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why +p

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by dashootist, Sep 20, 2010.

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  1. dashootist

    dashootist Member

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    Whoever came up with the idea of +p? Is it a bad idea? Why wasn't it made with a longer brass to prevent accidental insertion into a non +p gun? When you purchase a non +p gun, do you worry the previous owner used +p ammo?

    My friend gave me his left-over +p ammo. I almost accidentally put them into my regular 38spl gun. Thank god I didn't.
     
  2. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    What gun was it?

    It's highly unlikely that LIMITED shooting of +P in ANY genuine .38 Special is going to cause immediate grievous injury to the gun or one's person. Yes, there are examples frame stretching/cracking and parts breakage in very light duty guns, but generally most pieces are no worse for the wear. Long term usage may result in endshake/timing issues, but the guns don't blow-up!

    On the other hand, slipping a hot .38 Special or .357 Magnum into a Colt New Army just cause they fit is a recipe for disaster. These guns in .38 Long Colt generally have no shoulder in the cylinder chambers, and permit longer more powerful rounds to slide in without issue.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2010
  3. savit260

    savit260 Member

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    Unless you are putting it in a very old (pre WWII) , or cheapo off brand revolver, I wouldn't sweat limited use of it.

    Post WWII all steal revolver from quality manufacturers aren't going to blow apart in your hand from using plus P. Yes, it will wear the revlover faster if you shoot lots of it, but it's not going to be a grenade in your hand.
     
  4. DenaliPark

    DenaliPark member

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    Because when we lengthen the brass and load them up, we call them magnums! +p ammo is not going to kill a modern firearm in limited quantity, most modern .38 special revolvers produced by both Taurus & S&W can eat all the +P you want to stuff down the tube without fear of blowing up the gun or yourself.
    Why +P? Just an attempt to amp up terminal performance, often, +P isn't all that much hotter then the regular factory fare, often no more then 50fps or so at the muzzle.
    Pistol ammo amped up to +P & +P+ is a different story, they can definitely be MUCH hotter then standard factory fare, so be sure you have a pistol that is designed to eat it.
     
  5. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    Plus P is the same cartridge loaded to a higher pressure, which gives the bullet more velocity, hence more power. Some cartridges - like the .38 Special - have a SAAMI designation/specification, but the term is also often used by ammo makers for marketing purposes, whether or not the loading actually has increased power.
     
  6. S&Wfan

    S&Wfan Member

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    Truly, there's nothing wrong with standard pressure ammo. Folks like to hot rod "up" a little in ammo, as if this will turn a .38 Special into a .357 Magnum.

    In any event, a well placed .38 Special round will end the threat a lot faster than a poorly placed .357 round.

    And . . . a gut shot will absolutely ruin your day. Ask Lee Harvey Oswald!;)
     
  7. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    No manufacturer will produce ammo that will fit in a revolver and damage that revolver. The +P on ammo boxes is a marketing gimmick. Today's standard .38 Special factory ammo is anemic at best. The so called +P ammo is lighter than the standard ammo of the day when many of the older none +P rated revolvers were made. Any factory +P ammo on the market with the possible exception of some of the "designer" ammo out there is safe to fire in any post-war steel revolver. You would have done no damage to your revolver if you fired that ammo in your revolver as long as your revolver is in good operating condition.
     
  8. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    It is and always has been the responsibility of the shooter to properly feed his/her weapon.
     
  9. silverado454

    silverado454 Member

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    My story of +p ammo and BERRETA factory. Had yes had a berreta tomcat in .32 cal anemic at best. Bought some Buffalo bore 75 gr Hardcast for penetration had some concerns since this gun has an aluminum frame. So i called Berreta factory warranty station for the west coast located in California of all places. The guy was as rude as alot of Californians are driving. He told me if i shot one yes one of the Buffalo bores thru it it could crack the frame!. Then he asked me if it was over 2 years old which it is. if it cracked it would cost as much to fix as a new gun!. What a warranty so the next gun show i dumped the Berreta bought another gun with lifetime warranty. I will never buy another Berreta ! Warranty sucks as well as California customer service if thats what you choose to call it!. I live in Oregon buy the way. PS. Even though this gun is an auto i thought you guys would appreciate the +p Berreta story.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2010
  10. Waywatcher

    Waywatcher Member

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    The local Federal Marshall has a S&W sixgun very clearly marked .38 Special (NOT +P) and he loads the 158 LSWCHP +P. I did not question him.

    The difference in max pressure is 17K or 20K PSI if I recall correctly.

    If the gun locks up good, has no bulges, and has minimal endshake, that's more important to me than whether or not it was used with +P ammo.
     
  11. The Sarge

    The Sarge Member

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    I assume +P came along to make the "new" hollow points open up and perform better.
     
  12. Waywatcher

    Waywatcher Member

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    Not quite, +P came around to help .38 lead bullets penetrate cars better during prohibition, pre-357. Of course it wasn't called "+P" until the 70s when they standardized the nomenclature. Until then it could be called .38-44, .38 HV etc.
     
  13. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    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 Hi-Speed load was rated at 1,090 FPS.

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

    As you can see, +P is no more likely to damage a modern gun then standard ammo was likely to damage it in 1970, or 1950, or 1930.

    And it is way less likely to damage it then those old Hi-Speed loads.

    rc
     
  14. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    There have been heavier .38 spl loadings for a long time. They used to be called "Police loads" in the 50's and 60's. Any of the medium and large steel framed .38's made from the '50's on will handle +P without any damage to the pistol. Small frame and light aluminum alloy pistols that are not specifically rated for +P can shoot loose or have their frame stretched (aluminum frame).
     
  15. chicharrones
    • Contributing Member

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    The non-Inox Tomcats have a reputation for cracking their frames. I wanted one until I stumbled across that information a couple years ago.

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=beretta+tomcat+cracked+frames&btnG=Google+Search
     
  16. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    Read and then ReRead what RC wrote.

    "+P" is about the same as regular power loads used to be.

    Some people will come along and say "no +P" because "+P" is more powerful than regular pressure 38's. They are right. Your gun will wear even less if you don't put any powder in the case and use the primer to shoot plastic practice bullets.

    The bottom line is that "+P" is not a powerful load. It is marketing hype.
     
  17. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I thought I said that in Post #7...
     
  18. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    Angel,

    You did say the same thing, in essence.

    The actual statistics that RC added are often really good at putting things into prospective.

    Heck, when one of you guys comment on these issues the only reason that I bother is that a chorus is more convincing than a solo (or a duet).
     
  19. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Guillermo,
    I agree, RC always has good information and he has a way of making things clear...
     
  20. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    Beginning in the 1970s the ammo companies began reducing the power level in their 38 Special ammo due to lawsuits from owners of cheap, imported pistols being damaged by regular ammo. Loads from the 1970s and earlier clock around 850-900 FPS in my testing. Current offerings from the big ammo makers run 730-750.

    To compensate they created the +P which is still loaded well below maximum pressure but is hotter than the standard 750 loads. The +P is a 125 at 925 and this is not a hot load at all. It's very mild. But this allows them to say "we told you not to use +P in your Star or Ruby or whatever crappy gun you have."

    Of course, the lawyers make them go way overboard and say +P isn't safe in a Colt or S&W made before 1980 which is utter nonsense.

    Pictured below is a 1942 S&W shown with the 500 rounds of +P and some of the 600 rounds of my own +P+ (125@1,150) that I fired through it for fun.

    [​IMG]
     
  21. MagnumDweeb

    MagnumDweeb Member

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    Okay SaxonPig but did you shoot all that through the revolver and what was the end result?

    Buffalo Bore is one of the few ones it seems to have a really hot .38 special 158 grain load at 1000fps from a 2 inch barrel.

    The saddest thing about the SAAMI neutering cailbers is that the .357 magnum isn't really a magnum(158 grain at less than 1250fps from a 6" barrel) anymore it seems. It's just a really hot .38 special in the 1100 to 1200 fps range.
     
  22. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    I shot all of it and a lot more over the years. Nothing happened.

    Same is true with my J frame 38s (although I haven't shot them as much).
     
  23. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Ain't that the sad truth. We are being cheated from the full potential of the caliber we choose to shoot all because a few bone-heads and a bunch of lawyers can't do the right thing!
     
  24. DWFan

    DWFan Member

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    quote:
    "The saddest thing about the SAAMI neutering cailbers is that the .357 magnum isn't really a magnum(158 grain at less than 1250fps from a 6" barrel) anymore it seems. It's just a really hot .38 special in the 1100 to 1200 fps range."

    There is a method to the madness. In the rush to the semi-auto's, how are you going to make such claims as the ".357 SIG equals the .357 Magnum" or the "10mm equals the .41 Magnum" if you don't castrate the Magnums first? Would the .357 SIG have been such a "wonder" cartridge if folks had known it didn't do anything the 9x23 Winchester doesn't do except reduce ammo capacity?
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2010
  25. oldfool

    oldfool Member

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    "cheated from the full potential of the caliber"

    I dunno. Hey, I miss the good 'ol days too (for a lot of other reasons), but cannot say I feel much cheated by today's 357s. True, there is some very natural appeal in a hotter 357 for hunting loads, but I would be shooting 'em out of a carbine if I had 'em, not a 4"-6" revolver... and I own a 30-30 anyway

    There are diminishing returns from pretty much any caliber magnum load out of 6" or less barrel, re: the bang-flash and felt recoil vs. velocity gain. Notably, 38+P (whatever it is or ain't) being real popular amongst us snubbie folks (even moreso amongst airweight snubbie folks), just because of the 357 flash-bang factor "as is".

    Not real convinced that a hotter 357 would do anything truly practical for me, that SAAMI don't get done anyway. Always did think of the 38/357 family as a 90 percenter, (good for 90 percent of anything I would choose to do), not a 100 percenter. That's why they make other calibers. Then again, they make reloaders, too, of course.

    Shucks, I don't even drive my car as fast as I used to, never did drive it as fast as it could go, not but once anyway... but I mostly still get there :)
    yep "old blue" really would do 100+mph on the highway, they called the 455 a "rocket" V8 for a reason, I guess, but once the speedometer pegged out, I backed out
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2010
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