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Old 02-09-2010, 11:40 PM
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Default .38 Special Plus P question

I have a 637 J-frame Airweight in .38 Spl.+P and just bought an older 64-3 K-frame that says .38 Spl. on the barrel. I'm wondering if it's a bad idea to shot any +P ammo through the older K-frame? When did they start using +P ammo and rating guns for it? Also, if it's a matter of strength, how can they make a little aluminum J-frame stand up to +P ammo and not have a solid steel K-frame not be able to handle it? I appreciate any tips you can give me. For now, I'll stick with what is printed on the barrels. I haven't ever even fired any +P ammo through my 637, but I do have some for carry. I really need to fire a cylinder's worth to see where POI is vs. POA with that ammo if that's what I'm going to carry now.
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Old 02-09-2010, 11:43 PM
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Any modern K frame will handle +P just fine.
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Old 02-10-2010, 01:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annasophia View Post
how can they make a little aluminum J-frame stand up to +P ammo and not have a solid steel K-frame not be able to handle it?
What makes you believe the steel K frame cannot handle it? Your Model 64 is rated by S&W as suitable for +P ammo. Bang away without concern, assuming your gun is in good working condition.
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Old 02-10-2010, 02:24 AM
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I guess was assuming it possibly couldn't handle it only because it doesn't say .38 spl+P on the barrel of the K-frame like it does on my little J-frame. I know that doesn't necessarily mean anything, but I was just assuming that might be the case. I can also only assume that S&W used the same quality stainless steel in the cylinder of both guns that were made probably around 20 years apart. I'm don't know much about this, of course, which is why I'm here to learn. Thanks!
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Old 02-10-2010, 10:07 AM
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Your K Frame will easily handle +P. The J Frame will handle +P+ too, since the cylinder stop notches are offset between the chambers. I'm not so sure I'd go with +P+ in a K Frame .38 though.

Dave Sinko
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Old 02-10-2010, 10:31 AM
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like gasoline in your car, you should try any and all brands of ammo and see for yourself just works BEST and gives you the most accuracy in YOUR gun......yes, the "K" frame will handle the +P just fine, but why beat yourself and the gun up??
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Old 02-10-2010, 10:34 AM
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Shoot any +P round in your 64. It can handle it.

Good luck,
roaddog28
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Old 04-18-2011, 02:28 PM
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I have a satin nickle airweight model 38-2 and it just has .38 Spl on the barrel, not +P. I have shot a few +Ps in it and it seems to handle them well, giving 2" groups @ 25 feet (Crimson Trace). I shoot +Ps in it because the cylinder is steel and should be able to take it. I noticed that the newer 638s are rated for +P ammo... is there a difference in strength or is it just that maybe the +P ammo wasn't out back then? I know that it may "shoot loose" later on, but it hasn't made any negative impact yet. What are your thoughts?
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Old 04-18-2011, 03:02 PM
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This thread's rattled on to long without anyone mentioning that S&W recomends firing +P .38 in all K frame .38 specials that are new enough to be model number marked and says to not fire them in pre-model number K frames. +P in a 64 =
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Old 04-18-2011, 07:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckfw View Post
I have a satin nickle airweight model 38-2 and it just has .38 Spl on the barrel, not +P. I have shot a few +Ps in it and it seems to handle them well, giving 2" groups @ 25 feet (Crimson Trace). I shoot +Ps in it because the cylinder is steel and should be able to take it. I noticed that the newer 638s are rated for +P ammo... is there a difference in strength or is it just that maybe the +P ammo wasn't out back then? I know that it may "shoot loose" later on, but it hasn't made any negative impact yet. What are your thoughts?
On your airweight J-frame, it depends on when the gun was made. S&W converted all aluminum j-frames to their magnum frame in the mid-late 90's. My 638 doesn't say +P on the barrel, but it has the magnum frame and is safe with +P. It's possible to tell from the serial number and/or model number if you have the magnum frame.

You may have already given enough information to determine your frame, but I'm in one room and my catalog is in another.
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Last edited by enfield; 04-18-2011 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:10 PM
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Thanks Enfield, I think I better stick with standard .38s and forget about the +Ps in my model 38. The new 638 is cheap enough, I just may buy one of them and another set of Crimson Trace grips.
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Old 04-21-2011, 11:49 AM
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Despite the label on the newer J-frame, that K-frame is going to handle +P better in the long run than the 5-shot. And keep in mind, today's +P is not much more than the standard pressure 38 Special loads of the pre-model marked days. I wouldn't hesitate shooting today's +P loads in any K-frame Smith & Wesson.

YMMV,
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Old 04-23-2011, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave T View Post
Despite the label on the newer J-frame, that K-frame is going to handle +P better in the long run than the 5-shot. And keep in mind, today's +P is not much more than the standard pressure 38 Special loads of the pre-model marked days. I wouldn't hesitate shooting today's +P loads in any K-frame Smith & Wesson.
YMMV,
Dave
I do have a snub model 10 that I do shoot the +Ps in, but the 638 is the ideal carry handgun for me...light weight, snag free and stainless/alloy. The model 10 is nice to carry in a belt holster but not so well in a bluejean pocket. But then, if I am wearing a belt holster, the model 66 snub works better. Just my .02.
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Old 04-29-2011, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Sinko View Post
Your K Frame will easily handle +P. The J Frame will handle +P+ too, since the cylinder stop notches are offset between the chambers. I'm not so sure I'd go with +P+ in a K Frame .38 though.

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Old 04-30-2011, 12:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave T View Post
Despite the label on the newer J-frame, that K-frame is going to handle +P better in the long run than the 5-shot. And keep in mind, today's +P is not much more than the standard pressure 38 Special loads of the pre-model marked days. I wouldn't hesitate shooting today's +P loads in any K-frame Smith & Wesson.

YMMV,
Dave
Fill a pickup bed with the warmest +P .38 Special ammunition available and put both the Airweight J-Frame Model 637 and the Model 64 to work shooting the lot and my money is on the K-Frame lasting the longest, no matter what sort of ammunition designation is stamped on the barrels.
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Old 04-30-2011, 12:57 AM
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Some of us are old enough to have carried Airweight non-magnum J frames, and been issued and shot boatloads of +P in them.

I've had mine tightened up a few times over the last 35+ years, but I still carry them, and still load +P's in them.
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Old 05-01-2011, 12:56 AM
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Years ago I carried and shot a M64 with Winchester +P+ 110 grain ammo. I had no issues with it at all.
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637, airweight, crimson, j frame, k frame, k-frame, model 10, model 15, model 66, snubnose, winchester

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