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S&W Revolvers: 1961 to 1980 3-Screw PINNED Barrel SWING-OUT Cylinder Hand Ejectors WITH Model Numbers


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Old 02-10-2024, 10:22 AM
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Default Typical LEO load for 38 Special circa 1971 ?

As noted in my other thread I just picked up my model 15-3 circa 1971. I currently plan on using 158 grain RNL factory ammo in it. I would appreciate hearing from some of you retired LEO's and let me know what was the issue 38 special round for that time period.It is such a classic revolver I want to use the classic cop load too.
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Old 02-10-2024, 10:33 AM
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Just what you have there, or semi wadcutters.
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Old 02-10-2024, 10:35 AM
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Likely the 158 gr round nose however By 71 the 158 Gr LSWHP (Lead Semi Wadcutter hollow point ) treasury load was becoming popular.
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Old 02-10-2024, 10:38 AM
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My agency, small municipal in SW PA, issued at various times:

1) Winchester 125 JHP .38 Special +P
2) Federal 125 JHP .38 Special +P

I recall that we purchased under the state contract.

HTH

JPJ
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Old 02-10-2024, 10:42 AM
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Not a LEO, but I knew many and shot with plenty on the range.

That was the issued load for the little 38.(158 RN)

FWIW some departments issued or allowed .357 personally owned revolvers to be used but they still had to use the 158RN.

When I got my first handgun in 1972 I bought two boxes of ammo I got that load that was the only .38 he stocked.
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Old 02-10-2024, 10:58 AM
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My memory of what was offered by S&W in lead back then was
LRN, WC, and a hot SWC.
Myself, I reload RNFP lately.
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Old 02-10-2024, 11:01 AM
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I started in 1977 and we provided our own revolvers but were issued Remington 125 gr +P JHP. Detectives for 2” were issued the same but 95gr. Load out was six in gun 12 rounds in loops. Everyone looked at me like I had two heads cause I carried speedloaders (I had started law enforcement in CA 1974 so that’s what I had trained with). Regulations required your bullets to be polished and I had to comply even though you couldn’t see bullet heads in the speed loader pouch.
I remember one year they ran out of the 125 gr and issued 95 gr to patrol. The rounds didn’t penetrate car doors I recall from a couple of shootings.
I was on about 3-4 years and they decided to issue model 65s. Issue load was the Remington .357 JHP 125 grain. Detectives had to carry the same 4 inch. 5 years later roughly we switched to Sig P226. We got to buy our 65s for $100. You could buy more than one cause not everyone bought them. Darn - Who knew ….. ?

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Old 02-10-2024, 12:32 PM
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I started in 1977 and we had to provide our own sidearms as well. It was a small 18 man department and the majority of us carried .357 magnums. I carried a S&W Highway Patrolman.

For those of use that carried magnums, we were issued the .357 JHP round (I don’t recall the make or bullet weight) and I believe the 158 grain .38 special HP’s were issued to those that carried the .38 special sidearms.

When I transferred over to the local Sheriff’s Office in 1980, we were issued S&W Model 15’s with the 158 grain RNL ammo. We eventually switched to HP’s for a while and then we went to the +P rounds.
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Old 02-10-2024, 01:43 PM
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1970 on my department it was SuperVel 38 Special 110gr. JHP. Stayed that way until about 1977 or so when SuperVel went out of business. Next we got Remington 125gr. JHP either 38 Special or the same (?) bullet in 357 Mag.
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Old 02-10-2024, 02:38 PM
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I started in 1969 and we were issued S&W 38/44 with 158 gr.RNL ammo. Sometime in the mid to late 70 we changed over to Mod. 27 and started using the 158 gr. LSWHP.H
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Old 02-10-2024, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sceva View Post
Likely the 158 gr round nose however By 71 the 158 Gr LSWHP (Lead Semi Wadcutter hollow point ) treasury load was becoming popular.
FWIW, the “Treasury” load was a 110-grain JHP +P+ load. The 158-grain LSWC-HP load is known generically as the “FBI” load, though several major PDs used it before the FBI did.
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Old 02-10-2024, 03:06 PM
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We were issued a Model 15 w/the old 158 grain lead round nose until a 1974 gunfight I was involved in. I was a detective then carrying an issued Colt Detective Special but the duty ammo was the same. Our issued ammo changed to the FBI 158 grain +P hollow point after that experience.
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Old 02-10-2024, 03:14 PM
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Default Baltimore PD load

When I joined in '75, the standard issue was 158 lead hollowpoint +P and had been for a few years..
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Old 02-10-2024, 04:37 PM
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As an intern/part time deputy in 1980-81 in Cass County, Nebraska, our department issued S&W 125Gr JHP+P's after I got us a good deal on twenty cases. Prior to that the issue load for ten plus years had been the FBI 158gr SWCHP.

We could carry 38's, 357's, 41mag or 45acp. I carried a Colt Commander in 45acp with Remington 185gr HP's. If you carried anything but 38spl, you had to buy your own ammo.
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Old 02-10-2024, 05:32 PM
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What sceva said,at least for me when I started in 1974.
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Old 02-10-2024, 08:32 PM
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Gentlemen... this is a --COOL-- discussion! Love it.
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Old 02-10-2024, 10:22 PM
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My pre model 10 was issued 38 special 158 grain lead round nose. Thats all I have fired. I'll stick with that.
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Old 02-10-2024, 11:17 PM
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1969 I was issue a S&W model 10-5 with 38 Special,158 grain LRN.
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Old 02-10-2024, 11:26 PM
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Local PD carried 158gr Round Nose Lead in Model 10s until early 1970s when they switched to the Model 66. Issued load for that was .357 125gr Jacketed Hollow Point.
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Old 02-11-2024, 02:39 AM
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When I started with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in 1974, we were issued Model 15s Combat Masterpiece revolvers with Remington 125 grain JHP HV (High Velocity) 38 specials. The Department had just changed over to the Remington round from the SuperVel rounds. They were pretty good rounds and we had them until I departed the department in 1979. I believe that that round subsequently became the 125 grain + P round. I always felt confidant that this load was quite sufficient for "duty use."
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Old 02-11-2024, 04:05 AM
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The tiny sheriff's office I started with in '79 issued no weapons or ammo, but a regional training facility offered a qualification shoot once a year if you could fire 38 special. They provided 38 spl 148 grain wadcutters; several of the guys (there were no gals) simply carried those after qualifying to avoid buying more 'shells.'

We bought our uniforms, badges, leather, guns, and handcuffs to earn our princely salaries of $611 monthly.

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Old 02-11-2024, 06:46 AM
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My agency date-of-hire was 10-1-1969. At this time the issue revolver was the Model 15, and issue ammunition 158 gr. .38 Spl. RNL. In 1971 as I recall the issue ammunition changed to the 158 gr. LSWC+P, the FBI load. Brand was Remington as I recall.

This didn't last long as later in 1972 our department transitioned to the S&W Model 39. Ammunition for that was the Winchester 100 gr. JRNSP that, I believe, was called "Power Point" at the time. I would be happy if anyone who knows better would correct me on the name of that Winchester load/bullet!

An interesting aside about the above Winchester load. Another officer had cause to shoot a suspect with the cited ammunition, directly in the chest. The Perp. showed no reaction to being shot but just stood there and asked the officer "Why did you shoot me?" I don't recall any other particulars of that specific incident.

For several reasons, none having to do with the Model 39 itself, the department returned to the S&W Model 67 revolver around 1980.
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Old 02-11-2024, 11:13 AM
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Model 10 with 158gr. rnl until about 1975 or so. At that time we had the option to use a round that we called "Remington Rose Petals" which were a +p 125gr jhp.

There was a very popular bootleg hand loaded round that were called dum-dums which were a +p 148gr wad cutter that was loaded upside down in the case. Many carried these as the 158gr lead bullet was perceived as ineffective. You would never load these for roll call inspection but once you made relief the issue rounds came out and you rolled with the bootleg rounds.
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Old 02-11-2024, 11:14 AM
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My school was on the way to the police station. I used to walk to school with Mr. Stried, a cop, who was my neighbor. He often walked to work. During our walks I would steal glances at the boolits in his cartridge belt. I distinctly remember them being round nosed.
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Old 02-11-2024, 11:46 AM
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We carried model 66's, but carried the .38 special 158 grain LSWCHP loads in them. I think they were manufactured by Federal and I remember they had L.E. on the head stamp. Our detectives carried model 36's and they carried Smith and Wesson 125 grain Nyclad ammo. It was actually manufactured by S & W. I was always jealous when I saw those black shinny bullets. Everything changed after the Miami shooting in the mid 80's. They started issuing us Winchester 125 grain .357 magnum ammo and the detectives started carrying 2" model 66's. We got speed loaders at the time as well. We still trained and practiced with .38 wadcutters. We were each allowed to shoot six rounds of .357 though our revolvers to see the difference in felt recoil. The thought process was the .357 was so hot that our K frame revolvers couldn't handle shooting too much of it.
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Old 02-11-2024, 12:42 PM
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I found these for sale on line.
Would this be considered a modern day version of the FBI load?

Remington HTP .38 Special +P Ammunition Specifications and Features:
Remington 22297 (RPT38S12A)
.38 Special +P
158 grain
Lead Hollow Point (LHP) Bullet
890 fps muzzle velocity
278 ft/lbs muzzle energy
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Old 02-11-2024, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by press-1-for-english View Post
I found these for sale on line.
Would this be considered a modern day version of the FBI load?

Remington HTP .38 Special +P Ammunition Specifications and Features:
Remington 22297 (RPT38S12A)
.38 Special +P
158 grain
Lead Hollow Point (LHP) Bullet
890 fps muzzle velocity
278 ft/lbs muzzle energy
I'd say yes.
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Old 02-11-2024, 02:01 PM
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In 1975, when I first went on the job, we were issued Model 19's and six rounds of what would become known as the Treasury or Chicago load. Most of us dumped those and went with one brand or another of .357 Ammo. Hope this helps. I would also note if you touched off one of the above, at night, you kiss your night vision goodby for sometime to come.
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Old 02-11-2024, 02:16 PM
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I really appreciate all the answers and comments.
And I really appreciate all of you current and retired LEO's.
I am only looking for issued/commonly used .38 special loads since I have a Model 15-3, not a 13/65/19/66
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Old 02-11-2024, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by press-1-for-english View Post
I found these for sale on line.
Would this be considered a modern day version of the FBI load?

Remington HTP .38 Special +P Ammunition Specifications and Features:
Remington 22297 (RPT38S12A)
.38 Special +P
158 grain
Lead Hollow Point (LHP) Bullet
890 fps muzzle velocity
278 ft/lbs muzzle energy
Yup, and that’s what I carry in most of my K frames.
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Old 02-11-2024, 02:43 PM
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Yup, and that’s what I carry in most of my K frames.
Thanks Chuck!
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Old 02-11-2024, 03:00 PM
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My Dad was on the job during that time period. His department issued 158RNL. He carried Super Vel.
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Old 02-11-2024, 03:06 PM
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My Dad was on the job during that time period. His department issued 158RNL. He carried Super Vel.
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Old 02-11-2024, 03:16 PM
Bruceboy Bruceboy is offline
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Typical LEO load for 38 Special circa 1971 ? Typical LEO load for 38 Special circa 1971 ? Typical LEO load for 38 Special circa 1971 ? Typical LEO load for 38 Special circa 1971 ? Typical LEO load for 38 Special circa 1971 ?  
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Up in snow country (Ontario, Canada) 1966, my department issued 4" Model 15's to uniform officers, and a variety of snubs, mainly Colt Cobra and S&W J frames to plain clothes detectives. Standard .38 Spl., 158 Gr., round nose for all. That lasted until the mid 90's when all departments in Ontario went to semi autos in either 9mm or .40 cal hollow points. Most departments use 9 mm, HP's now.
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Old 02-11-2024, 03:38 PM
Durango Slim Durango Slim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baxter6551 View Post
Regulations required your bullets to be polished and I had to comply even though you couldn’t see bullet heads in the speed loader pouch.
I have never heard of polishing bullets.

Why? And how?
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Old 02-12-2024, 12:30 AM
SGT ROCK 11B SGT ROCK 11B is offline
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Originally Posted by press-1-for-english View Post
As noted in my other thread I just picked up my model 15-3 circa 1971. I currently plan on using 158 grain RNL factory ammo in it. I would appreciate hearing from some of you retired LEO's and let me know what was the issue 38 special round for that time period.It is such a classic revolver I want to use the classic cop load too.
1971 so 158 LRN and it was Federal.
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Old 02-12-2024, 10:22 AM
shovelhead shovelhead is offline
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One of the participants in my cardiac rehab program about twenty years ago was retired from Detroit Police. He ov****ard the two guys running the program and myself talking about handguns. So the next day he asked me if I wanted some old ammo he had left over from his duty days. And of course I said “sure”.

So in a few days he presents me with around 300 rounds of SWC all in nickel plated cartridges, various headstamps. I’m down to around a hundred rounds of this, it’s “special occasion” used usually when a new revolver comes into the fold or when I take some out shooting that has never shot a revolver. They can experience the pre Glock era loads of DPD and punch real nice round holes in the targets at the same time.
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Old 02-12-2024, 10:47 AM
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bgrafsr bgrafsr is offline
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I was hired by Elyria, OH PD in September 1972. The Dept. had .38 Specials with blue or nickle finish, 4 or 5 inch barrels. The four of us who were hired at the same time were directed to go to a sportsmen's shop in Elyria, where we got Model 10-6's.
The load at the time was .38 Spl. RNL, and the ammo was quite old. One of our officers went to a call where the guy who was the subject of the call, pointed a gun at the officer and fired missing him. The officer fired back. 1st round barely made it out of his gun, 2nd round made it further, and the 3rd round struck the guy but bounced off of him. 4th round put him down.
It was determined that we needed new ammo , so the FBI load was bought and issued.
When I made firearms instructor along with another officer, we qualified every 6 months using the FBI load, and then bought new ammo for everyone.
We eventually purchased 4 inch Model 66's for patrol, and 2 1/2 inch 66's for detectives and other personnel, and stayed with the FBI load, as the City didn't want us using .357 Mag. ammo.
After the 66's, we were issued Sigs. 226's for patrol and 225's for detectives and other personnel. The load was 9mm 249 grn JHP.

Last edited by bgrafsr; 02-12-2024 at 10:50 AM. Reason: Added more info
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