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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently bought my wife a Charter .38 special revolver for CC. At the time, I also asked for a box of ammo for the gun. The sales person gave me a box of .38 special +P because they didn't have any non +Ps left (is "non +P" even the term for this?). I later went home and read through the gun manual stating that it does NOT recommend using +P ammunition.

Question 1: What's the difference between +P and non +P ammo?

Question 2: Does it really make that much of a difference to the gun itself or the safety of the user and should I return the box and get non +P?

Thanks for you help in advance!
 

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I also bought my wife a Charter revolver in .38 spl. +P ammunition is loaded at higher pressures for higher velocities where "non-+P ammo is loaded to lower or standard pressures for that particular cartridge. This extra pressure increases stress on the frame of the gun which may lead to some type of decrease in the integrity of it. I don't know if it would be safe or not, it might just be a liability issue for the manufacturer, however I personally and don't take that chance on our Charter. I'd try to take it back or try to sell it so anyone with a .38 or .357 revolver.
 

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Most modern firearms are capable of handling +P ammunition. HOWEVER, if the manual specifically states NOT to shoot +P ammo out of that firearm, I would NOT do it.
 

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The "right" answer: Don't shoot anything the manufacturer doesn't recommend. Sell the ammo to somebody (since it's usually not returnable).

The "if it were me" answer: If the cylinder is stainless or titanium you're probably ok (they're much stronger than most other metals). I was really nervous the first time I tried the .357 +P+ "hunting round" that I bought from Midwall at the gun show. But the little Taurus 605SS took it like a champ. Stung my hand a little.. When I was 7 I learned the hard way that a firecracker doesn't really blow your hand off, and I've had plenty of uncomfortable kabooms since then. :)

In the end it's up to you. You could write to Guns and Ammo TV to see if they'll run a torture test for you. Or if the store you bought the Charter from rents guns, see if they allow the +p ammo to be used in their rental of the same model. Or you could take the wise route and get her the low power ammo the gun was designed for.

If you decide to sell the ammo let me know, my daughter prefers the light recoil 38 +p rounds in her 357. :)

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ruger Collector said:
...If you decide to sell the ammo let me know, my daughter prefers the light recoil 38 +p rounds in her 357. :)
I honestly would feel more comfortable using non +P ammo. We shot some +P range-ammo when we first bought the gun and it kicked a lot harder than my wife would like. If you're interested in buying it off of me, please let me know; I would love to get rid of it and buy some non +Ps. I would imagine it would kick a lot less so my wife will actually "want" to go shooting with me. We still have half a box of range-ammo left and a brand new box of hollow-points.

Thanks for all your input!
 

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My CC gun is a small S&W 642. It has .38 S&W Special +P stamped on the barrel. I carry Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel .135 gr +P rounds for SD ammo. I've shot hundreds of +P through the gun but find that some regular .38 special rounds have just as strong recoil. Those Sellier & Bellot 158 gr. .38 special SP rounds give just as much perceived kick than either the Federal Hydro-shok or Speer Gold Dot +P rounds. Now if you want kick shoot a .357 out of a 12 oz. S&W 360. You will only do it a few times. OUCH!

Now what you DON'T want to do is use +P+ ammo unless the gun specifically is rated for it. That ammo in .38 special can even be a higher pressure than a .357 round and can cause serious injuries. We don't want to be reading about that later on this forum. PLEASE DON'T!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
knayrb said:
...Now what you DON'T want to do is use +P+ ammo unless the gun specifically is rated for it...
So is +P+ just rated at higher pressures for higher velocties then compared to the +P. If not, what's the difference?
 

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So is +P+ just rated at higher pressures for higher velocties then compared to the +P. If not, what's the difference?
That is correct. They are about 20-25% overpressured. One thing I've heard is that there really isn't a defined pressure standard so you are taking a chance that your firearm will not function correctly or even damage it or you. They are typically loaded above SAAMI (http://www.saami.org) specs.

If I was dead determined to use +P+ ammo, I wouldn't try it in anything but a tough revolver like a Ruger or S&W. That's just my opinion though.
 

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I've even seen a S&W Model 29 break under the pressure of my reloads. In fact, the powder charge I used was well within SAAMI specs, just at the higher end of the spectrum.

And Rugers are DANG tough guns. They've handled everything I've ever thrown at them without any overpressure signs, but I'm just not sure I'd trust ANY +P+ ammo that wasn't reloaded and tested by starting from the bottom and moving up slowly.
 

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I have to correct myself on my prior post. I was curious about shooting +P+ in a S&W. I have a all stainless steel S&W model 686-6 7-shot. I looked up in the manual and it says:

“Plus-P-Plus (+P+) ammunition must not be used in Smith &
Wesson firearms. This marking on the ammunition designates that
it exceeds established industry standards, but the designation
does not represent defined pressure limits and therefore such
ammunition may vary significantly as to the pressures generated."

I changed my mind and would NOT shoot it in a S&W. I totally agree with Rugers being one tough firearm, especially the single action revolver models.
 

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Good post.....that's what I thought. :wink:

And yes, I LOVE my SuperBlackhawk because of that fact. TOUGH AS NAILS.
 

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And yes, I LOVE my SuperBlackhawk because of that fact. TOUGH AS NAILS.
+1 (+1+ even) on that. The dumbest thing I've ever done involved a Ruger Blackhawk .44 magnum with a 10 1/2 inch barrel. My friend mistakenly reloaded a round with no powder and I shot it. The bullet didn't come out of the gun and very little recoil was felt. Like a complete moron I fired a second round. It didn't exit either but this time I looked at the barrel and could see a bullet 1/2 inch from the end. The barrel was bulged big time about 2 inches back but not cracked. The gunsmith at Gallensons removed 2 bullets but suggested a new barrel of course. I think that gun saved my life from a stupid mistake. I got the new barrel and it's good as new. If I had done that with a gun of lesser toughness I might not be here today.
 

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knayrb said:
I have to correct myself on my prior post. I was curious about shooting +P+ in a S&W. I have a all stainless steel S&W model 686-6 7-shot. I looked up in the manual and it says:

“Plus-P-Plus (+P+) ammunition must not be used in Smith &
Wesson firearms. This marking on the ammunition designates that
it exceeds established industry standards, but the designation
does not represent defined pressure limits and therefore such
ammunition may vary significantly as to the pressures generated."

I changed my mind and would NOT shoot it in a S&W. I totally agree with Rugers being one tough firearm, especially the single action revolver models.
Yes! Be aware that there is 38Spl and 38+P and 38 +P+ ammo. Each step up is a step up in pressure. If the manufactures says, "Don't use +P or +P+, I wouldn't.

My wife has a S&W mod 60 in 357. She only shot two hot 357 loads then couldn't stand the recoil. She then shot 38Spl for a while. Then she was disgusted by the cleaning problem where the 38s are shorter brass and you get that ring of crud in the cylinders. So in the end, I bought some 357 brass and reloaded her some comfortable loads. Now she is happy and enjoys shooting the Mod 60.

The book on the Mod 60 also says do not use 38+P+.
 

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I agree. Let's clarify this so no one gets hurt. A S&W Model 60 (2.13", 3", or 5" barrel) which is has both a stainless steel frame and cylinder, you can shoot:

.38 Special
.38 Special +P (plus+P)
.357 Magnum

(This is what is specified in the S&W 2007 Product Guide.)

Do not use .38 Special +P+ (plus-P-plus) rounds in that gun.

As for the Charter Arms .38 Special, if the manual says nothing about .38 special +P or says not to use them then don't. Only use .38 Special. IMO I would even use a little caution with Fiocchi ammo because they seem to be a little hotter than normal .38 Special. I wouldn't feel bad at all about using .38 Special rounds in a self defense gun. The new modern ammo is very effective in penetration, expansion, and energy transfer. The reduced recoil will also be a plus in the good gun-control department.
 
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