38 Special Vs +P

38 Special Vs +P

This is a discussion on 38 Special Vs +P within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have found an S&W Airwieght that is only marked as 38 Special no +P marking so my question is. What is the difference between ...

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Thread: 38 Special Vs +P

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array Bill MO's Avatar
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    38 Special Vs +P

    I have found an S&W Airwieght that is only marked as 38 Special no +P marking so my question is. What is the difference between the reg 38 and the +P stuff for personal defense round?

    Thanks
    Bill


  2. #2
    Member Array cpmiv's Avatar
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    From a S&W manual:

    “Plus-P” (+P) ammunition generates pressures in excess of thepressures associated with standard ammunition. Such pressures may affect the wear characteristics or exceed the margin of safety built into some revolvers and could therefore be DANGEROUS.
    This ammunition should not be used in Smith &
    Wesson medium (K frame) revolvers manufactured prior to 1958. Such pre-1958 medium (K-frame) revolvers can be identified by the absence of a model number stamped inside the yoke cut of the frame. (i.e., the area of the frame exposed when the cylinder is in the open position.
    There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That's one firearm for every twelve people on the planet. The only question is: How do we arm the other 11? (Yuri Orlov [Nicolas Cage] Lord of War)

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    Member Array chiefs-special-guy's Avatar
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    Bill- the + stuff is loaded to a slightly higher pressure (maybe 20,000 instead of 18000? I do not recall) and can therefore obtain a bit higher velocity, say 950 fps instead of 800 or whatever. Energywise, though, the velocity difference is meaningful, since the 38 is derided by some as marginal. If your pistol is not marked for +P ammo, SW will tell you NOT to shoot the stuff. Privately, they might say something like "well, do not make a habit of it". Such is the age we live in. I do not shoot the stuff in my old model 36. Just buy the remingtons or the silvertips.
    Disclaimer: I am not an expert on any of this.
    Six for sure...Uh, I mean Five. Five for sure..

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    What is the difference between the reg 38 and the +P stuff for personal defense round?
    Usually about 150-200 feet per second.

    You should be good to go in the Airweight. A steady diet of +P can be hard on the pistol and wear out the internals more quickly than standard ammo.

    Use the regular stuff to practice with and the hot stuff to carry.

    The +P is usaully isnt enough to "blow up" the gun, but with alot of continued use the accelerated wear could eventually be stress the frame.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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  5. #5
    Distinguished Member Array Bill MO's Avatar
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    How much more ft lbs of energy does the +p's add to the 38? Also would the plain 38 Special be a better defense round than a 380?

    I am most likely opening a can of worms here with lots of personal feels as to which is better.

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    Assuming a 125 grain bullet that travels at 850 which is fairly standard, the POWER FACTOR is 100.

    The same bullet traveleing at 1000 FPS has a power factor of 125.

    http://www.eskimo.com/~jbm/calculations/pf/pf.html

    The Power Factor is simly a number used by the various clubs to determine a loads power as compared to other bullets, calibers and speeds in FPS. Click on the link and it will explain it. It also allows you to plug in bullet weight,speed and caliber and then it calculaets it for you. Its just a guide that shows the difference in power levels of different loads.

    Try it.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


    AR. CHL Instr. 07/02 FFL
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    Using the formula above, a .380 85 grain bullet that moves at 800FPS has a power factor of 68.

    Personally, I reccomend NO LESS than a .38 special for personal defense as does my Sheriff Dept, which allows backup guns used by Deputys to use no less than .38 special.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


    AR. CHL Instr. 07/02 FFL
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    Member Array cpmiv's Avatar
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    Some of the Ammo mfg's put up balistics catalogs for thier rounds. Check this one (http://www.federalpremium.com/default.asp?br=1)

    38 Special Muzzle Velocity 980 Muzzle Energy 235
    38 +P Muzzle Velocity 950 Muzzle Energy 258

    380 Muzzle Velocity 1000 Muzzle Energy 200

    There is still no ultimate ammo choice for Personal Defense. The best thing comfort with the weapon, followed by lots of practice and shot placement. And keep shooting until the BG is down.

    Sometimes a .22 can kill you and sometimes you walk yourself to the hospital after being shot with a .45. There are many factors to contend with.
    There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That's one firearm for every twelve people on the planet. The only question is: How do we arm the other 11? (Yuri Orlov [Nicolas Cage] Lord of War)

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    Pick up a copy of the Oct/Nov 2006 issue of Guns & Ammo Handguns magazine. There is a very good article about +P ammo on page #16.


    When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
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    I use a S&W 637 Airweight, and it is rated +P. I shoot regular ammo for practice, and load it Speer Gold Dot 135 grain +P. The Speer load is designed for snubbies, and it packs a punch!

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    Always go with your owners manual for your gun. Use what ever it recommends. If you don't have an owners manual check the Internet and call the manufacturer and ask for one. I have never been charged for a manual.

    When in doubt, call the manufacturer and get "tech support".

    Don't guess on ammo!
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  12. #12
    VIP Member Array ron8903's Avatar
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    My wife shoots and carries a mod.12 airweight.
    practice with standard pressure and carry with +p.
    You should be good to go. If you have any
    doubts, get it check out by a GOOD smith.
    "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."
    - Sir Winston Churchill

  13. #13
    Member Array pmaenner's Avatar
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    +p ammo

    Greetings,

    Since we're on the subject of +P ammo, has anyone had the oppurtunity to test out the Buffalo Bore 38 special +P? They say their ammo will do about 1000 FPS with a 158 grain load out of a 2" j-frame. That's pretty heavy for a +P round! I think they also make a 125 grain load as well.


    Sincerely,
    Peter Maenner

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