Quantcast

Best No. +P ammo for S&W 640 Centennial

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Mikey5oh, Dec 4, 2019.

  1. SeanSw

    SeanSw Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    1,137
    Location:
    Illinois
    The product page at the Smith and Wesson website says the 640 is "Rated for continuous +P Use". If they're telling you something else then it is in conflict with their own documentation. You should only decide on something you're comfortable with but if it puts your mind at ease you can always buy a .357 magnum and load it down with .38+p. If S&W ever recommends against that then the lawyers have won.
     
  2. Mikey5oh

    Mikey5oh Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2019
    Messages:
    28
    Thanks Sean. I just looked at the website and noticed that. I contacted Smith & Wesson again and they said that they don’t recommend +P for the “older” 640s made before 1997 such as mine which was purchased in 1990. I’m assuming that the statement “Rated for continuous +P Use" is referring to the current model?
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
  3. Mikey5oh

    Mikey5oh Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2019
    Messages:
    28
    I’m not recoil sensitive.
     
  4. Rock185

    Rock185 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Messages:
    855
    Location:
    Rim Country, Arizona
    Mikey5oh, I've owned several J-Frames, and bought my 640 new sometime in the mid '90s. I recall some, earlier than mine, 640s bore the "Tested for +P+" marking. Mine was not so marked, but I doubt that S&W decided to make subsequent 640 production weaker somehow. I carried the gun on and off duty, and was issued +P ammo from the first. Other than the action getting smoother over the last 25 years or so, I can detect no accelerated wear or damage to my gun from use of +P ammo. I have a S&W 940 of similar size, weight and vintage, that operates at the much higher 9MM pressures. I have shot +P and +P+ ammo in the 940, and other than sticky extraction with some +P+ 9MM, have experienced no issues. I guess I'm just saying from a revolver durability standpoint, I have experienced no issues, and have no concerns about use of .38 +P in the J-Frame revolvers. FWIW, The SCSW just says the 640s are rated for +P. I certainly understand from a liability point of view, it is in the manufactuer's best interest to train CS reps to recommend the most conservative approach to any question. I guess best would be that the consumer never load or fire the gun at all;)
    5-shooters (3) - Copy.JPG
     
    Gordon and Mikey5oh like this.
  5. ThomasT

    ThomasT Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    Messages:
    4,223
    Location:
    Burleson,Texas
    I would do whatever you are most comfortable with. Even the new low performance level of 38 Special is a round I would not like to have fired at me. And the hotter the ammo the faster the wear on any gun. But thats not to say firing +P is going to wear out your gun after the first box is fired. Practice with the low power stuff and save the hotter loads for serious use.
     
    Mikey5oh likes this.
  6. golden

    golden Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Messages:
    1,481
    Mikey5oh,

    S&W has upgraded the quality of their guns as far as +P ammo is concerned. That does not mean there is anything wrong with your 640, it just may not be as strong as later guns due to the metal used, heat treatment and any changes S&W has made. I would stick with the "standard pressure" ammo. It is what I have done with my alloy model 12 which is a 6 shot K-frame gun with an aluminum frame and on my 5 shot revolvers like the model 36, 38 and CHARTER ARMS Undercover.
    As for NYPD, when I joined my agency, not the NYPD, they issued +P+ 9m.m. to anyone carrying an approved, personally purchased pistol, like the GLOCK 17 or 19 or a SIG 226. NONE OF THOSE GUNS WERE RATED FOR +P+ because there is no standard for +P+, but they wanted us to carry ammo that was effective and if it wore out our guns sooner, well that was the price we paid. Later on, when we went to the .40 S&W, the very effective ammo that we used wore out our BERETTA 96's, in 10 years. I carried mine for only 8 years, before having to turn it in.

    NYPD was issuing an ammo it considered effective after having a lot of union problems over the 158 grain lead round nose, aka: the widow maker. Your gun will not blow up, but it will shake itself loose to the point it will not function.

    I use HORNADY 110 grain FTX load, the standard pressure, not the +P. I have tried the WINCHESTER Train & Defend, but have had to many problems with WINCHESTER ammo not firing in my S&W'S. This is not a problem in my RUGER'S, I do not know why.

    I have also tried COLT and DOUBLE TAP 110 grain jhp standard pressure ammo in my model 12. They are supposed to be safe, however, flash and recoil were very noticeably increased.

    I am not sure that there is a really good performing standard pressure load for a 2 inch barreled .38 Special.

    Good luck with your search,

    Jim
     
    Gordon and Mikey5oh like this.
  7. Mikey5oh

    Mikey5oh Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2019
    Messages:
    28
    Hey Rock, thank you for your reply. I bought my 640 brand new back in 1990 and there is no markings on the gun that states +P. I also carried the gun on and off duty and was issued +P ammo from my department. I never had an issue until I sent the gun to S&W a few months ago for an inspection. That’s when they told me that the cylinder needed to be repaired because of slight damage to the chambers. When I asked what caused the damage, they said that it could possibly be due to the age of the gun and shooting +P ammunition thru it. They told me that the gun isn’t rated for +P. Someone on this thread just mentioned that the product page on the S&W website states that the 640 is "Rated for continuous +P Use". I’m going to assume (as you mentioned) that the website is referring to the newer 640’s made after 1997. S&W just emailed me today stating -

    Dear Customer,

    Occasional use is okay. We didn't start rating our smaller firearms for full use until 1998.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2020
    Rock185 likes this.
  8. Mikey5oh

    Mikey5oh Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2019
    Messages:
    28
    Hey Jim, I also use the Hornady Critical Defense 110 grain FTX rounds. It’s a great round.. probably the best Standard Pressure round that I’ve personally used. Paul Harrell made a YouTube video which shows its a destructive round but penetration is questionable.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
  9. John Joseph

    John Joseph Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2016
    Messages:
    1,144
    In the standard pressure factory 158 gr LSWC class, Privi Partisan (PPU) seems to have a bit more oomph then the rest of the entries, but that could just be my imagination.
    I'd be grateful just to find .any 158 gr SWC 38 Specs in the stores, these days!
     
    pharmer likes this.
  10. pharmer

    pharmer Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2004
    Messages:
    892
    Location:
    Santo las Nubes, Fl
    Privi lists 900+ fps in non +P 158 gr loadings. I use it all the time, got 2K @ $13/box. Most defensive caliber ammo is "Unobtanium" right now. Joe
     
  11. golden

    golden Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Messages:
    1,481
    MIkey5oh,

    I would not worry so much about penetration. My agency found that 9 inches was all we needed. That was 30 years ago and nothing has contradicted it.

    Jim
     
  12. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2016
    Messages:
    2,245
    Hornady Critical Defense makes some good non +P .38 for their Critical Defense line. The 90 grain option is very good if you want an ultra low recoil choice and don't have an issue with some bullets only getting 10" of penetration while the 110 gr load penetrates, but doesn't expand fully some of the time.

    There are a few other standard pressure choices, but none of them will be as low in price or as common as the Hornady ammo is.
     
    Riomouse911 and Mikey5oh like this.
  13. Buckeye63

    Buckeye63 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2018
    Messages:
    793
    I carry Hornady Critical Defense 110gr standard pressure.... in my Charter Undercover lite .. I try not to practice alot with any 38+P in my 38 spl handguns ... As others mentioned the Federal 130gr
    HST is a extremely mild +P round
     
    Mikey5oh likes this.
  14. Mikey5oh

    Mikey5oh Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2019
    Messages:
    28
    I wish Hornady made a Wadcutter round.
     
  15. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Messages:
    8,047
    With all the different loadings, velocities and bullet weights given here, IMHO, I'd be more concerned with ammo that shot to POA with the fixed sights. A lightweight JHP that gives massive expansion is worthless if it won't hit where it's pointed. A FMJ that is a tack-driver will be much more effective. Folks worry way to much about the hype of boutique ammo and not enough about how it shoots from their gun.
     
  16. Mikey5oh

    Mikey5oh Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2019
    Messages:
    28
    The majority of self defense scenarios are within 7 yards. My main concern would be the amount of damage (stopping power) the round has. Although I prefer Speer Gold and Hornady Critical Defense especially for a snubnose, I’m starting to think about wadcutters.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
  17. Mikey5oh

    Mikey5oh Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2019
    Messages:
    28
    TTv2 my two favorite rounds especially for snubbies are the Speer Gold Dot 135 gr and Hornady Critical Defense. As you mentioned, the issue with a short barrel is the expansion of a hollow points. The Gold Dots have a pretty good track record. I’m also starting to think more about wadcutters. The buffalo bore Standard Pressure 150 grain wadcutter seems like a good choice. The only negative comments I hear about that round is that they may be too hot.. especially for the 642 aluminum frame as well as an older 640.
     
  18. Mikey5oh

    Mikey5oh Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2019
    Messages:
    28
    Hey Thomas, the reason I am inquiring about a non +P round is not because of recoil but because of the gun itself. I purchased my 640 Centennial in 1990 and although the gun has a steel frame, it’s not +P rated as the ones made after 1997.
     
  19. Mikey5oh

    Mikey5oh Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2019
    Messages:
    28
    Jim, the environment is a factor as far as penetration goes. If you are in a cold climate where people are wearing heavy winter clothes, penetration is definitely something to take into account.
     
  20. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Messages:
    3,875
    Location:
    Ca.
    My 640 .38 was bought in 1991, so it was of a similar vintage. I traded it for a 2.5” Model 19 in 1994, a gun that was just sitting in a friends safe untouched for years.

    Back when I had this gun the duty/off duty load issued by the department was the FBI 158 gr +P LSWC. As S&W confirmed, the all steel 1990’s Model 640 reissue is plenty strong for limited +P use, in fact it could probably handle a daily diet of them. I wouldn’t shoot anything but standard pressure loads in the “lemon squeezer” Centennials from days of yore.

    Since most folks don’t shoot a lot of rounds through their snubnosed revolvers because they are not the most pleasant to shoot even with Wadcutter bullseye loads, you’ll rarely find one that’s rattling from use. (You have to shoot an awful lot of .38 +P to loosen the 640 up.)

    Shoot practice loads such as a 158 gr SWC that will have similar recoil as the lighter weight +P defensive loads.

    I load the +P critical defense load in my snub revolvers. I found it has a decent combo of accuracy and expansion/penetration/acceptable recoil for any of my four .38 Spl. snubs (642 and 49 S&W, SP 101 Ruger and new model Colt Cobra.) Hornady also catalogues a non +P version of the same 110 gr load of that is the way you want to go :thumbup:.

    Stay safe.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
    Mikey5oh likes this.
  21. Mikey5oh

    Mikey5oh Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2019
    Messages:
    28
    Riomouse911 thanks for your reply. I remember being issued the 158 gr +P LSWC‘s also. In fact I still have a couple of boxes laying around. I also like the Hornady Critical Defense rounds as well as the Speer Gold Dots. Do you think my 640 can handle these Buffalo Bore Standard Pressure rounds without any problems?
    https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=111
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2020
  22. tubeshooter

    tubeshooter Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2006
    Messages:
    1,594
    For a standard pressure .38 load that can serve for defense, I usually go with LSWC (the hotter the better). Another alternative is some S&B ball that I still have a few boxes of; it seems pretty spicy. Both are 158 grains.


    Some people recommend wadcutters (148 grains). I am not sure if I am on board with this school of thought, but I will put that out there as well.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2020
  23. Gordon
    • Contributing Member

    Gordon Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    10,661
    Location:
    Southern Oregon
    I just want to add personal experience with the Winchester made +P+ LEO issued "Treasury Load" that evemtually was even issued to Park rangers ect. during the revolver days. I shot about 500 of those thru an alloy frame Colt Agent and a few hundred thru an S&W Model 60 in the 70s and early 80s and the Colt did start to loosen before I stopped doing it, the stainless 1980 Model 60 made it OK but I stopped using that "free" duty ammo in anything under a K frame rated .357 .
    Also I was involved in a couple shootings with that load and it's performance was poor IMHO. The suspect in both of those shootings did scream in pain quicker than most bullet wounds to torso from pistols, but it lacked bone breaking power and did not exit the body from a full frontal shot , nor did it expand over .40" or so ! From a 6" barrel pistol to game up to 50 pounds it has shown me to be very effective. Humans not so much. I also saw 90 grain 9mm hollowpoints not so great in performance, remember this was early 80s . I did have personal knowledge about an incident where a close friend used a Colt Agent with that load and it traveled up a shoulder from 12" from muzzle and lodge in the back, very slightly expanded and did not wreck havoc and the subject was back at work two weeks later.
    I would NOT use anything lighter than 124 grains in 9mm or .38/.357 based on my experience and yes todays bullets are far better at short barrel velocity. However weight matters IMHO to break bone and not be deflected.
     
    Mikey5oh likes this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice