I’m looking at ballistics tables for .38 Special ammo, and I’ve discovered something curious. Most of the “factory” .38 Special 158 grain lead round nose ammo is loaded to about 750-770 FPS according to the manufacturer’s websites. This is stuff like your cheap American Eagle, Winchester White Box, etc ammo. The problem with this ammo is that it doesn’t make minor power factor for IDPA/ICORE competition (although ICORE has an exception for certain factory loads).
Here’s where it gets weird. According to several different companies, they offer Cowboy Action .38 Special loads with a 158 grain flat point lead bullet that are loaded hotter than the factory stuff. As an example, both Winchester and Magtech offer cowboy loads with a 158 grain bullet that according to the factory specs is making 800 FPS. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why the cowboy load would be doing 50 fps more than the standard pressure load. Thoughts?