point only. The cartridge headstamp would likely have been "W-W .38 SPL +P". Without a cartridge box showing its manufacturing lot number, it is not possible to supply even an approximate date. Were the lot number known, I could date it accurately to the month, day, and year. Pictures below:



Last edited by DWalt; 01-11-2022 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 01-11-2022, 05:13 PM
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If the guy's politics had been left of center, would you have bothered to mention it?
38 Spl ammunition has been made all over the world by various companies. It's even been used by some European LE agencies. Even if you had a headstamp, it could still be reloaded/remanufactured ammunition.
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Old 01-11-2022, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul in Nevada View Post
If the guy's politics had been left of center, would you have bothered to mention it?
While that was also my first thought, I then considered that the OP is posting from another continent AND that he’s got a membership history and active posting history on our forum and thought that maybe I don’t really know where he’s coming from.

Meh, I still don’t.
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Old 01-12-2022, 08:51 AM
Daimler1989 Daimler1989 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul in Nevada View Post
If the guy's politics had been left of center, would you have bothered to mention it?....
yes, I would have bothered... because I want to present the case clearly when I talk about it, and not only in the newspapers I work for.

Just as I present in another case that it was a turkish immigrant who shot first his brother-in-law and then his wife with a Mauser pistol 32 acp to save to save the money for the divorce. Or that in another case it was a russian immigrant who first shot his wife and then his hated neighbor, with a Weihrauch revolver .38 special, because the booze took away his last inhibition.

I have asked for help in identifying ammunition, I see no reason to get political here.

thanks everyone for input

regards
ulrich
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Old 01-12-2022, 10:16 AM
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I didn't know Ernst shot Lübcke with a 38 Special. For some reason I thought
He used a 9mm.
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Old 01-12-2022, 10:24 AM
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I have seen .38 Special + P JSP loads, they were 158 gr and definitely made in the 1980s. Perhaps contacting Winchester would reveal the information you seek?
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Old 01-12-2022, 12:35 PM
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Since most companies use about the same powder weight for their loads...
+/- 5 grs.............

If you have a 125 and 158 gr on hand, with a scale, you should be able to
"Guestamate" what weight bullet is in that case.

Good luck on your quest.
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Old 01-12-2022, 01:24 PM
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The load for which you seek information is Winchester Q4282 .38 Special +P 158 gr JSP in nickel cases.

I bought two boxes of it in the 1998-2002 timeframe and still have quite a few rounds. It's packaged in the white Winchester Western Super X boxes of the 70's / early 80's.

It seem to provided expected velocities when I chronographed it back in the day, right around 760 fps from a Model 60 2" snub. It would no doubt perform better out of a 4" barrel.

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Old 01-12-2022, 01:42 PM
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It is apparent that the OP does not have any of the .38 Special +P ammunition in question, and is merely asking for information regarding possibilities. About all I can add to the information I have earlier provided is that Winchester cataloged NO versions of .38 Special +P cartridges without hollow-point bullets in the mid-1970s and that is still the case today. I have no idea if Winchester may have made .38 Special +P JSP ammunition for the European market, but that is a possibility, and only Winchester could answer that. And there are other possibilities, including that the ammunition in question could have been reloaded with a JSP non-hollow point bullet. Without further information, there is no way to date production accurately, except to say that if it came from the factory, it is from no earlier than the mid-1970s.

The only later W-W ammunition reference I have which is reliable is the 1990 catalog. In it, there are no W-W .38 Special +P JSP loads listed in any bullet weight, only JHP. I have earlier .38 Special +P ammunition listings from the 1980s but they are unreliable.

Last edited by DWalt; 01-12-2022 at 02:59 PM.
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Old 01-12-2022, 01:45 PM
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Default .38 Special +P Winchester JSP flat

Quote:
Originally Posted by serger View Post
I didn't know Ernst shot Lübcke with a 38 Special. For some reason I thought
He used a 9mm.

Would the Germans call a 38 special a 9 mm?
ETA well, the German media, anyway. I don’t know if they are any better than our media when reporting about guns.


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Old 01-12-2022, 03:09 PM
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Dwalt, look at the post right above yours. It was posted a few minutes prior to yours. He may be onto something.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DWalt View Post
It is apparent that the OP does not have any of the .38 Special +P ammunition in question, and is merely asking for information regarding possibilities. About all I can add to the information I have earlier provided is that Winchester cataloged NO versions of .38 Special +P cartridges without hollow-point bullets in the mid-1970s and that is still the case today. I have no idea if Winchester may have made .38 Special +P JSP ammunition for the European market, but that is a possibility, and only Winchester could answer that. And there are other possibilities, including that the ammunition in question could have been reloaded with a JSP non-hollow point bullet. Without further information, there is no way to date production accurately, except to say that if it came from the factory, it is from no earlier than the mid-1970s.

The only later W-W ammunition reference I have which is reliable is the 1990 catalog. In it, there are no W-W .38 Special +P JSP loads listed in any bullet weight, only JHP. I have earlier .38 Special +P ammunition listings from the 1980s but they are unreliable.
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Old 01-12-2022, 03:40 PM
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I did find a copy of the 1981 W-W catalog, and it also has no listings for a .38 Special +P load using a JSP bullet in any weight. Additionally, there are no codes in it beginning with Q, only those beginning with X.

It is possible that later W-W catalogs from the 1998 - 2002 period do show a +P load with a JSP bullet and a Q code. Unfortunately I have no such catalogs.

I have no evidence that the only jacketed bullets used by W-W for .38 Special +P ammunition were JHPs, but it is logical that the use of hollow-point bullets makes more sense if the avowed purpose of a +P load is to do maximum damage.

Last edited by DWalt; 01-12-2022 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 01-12-2022, 03:40 PM
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Winchester catalogues this product...WC381...it has a lead free primer, but is a soft nose, jacketed 125 gr round, nickel plated case at 775 fps...not marked as +p...just did a search. Maybe this helps, maybe it doesn't.
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Old 01-12-2022, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by .455_Hunter View Post
The load for which you seek information is Winchester Q4282 .38 Special +P 158 gr JSP in nickel cases.

I bought two boxes of it in the 1998-2002 timeframe and still have quite a few rounds. It's packaged in the white Winchester Western Super X boxes of the 70's / early 80's.

It seem to provided expected velocities when I chronographed it back in the day, right around 760 fps from a Model 60 2" snub. It would no doubt perform better out of a 4" barrel.
thanks everyone so far for your help

.455_Hunter seems to have some of those cartridges I asked for. What I know so far: JSP flat, no hollow points. expert witness says: Winchester ammo, no reloads. The murder bullet was found in the skull of the victim on the opposite side of the entry point, shooting distance was about 1 to 1.5 meters. This indicates that the bullet velocity could not have been too high. Could well have been 158 grs.

@pittpa: there are not many journalists in Germany who know anything about weapons. Usually, they write "a handgun of caliber 38 millimeters" or "22 millimeters" when the police say that the caliber is 38 or 22. Only few write 9 millimeter when it is 38 because they heard somewhere that caliber 38 is about 9 millimeters. And even less do understand what exactly is caliber .38 Special.

@serger: possibly the press also wrote something about 9 millimeter (see above). the gun was a 2" Rossi Model 27, found in a hiding place at Ernst's workplace. ballistic investigations confirmed that it was the murder weapon.

regards
Ulrich
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Old 01-12-2022, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWalt View Post
I did find a copy of the 1981 W-W catalog, and it also has no listings for a .38 Special +P load using a JSP bullet in any weight. Additionally, there are no codes in it beginning with Q, only those beginning with X.

It is possible that later W-W catalogs from the 1998 - 2002 period do show a +P load with a JSP bullet and a Q code. Unfortunately I have no such catalogs.
Winchester used (or uses) Q-codes for ammo that was not standard civilian brand production (Super-X) or had a supposed “military” pedigree, like USA brand WWB. The below are taken from a ~1990 vendor catalog:

Q3130- .308 Win 147 gr FMJ
Q3131- .223 Rem 55 gr FMJ
Q3132- .30 Carbine 110 gr FMJ
Q4170- .45 ACP 230 gr FMJ
Q4196- .38 Special 150 gr LRN
Q4172- 9mm 115 gr FMJ
Q4203- .25 ACP 50 gr FMJ
Q4206- .380 ACP 95 gr FMJ
Q4204- .357 Mag 110 gr JHP
Q4205- .38 Super 130 gr FMJ
Q3174- 7.62x39mm 123 gr FMJ

Another good one is the Q4296 .38 Special +P+ 147gr. JHP, an FBI approved load contemporary with the Federal Hydra-Shok equivalent for the last years of revolver duty in the post-Miami aftermath.

Anyway, what best describes OP’s load is Q4282 38 Special 158 gr. J.S.P. (+P). Probably not a regular catalog item. The case heads are stamped WINCHESTER 38 SPL +P and the boxes are definitely 70’s / early 80’s. By the time I was paying attention as a young teen in ~1989, these style of boxes were long gone for retail ammo, replaced by the ones using the red plastic tub and soft foam insert.

Pics attached. They do exist in real life.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Q4282-1.jpg (39.0 KB, 38 views)
File Type: jpg Q4282-2.jpg (50.5 KB, 45 views)

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Old 01-12-2022, 05:54 PM
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Some agencies used JSP rounds to avoid the politics of JHP use. A flat pointed JSP as described is probably just what most of us would refer to as a JSP. My recollection is that there were JSP loads in various weights, and I am pretty sure I recall agencies near where I grew up that used 125 grain JSP in .38 for a while.

It would not surprise me if we are having a communication issue based on both language and the specifics of nomenclature differences, not to mention the legal issues being different in Germany and here with regard to the specifics of the ammo in terms of the proof of a criminal case.
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Old 01-12-2022, 06:47 PM
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When the Illinois State Police first went to the 9mm, they used a WW JSP for a time. It was a Q code if I remember correctly.
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Old 01-12-2022, 09:33 PM
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[QUOTE=Paul in Nevada;141357932]If the guy's politics had been left of center, would you have bothered to mention it?


I wonder what the victim's political persuasion was now that we have read an opinion about the shooter's.
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Old 01-12-2022, 11:16 PM
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Some more info on different Winchester .38 Special "Q" loads from the 70's...

Ammo Evolution: .38 Special Treasury Load | SOFREP
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Old 01-12-2022, 11:22 PM
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Daimler1989, You are right about journalists as a rule knowing little about firearms.

They are as bad about it here in the states as in Germany.
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Old 01-13-2022, 01:31 AM
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You might check S&W ammo. IIRC, they were buying Winchester brass early on.
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Old 01-13-2022, 01:39 AM
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S&W used to make their own brand of ammo. I think they used brass from Winchester at first. I couldnt find any reference to S&W ammo.

Edit: Did another search and found a little info. S&W was first to come up with the Nyclad ammo.

I remember they had a number of loads. I have some 357 Magnum ammo loaded with a 158 gr lead SWC.

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Old 01-13-2022, 02:03 PM
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This has been one of the more interesting ammunition discussions here for a while. But I am curious about the significance of the specific type of ammunition used by Ernst to kill Lubcke.
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Old 01-13-2022, 02:49 PM
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S&W partnered with Fiocchi when they were in the ammo business........
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Old 01-13-2022, 05:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWalt View Post
This has been one of the more interesting ammunition discussions here for a while. But I am curious about the significance of the specific type of ammunition used by Ernst to kill Lubcke.
Hi all,

to clarify this quite legitimate by DWalt question:

The current trial is against a man who allegedly sold Ernst the murder weapon. The only evidence is that Ernst claims he bought the weapons from the defendant. There are no other traces leading to the Rossi Model 27 or the ammunition used that say anything about its origin. However, Ernst has made false statements about the murder and others involved several times in the past, so the court would need other evidence for a conviction. It could be possible that Ernst got the Rossi through a Neo-Nazi network, because many years ago a group to which Ernst had connections was busted, which was armed with 38 Rossis. And that he wants to conceal the true origin of the weapon.


The issue here is not so much whether Lübcke was killed with the Winchester .38 Special 158 gr. JSP flat +P cartridge, as that has been proven. The question is whether the ammunition came from the defendant, as Ernst has also claimed. If it was indeed Q4282 38 Special 158 gr. J.S.P.(+P), as .455_Hunter mentions, and it was offered only to military and law enforcement, the question would be how it came to Germany. In Germany, weapons in .38 Special are used by police units as special armament, but according to the specifications at the possible time of manufacture (1980s), it had to be full metal jacket ammunition. Deformable bullets have only been allowed to be used by German police forces since the late 1990s.

My initial question was also whether there was this cartridge and about when, because I have found in my research so far only HP or SWC HP in 38 Special +P. The bottom stamp of the cases is definitely Winchester +P. The lead on the exposed soft point was tarnished white according to the expert, who found four live cartridges and one empty case in the cylinder of the Rossi. The murder bullet was definitely identical to the four others.

regards
Ulrich
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Old 01-13-2022, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Daimler1989 View Post
If it was indeed Q4282 38 Special 158 gr. J.S.P.(+P), as .455_Hunter mentions, and it was offered only to military and law enforcement, the question would be how it came to Germany. In Germany, weapons in .38 Special are used by police units as special armament, but according to the specifications at the possible time of manufacture (1980s), it had to be full metal jacket ammunition. Deformable bullets have only been allowed to be used by German police forces since the late 1990s.
It's important to note that while "Q" loads usually have origins in law enforcement or military contracts, there is absolutely no blanket rule restricting sale or possession by civilians, and many of them are promoted for civilian sale.

While I was in the military when I purchased the two boxes of the load being discussed here, I did so purely in a civilian manner at a gun shop or local gun shop.
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Old 01-13-2022, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Daimler1989 View Post
I see no reason to get political here.
Too late you already did. Leopards cannot, however, change their spots.

However, to address the original question, the ammunition could be over 50 years old, or brand-new. I personally have examples just like the ones you describe that I have purchased new decades ago, new within the past couple of years, and others that I have reloaded myself very recently.

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Old 01-13-2022, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Daimler1989 View Post
The lead on the exposed soft point was tarnished white according to the expert, who found four live cartridges and one empty case in the cylinder of the Rossi. The murder bullet was definitely identical to the four others.

regards
Ulrich
If the exposed lead of the bullet nose is indeed corroded, that does not happen quickly. The surface coating that forms on metallic lead is lead carbonate, which results from exposure to acetic acid vapor and carbon dioxide in air. I don't know the kinetics of that reaction, but under normal conditions, I wouldn't be surprised that it would take 20 years at least to become evident, and maybe far longer. That is something that a forensic chemist should address.
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Old 01-14-2022, 06:38 AM
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As far as sales to the public of ammo loaded for police or the military, there are over runs and even runs that do "not" meet specs. These are often sold thru civilian outlets. Jobbers and distributers will sell any surplus to any and all outlets as a dollar is a dollar........
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Old 01-14-2022, 07:36 AM
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As far as sales to the public of ammo loaded for police or the military, there are over runs and even runs that do meet specs. These are often sold thru civilian outlets. Jobbers and distributers will sell any surplus to any and all outlets as a dollar is a dollar........
A certain law enforcement agency was issued 357 revolvers in the early 1980s and also issued standard duty ammo to take home and practice with on their own time. When the agency changed to 9mm, the 38 ammo issued was kept by the officers, and one of them accumulated quite a bit of it and gave his brother a bunch of it.

That's another way LE-only ammo gets around.
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Old 01-14-2022, 02:16 PM
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"Law Enforcement Use Only" is merely advisory, not statutory law.
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Old 01-14-2022, 09:04 PM
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"Law Enforcement Use Only" is merely advisory, not statutory law.
This is so. But in the cases I mentioned, the ammo was issued by the agency and ended up in private hands. So the question of ownership can be raised if someone wants to nit-pick. Does the agency own it or did the officer?
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Old 01-15-2022, 02:38 AM
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I have seen .38 Special + P JSP loads, they were 158 gr and definitely made in the 1980s. Perhaps contacting Winchester would reveal the information you seek?
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Old 01-16-2022, 11:23 AM
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It would appear the individual on trial is being tried for the illegal sale of a stolen weapon: what does that have to do with the use of the weapon or ammunition used in the actual shooting?

Would he not be tried if the gun was discovered and confiscated at a shooting range?

Is the point of this to ascertain if Ernst is actually telling the truth?
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Old 01-16-2022, 03:46 PM
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It would appear the individual on trial is being tried for the illegal sale of a stolen weapon: what does that have to do with the use of the weapon or ammunition used in the actual shooting?

Would he not be tried if the gun was discovered and confiscated at a shooting range?

Is the point of this to ascertain if Ernst is actually telling the truth?
quite complicated matter of German laws. Ernst killed Lübke with an illegal weapon that he said he had bought from the defendant. The prosecutor believes that by selling the weapon to Ernst, the defendant was guilty of involuntary manslaughter because he knew that Ernst had been in prison before for acts of political violence and one had to expect that Ernst might kill someone with this weapon.

Ammo: The police found illegal ammunition on the defendant, but none of the caliber .38 Special. If they had found the said .38 Special +P, this would possibly be an indication that the man also had the weapon that Ernst later used and sold both to him. Now there is no evidence at all of the defendant's guilt except what Ernst says. And not everyone believes that.

Finding out when the Winchester .38 Special +P JSP flat was possibly manufactured is mainly my personal interest.

regards
Ulrich
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Old 01-16-2022, 04:08 PM
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If Ernst had been sold stolen gasoline he used to manufacture napalm used in an explosive device, would the prosecutor be looking to charge the seller of the gasoline with a similar charge...?

Or, is this strictly a firearm-related frenzy? A lot of "mights" in the prosecutor's theory, at least as far as typical US jurisprudence is concerned...

Cheers!

P.S. I do appreciate your further explanation.
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Old 01-16-2022, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug M. View Post
Some agencies used JSP rounds to avoid the politics of JHP use. A flat pointed JSP as described is probably just what most of us would refer to as a JSP. My recollection is that there were JSP loads in various weights, and I am pretty sure I recall agencies near where I grew up that used 125 grain JSP in .38 for a while.
My agency issued Speer 125 gr. JSP .38 Spl. +P in the mid-80s. They were flat points. The next year we got S&W 125 gr +P jacketed RN. Then we got a chief who knew the Hague Convention didn't apply to cops. There was a lot of media flak about "deadly hollowpoints" at that time and I'm sure the ammo companies weren't doing special runs for a 100 officer PD.
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Old Yesterday, 01:58 AM
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My agency issued Speer 125 gr. JSP .38 Spl. +P in the mid-80s. They were flat points.
In one of Evan Marshall's 90's era books, he showed an example of such a load (Federal, I believe) that did exhibit good expansion in an LE shooting.
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