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WW 'For Law Enforcement Only' .38 Special +P+

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by RVTECH, Aug 13, 2012.


    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    A co-worker's girlfriend works a a pawnshop and recently a girl came in with several boxes of ammo to sell including two boxes of the aforementioned ammo which my friend's girlfriend bought since she has a GP 100. We were shooting yesterday and he asked if I had any idea as to why the primers had a red sealant that left a heavy deposit on the frame after shooting. I said I did not know and he speculated the possibility of it not being a sealant but as a 'marking' compound that identified the gun it was shot in. Anyone have any knowledge of this ammo? Maybe just an obnoxious red sealant but he mentioned he has shot ammo that has primer sealant (as have I) but he said he never encountered it leaving a deposit such as this ammo does. It is marked very clearly across the front of the box 'For Law Enforcement Only'
  2. mat33

    mat33 Portland, OR Active Member

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    It's just a sealant to keep moisture out. S&B usually has this on it, but I've never noticed it leaving a mark. I've heard but not seen that WWB and others will show up like this if it was built to uhh 'milspec' but not sold to military.

    Never heard of any laws against shooting +p+ 38 in a 357, as long as it is pointed in a safe direction, but I'd steer clear of NJ if it's hollow pointed.
  3. darkminstrel

    darkminstrel PDX Well-Known Member

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    I've got some .40S&W and some 7.62x54r that uses the same sealant. LE use ammo is loaded to a certain spec for consistency of power and longevity of the rounds carried. That's really the only difference between it and 'civilian' rounds.

    Edit; If you've got a 12ga and want to play with some fun, get a hold of some .mil 00 buck. that'll breach a bad guy quite effectively.
  4. Darknight

    Darknight Salem Active Member

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    Actually they use a specially bonded bullet, this is partly for penetration, trajectory and no loss of mass before hitting the intended target. The snipers of course, oh yeah, that's right they don't call them snipers anymore, it's not politically correct. I think the term is precision shooter.
  5. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Police/Defensive ammo usually has a number of features that make it well suited to this purpose that either isn't common in all factory ammo or is not present in reloads. This is why a lot of people recommend sticking to factory hollow points for actual defensive use.

    Features of Factory defensive ammo:

    1) Case and bullet sealant - ensures the cartridge fires and functions normally regardless of water or oil that got on it while it was in the gun. The two points where water or solvents can ingress into the cartridge are either through the case neck or the primer. Just an FYI, solvents will deactivate primers and melt smokeless powder into a useless clump.

    2) Case is usually nickel plated - preventing bore solvents from eating the case while it sits in the chamber waiting to defend you. If you were to use a brass case and bore solvents started eating at it, it can form a crud layer in your chamber that could cause the gun to malfunction either on extraction, or when loading the next round.

    Most of the "modern" defensive ammo like winchester PDX1, ranger SXT, and others use a bullet that has a core that's chemically bonded to the jacket, frequently this means it is either plated onto the bullet, or may have a chemical bonding agent that ensures good adhesion between core and jacket. This is necessary to prevent jacket separation against a target and gives better more consistent expansion. When a jacket separates the "petals" that open up tend to get ripped off and the core of the bullet acts more like a ball round than a hollow point, effectively negating all the advantages it had as a hollowpoint.

    Btw, if anyone is interested. The specific material used for sealing cartridge cases per US mil-spec is Mil-L-10287 and requires a "visible mark", the specific compound is "Thinner, Dope and Laquer (Cellulose Nitrate) Spec A-A-857". This chemical is available from hernon manufacturing: http://ammo.hernon.com/
  6. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    The "Law Enforcement Only" designation now has more to do with the Excise Tax on manufactured ammo. Last I heard it was 15%. Government agencies are exempt from these taxes. My old reliable local dealer (actually over 30 miles away) has both in stock. Regular and LE Only. No difference in construction, features, or lethality. Just box color and the amount of taxes collected along the way.

    Sometimes "excess ammo" makes it into the sales stream but I don't know if the "excise tax" is collected or not.


    Subpart 29.2—Federal Excise Taxes
    29.201 General.
    (a) Federal excise taxes are levied on the sale or use of particular supplies or services. Subtitle D of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, Miscellaneous Excise Taxes, 26 U.S.C. 4041, et seq., and its implementing regulations, 26 CFR parts 40 through 299, cover miscellaneous federal excise tax requirements. Questions arising in this area should be directed to the agency-designated counsel. The most common excise taxes are—
    (1) Manufacturers’ excise taxes imposed on certain motor-vehicle articles, tires and inner tubes, gasoline, lubricating oils, coal, fishing equipment, firearms, shells, and cartridges sold by manufacturers, producers, or importers; and
    (2) Special-fuels excise taxes imposed at the retail level on diesel fuel and special motor fuels.
    (b) Sometimes the law exempts the Federal Government from these taxes. Contracting officers should solicit prices on a tax-exclusive basis when it is known that the Government is exempt from these taxes, and on a tax-inclusive basis when no exemption exists.
    (c) Executive agencies shall take maximum advantage of available Federal excise tax exemptions.
    29.202 General exemptions.
    No Federal manufacturers’ or special-fuels excise taxes are imposed in many contracting situations as, for example, when the supplies are for any of the following:
    (a) The exclusive use of any State or political subdivision, including the District of Columbia (26 U.S.C. 4041 and 4221).