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Thread: The Rebirth of the 200-grain .38 Special Super Police Cartridge

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    The Rebirth of the 200-grain .38 Special Super Police Cartridge

    The .38 Special Super Police load featured a blunt round nose bullet weighing in at 200 grains, with a nominal velocity of 700 fps from a four-inch barreled revolver. It was more effective against soft targets than the standard 158-grain load, but less effective against vehicles.

    What I didn’t know then about the 200-grain Super Police bullet is that when it hits soft tissue, it consistently yaws. The “long for caliber” slug at moderate velocity is on the edge of instability in flight. This causes it to begin to turn sideways as it moves through soft tissue, causing a PERMANENT wound path and exit that ends up being much larger than the entrance hole. A bullet that yaws increases trauma and reduces over-penetration, without the cost, blast, and heavier recoil of modern +P hollow point defensive ammo. If the original Super Police bullets really did yaw when hitting soft test medium, I would consider carrying them in my Smith & Wesson Model 642. However, I couldn’t find original .38 Super Police ammo anywhere! Fortunately GAD Custom Cartridges of Medford, Wisconsin was able and willing to replicate the original loads.

    https://www.usconcealedcarry.com/gun...icle_1-10-2014

    I'd never heard of this cartridge before. Sounds very interesting.

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master

    MtGun44's Avatar
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    Interesting. I'd like to see a test in calibrated ballistic gelatin.

    Bill
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  3. #3
    bhn22
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    You'd be better off with a std full power wadcutter load IMHO. If the old (and I do mean old) Super Police load were effective, it never would have been discontinued in the first place. There are better choices available.

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    My mentor was an old cop who walked his beat after WW2 and retired in the early 1960s. He told me that the 200-grain lead roundnose loads available at the time were less effective than 158 LRN, which also tumbles and flips 180 degrees, exiting gelatin base first at about 40cm.

    He said that ordinary factory target wadcutters of the major US brands were more effective than LRN, and he would carry wadcutters if possible. He had several notable failures on the job with both 200 and 158 LRN. The 200 grain loads in particular were defeated by auto glass, plywood doors and heavy household furniture.

    Back in those days it was common for cops to carry LRN in loops on the cartridge belt, and to practice with wadcutters on the range. Bill was in an OIS where he shot and stopped a VCA with his 2" off duty gun, a 2" Colt Detective Special, loaded with Western Super Match wadcutters. This was against regulations, but he used the excuse that he had recently practiced with wadcutters and when he was off duty, that was the ammunition he had. He was verbally reprimanded, but that was all. He still carries wadcutters, but loads them full-charge with 3.5 grains of Bullseye.

    If you want an effective 200-grain .38 Special +P load which is suitable for guns designed for them, load the 190-grain flatnose from Hunter's Supply, or NEI #161A, seated out to 1.55" OAL and crimped in the top lubricating groove, with 4.0 grains of Bullseye, which gives 840 fps from my 4" Ruger Police Service Six.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I hope this load makes it and would like to see the clear gelatin results, too.

    The big deal of the 200 gr. roundnose over the 158 is it is less stable and tumbles more quickly, plus it is .80" long, so it hurts more when it goes through you sideways. More surface area. No one is suggesting the 200gr. load is good for barrier penetration. What works for it in soft tissue, instability, works against it on glass, steel, or furniture. It still could be a primo self defense load.

    A cop load that did well and has a serious paper trail is the swaged +p 158 gr. SWCHP. This was very well regarded. I don't think any PDs issued wadcutters, full charge or attenuated and any ammunition manufacturer would have been happy to provide them had they been desired.
    Rule 303

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy Certaindeaf's Avatar
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    The Brits used the 380/200 (.38 S&W) manstopper @650fps and found that it performed similarly to the .455 because it'd yaw and tumble upon hitting soft targets.
    Sent from my computer using my fingers.

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhn22 View Post
    You'd be better off with a std full power wadcutter load IMHO. If the old (and I do mean old) Super Police load were effective, it never would have been discontinued in the first place. There are better choices available.
    +1 and yep
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  8. #8
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    I have the mould for the 38 Super Police 200 grs. I forget the number. I've read a lot f anecdotal reports on the boolit in 38 Special 38 S+W, all report superior results on live targets compared to standard RN 150-158ish designs.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy Certaindeaf's Avatar
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    Back in the day, my favorite 9mm load out of a Hi-Power was the Lee 140 grain SWC, cast of wheel weights loaded such that the primers were quite flat and you'd be lucky to get two loads out of one case. I was young and don't ask the load. Unfired, that slug started out at .68" and flew quite admirably/accurately from that gun. However, when it hit stacked wet phonebooks, it would yaw sideways and still out penetrate by far any hollowpoint (handload or otherwise at the time) and make a much bigger wound channel.. it would wind up being slightly bent and about .8" long and perhaps .39" wide. I've shot deer and hog (yadda) with that gun and load.. it's a killer.
    At least now I know what's possible with that load/gun but certainly don't "abuse" my guns on a daily basis any more, to put it mildly.
    Sent from my computer using my fingers.

  10. #10
    bhn22
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    Cast that 140 Lee out of lino, and water drop it. You'll end up with a bullet around 125 grains that doesn't recognize any speed limits. At least until it hits something really solid and shatters... Not that I've ever done such a thing

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy Certaindeaf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhn22 View Post
    Cast that 140 Lee out of lino, and water drop it. You'll end up with a bullet around 125 grains that doesn't recognize any speed limits. At least until it hits something really solid and shatters... Not that I've ever done such a thing
    Oh I own a 30-06 and know the ways of linotype ("hardened" at that.. feh) driven fast.
    The definition of "shatter" I know. not that that's a bad thing
    Sent from my computer using my fingers.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

    tomme boy's Avatar
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    Here are pics of the said bullet that was given to me. They have a lot of recoil for a 38 spec. I shot off a whole box before someone told me what they were. I saved one round and took it apart. They were in WRA brass if I remember right.






  13. #13
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    Kind of funny that some sources report such dismal performance from a lookalike little brother to the vaunted Lyman 358009...

  14. #14
    Banned 45 2.1's Avatar
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    Like anything else, results depend on where you put it with what you're shooting. Very very few people do any of that the same.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master GabbyM's Avatar
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    If anyone wants to try some 200 grain Lyman #358430. I have some here cast hard from 2:6 alloy.
    Have load data from an old 1970's era Lyman 45th edition. 357 and 38 Special data.
    Then if you want to go plum over the top. I have the Magma 230 grain wad cutter. Bowling pin bullet.

    From Lyman 45th they list the 357 magnum as pushing the 200 grain bullet 1018 fps over a load of 2400.
    Seams the colt guns are a tighter twist. S&W is 1-18 1/2 twist. So I think if you want the tumble effect you'll need a S&W because the Colt will stabilize them. My 357 mag is a Colt but I've not shot any. I've a Saeco 180 gr RNFP that is enough lead and can be loaded to start out sub sonic. But if you want to clear a table of bowling pins. Bullets that simulate a bowling ball do work best.

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    In my Ruger 9mm revolver I trim .38 S&W brass to 0.750 and load with 9mm dies and .38 Spl. shell holder with 200-grain LRN seated to 1.28" overall, with 2.5 grains of Bullseye for 700 fps. in 4" barrel. A charge of 2 grains of Bullseye gives 640 fps, approximating the British. 380-200.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Bump!

    358430 is dropping 195 grains here with medium hard alloy. A very good quality mold.


  18. #18
    Boolit Master OS OK's Avatar
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    This is a neet little cast to experiment with...




    I thought I'd load it in .38 Special, and run it as fast as my lil S&W 14-4 can manage without going into +P pressure.
    I line up 5 jugs of water and proceed, it ran all 5 and destroyed itself in my metal backstop. The yaw was started by the time it exited the 2'nd jug and it came out of the 5'th fully sideways.
    Here's a little history on this old cast, a little about how I went about the jugbust & at the end of the video I busted them jugs...take a look.

    https://thereloadersnetwork.com/2019...iebrassstuffer

    This has me thinking that it'd be a lot of fun to load it for the more powerful .357m and see what it'll do there?
    a m e r i c a n p r a v d a

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  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by bhn22 View Post
    You'd be better off with a std full power wadcutter load IMHO. If the old (and I do mean old) Super Police load were effective, it never would have been discontinued in the first place. There are better choices available.
    The best that I remember reading about this years ago was that it was a failed concept.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Nice video. I guessed d 5 jugs

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check