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Old July 26, 2007, 05:16 PM   #1
Josh Smith
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3D Police 38spl Ammo - What Did I Buy This Time???

Hello All,

I was at the gunstore looking for 000 buck (they're out) when I ran across some 3D ammunition. This stuff is SJHP, and the box is not labeled as "+P". However, some of the caseheads are.

It was interesting, so I bought it. Now I just need to know what it is - is it remanufactured, or did 3D buy a bunch of brass from different sources? Except for the headstamps, they all look uniform - that is, they all have the same bullet and the same bright nickel case.

Does anyone know how old these are, and how hot? Is it safe for non- +P 38 revolvers? What the heck did I buy?

Here is the top of the box... police cartidges? Maybe that explains the lack of headstamp consistency?

The front of the box...

Some headstamp samples. Notice one says "+P". That's confusing.

The back of the box says this:

3 - D POLICE CARTRIDGES are manufactured to rigid specifications, utilizing American-made, specially selected components, non-corrosive priming and modern smokeless powder. Bullets are specially designed for minimum leading and superior accuracy. Automatic production machinery is used exclusively throughout loading operation. Carbide dies and taper crimp provide maximum case life. These cartridges are adapted to all standard arms chambered for .38 special caliber and are guaranteed to perform satisfactorily.
Any ideas, gents?


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Old July 26, 2007, 05:29 PM   #2
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Freedom ain't free!
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Old July 26, 2007, 05:37 PM   #3
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Looks like remanufactured standard pressure ammo to me. I searched and found a web posting of 3-D ammo by Hornady with address and phone number, but the Hornady site does not mention it. Only retail mention I could find was Natchez shooters supply had some 3-D remanufactured 9MM ammo, and it was a closeout, cheap. Looks like your company has gone T.U. just before the big price increases. They might have stayed in business charging the new prices for ammo! Probably not a problem to shoot it in any modern 38 special. I had seen their ammo at gunshows in the dim recesses of memory, but don't think I bought any. If the box doesn't say plus P it aint. Just a bunch of probably recycled once fired brass that you have there. Have fun with it.
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Old July 26, 2007, 05:38 PM   #4
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Remans loaded with 158gr SJHP and labeled as police ammo? I don't doubt you but I've just never heard of such a thing...?


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Old July 26, 2007, 06:36 PM   #5
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3D made re manufactured ammo using new primers ( of course) bullets and casings from where ever they could find them. No mystery other than the police markings and I bet that is from a contract with one of the police dept. for cheap practice ammo. It was very good reloaded ammo. However if you paid 12 dollars for them that seems high? These were standard loads not P or +P. Some of my own wadcutters have +p stamped on the shells but they're not. Or they used the term police loading just to show that they were standard police loads.
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Old July 26, 2007, 06:36 PM   #6
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I've run into remanufactured standard pressure 38spl in +p cases before (e.g. Black Hills). The first time I'd come across these, I actually called Black Hills to confirm that there was no potential that they'd mixed a +p run in with their standard pressure loads.

The 'Police' designation may just be a marketing gimmick.
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Old July 26, 2007, 06:53 PM   #7
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3D was a remanufacturer of ammo (aka commercial reloader) in the midwest. They often reloaded ammo for PD training units as well as civilian sales. The "Police Cartridges" is a sort of marketing gimmick as most of their loads were middle-range powered 158gr LSWC or a JHP of some kind.

As PDs shifted to semiautos they continued to market their remanufactured ammo as "police" cartridges (why pay for the printers to change artwork?) for some years.

My guess is that if you stuff those cartridges into a .357 (for the extra margin of safety) you'll find they're fairly light to moderate loads.
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Old July 26, 2007, 07:50 PM   #8
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I bought a bunch of their ammo years ago and it was just fine. Certainly not match grade stuff and mine had all different headstamps too. Every one went bang and when I bought mine the price was a lot less. Should be safe in any modern gun in reasonably good condition. Enjoy. CB
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Old July 26, 2007, 09:03 PM   #9
Josh Smith
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Thanks gents.

I don't understand why it would be loaded with 158gr SJHP and labeled as "police cartridges" is all. I take it no good for defense then. Maybe a decent woods load?

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Old July 26, 2007, 09:17 PM   #10
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Ammunition companies will slap "police" on anything. I don't think there are any police agencies so cheap as to use 3D so in this case it looks like it means nothing.

Winchester has a company policy of only selling their 9mm 127gr +P+ Ranger to cops, but it's readily available to anyone in reality.

Don't get so hung up on what is printed on the box. That stuff is all hype most of the time.

"ExtreemShok Anti-Terrorist Tiger-Face Explosion!". Yeah, sure.
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Old July 27, 2007, 10:55 AM   #11
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3-D ammo was started by a small group who sold exclusively to their local PD, back when revolvers were king. They then went commercial, but carried their history on the box. 100% re-loads.

I have 3-D in .38 Special, .357 magnum, 9mm, and .45 ACP. The most expensive was the .357 Magnum, at $11.00/50. The .38 Special ran about $6.00/50 ten years ago.

They ran afoul of the EPA and it's lead laws. They are out of business.
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Old July 27, 2007, 12:20 PM   #12
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We used to shoot 3D stuff for training & qualification several years ago before my department switched to autos. Never had a problem with it that I recall.
I would not use it today for defensive purposes, although it'll probably be fine. Just why use ammo of uncertain age and power levels when you can use current ammunition with known properties? You also don't know how it's been stored, and that can make a large difference in old ammo. It should work for practice, and it'll be safe in a standard .38 Special revolver as far as pressures go. The determiner is what's on the box, not the headstamp, on those reloads.
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Old July 27, 2007, 01:14 PM   #13
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The range I used to work at sold 3-D remanufactured ammo.

They apparently have sold a LOT of revolver and semi-auto ammo to police agencies for training purposes over the years.

Generally I found it to be very good ammo. It was always my first choice if I needed some range ammo.
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Old July 27, 2007, 11:39 PM   #14
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3-D ammunition

Many ears ago, I had access to 3-D remanufactured ammunition at a decent price and I bought several hundred rounds of .38 special. The ammunition I had was loaded with a 158gr LSW, was as consistent in accuracy as occurs with mixed brass, and 100% reliable. I remember an insert or label with the company address and phone number, stating they manufactured ammunition from all new components also. I wouldn't hesitate to shoot 3-D again, but I have reservations about what I had being good for SD, and it sounds like you may have remanufactured ammunition, too. I'd shoot the stuff at targets and stick with major brands or good (self) reloaded ammunition for SD.

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Old July 27, 2007, 11:51 PM   #15
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Extreme Shock, whose ads look like rejected game boxes, markets their ammo as "anti-terrorist" ammunition.

You can print whatever you want on a box.
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Old July 28, 2007, 12:44 PM   #16
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So it is an old box of ammo, made to be sold for 6$ retail, and it sat around for years and he paid over 12$? A gun dealer would not gyp a customer like that would they?
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Old July 29, 2007, 02:16 AM   #17
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Funny. Kinda makes me want to print up an ammo abox just for giggles.


Extreme Power, deep penetration, explosive expansion, advanced bad guy finding, seemingly thermo nuclear, POLICE! AMMUNITION!

Would you buy it?
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Old May 8, 2009, 03:55 PM   #18
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3-D Ammunition

I have quite a bit of practice and experience with 3-D loads, both .38spl and 9mm. The rounds are as accurate as I can shoot. But this ammo is definitely practice ammo. I use .38spl wad cutters in a .357 Model 28. For competition and target shooting, the round proved itself to be low pressure (have also used them in a S&W chief's special) providing minimum recoil. The wad cutter round is, surprisingly, a good self-defense round as the flat face of the round causes instant dissipation of its power and low risk of over penetration. However one must remember that 3-D is basically practice ammo. When I am done practicing, I load service rounds, not 3-D rounds into the pistols.

Don't pay attention to the head stamps on the .38 rounds because 3-D uses recycled shells and loading a standard pressure round into a +P+ casing is perfectly safe.

I also still have some 3-D 9mm SWC rounds. They feed perfectly into a Glock but not some other 9mms because the SWC design is different from ball ammo. Again, 100% of all rounds fired as advertised.

As an aside, the president and founder of 3-D recently died and probably his company with him. But his company produced reliable ammunition. I am sad to see the demise of 3-D because they were a reliable source of quality ammo for shooting enthusiasts. You might want to consider Olin as a possible alternative.

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