.38 special with +P+ question


April 6, 2007, 10:10 PM
From a previous thread, I "inherited" a Taurus model 85CH .38 special.

I also got bag of ammo it is marked WCC +P+ on the headstamp. Is this safe to shoot out of this gun? I have never shot any +P or +P+ ammo in any of my guns since I mostly target shoot and have no need for the hotter load.

This bag of ammo seems like it would be a great self-defense round as it is a jacketed soft hollow point. I would like to keep this gun loaded up with this, but I donít want to risk it if +P+ is too much for this gun. Any input would be greatly appreciated.


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April 6, 2007, 11:37 PM
Sounds like you have some Winchester Ranger Ammo which is sold to law enforcement only. However, I would be hesitant to shoot anything endstamped +P+ without knowing exactly what pressure it's loaded to. Could be as high as 22,000 CUP which is a bit much for many .38's to shoot regularly.

April 6, 2007, 11:53 PM
Your 85CH is rated for +P. Plus P's are loaded in the factory to a higher pressure. Is the ammo factory or reloads? If it's reloads, I'd be pulling them no matter what the case head says. If you're at all concerned, pull 'em.

Jim March
April 7, 2007, 12:22 AM
DO NOT shoot that stuff in that gun.

That crap is really improperly labeled mild 357 ammo marked "38+P+" so that law enforcement could lie on the witness stand and say "oh no, we don't use those eeeevil baby-killer MAGnum boolits in our 357 guns!"

I'm not stretching things much here. Winchester in particular is notorious for having played this game back when wheelguns still dominated US policework (and after the "Dirty Harry" movies screened).

Unless you know what the specs are for a given 38+P+ round, don't shoot it in anything less than a real 357. And do NOT in particular test it first in a marginal strength critter like a Taurus .38 snubby.

April 7, 2007, 12:23 AM
Any chance you know somebody with a 357 and a chronograph?

April 7, 2007, 12:25 AM
Any chance you know somebody with a 357 and a chronograph?

Here, here; I know I'm not the only person who'd be interested in the result of that test.

April 7, 2007, 12:45 AM
Why risk a perfectly good gun and your hand (and life) on some "mystery" plastic bag ammo? Spend $20 and get some good self-defense ammo!

April 7, 2007, 01:04 AM

That ammo could be loaded a lot higher than 22,000 CUP. SAAMI has no perameters for any ammo that is +P+. SO, +P+ ammo, can be loaded to ANY pressure as it is totally unregulated by SAAMI.

Any time you see any ammo head stamped +P+, it is unregulated and you have no idea what pressure it is loaded to.

Jim March
April 7, 2007, 01:56 AM
ChristopherG: there was a recent discussion on the General forum where somebody reported doing exactly that with a Winchester 38+P+. The data wasn't real specific but "just slightly slower than Winnie's 357 of similar weight" is what stuck in my mind.

April 7, 2007, 02:13 AM
No No No!

Do not shoot +P+ in your Taurus. It is way overpressure for a J frame gun unless it's a 357.

The agency I worked for adopted this in the late 70s. The muzzle velocity from a 2 1/2 SW M19 is about 1200 fps. 110 gr 357 is about 1300 fps. When we first got this ammo we were told it was okay to shoot in a j frame SW M60 (I didn't believe it). After we had two kabooms one resulting in the agent having a severely mangled finger after the cylinder blew out and another who damaged their right eye after the cylinder and top strap went we were told to use it in 357 guns only. That's what I believed from the start.

April 7, 2007, 02:31 AM
Well...that is not the response that I expected. Thanks everyone for the input. Based on the overwhelming opinion so far this ammo will not be shot out of this gun. I have a friend who is really into reloading and has a chrono and a .357 we may test it there.

Thanks again. This is another example of why I think this forum is great.


April 7, 2007, 02:44 AM
Do not shoot any ammo in a firearm unless the firearm is marked for that ammo type. +P and +P+ can be iffy in some .38 spl hand guns.
Best thing is be safe not sorry.

Jim March
April 7, 2007, 05:11 AM
For the record: in most calibers "+P" (note SINGLE plus) means only 10% over SAAMI. Which in most calibers (including 38spl) isn't all THAT gnarly.

A *major* exception is the 45LC (aka "45 Colt"). +P there means "built for 44Mag-class-guns". Also beware of +P in the 45-70 and a few others. In the common commercial handgun calibers though "+P" isn't too scary.

"+P+" is "freakshow, better know JUST what you're doing and you can still blow it" in any caliber.

Buffalo Bore's new "standard 38spl pressure with good performance" ammo is a GODSEND for those of us with marginal guns - in which category I class my own late '70s Charter Undercover. I will be buying some, likely the 158gr flavor although the 125 has merit too:


I may try a box of the 150s but unless accuracy is exceptional, I don't see these as a big plus over the 158s.

April 9, 2007, 11:36 AM
Maybe there are different varities of Winchester +P+ but I recently tested some 110 grain JHP +P+ (box marked LEO only) from my 1942 vintage 5" M&P and it clocked 1,100 FPS. Warm for current factory loads but not so much as to cause the fear I am seeing expressed in this thread and I certainly wouldn't call it a .357 Magnum level load as some are doing. I routinely load and shoot 125 grain loads at the same velocity with no effect noted to date in any of my .38 Special guns.

I have a reloading manual from the early 1980s listing a 110 load at 1300 FPS.

Now we're talking!

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