View Full Version : Do they still make?

February 5, 2005, 01:03 PM
In another post about the power the .38 Official Police could handle I was told that (after 1940) the Official Police could handle a shell called .38-44, which I'm told is stronger than the .38+P today. Do they still make .38-44?

I understand .38-44 is "armor piercing." What exactly does that mean? Does that mean it can penetrate body armor or a car door or what?

February 5, 2005, 01:15 PM
Western Cartridge ,in the 1950s made two loads for the 38/44 both of a 150 grain bullet at 1175 fps . One of these had a FMJ and listed as Metal Piercing.The 38/44 was a 38 special loaded hot and only for use in a stronger large frame [44 frame] revolver. Their 45 acp Metal piercing round was a 230 fmj at a faster 940 fps. These rounds were developed for law enforcement to better penetrate automobiles .I guess that was an outcome of the battles they had with the likes of Bonny and Clyde .

Tim R
February 5, 2005, 02:55 PM
Bonnie and Clyde was done in with the use of 30-06 full auto BAR's. Metal used in the older cars was of better quality. Up until 1935 or there about's it was all new steel. After that they started using some metal from recycled cars but was still several mills thicker than todays cars. I don't remember when they started using 100% recycled metal in the cars but I know they are not as hard to get through as the old days.

You also have to remember that up until 1935 the most powerful hand gun Cart. was the .38 Super when the 357 Mag came out.

February 5, 2005, 06:01 PM
Ohhhhhh. Nice, do they still make the .38-44?

Gotta get me some of those :cool: ;)

Peter M. Eick
February 5, 2005, 07:15 PM
Yes you can still buy 38-44's. I just bought some rounds a few months back and I only paid $10 per round. They were made in 1934 if I remember right.

Run of the mill 38-44's cost around $2 to $4 per round.

Basically the 38/44's were made for the big S&W Heavy Duties and Outdoorsmans. They have not made ammo for them since the late 50's if I understand it right. There is a lot of reloading information out there for the 38/44. If you want to get the real deal, that is the best start. Figure on trying to get 1150 fps for a 158 grn lswc out of a 6.5" outdoorsman or 1050 out of the 5" heavy duty.

Email me if you have more interest. There is sort of a "cult" status to the 38/44's. I can probably set you up with some of the reloading data I have collected.

Here is my current (less one more heavy duty I just picked up) 38/44 collection:


The one long barrel is the outdoorsman and the rest are the heavy duties. All are shooters.

February 8, 2005, 02:02 PM
It surprises me they don't still make that type of ammo with all the demand for hot loads. I'm told the sturdier Colt and Smith and Wesson Revolvers in the .38 special made past 1940 could handle .38-44 easily. Also they are stronger than even the .38+P.

So if I want those rounds, I have to make them myself?

Darn. Don't have the means for that.