S&W .38 spcl question

This is a discussion on S&W .38 spcl question within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have a S&W .38 special, model 10-5 snubbie. Is it OK to shoot +P in it?...

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Thread: S&W .38 spcl question

  1. #1
    Member Array malexander's Avatar
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    S&W .38 spcl question

    I have a S&W .38 special, model 10-5 snubbie. Is it OK to shoot +P in it?

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Short answer; yes.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

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    StarPD45
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    Long answer; read the paperwork that came with it.

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    Without equivocation or reservation, yes.
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  6. #5
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    I'm not certain that any factory paperwork that would have come with a Smith & Wesson Model 10-5 variant would have addressed +P ammunition. Most Model 10-5 revolvers predate the advent of +P on the market. I have proper period paperwork for a Model 10 around here and +P isn't addressed.

    For many years Smith & Wesson said that any model marked (on the inside of the front of the frame under the yoke) revolver was safe for +P. Their revolvers began to be model marked in 1957. The Model 10-5 design revision was introduced in 1962 and ran into 1977. Lately Smith & Wesson has apparently revised their own advice to claim to limit +P use to .38 Special revolvers made much later, like around 1990. I'm not certain about the accuracy of the 1990 year cut-off or if that is actually a factory advisory. I've only read that on the internet as reported on forums by forum members.

    It's hogwash anyway. My 1971 vintage Model 10 has been absolutely hammered over many years time with +P, +P+, and even heavier handloads and has never bobbled. Several other Model 10s around here have seem some use with +P and heavy experimental .38 Special handloads for chronograph testing purposes and they're sound as well. +P ammunition is a tempest in a teapot and is not the fearsome, revolver-bursting ammunition that so many seem to believe it is.

    A Model 10-5 will eagerly eat up all the +P you can afford to buy to shoot in it or can even enjoy shooting in it. It is one tough revolver.
    msgt/ret, Secret Spuk and wmhawth like this.
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    Is the barrel stamped for it? Probably safe to do so, but it may warrant a little additional research. Having said that, BMGILVRAY (prior post) is about all the research you need on wheelguns...

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    VIP Member Array frankmako's Avatar
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    yes, you can. all day long.
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    Thanks for the good word.

    An additional question or two could be added to this post though.

    Is it necessary to shoot "all +P, all the time?"

    Of course not. +P is expensive, it's loud, it does recoil a bit more, and it's never proven to give outstanding accuracy, at least for me. One can enjoy .38 Special shooting more by taking advantage of standard velocity loadings. A handloader can really make the .38 Special "walk and talk" by loading up some accuracy concoctions that make for rewarding shooting at the range.


    Can a .38 Special revolver be effective self-defense medicine without resorting to loading it with +P ammunition?

    Yes. While I typically load +P in my own .38 Special revolvers intended for personal defense I really wouldn't feel a bit inadequate using most any standard velocity load. I'd especially favor a standard velocity using a lead 158 grain semi-wadcutter bullet. Many love the newer jacketed hollow point loadings that use lighter weight bullets in order to achieve a modicum more velocity while retaining standard pressure levels.
    wmhawth likes this.
    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

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