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Discussion Starter #1
I bought a used 642 last week and when I asked the store owner why it did not have the +P on the barrel, he told me not to worry...it was rated for +P ammo, it just wasn't marked. The serial # is CCD2XXX, and it does not have the external lock if this helps.

I looked at the photo's on S&W's website and noticed the 642's pictured there have +P on the barrel next to the .38 S&W spl.

Is anyone aware if the earlier versions were +P rated and just not marked or do I have a snubbie just good for only shooting standard .38's?
 

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I think all the 642's were capable of firing +P's... I would use std. power .38's for the range and only fire a cylinder or two of +P's each range session... You probably wouldn't want to fire too many more in one session anyway... Then carry +P's for your SD loads...
 

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Found this on the Charter Arms FAQ's. Anyone else ever hear of this?

Q. Can I shoot +P in my .38 revolver?
A.Charter .38's are among the smallest revolvers in this caliber. Yes they can handle +P but we do not recommend it for the following reasons:

+P ammo requires a four-inch minimum barrel to burn the extra powder. Therefore, in a two-inch barrel the extra powder is burned after the bullet leaves the barrel creating more recoil and making it harder to come back to target.

We recommend a standard velocity load and practice with round nose lead rounds which are the least expensive. When you load for protection, use a jacketed or hollow point in the same grain you practice with.
 

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Call S&W and ask. My first thought, no, don't do it. If it is not marked, don't do it. Maybe a call to S&W with the serial number will clear up 100%.
This sounds like the best way to know for sure.

You might want to try e-mailing them. It takes a long time to get through on the phone.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for your suggestions, I just sent an email to S&W and will see what type of reply I get.
 

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I inspected a 642 that was manufactured without having the +P on the barrel. I also own a 642 that is stamped with the +P. It appeared to me that the revolver cylinder were made of different metals. I would have asked the gun store owner to put his remarks in writing about that gun being able to handle the +P rounds. You're doing the right thing by contacting S&W and getting it in writing.:hand10:
 

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Safe, or sorry? Give them a call, you may have to wait for a while for an email response.
 

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Glad to hear you got such a quick response.....
 

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I recently had the same revolver and I was told prior to stamping +p on the barrel a plain 642 was 38sp only and the 642-1 (or any model thereafter) was +p rated. Mine shot Speer 135gr Gold Dot short barrel loads to perfect POA at 10 yards in about a 2-3in group, great load.
 

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I think it is still a good idea to NOT use +P in most 2 inchers, except the occasional couple of cylinders full at the practice range once in awhile. I always practice with wadcutters, handloaded light or Lead round noses...and save the +P strictly for the carry ammo. In my .357's, I sometimes carry +P .38's.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I think it is still a good idea to NOT use +P in most 2 inchers, except the occasional couple of cylinders full at the practice range once in awhile. I always practice with wadcutters, handloaded light or Lead round noses...and save the +P strictly for the carry ammo. In my .357's, I sometimes carry +P .38's.
Yes, it's brutal to shoot a lot of + P's out of such a small lightweight revolver. I agree with your way of thinking on what to shoot at the range.
 

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642's are +P safe.

I think all the 642's were capable of firing +P's... I would use std. power .38's for the range and only fire a cylinder or two of +P's each range session... You probably wouldn't want to fire too many more in one session anyway... Then carry +P's for your SD loads...
I have a 642-1 that is NOT marked +P but after contacting S&W I was told that my revolver was built in 1996, did NOT contain any MIM parts, it has the J Magnum frame (basically a .357 frame and cylinder just bored for 38 Special, same length) and it has a milled recoil lug on the left side of the frame to support the bottom of the cylinder under heavy recoil. The early revolvers were not marked +P but all are capable of a constant diet of +P loads, this is the current configuration of all 642's in production.
My weapon has been fed a steady diet of stiff 125 gr handloads and +P ammo over the last 10 years or so and if anything it's getting smoother and still locks tight as a drum. I pocket carry it all the time in the summer in a Pistol Pocket even if I'm wearing mesh shorts and nobody's the wiser. Great little gun and stoked with Hornady 110gr or Speer 135gr Short Barrel hollow points it gets the job done with authority.
 

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Whew!! Revived a 10 year old thread on +Ps in snubbies. Surely you could have found something more current on the subject, the +P debate comes up pretty often.:rolleyes:
 
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