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S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 All 5-Screw & Vintage 4-Screw SWING-OUT Cylinder REVOLVERS, and the 35 Autos and 32 Autos


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Old 04-05-2021, 12:57 PM
C,Mudrock C,Mudrock is offline
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Although actually made in 1903 - I believe it is a BLACK POWDER 38 Spl. cartridge Pistol. There is even an area of pitting in the barrel where it wasn't cleaned well. Other than that it is in remarkable mechanical condition for its age - NOT MINT & shows use & some wear on its NICKEL finish. See Photos
I'm looking for some light load modern ammo - that would duplicate or even lessen the pressure of the original 38 spl loads from that B. P. Era. The dealer I got it from seemed to think it would fire modern 38 spl ammo - BUT I DISAGREE & It's mine & My Call. Any Suggestions ?

If anyone has a couple of boxes to trade - I have a NOS box of
.45 acp "collectable" BLACK TALONS I don't need.....
Thanks for Looking, C.
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Old 04-05-2021, 01:03 PM
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Welcome! If you can find them, 148 gr wadcutters are lightly loaded and should shoot well. Absent a supply of those any standard pressure 158 gr lead loading should be fine in a mechanically sound gun, even of this era. Enjoy!
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Old 04-05-2021, 01:06 PM
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Modern SAAMI loadings are lower than the BP or smokeless loading when that gun was made. Your dealer was correct: any lead bulleted modern ammo will be fine in that revolver. NOT +P.

FWIW, I regularly shoot modern ammo in my 1899 without issue.
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Old 04-05-2021, 01:09 PM
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I agree with both your LGS recommendation as to modern ammo and I agree with your concerns about high pressure ammo.

Id look for target ammo: 148gr wc ammo is very low pressure stuff. Youre also safe with 158 gr round nose standard velocity ammo.

Stay away from +p ammo and jacketed ammo.
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Old 04-05-2021, 01:22 PM
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The Model's 1899 and 1902 were designed for the .38 Special cartridge which came out in both black powder and smokeless. It can handle full throttle .38 Special which now equates to .38 +P. Shooting modern standard pressure .38 Special is a 30% or so reduction in the pressure it was originally designed for. So, I wouldn't be concerned unless you hand load and put it up into magnum pressures. That being said, it is an old gun with obsolete parts. Pressure reduction is a good thing to minimize wear and tear.
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Old 04-05-2021, 01:27 PM
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Quote: "148gr wc ammo is very low pressure stuff. "
Quote: "148 gr wadcutters are lightly loaded"

This is completely and utterly incorrect.

The term "wadcutter" refers to a type of bullet, not a cartridge, not a loading level, not an indication of cartridge pressure.

There are indeed commercial cartridges that utilize wadcutters, and are typically used for target shooting.

However, there are also commercial cartridges that are loaded to very high pressures that meet and even exceed SAAMI +P pressures. These cartridges are used for personal defense and hunting.

Beware of advice from well meaning and well intended folks with either limited knowledge or perhaps have difficulty in conveying what they do know in a clear and unambiguous manner.

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Old 04-05-2021, 01:27 PM
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I load a 158 lead RN to about 680 fps...shoots real nice in mine...I stay away from metal jackets....
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Old 04-05-2021, 03:23 PM
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There are indeed hot loaded wadcutters. Wad cutters by the major ammo companies marked MID-RANGE will be very lightly loaded. Standard 158gr RN from WW, Rem, Fed and others is usually 750fps..............
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Old 04-05-2021, 07:20 PM
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The white box 130 grain Winchester ammo from Walmart and other shops is soft-shooting and reliable. Good luck finding any ammo these days, but if you run across a bargain box of this stuff, use it with confidence.
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Old 04-05-2021, 07:27 PM
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3.0gr CLAYS powder with a 125 or 130gr RNFP

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Old 04-05-2021, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crstrode View Post
Quote: "148gr wc ammo is very low pressure stuff. "
Quote: "148 gr wadcutters are lightly loaded"

This is completely and utterly incorrect.

The term "wadcutter" refers to a type of bullet, not a cartridge, not a loading level, not an indication of cartridge pressure.

There are indeed commercial cartridges that utilize wadcutters, and are typically used for target shooting.

However, there are also commercial cartridges that are loaded to very high pressures that meet and even exceed SAAMI +P pressures. These cartridges are used for personal defense and hunting.

Beware of advice from well meaning and well intended folks with either limited knowledge or perhaps have difficulty in conveying what they do know in a clear and unambiguous manner.
I think that most shooters have only fired mid range .38 special wadcutter ammo, not any of the hotter wadcutter ammo. Being a handloader, I have loaded reversed hollow based wadcutters.

Sometimes, we get lazy and generalize gun terms.
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Old 04-05-2021, 09:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squarebutt View Post
The white box 130 grain Winchester ammo from Walmart and other shops is soft-shooting and reliable. Good luck finding any ammo these days, but if you run across a bargain box of this stuff, use it with confidence.
THIS is exactly what I was going to recommend.
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Old 04-05-2021, 11:24 PM
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I shot a pallet of the Fiocchi 148 mid range wadcutter stuff up about 5 years ago. If you can find some it has to be one of the lightest loads on the market. We’d shoot it inside in the back of the shop I worked at after hours while fooling around when the trash talking would start and the side bets would get placed. Very accurate stuff but in the right light you could see the bullets in flight and they would simply bounce off and fall to the floor when shot into the sheet of 3/8” rubber covering the front of the bullet trap.
If you could round up a couple boxes of that stuff it would be safe in most anything I’d think.
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Old 04-06-2021, 06:32 PM
C,Mudrock C,Mudrock is offline
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That white box Winchester 130 grain sounds great to me.
* anybody got a couple of boxes to trade for my rare box of .45 BLACK TALONS ?
Thanks, C.
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Old 04-09-2021, 11:42 PM
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I fire 38 Long Colt in my 1899 from time to time, milder than 38 Special and lead round nose bullets. I will not fire any jacketed ammo in mine. As a matter of fact I shoot maybe two cylinders a year through it.

The early guns do not have a forcing cone as we know it today, and any slight misalignment of the chamber to barrel sends the bullet colliding with the edge of the barrel and can lead to a cracked barrel, in my opinion.

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Old 04-10-2021, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crstrode View Post
. . . Beware of advice from well meaning and well intended folks with either limited knowledge or perhaps have difficulty in conveying what they do know in a clear and unambiguous manner.
So thanks for putting everyone in their place.

To the OP, stick with commercial HBWC, since ALL low pressure. You cannot purchase a high pressure HBWC round because they would blow off the skirt and lodge in the barrel. Also, they are very accurate rounds.
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Old 04-10-2021, 09:51 AM
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Surely no revolver of that vintage was designed to take jacketed bullets? I think that the rifling will be deeper than in a barrel intended for jacketed bullets.

Peter
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Old 04-10-2021, 10:14 AM
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Peter, I am confident that there was no jacketed 38 Special ammo back then and therefore rifling was designed to be optimum for shooting lead bullets, but to me the bigger reason why not to shoot jacketed in these old M&Ps is that they typically register higher chamber pressures than lead. I cannot think of a reason why a Model 1902 would need anything more powerful than HBWC? What else would one use this vintage revolver for other than shoot paper?

I even shy away from standard round nosed 158g loads. 1902s are now 120 years old and springs, parts, barrels, frames have been through who knows what over the decades, so minimum stress is my goal. Parts are very hard to find, so keep it light.
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Old 04-10-2021, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C,Mudrock View Post
Although actually made in 1903 - I believe it is a BLACK POWDER 38 Spl. cartridge Pistol. There is even an area of pitting in the barrel where it wasn't cleaned well. Other than that it is in remarkable mechanical condition for its age - NOT MINT & shows use & some wear on its NICKEL finish. See Photos
I'm looking for some light load modern ammo - that would duplicate or even lessen the pressure of the original 38 spl loads from that B. P. Era. The dealer I got it from seemed to think it would fire modern 38 spl ammo - BUT I DISAGREE & It's mine & My Call. Any Suggestions ?

If anyone has a couple of boxes to trade - I have a NOS box of
.45 acp "collectable" BLACK TALONS I don't need.....
Thanks for Looking, C.
How did you determine your revolver was made in 1903?
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Old 04-10-2021, 12:29 PM
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The 1902s are fine with any Standard Loading, Lead Bullet Cartridges.

Jacketed or semi-Jacketed can tend to crack the Forcing Cone, which was a problem in WWII with the Victory Models if they had much use firing military 'Hardball', and why we find endless 'NOS' WWII replacement Barrels for those.
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Old 04-15-2021, 01:30 AM
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Sounds like you do not hand load unfortunately
Another low pressure option is any companies “cowboy “ load which are always plain cast lead bullets loaded lightly
I also however agree that any standard pressure lead load is fine
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Old 04-15-2021, 11:20 AM
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If you do a lot of shooting of old guns, I'd HIGHLY recommend getting yourself a simple reloading setup.

You can control the power of the ammo down to the finest detail, and it will be much cheaper and more available, especially during times like these!
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Old 04-16-2021, 09:52 AM
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For plinking that will do zero harm to your older revolver, Speer 38 special plastic, re-usable ammo. They use large pistol primers only, no powder at all, & no reloading equipment needed. I test fired one from 15 ft in my garage, put a nice round hole thru a piece of masonite pegboard.
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Old 04-16-2021, 02:08 PM
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I remember when you used to be able to buy primers
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Old 04-16-2021, 10:32 PM
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Yeah, back in the good old days........
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