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Old 10-01-2009, 08:00 PM
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Default can I shoot 38 special + P

in my model 14-3 safely? How do I find out?
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:05 PM
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Default Welcome to the forum

According to S&W all model marked guns are safe for +P.
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:13 PM
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You certainly may.

Bit pricey and generally not as satisfactory for target work as less potent .38 Special ammunition but perfectly harmless for a Model 14.
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:16 PM
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I will agree with Curtis. Plus P ammo is way over
rated. Don
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Old 10-02-2009, 02:17 AM
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Yes.....but why? The 14 is a superb 38 special target gun. If you want hot, get a 357 and shoot target, plus P or magnum without any problems or eventual forcing cone damage.

Have I provided you the motivation and impetus to get another gun? I hope so......you won't be sorry.
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Old 10-02-2009, 09:32 AM
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Yeah, Jimmy Mac is right. You won't hurt the 14 with +P, but unless you're carrying it in the woods or keeping it beside your bed, or checking it out for one of those activities, there is no reason to use more expensive ammo.
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Old 10-02-2009, 09:38 AM
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If it says 38 Special on the barrel you can shoot factory +P as this ammo is not loaded beyond industry pressure standards for the caliber.

Like my new, shorter answer?
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Old 10-02-2009, 09:49 AM
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I think that the max pressure for .38 spl is 17,000 psi. The pressure for +P .38 spl is 20,000 psi. That's not exactly a scream of difference. My Speer manual states the velocity for a 158gr lswc is around 800 fps vs. 900 fps for the +P give or take depending on powder.

I shoot both in my M15-4. I have found no difference in accuracy between the two, but the +P makes a bit more noise.
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Old 10-02-2009, 11:47 AM
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Max allowed is 21,500. Current +P is loaded to 18,500 (so why all the fuss?). Current standard ammo is loaded to about 17,000.

So in other words, ALL currently made 38 Special ammo, regardless of the presence or absence of "+P" in the labeling, is loaded well BELOW industry standards for the caliber. This means ANY quality made gun in good condition can safely shoot ANY factory ammo currently being offered for sale.

I continue to be baffled at why this remains an issue. All one need do is look at the specifications for the ammo to realize NOTHING being sold by the major manufacturers is anywhere close to maximum allowable pressure.

The only reason the gun makers make all the warnings about +P (and all reloaded ammo, too) is that they are terrified of lawsuits. They down-load all 38 Special ammo to the point of being a joke. (Current standard load is a 158 at 730 FPS... 730 FPS?????? Some BB guns approach this velocity.) The +P is barely getting the 38 Special up onto one knee (still not quite standing up) and they issue all these warnings to protect themselves. If some numbnuts blows up his rattle-trap old revolver they can say "We told you not use +P in older guns." The fact remains that +P is A VERY MILD LOAD. It's loaded 3,000 PSI below max, for crying out loud!

I have shot a bunch of factory +P in various guns and all exhibited signs of being underpowered. Burn residue along the outside of the cases (there's a word for this) indicating that pressure was so low that the case never sealed to the chamber wall. Empties literally fall from the chambers by inverting the muzzle and shaking the gun. Factory +P is a LOW POWERED round. It's barely a target load. If restricted to factory ammo I would never rely on a 38 for personal defense because the +P is way too weak and wimpy. Where do people get the notion that a 125 bullet at 925 FPS is a hot load? WEAK AND WIMPY!!!! I load my 38s with the same 125 JHP at a clocked 1150 for carry. I have shot many hundreds of these through several guns made 1942-1949 with zero negative effect.

Yet the +P myth continues. I don't get it... I just don't get it.

I should just give up tilting at windmills.
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Old 10-02-2009, 11:52 AM
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SP - how many Rolaids did you take between the "shorter answer" and your second post?
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Old 10-02-2009, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaxonPig View Post
Max allowed is 21,500. Current +P is loaded to 18,500 (so why all the fuss?). Current standard ammo is loaded to about 17,000.

So in other words, ALL currently made 38 Special ammo, regardless of the presence or absence of "+P" in the labeling, is loaded well BELOW industry standards for the caliber. This means ANY quality made gun in good condition can safely shoot ANY factory ammo currently being offered for sale.

I continue to be baffled at why this remains an issue. All one need do is look at the specifications for the ammo to realize NOTHING being sold by the major manufacturers is anywhere close to maximum allowable pressure.

The only reason the gun makers make all the warnings about +P (and all reloaded ammo, too) is that they are terrified of lawsuits. They down-load all 38 Special ammo to the point of being a joke. (Current standard load is a 158 at 730 FPS... 730 FPS?????? Some BB guns approach this velocity.) The +P is barely getting the 38 Special up onto one knee (still not quite standing up) and they issue all these warnings to protect themselves. If some numbnuts blows up his rattle-trap old revolver they can say "We told you not use +P in older guns." The fact remains that +P is A VERY MILD LOAD. It's loaded 3,000 PSI below max, for crying out loud!

I have shot a bunch of factory +P in various guns and all exhibited signs of being underpowered. Burn residue along the outside of the cases (there's a word for this) indicating that pressure was so low that the case never sealed to the chamber wall. Empties literally fall from the chambers by inverting the muzzle and shaking the gun. Factory +P is a LOW POWERED round. It's barely a target load. If restricted to factory ammo I would never rely on a 38 for personal defense because the +P is way too weak and wimpy. Where do people get the notion that a 125 bullet at 925 FPS is a hot load? WEAK AND WIMPY!!!! I load my 38s with the same 125 JHP at a clocked 1150 for carry. I have shot many hundreds of these through several guns made 1942-1949 with zero negative effect.

Yet the +P myth continues. I don't get it... I just don't get it.

I should just give up tilting at windmills.
As long as Smith and Wesson states on their website warning not to use +P ammo in 38 special on pre model revolvers this issue will keep on going.

It really does not matter the way ammo is loaded. I do agree that for the most part the current ammo in +P will not hurt a Smith and Wesson 38 special revolver as long as the revolver is in good shape. But Smith and Wesson like other gun manufacturers are playing it safe. They don't want some idiot blowing his revolver up and then sueing Smith and Wesson. Ruger had this happen with their Old Model Blackhawks that did not have the transfer safety bar. Idiot consumers did not listen and loaded this revolvers with six rounds in their holsters. The correct way was load five rounds with the empty chamber align with the hammer in the holster. Ruger was sued countless times over this. In 1973, Ruger came out with the new model blackhawk which featured the transfer safety bar. This allowed the revolver to be loaded with all six rounds in the holster without problems.

My point is this, as long as there are consumers out there that don't use their head the gun manufacturers have to protect themselves.

The +P issue will always be there.

roaddog28

Last edited by roaddog28; 10-02-2009 at 12:19 PM.
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  #12  
Old 10-02-2009, 01:55 PM
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[QUOTE=Jimmymac46;1118454]Yes.....but why? The 14 is a superb 38 special target gun. If you want hot, get a 357 and shoot target, plus P or magnum without any problems or eventual forcing cone damage.

Because I bought 300 rounds without realizing they were +p and I've heard a lot of different opinions on the matter. I knew this was the place I would find out the facts.
thanks for the help
Roy
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Old 10-02-2009, 03:11 PM
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SAAMI pressure specs

This is where I got my SAAMI data.

the moral of the story is that there is not much difference between std and +P .38 spl ammo.
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Old 10-02-2009, 10:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RD3 View Post
in my model 14-3 safely? How do I find out?
Load 'em up and pull the trigger!
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Old 10-03-2009, 08:30 AM
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SP
All the major gun manufacturers have +P warnings on their sites & in their literature.
That's a LOT of windmills to tilt. Please carry on! Your musings are not only informative,
they're a pleasure to read. It's obvious that they're well thought-out.

Thanks for sharing with the rest of us.
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Old 10-03-2009, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duckloads View Post
SAAMI pressure specs

This is where I got my SAAMI data.

the moral of the story is that there is not much difference between std and +P .38 spl ammo.
Hear, hear!

What I find telling is that the same basic K frame is available in 9mm and .357, both 30K+ cartridges. The .38 Special loads are as low as they are to protect owners of old, poorly made off-brand pieces of junk. Or more specifically, to protect the manufacturers from being sued by the owners of said revolvers.

Funny how you never hear people asking if it's ok to shoot +P in their 547's, isn't it?

SP you ain't crazy.
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Old 10-03-2009, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaxonPig View Post
Max allowed is 21,500. Current +P is loaded to 18,500 (so why all the fuss?). Current standard ammo is loaded to about 17,000.
Your numbers do not agree with those posted by duckloads. He gave us a source for his, and it checks out. Are you willing to reveal the source for your numbers? Thanks...
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Old 10-03-2009, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
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Funny how you never hear people asking if it's ok to shoot +P in their 547's, isn't it?
Apparently that is because the 547 was not the standard .38 Special frame and cylinder. Supica in the Standard Catalog states that after the 547 production ended, S&W intended to introduce the same gun in a .357 variant, called the 547-M, "in an effort to use up existing 547 frames."
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Old 10-03-2009, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stiab View Post
Apparently that is because the 547 was not the standard .38 Special frame and cylinder. Supica in the Standard Catalog states that after the 547 production ended, S&W intended to introduce the same gun in a .357 variant, called the 547-M, "in an effort to use up existing 547 frames."

I always assumed that was just a marking issue, but I could very easily be wrong. My point is, though, that the cylinders are essentially the same size. Is it reasonable to assume that the 9mm and .357 cylinders are twice as strong as the .38's?
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Old 10-03-2009, 01:13 PM
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Sure you can.Unless it is a personal protection load the question is why?+P ammo for target work can get expensive quickly.I have a model 640 357 magnum where I can shoot 38 special,+P,or Magnum with no worriesI say time to buy another gun.....Enjoy.....Mike
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Old 10-03-2009, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
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. My point is, though, that the cylinders are essentially the same size.
I agree they appear to be, and was previously of the opinion that the .38 Special K frame and .357 K frame cylinders/frames were identical, or almost the same. At the time I was making an argument on another forum to shoot .38 Supers in .38 Special revolvers, and I used the 547 as an example of why it should be OK. That is when someone on that forum pointed out to me that the Model 547 was apparently made with the magnum qualifications.

I would like for someone who has actual knowledge to explain to me (us) what exactly is the difference between the frame/cylinder on a Model 64 and same era M66, that makes one magnum elgible and the other not (other than the length of the chamber). I assume the answer would include heat treatment. Anybody know for sure?
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Old 10-03-2009, 11:09 PM
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Quote:
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I agree they appear to be, and was previously of the opinion that the .38 Special K frame and .357 K frame cylinders/frames were identical, or almost the same. At the time I was making an argument on another forum to shoot .38 Supers in .38 Special revolvers, and I used the 547 as an example of why it should be OK. That is when someone on that forum pointed out to me that the Model 547 was apparently made with the magnum qualifications.

I would like for someone who has actual knowledge to explain to me (us) what exactly is the difference between the frame/cylinder on a Model 64 and same era M66, that makes one magnum elgible and the other not (other than the length of the chamber). I assume the answer would include heat treatment. Anybody know for sure?
+1 !

Enquiring minds want to know!
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:59 AM
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SP - how many Rolaids did you take between the "shorter answer" and your second post?
VM - he may want to consider decaf.
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:19 PM
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I recall reading (maybe in Jink's history of S&W) that the Combat Magnum cylinder received "special" tempering. I confess that my knowledge of metallurgy is extremely limited, but it seems to me that steel can be tempered to the ideal hardness (max strength short of becoming brittle) but I am unaware of any "special" tempering that can be done. I would love to test the cylinders from both a Model 10 and a Model 19 for hardness to see how they compare.

How shocking would it be if it turned out that the 38 and 357 cylinders were identical save the depth of the chambers?

People would probably still worry about +P ammo blowing up their M&Ps...
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Old 10-05-2009, 03:17 PM
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Well, we know for sure that the .38 Special revolvers and .357 Magnum revolvers are proofed with different loads.

It would be interesting to know how often a cylinder cracks or breaks apart during proof testing. I imagine it's not very often.
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Old 10-05-2009, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
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How shocking would it be if it turned out that the 38 and 357 cylinders were identical save the depth of the chambers?
I'd like to know that answer. I used to think that they were identical (except for chambers), as it didn't make much sense to me for them to heat treat identical cylinders differently, unless there was some greater cost to the magnum heat treatment. To do them differently would mean that S&W 'engineered down' each gun to the ammo for that gun.

For example, is the K frame .32 intentionally engineered to be 'weaker' than the K frame .38? How about the .22 K frames? I know that sounds silly, but if that is not the case then it would seem the .38's could handle .357 loads. What do y'all think?

Last edited by stiab; 10-05-2009 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 10-05-2009, 11:20 PM
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This won't be terribly helpful, but in 1980 I was told by a fourth-rate gunsmith that my Model 64's chambers could be bored out and shoot .357s "no problem." Back then you could send the NRA a self-addressed stamped envelope and ask technical questions, so I asked about it. The guy who wrote back said he didn't know about the stainless guns, but he said he knew that both the steel and the heat treatment in the Model 10 and 19 cylinders were different. I've no way of knowing if he knew what he was talking about.

It would seem to me that possibly Mr. Jinks would know, or could find out.
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Old 10-06-2009, 12:00 AM
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"It would seem to me that possibly Mr. Jinks would know, or could find out."

I'm guessing that is a long held "trade secret."
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Old 10-06-2009, 12:02 AM
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Interesting post, MJR.

It sent me scurring into the basement to look for my 1980 Gun Digest. I figured that I could infer some information from the catalog in the back that would be contemporaneous to the guns your "fourth-rate gunsmith" and technical advisor at the NRA were talking about.

I decided to compare an M10 to an M13, both with Heavy Barrels, since they are very similar except for what they will chamber. Well, the weight of each is given as 34 oz. so no help there. Of course, the weights could be approximate... or even incorrect.

The price for the M10 HB was $125.50 while the M13 sold for $139.00. That's about a 10% difference. This reinforces the notion that a higher quality of steel was used for the M13 and / or that the heat-treating required more time and labor, hence the higher price. Or it may mean that S&W just sold a whole lot more M10s so they could give a price break on them.

Anyway, second the motion to ask Mr. Jinks.
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Old 10-06-2009, 12:15 AM
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Were the N Frame .44 Specials any different than the .44 Mags that came a few scant years later ?

From reading through the gun rags my father collected over the years i see alot of .44 special loads looking alot like .44 mag loads.

Ditto on some pretty stout .38 special loads from K frame's in the sixties and seventies.

I think the only way to really know the truth would be to take K frames in both calibers and submit them to the same pressures and stress and see what happens.
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