Old black powder .38 s&w ammo? (Read 241 times)

metalmulisha

Old black powder .38 s&w ammo?
« on: December 05, 2018, 11:05:04 AM »
Anyone know anything about this box of ammo? My grandfather gave it to me about 10 years ago. Any info will be greatly appreciated!

Inspector

Re: Old black powder .38 s&w ammo?
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2018, 07:57:30 PM »
Anyone know anything about this box of ammo? My grandfather gave it to me about 10 years ago. Any info will be greatly appreciated!
I don’t know much about it. If you could tell me what your questions are I might be able to answer them myself or if I can’t I know people who are not on this forum who could probably answer you. I have a lot of books in my library that can give you a complete history and description. Let me know if that is sufficient to satisfy your curiosity. I’ll post an article or two.

I do know that this cartridge is still popular enough that it is still being loaded. Buffalo Arms sells new 38 S&W black powder cartridges for around $50-$60/box. I can also tell you that if still in decent condition that it might have some value. Though it would probably cost you more to ship it off island than it is worth.

Tom_G

Re: Old black powder .38 s&w ammo?
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2018, 08:27:50 AM »
What a lovely bit of history!
The difference between theory and reality is that, in theory, there is no difference between theory and reality.

metalmulisha

Re: Old black powder .38 s&w ammo?
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2018, 05:06:22 PM »
Thank you for your help, my main question would be about its age and how I should store it, if I plan on keeping it? As of right now it's in my safe which has a dehumidifier.

Inspector

Re: Old black powder .38 s&w ammo?
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2018, 05:33:05 PM »
Thank you for your help, my main question would be about its age and how I should store it, if I plan on keeping it? As of right now it's in my safe which has a dehumidifier.
Storing the way you are is fine. The black powder is known to still ignite after a VERY long time. You can soak black powder in water and dry it out and it will still ignite. The real problem with the cartridges is the primer and the copper (I assume) cases and to a lesser extent the lead boolits. If these are black powder they are probably from around the late 1800’s. They could be nitro cellulose powder if not marked as black powder. The cartridge has been around since the late 1870’s.

Smokeless powder came into use around the very late 1890’s to the very beginning of the 1900’s. The primers go bad and become corroded and the cases become corroded. Chances are they won’t go boom or a very small amount of them will go boom due to the primers degrading.

I hope this is the info you were looking for.