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Old 01-19-2010, 09:17 PM
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Default 38/44 Ammo, too shoot or not to shoot? WITH PICS.

Posted a picture of this ammo in an earlier thread. Got the ammo today and I think this stuff may be too expensive to shoot, but I really want to load it in my Heavy Duty and see if I can shoot through a frying pan. Any opinions on the value of this full box of vintage ammo?
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:12 PM
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I think it would break a cast iron frying pan. I would say it is in the $30-50 range.
Ed
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:43 PM
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Do you plan on your house being invaded by frying pans??

....so, I'm walking down a dark ally and am approached by two rough looking frying pans..........
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
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....so, I'm walking down a dark ally and am approached by two rough looking frying pans..........
Profiling is WRONG.
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:02 PM
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I may be wrong, but I don't think that is 38/44 ammo. I think that is called "metal piercing 38.

If the frying pan is made in China, you could probably kill it with a wadcutter.
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:16 PM
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If you just bought the ammo, then it is worth whatever you paid for it.

If it were me, I'd probably shoot 5 or 6 rounds to see what it is like, with at least one into your frying pan. Then, save the empties; put them back in the box.
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:06 AM
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If the box is complete, it will be worth alot more left that way then if you fire even one round.

Shooting this ammo will not be spectacular. I've used a good deal of it in the past an it's thoroghly unremarkable.

You want to shoot something jazzy, try a box of SuperVels.

Who would eat off a Chinese Frying pan? Best shoot it just to be sure.
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:08 AM
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I remember those...I had some on a Bianchi speed strip "in case I wanted to reload to shoot through something"....at least, that was my thinking at the time. They also came in a ..357 version....Troopers polished them up and carried them in the cartridge loops on their belt....

I found one of my old 38 KTW rounds the other day as well...I have one left, I might as well shoot a frying pan with it too

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Old 01-20-2010, 12:37 AM
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My friend and I shot an iron frying pan with a cap and ball revolver and it went right through it. It was in 1972, so the odds are good it was a USA made skillet.

I'd save the ammo.
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Old 01-20-2010, 01:05 AM
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In all fairness I would also be willing to shoot through a skillet, wok, dutch oven, or other cooking utensil without any prejudice or bias. I think I will actually save the ammo for awhile and see what else I can find just in case it becomes valuable. I have some other "hi-velocity" ammo coming my way that I believe is more modern and still likely to pierce some metal. Thanks for the opinions, I think.
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Old 01-20-2010, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosedog View Post
I may be wrong, but I don't think that is 38/44 ammo. I think that is called "metal piercing 38.
moosedog is right, that's just a 38 Special load variation. I may still have a box of it. I know I used to.

38/44 ammo was labeled as just that, "38/44" or as 38 Hi Speed. I've read it was rated as shooting a 158g bullet at about 1100 fps. Think of it as the +P+ of the 1930s. (smile)

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Old 01-20-2010, 11:01 AM
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Send it to Bill Pattison, he'll take proper care of it. We can then name his as the official historian and caretaker of any .38/44 ammo anyone comes up with. He won't mind, I'm sure.
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:19 AM
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The a full box 38 Spl. metal piercing ammo would bring about $75.00 at most gun shows... on an internet auction it might well bring more...I'd say considerably less if the box is not full...

I suggest you hold on to it... it isn't likely to lose any value, and probably will appreciate....

FWIW

Chuck
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:42 AM
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One of the most popular on-line auctions is Ward's Collectibles. Below is one of the last auction's items which received no bids, despite the fact that it is a not-often-seen item. Did the fact that it is missing a couple of rounds impact it? Maybe, but old ammo isn't going for quite what most folks think it should go for at the present time.
I think their next auction starts the first of February and it is a good place to pick up some very desirable ammo to go with a particular gun. Just FYI.
Ed

https://www.wardscollectibles.com/vi....php?item=2648
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:58 AM
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I would also like to respectfully disagree with the notion that this is not ".38/44" ammunition. A Western Rifle and Pistol Ammunition Handbook from 1935 lists their Super-X .38 Special Metal Piercing round, 150 grain Conical at 1,050 fps. I have one of the pre-war boxes and it specifically lists the Smith & Wesson .38-44 revolver. Winchester's load of the same period is rated at 170 fps higher than the Western load, a few years before they merged.
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:42 PM
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smith17,

I was basing my comments on having had a box of that stuff at one time and not remembering any mention on it of being a 38/44 load. Likewise I've seen different boxes labeled "38/44" and "38 HiSpeed". If your catalog claims this stuff is 38/44 ammo then I was wrong. If it's OK I'll beat myself up later. (LOL)

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Old 01-20-2010, 03:26 PM
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Dave:
No reason to beat yourself up. By the time dacoontz' box of ammo was manufactured (post 1961), the sales of the N frame .38 special was insignificant and there was no reason to mention it on the ammo box. Plus, the N frame wasn't the only revolver from S&W able to handle that load in the 60s. I find it interesting that 30+ years after its introduction, that ammo still was within about 10fps of the original Western load.
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rburg View Post
Send it to Bill Pattison, he'll take proper care of it. We can then name his as the official historian and caretaker of any .38/44 ammo anyone comes up with. He won't mind, I'm sure.

Good thought, but I think I will keep it for myself and not shoot it unless I get overcome by some home invading frying pans. Hey, it could happen. And I am sure Bill will understand if I don't package them up and send them his way just yet.
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:52 PM
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Daniel,
Anytime you want to send it go ahead, but I have some myself also:


Dick, good idea!
Ed, I agree with you. I think that even though they stopped making 38/44 head stamp ammo, that the dogbone 38 Special was still hotter than what they started with.
Bill
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:36 PM
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He's so easy. Just a little bait and we get a photo worth drooling over!
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:43 PM
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Do any of you guys know if there was also a standard pressure loading of the metal piercing round?

The box I had I got when I was a young deputy sheriff. I thought they would be just the ticket for my off duty gun, a fairly new on the market Model 60. I was carrying a M28 on duty loaded with full bore Magnums and wanted something with a bit more punch in the stainless Chief's Special (this was a few years before SuperVel and the whole +P business came along).

Anyway I found that box of 38 Special Metal Piercing rounds (think they were Western) and figured I was on to something until I shot some. They felt just like the standard 158g RNL loading. Figured the guy who sold them to me saw me coming and I didn't do much more business with him. Kept that mostly full box of 38s for years before probably finally giving it away.

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Old 01-20-2010, 11:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1Aspenhill View Post
Daniel,
Anytime you want to send it go ahead, but I have some myself also:


Dick, good idea!
Ed, I agree with you. I think that even though they stopped making 38/44 head stamp ammo, that the dogbone 38 Special was still hotter than what they started with.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:26 PM
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Hi:
Please tell me that ammo is not "Antique" because I used that type ammo but in the .357mag. caliber in the 1960s.
Jimmy
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Old 04-09-2013, 05:49 PM
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I had a bunch of loose rounds... 38 & 357 from the Dept. I was told to use them up for practice... after shooting one in a M36, I put the rest aside for zombie killing with my M27. The opportunities to kill zombies are rare so I've still got the rest of them.
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:04 PM
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Go to Washington, DC. Apparently we have 535 zombies up there...
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:37 PM
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Let's look at something else - the frying pan. Good cast iron frying pans are fairly valuable, and I wouldn't want to destroy one in such an experiment. If you have to do something like this to quench your curiosity, please go to the Goodwill store and find another target.
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:52 PM
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:14 PM
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Makes me wonder what some of my 170 grain #358429 SWC's behind 12.5 grains of 2400 in .38 Special cases (.38-44 load) will do! I think I have some old cinder blocks and some scrap steel lying around including a frying pan. Hmmmmm............
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:26 PM
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That load would probably be close to 1200 ft/sec, depending upon your barrel length. The old (1950s-60s) Lyman handloading manuals always used between 12 and 13 grains of 2400 as the recipe for hefty .38 Special loads (they did not refer to them as .38-44 loads - just as "for use only in heavy frame revolvers"). They never recommended 2400 for use in standard .38 Special loads.

By the way, Remington also used to load what was essentially a .38-44 metal piercing bullet cartridge, they called it the "Highway Master High-Velocity" loading. It used a hard, lightweight alloy bullet with a sharp point, not lead or jacketed lead. Possibly die-cast Zinc? I think it was intended for law enforcement use only. I have a full box of them from the 1950s, but have never fired one, at a frying pan or anything else.

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Old 04-09-2013, 08:36 PM
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The real "good old stuff" is now over$200.00 dollars a box. I just bought some for photographic purposes!

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Old 04-09-2013, 08:57 PM
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Wow, nice to see one of my old threads resurrected. I did end up finding some more modern stuff to shoot some frying pans with. And yes, these are the cheap kind you find at Goodwill.

38/44 vs. Frying Pan
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:14 PM
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Default Not a frying pan

Many years ago I shot an old (very sturdy) washing machine with a .38 wadcutter. It dented it and bounced off. Then I tried a 110 gr. jhp (probably +P). It blew right through it and looked like it had plenty of energy to spare. You've got my curiosity up now.
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Old 04-18-2013, 12:17 AM
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I recently found a full box of Western Super-X High Speed .38 Special with a 150 gr. Lubaloy RN lead bullets at a gun show for $25. I HAD to know what kind of velocities this ammo would produce, so I fired 5 rounds of it thru my 5" .38-44 HD usding my Oehler Model 35P chronograph. The average velocity figure was 1013 FPS with a low reading of 973 FPS and a high reading of 1028 FPS. Not too bad for ammo that's probably as old as I am. My HD is now loaded with this ammo and I'm on the lookout for some metal piercing loads like dacoonz has.
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:49 AM
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The gun used will make a difference in MV, apart from barrel length differences. I have a Colt .357 and a S&W Model 14, both with 6" barrels. With every .38 Special load I have tested, the average MV from the Colt will be at least 50 ft/sec more than from the S&W, and often greater. .38/44 158 grain loads loads will be about 1100 to 1150 ft/sec from my tests.
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Old 04-21-2013, 01:26 AM
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Originally Posted by DWalt View Post
Let's look at something else - the frying pan. Good cast iron frying pans are fairly valuable, and I wouldn't want to destroy one in such an experiment. If you have to do something like this to quench your curiosity, please go to the Goodwill store and find another target.
Hear! Hear! On behalf of Griswold, Wagner, and Lodge I want to protest this wanton disregard for the safety of American-made cast iron cookware. Shoot a frying pan, indeed. Harrummmmphhh
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Old 04-21-2013, 02:18 AM
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Many families used to have (and some still may have) a tradition of passing a cast iron skillet down through the family. I came from such a family, and we still have, and use, an ancestral skillet which dates back at least three generations. It is magnificently black and crusty, having been used to prepare thousands of meals. Some women will use nothing other than a well-seasoned cast iron skillet for frying duty, and there are even rituals surrounding how they are to be cared for, such as never, ever, washing one, only wiping them clean.

I wouldn't attach much sentimentality to something bought at Wal-Mart that was made in China. Those are OK to use as targets. But preserve the ancient Wagners.
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Old 04-21-2013, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by dacoontz View Post
Wow, nice to see one of my old threads resurrected. I did end up finding some more modern stuff to shoot some frying pans with. And yes, these are the cheap kind you find at Goodwill.

38/44 vs. Frying Pan
Zombie thread about ZOMBIE loads, makes me regret not buying that nice little 38/44 that you had for sale. I actually bid on the old REG that nickfathers had listed for a friend, but after the nonsense in Boston, I am going to rethink my out of the AR business decision and pop for a nice Rock River Predator. Something nice and comforting about an accurate short carbine, although my old Colt New Frontier and 25-5 did fund a couple of nice 27s, and a 3913LS. I am still waiting on that apparently nice re-nickled pre 27 that c3006 had found in East Tennessee, I can't wait to shoot that. I am curious Daniel, how did those old loads group??? billy magg

disclaimer: no cast iron skillets were perforated in the creation of this thread----I was a little disgusted when the 9MM WW ball didn't penetrate a small mild steel fence post used to hold up our cardboard target. That 3913LS trigger is going to take a little more practice??? billy
well it could be my eyes???

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Old 04-21-2013, 07:22 PM
shawn mccarver shawn mccarver is offline
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Originally Posted by dacoontz View Post
Posted a picture of this ammo in an earlier thread. Got the ammo today and I think this stuff may be too expensive to shoot, but I really want to load it in my Heavy Duty and see if I can shoot through a frying pan. Any opinions on the value of this full box of vintage ammo?
If you want to shoot .38/44 ammo get the Outdoorsman Load from Buffalo Bore. A collector would probably appreciate the opportunity to buy your ammo.

As you can see, Colt decided to get in on the .38/44 game also.
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Old 04-21-2013, 07:51 PM
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About 6 months ago I was offered a full box marked 38-44 for $200. Would have been nice to have but I passed.
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:22 AM
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I have a bumper from a school bus hanging from a tree. I have been trying to find a load that will punch a hole thru it. I have tried some home made 10mm +p+ (wink) that puts a dimple in it. My neighbor came over and promptly put two holes in it with his 223. But the coffee is on save the frying pan, come on over and try your luck.
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Old 11-12-2013, 09:22 AM
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A frying pan is your friend....."Bacon"....need I say more? :->
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Old 11-12-2013, 10:03 AM
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daniel
Keep it for a display it is not that easy to find.
it would be from the middle 50,s
the next time I get your way I will bring you a couple of loose rounds I have.
so you can shoot that frying pan.

side note Jim and I had a great time in Tulsa jim didn't buy any thing
except a nice box of prewar 357 about i935.
I added a couple more 32/20s to my pile a 1899 nickel 4 inch fixed sight and a 1902 4 inch nickel 4 inch fixed sight.
give you a call went I get back.
Judy and I won 1st runner up with our display so we have some money to get home on.
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Jim
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Old 11-12-2013, 10:14 AM
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I would display it. Hard to find ammo is always a great peices. I have a box of 10 rounds of 25/25 Stevens that are from way back in the days-some people would think they are a 22lr in a pencil case of powder.

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Old 11-12-2013, 09:19 PM
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Yep, that box is wrapped up nice and snug. Now I am on the lookout for a loose car door from the mid 50's to shoot. That's what this stuff was made for after all. I hope that comment doesn't get me on any no fly lists.

Jim, I will gladly accept any donations in the name of science. I figure that at the rate I am saving, I should be ready for a trip to Tulsa in about 28 years when I start taking social security. Wish I could have been there to enjoy the fun and see the display.
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Old 11-12-2013, 09:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebago Son View Post
If the box is complete, it will be worth alot more left that way then if you fire even one round.

Shooting this ammo will not be spectacular. I've used a good deal of it in the past an it's thoroghly unremarkable.

You want to shoot something jazzy, try a box of SuperVels.

Who would eat off a Chinese Frying pan? Best shoot it just to be sure.
I agree with Drew, Big +1 for the Super Vel. Got several boxes of .357. It goes zip a dee doo dah with a flash!!
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Old 11-12-2013, 10:09 PM
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Any engine blocks lying around?
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Old 11-12-2013, 10:20 PM
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I guess the Super Vel .38's were somewhat like modern .38/44's.
What I most remember about .38 Super Vels was once when we were shooting at around dusk and my girlfriend at the time shot a round of .38 Super Vel out of her father's 2-inch Detective Special.
A HUGE ball of fire came out with HUGE roar. The funny thing was that she somehow jumped straight back about 2 ft without changing her stance. She just "moved" --->. It was very odd and funny and you probably had to be there, but I still smile when I think about it.
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Old 11-13-2013, 08:01 AM
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These came with my outdoorsman.
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Old 11-13-2013, 08:19 AM
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Used to shoot old frying pans with .22LR, they would break out a hole, .38 shouldn't be a problem.
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Old 11-13-2013, 09:18 AM
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I have an older reloading manual with loads to duplicate the original 38/44 so there's no need to shoot valuable collector ammo to try out the 38/44.
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