Shooting +P out of an LCR on a regular basis?


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raindog
September 22, 2012, 01:45 PM
This is an older doc on defensive ammunition:

http://www.recguns.com/Sources/VG1.html

One thing it says is

Standard pressure loads may be used in any .38 Special revolver, but +P
loads should be fired extensively only in steel-frame .38 Special
revolvers. Firing a few (under fifty) +P loads in your aluminum-framed
.38 Special revolver will not destroy it or cause it to explode, but will
damage your aluminum-framed revolver if you fire more than a hundred
rounds.

I have a .38 Special +P LCR (not the 357). I'm wondering about the advisability of firing +P out of it on a regular basis. I try to practice as much as possible with my carry gun using rough equivalent to the ammo I carry (can't afford to go through boxes of hollowpoint on the range).

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rcmodel
September 22, 2012, 02:24 PM
All LCR's are +P rated.
It is basically the same gun as the .357 one.
.357 is almost twice the pressure of +P .38.

Fire away.


BTW: The Rec Guns quote is BS too.

There are numerous +P rated alloy frame guns made by Ruger, S&W, Taurus, and others.

And 50, or 500, or 5,000 rounds isn't going to destroy one.

rc

buck460XVR
September 22, 2012, 02:31 PM
BTW: The Rec Guns quote is BS too.

There are numerous +P rated alloy frame guns made by Ruger, S&W, Taurus, and others.

And 50, or 500, or 5,000 rounds isn't going to destroy one.

rc


RC is correct. Your hands may suffer, but the gun will be fine.

Old Fuff
September 22, 2012, 02:36 PM
I would ask Ruger, but if a manufacturer says that a product is certified to use Plus-P ammunition then it is. A problem may arise with older revolvers, especially those that were made with alloy frames that were not made to stand up to extensive use of Plus-P ammunition as it was made at the time.

The position taken by most (maybe all) manufacturers is to use whatever ammunition it was chambered to use at the time it was manufactured, and is made to current SAAMI standards. Saying anything else could open them to some liability, so to be perfectly frank they won't say anything else. This causes some who want to shoot the hotter loads to throw a temper fit, but that's the way it is.

If you don't have a copy of the owners manual that should have come with your LCR, visit Ruger's website (www.ruger.com) and they will download a copy in .PDF format. Within its pages you will find a statement that says in specific terms what ammunition you should use. After that you can do whatever you want, but in the highly unlikely event that the revolver suffers some damage don't expect them to fix it on their dime.

Link to LCR Owners Manual: http://www.ruger.com/service/productHistory.html#

Fiv3r
September 22, 2012, 06:41 PM
I was under the impression that Ruger shot something like 10,000 +p rounds out of a .38 LCR and it caused the frame to stretch a bit. The gun was still well within spec but there was noticeable gap in places.

I highly doubt anyone is going to shoot enough +p through an LCR in their lifetime to shoot it completely loose. I mean, I'm sure you could if you had enough money and time and hated your hands for some reason, but for a sub $400 self defense revolver, its going to take a hellova beating before you junk it dropping ten times the cost of the gun in premium ammo.

I still won't shoot a lot of +p out of my father in law's old Model 36 simply because it is an heirloom that belonged to HIS dad before him. I bought the LCR to retire the old warhorse, but I know it could take more than 50 rounds before it "broke" it.

Bush Pilot
September 22, 2012, 07:25 PM
I was under the impression that Ruger shot something like 10,000 +p rounds out of a .38 LCR and it caused the frame to stretch a bit. The gun was still well within spec but there was noticeable gap in places.

I highly doubt anyone is going to shoot enough +p through an LCR in their lifetime to shoot it completely loose. I mean, I'm sure you could if you had enough money and time and hated your hands for some reason, but for a sub $400 self defense revolver, its going to take a hellova beating before you junk it dropping ten times the cost of the gun in premium ammo.

I still won't shoot a lot of +p out of my father in law's old Model 36 simply because it is an heirloom that belonged to HIS dad before him. I bought the LCR to retire the old warhorse, but I know it could take more than 50 rounds before it "broke" it.
+1, if your wallet can afford that much ammo and your hands can take that much punishment please get back to us with that magic number. I usually shoot 500 rounds a month thru my LCR (very mild loads) and have since I got the gun, I can't tell it's any worse for wear.

XGibsonX
September 22, 2012, 08:44 PM
I don't own one but isn't it stamped on the revolver?

" Ruger says it's ok in the manual and the gun itself has ".38 spcl. +p" stamped bold as hell on the right side of the barrel"

Guillermo
September 22, 2012, 09:49 PM
The position taken by most (maybe all) manufacturers is to use whatever ammunition it was chambered to use at the time it was manufactured, and is made to current SAAMI standards.

While the above statement is not true, your Ruger will be fine w "+P" (which is equal to regular pressure ammo before they created "+P")

DPris
September 23, 2012, 04:05 AM
I put 5000 rounds (and a smidge more) of +P loads through one, measurable frame stretch & barrel/cylinder gap increase.
Gun still within specs. Forcing cone still passed GO gauge.
Ruger logo mostly worn off the rubber grip.

Trigger pull lightened fractionally, gun shot better at the end.

Ruger told me they'd done 10,000 & only wore the rifling.
Denis

Old Fuff
September 23, 2012, 11:06 AM
While the above statement is not true,

In what way is it not true? Can you cite any manufacturers that don't take the position that older handguns should use the ammunition they were originally chambered for, and that the ammunition should meet curent SAAMI standards?

While you're at it could you explain the difference between CUP and PSI?? :confused: :uhoh:

Guillermo
September 23, 2012, 11:34 AM
Colt and Smith and Wesson regularly tell people not to shoot "+P" out of old revolvers when they know (and you know) that while it wasn't labeled "+P", the old regular ammo was the same pressure.

Or put another way...if you bought a K frame in 1962, and bought ammo the same day, the regular ammo that they sold you at the hardware store, would be labeled "+P" today.

Calling it "high pressure" does not make it so

skt239
September 23, 2012, 12:05 PM
A majority of the ammo I shoot out of my Airweight is +P. I've been doing this for a while now and the gun has not blown up or crumbled in my hands.

Guillermo
September 23, 2012, 12:14 PM
Old Fuff and others can obfuscate and distract all they want.

But in 1972 38 special ammo was "downgraded" to a lower pressure and the regular pressure was relabeled "+P".

Despite his dancing, these are the facts and he knows it.

Discussing the "crusher" test will not change the truth.

Old Fuff
September 23, 2012, 12:47 PM
In post # 4, I said:

The position taken by most (maybe all) manufacturers is to use whatever ammunition it was chambered to use at the time it was manufactured, and is made to current SAAMI standards. Saying anything else could open them to some liability, so to be perfectly frank they won't say anything else. This causes some who want to shoot the hotter loads to throw a temper fit, but that's the way it is.

This paragraph accurately explained the position taken by most, if not all handgun manufacturers and importers, and why they do so. You may (and in fact do) disagree with they're position, but this does not change what they're position is - unless you can cite some specific exceptions.

In the present case, the manufacturer has certified that Plus-P ammunition can be used in the product, and if anyone follows the link I posted they can confirm this, if I am considered to be untrustworthy.

Guillermo
September 23, 2012, 01:17 PM
The position taken by most (maybe all) manufacturers is to use whatever ammunition it was chambered to use at the time it was manufactured

certainly for the OP and his Ruger.

Not so for S&W or Colt 38 revolvers

Old Fuff
September 23, 2012, 01:35 PM
The position taken by most (maybe all) manufacturers is to use whatever ammunition it was chambered to use at the time it was manufactured

You left out: ...and is made to current SAAMI standards.

Anyway, this isn't something that applies to this particular thread. Lets leave it for another one at some future time.

Tony_the_tiger
September 23, 2012, 02:05 PM
LCR .38 + P will be fine with .38 + P rounds. I'd say it is comparable to the S&W 442. My favorite factory rounds are Corbon DPX .38 + P 110 grain, Speer Gold Dot .38 + P 135 grain, and Buffalo Bore SLWCHP .38 + P 158 grain.

As others have mentioned, your hand and/or wallet would likely give up before the LCR does if you shoot much of those.

Should the LCR fail or suffer damage from firing factory ammunition that it is chambered for and provided that ammunition is within spec. Ruger will stand by the product.

Gary A
September 23, 2012, 06:57 PM
I think it is worth noting, in spite of the arguments about today's plus P being no more than yesterdays standard pressure rounds, that a 5,000 + round test with "mostly" plus P ammo did produce, in fact, measurable frame stretching and an increase in barrel/cylinder gap in a modern plus P rated revolver, even though both measurements remained within specifications. This is significant why? Because most questions regarding the use of plus P are in regard to airweight revolvers (often older versions), not full-sized and/or steel-framed revolvers. Modern airweights have largely been slightly beefed up to handle what the companies believe to be a predictable amount of modern plus P ammo and they will do that but they are still aluminum and aluminum will stretch more than steel and recovers less than steel, i.e. it will stretch and not return and can flex only a finite number of times. If a recent build plus P rated aluminum-framed .38 special revolver will show measurable stretching after enough plus p rounds, what about a more lightly built, older non-plus P rated aluminum-framed airweight revolver built when the standard for plus P was 18,500 psi when it is subjected to a steady diet of Speer 135 grain Gold Dots loaded to around 20,000 psi? It won't "blow up" but to tell those that ask that plus P will have no effect on their vintage airweight is untrue, unkind, irresponsible, and just plain bad advice. Everyone should do what they want with their own gun but shouldn't recommend that others ruin fine revolvers.

moxie
September 23, 2012, 08:19 PM
I've got about 300 rounds of +P through my LCR now. Mostly Speer 135 SBs, Rem. Golden Saber 125 BJHP, and some Win. 125 JHP. No problem with any. Gun is like new.

JRWhit
September 23, 2012, 08:55 PM
If your gun is rated for +p you can rest assure that Ruger has made darn sure that the frame and cylinder will actually hold up to more than +P ammunition. But as a method of manufacturing a gun rated for +P must be over engineered to be rated as +P and be shot reliably.
CMA; Do not exceed +P rounds. That's not the intent of my comment,just that if the gun says +P, you need not worry.

The Lone Haranguer
September 23, 2012, 10:04 PM
Standard pressure loads may be used in any .38 Special revolver, but +P loads should be fired extensively only in steel-frame .38 Special
revolvers. Firing a few (under fifty) +P loads in your aluminum-framed
.38 Special revolver will not destroy it or cause it to explode, but will
damage your aluminum-framed revolver if you fire more than a hundred
rounds.
This had some validity 40 or 50 years ago, but I would see what Ruger recommends for it. My guess is they OK the revolver for any ammo that has a SAAMI standard, which there is for .38 Spl. +P.

Old Fuff
September 23, 2012, 10:12 PM
A majority of the ammo I shoot out of my Airweight is +P. I've been doing this for a while now and the gun has not blown up or crumbled in my hands.

... a 5,000 + round test with "mostly" plus P ammo did produce, in fact, measurable frame stretching and an increase in barrel/cylinder gap in a modern plus P rated revolver, even though both measurements remained within specifications.

Which is part of the problem. Stress can be progressive, until (maybe) it reaches a point to where the material is weakened enough to yield. Or it may never reach that point until an unforeseen level of pressure has the same result, and that may or may not happen. Or a catastrophic failure, caused by a sudden, highly elevated pressure that exceeds the material’s yield point may cause an instant rupture.

Some individuals only recognize the latter, and call it a “Kaboom!!” Obviously if that happens there has been a failure caused by something. But the “something may or may not be a Plus-P cartridge in an older gun. For example it can be the cartridge plus an obstruction in the bore.

I have seen a number of revolvers that were “shot loose,” caused by progressive failure (described in my 2nd quote) but not blown up. The 1st quote shows the popular belief that “if it ain’t blown up it’s still O.K.” This isn’t necessarily the case. And shows why manufacturers are very cautious when they deal with questions directed toward certain ammunition in older guns. SAAMI standards are based on the proposition that a given cartridge/load must be safe in any gun it’s chambered in, not necessarily the best or most expensive. Look on the bottom of the box or end flap, and you’ll likely see something like this:

NOTICE: These cartridges are adapted to and intended for use only in arms in good condition originally chambered and designed for the cartridge.

Guillermo
September 24, 2012, 03:02 AM
SAAMI standards are based on the proposition that a given cartridge/load must be safe in any gun it’s chambered in, not necessarily the best or most expensive.

and SAAMI changed their tune in 72.

were they lying BEFORE 72 or after...

but they cannot be telling the truth both BEFORE and AFTER...because their tune changed

eldon519
September 24, 2012, 11:32 AM
and SAAMI changed their tune in 72.

were they lying BEFORE 72 or after...

but they cannot be telling the truth both BEFORE and AFTER...because their tune changed

It's a bit presumptuous to say they were lying. It's extremely doubtful that they were intentionally trying to deceive anyone. I think it's safer to say that as new information came to light and problems were observed, SAAMI adjusted their standards to prevent other firearm owners from unintentionally damaging their revolvers in the future. SAAMI is not a prescient organization that can foresee all problems, and even if it could, the .38 Special cartridge predated SAAMI by nearly 30 years.

And to address the OP, here is what the Ruger owner's manual says:
"The LCR ® is designed specifically for modern higher-powered factory loaded
cartridges, including .38 Special and .38 Special +P ammunition."

eldon519
September 24, 2012, 11:35 AM
EDIT: Double-tap

grendelbane
September 25, 2012, 10:26 PM
My LCR is stamped .38 +p right on the barrel. I do believe it will last a long, long time with +p loads. Eventually, any gun can be worn out.

The LCR is also available as a .357 magnum. Same cylinder and barrel, but the frame is steel instead of aluminum. So the basic design is very strong.

Not all +p ammunition is created equal. Service life with some of the boutique ammo makers may be shorter than service life with +p cartridges from the big 3. I doubt if I would fire more than once if they actually do break 1000 FPS from a 2" barrel. As Dirty Harry said, "A man has to know his limitations".

I have only fired a couple of boxes of +ps from my LCR, but I expect it to last a long time.

Guillermo
September 25, 2012, 10:30 PM
think it's safer to say that as new information came to light and problems were observed, SAAMI adjusted their standards to prevent other firearm owners from unintentionally damaging their revolvers in the future.

where is the evidence of the problem that they were trying to solve?

There was no issue.

Basically they took a V6 Mustang and wrote "GT" on the side of it. The insurance companies then charged more for the "hi performance" vehicle.

Jotting "+P" on the box did not change the fact that it is NOT a hot load any more that writing "Miss January" or "sexy" on Rosie O'Donald's bustier makes her hot.

("juicy" on the other hand :eek:)

Old Fuff
September 26, 2012, 12:47 AM
and SAAMI changed their tune in 72. Were they lying BEFORE 72 or after...
but they cannot be telling the truth both BEFORE and AFTER...because their tune changed

What changed the tune was a new, and far superior way to collect data. For the first time they could do it using actual revolvers (not an unrelated test fixture). They could observe the entire pressure curve from the chamber to the muzzle, and not only determine maximum pressure, but at what point it occured. Last but not least the data could be collected in terms of PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) rather then the abstract CUP (Copper Units of Pressure). After that a whole lot of things changed. :uhoh:

Again the Old Fuff will point out that there is no question that it is safe (but maybe not advisable) to use Plus-P ammunition in those firearms the manufacturer has cited to be O.K. The other issue is using the same ammunition in earlier revolvers that were not intentionally made to stand up to the additional stress over a long period of time, and with the use of substantial quantities.

Guillermo
September 26, 2012, 02:00 AM
earlier revolvers that were not intentionally made to stand up to the additional stress

there was no ADDITIONAL stress

The previous REGULAR AMMO was the SAME PRESSURE as the new "+P"

Changing the way they measure it did NOT change the pressure

the proof is in the VELOCITY

JRWhit
September 26, 2012, 07:51 AM
Velocity does not necessarily dictate pressure. Advances in powder design and burn rates have proven higher velocities without increased pressure. Due to a prolonged peak pressure rather than a sharp high peak pressure that drods off quickly. If anything I would assume that an older cartridge with the same listed velocity as a new box of ammo could possibly yield higher pressures. Bottom line, standards are recognized by law and will be upheld as proof. If you go outside of these standards you can be as right as you want to, but you will be out on a limb on your own, because if you claim that your 38 should not have blown up with +P rounds because SAAMI changed way back when and that +P is the same as regular rounds from such and such date you'll find yourself with a broken gun not covered by warranty and whatever medical cost you accumulated. Sorry, blame the lawyers.

Remllez
September 26, 2012, 09:25 AM
If a person is worried about shooting plus P loads out of his/her gun, the simplest solution is
(don't do it.) it's gotten to the point that people question whether it's safe to shoot plus P's out of guns clearly marked plus P on the barrel!!!

One could always buy a .357 LCR and avoid the .38 caliber plus P confusion all
together.....As for non marked guns Guillermo's comments are spot on.....Changing the writing on the box made it easier for the ammunition manufacturers to justify charging nearly double the money for the same product!

Pure marketing genius....:)

Old Fuff
September 26, 2012, 11:24 AM
JRWhit is correct. New developments in gunpowder combined with better ways to measure pressure sometimes made it possible to elevate velocity without adding much or no additional pressure - in the overall picture.

Guillermo is long on noise and short on knowledge. He is not always wrong, but when he's right he's right for the wrong reasons. :uhoh:

He is not going to be able to get any firearms or ammunition manufacturer to go along with his position that it is safe to shoot unlimited amounts of Plus-P ammunition in arms that are not rated for its use, or in older guns where the exact make, model, condition or age of the particular piece is unknown to them.

To do so would place them in a position of accepting additional liability that they don’t have to assume and can easily avoid. If anyone wants to disregard what they say they can (and often do) but by doing so they remove any responsibility or liability the manufacturer had and take it onto themselves. Sometimes the risk is slight, but occasionally otherwise.

The whole story is an interesting one, but the Old Fuff has neither the time, inclination, nor responsibility to go into a lengthily discussion at this time. Maybe later. ;)

moxie
September 26, 2012, 12:05 PM
Raindog's original post concerned shooting +Ps out of an LCR on a continual basis.

Some have decided to get into/continue what appears to be a longstanding argument about issues not related to the poster's question, which has been answered several times.

Kindly suggest those who wish to argue do so via PM so as to spare the rest of us.

Gary A
September 26, 2012, 12:32 PM
Interesting as the discussion is, Moxie is right. Evidence that we seem to have relating to the original question is that Ruger seems to claim they fired 10,000 plus P rounds though one example with wear only to the rifling. This is not reported in this thread but is easily found searching on this subject. Also, a poster and gun writer who does post on this forum, DPris, reported firing nearly 5300 rounds, mostly plus P, through on with measurable frame stretching and increase in barrel/cylinder gap, though the gun was still in spec and shooting fine. This suggests that while continuous use of plus might have a detrimental effect on the aluminum frame, it won't likely happen in the amount of rounds buyer is likely to put through the gun.

I would have no concern about shooting plus P through an LCR.

Old Fuff
September 26, 2012, 01:02 PM
Some have decided to get into/continue what appears to be a longstanding argument about issues not related to the poster's question, which has been answered several times. Kindly suggest those who wish to argue do so via PM so as to spare the rest of us.

O.K. I think you have a point, although I'm not sure how many other readers are bothered. Never-the-less I will go away.

antiquus
September 26, 2012, 01:14 PM
Just shoot it. Your hand will wear out before the LCR will shooting +P.

DPris
September 26, 2012, 01:49 PM
Regardless of pet obsessions (not you, Fuff) over what +P is or isn't nowdays, the original question has been answered.

My testing of the gun was done with longevity as the primary issue.
Measurements were taken in key areas before & after, I did before accuracy off the bench with several loads and after accuracy off the bench with the same loads.

In between it was 5000 rounds of Black Hills' premium +P loads.
The results were as stated.

I was surprised myself, had not expected the gun to hold up.
I would have no reservations about using +P at LEAST up to 5000 rounds, but beyond that I don't know how long it'd remain in specs.

If you plan to shoot 200 rounds of +P a week indefinitely, you WILL wear it out at some point, which would be much sooner than if you only use it on occasion, or if you use lower-powered loads for practice or recreation.
Denis

Guillermo
September 26, 2012, 06:22 PM
Denis is, of course, correct that the OP's question is answered

The facts are simple and irrefutable

the only difference between a 1970 Remington (take your pick of manufacturer) 38 special cartridge and a 1972 Remington 38 special cartridge is the box that it came in.

If you think that writing "+P" on the box made the ammo more powerful...may God bless you. Being that gullible makes you a target in today's world.

To say that no "firearms or ammunition manufacturer to go along with his position that it is safe to shoot unlimited amounts of Plus-P ammunition in arms that are not rated for its use, or in older guns where the exact make, model, condition or age of the particular piece is unknown to them." is to miss the point. Old Fuff is has done his best to obfuscate, will not answer direct questions on the subject, and stays to his talking points. There is a future for him as White House press secretary.

There is no question that any quality revolver that was safe to shoot regular ammo prior to 1971 is safe to shoot +P if the gun is in working order.

Gary A
September 26, 2012, 07:00 PM
The difference between "safe to shoot" and "advisable to shoot" or "will it cause premature wear to shoot" is quite obvious even if it would appear that some would fuzzy up that difference. The question was never one about safety but about the proper way to take care of a piece of equipment.

At any rate, the discussion seems to taking on a personal dimension and personal accusations are beginning to be tossed about for reasons that escape me so I'm going to retire from the field.

DPris
September 26, 2012, 07:23 PM
Give it a rest, Guill, time to move on.
Denis

Guillermo
September 26, 2012, 07:28 PM
you are right Denis

DPris
September 27, 2012, 12:46 AM
That's four times this year.
Gotta make a diary entry on it. :)
Denis

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