Is it safe to shoot +P ammo in an older Model 10?


June 7, 2006, 04:52 AM
Do you guys know if it would be safe to shoot +P ammo in an old pencil barrel S&W model 10?
I'm not talking about shooting a case load of it through the gun, but just the occasional cylinder, and keeping it loaded with the +P for self defense ammo.
I have heard of a few stories about these guns being ruined after one cylinder of +P, is this a common occurrence? I already HAVE shot 12 of them through it with no problems, but I would hate for it to kB!, or malfunction in a SHTF situation. Any info would be appreciated!

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June 7, 2006, 08:51 AM
Open the cylinder and look at the area of the frame where the cylinder crane snaps into place.
If there is the marking 10-4 or anything higher, i.e. 10-5, 10-7, etc. then the revolver can be safely used with +P ammunition.HTH

Old Fuff
June 7, 2006, 12:21 PM
First of all, be sure you have a model 10, and not an older 1905 Hand Ejector/Military & Police model.

Plus-P ammunition can run from mild to very hot. None of it will blow up a true model 10, but the hottest stuff can accerate wear and cylinder end-shake. In any case you won't have a problem if you do as you described in your post, and do indeed have a model 10. Any model 10 is safe so far as limited use is concerned.

June 7, 2006, 01:22 PM

Bear in mind there's two +Ps. One is sold by Winchester, Federal and Remington and these are actually quite mild and will not damage or severely wear your gun. The other is the +P as sold by Cor-Bon, BuffaloBore and other specialty makers. These are hotter but still safe IMO for any steel frame S&W.

June 7, 2006, 11:26 PM
It is a model 10-7 (whatever that means:confused: ), and the +P ammo that I shot through it before with no problems was from Speer. Is that particularly hot stuff? I didn't notice any increase in recoil, or report at all. Thanks for the info!

June 8, 2006, 02:22 AM
I found this in my manual i got with my 642-2.

"'plus -P"' (+P) ammunition generates pressures
in excess of the pressures associated with
standard ammunition.Such pressures may affect
the wear characteristics or exceed the margin
of safety built into some revolvers and could
therefore be dangerous.

This ammunition should not be used in Smith
and Wesson medium (K frame) revolvers
manufactured prior to 1958.

Such pre-1958 medium (K frame) revolvers
can be identified by the absense of a model
number stamped inside the yoke cut of the
frmae.(i.e. the ares of the frame exposed when
the cylinder is in the open position.

This is on page 13 of the manual,i also have a
10-7 but with a 3" medium barrel.My standard
reload is a cast bullet loaded to 850fps.I've
this load in every K frame i've owned.None of
them showed excess wear in thousands of

Jim March
June 8, 2006, 05:43 AM
I personally grade "+P" at three levels:

The least harsh on the gun is the 158+P lead hollowpoints by Federal, Winchester and Remington, and the 125gr/158gr "Nyclads" by Federal. This is more theoretical than anything else but in the 357s, the heavyweight slugs are doing less harm to the gun than the lightweight at similar energy levels. It's all about how fast the round is going at the moment the slug hits the back of the barrel. I see no reason to think the same won't hold in 38. Lead (or plastic-coated lead) is easier on the gun, and the Federal 125gr "+P" barely qualified as such.

Next up are the various JHP +Ps by the major names: Winchester's 130gr Supreme, Speer 125 and 135gr Gold Dots, Remington, Federal, Hornady, similar big names in boomstuff.

The wildest are the Cor-Bons (including their old-stock 158+P lead loaded WAY hotter than Winchester/Remington/Federal), Buffalo Bores and other wild-child speciality loads.

The weaker the gun, the more likely I am to stay lower on that totem pole :).

June 9, 2006, 11:45 PM
I don't think you'll kB it with +P. but why do it? My opinion is that a 158 grain lead semi-wadcutter will serve you very well as a defensive load- it's very accurate in that revolver, and wil not beat up the shooter or the gun. Your Model 10 will long outlast you with that load.

June 10, 2006, 08:37 AM
We always forget that the various PD's that issued M10's happily shot +P through 'em for decades without thinking twice about it...
Of course they didn't care too much about loosening up the guns, but keeping your M10 loaded with +P's at home and shooting a couple cylinders full each year to refresh the ammo should be perfectly fine.

June 10, 2006, 10:02 AM
Hornady makes a 158 grain XTP 38 special that is not marked plus P.
That what I use in my older K frame.


June 10, 2006, 10:48 AM
A 10-7 made in 1977 is hardly "older." I have a Military & Police (pre Model 10) made in 1942 that has shot quite a bit of factory +P with no observable effects. THAT'S what they mean when they say "older" and if it hasn't done anything to this gun it won't do anything to yours.

The myth of +P continues...

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