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+P+ brass

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by efelien, Sep 12, 2010.

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  1. efelien

    efelien Member

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    Hello,
    I landed a screaming deal from an ad in the local shopper. A guy was selling 1000 38 special once-fired cases for $20. When I got home with them (plus 2 reloading manuals he threw in for nothing) , I found that they were Federal For Law Enforcement Only and headstamped "+P+". Does this mean that they are heavier duty - maybe thicker walls and should last longer?
     
  2. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Member

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    Haven't seen the +P+. The regular +P is the same case as the 38 spl, but with a different marking. I suspect the +P+ is the same situation.
     
  3. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    You could weigh one versus a standard or +P case of the same brand. That would tell you quickly if it were beefed up.
     
  4. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    SAAMI doesn't recognize the "+P+" nomenclature. It is a pure fabrication of the manufacturer's Marketing department. Therefore, the load, as well as the brass used to make the load, could be anything or nothing.

    In the case of a reputable firm like Federal, I would have to assume this is a special load they only want available to law enforcement.
     
  5. MMCSRET

    MMCSRET Member

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    Treasure dept of the U.S. Govmint ordered a special load back in the early '80s. It was a 110 gr. JHP loaded to +P+ levels. They were using them in S&W M60 and some other light revolvers and had several failures of a catastrophic nature and the contract was nullified. I have several thousand WCC +P+ nickel and brass 38 cases dated 82 and up to 87. I got mine from a USDA Forest Service Law Enforcement officer picked up on a range used by DOE, BLM, USFS, and ATF. I cross sectioned cases of different head stamps commercial, military and these +P+ and they measure almost identical. As with mil-spec cases, the walls are slightly thicker but the base web seems to be identical to commercial R-P.
    What is the full head stamp ID on your cases, Year, Maker and +P+???
    I'm curious because I have never seen FC +P+, only WCC.
     
  6. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I have a few +P+ .38 Spl brass. It is just mixed in with other "misc" cases. Haven't used it yet or done any weighing/testing. Don't remember what maker they were.

    The cases should be just fine to use. I wouldn't lose any sleep over it. I doubt they are heavy enough (if even heavier) to make a difference.

    Welcome to THR
     
  7. 918v

    918v Member

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    I load my 38 to -P- levels.
     
  8. janobles14

    janobles14 Member

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    hehe too funny!!
     
  9. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    Examine the economic logic of making a special heavier case for a round with limited production for a pressure level that's relatively moderate even at +P+ since it still must be safe in revolvers chambered for it and that should answer your question.

    I would bet that if you weigh those cases compared to others of the same manufacture you only may find insignificant difference that can be explained simply by different dates of production.
     
  10. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    You can always check the case capacity with water. Fill a standard or +P .38 Special case and check the results against the +P+ case. If they are the same there's no problem with using your normal load data. If the case has less capacity you will probably have to adjust the charge weight.
     
  11. efelien

    efelien Member

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    MMCSRET
    Hey, thanks for the info. Doesn't seem to have any date on the box. Lot #16C-0472, and the boxes are all bar coded. The cases are all Ni plated, and the headstamp reads
    "FC 38 spl +P+" . When I weighed several on my powder scale, they all seemed virtually identical to other Federal cases. They were all loaded with 110 grain controlled expansion bullets and have the code "No. 38F-TD For Law Enforcement use only" on the box ends.
     
  12. MMCSRET

    MMCSRET Member

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    Several agencies used the load as shown by my source for the ones I was given. They don't makem like that no more!!!!!!! and I'm glad.
     
  13. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    In that case it's a safe bet the cases are indeed identical in capacity. I would load then up as you do all your other .38 Spacial cases and not worry about them at all...

    Thanks for the info on these cases on the outside change I come across some in the future.
     
  14. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    A historical note:

    The "Treasury Load" was first loaded by Winchester in the mid 1970's under the "Q Load" product line, which was for special orders. Several Federal agencies used the load, which was the 110 grain JHP bullet loaded pretty hot. The Calif. Highway Patrol also adopted the round prior to switching over to the S&W 4006 pistol. The Air Force did some high speed photography in ballistic gelatin that was pretty impressive. I viewed the film several times, and tried to get our department to adopt the round, but County Counsel wouldn't allow the Sheriff to sign the liability waiver that Winchester required before they would sell the ammunition to an agency. I had several phone conversations with the Vice President of Winchester Ammunition at the time, and he told me they were in the process of developing the Silver Tip bullet for use in handgun ammunition and that it would be even better than the +P+ Q load, and would be available without a waiver. The issue they were trying to cure was the aluminum jacket separating from the lead core, which they eventually solved. We adopted the Silver Tip line in several calibers and it served us well. Later on, Federal also loaded ammunition to the same specifications under government contract, which they won in open bidding.

    The brass is the same brass used in +P loadings and is fine for reloading. I've fired many rounds of this ammunition, but never chronographed any of it. I still have about a dozen boxes of the loaded ammunition, and if I remember, I'll take some to the range the next time I'm going to do some chronograph work and see what they run out of 4" and 6" barrel .38 revolvers.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
     
  15. gwalchmai

    gwalchmai Member

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    Fred, I thought the "Treasury Load" was a +P 158gr LSWCHP.
     
  16. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    gwalchmai,

    No, the +P 158 gr. LSWCHP load was the "FBI Load". The FBI was carrying that round when I was at the NA, at Quantico, VA, in 1978 for a Rangemaster school put on by the Academy staff at Quantico. At that time it was being made by Federal. Their standard sidearm was a 2" heavy barrel Model 10. Beautiful facility, by the way. Looks like a college campus. Great staff, too.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
     
  17. ironhead7544

    ironhead7544 Member

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    I was a Border Patrol Agent back in the 80ties. We used the +P+ 110 grain loads. 1200 fps from a 4 inch M66 S&W. The brass was heavier, about 7 grains and has less capacity. Dont think it would make much difference when reloading.
     
  18. lwknight

    lwknight Member

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    You can bet that +P+ stamped brass is heavy brass.
    Also the same exact brass may not be marked.
    Most brass , marked or not is heavy walled.
    And you never know by the manufacturers stamp because it depends on the vintage.
    S&B and Mag-tech are 2 that come to mind that all are heavy brass.
    I never weighed any of it and didn't care. The capacity is so close and I'm not entering a turkey shoot contest.
     
  19. Clark

    Clark Member

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    I don't know about 38 sp, but I do know about 9mm and 45acp.

    9mm RP, 9mm RP +P, and 9mm RP +P+ are all the same brass with different marking.

    45 acp starline or any brand brass as a base line
    45 acp starline +P has thicker walls and holds less powder
    45 Super starline is just like 45acp, but different marking
    460 Rowland starline is just like 45acp, but different marking and slightly longer.

    What does it all mean?
    Sometimes you must cross section the brass to compare.
     
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