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Thread: 38 Special-+P

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
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    Like Petrol, I too generally load plus P cartridges in Nickled casings, but a more visible sign is the projectile used. A wad cutter or Round-nosed Boolit indicates standard velocity or below, while my +P loads are hollow-points, jacketed or cast. Makes it easy at a glance to tell which is which.

    My Model 38 has a cylinder gap of .10 now, thanks to a heavy diet of plus p loads, back in the day when it was my only back-up/off-duty weapon. The admonition to avoid heavy loads in aluminum framed guns is well heeded.
    Last edited by rintinglen; 01-11-2020 at 12:02 PM.
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  2. #22
    Boolit Buddy ACC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hickory View Post
    In 1935 S&W developed the 357 magnum.
    People are not without a more powerful alternative option to the 38 special.
    Keep the 38 special, special.
    I'm with you. I wish he would go read my post about what can happen if you over pressure a gun. You sir are a wise man.

    ACC

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by rintinglen View Post

    My Model 38 has a cylinder gap of .10 now, thanks to a heavy diet of plus p loads, back in the day when it was my only back-up/off-duty weapon. The admonition to avoid heavy loads in aluminum framed guns is well heeded.
    .10" that is impressive. Did you mean .010"?
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 01-11-2020 at 06:15 PM.
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACC View Post
    I'm with you. I wish he would go read my post about what can happen if you over pressure a gun. You sir are a wise man.

    ACC
    I've read the post and if it actually happened it's tragic but at best is a gross misrepresentation of reality. First the claim of 357 pressure in a 38 Spec. with factory ammo?????? Not even close to reality. The 357 is 35K, the 38 Spec is 17K and the 38 Spec +P is 20K. So a firearm rated for +P is unsafe with +P????

    If in fact the revolver actually had an aluminum cylinder it was a pre-37 Chief Special Airweight/Model 12 manufactured in the 50's. They were not safe when new and time has not changed that fact.

    You claim the loads were Buffalo Bore +P+ yet Buffalo bore does not sell +P+ 38 Spec loads. They do sell +P.

    Per your quote of the RSO "These were way too high pressure for this gun according to the RSO. He said it looked like the first two shots bulged the aluminum cylinder and the last one was too much and it came apart." Aluminum cylinder?? RSO qualifications? Apparently he got the material in the cylinder wrong so what else did he get wrong. How did the RSO know the first two shots bulged the cylinder unless that part of the cylinder remained???? If that much of the cylinder remained what did all the hand damage? Any pictures?

    Through the years I have inspected 8 or 10 revolvers that have blown. I was on site for three. They all looked like this these https://www.bing.com/images/search?q...n+up&FORM=IGRE and surprisingly no injuries or very minor injuries.

    Your description of "It took the better parts of two fingers and heavily damaged the rest on her left hand and injured her right hand pretty badly." is a description of a gun that hand grenaded. Whatever the cause that type of failure was not from shooting 20K pressure ammo in a firearm that possibly was only rated for 17K pressure. The exception is if it was a pre-37 Chief Special Airweight aluminum cylinder. In that case the cylinder should have been replaced with a steel one 60 years ago.

    On a side note the current S&W Airweight SS or Titanium cylinders used for the 38 Special +P are the same dimension (except for the chambering) as used in the 357 version. On the 357 they went with a Scandium frame to prevent frame stretch. Unless they are doing a different heat treat (doubtful) the current cylinders will handle 357 pressures, however, the standard aluminum frames won't. https://www.smith-wesson.com/firearms/model-360-pd My 360PD is the early version that is 38 +P only. I would like the 357 version but mine shoots prefect POI with Federal Hydra Shok 129gr +P. It also is the best shooting handgun of that size that I have ever handled.

    Something isn't adding up.

    Interesting read here http://smith-wessonforum.com/s-w-rev...test-done.html
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 01-12-2020 at 01:07 AM.
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

  5. #25
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by M-Tecs View Post
    .10" that is impressive. Did you mean .010"?
    Doh! Indeed .010, ten thousandths, not one tenth... my computer is packed for a move and my iPad does me no favors when trying to type.
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  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by rintinglen View Post
    Doh! Indeed .010, ten thousandths, not one tenth... my computer is packed for a move and my iPad does me no favors when trying to type.
    Figured it was a typo. Any idea what it measure when new? I don't know it this is correct or not but I have read that S&W considered .011" max. I do know that on my DW's when I gap less than 004" carbon build up creates cylinder drag if I shoot very much.
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

  7. #27
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M-Tecs View Post
    Figured it was a typo. Any idea what it measure when new? I don't know it this is correct or not but I have read that S&W considered .011" max. I do know that on my DW's when I gap less than 004" carbon build up creates cylinder drag if I shoot very much.
    Don't know what current specs are, but when I worked in the industry in QA (1980s):

    Min. build assembly before proofing pass 0.002/0.003 hold, min. acceptance after proofing pass 0.003/0.004 hold

    Mean Assembly Tolerance pass 0.005/0.006 hold, measured with rear gage in place

    Max. Acceptance after proofing pass 0.008/0.009 hold, measured with rear gage in place

    Customer Service Maximum pass 0.009/0.010 hold, measured with rear gage in place

    If you don't have Go HS gages, take the measurements with sized empty brass in every other chamber.
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  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outpost75 View Post
    Don't know what current specs are, but when I worked in the industry in QA (1980s):

    Min. build assembly before proofing pass 0.002/0.003 hold, min. acceptance after proofing pass 0.003/0.004 hold

    Mean Assembly Tolerance pass 0.005/0.006 hold, measured with rear gage in place

    Max. Acceptance after proofing pass 0.008/0.009 hold, measured with rear gage in place

    Customer Service Maximum pass 0.009/0.010 hold, measured with rear gage in place

    If you don't have Go HS gages, take the measurements with sized empty brass in every other chamber.
    Thanks for the actual data. Did S&W proof every gun? When they proofed one shot or did they load all the holes in the cylinder? Did they use the SAAMI proof load pressures for testing?

    For those interest in the SAAMI proof specs. page 180 - 189. *note in the case of the 38 Special and the 45 ACP SAAMI lists the pressure for standard 38 Spec and 45 ACP as obsolete. They use the higher +P pressure.
    https://saami.org/wp-content/uploads...sting-Copy.pdf

    The 93,500 max for the 454 Casull and 460 S&W is impressive.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 01-12-2020 at 03:09 PM.
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

  9. #29
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    I load all types but mostly target 38sp. When I head to the top I use my Blackhawks. Lately as I have a few like my Masterpiece I wouldnt want to use higher stuff in I bought Starline Brass stamped "+P" to keep it seperate. To tell the truth there are not many loads like that but my wife loves my...errr... her Chiefs Special for berry picking so I do a few but as a rule if i want that much power I go to a 357 Mag.

    Dont ask a pistol to be something its not. There are guns for that.

    Want really high end 38sp? That's called a 357 Mag.
    45LC that's more impressive than a uber max H110 260gr through a Blackhawk in case of rampaging Rhinos? 454 was made for that
    Last edited by jonp; 01-12-2020 at 03:11 PM.
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  10. #30
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M-Tecs View Post
    Thanks for the actual data. Did S&W proof every gun? ...
    In the 1980s S&W got caught cheating on proof by the Contracting Officers Technical Representative. It was noted that the burn stains on the cylinder face of some stainless revolvers was not the same color on all chambers, one charge hole being black and the others brown. Questioned guns were sent to the ATF bomb lab for electron microprobe analysis of the powder residues, which confirmed that the contractor was cheating on proof in violation of the contract requirements for six proof rounds. Those guns were returned to the factory for re-proofing in the presence of the government's Contracting Officers Technical Representative who flew up from FLETC.

    Out of 1200 rounds fired in retesting there were 34 misfires, or 2.8% which is a Major Category defect. The misfired rounds were sent to Picatinny Arsenal for analysis. It was determined that the firing pin indents were off center more than 1/2 the diameter of the striker point, another Major Category Defect in violation of the contract requirement. These are the sort of things that can happen when people aren't paying attention, and the bean counters instead of the engineers were in charge. You will never read about this stuff in news stand gun rags who are whores to their advertisers.

    You have to have “been there.”

    The entire lot of S&W revolvers was rejected and the contract given to the next qualifying bidder. I was then Ruger's Quality Assurance Manager for the Newport, NH facility and yes, we used SAAMI/ANSI/CIP qualified proof loads in all six charge holes and after proofing guns were 100% Magnaflux inspected using the wet method with continuous circular magnetization. Thanks for asking. I left the company in 1988 and can't speak to practices after I left.
    Last edited by Outpost75; 01-12-2020 at 03:48 PM.
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  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by M-Tecs View Post
    Thanks for the actual data. Did S&W proof every gun? When they proofed one shot or did they load all the holes in the cylinder? Did they use the SAAMI proof load pressures for testing?

    For those interest in the SAAMI proof specs. page 180 - 189. *note in the case of the 38 Special and the 45 ACP SAAMI lists the pressure for standard 38 Spec and 45 ACP as obsolete. They use the higher +P pressure.
    https://saami.org/wp-content/uploads...sting-Copy.pdf

    The 93,500 max for the 454 Casull and 460 S&W is impressive.
    Outpost75: That is quite interesting reading and I was looking for something like that a few weeks ago. I find it interesting that the 38sp and 45ACP are obsolete concerning proof loads and manufacturers use +P for the standard. That answers the question about if a modern firearm can stand those loads as long as they are built by someone that adheres to SAAMI standards.

    Considering your background, seeing as the 45 Colt uses 22,000 psi as a max proof, just how strong are the Ruger Blackhawks? I know I'll never get close enough to blow one up but what does Ruger use as a standard? 1.5x max proof so around 33-35,000 psi?
    I am become death. The destroyer of worlds

    We all do our duty when there is not cost to it, honor comes easier then. Sooner or later there comes a day in every man's life when it is not so easy, a day when he must choose and live with it for the rest of his days.

    The further society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it
    George Orwell

    "I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery."
    - Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, January 30, 1787

  12. #32
    Boolit Master
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    CIP keeps it simple on this side of the pond:



    Lots of interesting read in this thread,thank you all.

  13. #33
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    One additional fallacy most often believed is that all factory ammo is loaded to the SAAMI or CIP MAP/PMAP. Factory ammunition is worked up, using non-canister powder, to a certain velocity level +/- while remaining under the SAAMI or CIP standards. The actual MAP/PMAPs of rifle ammunition can be and usually are, several thousand psi below the MAP/PMAP for the cartridge. "Premium" ammunition is many times is right at or even slightly above the MAP/PMAP. Handgun cartridges are many times 2 -3 thousand psi lower than the MAP/PMAPO for the cartridges. However, some older pre-SAAMI standard handgun cartridges, can have psi higher than SAAMI MAP because they are still loaded to older factory standards (the 32 S&W and 32 S&WL are good examples).

    When I pressure/velocity test factory ammunition I always pull down a cartridge in each box to weight and measure the diameter of the bullet and to determine the type (flake, extruded or ball) of powder and the weight of the charge. I have found many cartridges of the same make and product number [different boxes with different lot numbers of course] with different types and weights of powder in them. The psi was most often well below the SAAMI MAP. Many would be surprised just how large the +/- velocity allowance is for factory ammo not only as specified by SAAMI but also in actual measurement.
    Larry Gibson

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  14. #34
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonp View Post
    ...Considering your background, seeing as the 45 Colt uses 22,000 psi as a max proof, just how strong are the Ruger Blackhawks? I know I'll never get close enough to blow one up but what does Ruger use as a standard? 1.5x max proof so around 33-35,000 psi?
    Ruger used standard SAAMI proof loads for production in .45 Colt, but the engineering dept. when I worked for the company had Remington produce some "double-proof" loads which approximated the pressure levels used for proofing .44 Magnum (1980s, this pre-dated the Casull) and a test run of revolvers digested these with no issues.
    Last edited by Outpost75; 01-13-2020 at 03:08 PM.
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  15. #35
    Boolit Master Wheelguns 1961's Avatar
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    This is a great thread! Thank you all!
    Due to the price of primers, warning shots will no longer be given!

  16. #36
    Boolit Master FergusonTO35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outpost75 View Post
    Ruger used standard SAAMI proof loads for production in .45 Colt, but the engineering dept. when I worked for the company had Remington produce some "double-proof" loads which approximated the pressure levels used for proofing .44 Magnum (1980s, this pre-dated the Casull) and a test run of revolvers digested these with no issues.
    Makes sense, given that the Blackhawk was chambered in magnum rounds from the get-go.
    Currently casting and loading: .32 Auto, .380 Auto, .38 Special, 9X19, .357 Magnum, .257 Roberts, .30 WCF, .45-70 Gov't.

  17. #37
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    You have to know that if a manufacturer builds a gun capable of withstanding magnum pressure and only chambers it in a low pressure cartridge, somebody is going to try to make that standard pressure cartridge a magnum. People just do that kind of thing.
    Ruger was smart to proof those handguns at high pressure. They knew people would push the limits.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonp View Post
    ... just how strong are the Ruger Blackhawks? I know I'll never get close enough to blow one up but what does Ruger use as a standard? 1.5x max proof so around 33-35,000 psi?

    When you consider that Ruger chambers the 10mm Auto in the Blackhawk and it has a SAAMI max pressure of 37,500 PSI (259 MPa), and the .454 Casull is SAAMI spec'd somewhere 60,000 CUP (410MPa)...

    Suffice it to say that Blackhawks are CRAZY strong!

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd N. View Post
    When you consider that Ruger chambers the 10mm Auto in the Blackhawk and it has a SAAMI max pressure of 37,500 PSI (259 MPa), and the .454 Casull is SAAMI spec'd somewhere 60,000 CUP (410MPa)...

    Suffice it to say that Blackhawks are CRAZY strong!
    Proof load for the .454 Casull is 93,500 max.
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

  20. #40
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    yup most test there guns at twice operating pressures. Kind of the industry standard. Do people overload guns and get hurt? Sure they do but some also drive there camaro a 150mph down a 2 lane road. You cant cure stupid. Even 38s that aren't rated for plus p can be used with it. I had an old detective special. I shot a TON of plus p out of it and it eventually needed a rebuild but most colts of that era needed a rebuild with even that much standard pressure ammo. It might loosen up a gun but it isn't going to blow up a gun. Not unless the gun is defective and then again even standard pressure loads could do it. I wonder how many 45 colt ruger single actions were sold because people proved they were capable of twice the power factory ammo gave. Or if the 357 would even have been made if people didn't play with mag level loads in the 38/44s. Or the 44 mag if elmer didn't play with 44 specials and 45 colts.
    Quote Originally Posted by M-Tecs View Post
    Proof load for the .454 Casull is 93,500 max.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check