+P pressure threshold in .38 spl


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Jumpin4Joy
January 11, 2008, 09:38 AM
I'm reloading for my Colt Detective Special. I want to avoid overtaxing a 70 year old revolver, so I know that the commercial +P rounds are out.

I am loading on the low side 5.7 grns of HS-6 with a 158 Gr semi-wadcutter. This puts the pressure around 13,700. The high side of this range is 16,200 with 6.3 grns.

What pressure in a .38 spcl begins to reach the +P range?

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pinkymingeo
January 11, 2008, 11:34 AM
When that revolver was made factory loads were as hot, and sometimes hotter, than current +P SAAMI. I wouldn't worry about it.

Jim Watson
January 11, 2008, 11:43 AM
When that revolver was made, Colt was making revolvers, spare parts, and there were factory and independent gunsmiths who knew how to work on them. None of which applies now.

Joy's loads are ok. I think standard is up to 18,000, +p from there to 20,000. I can look it up if it really matters.

jfh
January 11, 2008, 11:53 AM
Here's (http://www.leverguns.com/articles/saami_pressures.htm) a chart of the latest SAAMI specs.

Note that 38 Special has been recently lowered to 17,000 and 38+P goes out to 18,500. However, in Speer #14 they stayed with listing loads up to 20,000. And, IIRC, it was not too many years ago that +P went out to 21 or 22,000 (and 357 Magnum went out to 46,000, but that's another topic).

FWIW: Although I consider pinkymingeo's comments to be accurate, I think Jim's observation about the availability of parts and Colt-savvy 'smiths is more important.

Stay with low-pressure loads.

Jim H.

Jumpin4Joy
January 11, 2008, 12:17 PM
Thanks, to everyone, with your time and advice. I reloaded 50 158 grn semi wadcutters with 5.7 last night. I'm going to the range today and compare with my 115 grn commercial winchester.

Jim Watson
January 11, 2008, 12:45 PM
There was a long debate about that on TFL. A guy wanted to know if his Official Police would handle +P. I said sure it would, Colt rated ALL their .38 Specials up to .38-44 HV back when they were the major gunmaker here. But he wanted to take that as a license to pound the old gun with heavy loads all the time. He took a lot of persuading that there is no backup for those guns any more and that he should not be shooting the big loads in his except in emergency. Heck, I carry +P in an Airweight S&W, but I don't plink with them.

Eagle103
January 11, 2008, 01:07 PM
jfh and Jim W., since we're on the subject of .38s and hot loads and I know for sure jfh loads and shoots a lot of hot rounds through a 642 and I'm curious if you guys or anyone else has experienced frame stretching. I load to replicate the 135g GDHP +P but I would like to know if this can eventually be a problem with the aluminum framed gun. My current load is 6.8g of AA#5 with the 135g GDHP. I've also used the +P Power Pistol load of 6.2g. So far no problems but I read somewhere that S&W won't warranty a gun with frame stretch.

ArchAngelCD
January 12, 2008, 04:15 AM
I'm reloading for my Colt Detective Special. I want to avoid overtaxing a 70 year old revolver, so I know that the commercial +P rounds are out.

I am loading on the low side 5.7 grns of HS-6 with a 158 Gr semi-wadcutter. This puts the pressure around 13,700. The high side of this range is 16,200 with 6.3 grns.

What pressure in a .38 spcl begins to reach the +P range?
Jumpin4Joy,
Anything you load within the range you mentioned above will not stress your revolver at all.

Like said above, the .38 Special Factory rounds that were available when your revolver was manufactured were hotter than anything you can but right now, including the .38 Special +P stuff on the market. That being said, I also agree with Jim Watson when he says back then spare parts were available and the Smiths of the day knew how to work on them. It is smart to stay light with the ammo in your Classic revolver and even 6.3gr of HS-6 won't tax your Colt in the least.

OK, where are the pictures?? :p

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