38 Special +P


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Blue Brick
October 4, 2011, 02:10 AM
When 38 Special officially designated a +P label and when was the pressure officially lowered? Thanks.

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ArchAngelCD
October 4, 2011, 02:39 AM
I'm not totally sure but I think pressures have been slowly going down for well over 15 years now. I know .357 Magnum ammo was dropped from 40,000 CUP to 35,000 CUP in direct reaction to all the ultra light .357 Magnum revolvers that are being produced.

wlewisiii
October 4, 2011, 03:01 AM
Shrug. There is one lesson in .357 bore revolvers - stick to 158 grain bullets. After that:

If you want/need .38 standard, buy Buffalo Bore Item 20C.
If you want/need .38 +P, buy Buffalo Bore Item 20A.
If you want/need .357 magnum, buy Buffalo Bore Item 19C.

Get the hint? ;)

Tony_the_tiger
October 4, 2011, 03:29 AM
No no... go with gold dots.. ;)

Steve C
October 4, 2011, 05:01 AM
Technology and units of measurement have changed over the years. The old CUP (copper crush) method of measurement and testing has given way to the more accurate strain gauge and PSI. There is no direct mathematical correlation between CUP and PSI so there is often some confusion between units of measure.

Manufacturers that used to publish velocity taken from solid chamber test barrels of length longer (11 to 14") than typical handgun barrels (4 to 5") and without any of the cylinder/forcing cone gap of revolvers have gone to publishing more real world velocities by using shorter and vented test barrels to simulate 4" revolvers.

The standards published by SAAMI are considered the "official" ammunition pressure standards however SAAMI is a Trade organization and these "standards" are modified by the members occasionally. Remember that SAAMI maximums are not a requirement on the manufacturers but a upper limit they voluntarily subscribe to.

DWFan
October 4, 2011, 08:45 AM
European CIP standards are also PSI and have not dropped as the SAAMI standard has. CIP is a mandated government safety standard. SAAMI might be a voluntary standard, but it is also a legal standard used for lawsuits.

SaxonPig
October 4, 2011, 09:57 AM
Max for the 38 is 21,500 PSI.

+P is loaded by Win and Rem and other mainstream ammo makers at 18,500 PSI. (THIS is a powerful load?????)

Standard 38 is loaded to 16,000 PSI (730 FPS with a 158 grain bullet. Wow. A BB gun almost catches it.)

All the hysteria around +P is hilarious. +P is nothing more than marketing hype. A plinking load at best.

rcmodel
October 4, 2011, 12:59 PM
According to my old Speer manuals:
SAAMI & the industry introduced +P ammo ratings in 1974.

As of 1975, .38 Spl standard pressure was 18,900 CUP.
+P was 22,400 CUP.

As of 1998 it was 17,000 PSI and 20,000 PSI.

As of today it is 17,000 PSI & 18,500 PSI.

rc

Blue Brick
October 4, 2011, 04:58 PM
Thanks, RC

jfh
October 4, 2011, 05:12 PM
the CIP (European) spec for .38 Special--there is no separate 'plus-p' rating--and that is the metric equivalent to 21,500 psi. This specification was developed in 1984, IIRC, and it has not been adjusted / changed.

So, a reasonable conclusion might be that all '38 Special' revolvers manufactured since 1984 by companies subscribing to these standards will withstand loads to CIP standards.

Jim H.

ArchAngelCD
October 5, 2011, 04:08 AM
I'm so tired of hearing "testing methods have changed" or "they switched from CUP to PSI. None of that matters to me, performance matters. When the old data states using a charge of 6.8gr X powder delivers 900 fps and the new data states 6.2gr of the same X powder is still delivering 900 fps, that can't happen. (but they are telling you it is happening)

Paladin38-40
October 5, 2011, 07:51 AM
Buffalo Bore's published velocity for their .38 158 grain +P is 1000 fps. I was impressed so I bought some. Knowing some manufactures embellish their ads I chronographed 5 rounds from a 4" S&W. Low was 1137 fps, high was
1149 fps.:what:

I have no idea what the pressure is but there are no pressure signs. The recoil is noticeably more than Winchester .38 158 grain +P. Buffalo Bore now rides in my K-frames.

SaxonPig
October 5, 2011, 09:28 AM
A 158@1140 duplicates the 38/44 load. Very stout.

MCgunner
October 5, 2011, 10:14 AM
If you want/need .38 standard, buy Buffalo Bore Item 20C.
If you want/need .38 +P, buy Buffalo Bore Item 20A.
If you want/need .357 magnum, buy Buffalo Bore Item 19C.

If I'm gonna spend that much on ammo, I'll get a Dillon 550, thanks. :D

Guillermo
October 5, 2011, 10:18 AM
Blue,

When RC and/or Saxon have spoken on this subject, there is little or nothing left to be said.

W.E.G.
October 5, 2011, 10:18 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.38_Special

During the 1970s, new high-pressure (18,500 CUP) loadings of the .38 Special were introduced, known as .38 Special +P. This ammunition is usable in .38 revolvers designed for such ammunition...

...It is important to recognize that SAAMI changed the specifications for the 38 Special in 1972. Prior to that time the standard .38 Special was very close to today's "+P" cartridges. The thought that "+P" is somehow a high pressure round has many mistakenly believing that it is "high performance" rather than the low pressure round that it is.

Guillermo
October 5, 2011, 10:22 AM
I'll get a Dillon 550, thanks

knowing you, your dillon will be powered by an 1100 cc Kawasaki and produce 800 rounds per second. :neener:

wlewisiii
October 5, 2011, 10:46 AM
A 158@1140 duplicates the 38/44 load. Very stout.
Yep. Which is why I have no trouble paying that much for my carry and some practice ammo. By the same token, though, it shoots to the same POA/POI as other 158 grain loads so I can use cheap 158 gr LRN or cheap reloads for practicing. But if I'm not at the range, there's BB #20A in both my Model 10 & my Model 642.

Gary A
October 5, 2011, 11:36 AM
Wikipedia is good. Wikipedia is useful. Wikipedia is not infallible or the final word.

W.E.G.
October 5, 2011, 11:46 AM
Wikipedia is good. Wikipedia is useful. Wikipedia is not infallible or the final word.

Really?

How can we be sure?

Thank you for posting.

Gary A
October 5, 2011, 11:49 AM
Lol :)

Guillermo
October 5, 2011, 03:12 PM
LOL

I edited that on Wiki

Wiki is only useful as a place to look for more information (IE the footnotes)

Strykervet
October 5, 2011, 03:32 PM
I'm not totally sure but I think pressures have been slowly going down for well over 15 years now. I know .357 Magnum ammo was dropped from 40,000 CUP to 35,000 CUP in direct reaction to all the ultra light .357 Magnum revolvers that are being produced.
You know, and I HATE this. I'd rather reduced .357 loads be made for these revolvers. I have a 340PD and see the importance of this though. I blew chunks out of the cylinder between the barrel and cylinder around the flash holes. Luckily Smith fixed it for me, gave me a new cylinder; this was just weeks after they came out. I was firing full power .357 mags, 125gr. XTP's over 17 grains of N110! If they'd actually burned all the powder, they'd have hurt worse than they did. Looking back, it might have been a little stupid. I know they do it primarily because of the strap failing or cutting or stretching, but blowing up titanium cylinders is also covered.

Now my 686 can totally tolerate nuclear loads. Given the 340PD was labeled the same as the 686, I figured I could fire those loads from it. Uh-uh. This is where the problem arises. It does require lower pressure loads. But I wish they'd make watered down loads just for it instead of watering down all the loads.

Or, perhaps gun makers could make firearms around the calibre, instead of creating a new creature and then changing all the load data for all firearms in that calibre in order to accomodate their new invention.

Strykervet
October 5, 2011, 03:37 PM
Really?

How can we be sure?

Thank you for posting.
Because it is user edited content and because it requires no academic vetting process. For instance, you can't use Wikipedia as a major reference on any academic paper. You can refer to it, but your theory or whatever can't hinge on it.

Wikipedia does shine when it comes to mathematics though. Lots of good formulas and due to the nature of the community, it does tend to be somewhat academic. But 99% of the stuff on there isn't academic.

Now I'm not trashing them, I love Wikipedia, I use it all the time. It is just that if I were writing a paper or needed hard facts, I might use Wikipedia, but then use some other source to cite from.

On here though, I have no problem using Wikipedia as a reference. The audience is what matters, and I don't consider this audience to be academic. For the most part, Wikipedia will do.

351 WINCHESTER
October 5, 2011, 03:42 PM
We got 1190 fps from Buffalo Bore 158 +P lhp from my 4" k frame. Recoil wasn't bad at all.

We also got 1287 fps from their 125 +P jhp also from my 4". That's nipping at the heels of the .357, especially in the newer loads.

MCgunner
October 5, 2011, 04:58 PM
We also got 1287 fps from their 125 +P jhp also from my 4". That's nipping at the heels of the .357, especially in the newer loads.

If you want a .357, buy one. :rolleyes: I get 1302 fps from my 180 grain handloads from a 2.3" SP101. Heavier the bullet, the less barrel length has an affect on .357. I don't carry those 180s for defense, though, carry a 140 Speer over 17 grains 2400 at 1340 fps from same SP101. The 125 grain .357 stuff is pretty pathetic from a short barrel.

jfh
October 5, 2011, 05:17 PM
strykervet: actually, IIRC the titanium cylinder failures in the 340 PD are typically linked to overenthusiastic cleaning of the chambers and thereby removing the plating therein--or something like that. At any rate, although there have been failures in M&P 340 cylinders as well (SS), they are much less likely to fail. Lower pressure rounds are not required, except for one's sanity and hand.

I've found that a 158-gr. LSWC-HP round running at about 915 fps from these short barrels is a max round--and that these do not strip out and lead the barrel excessively. Those appear to be rounds running at about 24,000 or so PSI, and I build them in 357 cases; they can be built in .38 Special cases as well 'though it's not a good idea....

Jim H.

skoro
October 5, 2011, 08:02 PM
Buffalo Bore's published velocity for their .38 158 grain +P is 1000 fps. I was impressed so I bought some. Knowing some manufactures embellish their ads I chronographed 5 rounds from a 4" S&W. Low was 1137 fps, high was
1149 fps.

Yessir, that Buffalo Bore load is plenty stout. I keep my HD revolvers stoked with it.

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