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  #1  
Old 06-09-2011, 01:24 PM
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Default Plus P in P38?

Can a P38, 40s vintage safely handle plus p ammo? Thanks
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Old 06-09-2011, 01:43 PM
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I would think so, the German military fired the same ammo they used in sub-guns in them, and a lot of that was much hotter than current +P ammo. The P-38s are pretty heavy duty, well built guns (even those built by slave labor during WWII), and should handle such ammo pretty well.
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Old 06-09-2011, 01:49 PM
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I would at least put a new set of springs in it first. But personally I wouldn't shoot +P in it.
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Old 06-09-2011, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maximumbob54 View Post
I would at least put a new set of springs in it first. But personally I wouldn't shoot +P in it.
Neither would I. There is no reason or purpose to shot +P in a 9 MM. What will it do that a regular 9 will not do?
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Old 06-09-2011, 06:38 PM
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I wouldn't shoot +P in my P38. There are better, more modern guns for that. You would just be straining an old warhorse. WWB works fine in those old Lugers and P38s.

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Old 06-09-2011, 07:07 PM
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If you shoot it at all, take it easy on the original ones and use standard FMJ commercial ammo.
What type(s) of ammo they withstood during War time is of no meaning today as the guns are now collectors items and should be occasional shooters.

The originals will fail with a cracked slide at the locking lug cuts, (especially the right side) and also the junction of the 'hood' to the slide body. Wether it's design flaw that's coming out as round counts go up for these oldsters,, who knows.
Post war Walther mfg (late) knew about the problem & corrected(?) it with increased width dimentioned slide walls.
Collectors call those 'Fat Slide' pistols because of the greater width of the slide to increase strength. But it's only a m/m or so,,not alot.

The postwar P1 & P38 mfg pistols were cracking slides same as the older WW2 mfg pistols.

Few spare original WW2 parts, especially slides, to repair those and they are $$ when you find them.

Like Lugers, no use in beating them up just to put some rounds down range with it.

If you want to try a diet of +P, I'd suggest a Postwar P1 model, 'Fat' slide with frame reinforcement pin & new recoil springs.
Even then, I'd wonder about the longevity of the pistol.
Just my .02
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Old 06-09-2011, 07:28 PM
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I would certainly do as was mentioned and put a fresh set of Wolff springs in that old warhorse. I collect vintage military pistols (C&R shooter grade) , and whenever I get a new toy , I put at least a fresh recoil spring in before firing.

Most data shows the WWII German 9x19mm Parabellum/Luger ammo was quite hot , and much later ammo used a 115gr bullet made of sintered iron , as lead/copper was getting very scarce. Most SAAMI 9mm+P is comparable to WWII. USGI M882 9mm NATO is also in the +P class. My Luger and Lahti seem to choke on standard US commercial 115gr, but run great with 115-124 +P of USGI 9mm NATO
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Old 06-09-2011, 07:41 PM
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NO-NO-NO-NO!!!
My Brother-Inlaw's 1943 Mauser P-38 cracked slide from firing Std Velocity 9mm ammo.
Think "METAL FATIGUE". A WWII German P-38 pistol is approx 70 years old. Yes the Nazis did use "Hot" SMG ammo in the 9mm handguns. The handguns were just a few years old. That was then and now it is 70 years later.
Jimmy
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Old 06-09-2011, 07:54 PM
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If we are talking Lugers, I thought they had to have a diet of "Luger loaded 9mm" that is actually a little softer than standard??? Is this not the case???
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Old 06-09-2011, 08:30 PM
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It's often said that a Luger 'needs' high pressure ammo to function correctly. It certainly needs something above minimum loads in most every case to work correctly, but (high) chamber pressure rounds alone won't always lead to flawless functioning.

I have a couple that function perfectly with Rem/UMC 115gr FMJ. One is a 1908 Commercial with a mismatched top/bottom, a Schmeisser mag and a poorly worked over sear. Some others like a BYF42 all matching won't get 3 rounds off w/o a FTFeed.
Lugers can be very partial to one ammo or another, unlike some other types of pistols.

The P38's always functioned great with the same stuff.
I've retired both and shoot a P1 instead with it. 100% reliability & no worry about damaging a collectable. Though some of the post war guns are approaching that status too.
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Old 06-09-2011, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2152hq View Post
It's often said that a Luger 'needs' high pressure ammo to function correctly. It certainly needs something above minimum loads in most every case to work correctly, but (high) chamber pressure rounds alone won't always lead to flawless functioning.

Some others like a BYF42 all matching won't get 3 rounds off w/o a FTFeed.
Lugers can be very partial to one ammo or another, unlike some other types of pistols.

The P38's always functioned great with the same stuff.
I've retired both and shoot a P1 instead with it. 100% reliability & no worry about damaging a collectable. Though some of the post war guns are approaching that status too.
That's how my BYF-41 'Black Widow' is. It's in excellent condition , when I got it it got fresh springs and didn't like the Win-USA 115gr or REM-UMC 124gr stuff. I ran very well with the Italian-made Fiocchi 124gr TC-FP FMJ. Supposedly matching the original Luger bullet.It also liked USGI M885.

Perhaps it is best to be cautious with a late war P-38. My ac41 will still get a box or two every now and then.
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Old 06-09-2011, 09:44 PM
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As 2152hq made mention of, the slide of my surplus P-38 ( or was it a P-1, can't remember for sure ) also cracked at the locking bolt cuts. The gun appeared to be in nice condition, but obviously I have no idea of the overall round count. Now I have used, and continue to use, quite a bit of NATO, +P and +P+ ammo, but NOT in the P-38/P-1. Mine cracked after just a few magazines of commercial standard pressure ammo. I knew the post war P-4 had a beefed up slide, but just very recently learned there was such a thing as a beefed up "fat slide" for the P-1 version. Given my, and apparently other's, experience with the P-38 slide's cracking, I would not personally be interested in buying another P-38 type pistol to shoot, without the beefed up slide.

btw, I had always heard that Lugers required rather warm ammo. The one I acquired within the past year, 1938 Mauser version, functioned most reliably with the lightest factory load I have chronographed in over 30 years. That most reliable load in my Luger was the Federal "red box" American Eagle 124 grain round nose at just over 1000 fps. I would have bet against that...
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Last edited by Rock185; 06-09-2011 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 06-10-2011, 05:32 AM
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My thoughts mirror most of those above. Why take a chance on damaging a collectible when there are plenty of modern guns that are designed for Hi-pressure loads?
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chamber pressure, commercial, fiocchi, military, postwar, umc, walther, wwii

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