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Old 04-28-2012, 11:51 PM
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I usually wouldn't double post, but this got virtually no response in 1896-1961 revolvers. If it doesn't here I will assume most are more interested in the perpetuation of myths than a serious examination of the truth.


Please read this entirely before making any remarks. The OP is always entitled to this courtesy, something all too often forgotten it seems.

This isn't a question, but, rather, an observation and reference to some documentary evidence about a common topic. This is not merely my opinion.

The question is often raised "Can I shoot +P in my........?" Here are a couple of things to consider if you have been one of the many to condemn the practice for 1950-1960s K-Frames. From "Smith & Wesson Hand Guns" by Roy C McHenry and Walter F. Roper. This is dated from this comment found on the same page, "At the present writing (1944)....." From page 125 of the 1958 (C) Stackpole edition:

"The corporation produced it's round butt .38 Military & Police Model with a two-inch barrel in 1938. It had not been claimed hitherto that the .38/44 cartridge was suitable for the K Model .38, but a circular describing the two-inch barrel variety stated that it would handle the heavier cartridge safely. This being so, it should do equally well in the later K Model .38 Specials with heat-treated cylinders, although it would have an unpleasant recoil with either length of barrel."

And, from the "Gun Digest" 1st Edition, coincidentally also 1944. From page 121:

""COLT DETECTIVE SPECIAL REVOLVER" From the list of acceptable ammunition; ".38 Colt Special High Speed, .38 S. & W. Special High Speed and .38-44 S. & W. Special cartridges." Does anyone seriously believe the D Frame Colt is stronger than a K Frame S&W???????

Please note that from context the remark "the later K Model .38 Specials with heat-treated cylinders," would appear to mean "after heat-treating began" rather than after 1938 or 1944!

Be aware, nothing in this post is intended to be a recommendation, but to give those who always post predictions of the dire consequences to follow if a shooter were to dare to shoot the "Dreaded .38 Special +P" ammunition in any revolver manufactured before 1957 (model numbers) or some vacuous date when S&W supposedly "Certified" revolvers for +P, whenever that may have been. The .38-44 operates at pressures far in excess of +P, ca. 25,000 CUP compared to 18,500 PSIG for .38 +P. In spite of different measurement methods there is still a great gulf between these cartridges. Will shooting the +P or .38-44 level loads cause more wear to the revolver than standard pressure loads? Absolutely! But shooting them at all causes more wear than leaving them in the safe! If you have a "shooter" then shoot it, and have repairs done as necessary. If it is a "Safe Queen" then leave it in the safe, put tie-wraps on it and leave it alone if all you are concerned with is future value rather than current utility!

I would ask that any members who collect S&W "Paper", who may have a copy of the circular referenced in McHenry & Roper be kind enough to post same.
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Old 04-29-2012, 12:01 AM
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I've shot +P ammunition, mostly of the 158 grain lead SWC version, through a variety of K-Frame revolvers including a deliberate test last summer when a 1904 vintage M&P was used to fire 5 cylinders-full of 158 grain lead +P ammunition.

The same ammunition has been tested in a 1966 Colt Detective Special and is carried in same revolver. Other Colt revolvers that have been used with +P ammunition include a 1953 Official Police, a 1944 Commando, and a 1913 Army Special. All handled the +P 158 grain SWC-HP loads fine.

It's just not the revolver-destroying demon that so many find so concerning.
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Old 04-29-2012, 11:10 AM
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Years ago I put several hundred rounds of Super Vel 110 grain +P loads through a Model 15 and it held up okay. I'm sure that it was a little harder on the gun than standard velocity ammo and feel that it was warmer than today's +P loads. The revolver and I both survived it with no noticeable problems.
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Old 04-29-2012, 11:49 AM
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Nice post,and good research,sir. I've had no problem with "+P" in several older revolvers in years past. Thanks for posting the info.
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Old 04-29-2012, 07:46 PM
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I've had this "saved to favorites" for quite a while... Shooting with Hobie ... because it's the best article on the +P subject that I have read.

Probably the reason for sparce response in the '96 -'61 forum was the oft' posting of the topic.

New members and those who do not use the search feature ask the "can I shoot +pees in my N frame" question with regularity and will continue to do so.

You post is well written and thought out, and entirely correct.

GF
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Old 04-29-2012, 07:56 PM
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New members and those who do not use the search feature ask the "can I shoot +pees in my N frame" question with regularity and will continue to do so.
That's all very fine if you are fortunate enough to own an N-frame .38 Special, but what if all you have is an N-frame .357 Magnum?
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Old 04-29-2012, 09:14 PM
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".... but what if all you have is an N-frame .357 Magnum? "

Are you asking if it's safe to shoot 38 spl +P's in a 357 magnum !?!





GF
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Old 04-29-2012, 10:58 PM
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".... but what if all you have is an N-frame .357 Magnum? "

Are you asking if it's safe to shoot 38 spl +P's in a 357 magnum !?!





GF
Of course. Why? Can you think of a stupider question?
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:38 AM
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It's my opinion today's so-called +P ammo is no stouter than the stuff that was made back when the older K frames were new. I have a 1948 M&P that I shot several cylinders of the Remington FBI Load through with no ill effects whatsoever.

You can do as you wish with your revolver and I will do what I see fit with mine. I won't shoot 100's of +P loads in my older revolver but I will keep it loaded with the FBI load for HD...
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:18 AM
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Of course. Why? Can you think of a stupider question?
Sure, lots of 'em.

Well... lets just go with the first question. The +P in a 357 one.

The article I referenced authored by Saxon Pig (of this and many other forums) states; "I saw many inquiries about K frame S&Ws using +P and I found it odd that anyone would worry about using factory +P ammo in such a gun. Then I started seeing postings from owners of .357 Magnum revolvers asking if +P .38 Special ammo would harm their guns. One forum member was concerned that +Ps would damage his Model 28 S&W.

Come again? I donít know what caused such a mystique to surround +P ammo to make people with N frame Magnums think itís too much for their guns, but it strikes me as overblown all out of proportion. "

This article I referenced in post # 5 is well worth your time and effort for a full read.

( I once asked that it be made a "sticky" at the top of a forum page, but to no avail.)

GF
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Old 04-30-2012, 12:24 PM
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We're really on the same page here, GF, except that my style of "humor" is probably not your cup of tea. Actually, maybe nobody laughed at it. If that's the case, then it was, more or less by definition, not funny. Nevertheless, a concern about +P or, for that matter, even the undefined +P+ in an N-frame revolver, does not make much sense, as Saxon Pig points out. Even if one disagrees with some of his arguments, the conclusion seems to me to be inescapable. And that's in a Heavy Duty or an Outdoorsman. In a 27, 28 or 520, the concern should not be dealt with seriously, so I don't.

P.S. BTW, a true 27, 28 or 520 has a model number, so even S&W would consider +P ok.

Last edited by Model520Fan; 04-30-2012 at 12:30 PM. Reason: P.S.
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Old 11-02-2016, 10:23 PM
S.Bergeron S.Bergeron is offline
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Going through the archives and really enjoying reading what you guys have posted. I know this is a really old thread but it made me laugh. That was seriously good humor!
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Old 11-02-2016, 11:50 PM
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I am so glad I got a life and quit worrying about junk like this...
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Old 11-03-2016, 12:10 AM
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[QUOTE=Alk8944;136487993]I usually wouldn't double post, but this got virtually no response in 1896-1961 revolvers. If it doesn't here I will assume most are more interested in the perpetuation of myths than a serious examination of the truth.


Please read this entirely before making any remarks. The OP is always entitled to this courtesy, something all too often forgotten it seems.

This isn't a question, but, rather, an observation and reference to some documentary evidence about a common topic. This is not merely my opinion.

The question is often raised "Can I shoot +P in my........?" Here are a couple of things to consider if you have been one of the many to condemn the practice for 1950-1960s K-Frames. From "Smith & Wesson Hand Guns" by Roy C McHenry and Walter F. Roper. This is dated from this comment found on the same page, "At the present writing (1944)....." From page 125 of the 1958 (C) Stackpole edition:

"The corporation produced it's round butt .38 Military & Police Model with a two-inch barrel in 1938. It had not been claimed hitherto that the .38/44 cartridge was suitable for the K Model .38, but a circular describing the two-inch barrel variety stated that it would handle the heavier cartridge safely. This being so, it should do equally well in the later K Model .38 Specials with heat-treated cylinders, although it would have an unpleasant recoil with either length of barrel."

And, from the "Gun Digest" 1st Edition, coincidentally also 1944. From page 121:

""COLT DETECTIVE SPECIAL REVOLVER" From the list of acceptable ammunition; ".38 Colt Special High Speed, .38 S. & W. Special High Speed and .38-44 S. & W. Special cartridges." Does anyone seriously believe the D Frame Colt is stronger than a K Frame S&W???????

Please note that from context the remark "the later K Model .38 Specials with heat-treated cylinders," would appear to mean "after heat-treating began" rather than after 1938 or 1944!

Be aware, nothing in this post is intended to be a recommendation, but to give those who always post predictions of the dire consequences to follow if a shooter were to dare to shoot the "Dreaded .38 Special +P" ammunition in any revolver manufactured before 1957 (model numbers) or some vacuous date when S&W supposedly "Certified" revolvers for +P, whenever that may have been. The .38-44 operates at pressures far in excess of +P, ca. 25,000 CUP compared to 18,500 PSIG for .38 +P. In spite of different measurement methods there is still a great gulf between these cartridges. Will shooting the +P or .38-44 level loads cause more wear to the revolver than standard pressure loads? Absolutely! But shooting them at all causes more wear than leaving them in the safe! If you have a "shooter" then shoot it, and have repairs done as necessary. If it is a "Safe Queen" then leave it in the safe, put tie-wraps on it and leave it alone if all you are concerned with is future value rather than current utility!

This is much ado about nothing - really.

a +P .38 load is barely 2K psi over the puny 19K psi of the original cartridge. Bear in mind that MOST .38 Spl ammo is loaded well BELOW 19K, and thus, many so-called +P loads are equally anemic!

The FACT IS, the .38 Spl case can withstand .357 pressures all day long. Modern solid head .38 Spl brass can take the same pressure as any .357 Magnum case. Many people LOAD .357 level loads in .38 Spld cases with no ill effect. ANY gun rated to take the .357, can accept the .38 Spl without any problem!

The amount of overpressure developed by the .38 Spl is actually well below the parameters for magnum loads. NO .38 Spl+P load is going to blow any .38 Spl chambered revolver apart!!!!!!

+P pressure is a mere 2K more than standard pressure.

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Old 11-03-2016, 12:17 AM
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Before I experienced my final retirement in 02, I was the Armory Sergeant at a Law Enforcement Academy. During those years we trained with Model 64s shooting primarily 158 grain lead hollow point +Ps. During my tenure we didn't experience any catastrophic problems on the range but did experience a cracked forcing cone now and then. We constantly rotated the revolvers with groups on the range and others in maintenance but all had many thousands of rounds through them. Of course we had some broken firing pins, had to replace some springs or a cylinder stop now and then but with the volume of shooting we were doing I considered these minor maintenance problems. Now, would I shoot +P in a post 50s K frame - frankly, yes.
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Old 11-03-2016, 02:06 AM
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In 1966, I asked S&W about safely firing .38-44 ammo in a Model 10. Keep in mind that this was the real .38-44 load, hotter than MOST Plus P, which had yet to appear.


Mr. Fred Miller, then Sales Manager, replied that it wouldn't blow up my gun, but that if I planned to fire much of that ammo, I should buy a .38-44 revolver or a .357. Otherwise, the M-10 would shoot loose much sooner than with normal .38 Spcl. loads.


I have no hesitation in firing normal modern Plus P in a suitable gun, but Buffalo Bore and another company or two load beyond normal Plus P specs. They seem safe, but no doubt, do add to wear and tear if fired often.


Would I routinely run Buffalo Bore's hot loads in my guns? No. Would I fire a few now and then to remain familiar with them and carry them in the cylinder of a gun worn in bear country? Absolutely!


BB has a hot .38 round that virtually replicates the old hot .38-44 ammo. I think it'd be a good load in K-frame .357's. You could then limit your M-19, 66, etc. to using full Magnum ammo to just the rare occasions when you really need a full .357.

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Old 11-04-2016, 11:47 AM
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This is a verbatim quote from the 1938 Remington Arms ammunition catalog, regarding the .38/44 cartridge:

""Adapted to new .38/44 Smith & Wesson Special Revolvers; also safe to use in Smith & Wesson and Colt revolvers chambered for the .38 Special cartridge if they are in good condition. In these lighter models the recoil is notably heavier. May also be used in the Colt Shooting Master."

Points to ponder -

1. In 1938, there would have been many of the pre-1919 S&W revolvers in use without heat-treated cylinders. No warning is given, nor even suggested, about not using .38/44 cartridges in them.

2. The .38/44 cartridge of that time used a 158 grain metal capped bullet at a MV given as 1115 ft/sec. I have calculated that load probably produces a peak chamber pressure of over 25,000 psi. Compare that to the current .38 Special +P load.

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Old 11-05-2016, 11:33 AM
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I have a short butt Colt Cobra that I have owned for roughly 20 years and have only fired +p or +p+in it . I don't shoot it more than I need to to be able to shoot it well enough to hit where I am aiming but it probably still eats 500 rounds per year and so far it has held up. I am sure it has more wear on it from this than it would if I had only fired non +p 's . One day the frame may crack and I guess when it does I will have to buy another short gun to replace it with but I am really not looking for that to happen anytime soon.

Years ago when Charter Arms came out with the original Target Bulldog's I shot so many Keith style .357 mag loads through one that I had to have steroid shots in my wrist . Never damaged the gun just the wrist. Had to counter sink the set screw in the barrel sleeve and coat the barrel in permatex to keep the sleeve in place but never had any other problems. I think any K frame would be tougher than the Charter...... For the record I am not saying anyone else should do this .

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Old 11-05-2016, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Model520Fan View Post
We're really on the same page here, GF, except that my style of "humor" is probably not your cup of tea. Actually, maybe nobody laughed at it. If that's the case, then it was, more or less by definition, not funny. Nevertheless, a concern about +P or, for that matter, even the undefined +P+ in an N-frame revolver, does not make much sense, as Saxon Pig points out. Even if one disagrees with some of his arguments, the conclusion seems to me to be inescapable. And that's in a Heavy Duty or an Outdoorsman. In a 27, 28 or 520, the concern should not be dealt with seriously, so I don't.

P.S. BTW, a true 27, 28 or 520 has a model number, so even S&W would consider +P ok.
As a side note, I never shoot 38 specials of any variety in any of my 357s because I detest cleaning the chambers. I do load "target" loads in 357 mag cases, but 38 specials only go in guns chambered in 38 special. When I had a lot fewer guns than I now have, though, that wasn't the case.

I also only own a single 44 Magnum-a 629 "Mountain Gun" and shoot 44 specials in it all the time.

One of my favorite ranges for a little while employed an RSO who just loved to meddle and for some reason had marked me to watch with a hawkeye after he took offense to my grip on a semi-auto(I had him yelling "drop the weapon" in my ear before I even realized he was talking to me).

In any case, that particular range trip has a lot of bad memories that involved conflicts between me and the idiot RSO before I left my friends at the line and visited the owner...

One of the other "incidents" that stands out was when he saw me loading 44 special in my Mountain Gun. For those unfamiliar with these guns, they have prominent laser etching on one side that says "Mountain Gun" and the caliber on the other side. He saw the 44 specials and said "YOU MUST ONLY LOAD THE CALIBER THE GUN SPECIFIES." I tried to explain it to him, but after several other incidents that day that apparently had me marked as a moron(and had me convinced that he was also one) he refused to budge.

Like I said, fortunately that particular RSO no longer works there.
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