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38 long colt bullets

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Colt Fanning:
I have 3 questions.

1. What is the easiest bullet for shooting at Ncows Pistol targets.  Hollow base or heeled.

2.What is the best bullet for this purpose.

3.Where can this bullet be sourced.

This is for use in an 1892 new army colt.  .375 Barrel bore.


Tuolumne Lawman:
The easiest is 148 grain hollow base wadcutters, loaded about 1/4" above case mouth.  Heeled bullets are problematic, as they require a special heeled bullet crimping tool (available from Bernie at Old West Bullet Molds).  That crimp is touchy, as too much crimp, the case mouths tear and and are one use.  If you do not crimp tight enough, though, they have insufficient back pressure and go "pop" instead of "bang!".  It took a lot of time to come up with just the right crimp, but velocities were still slow.  The Wadcutters, on the other hand, obdurated well to give good accuracy and would knock down the plates.

The Navy load for the .38 Colt was a 145 grain heeled bullet in a slightly shorter case, but the Army 1892 load was a longer case with a .357" inside lubed, 150 grain, round nose, hollow base bullet that obdurated into the .375" bore.  No one currently produces this bullet or ammo loaded with it.  I worked on a joint project with Walt Kirst, EMF/Pietta, and Black Hills ammo about re-introducing the Army 150 RNHB load, but it was killed off by the pandemic.

See my thread here:  Lots of info and pictures


Reverend P. Babcock Chase:
Howdy Colt,

I don't know about the .38 Long Colt, but I have a converted 1851 repro in .38 S&W with a .375 barrel. I stated loading 148 gr. HB wadcutters to .38 special O/A length and used load data for .38 spec. for that bullet. Started low and worked up until the base was getting blown out enough for accuracy. It actually shoots quite well. Now, I'm reducing the load and shortening the length for easier chambering. I won't quote you a charge, so be sure to check a proven handbook for your load.

Good Luck,
Rev. Chase


Baltimore Ed:
Are DAs legal in NCOWS? I cast and load heel based bullets for my 1892 revolvers. Your questions are odd. Easiest shooting or best bullet are not normal concerns. The 1892 is an unusual family of revolvers as they are a developmental step between c&b revolvers and true cartridge revolvers. A bit of a learning curve for Colt’s R&D back then as they learned about internally lubed bullets and bore dimensions. These guns are odd ducks and really need heel based ammo to be accurate. You can certainly try some hollow base wadcutters with light loads so you don’t strip the rifling to see if they work for you. I’ve seen heel base bullets for sale somewhere but in todays craziness good luck.


 :)  Hey Fanning   ;)

Don't know if this will help.  I shoot several .36 cartridge conversions.  Barrels are .375.  I found 148Gr Hollow Base Wadcutters to be quite accurate.  At least accurate enough for CAS play.

CAVEAT:  I'm strictly shooting BP or SUBS.  Mostly APP.  YMMV

Play Safe Out There


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