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Smith mod. 15-2 Ammo question

Discussion in 'Smith & Wesson Club' started by ghr1142, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. ghr1142


    May 26, 2011
    Hello, Is it ok for my 15-2 (heavy barrel) to use 38 spl. + P ?
    Any feedback would be welcome.
    I bought this back in 1965 and don't think the + P ammo was even avaliable at the time .
  2. ArtCrafter

    ArtCrafter ¤Hocker Mocker¤

    Jul 14, 2008
    S&W says +P is fine in revolvers such as yours, but that just like it would in any other gun when compared to standard-pressure ammunition, shooting it will accelerate wear & tear.

    Probably not enough to worry about - especially in a steel, model-number-marked K-frame - but that is the 'official' line.

    HTH :wavey:

  3. Poohgyrr

    Poohgyrr trout fear me!

    Well, yes and no.....

    At the risk of making some folks mad, other people have asked the same question, and here is what they have learned:

    38/44 ammo was made decades earlier than 1965, and is what led to the 357 Magnum. 38/44 rounds are noticably more powerful than today's 38 Special +P.

    Old S&W advertisements state K frame 38's can handle the 38/44's, although they didn't recommend it as a regular thing to do.

    Quite a few folks have chrono'd & compared: original boxes of 38/44, "older" 357 magnum, and "more recently manufactured" 357 Magnum.

    The 38/44 has basically the same velocity as recently manufactured 357 magnum (the standard everyday ammo sold by the big companies).

    Original 357 Magnum ammo (from the same big companies) is noticably faster.

    Bottom line is yes, your M15-2 should handle todays' 38+P without any problem.

    And no, I don't suggest anyone load 357 Magnums in a 38 Special.

    JMHO, and maybe worth what it cost.
  4. bac1023


    Sep 26, 2004
    It should be fine, but I wouldn't shoot it on a regular basis.
  5. Glockbuster


    Jun 30, 2005
    Middle America
    Are you kidding man ? your gun is overrated for +P.

    Here's the deal....if your cylinder was longer you could shoot 357 magnums with 30,000+ pressure. It is the same frame Smith used for the Model 19, and I've shot plenty 357 in my model 19 and model 66.

    Regular 38 special is about 18,500 psi, and +P about 21,000 PSI. Both standards have been downgraded by SAAMI over the years. Back in the heyday +P was even more powerful.
  6. pennlineman


    Feb 16, 2009
    Actually the .38 and .357 frames are a little different. The yoke area on the .357's are a little beefier than the .38's.

    S&W's stance is that is safe to fire +p ammo in all steel model numbered S&W's. Although in doing so they warn that wear on the gun will be accelerated. We fired nothing but +p in our USAF model 15's. All in all they held up quite well. When they did break it was usually a hammer or trigger stud.

    My personal revolvers, I'm not afraid to shoot +p now and then. But mostly I run standard pressure loads through mine. Of course +p .38's in a K frame .357 would be no issue at all.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  7. Glockbuster


    Jun 30, 2005
    Middle America
  8. Berto

    Berto woo woo

    Sep 15, 2003
    I tend to echo Saxon at the SW forum, most .38sp ammo is watered down something terrible and even +p runs the border between std and +P pressures. Buffalo Bore loads .38sp to its real potential just as it was done in the past with SuperVel, 'Old' Corbon and the .38/44 loads.
    I wouldn't fear running +P in a modern K frame. I use it frequently in my K frames, including a 15-2.
  9. Glockbuster


    Jun 30, 2005
    Middle America
    Yes Berto, of all the modern +P for .38 spcl. BB loads the closest to old fashioned, which is more than OK for those sturdy K frames. I even recall Bill Jordan back in the 70's giving some ammo advice in Guns and Ammo magazine about +P being OK in a model 10. Smith and Wesson advertised the old model 10's as being OK for .38/44 stout. BB +P in a 15-2 is more at home than a full house .357 in a 19-3, but even that is OK.
    And if the guns are made of carbon steel (bright blue finish) then they are even tougher than their stainless steel counterparts.
  10. ArtCrafter

    ArtCrafter ¤Hocker Mocker¤

    Jul 14, 2008