There’s something in the DNA of some gun guys, a genetic compulsion that they cannot resist: They have to tinker, experiment, improve. Sometimes it works out well. Sometimes, not so much.
Some experiments are full of promise that blossom and make them rich or famous. And then there are the cartridges that had promise—and even delivered on that promise—but fell through the cracks nonetheless. In the years I’ve been at this, I’ve seen a few of these come and go, and I think it’s an interesting group. Let’s look at seven handgun cartridges that failed to make the grade.
- In 1987, Buster Poindexter released the song “Hot, Hot, Hot.” That describes our first cartridge. The .38 Casull is the full evolution of the .45 ACP case necked down to .38/9mm. Actually, the case starts out longer than a .45, but in being necked down it ends up the same loaded length.
I tested this cartridge in a six-inch .38 Casull pistol, a long-slide 1911. The listed velocity of the 124-grain bullet is 1,800 fps, and it did that and then some. The muzzle blast was impressive, as was the recoil and subsequent muzzle rise. It also hurled the empties over the side berm of the range I was shooting on, raising complaints from the club members over there. The only prudent course is to use .38 Casull ammo in a pistol built for it by Casull and not try to make another 1911 use it.
What purpose does it serve? Besides occasional varmint duty, it works well to impress your fellow gun club members—and putting dents in the inexpensive steel targets the club bought.