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Old 03-16-2014, 12:22 PM
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UPDATED - VINTAGE S&W .357 AMMO - WAY TOO SUPER DUPER HOT!  
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Default UPDATED - VINTAGE S&W .357 AMMO - WAY TOO SUPER DUPER HOT!

I went to the Outdoor Range yesterday and brought my 6" M586 to shoot up some old miscellaneous ammo I have that I inherited from my Dad. The box I speak of here is a blue Smith & Wesson marked box (1966 if I am reading the date code correctly) of 110 grain SJHP 357 Magnums which I have no use for so I figured I'd just pop' em off.

NOTE ADDED: This ammo was NOT made in 1966 as they were not making it until several years later - I did indeed incorrectly interpret the date code incorrectly but the date of manufacture is a moot point anyway.

The gun was perfectly clean and I loaded up 6 rounds. When I shot the first cylinder full they kicked like no other .357's I've ever shot and they were so loud the other guys shooting actually stopped and asked me what the heck I was shooting. They also shot quite low as do most light weight bullets, but that was expected. When I opened the cylinder to eject the empty cases I actually had to smack the ER with my palm to do so. I figured maybe the cases had stuck in the chambers due to the fact that they were somewhat sticky and dirty from age & laying in the foam box insert so long. I loaded up one more cylinder full but wiped off the bullets before loading them, shot them and they same thing occurred again. OK, now I examined the empty cases to find that the primers were flattened like a pancake and the cases were bulged toward the rear. I did not fire anymore of them and decided I would pull the remaining 38 cartridges and use them for reloading. I only wish I had chronographed them to see the velocity, but I did not have the Chronograph with me yesterday. All I can tell you is that they were hotter than any of the Buffalo Bore .357 variations I have evert shot (and they ARE HOT!) - and even the BB's do not hang up upon ejection and do not exhibit flattened primers.

I have had a few other experiences with Fiocchi ammo (they are the manufacturer of the S&W branded ammo) and have always found their ammo to be hotter than comparable brands & loads of the same spec's. - But nothing like these - that's for sure!

I had not done a detailed strip, clean and lube on the 586 in a few years so I figured I would do so this morning. After I fired those hot loads yesterday the trigger felt kind of funny, almost like something was wrong so I tore the gun apart. Upon initial inspection, cleaning and lubrication I did not immediately find the problem, but just when I was slipping the side-plate back on my eye caught the little trigger stop behind the trigger, moving. OK, I figured I would just tighten the tiny screw that holds it in place and found that the screw head had sheared completely off. After 15 minutes of swearing and cursing I had removed the countersunk screw body from the threaded hole and breathed a sigh of relief. OK I said, NOW comes the hard part - looking for a replacement screw in my pile of parts. After a half hour or so I actually found a small envelope with a new trigger stop and a couple of new screws - forgot I even had them but was just looking for the heck of it. Replaced the screw and now all is back to normal.

SO........ is the sheared off screw JUST a coincidence or was the recoil so violent it actually snapped the small screw head off?? In all my years of shooting and Smithin' I've never encountered a sheared trigger stop screw, but I suppose there is a first time for everything!

Well, I am going down to the reloading bench now and I'm going to pull the remaining bullets - no sense in taking any more chances. Thankfully I was shooting these in an L Frame and NOT a K frame because I would think the K would not have faired as well as the heavier L Frame did. the ammo is so old ( 48 years ) so I think contacting them is futile. I'll just chalk this up to another learning experience.

Regards,
Chief38

Last edited by chief38; 04-11-2014 at 07:10 AM. Reason: UPDATED INFO
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Old 03-16-2014, 12:26 PM
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Kind of explains the split forcing cones in the mod 19 back then :-D
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Old 03-16-2014, 06:27 PM
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Without seeing any pics of your ammo, there's no way to tell if the ammo is actually factory S&W brand or possibly reloads. Also, S&W brand ammo was made/sold between 1970-1981, so there is no S&W Ammunition Company to contact...

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Old 03-16-2014, 07:12 PM
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Default s&w blue box

If 54 years old and my dad passes away about a year ago.while cleaning out his house came accross 2 boxes of smith blue box.I rember when he got it as he had purchased a ruger security six and that was the first revolver I learned to shoot. These boxes were 158 gr jacketed soft points and I thought I would just shoot them to get rid of thes and reload the nickle cases. I shot them out of my model 19-4 and I got to tell you that they are very hot.Didn't flatten the primers but they were very hard to eject out of the cylinders. I would compair the recoil to a 15 gr of 2400. I pulled the bullets out and I'm going to reload. The model 19 handled it with no problems but these were very hot.
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Old 03-16-2014, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CTG_COLLECTOR View Post
Without seeing any pics of your ammo, there's no way to tell if the ammo is actually factory S&W brand or possibly reloads. Also, S&W brand ammo was made/sold between 1970-1981, so there is no S&W Ammunition Company to contact...
Then I guess I did indeed read the date code incorrectly, I was not sure since it is coded and I am not expert at decoding it. I know there is no S&W ammo Co. left, but truthfully there never was - it was made by Fiocchi which is still in business.

That said, it is DEFINITELY Factory ammo though. My dad was a Fed. and he did not reload at all. Being A Reloader myself for 30+ years I can spot even quality reloads 99.9% of the time. His agency was issuing S&W branded ammo for a short while and I have more of it in other calibers as well. The .38 Special (NON +P marked boxes) feels like +P ammo would be expected to and their 38 Super NON +P is hotter than Remington's +P.

Well I pulled all the remaining bullets, dumped the powder and chucked the 110 grain bullets. I have slated the primed cases for reloading which I will do shortly.
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Old 03-18-2014, 01:52 AM
kaaskop49 kaaskop49 is offline
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Default chief38

Thanks for your post. I remember S&W/Fiocchi ammo from the 70s in .38 and .357M. They seemed to be loaded with a slow burning powder since, from 4" bbls, there was a large amount of unburned powder that I could pour from fired cases.

Similarly with R-P .38 125gr and 158gr scalloped jacket HP loads. The early variety, pre +P designation, also had a large charge of slow burning powder. I finished off a 1/2 box of each in a 16" Rossi .357 carbine; even in this bbl with no cylinder gap, there was a huge flash and 'bang.' Still have a couple fresh boxes of that early variety 125gr .38, but do not have a longer bbl to use it in.

I didn't have those obvious signs of over-pressure that you experienced in .357. Possibly, there was little uniformity in mfg?
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Old 03-18-2014, 05:49 AM
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I have the same memory of a blue box S&W/Fiocchi .357 Mag I fired off in my then new 28-2.

H-O-T even in that big N-frame. Primers were flattened.
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Old 03-18-2014, 10:01 AM
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I have had a few other experiences with Fiocchi ammo (they are the manufacturer of the S&W branded ammo)
This is not true. S&W/FIOCCHI bought ALCAN. By the time the blue box ammo came out it was Smith & Wesson alone. It was made in Alton IL first then Rock Creek Ohio. The more you guys shoot up this ammo, it makes my collection increse in value. Good shootin!
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Old 03-18-2014, 01:23 PM
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I have had a few other experiences with Fiocchi ammo (they are the manufacturer of the S&W branded ammo)
This is not true. S&W/FIOCCHI bought ALCAN. By the time the blue box ammo came out it was Smith & Wesson alone. It was made in Alton IL first then Rock Creek Ohio. The more you guys shoot up this ammo, it makes my collection increse in value. Good shootin!

I just checked the box and it clearly states: Smith & Wesson - Fiocchi, Made in Alton IL USA. If what you say is true why would Fiocchi's name appear on this blue box? I am certainly no expert on S&W branded ammo, but I am just stating what it clearly is marked in the box itself.

I sort of doubt that S&W branded ammo will be worth a whole lot in our lifetime as a collectible, but if you have lots of money to spend I have a bunch of the stuff to sell.... LOL
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Old 03-18-2014, 07:03 PM
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I doubt they were overly hot, they were just made to the older standard pressures that were designed with the N frames in mind. L's and K's got beat up pretty good by hot loads like yours which is why the 357 Mag was neutered from the 1515 FPS with a 158 from an 8 3/8" barrel back in the 30's to the 1200 (if you are lucky) you can get today out of factory 357 magnum ammo in the same gun.
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Old 03-18-2014, 07:11 PM
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Don't forget, storage conditions could have made the powder more sensitive in that time, too. I have heard of powders which are more prone to problems related to storage conditions than others. Over that much time, something could have occurred that resulted in the ammo being too hot.
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Old 03-18-2014, 08:40 PM
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Default I don't doubt..

I don't doubt for a second that 60's/70s factory .357 was a good bit hotter than normal present day ammo, but that must have been an EXTRA hot batch to give such ejection/flattening effects.

I shot some circa 1980 Remington .357 right along side new Hornady .357 and they were noticeably more powerful, but didn't give any signs of overpressure.
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Old 03-19-2014, 03:02 AM
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Fiocchi ammo can be hotter than American made ammo because they are loaded to CIP pressure limits, not SAAMI limits. the current SAAMI limits for the .357 Magnum are 35,000 PSI, the CIP pressure limits are 44,000 PSI. That might account for that ammo being HOTTER than most ammo you have shot.

Just a side note, when buying European made .38 Special ammo you might want to be careful because while SAAMI limits are 17,000 PSI the CIP limits are 22,000 PSI, well above the 20,000 PSI SAAMI .38 Special +P limits.
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Old 03-19-2014, 09:52 AM
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Fiocchi ammo can be hotter than American made ammo because they are loaded to CIP pressure limits, not SAAMI limits. the current SAAMI limits for the .357 Magnum are 35,000 PSI, the CIP pressure limits are 44,000 PSI. That might account for that ammo being HOTTER than most ammo you have shot.

Just a side note, when buying European made .38 Special ammo you might want to be careful because while SAAMI limits are 17,000 PSI the CIP limits are 22,000 PSI, well above the 20,000 PSI SAAMI .38 Special +P limits.
Interesting - I never knew that.

The S&W - Fiocchi ammo in question was manufactured in Alton IL so wouldn't they follow US standards? Maybe SAAMI is more of a guide line and not a strict absolute rule - and you might be spot on, who knows......... At this point (a moot point) the ammo is so old and its already been pulled, I only wanted to make others aware who might have some in their stock pile.

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Old 03-19-2014, 11:17 AM
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Just a few comments:

If the S&W ammo boxes are marked "Made in Italy", then it was made by Fiocchi. Just like the S&W rifle rounds were made by C.I.L. of Canada and their .22 rimfire was made by Aguila of Mexico.

Chief38, if you were in fact shooting the actual factory 357Mag 110JHP rounds, S&W's published velocity for that load is a whopping 1,800 fps.!!
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Old 03-19-2014, 03:54 PM
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I remember that small ammo pamphlet from the mid 70s. Their claimed ballistics seemed very optimistic with all loads. With the slow burning powder that fell unburned from fired cases, I'm sure that 110gr/1800fps was possible in a carbine bbl.
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Old 03-20-2014, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CTG_COLLECTOR View Post
Just a few comments:

If the S&W ammo boxes are marked "Made in Italy", then it was made by Fiocchi. Just like the S&W rifle rounds were made by C.I.L. of Canada and their .22 rimfire was made by Aguila of Mexico.

Chief38, if you were in fact shooting the actual factory 357Mag 110JHP rounds, S&W's published velocity for that load is a whopping 1,800 fps.!!
Yes I was (100% POSITIVE) shooting 110 grain SJHP S&W-Fiocchi Factory .357 Magnum ammo made in Alton IL. Thanks for the update, I only wish I had my Chronograph with me that day.
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Old 04-11-2014, 07:08 AM
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UPDATED 4/10/14

I found another half box of these loads (same lot # as the first box) and decided to shoot 5 more from a M27 on Wednesday when I was at the Range with my Chronograph. The average velocity of these S&W 110 grain .357 Magnums was 1670 fps and I will now pull the remaining box of those to reload also. Ejecting the spent cases was still a problem and the primers were again flattened like a pancake. Bulging at the base of the case was also present again.

Just figured I'd update this in case anyone is interested.

Chief38
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Old 04-11-2014, 09:05 AM
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Those are +p .357's compared to factory ammo made today. I wouldn't hesitate to shoot them, just be aware that a steady diet will accelerate the wear on the gun. Especially the K's and L's. Don't let the flat primers and sticky extraction scare you off. As for pulling the bullets for the brass, unless you are desperate for 357 brass, I would save those rounds. If for no other reason, it's kind of nice to have some S&W ammo to go with your gun.
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Old 04-11-2014, 09:11 AM
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I can beat that.

I still have three boxes, of Remington SJHP, 125 gr, from 40 or so years ago.

They chronographed 1695 fps, out of my 6" 686. Oddly, they eject easily, primers look OK.
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Old 04-11-2014, 09:46 AM
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I shot thousands of rounds of the real ammo in the 70's & 80's. If you think the 357 was hot try some 44mag from that era.

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Old 04-11-2014, 11:31 AM
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I don't mind the HOT........ I just can't deal with needing a hammer to eject the empties.
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Old 04-11-2014, 02:28 PM
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CTG COLLECTOR/ chief38: I just checked a box of 125gr JSP. In blue box mad byS & W Ammunition Co.( Sporting goods group ) Rock Creek Ohio, 44084. I bought the ammo when I bought my father a model 19 1978?. There is a number 7090661 on in side of flap. It is printed not stamped. Any idea who made this??
As an aside we shot a lot of the S&W and Rem 125gr back then, I do not remember any flatten primers/ bulged cases, I will continue to look for some of the partial boxes. Be Safe,
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Old 04-12-2014, 02:47 AM
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CTG COLLECTOR/ chief38: I just checked a box of 125gr JSP. In blue box mad byS & W Ammunition Co.( Sporting goods group ) Rock Creek Ohio, 44084. I bought the ammo when I bought my father a model 19 1978?. There is a number 7090661 on in side of flap. It is printed not stamped. Any idea who made this??
As an aside we shot a lot of the S&W and Rem 125gr back then, I do not remember any flatten primers/ bulged cases, I will continue to look for some of the partial boxes. Be Safe,
What information I have about the actual S&W ammunition manufacturing is limited. If the ammo you have is proper for the box, it should have been made at the S&W plant in Rock Creek, OH sometime after the first quarter of 1975, as S&W had made an announcement in '74 that ammo production was to move from Alton, IL to the OH plant.

That's about as close as I can narrow it down.
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Old 04-12-2014, 03:23 PM
Irn-Bru Irn-Bru is offline
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UPDATED - VINTAGE S&W .357 AMMO - WAY TOO SUPER DUPER HOT! UPDATED - VINTAGE S&W .357 AMMO - WAY TOO SUPER DUPER HOT! UPDATED - VINTAGE S&W .357 AMMO - WAY TOO SUPER DUPER HOT! UPDATED - VINTAGE S&W .357 AMMO - WAY TOO SUPER DUPER HOT! UPDATED - VINTAGE S&W .357 AMMO - WAY TOO SUPER DUPER HOT!  
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Man Law #57 - Never utter the words "Super Duper"

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Old 04-12-2014, 04:07 PM
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UPDATED - VINTAGE S&W .357 AMMO - WAY TOO SUPER DUPER HOT! UPDATED - VINTAGE S&W .357 AMMO - WAY TOO SUPER DUPER HOT! UPDATED - VINTAGE S&W .357 AMMO - WAY TOO SUPER DUPER HOT!  
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CTG COLLECTOR: I appreciate the info, trying to decide whether or not to shoot or save ( it has already appreciated from it's $10.39/50 ) LOL. Be Safe,
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Old 04-12-2014, 09:21 PM
doc540 doc540 is offline
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UPDATED - VINTAGE S&W .357 AMMO - WAY TOO SUPER DUPER HOT! UPDATED - VINTAGE S&W .357 AMMO - WAY TOO SUPER DUPER HOT! UPDATED - VINTAGE S&W .357 AMMO - WAY TOO SUPER DUPER HOT! UPDATED - VINTAGE S&W .357 AMMO - WAY TOO SUPER DUPER HOT! UPDATED - VINTAGE S&W .357 AMMO - WAY TOO SUPER DUPER HOT!  
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same thing happened to me

torched one off and everyone at the range turned to see what just went off





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Old 04-12-2014, 10:32 PM
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S&W had the nyclad that I think Federal started marketing later.

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