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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Folks,
I'm new to wheel guns, and have just purchased a '49 Colt Officers Model Special in 38spl. I'm wondering what would be proper range ammo for this gun. I don't want to exceed it's intended pressures.

Suggestions?
 

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Any off the shelf .38 Special cartridges will work with varying degrees of suitability for the task at hand.Some will be "defense" loads with whiz bang bullets going 10,000 fps,they are expensive and not necessary. I would use 148gr/158gr. lead bullets that I could find,lead will be nice to shoot and keep things in time for a long time, +P's in a target revolver I don't see the point.
 

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5 or 6 years ago, Officers models didn't really spark much interest from the buying public since it appears that bullseye competition is dying out but all has changed since people are looking for good shooting Colts that don't have a Python price. While many of these guns were fired with mid-range wadcutters for match use, some of who I shoot with load a 158 to plus P levels for 100 yard 16" metal plate shooting. We are getting around 900-950 FPS and at that range one can here both the bang and "ting" when the target is hit. Mid-range wadcutters are just that, in that drop off very rapidly past 50 yards. Your officers model special has the heaviest barrel of all officers models and to myself is right at home with any load up to plus P if needed. Enjoy your gun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks for all the great comments. I'm in CA, and the gun is currently in "jail." I'm looking forward to many range trips with the OMS, might end up being a league gun!

I do have a question for LongRanger. How does shooting lead help the gun timing?? Or, did I misunderstand.
 

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I do have a question for LongRanger. How does shooting lead help the gun timing?? Or, did I misunderstand.
Jacketed bullets operate at higher pressures resulting in more recoil thus more wear on lockwork parts and the frame.Lead bullets operate at much lower pressures thus less recoil and strain on parts.
 

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Regarding ammunition, the revolver will safely handle anything in .38 Special you want to fire in it. I frames are immensely strong revolvers. However, for its original intended purpose of target shooting at 25 and 50 yards, the best ammunition to use would be 148 grain full wadcutters. The flat-nose lead bullet is seated flush (or nearly flush) with the case mouth. These have light recoil, modest noise, capable of firing tight groups, and are easy on the gun. Most serious bullseye target shooters have always loaded their own, the typical load being from 2.8 to 3.1 grains of Alliant Bullseye powder. Unfortunately, .38 Special factory target wadcutters are seldom stocked by most gun shops or the usual retailers, so you might strongly consider reloading if you think you may become a serious shooter.

I agree with the earlier comment that the older Officer's Model Target and Officer's Model Match revolvers are rapidly becoming surrogates for the currently astronomically-(over)priced Pythons. They are in most respects essentially the same revolver, but in .38 Special. In the same category are the Colt .357 Magnum and the earlier Trooper .38/.357 revolvers. Prices on all those are also heading toward the stratosphere.
 
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