Charter Arms .38 Special
There was a time in my life when I carried a snub-nose revolver in an ankle holster on my right leg. I started out with a .38 and then went to a gunsmithed Charter Arms Bulldog in .44 Special with 2 inch barrel and bobbed hammer. I practiced a lot, so I got pretty good with it.
Charter Arms Bulldog in .44 Special.
The .44 was a handful, but I appreciated the extra terminal ballistics. I never had to discharge it, although its quick display got me out of a few situations.
Later in life, after I moved to Alabama, I met a retired Birmingham cop and former BPD armorer named Harry Deal. Harry was the best gunsmith in town and operated out of Plaza Gun Works on U.S. 11. (Sadly, Harry passed away some years ago. A great loss.)
Anyway, one day I was in Harry's shop and we were talking about terminal ballistics of .38 versus .45 and he offered me this little anecdote from his days in the trenches. With the advent of the drug epidemic, the cops who were patrolling Birmingham's projects discovered that their .38 revolvers firing non-jacketed lead bullets just wouldn't stop the new variety of hopped-up assailants they were encountering. Yet the Department refused to move off the .38 Special standard. If you were caught carrying anything bigger, you could be fired.
Hot-loading the .38s was done, but it wasn't enough. So, as Harry told the story, he went down to an industrial supply store and obtained reels of stranded lead wire.
He then experimented with the right combinations of strands and swaging pressure until he he came up with a round that would fly true, hold together in flight, and turn into instantly mushrooming lead spaghetti on the other end. His load was a great success, but only lasted until the first defense attorney (and then the department higher-ups) learned about it. Harry said he'd almost been fired over the incident, but he still made handloads of the wire strand .38s and sold them to cops "for their off-duty guns" for years afterward until he decided to get out of the handloading business for legal and insurance reasons.
This trip down memory lane was occasioned by Stan's forwarding of this link on snub-nose ballistics.