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Old January 22, 2013, 01:33 PM   #1
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Winchester Western Copper Colored Casings

I have came across boxes of 38 S&W Winchester Western Copper Colored Casings. They are primed, new in the boxes. I looking for more information, as to the age, and would they be safe for today's powders.
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Old January 22, 2013, 02:34 PM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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Well, this ties into the thread about primer lifespan....

I'd say those must be from 1950-ish, plus or minus a few years.

I seem to vaguely recall reading something about cases like this with enlarged flash-holes for shooting wax bullets or some such thing, so check on that.

Also, I don't really have a clue on collectability but I would wonder if those are collectible...


Basically, the primers should be fine, assuming they have been stored properly. Chamber an empty case and fire it. See if it goes bang and with reasonable vigor. I imagine it will.

I'd then take that case and measure it's H2O capacity and make sure it's reasonable, which I'm also reasonably sure that it will be.

Then, load 'em up, starting at suggested, official, published, starting loads and work your way up.
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Old January 22, 2013, 02:42 PM   #3
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Considering those are .38 S&W (not to be confused with .38 Special), the spec on that round is so low in pressure, I wouldn't be all too worked up about a problem.
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Old January 22, 2013, 06:43 PM   #4
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I too have encounted brass cases that were copper colored. Sometimes in the melt, more copper than usual is added or minor alloying problems occur when melting. As you know, copper is a component of brass.
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Old January 22, 2013, 10:25 PM   #5
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Please post a picture of the box. That can often be a huge help in determining age.
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Old January 23, 2013, 05:12 AM   #6
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Like Brian said in my opinion.

Just last weekend I happened across a mixed bag of brass and new copper case solid head .38 S&Ws.

Was not really needing any and did not buy them, but the copper cases made me curious. The copper was head stamped 'Western 38 S&W'.
When I held the two kinds side by side it definitely looked to me as if the copper cases had a bigger flash hole.

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Old January 23, 2013, 09:04 AM   #7
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I reload alot of 38 S&W & Trailboss is a good powder choice... been a while since I reloaded any, but I think the bore is slightly bigger, so I've never used jacketed bullets, always bought larger cast bullets... also have some .360 soft lead round balls that I use with a pinch of Trailboss for check out loads...

if you have an older revolver, & want to reload these, & the flash hole is larger than normal, light loads of Trailboss are still fine, I have a 44 Bulldog that I made cases from trimmed down 44 specials, & I had to drill the flash holes bigger, as the loads were light enough not to set the case back enough to push on the primers, & I was getting primer set back ( like you would get from wax bullets & a standard size flash hole )
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Old January 23, 2013, 11:36 AM   #8
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Several years ago, mid 70s, I was given a small sack of 'copper' .38 S&W cases. No head stamps and brass colored primers (they had been fired).
I was told that they were practice ammunition for the Postal Inspectors at the time. I have no reasons to question what I was told and excepted it at that.

I have loaded several round with this 'copper' brass. As it was for a 'Marlin' .38S&W top break revolver, they were very light loads. But they worked fine.


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