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Old September 16, 2011, 04:48 PM   #1
jrinne0430
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Help ID 38 s&w round

For any ammo experts...trying to determine who the manufacture of some 38 S&W ammo. They are FMJ with .380, R^L, 51, 2Z marked under the rim. Fired one in my Webley and it went bang but gave an unusual odor.
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Old September 16, 2011, 05:06 PM   #2
jonnyc
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Made in the UK at Royal Labs, Woolich, in 1951. The Z means it has nitro-cellulose powder instead of cordite.
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Old September 16, 2011, 05:07 PM   #3
jrinne0430
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Thanks jonnyc! Do you know if it has any collector's value or intrest? If not, I am going to fire it up.
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Old September 16, 2011, 05:16 PM   #4
BillCA
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The RL on the case would indicate Royal Laboratory, Woolwich, England.
The stamp "51" is probably a 1951 manufacture year.
The 2Z means it's a Mk-II load with nitrocellulose powder.

Boxes may be marked "Cartridge, Pistol, .380" Mk II" or ".380 Mk IIz", firing a 180-grain full metal jacket bullet.

Kynoch produced a cartridge with the same dimensions as the .38 S&W but with 2.8 grains of "Neonite" nitrocellulose powder and a 200 grain bullet. This combination gave a velocity of 630 ft/s at the muzzle, and over 570 feet per second at 50 yards.

Revolvers chambered for .38/200 may also fire .38 S&W (AKA .38/145), .38 Police Positive. Always exercise caution when using ammunition designed for more modern guns to different specifications.

If you can disassemble one of the rounds, it's probably loaded with an early smokeless nitrocellulose. It's always possible you'll find multiple "strings" of some kind of Cordite powder instead.

Looks like Jonnyc beat me to it.
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Old September 16, 2011, 07:17 PM   #5
jonnyc
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Nah, pretty common round in the collector world, shoot it happily.
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Old September 16, 2011, 08:30 PM   #6
gyvel
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Bear in mind that it is probably very corrosive.
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Old September 16, 2011, 10:10 PM   #7
Mike Irwin
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"If you can disassemble one of the rounds, it's probably loaded with an early smokeless nitrocellulose. It's always possible you'll find multiple "strings" of some kind of Cordite powder instead."

No, not an early nitro powder at all. Well developed technology, actually.

And, in cases marked with the Z, you're not going to find cordite. Most common powder found in pistol ammo at this time is a square cut flake type powder.

As gyvel mentions, the primers are corrosive.
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