S&W Model 10 Question?


March 7, 2012, 08:43 AM
Can you shoot .38 +P ammo out of an S&W Model 10, heavy barrel revolver?
It is in very good shape and was purchased in 1971.

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Brian Williams
March 7, 2012, 09:13 AM
yes you can, any model marked S&W will be fine for +p, It will be marked if you should not do so.

March 7, 2012, 10:16 AM
Here is a paragraph from the S&W online manual about using +P ammo in a S&W revolver.

“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 & Wesson medium (K frame) revolvers
manufactured prior to 1958. Such pre-1958 medium (K-frame) revolvers
can be identified by the absence of a model number stamped inside the
yoke cut of the frame (i.e., the area of the frame exposed when the
cylinder is in the open position).

Bottom line: If your model 10 heavy barrel has a model number inside the yoke cut on the frame, you are ok to shoot +P ammo.

March 7, 2012, 03:27 PM
It would be safe to use in a post 1958 Model 10, but keep in mind that a steady diet of “Plus-P” (+P) ammunition will certainly accelerate wear & tear on the firearm.

March 7, 2012, 03:37 PM
The SAAMI .38 Spl +P rating system came about in 1974.
At that time standard pressure was lowered, +P was increased very slightly over what used to be standard pressure, and Hi-Speed ammo was dropped from production.

Prior to 1974:
The Standard pressure 158 LRN grain factory load was rated at 855 FPS.
The 158 grain Hi-Speed load was rated at 1,090 FPS.

Under todays SAAMI standard, the same Standard pressure 158 grain load is rated at 755 FPS.
The +P is rated at 890 FPS.

As you can see, todays +P is hardly more likely to damage a modern gun then standard ammo was likely to damage it in 1970, or 1950.

And it is way less likely to damage it then those old .38 Spl Hi-Speed loads that were much closer to todays .357 Mag then todays .38 Spl, either standard, or +P.


March 7, 2012, 03:44 PM

My own pre Model 10, by serial, was produced between 1957 and 1959. Judging by factory letters others have received on their similar Model 10's, closer to 1957. It is not marked "Model 10" on the frame.
I shoot Remington 158gn +P SWCHP in it with no signs of excess pressure whatsoever...it shoots this ammo like it was made for it.
The S&W forum thread I linked is a good discussion of the 38spl issue.

March 7, 2012, 03:50 PM
Those 10s are sweet pistols. Er, revolvers. Sorry.

March 7, 2012, 03:53 PM
Here is what original factory ammo could do, please realize though that this is black powder. Scroll down to post #5 http://www.shootersforum.com/handgun-cartridges/4329-original-38-special-black-powder-round.html

Anyway back to the question at hand yes your revolver will be just fine with +P ammo.

March 7, 2012, 06:55 PM
Spoke with a rep. in the tech. dept. at S&W. He told me that as of 1982 they heat treated the revolver so that it could take the pressure of the +P round. Prior to 82', the revolver was not manufactured for the +P and he recommended to stick with the .38 special cartridge.

Thank you all for responding.

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