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S&W: what does "+P Only" mean?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by MikeJackmin, Aug 8, 2009.

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  1. MikeJackmin

    MikeJackmin Member

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    Here's a blurb from the S&W web site that has me baffled:

    "They [the 442 series] are available in three distinct hammer styles - the "Chiefs Special" with exposed hammer, the "Centennial" frame with fully enclosed hammer and the "Bodyguard" frame (.38 S&W Special +P only) shrouded hammer. Three styles with one idea...perfect personal protection."

    http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=11101&storeId=10001&productId=82470&langId=-1&parent_category_rn=15704&isFirearm=Y

    Does this mean the Bodyguards should only be used with +P ammo, or does it mean that only the Bodyguards should be used with +P, or is this just some sort of mistake?
     
  2. RSVP2RIP

    RSVP2RIP Member

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    I think they mean that the gun is chambered for the 38 special only and not 357, as are the others mentioned. It is also rated for +P.
     
  3. TexasBill

    TexasBill Member

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    The +P means the revolver is rated for standard and +P ammunition. +P is a somewhat more powerful round.
     
  4. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    See this page: http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/...selected=tech&isFirearm=Y&parent_category_rn=

    Note that S&W lists its .357 revolvers as "Caliber: .357MAG/.38+P".

    ".38+P Only" just means "no .357".

    The gun will, however, handle any .38 Special ammo, including "target" or "cowboy" loads. I load up .38 rounds with really light recoil, to use an Airweight for fun shooting. They work great, and they're definitely not +P.:)
     
  5. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Hopefully S&W quality control has not gotten so bad .357 rounds would chamber in one of their .38's. ;)

    Interesting....."+P only"
     
  6. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    I think they're just spec'ing .357s are ".38/.357" to make it clear to people who aren't gunnies, that the revolvers will chamber both.

    .357s won't chamber in my ".38+P only" S&W.:)
     
  7. Blue Brick

    Blue Brick Member

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  8. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Perhaps. Is there any +P+ .38 Spl out there?
     
  9. Blue Brick

    Blue Brick Member

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    +P+-----"Is there any +P+ .38 Spl out there?"

    Yes.
     
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Yes, there are +P+ .38 Spl, and there are the the old 38/44 High-Speed loads that will make a .357 set up and take notice.

    Back in the day, several big police departments used +P+ .38 Spl instead of .357 Magnum for Political Correctness reasons. It shows up for sale on-line occasionally.

    rc
     
  11. herohog

    herohog Member

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    Will a Model 10-8 handle +P and +P+?
     
  12. Blue Brick

    Blue Brick Member

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    Depends on what year....some S&W do and others don't. From my understanding the at one time +P+ was on it's was to be a SAMMI regulated cartridge. Never happened.
     
  13. gwalchmai

    gwalchmai Member

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    +P+ is like a box o' chocolates...
     
  14. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    The above posts are correct IMO, the +P only means no +P+ or .357 Magnums.

    Yes, there are .38 Special +P+ loads out there.
    AMM-351.png
     
  15. DPris

    DPris Member

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    S&W specifies those lightweight revolvers be used ONLY WITH +P .38 SPECIAL AMMUNITION to avoid bullets jumping crimps and traveling forward out of their cases under the sharp recoil generated by the guns. This is with factory ammunition, and doesn't address reloads, since the company officially does not endorse their use.

    +P ammunition generally gets a tighter crimp to aid consistent burn at +P pressure levels, and if a barrel's stamped "+P Only", or the S&W catalog/website lists it that way, that's exactly what it means. Has nothing whatever to do with differentiating between whether the model is chambered for .38 or .357.

    If you use anything less than +P in one of those revolvers, you risk potential bullet pull (usually in the 4th to 5th rounds) sufficient to lodge a bullet far enough forward in the chamber to engage the forcing cone and tie up the cylinder rotation.


    This is old info & a direct result of the bullet pull initially found when the first superlight revolvers were developed by S&W.
    It does not apply to ALL lightweight Smith .38 snubs, and it does not occur instantly with ALL .38 Special ammuntion, but there's a reason why S&W stamps that +P Only on the models where you see the stamping.

    You can use non +P if you want, but you may very possibly end up with a jammed gun after firing three or four rounds that could cost you your life in a defensive situation, or at the very least take some effort to get un-jammed.

    I have one of the early Airlite Tis that's stamped +P Jacketed. S&W warned buyers at the time that standard velocity loads could experience bullet pull, and particularly not to use lead because it jumps a crimp easier than a jacketed bullet. The heavier the lead bullet weight, the greater the liklihood of bullet pull.
    Since the gun wasn't acquired as a range toy, I've never felt the need to use alternative ammunition in it, and never wanted to risk jamming it.

    Very light lead loads should work, since you're not producing the same recoil levels as full-bore commercial ammunition, but in full-powered loads it is not recommended.

    S&W knows what they're doing when they stamp affected guns the way they do, and that's why they do it.

    Denis
     
  16. farscott

    farscott Member

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    Umm, that is not what S&W says. On the current steel J-frames, any standard pressure or +P .38 Special load is fine to shoot. On current Al alloy frames with steel cylinders, +P is acceptable. Here is what S&W says about +P ammo.

    Here is what the MANUAL says about +P+ ammo
    Here is what S&W says in the MANUAL about the ultra-lightweight (Ti, SC, PD) revolvers.

    Note that the manual does not mention any specific loads, other than the lightweight Magnum loads for the guns with Ti cylinders, for these revolvers; it dumps the load selection on the owner.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2009
  17. DPris

    DPris Member

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    I gave the info for what it's worth, and the reason behind the +P Only marking in certain very light-framed S&W revolvers.
    Take it or leave it. Your gun.
    Denis
     
  18. gwalchmai

    gwalchmai Member

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    One thing I've seen in a 638 and a Taurus 85 UL is that given the same (pretty healthy) crimp, 158gr LSWCHPs jumped crimp and locked up the cylinders whereas 135gr SB GDHPs worked fine. Standard pressure loads didn't jump in either gun regardless of bullet.
     
  19. Landpimp

    Landpimp Member

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    yup, I have some +p+ 38's and 9mm
     
  20. farscott

    farscott Member

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    My wife has one of the early 342PDs. It is early enough that is does not have a lock, and it has never seen a +P round. It's usual fare has been Federal Nyclad HP or RN, and my wife or I have never experienced a bullet pull issue with that ammo.

    I will call S&W today and ask about whether S&W recommends shooting .38 Special standard loads in a revolver marked ".38 S&W Special +P Only".
     
  21. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    You can do what you want but there really is no reason to call S&W with that question. If the revolver is rated for .38 Special +P you can shoot standard pressure .38 Special ammo with less pressure safely, just don't shoot ammo which generates more pressure. (like .38 Special +P+)
     
  22. RoyalScam

    RoyalScam Member

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    I think what they mean is that of the 3 styles (Chief's Special, Centennial, and Bodyguard), the first 2 can use both .357 or .38spl+P, but the Bodyguard should only use .38spl+P (or .38spl).
     
  23. RoyalScam

    RoyalScam Member

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    I just noticed ArmedBear's response...I think he had it right...
     
  24. Rodentman

    Rodentman Member

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    Why would the hammer style affect what ammo should be used?

    Also, I have a 638 Bodyguard and the barrel says ".38 S&W SPL +P"

    I interpret that to mean it is rated for +P but can fire any .38 SPL. I have fired all kinds of .38 SPL factory and reloads with no issues.
     
  25. sohcgt2

    sohcgt2 Member

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    I don't know but I suspect if it says .38+p only that is what it means, I suspect that S&W has had an opertunity to test the firearm and for one or many reasons decided that it would be best to only shoot .38+p ammo.
     
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