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Old 09-07-2018, 11:31 AM
CCPnovice CCPnovice is offline
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Correct Ammo for Vintage Model 19 and Model 60 Correct Ammo for Vintage Model 19 and Model 60 Correct Ammo for Vintage Model 19 and Model 60 Correct Ammo for Vintage Model 19 and Model 60 Correct Ammo for Vintage Model 19 and Model 60  
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Default Correct Ammo for Vintage Model 19 and Model 60

I am new to the forum, 61 yrs old, and had a recent life experience which convinced me to obtain my CCP. Sorry in advance for the long post. I own a 1979 .357 mag, 4" barrel Model 19 (K frame) and two 1988 2" barrel .38 special SS Model 60 (J frames) revolvers that have been rarely used and have been in storage for almost 25 yrs. Had them recently cleaned and oiled. Currently enrolled in a self defense training course. I plan on using the 357 mag at home for self defense and the two snubbies as personal carry and in the cars. I was planning on using the Speer Gold Dot 357 mag 135 gr short barrel JHP in the Model 19, and the Speer Gold Dot .38 special+p 135 gr short barrel in the Model 60s. I read some of the posts here which talk about cracking forcing cones on the Model 19s and that you could not use +p ammo in the Model 60s. I found a S&W "Instructions For Use" manual online for the ".38 Chiefs Special Stainless Revolver." The manual discusses +p ammo and that such pressures may exceed the margin of safety built into many of the handguns and could be dangerous. The manual goes on to say: "In the case of Smith & Wesson handguns chambered for .38 Special ammunition, this warning applies to all 5-shot, small-frame (Model J) revolvers and to those 6-shot, medium-frame (Model K) revolvers manufactured prior to 1958. The affected medium-frame revolvers can be identified by the absence of a "Model No." stamped inside the yoke-cut of the frame." The manual is dated August 1978. All of my revolvers have model numbers stamped in the yoke. I also verified with S&W that my Model 19 was made in 1979 and the two Model 60s in 1988. That said, are there any owners of the Model 19 made in 1979 and/or Model 60 made in 1988 that have experienced failures or gun damage from using the Speer ammo (357 mag and +p) identified above? I am hoping one of you retired law enforcement officers or vintage owners who still might own or carry these particular models could share with me your real life experience with this ammo. I tried calling S&W and asking the question and was connected to someone reading from a prepared statement who knows nothing about the firearm. Again, sorry for the length of the post and if the question has already been asked. Thank you in advance for any information that you can provide. Just trying to get it right.
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Old 09-07-2018, 11:47 AM
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My opinion is that you made a good choice in ammo and revolvers, and having those bases covered, that you continue on the course of education in proper self denfense training, practice, and holsters.

As you learn you will development opinions about what works best for you, and your ideas about what works for you will likely change.

You are off to a great start, and are approaching the situation in an intelligent and logical manner.

Last edited by bulletslap; 09-07-2018 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 09-07-2018, 12:57 PM
CCPnovice CCPnovice is offline
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But have you heard of anyone with these revolvers made in 1979 and 1988 having issues for running too hot of ammo?
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Old 09-07-2018, 01:07 PM
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I own similar revolvers and have had no issues with factory ammo, which is far from too hot in my opinion. I did however in my younger days introduce end shake in a model 64 with some very robust handloads that were popular in the 70s. Those handloads were loaded to a higher pressure that the rounds you mentioned. I repaired the end shake with a .004 power custom bushing, and the 64 is sound today.

You should be able to fire many of the rounds you mentioned before any adverse effects on your revolvers. If heavy use of these rounds cause you worry you could us standard 38 special loads for high volume practice.

Plus P 38 special is roughly equivalent to standard 38 special pressures of 50 years ago.

The question I believe in you case, is the ammo you mentioned "Too hot", in my opinion and in the opinion of people smarter than me who's opinion I trust, is no it is not.

And yes I know of problems cause by over pressure loads in these types of revolver, caused by poor reloading techniques, too high a pressure of handload, and credible reports of out of spec factory ammunition. But all of these are rare and as long as you use factory ammo and good sense in handloading are not something to worry about.

Last edited by bulletslap; 09-07-2018 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 09-07-2018, 01:41 PM
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As an aside, I will admit I blew up a 4" Model 19 in 1997 using someone's handloads. Stick to factory ammo! Or handloads that you can trust - in my world they don't exist.

A Model 19 is about as good a choice as you can ever make for a home defense revolver. Personally, unless you shoot it constantly with full house magnum loads I do not think you will ever have a problem. Also, personally, I do not recommend .357 Magnum full house loads for home defense. It is too likely to over penetrate and go through walls into another room or across the street to your neighbor's house. Use high quality defensive .38 Special, or +P if you must, and those will do the job for you if the elephant shows up.

And welcome to the Forum!
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Old 09-07-2018, 01:58 PM
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IIRC Jan Libourel wrote he had a Model 19 that suffered from frame stretch from steady use of "hot" ammunition. The "correct" ammunition is what you can shoot most accurately, since, as Bill Jordan put it,
"Speed is fine but accuracy is final."
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Old 09-07-2018, 02:00 PM
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Welcome! I agree with bulletslap above, I would foresee no problems with regular use of the loads you mention in your steel J and K frames. You may find using standard pressure (less expensive) .38 Special loads for practice in both guns would be a good idea, and occasional use of the defense loads for familiarity would be a good practice so you know where they will print and how much they recoil.

The .357 Short Barrel load is loaded at about the level of a warm .38 Special and will definitely not put undue stress on a model 19. Stay safe out there!
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Old 09-07-2018, 02:18 PM
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Thanks to everyone who replied. So since I should stay away from the .357 rounds for the Model 19 for home defense, do you think the Speer Gold Dot 38 special+p 135 gr GDHP is a good ammo to use in the Model 19 at home and the Model 60s for conceal carry? I just want to make sure the ammo is safe to use and will stop the bad guy provided I hit center mass. Thanks again in advance. You know the guys at the sporting goods store will tell you anything to get you to buy what they have on the shelf. You guys educate me as to what I need and then I can buy the correct stuff online.
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Old 09-07-2018, 02:51 PM
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Speaking only for myself, I would not have a tendency to use any of this boutique, self defense ammo, and I do not like so called " hot" ammo, which tries to bring a gun to the next caliber. Unless the gun is specifically rated +P on your 38's or S&W saws it is OK to use, I would use 158 gr.
standard velocity hard cast lead semi wad cutters ( Keith design) in the 38's you mentioned, and the same bullet in a 357 magnum load. I would stay away from 125 grain hot loads in the model 19 in 357. You could develop split forcing cone issues. So I am saying 158 grain SWC bullets in all loadings. Just like in my 45 autos, no hot ammo. standard 230 grain full metal jackets@ about 800FPS. Worked well for our GI's in many wars. Just my .02

Just a note, if lead SWC is not to your liking, something jacketed, but still 158 gr.
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Old 09-07-2018, 03:03 PM
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You might want to view this video whilst you are thinking about ammo selection.

Greg Elliffrez info shared in video
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Old 09-07-2018, 03:25 PM
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I would not be concerned about shooting that ammo in either of those guns. You'll spend many $1,000's if not $10,000+ on ammo before wearing out either of those guns. Unless you're shooting on a weekly basis for years on end, you do not have anything to worry about. At the point were you're shooting boxes of ammo every week it might be worthwhile to get a 686 or something a little beefier.

For the most part the people breaking the forcing cones were regular shooters and often shot hot handloads.
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Old 09-07-2018, 03:29 PM
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I'm not retired LE. But I do know that the Speer Gold dot .38 +p load is about one of the only ones that meets the FBI criteria and most serious trainers will only recommend those rounds. The only 3 I know of are the Speer one you bought, the Cor Bon 110 DPX +p load and I think the new Federal HST +p load all meet the requirements.

Many of us .38 shooters don't carry those, but I personally believe those are the best choices.

HOWEVER..... I do believe the Speer Gold Dot 135 grain .38 +p load is designed for 2" revolvers and may have different performance in a longer barrel. It may open up more and not penetrate as deeply. But there may also be 2 different line items. 1 for short barrels and one for service sized barrels, let me look.

I did contact them once and asked if the short barrel .38 +P load would be recommended in my Model 19 6"er and the response was a "no".

OK, yeah, according to their website, there is only 1 .38 +p gold dot load and that is meant for Shorter barrels. I wouldn't use it in the Model 19.

Speer - Ammunition

I do think it might be wise to find a .38 special +p load for the model 19 because your follow up shots would be quicker. However, if you feel like you can handle the .357 at reasonable speeds for self defense, the 135 grain .357 SHOULD be fine for the 19. But I'm no expert and have not shot a lot through mine. It was my Step Dad's and I have no clue how many rounds he had through it. But as a CHP officer he mostly shot .38's through it for practice.

Many recommend the 158 lswc +p loads.

You might like this guy's site. Tons of good info on smith revolvers. He was an LEO Hi Powers and Handguns

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Old 09-07-2018, 04:02 PM
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Remember that being able to hit your target is much more important than what kind of ammunition you use. A hit with a .22 does a lot more damage than a miss with a .44 Magnum.
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Old 09-07-2018, 04:17 PM
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Home defense? Gimme that $2-300 security style 12 Gauge or a full size semiauto in 9mm, 40, or 45.

Shoot the 19 at the range for fun.
38 +P short barrel loads for the snubbies.
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Old 09-07-2018, 06:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CCPnovice View Post
Thanks to everyone who replied. So since I should stay away from the .357 rounds for the Model 19 for home defense, do you think the Speer Gold Dot 38 special+p 135 gr GDHP is a good ammo to use in the Model 19 at home and the Model 60s for conceal carry? I just want to make sure the ammo is safe to use and will stop the bad guy provided I hit center mass. Thanks again in advance. You know the guys at the sporting goods store will tell you anything to get you to buy what they have on the shelf. You guys educate me as to what I need and then I can buy the correct stuff online.
Yes, many use the .38 Short Barrel load in .357s, especially the lightweight versions. It had a good record as the standard NYPD revolver load for many years, and as others noted practicing with it (in either gun) to achieve accurate fast and multiple hits is key.
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Old 09-07-2018, 07:32 PM
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As folks have noted, the Gold Dot Short barrel +P load is a good choice for your defensive use.

For practice, I'd probably use standard loads. Use of a jacketed/plated bullet in the .357 will minimize the carbon ring in the chambers. About every 6 months or so, finish up by burning whatever loads you've been carrying in the guns.
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Old 09-07-2018, 08:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CCPnovice View Post
So since I should stay away from the .357 rounds for the Model 19 for home defense, do you think the Speer Gold Dot 38 special+p 135 gr GDHP is a good ammo to use in the Model 19 at home and the Model 60s for conceal ca
No: You should use 357 in your 357. My model 19's are 1976,1977, 6" with unknown thousands of 357 and 38 rounds through them. For the model 19 I would recommend the Speer gold dot 135 357 mag, not the short barrel version. Short version performs well in short barrels 3" or less, the standard gold dot would work well in the 4" 357. I carry Speer gold dot 38 +P 135 gr Short barrel in all my J frames. There was an article and video on the forum regarding SB GD in 4" or greater barrel length, I tried but could not find it , that the SB ammo did not perform as well as the standard in 4" or greater barrels, IIRC it was over expanding secondary to the increased velocity. Obviously you need to practice with the loads you will carry, so you are proficient with them. Using 38 special to practice is a great money saver, but you want your practice loads to hit where your carry loads do and also have similar recoil, so that you are truly training. { Perfect Practice Makes Perfect }. Spend quality time working on your trigger control, sighting, and follow through, do not just blaze away 100-200 rounds as fast as you can and call that training. It is not the number of rounds you fire but the quality of your training. Be Safe,
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Old 09-07-2018, 10:32 PM
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My opinion. You won’t wear them out unless you fire thousands of rounds through them. Use standard 38 special for practice. Plus p and magnum to make sure you hit what you’re aiming at and carry. I wouldn’t want to fire a bunch of the hotter stuff but occasionally it will probably last longer than most of us.
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Old 09-07-2018, 11:35 PM
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What I don't get is: Were 60's made in 1988 really not marked for +P on the barrel???????
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Old 09-07-2018, 11:46 PM
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I retired on the 17th of August this year, leaving only one person in my office (a dispatcher) carrying a revolver. Your Model 19 is safe with any factory loaded .357 Magnum ammunition, however, the famous 125 grain JHP ammunition is intense enough to damage the forcing cone with extensive use. (The K-Frame forcing cone is thinner on the bottom than the rest of the barrel. You can see the flat part on the bottom. The S&W L-Frame was developed to hold up to continuous use of the "hot" 125 grain magnums.) Your Model 60's are safe with any factory loaded .38 Special ammunition, standard pressure or +P. (+P+ ammo has no standards, and I wouldn't use it in a .38.)

The Speer 135 grain "Short Barrel" .357 Magnum ammunition is perfectly suitable for your Model 19 as is the Speer 135 grain "Short Barrel" .38 Special +P ammunition is perfectly suitable for your Model 60's. If you are worried about your Model 60's, Winchester's 130 grain "Train & Defend" standard pressure .38 Special has good performance in the 130 grain "Defend" JHP. The "Train" 130 grain ball ammo is a ballistic match to the "Defend" Ammo and give you 50 rounds for the price of 20 rounds of the JHP ammo.

My 4 inch Model 65-1, a little older than your Model 19, is loaded with the Speer 135 grain "Short Barrel" .357 Magnum ammo. My 2 inch Model 12-2, an alloy K-Frame that is 15 years older than your stainless steel J-Frame Chief Specials, is loaded with Winchester 130 grain "Defend" standard pressure .38 Special ammo.

To compare .38 Special and .357 Magnum ammunition in 2 and 4 inch barrels go here: https://www.luckygunner.com/labs/rev...llistics-test/
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Old 09-08-2018, 10:24 AM
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ABPOS: Both of the Model 60s were purchased 7-16-1988. I called S&W this week with the serial numbers and they told me the production dates were 1-4-1988 and 5-31-1988. The barrels of both guns just says .38 special. When you read the info on the +p ammunition in the S&W “Instructions for Use” the manuals says: “Some .38 Special ammunition is being manufactured to specifically meet US Treasury Department specifications for a more powerful cartridge. This so-called “Plus-P-Plus” or “Plus-Plus-P” ammunition generates pressures significantly in excess of industry standards and in excess of the pressures associated with commercial-available ammunition.”

Then it goes on to say what I typed above: In the case of Smith & Wesson handguns ......

When you read the explanation in the S&W instruction manual it almost sounds like they did not believe this type of ammo would become the industry norm. Nevertheless, they said if your handgun was made after 1958 and the model number appeared in the yoke, you could shoot the +p rounds. I guess they started putting the +p on the barrel once they realized it would become the industry norm.
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Old 09-08-2018, 10:45 AM
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S&W told me that M-60-4 and later M-60 revolvers received added heat treatment and maybe newer steel alloys to warrant guaranteeing them (Rating) them for Plus P use.

But it seems the consensus that S&W is correct to say that their guns made after 1958 are also safe with Plus P in reasonable quantities. The -4 and later will probably just last longer with hot ammo, before developing cylinder endshake, timing problems, etc.

The late gun writer Jeff Cooper said that he handloaded very hot charges of Red Dot powder to get around 1,000 FPS with cast lead 158 grain bullets in his M-60. This was in the 1970's. He had no trouble, but never said how often he fired those very heavy loads in any one gun. I doubt that he practiced a lot with them, but they proved safe in his guns, for at least occasional business use.

Speer told me that both NYPD and LAPD ISSUED their 135 grain Short Barrel .38 ammo in ALL remaining .38 guns. They told Speer-CCI that the ammunition performed very well in actual shootings. It's what I use in my snub and three-inch (M-60-4) guns and in my Ruger SP-101 .357 for indoor use.

Speer further advised me that their Short Barrel loads were fine in barrels to four inches. They did not recommend them for longer barrels. I load their 125 grain Plus P in longer guns. Actually, I load it in my M-66-3 and my GP-100 for indoor use, as in home defense. There was a time when I used it at work, too, unless I was working an outdoor location where I might have to shoot into cars. Then, I used full .357 ammo, usually Federal's 158 grain Hydra-Shok or Winchester's 145 grain Silvertip. I carried these .357 rounds where I might have to shoot a big dog or other dangerous animal.

A detective checked ME files for me to see how well that 145 grain ST worked in police shootings and those by FBI in our area. Both FBI and Dallas police issued that round to personnel carrying .357 ammo. He said it was grimly effective, almost too much so, whatever he meant by that. I'm less squeamish.

Your M-19 will probably only risk splitting the forcing cone if you fire the very hot 125 grain and lighter Magnum ammo, and similar very hot handloads. If you feel a need for this sort of ammo, get a GP-100 Ruger or L r N frame Smith and use it in moderation. I have seen photos on both Ruger boards of GP-100 forcing cones that were very badly eroded by use of this very high velocity, light bullet ammo. There is a trite saying that Rugers are built like tanks. Not so. They endure longer than S&W guns in heavy use, but you can wear out any revolver if you really go at it!

Your M-19 will fare well with 158 grain bullets, in reasonable use. The designer of the gun, Bill Jordan, told me personally that he envisioned firing full .357 ammo in them just about 10-15% of the time. Be guided accordingly.

Last edited by Texas Star; 09-08-2018 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 09-08-2018, 11:02 AM
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Your 1979 Model 19 would be a dash 4. I have a 19-4 and have always
used standard pressure wadcutters for practice and carry 125-Gr.
Remington Golden Sabers for business. I think the cracked forcing cone
problems got a lot more bad press than they deserved, but it's better
to be safe than sorry. I would recommend the same practice for the
model 60s. As mentioned previously, you have good choices for both
the revolvers and the ammo.
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Old 09-08-2018, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by CCPnovice View Post
ABPOS: Both of the Model 60s were purchased 7-16-1988. I called S&W this week with the serial numbers and they told me the production dates were 1-4-1988 and 5-31-1988. The barrels of both guns just says .38 special. When you read the info on the +p ammunition in the S&W “Instructions for Use” the manuals says: “Some .38 Special ammunition is being manufactured to specifically meet US Treasury Department specifications for a more powerful cartridge. This so-called “Plus-P-Plus” or “Plus-Plus-P” ammunition generates pressures significantly in excess of industry standards and in excess of the pressures associated with commercial-available ammunition.”


Then it goes on to say what I typed above: In the case of Smith & Wesson handguns ......

When you read the explanation in the S&W instruction manual it almost sounds like they did not believe this type of ammo would become the industry norm. Nevertheless, they said if your handgun was made after 1958 and the model number appeared in the yoke, you could shoot the +p rounds. I guess they started putting the +p on the barrel once they realized it would become the industry norm.
Well, it looks like they were referring specifically to +p+ or ++p. Not just normal ole +p. Plus some of the guys in another thread I started said that a long time ago, normal saami .38 special pressure was higher than it is now. So the older guns were made to shoot hotter ammo than what is SAAMI standard now. I forgot when they said they did it, but saami dropped the pressures somewhere along the way for vanilla .38 special. Which it seemed like what they were saying is that normal .38 special used to be more like +p is now. If you get what I mean....

All of the info does seem to support that at least a limited amount of +p's in your 60's is probably way fine. But to be safe you can practice mostly with just vanilla .38's. My guess is they'd be fine with a steady diet of it, but don't take my word for it. I'm no expert.
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Old 09-08-2018, 12:31 PM
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sheepdawg sheepdawg is offline
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For defense or carry the 135 gr. Speer for short barrels is a fine load. Why not keep it simple and use it In the 19 and the 60s.

K frame magnums will digest any 38+P load with no problems. As far as a magnum load only 158 gr. 357s are recommended.
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Old 09-09-2018, 05:58 AM
Texas Star Texas Star is offline
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I don't believe that story about .38 Special ammo once being hotter. I think they just changed the way velocity is measured.

The older, longer solid pressure barrel gave way to four-inch vent barrels. Naturally , velocity seemed to have dropped.
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Old 09-09-2018, 07:17 AM
NovaJoe NovaJoe is offline
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Originally Posted by shocker View Post
Home defense? Gimme that $2-300 security style 12 Gauge or a full size semiauto in 9mm, 40, or 45.

Shoot the 19 at the range for fun.
38 +P short barrel loads for the snubbies.
... with night sights
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Old 09-09-2018, 08:16 AM
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The Gold Dot loads you listed are excellent self defense ammo and will cause no problems in your Model 19 and Model 60's.
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Old 09-09-2018, 05:13 PM
ABPOS ABPOS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Star View Post
I don't believe that story about .38 Special ammo once being hotter. I think they just changed the way velocity is measured.

The older, longer solid pressure barrel gave way to four-inch vent barrels. Naturally , velocity seemed to have dropped.
FWIW, it's not my story. Maybe I'm being remiss in re-sharing it. Cuz I don't know what the truth is. But I felt like there were more than 1 guys saying it. I do believe it was in my thread about 38/44's in the hand ejector 1896-1961 forum. Here's the thread. The guy stating it seems to know a thing or two....

So, I'm guessing you can shoot +p's in a 38/44

Last edited by ABPOS; 09-09-2018 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 09-10-2018, 10:43 AM
Texas Star Texas Star is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABPOS View Post
FWIW, it's not my story. Maybe I'm being remiss in re-sharing it. Cuz I don't know what the truth is. But I felt like there were more than 1 guys saying it. I do believe it was in my thread about 38/44's in the hand ejector 1896-1961 forum. Here's the thread. The guy stating it seems to know a thing or two....

So, I'm guessing you can shoot +p's in a 38/44
ABPOS-

I wasn't accusing you. That story has been circulated on several forums. I don't know who began it. But many read something on the Net, take it at face value, and repeat it.

It's best to read gun books and magazine articles by accredited authors rather than accept Internet posts. They can be very valuable, but you have to know the "expert" posting and know enough about guns to spot scam artists.

We have a member here who has sparred with me over the safety of using Plus P ammo in older .38's. He thinks it's fine and has done so in a M&P of late 1940's vintage. Writer Mike Venturino has also fired some Plus P in guns of that vintage.They didn't blow up, but I think wear is increased, and not all Plus P is loaded to the same levels.

I'm concerned that someone will read on the Net that Plus P is okay in older guns, and fire Buffalo Bore or Underwood ammo in a gun made about 1916 and come to grief.

Also, some older loading manuals published loads that are now deemed excessive.

Keep in mind that when the USAF wanted 9mm autos in the early 1980's, a prime reason was that their new Plus P ammo was shaking their S&W Model 15's loose too soon, and they were having to rebuild many.

Oh: I've been very impressed with your gun sketches.

Best,

OPOS (TX Star)

Last edited by Texas Star; 09-10-2018 at 11:01 AM.
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  #31  
Old 09-10-2018, 09:59 PM
michael1000 michael1000 is offline
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well, i've got a couple cents worth here:
i was told by a LGS owner that K frames prefer 158 grain or larger bullets. this also has something to do with forcing cone damage, too. (i just don't know much about this)
he told me any reasonable load of powder in behind the 158s is good to go.
i don't know if his opinion is any better, but it kind of makes sense.
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Old 09-10-2018, 10:51 PM
rct269 rct269 is offline
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One upon a time, well within my lifetime, there were basically two store-bought loads available for .38 Specials---and one for .357's. Most everybody was happy with that----except perhaps for the folks who make the ammunition. They seem to have got to thinking about what might happen if they started making a whole bunch of different loads for the same caliber-----and then started telling the folks why they needed all these different loads----one for charging Chipmunks---another for enraged Gerbles---and so-on.

And that brings us to fishing tackle. I can pretty much guarantee the vast majority of folks you might ask are going to tell you fishing tackle is made to catch fish (and that ammunition is made to shoot). Then there are those who will tell you fishing tackle is made to sell to fishermen. These folks are those who've given the matter a little thought.

So here's to thinking------------------------

Ralph Tremaine

Oh---and there was no such thing as night sights---didn't seem to matter much.

Last edited by rct269; 09-10-2018 at 10:57 PM.
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