-Work in progress updated 22-07-01

The 38 Smith and Wesson has enjoyed a long and colourful history since its introduction in 1877. It was developed by S&W as a black powder cartridge for the S&W Baby Russian Single Action Revolver, a scaled-up version of the 32 S&W Pocket Revolver. It was a game changer as it used an inside lubricated bullet and prior to the availability of compact, snub-nosed 38 Special revolvers that only became available in 1927 even though the 38 Special was introduced in 1898, the 38 S&W was used by various law enforcement agencies in the US. The British however were the first military power to formally adopt the 38 S&W in early 1931, with the introduction of the .380 Mk. 1, which used a 200 grain round nosed lead bullet, but concerns were raised about the use of “expanding” type bullets and in 1937 it was changed to a 178-grain gilding metal bullet. It was made by various manufacturers in Britain and Europe. (Erlmeier, Brandt Ref. 364)


The first specimen with convex copper primer was by the Eagle Metallic Cartridge Company. The second and third specimens were by the International Cartridge Company, Germany. The last specimen on the right with the powder horn in the headstamp was by AWA Allendorff, Schonebeck, Germany. There was a reference in an old German shooting magazine, “Schuss und Waffe” where A&W Allendorff sold their business to Lignose in 1913.



APC was by Austin Powder Company, OH for Sears Roebuck. The C.C.C headstamp was for the CLINTON CARTRIDGE COMPANY and was loaded by Winchester-Western for Sears. C.I. was by Cascade Cartridges Internacional, Mexico and was an early headstamp dating from the late 70’s to early 80’s.The middle specimen from Dominion is loaded with a Humane Killer manstopper type bullet.



GCD was by G.C Dornheim, Suhl, Germany. The company started out in 1863, but only started ammunition manufacturing in 1901 with the acquisition of B. Stahl. This headstamp was in all probability manufactured before 1944.


        Kynoch variations

The last Kynoch specimen is a Humane Killer loading with a hollow lead “manstopper” type bullet.


MCM was by Munizione e Cartucci Martignoni. Italy. ORBEA is Cartucheria Orbea Argentina S.A., Buenos Aires Argentina. P*R was by Productos Regiomontano of Monterrey, Mexico



The Robin Hood Ammunition Company was established in 1906 in Swanton CT. They produced a wide range of shotshells, rim fire and center fire ammunition and was purchased by Remington in 1915. They continued to produce ammunition at the Swanton plant into 1919.



The U.C.C.Co headstamp was by the Union Cap & Chemical Company of East Alton. Illinois. The company was formed by Franklin W. Olin to produce priming mixtures and primers for the Western Cartridge Company, but also produced .22 rimfire ammunition during the period 1905 – 1908 with a Maltese Cross as the headstamp. The company also for a short period manufactured center-fire ammunition in four different calibers, namely 32 S&W, 38 S&W, 38-40 WCF and 44-40 WCF. The first UMC Specimen is a gallery loading with deep seated lead ball.


The copper washed case by Western with red wax bullet is a pavement marking cartridge.