Author Topic: winchester western 357 magnum 158 gr "metal piercing"?  (Read 4055 times)

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winchester western 357 magnum 158 gr "metal piercing"?
« on: October 31, 2007, 11:00:38 PM »
Hey folks, had a question about some ammo I saw at one of the local gunstores recently. It was old white box winchester western Super X, 357 magnum, 158 gr Metal Piercing (X3572P). The bullet itself was short, conical/pointy, looked to be copper plated.

I've done google searches on x3572p and only one site comes up, in German, that doesn't say a whole lot about the cartidge if you translate it. I found it odd that there is no info on this bullet type on the internet (maybe cuz its so old and out of production?).

Anyway, my questions were: Is this considered "armor piercing"? Yeah I know, there aren't any real armor piercing handgun cartridges (don't want this to go off topic regarding black talons being copkillers or makarovs shooting thru kevlar helmets) but the name on the box seems to imply otherwise. this stuff considered legal? I mean it was right on the shelf amongst other older boxes of cartridges (old federal classic stuff and the like) but would non LE catch **** for carrying it or owning it? Note: it didn't say anything about LE only on it.

Also, anybody know what makes it "metal piercing"? Is it the bullet's composition? If so is it steel core? Typical copper coated lead? Or back then did they just consider a pointy head metal piercing?

Lastly, if its not an AP round, what was it used for/marketed as? Someone mentioned that it was just a barrier penetrating round (cars and such).

If anybody knows the history of this stuff, I'd be interested in hearing about it. Still thinking about going back and snagging the box and testing it out.
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Frisco Pete

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Re: winchester western 357 magnum 158 gr "metal piercing"?
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2007, 12:02:31 PM »
In the 1930s one of the big issues was that the police were "undergunned" by the gangsters.  This seems to be a familiar theme and we heard it again in the '80's when the police all went to hi-cap "wondernines", then the .40 S&W, and lately assault rifles in the trunk.  So S&W and Winchester developed the .357 Magnum revolver and this metal piercing loading for it in response in 1935. 

Anyway, one of the law enforcement issues in 1935 was that the gangsters like Bonnie & Clyde and Machine Gun Kelly used automobiles as getaway vehicles and police shooting at the escaping car were unable to get it to stop using the standard .38 Special lead roundnose bullets that were issued.  So a more powerful round, the .357 Mag, and specialty bullets, "metal piercing" were made available.  Standard loads were also available as well.  The .357 had about double the velocity and three times the energy of the .38 Special.  This combination was intended, and actually would, stop a typical '20-'30's era car with a round in the engine block they say, but that eventually changed (although you could do your own tests on junk cars and let us know!).  Of course the downside was that the .357 Magnum revolver (on the big N frame) from S&W was so expensive only the most well-heeled policeman and departments could ever hope to own one until the 1950's.  I don't know the exact bullet construction, but would assume that is just had a very heavy jacket and hard lead core, combined with its unique shape.  I would think that box you seen would almost be a collector item now. 
Cartridges Of The World notes that "During the Korean conflict it was found to be very effective against the body armor used by the Communist forces."

You might be interested to know that Colt introduced the .38 Super in its 1911A1 for much the same reason in 1929.  In 1930 S&W had the N Frame (.44 Mag size) also chambered for a more powerful .38 Special loading - the .38-44 Heavy Duty that used a 158-gr bullet at nearly 1,150 fps.  The barrel was still marked "38 S&W. Special CTG" but brass had a "38-44 SPL" headstamp.  This was a precursor to the .357 Mag.  There might even have been a metal piercing loading for this as well, but I don't know for sure.
If you have a .357 Magnum revolver you can duplicate this load with 11 to 11.5 grains of 2400 with RN-FP lead bullets in the 150-165 range in a .38 Special case.  DON'T try this in a standard or +P rated .38 revolver.  See Oct. 2007 Handloader magazine for more details.

The stuff is legal, but discontinued and considered obsolete.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2007, 12:24:07 PM by Frisco Pete »
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