Can this S&W fire .38+ ammo?

Can this S&W fire .38+ ammo?

This is a discussion on Can this S&W fire .38+ ammo? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Hope I have this in the right forum! I recently bought a used S&W revolver. Sweet thing just caught my eye! It's a model 10-5. ...

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Thread: Can this S&W fire .38+ ammo?

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    Senior Member Array czman2006's Avatar
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    Can this S&W fire .38+ ammo?

    Hope I have this in the right forum! I recently bought a used S&W revolver. Sweet thing just caught my eye! It's a model 10-5. On the right side of the barrel it's stamped ".38 S&W Special CTG." On the bottom of the grip it's stamped "D806848". Also has a K in a square and a H in a circle on the bottom of the right side of the grip. On the left side bottom of the grip it's stamped "9xx45" also has a large N with E-5, E9 and E13 stamped around the N. When you swing out the cylinder, on the inside it's stamped "Mod. 10-5". Haven't fired it yet, curious if it can fire only .38 special or can it also fire .38 + loads? Any help on the age of this fine revolver and other info greatly appreciated! Thanks!
    "Let not your heart be troubled." John 14:1

    USN Retired Vietnam/Desert Shield/Desert Storm


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    Distinguished Member Array bigmacque's Avatar
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    I'm only posting in this thread so it'll be easy to follow it ..... I'm really interested what some of the truly knowledgeable folks around here have to say about this pistol. It sounds like a great little gun.
    blitzburgh likes this.
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    Senior Member Array czman2006's Avatar
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    Thanks, it sure is! A retired LE traded it at a local gun shop and for $399, it called my name! One of those deals where who cares if it's a good deal or not, it's gotta be mine!
    "Let not your heart be troubled." John 14:1

    USN Retired Vietnam/Desert Shield/Desert Storm

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    Distinguished Member Array 5lima30ret's Avatar
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    Quite a few police agencies issued Mod 10's in the 60's and 70's. They are good solid steel framed guns that a moderate amount of +P should not hurt it. I had a Mod 15 (same gun w/adj sights) and I shot a fair amount of +P in it and never had any problems. If in doubt have a gunsmith check it out. Enjoy your "new" gun!
    Retired Police Lieutenant, Retired USAF Reserve, Glock Armorer, NC CWP, HR-218 Qualified
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    Here's an interesting read on your new gun from another forum 10 years ago. They are discussing the use of + ammo. Hope it helps and good luck. S&W Model 10-5 w/ tapered brl and .38 +P - The Firing Line Forums
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    Member Array Wolfiesden's Avatar
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    From what I understand S&W does not rate their model 10 and 15's to +P loads. Just because some fire the rounds and do ok, doesn't mean yours may not come apart at the seams on the first round. Caution advised.

    I have a model 15-3 from the 70's. I don't fire +P out of it. I see no need to do so. You hit someone with Critical Defense or Critical Duty rounds from a 38, they are gonna be a mess. +P is pointless for the most part. Why risk popping your cylinder? You may want those other 5 rounds to take down the BG's friends.
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    All Model 10's, from 1958 to the present, are suitable for use with .38 Special +P ammunition, as well as all standard pressure .38 Special loads.
    “You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”

    ― Robert A. Heinlein,

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    Member Array Wolfiesden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgrass101 View Post
    All Model 10's, from 1958 to the present, are suitable for use with .38 Special +P ammunition, as well as all standard pressure .38 Special loads.
    Stand corrected. DIdn't think the Model 10 was +P rated by S&W. Maybe it was a different model I was thinking of. Know the 15-3 I have is not. I think they added the +P on later models.

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    pgrass101's right. Smith & Wesson began marking the K-Frame Military & Police revolver with the newly assigned model number "10" in 1958. If it is model marked "10" on the inside of the front of the frame under where the yoke rests when the cylinder is closed it will be fine with all the +P you can afford to feed it or enjoy shooting out of it.

    This K-Frame .38 Special Military & Police dates from 1904. Nothing more than a "Model 10" from the first decade of the 20th century. It's been repeatedly fired +P 158 grain .38 Special factory loads with perfect satisfaction. Your Model 10-5 will be fine with them.


    Smith & Wesson discourages use of +P in their K-Frame revolvers older than 1958. Personally, I feel that +P is the biggest overrated "tempest in a teapot" that ever caused internet forums to dither. Folks, there is not that much to +P .38 Special ammo. Excepting for Buffalo Bore's +P offerings, expect 75-100 fps velocity increase over standard velocity ammo. In the case of +P offerings using bullets lighter than the 158 grain weight, I'm not convinced that manufacturers don't stick "+P" on the label on the box simply to make the ammo more marketable rather than because it generates any higher pressure or more meaningful velocities. Some light-bullet +P stuff is just pretty feeble.
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    VIP Member Array Bad Bob's Avatar
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    I have some +P+ 38 special stuff that barely makes 1000 fps from a 4".....Go figure.....
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    ...I practice with 130-gr FMJ loads...my son was shooting his 3" J and I slipped some FBI loads in (+P)...he couldn't tell the difference....

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    pgrass101's right. Smith & Wesson began marking the K-Frame Military & Police revolver with the newly assigned model number "10" in 1958. If it is model marked "10" on the inside of the front of the frame under where the yoke rests when the cylinder is closed it will be fine with all the +P you can afford to feed it or enjoy shooting out of it.

    This K-Frame .38 Special Military & Police dates from 1904. Nothing more than a "Model 10" from the first decade of the 20th century. It's been repeatedly fired +P 158 grain .38 Special factory loads with perfect satisfaction. Your Model 10-5 will be fine with them.


    Smith & Wesson discourages use of +P in their K-Frame revolvers older than 1958. Personally, I feel that +P is the biggest overrated "tempest in a teapot" that ever caused internet forums to dither. Folks, there is not that much to +P .38 Special ammo. Excepting for Buffalo Bore's +P offerings, expect 75-100 fps velocity increase over standard velocity ammo. In the case of +P offerings using bullets lighter than the 158 grain weight, I'm not convinced that manufacturers don't stick "+P" on the label on the box simply to make the ammo more marketable rather than because it generates any higher pressure or more meaningful velocities. Some light-bullet +P stuff is just pretty feeble.
    Hey, how about a full pic of that 109 year old gun? Looks like it has character that makes it unique!
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    Distinguished Member Array bigmacque's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PEF View Post
    Hey, how about a full pic of that 109 year old gun? Looks like it has character that makes it unique!

    +1 on this.
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    neat photo.
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    It's been up on the Forum before.




    Hah! It's got character all right! Mostly in the area of former owner(s)' neglect. The former owners were characters. Nothing's uglier than original nickel finish gone bad. Strangely enough, it's tight with bore and mechanics that are first rate. Has one of the smoothest actions of any K-Frame on the place. Sights are a whipping. The early Smith & Wessons have a tiny u-notch rear sight with a thin front sight blade. Couple that with perfectly "healthy" nickel plate on both sights and it's almost like having no sights for a guy who needs glasses to read. It'd still protect against evil with perfect satisfaction though to about 15 yards.



    These photos are more recent than the one above with the +P. In these photos it had it's "day spay" treatment of Mother's Mag polish. Amazing what the Mother's does to the remaining sound nickel surfaces. Won't reverse the ravages of time and neglect. Black powder .38 Special ammunition was still common and all ammunition was loaded with corrosive priming compounds for the first 23 years of this old relic's life. This was a Gunbroker purchase 5-6 years ago. A victim of an unfortunate auction description and poor photos, the lonesome old gun only received one bid, mine, for $70. I'd rather have it than a lot of what is marketed these days for personal defense. As it is, it is mostly retired. Have thought of having it re-nickled one day since mechanics and stocks are still nice.


    The "U.S. Service Ctg's" declared in the barrel roll marking would have been the .38 Long Colt which was current at the time of this revolver's manufacture. I used to have another that was made in late 1899 that was marked the same way.

    wmhawth, OD*, PEF and 2 others like this.
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