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Old 03-30-2013, 21:14   #1
Bilrus61
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.38 +P in a '71 vintage all steel S&W 36

Ok I know its not rated for the +p ammo what what part is stressed if I use some +P ammo? It is a exellent condition very tight 3" all steel S&W 36 made in 1971. I find it hard to belive that it can shoot 200 fp of energy rounds but the 220 +P 135 grain gold dots could harm it in any way. Steel was pretty darn good back in 1971. What part might wear or "give way" sooner by using +P rounds in this fine revolver?
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Old 03-30-2013, 21:24   #2
countrygun
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I wouldn't fire a steady diet of +P through any "J" frame but a '71 is as good as any IMO. The symptoms of over doing it would be "excessive "endshake" ( headspace) and looseness of the crane. Neither is properly corrected by just putting new parts in.
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Old 03-31-2013, 07:17   #3
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As mentioned above, I wouldn't make it a habit. However, it probably wouldn't hurt once in a while and to carry.

J frames are small to begin with.
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Old 03-31-2013, 07:49   #4
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Guess I will be the outlier and ask why would you be interested in running non-specified ammo through a 40 yr old piece?

If you want to run +P, then why not get a +P rated revolver?
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Old 03-31-2013, 09:47   #5
Bill Keith
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I'm not saying this in too much jest, but the part to wear out quickest is going to be your hands. I know many shooters that have shot hot loads for a long time. They invariably develop arthritis in their hands and fingers.
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Old 03-31-2013, 10:48   #6
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Originally Posted by Pier23 View Post
Guess I will be the outlier and ask why would you be interested in running non-specified ammo through a 40 yr old piece?

If you want to run +P, then why not get a +P rated revolver?
I would normally agree and just had a set-to with someone concerning "high speed" .22 ammo in an older pistol. But in that case we were talking a possibly "pre war" pistol and ammo developed much later. and there is a history of that ammo damaging those guns.

In this case it's little different and you probably have to be old enough to remember the introduction of "+P" ammo to get it.

"+P" ammo was out and available long before guns were "rated" for it. It was developed with the knowledge that the pressure specs for the .38 Spl had been set about the end of the black powder era. The S&W model 19 proved that the old designs with modern steel could handle the .357 magnum so it was logical that a bump up in the .38 was possible.

I recall seeing early Ruger Security Six revolver that wee chambered in .38 special that had no mention of "+P" in the manual, but I will go way out on a limb and say they were safe.

A S&W 36/60 of that era is made exactly the same, out of the same materials as one that has a footnote in the manual that says "By the way, it is safe with +P ammo"

Again it isn't about the gun being "rated" for the ammo, the ammo was "Rated" for the guns of the day.
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Old 03-31-2013, 10:56   #7
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Originally Posted by countrygun View Post
I would normally agree and just had a set-to with someone concerning "high speed" .22 ammo in an older pistol. But in that case we were talking a possibly "pre war" pistol and ammo developed much later. and there is a history of that ammo damaging those guns.

In this case it's little different and you probably have to be old enough to remember the introduction of "+P" ammo to get it.

"+P" ammo was out and available long before guns were "rated" for it. It was developed with the knowledge that the pressure specs for the .38 Spl had been set about the end of the black powder era. The S&W model 19 proved that the old designs with modern steel could handle the .357 magnum so it was logical that a bump up in the .38 was possible.

I recall seeing early Ruger Security Six revolver that wee chambered in .38 special that had no mention of "+P" in the manual, but I will go way out on a limb and say they were safe.

A S&W 36/60 of that era is made exactly the same, out of the same materials as one that has a footnote in the manual that says "By the way, it is safe with +P ammo"

Again it isn't about the gun being "rated" for the ammo, the ammo was "Rated" for the guns of the day.

Ahh....thanks, CountryGun...useful bit of history of which I was unaware.

I recall years ago...the '70s maybe?? .. there being a huge debate on what could safely fire a +P round, and the conventional wisdom then was if it isn't spelled out the weapon could fire a +P round, you assumed it was not designed for it, and your warranty - and hand - were in jeopardy.
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:14   #8
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Ahh....thanks, CountryGun...useful bit of history of which I was unaware.

I recall years ago...the '70s maybe?? .. there being a huge debate on what could safely fire a +P round, and the conventional wisdom then was if it isn't spelled out the weapon could fire a +P round, you assumed it was not designed for it, and your warranty - and hand - were in jeopardy.
Well the problem with the "conventional wisdom" was, tha,t the ammo was out well before any pistol was "rated" for it. Back then we did have a hard time convincing some people the ammo makers didn't just create the ammo because they were fond of being sued.
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:43   #9
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Well I did have it...........

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pier23 View Post
Guess I will be the outlier and ask why would you be interested in running non-specified ammo through a 40 yr old piece?

If you want to run +P, then why not get a +P rated revolver?
I has a 437 Airweight with the internal lock but sold it to a friend and now I've got 4 boxes of leftover+P ammo. The friend didn't need to shoot the strong stuff so its orphaned to my 36.
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Old 03-31-2013, 13:48   #10
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OP, Super Vel ammo was the first +P ammo I ever shot. They were in business from 1963 to 1974. I wore out a S&W model 49 shooting that ammo.Had it rebuilt and traded it in. I wasn't counting rounds but it wasn't in the thousands. I still carry +Ps in non-rated J-frames but hardly shoot them.YMMV. tom.
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:55   #11
MajorD
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Smith has said any revolver they make with a model number stamped on it is safe for plus p. the performance gain from plus p in such short barrels is marginal at best. If you really want to carry plus p the general accepted behavior is to shoot some to verify point of impact ( realize all fixed sight smiths are designed to shoot standard vel 158 lead round nose to point of aim/ impact) then carry them. Once a year shoot up your carry ammo and replace. At this rate your model 36 will out live you
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:46   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Keith View Post
I'm not saying this in too much jest, but the part to wear out quickest is going to be your hands. I know many shooters that have shot hot loads for a long time. They invariably develop arthritis in their hands and fingers.
A .38 Spl +P has some seriously extra snap over a standard load, so yes, your hand will give out first before the gun would give out.
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:05   #13
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As others have said, there are some good non-+P SD loads available now. So it's not like you have to carry +P in your Chief to have an effective load.
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:34   #14
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As others have said, there are some good non-+P SD loads available now. So it's not like you have to carry +P in your Chief to have an effective load.
Five to the face and I don't think that the perp would complain that he didn't get shot by Plus P loads.
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Old 04-01-2013, 19:24   #15
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There is some pretty good standard pressure ammo available today. Hornady Critical Defense and Federal Nyclad to name two. Why wear out your great little Smith any faster than necessary?
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Old 04-01-2013, 21:39   #16
cityborncountrylivin
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my S&W "J" frame model 40 has .38+p on the barrel
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:12   #17
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my S&W "J" frame model 40 has .38+p on the barrel
I'm sure it's a newer model than 1971. I don't even believe 38 special +p was introduced until a year or two after that.
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Old 04-02-2013, 15:38   #18
DMag427
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bilrus61 View Post
Ok I know its not rated for the +p ammo what what part is stressed if I use some +P ammo? It is a exellent condition very tight 3" all steel S&W 36 made in 1971. I find it hard to belive that it can shoot 200 fp of energy rounds but the 220 +P 135 grain gold dots could harm it in any way. Steel was pretty darn good back in 1971. What part might wear or "give way" sooner by using +P rounds in this fine revolver?
I also own a vintage model 36. It's my EDC loaded with Speer Gold Dot
#23921 which I believe is the 135gr.
that you referred to. SAAMI pressures for. 38 special is 17,000psi. The +P pressure is 20,000psi. Mine shoots this load about 2-inches high at 25-yds. I adjust CTC laser up an inch. No problems yet however, I agree with countrygun: not a steady diet. 5 in the face will do the trick.
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Old 04-02-2013, 18:38   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bilrus61 View Post
Ok I know its not rated for the +p ammo what what part is stressed if I use some +P ammo? It is a exellent condition very tight 3" all steel S&W 36 made in 1971. I find it hard to belive that it can shoot 200 fp of energy rounds but the 220 +P 135 grain gold dots could harm it in any way. Steel was pretty darn good back in 1971. What part might wear or "give way" sooner by using +P rounds in this fine revolver?
It is like this:

Your revolver will shoot so many 148 gr WC target loads. No one knows for sure what that total number is but let us pick 10,000 for sake of a SWAG (some wild ass guess)

The same gun will shoot so many 158 gr standard pressure rounds. That number based on our SWAG would be less than 10,000.

Now you shoot Speer +P 135 grain load. Your gun will not blow up but will wear out sooner. When Smiths wear they will start to lose their timing. You will notice occasional spitting that will increase the more you shoot it.

This is not a job for someone that asked how do you fix it. It is repairable.

So if you carry Speer +P 135 grain and shoot standard loads your gun should last a very long time.
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Old 04-02-2013, 18:51   #20
countrygun
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Smith has said any revolver they make with a model number stamped on it is safe for plus p. the performance gain from plus p in such short barrels is marginal at best. If you really want to carry plus p the general accepted behavior is to shoot some to verify point of impact ( realize all fixed sight smiths are designed to shoot standard vel 158 lead round nose to point of aim/ impact) then carry them. Once a year shoot up your carry ammo and replace. At this rate your model 36 will out live you
This sums it up well. It is what S&W said years ago when +P came out.

I don't deliberately choose +P for a "J" frame (I find worrying about those few fps out of snubbie to be debatable at best) but I do pick what round I like that seems to shoot the best be it +P or not. Generally the bullet I like is the old 158 GN SWCHP. If it shoots a standard pressure, or a +P best, that's what I carry in it.
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