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S&W Revolvers: 1961 to 1980 3-Screw PINNED Barrel SWING-OUT Cylinder Hand Ejectors WITH Model Numbers


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Old 05-08-2010, 04:14 PM
guitar1580 guitar1580 is offline
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Default K frame and +P rounds

Are all K frame models safe for +P, even older guns?

Do +P guns have that stamped on them?

Thanks, JP
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Old 05-08-2010, 04:42 PM
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Sort of. If there's a Model no. on the frame, they're okay for Plus P. But later ones prob. have improved steels and heat treatment. Some J-frames are marked as Rated for Plus P, but no K-frames, I think.

Keep in mind that heavy use of Plus P will increase wear, esp. cylinder endhake. Some deny this, but I've seen some loose guns, and the USAF cited this as a reason why they wanted 9mm autos, prior to adoption of the Beretta M-9.

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Old 05-08-2010, 05:54 PM
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There are differing opinions on this subject. Naturally, I think I have the correct one.

1. Factory +P is loaded well below maximum allowable chamber pressure. It is not a "hot" load. The typical +P is a 125 JHP at 925 FPS. Big whoop. A good target load in my opinion. The whole "+P" thing is marketing hype. I hear stories of a friend of a friend's gun shooting loose with +P but since this load is so mild, and so far below allowable pressure, I have a hard time understanding how this is possible.

2. Many folks use the model number as a guide, as in, if it has a model number stamped on it then +P is OK. But what is different about the first gun with a model number and the last without it? Nothing. No changes were made in the design or materials. They are the same gun save for the presence of the model number.

I use the year 1930. This is not a hard and fast date but is my best estimate. Prior to the middle 1920s the tempering of steel was an imprecise science. The Titanic may have sunk due to improperly tempered hull plates that tore open under pressure from the collision. I figure that if I use 1930 then I am safe.

Alloy or steel frame, J or K frame, I have no concerns whatsoever about factory +P (which is not a hot load anyway, remember) in a S&W made after 1930. Below is a 1942 Military & Police Model that was already well worn and much used when I got it. It is pictured with the 500 rounds of Remington +P and some of the 600 rounds of my own +P+ (125@1150 FPS) that I fired through it to see if anything would happen. It came as absolutely no surprise to me when nothing happened at all.

I think +P is all hype and unworthy of all the hand-wringing. Others will issue dire warnings about +P. You do what makes you happy.


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Old 05-08-2010, 06:01 PM
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Can we make Sax's post a sticky and put it on every +P thread?

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Old 05-08-2010, 07:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitar1580 View Post
Are all K frame models safe for +P, even older guns?
Below you can read what S&W says on the subject. There is info in both the 2nd and 3rd columns. Hopefully it is legible, if not PM me and I'll email you a larger copy.

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Old 05-08-2010, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by SaxonPig View Post
It is pictured with the 500 rounds of Remington +P and some of the 600 rounds of my own +P+ (125@1150 FPS) that I fired through it to see if anything would happen. It came as absolutely no surprise to me when nothing happened at all.



"to see if anything would happen"? LOL!! You mean like you're hand blowing apart with the gun? No big deal?
The way you said that sounds like you enjoy taking chances.

Are you saying you fired ALL of that +P and +P+ ammo through that gun? Or just a few dozen rounds to convince you it's okay? In other words, might you be stressing that cylinder with every +P or +P+ round you put through it until finally it will burst under the stress?

I'm just asking. I don't necessarily disagree with you, I've read your thoughts on this and similar subjects before and find them quite interesting.

I have an old box of .38 Spl. Hi-Speed that Remington states on the back of the box "Use ONLY in S&W Heavy Duty or Outdoorsman revolvers" In other words, NO K Frames. That stuff is pretty much in between modern +p and +P+ isn't it?



Let me ask this, what is the "maximum factory" pressure? How does it (for .38 Spl) compare to .357 Magnum loads that are sold on the market? (something definately not recommended for refitted K frame .38s and even limited use on M-19 K frames)

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Old 05-08-2010, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaxonPig View Post
There are differing opinions on this subject. Naturally, I think I have the correct one.

1. Factory +P is loaded well below maximum allowable chamber pressure. It is not a "hot" load. The typical +P is a 125 JHP at 925 FPS. Big whoop. A good target load in my opinion. The whole "+P" thing is marketing hype. I hear stories of a friend of a friend's gun shooting loose with +P but since this load is so mild, and so far below allowable pressure, I have a hard time understanding how this is possible.

2. Many folks use the model number as a guide, as in, if it has a model number stamped on it then +P is OK. But what is different about the first gun with a model number and the last without it? Nothing. No changes were made in the design or materials. They are the same gun save for the presence of the model number.

I use the year 1930. This is not a hard and fast date but is my best estimate. Prior to the middle 1920s the tempering of steel was an imprecise science. The Titanic may have sunk due to improperly tempered hull plates that tore open under pressure from the collision. I figure that if I use 1930 then I am safe.

Alloy or steel frame, J or K frame, I have no concerns whatsoever about factory +P (which is not a hot load anyway, remember) in a S&W made after 1930. Below is a 1942 Military & Police Model that was already well worn and much used when I got it. It is pictured with the 500 rounds of Remington +P and some of the 600 rounds of my own +P+ (125@1150 FPS) that I fired through it to see if anything would happen. It came as absolutely no surprise to me when nothing happened at all.

I think +P is all hype and unworthy of all the hand-wringing. Others will issue dire warnings about +P. You do what makes you happy.


First off that is a beautiful revolver! I agree about the +P being a little overhyped as I've not seen any ballistics that make me say "Wow!" when I look at them.
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Old 05-08-2010, 10:20 PM
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I was never worried about anything happening. Factory +P will not overly stress a S&W cylinder. I guess I should have said "to prove what would happen" (which was nothing) rather than "to see what would happen."

Yes, I shot all 1,100 rounds through the gun pictured. No increase in B/C gap or detectable end shake.

It sounds like that ammo you have is a 38/44 loading which is substantially more powerful than +P. A forum member once posted that he fired a bunch of 38/44 ammo (again, MUCH more powerful than +P) through his duty M&P in the late 1950s without effect. Elmer Keith wrote of shooting 38/44 ammo in an alloy Chiefs Special (J frame, pre-M37) in 1955 without effect to the gun.

Max for 38 Special is 21,500 PSI. The +P is loaded to 18,000. Standard 38 is now 16,000 (truly wimpy). The 357 Magnum is 35,000.

The K frame Magnum issue is another discussion. Just let me say that I have a Model 19 made in 1970. For 18 years it was federal agent's duty weapon. I have owned it for the past 22 years having bought it from the retired agent. He says the gun was never fired with anything other than full power 125 JHP Magnum loads. That's all I have fired in it. It's still like new. What do we do, now?

Member Stiab insists on doing what S&W says (actually, it's what their lawyers say). Can't go wrong that way. But they also advise against using any reloaded ammo. Is that also a good idea?

Like I said, everybody must follow his own instincts. If you worry about +P, believe it to be a powerful load, think it will harm a quality made gun, then don't use it. I have done a considerable amount of research on this matter and concluded that +P is exactly what it seems to be: a load that is 3,000 PSI below maximum. How can that be harmful?
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Old 05-08-2010, 10:29 PM
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Thanks for the great replies, folks. Very informative, and helpful to me. Sorry if it's beatin' a dead horse for some. I'm new, and I like to acquire the true facts.

JP
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Old 05-08-2010, 10:46 PM
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Old 05-08-2010, 10:52 PM
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CorBon 110gr JHP (Sierra bullet, not DPX) is real close in velocity to the old Super Vel...around 1100 to 1200fps. Nice ammo.
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Old 05-08-2010, 10:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaxonPig View Post
Member Stiab insists on doing what S&W says
No I don't. For example, I shoot +P in my 1970 Model 60, +P+ in my 940, and 38 Super in my Model 28. I just posted what S&W says on the subject so folks can know.
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Old 05-08-2010, 11:14 PM
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If +P ammo isn't a " hot load " , then what is it ? Yeah , I know . It generates more pressure ..... For what reason ?
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Old 05-08-2010, 11:24 PM
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Old 05-08-2010, 11:54 PM
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CorBon 110gr JHP (Sierra bullet, not DPX) is real close in velocity to the old Super Vel...around 1100 to 1200fps. Nice ammo.
but isn't that because it's a very light weight bullet? 110 gr instead of 158 gr.
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Old 05-08-2010, 11:57 PM
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I collect Super Vel ammo. I shoot the 38spcl 110 gr JHP stuff from time to time. Just to remind me how great this ammo was. It snaps the wrist more than any other 38 spcl load I have compared it to. Plus P aint very plus compared to the Super Vel. Sure would love to try a little 38/44 stuff

If you like hot stuff and want a .38/44 type round (some would say even hotter) go to Buffalo Bore Ammunition | Strictly Big Bore - Strictly Business Their .38 Spl+P 158 gr Lead Hollow Point or Hollow Cavity bullet gets close to 1175 ft per second out of a 4 inch barrel. It's essentially a low level magnum load http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php...t_detail&p=108

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Old 05-09-2010, 03:14 AM
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Quote:
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but isn't that because it's a very light weight bullet? 110 gr instead of 158 gr.

Some Plus P ammo DOES use 158 grain bullets.

And I think that Dr. Pig is wrong about no difference in the steels in guns with Model numbers and those made before. Read the reproduced S&W pages! 1958 was the year when Model numbering appeared. (Maybe '57; I'm going by the S&W instruction sheet shown in this thread.)

Also, in, "Handgunner's Guide", by Chic Gaylord and printed about 1960, the author says that S&W told him that they were using a new, stronger steel from the time that the heavy barrel M&P/Model 10 arrived.

I was told in the 1960's by S&W's sales manager that the Model 10 wouldn't blow up with .38/44 ammo, but that it would shake the gun loose far sooner than normal .38 ammo. He strongly suggested getting a .38/44 or a .357 if I routinely needed more power than standard .38 Special loads. (I was very young at the time, but recall that letter clearly.) Plus P ammo wasn't yet on the market, and the .38/44 guns hadn't been discontinued. That came a year or so later.

I should probably mention that I have been writing to gun companies and editors since I was 13. I have also read a vast
amount on the Plus P issue. They wouldn't make the stuff if it wasn't safe to fire in high quality guns. I do use it when it seems called for. But all of my guns are of modern make and are Rated by the manufacturers for such use. I don't fire it routinely in casual range sessions. Nor would I shoot small game with it. It isn't needed, and ruins too much meat on rabbits and squirrels. I would suggest using Plus P if you have to shoot coyotes, bobcats, beaver, porcupines, larger raccoons etc. with a .38. (Porkies and beaver may not be legal for handgun hunting, but if you get lost, you may need the meat.) I saw a big badger shot once between the shoulders with a .45 auto, and the experience left me feeling the need for a .357 if I might have to shoot a badger!

Plus P is mostly defense ammo, and it will deliver more effect on target than will standard speed ammo. Bullet designs are also usually more effective.

I think that Plus P is a terrific idea. I just wouldn't use it in older .38's. Saxon Pig and Mike Venturino have, in 1940's guns. They still have all of their fingers. But by the time one shoots maybe 5,000 rounds through an older M&P, I wouldn't be surprised to see a cracked cylinder or endshake.

I just wouldn't fire it at all in guns made much before WW II.
Some do, I bet. But some people ride on bald tires, or drive drunk.

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Old 05-09-2010, 09:47 AM
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Why would S&W start using "stronger steel" with the beginning of the model numbers? The +P was still 30 years away at that point and nobody was having any problems with the available ammo. S&W didn't do things for fun, especially expensive material changes. I do not believe S&W made any changes to their guns when model numbers appeared other than stamping the numbers.

Stiab, sorry. Let me correct myself. Member Stiab suggests being aware of what S&W has to say about +P. Better? I would add that S&W (like most corporations) is paralyzed with fear of lawsuits and will always recommend excessive caution in ammo selection. They do this on advice of counsel to protect themselves.

I have brochures printed by S&W in the 1970s offering ammo for sale that far, far exceeded current +P pressures and velocities. But that was before civil attorneys made such things impossible to sell. Below is copied the text regarding S&W ammo from my rather lengthy treatise on P+. Compare the velocity on that 125 load to the current +P's 925 FPS.

"I have a copy of the specifications for S&W/Fiocchi ammo that was packaged with new guns that appears to have been printed in 1970. It lists the 158 lead .38 Special load at 910 FPS. It also includes a 158 JHP at 1140 FPS (equaling the mighty 38/44 load), a 125 JHP at 1380 FPS and a 110 at 1390 FPS."

Apparently in 1970 S&W saw nothing wrong with these loads (any of which makes the current +P load look exactly like what it is: a total wimp) but now they worry about the feeble and anemic +P in a gun made in the 1970s. Why the change? Ask their lawyers.

djohns6- The +P means increased chamber pressure for added velocity. But +P is marketing hype and a myth. The +P is only +P when compared to the truly pathetic standard ammo they now offer.
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaxonPig View Post
I have brochures printed by S&W in the 1970s offering ammo for sale that far, far exceeded current +P pressures and velocities.
I have those same brochures, and the S&W numbers are clearly bogus. They used one ammo marketing brochure until 1978, when the industry testing procedures changed away from unvented test barrels (11 inches in the .357 mag). In 1979 they started using a new ammo brochure which said "Note that the velocity and energy figures are based on actual guns, not test barrels."

In the one year difference between the brochures (the same year that test barrels were no longer allowed), the velocities dropped over 20% in most loads. For example, in 1978 and before they said the .38 Special 110 grain JHP +P ran at 1380 FPS. The next year the same load was listed at 1050 fps from a 4" Model 10.

When the testing procedures changed, 'truth in advertising' became a requirement. Manufacturers could no longer market their ammo using those unrealistic numbers that users had no chance of achieving in their sidearms.
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Old 05-09-2010, 02:06 PM
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OK, assuming you are right, a 20% discount from 1380 still leaves it at over 1,100 FPS or 175 FPS over the much feared +P at 925. Anyway you slice it there was ammo being offered in the 1960s and 1970s that was considerably hotter than current +P and nobody was fussing about it.

The same situation occurs in the reloading manuals. Through the early 1970s many loads were listed for the 38 Special that duplicated the 38/44 and some that took the 125 bullets to 1,300+ FPS (from an actual 6" barrel according to the published info). I have used these loads and gotten similar results in my guns so I believe them to be close to accurate. By around 1980 these top loads start to vanish from the books and the maximum loads drop year by year until they reach the current anemic levels. The same liability fears that fuel the gun and ammo companies drive the publishers of reloading manuals.

We've been over all of this before. More than once. Believe what you like. Do what you think is best. I have researched this issue extensively and feel that I know the facts. But I will add the following to my conclusions:

"S&W Forum member Stiab disagrees with these findings."
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Old 05-09-2010, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaxonPig View Post
"S&W Forum member Stiab disagrees with these findings."
Mostly what you and I disagree about is that you can make a literal reading and believe the velocities published by the factory ammo makers in the early to mid 1970's, and probably earlier. In the ammo section a month or so ago there was an intersting tread in which several older LEO's chimmed in agreeing that the factory ammo claims of that day were pure bull, and it was widely know.

And the numbers I sited in the post above (that you replied to) were for the 110 grain bullet, not the 125 you discussed earlier.

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Old 05-09-2010, 03:39 PM
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Perhaps the factory velocities were a bit optimistic but then in the 1970s they went overboard, using some sort of "4-inch vented test barrel" fixture to test ammunition. This skewed velocities in an excessively unfavorable manner.

I began chronographing .38 Special ammunition in the late 1970s and have noticed that the velocities slid to some extent in more recent years. My findings are not derived scientifically but I have been using some of the same revolvers as a control over the past 30 years.

Perhaps Smith & Wesson was optimistically representing the capabilities of their K-Frame revolvers in this pre-war advertising but the claim that the K-Frame .38 Special revolvers could be used with the potent .38-44 ammunition may be found in the text. Modern +P apparently isn't as "warm" as the old .38-44 stuff was.

This ad was first posted here by Forum member CXM as far as I know.


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Old 05-09-2010, 03:57 PM
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Both Colt and S&W advertised that their medium frame revolvers could shoot 38/44 ammo. This is probably not a good idea in the long run but then again a member here (wish I could recall who) posted that between 1958-1960 he fired 2,000 rounds of factory 38/44 through his 1958 Model 10 duty weapon without incident. Also note that Elmer Keith wrote of shooting 38/44s in an alloy Chiefs Special in 1955 without harm to the gun. I would not do that but he did and got away with it.

Stiab- Yes, the advertised velocities back in the 1970s and earlier were optimistic and sometimes blatantly inflated. But not as much as some would think. I have shot the older ammo (as have others) and the actual velocities were 1) not all THAT much lower than claimed and 2) much higher than the current 730 FPS for standard 158 loads.

Bottom line: I am convinced that +P is hype. It is actually a very mild load. It poses ZERO threat of damage to a quality made gun built since gun steel has been properly tempered (I use 1930 as my date). All the concern expressed over +P is ridiculous and irrational.
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Old 05-09-2010, 04:06 PM
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Here's a pre-war Colt ad, claiming the same thing about their small framed .38 Special models.



I have a couple of Colt Police Positive Specials and a Detective Special and I'd hate to have to fire very many .38-44 type loads through them. It would have to be unpleasant.
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Old 05-09-2010, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaxonPig View Post
Both Colt and S&W advertised that their medium frame revolvers could shoot 38/44 ammo.
Apparently they saw the light and soon quit making that claim. You will not find it in these post war (1950) advertisements.





Edited to add: In retrospect I believe "saw the light" was a poor choice of words, since I don't know if S&W was correct when they included the 38-44 reference or when they deleted it. I should have said at some point in time they changed their mind and no longer advertised the K frame as suitable for the 38-44.

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Old 05-09-2010, 04:48 PM
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A good and informative thread as I am currently working on my K-Frame .38 Special loads and Colt Official Police .38 Special loads.

As to the ad from Colt posted by bmcgilvray, I have seen several internet posted pictures of Colt Police Positive Specials in .38 Special which had cracked forcing cones, same as some M19s as reported here. Looking at the PPS one can see a forcing cone that is actually thinner its entire circumference over a M19 with its bottom shaved portion. I bought a Colt Police Positive [precursor to the PPS] in .38 S&W [note not "Special"] for that reason. I wanted the handgun type but I wanted it in a caliber that probably would not have a cracked forcing cone.

I think later that Colt did indeed warn not to use any +P in any of the PPS, Detective, and Diamondback revolvers [and their other small alloy .38 specials].

I have a tendency to agree with SaxonPig on most of what he speaks. In the past the loading manuals, ammo companies, and handgun makers all alluding to hotter loads being okay. Either lawyers or more modern testing equipment led to the latest loads appearing to be watered down. I tend to be careful with my loading anyhow and will load my K-Frame .38s with 158 grain lead bullets to about 900 fps, my K-Frame .357s with 158 grain lead bullets to about 1150/1200 fps , and my Colt Official Police[s] [they are the size of S&W L-Frames] with 158 grain lead bullets to about 1,000 fps . These loads are potent enough for "self-defense" and backwoods hiking and at the range I will shoot lead wadcutter loads.

As to the K-Frame .357 magnums. There is data on this forum that proves the forcing cones have been cracked by full magnum loads, mostly in the 110 to 125 grain persuasion, but I think one person reported it happening with 158 jacketed as well. And, there has been reporters here, such as SaxonPig, that prove otherwise with their guns.

Such is why I will load lead only 158 grain bullets in my K-Frame .357 magnums to the above mentioned velocities, AND I will stay away from H-110, W-296, 2400, and AA9, as the "magnum" powders [especially the ball types] have also been reported as having to contributed to excessive throat erosion and forcing cone cracking.

I too have noticed the +P loads seemed to be rather lukewarm as to velocities. There used to be +P+ loads as well wasn't there? But I don't think they are being manufactured any more by the larger companies.
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Old 05-09-2010, 10:51 PM
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"Made throughout from drop forgings with chrome-nickel steel, heat treated cylinders ..."

Thanks for posting that ad Stiab. That's the first time I've ever seen Smith & Wesson allude to the type of steel in their revolvers.
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Old 05-10-2010, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Star View Post
Sort of. If there's a Model no. on the frame, they're okay for Plus P. But later ones prob. have improved steels and heat treatment. Some J-frames are marked as Rated for Plus P, but no K-frames, I think.

Keep in mind that heavy use of Plus P will increase wear, esp. cylinder endhake. Some deny this, but I've seen some loose guns, and the USAF cited this as a reason why they wanted 9mm autos, prior to adoption of the Beretta M-9.

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I immediately checked the mod. # on the inside yoke and found 10-4. No longer afraid to use +p (if necessary). Best to all!
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Old 05-21-2010, 01:58 AM
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Originally Posted by stiab View Post
Apparently they saw the light and soon quit making that claim. You will not find it in these post war (1950) advertisements.





Edited to add: In retrospect I believe "saw the light" was a poor choice of words, since I don't know if S&W was correct when they included the 38-44 reference or when they deleted it. I should have said at some point in time they changed their mind and no longer advertised the K frame as suitable for the 38-44.
The ".38 S&W Special Super Police" listed in those ads is the hot 38-44. Note the ammunition listed in this early N-Frame 38-44 ad:

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Old 05-21-2010, 10:30 AM
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I put 5 rounds of factory .38-.44 through a Mod. 60 in 1979. No damage but it was certainly brisk.

Regards,

Tam 3
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Old 05-21-2010, 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary7 View Post
The ".38 S&W Special Super Police" listed in those ads is the hot 38-44.
I respectfully disagree. The same catalog in which the gun ads appear show ammo specs for the .38 Special Super Police as being a 200 grain bullet at 745 fps (see below). Recent tests posted in the ammo section prove in reality it was not that fast.

It only makes sense that the nomenclature in the gun ad would agree with the nomenclature in the ammo ad from the same year and same catalog.

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Old 05-22-2010, 01:02 AM
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Originally Posted by stiab View Post
I respectfully disagree. The same catalog in which the gun ads appear show ammo specs for the .38 Special Super Police as being a 200 grain bullet at 745 fps (see below). Recent tests posted in the ammo section prove in reality it was not that fast.

It only makes sense that the nomenclature in the gun ad would agree with the nomenclature in the ammo ad from the same year and same catalog.

Interesting. I was just going by that old 38/44 ad where it lists the two cartridges as 38 Special and 38 Special Super Police.
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Old 05-22-2010, 09:52 AM
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I think that S&W used "Super Police" very early in the 38/44 ads. The ammo producers used the same phrase for a very different load. They used it for a longer period of time as well.

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Tam 3
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Old 05-22-2010, 10:08 AM
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I think that S&W used "Super Police" very early in the 38/44 ads. The ammo producers used the same phrase for a very different load. They used it for a longer period of time as well.
Too bad the ammo makers didn't think to use the "+P" term back then for the hot 38 loads. Did the hot loads for the 38/44 have a 38/44 head stamp, or were they just marked "38 Special" like a regular 38?
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Old 05-22-2010, 11:52 AM
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Note the ammunition listed in this early N-Frame 38-44 ad:
That's a great old ad, thanks for posting it. This thread has several very interesting ones!
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Old 05-22-2010, 12:22 PM
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The ".38 S&W Special Super Police" listed in those ads is the hot 38-44. Note the ammunition listed in this early N-Frame 38-44 ad:

Another reference to chrome nickel steel in the manufacture of the cylinder.
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Old 05-23-2010, 03:16 PM
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Some were marked 38/44. Don't know about all.

Regards,

Tam 3
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Old 05-23-2010, 03:34 PM
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I collect Super Vel ammo. I shoot the 38spcl 110 gr JHP stuff from time to time. Just to remind me how great this ammo was. It snaps the wrist more than any other 38 spcl load I have compared it to. Plus P aint very plus compared to the Super Vel. Sure would love to try a little 38/44 stuff
Super Vel... man those were the days' back in 1974 and beyond. Dang, every time I log on to this site, someone makes me feel older than dirt.~~
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:39 PM
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Did the 38/44 headstamped brass have large pistol primers?
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:28 PM
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So are these the cat's meow --- good as gold --- highly valuable --- to be cherished like a fine wine....?









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Old 07-01-2010, 11:51 PM
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Hi,
I agree with SaxonPig and others that the +P round is not as hot as it used to be. I shoot for practice mainly 158g round nose target rounds. But because I believe everyone should practice with their SD/HD rounds I practice with all of my 38 specials including my pre-model years with +P rounds. I have owned or own now several pre-model 38 special revolvers and all of them have many round of +P rounds put them. My HD round is Buffalo Bores LSWCHP 158gr +P. I believe this is the hottest factory round rated at +P available. My M&P 38 special, combat masterpiece 38 special and my chiefs 38 special all have seen this round and just not a few. So far I don't have any wear issues on the revolvers and lockup is tight and timing is right on. In conclusion I believe the +P round is overdone and I also believe the paragraph in S&W manual is lawyer driven to protect S&W from lawsuits.
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Old 07-02-2010, 10:38 AM
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To reinforce what S-P was saying about the loading manuals, I was recently comparing the 44 Special loads from an old (1970) Lyman manual to a new (2009 printing) Lyman Pistol & Revolver manual. The starting load in 1970 for a 245g cast bullet and 2400 powder was 12g. Fast forward to 2009 and 12g of 2400 with the same 245g cast bullet is the Maximum load.

I got into a lengthy discussion on Handload.com over this wide disparity. My contention that the lawyers were to blame was taken to task and I was told the testing equipment back then wasn't that good and 2400 has changed since then. I side with Saxon-Pig on this one. The wimps have taken over.

Editing note: Guess it's a function of getting older. I realized after posting the above that the 12g load discrepancy I mentioned was with the 44 Special, not the 38 Special. I corrected it above and it still goes to the point Saxon-Pig was making.

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Old 07-02-2010, 10:50 AM
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Not sure if it's the engineers, lawyers, or the accountants, but I think it makes economic sense for a manufacturer to suggest the use of ammo that is going to stress the gun the least, and thereby minimize warranty claims and kaboom personal injury claims. Seriously, what's to be gained by a manufacturer suggesting a user push the gun to the max?
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Old 07-03-2010, 01:26 PM
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I'm glad this thread came up again. "+P" ammunition can be successfully used in Smith & Wesson M&P revolvers made before the assignment of the model numeral "10" in 1958.

For how long...

no one knows.


How they could fail?

Let us count the ways.


I recently dusted off the chronograph to revisit a fairly extensive selection of .38 Special ammunition, both factory loads and handloads in 38 Special revolvers in each of five different barrel lengths I have on hand. I also tested some Buffalo Bore +P 158 grain ammunition (really amazing stuff, Buffalo Bore) and some SuperVel but may post the results over in the ammo section.

Here's some data for the revolver with the 5-inch barrel.


Handload: 158 grain round nose lead /3.8 grains Bullseye

MV 804 fps
ME 227 ft./lbs.
ES 51
SD 20

Independence 130 grain FMJ round nose

MV 888 fps
ME 228 ft./lbs.
ES 32
SD 9

Remington 148 grain hollow based wadcutter

MV 727 fps
ME 174 ft./lbs.
ES 20
SD 7

Winchester +P 158 grain lead SWC-HP (in gray box)

MV 922 fps
ME 298 ft./lbs.
ES 69
SC 26

Winchester +P 158 grain lead SWC-HP (in older white box)

MV 949 fps
ME 316 ft./lbs
ES 72
SD 32

Remington +P 158 grain lead SWC

MV 964 FPS
ME 326 ft./lbs.
ES 72
SD 32

Sellier & Bellot 158 grain FMJ flat point

MV 778 fps
ME 212 ft./lbs.
ES 36
SD 13


This 5-inch M&P was made before 1958. With a serial number of 502XX it was made long before that time in about 1904. Its finish has seen better days. In fact, it could be charitably described as ugly. There is little investment tied up in it and it has no value. Its outstanding mechanical condition and clean bore is positively antithetical to its surface condition. It has languished in the bottom of the Smith & Wesson collection for some time.

I've been threatening to put the old M&P to the test for some time but wanted to chronograph the results. I don't have a lot of common sense but did limit the test to only lead bullet loads. The old revolver was also not tested with Buffalo Bore.

It appears to have come through the tests with flying colors and is none the worse for the wear. It fired a total of 30 rounds of +P 158 grain ammunition. Of course the very next round could have opened up the cylinder but I suspect it wouldn't have. Most +P ammunition is a tempest in a tea pot, Buffalo Bore and SuperVel not included. A small benefit is gained by use of +P, especially in the heavier bullet weights, but it is no terror.

Primers appeared normal and extraction was effortless. Of the entire test conducted that afternoon, only the SuperVel exhibited any flattening of primers. This wasn't bad but did occur to some extent in all of the revolvers.


Of the +P lineup tested, only the gray and white Winchester 158 grain loads and the Remington 158 grain loads were tested. All others were kept out of the old M&Ps cylinder.




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Old 07-03-2010, 01:43 PM
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I wonder how old those 158 +Ps are? At over 900 FPS they are hotter than current offerings.
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Old 07-03-2010, 02:04 PM
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I enjoy reading SP's comments on this subject since he obviously has done a lot of research and analysis before arriving at his conclusions. Others have a different opinion, and the reader can decide for himself.

Referring back to the original post, I would say I look at it like this. Would you hesitate to drive a car because you may eventually wear out the tires? If you want your guns to be museum pieces, you may want to refrain from firing them at all.

A revolver may "shoot loose" if it is fired a lot. Any mechanical device is subject to wear and breakage when it is used. I have some guns that are collector-grade, and a lot more that are shooters. It doesn't horrify me that some of the shooters may have to go to a gunsmith or back to S&W for repairs at some point, any more than it horrifies me that I may need new brakes installed on my truck periodically.
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Old 07-03-2010, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaxonPig View Post
I wonder how old those 158 +Ps are? At over 900 FPS they are hotter than current offerings.
Perhaps the 5-inch barrel has something to do with it. I'll post the rest of the test over in the ammo section so differences in velocities between the barrel lengths may be seen.

I was thinking the gray (silver?) box of Winchester was current. The white box dates from about 1980. The Remington 158 grain +P is late vintage. I've heard that the Remington stuff gives a little more velocity and it seems to be so.
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Old 07-03-2010, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Flash View Post
I enjoy reading SP's comments on this subject since he obviously has done a lot of research and analysis before arriving at his conclusions. Others have a different opinion, and the reader can decide for himself.

Referring back to the original post, I would say I look at it like this. Would you hesitate to drive a car because you may eventually wear out the tires? If you want your guns to be museum pieces, you may want to refrain from firing them at all.

A revolver may "shoot loose" if it is fired a lot. Any mechanical device is subject to wear and breakage when it is used. I have some guns that are collector-grade, and a lot more that are shooters. It doesn't horrify me that some of the shooters may have to go to a gunsmith or back to S&W for repairs at some point, any more than it horrifies me that I may need new brakes installed on my truck periodically.
Jack Flash, very good analogy IMO .........I certainly agree!!

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Old 07-03-2010, 04:32 PM
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si----------

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Old 07-03-2010, 04:59 PM
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Did you chrono the Super Vels?
Some .38 Special Chronograph Tests
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