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Old July 3, 2010, 02:08 PM   #1
Super-Dave
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How much damage do +p rounds do?

A lot of manufactures do not recommend constant use of +p rounds. Some don't ever want you to use them.

My question is how much more wear in tear on a gun does +p 9mm or +p .45 ammo do to a gun that is

1 round of +p does the same amount of wear and tear on a pistol as 10 rounds, 100 rounds, 1000 rounds?

What would you say a single round of +p equals to?
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Old July 3, 2010, 02:45 PM   #2
pythagorean
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I never buy them. What's the point? A few extra ft/lbs?
Why hurt a handgun not rated for them? Why use them in a gun rated for them? They obviously cause more wear and tear on the gun.
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Old July 3, 2010, 02:55 PM   #3
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I can see why someone would want to use +p rounds in a 9mm for carry reasons. The extra pressure can definitely make a 9mm more useful by adding velocity. As far as a .45, I don't really see the need to use a +p round for any reason. There is plenty of power there to spare. Like you've said, some guns aren't made for +p rounds, and I would heed that advice. But, even in the guns that are rated for +p, the wear and tear is significant. Short-barrel guns don't handle them very well. 1911's don't handle them well at all due to their naturally finicky nature. I don't think you can really put a number on the extra damage. It isn't really a linear progression. In a strong, new gun, a +p may be like 1.5 regular loads. But, continued use can lead up to a +p being as stressful as quite a large number of regular loads. It will really depend on the makings of the firearm.
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Old July 3, 2010, 03:38 PM   #4
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Dave, I see no way to quantify the wear and tear per round. Years ago, I read where a gun writer stretched the frame on an airweight Smith J frame to where the firing pin would not reach the primers after a couple hundred rounds of the hot +P+ .38 ammo. I've also read of the British military cracking frames on Browning Hi Powers with a steady diet of 9mm Nato which is hotter than American commercial loads. I typically run a couple hundred rounds of the hotter stuff through a pistol if I plan to carry it for SD to assure it is reliable and then just a mag or two yearly while practicing with the cheapest reliable ball I can find.
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Old July 3, 2010, 04:20 PM   #5
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Wear and tear on what exactly? The frame, throat, rifling, rails, cylinder gap, what? What type of firearm, revolver, semi auto? Steel, aluminum or polymer? +p ammo operating at what pressures in comparison to what ammo operating at what pressure? You have again asked a generalized question with no specifics and little direction, and expect some sort of definite answer.

The only way to begin to answer this is to narrow the focus, go to a LAB, and shoot guns until they wear out. Let us know what the findings are.

It's like asking how fast are animals. Please tell me how fast they are. Some people say animals are fast and some say they are not fast. Are they fast? How fast?
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Old July 3, 2010, 04:43 PM   #6
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not sure how much more wear it would put on equipment...but..I shoot +p with reloads at least half the time.. I dont see any evidence of extreme extra wear. And I shoot em just to maximize the weapons potential.
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Old July 3, 2010, 04:47 PM   #7
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First, comparing 1 +p cartridge to X number of standard isn't going to get you anywhere.

Standard rounds SHOULD wear a gun out slowly. Rifling, springs, frames, and other parts should wear fairly slowly when pressures are kept within recommended limits.

Shooting cartridges loaded to pressures above those recommended by the manufacturer can actually fatigue the material the gun is made of (steel) to the point of compromising it's durability.

I.E., If you shoot a Cor-Bon or Buffalo Bore .45 Colt +p cartridge in a Uberi SA revolver, 1 shot may do more damage than a lifetime of shooting standard pressure rounds. A blown cylinder and frame renders the gun inoperable pretty much forever in most cases.

But not all guns will blow up with one shot, and in fact most won't. Trying to tell how much damage one round will do is a guessing game at best, and disasterous to the gun and you at worst if you try it.

High pressuire loads in firearms that aren't designed for it don't fatigue the metal and springs the same way recommended pressure loads do. Metal also doesn't always show signs of weakening until it reaches the point of breaking.

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Old July 3, 2010, 05:01 PM   #8
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As far as a .45, I don't really see the need to use a +p round for any reason. There is plenty of power there to spare.
Considering all pistol calibers are extremely anemic there really isn't "power there to spare". Plus p rounds have a place in self defense with a handgun. Often the little extra velocity equals the difference between expansion of the bullet and it essentially remaining a FMJ with a hole in it.

The 45 ACP 165grain JHP +P from CorBon is cooking at 1250 FPS. It turns a round which is known for being slow and big into one that is competitive with the 40 and 357 offerings. Fast and big is better than slow and big IMO.
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Old July 3, 2010, 05:20 PM   #9
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For practice they aren't the best option because of ware. Why run your gun harder than you have to? it's fun and it's just as effective to go ahead and use a normal round.

However, if you live in a cold place, need an SD cartridge, and can count on the bad-guys to be wearing heavier clothing than usual then +P would be a better idea than usual. In any case, it's your choice. There's no specific system for putting a number on how much more effective it is being that shot placement is most important... it really hits the jelly way harder, though.
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Old July 3, 2010, 06:04 PM   #10
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Glocks request +P.

Seriously, they chamber the pistols for .357 SIG. 9mm +P isn't going to cause me concern.
If I shoot a couple of boxes of +P a year through my Glock it would take 10 years to reach 1,000 rounds.
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Old July 3, 2010, 06:17 PM   #11
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There are a lot of variables here, and youre probably never going to get the same answers, unless you do things scientifically. Maybe a government funded study is in order.

Now in an unscientifc test, I inadvertently discovered that if you do shoot stuff out of your gun that you really shouldnt, you might not be happy with the results.

This is the original upper on my SWD M11/9mm SMG. It was still a baby when this occurred, and really didnt have many rounds through it yet. The ammo in question, was a 2000 round case of Spanish surplus 9mm SMG ammo. It did not have a +P, or +P+ rating associated with it, but compared to anything else I've shot out of it, it was HOT. You could instantly tell the difference when you pulled the trigger, just by how fast it was running, and the way the stock cut into your cheek. The fact the bolt knob sheared off early on should have been a warning that should have been heeded. I made it through most of the 2000 round case, just not quite. I actually still have some of it. The tube started cracking around the ejection port and there is one longer crack down the one bend at the upper right.



This is the same gun, with its replacement upper. In the 24 years and somewhere in many, many tens of thousands of rounds of commercial and NATO 9mm since, it still runs like a champ. The only thing that has needed replaced, has been the recoil buffer, which is a normal thing.


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Old July 3, 2010, 06:31 PM   #12
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Generally if a gun is designed for bigger or more powerful cartridges than the base cartridge - little to no extra wear will happen. However, with semi-auto's you may want to get a stiffer recoil spring to keep from battering your slide, locking lug(s), and receiver when using +P ammo.

If you really need the extra power, maybe consider getting a bigger, more powerful, gun. The difference between a base and a +P wont be noticed by the bad guy when hit - he wont be asking himself "OMG, was that a +P? Maybe I should fall down now.." +P's are more of a way to waste money than anything positive.
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Old July 3, 2010, 06:34 PM   #13
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Who Cares ?? Why shoot any +P rounds anyway ??

But like others said - if you really want an answer narrow down your question... ( but I still don't care )
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Old July 3, 2010, 06:54 PM   #14
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buy a glock and you won't have to shoot the girly rounds...
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Old July 3, 2010, 07:00 PM   #15
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It's impossible to make any blanket assertions about the use of +P ammunition in handguns. All the +P means is that the cartridge is loaded to higher than nominal pressure levels in that manufacturer's pressure barrel. Depending on the firearm you are shooting it though, it may never reach those same pressure levels. Say you have a 3" compact .45 ACP, whereas the manufacturer tested its pressure levels with a 5" pressure barrel. When fired out of your barrel, the bullet will spend a much shorter time in the barrel and will never achieve the same chamber pressure as the same cartridge fired through a shorter barrel. In fact, your pistol may be operating within nominal pressure levels, even though you're firing a +P cartridge!

Never mind that one manufacturer's +P may be a sedate 1,000 or 2,000 PSI over nominal pressure, whereas another's may be 5,000 to 10,000 over. You just can't make blanket assertions!

My own approach is that a modern, steel-framed firearm that is in good condition and well-maintained should not greatly suffer when +P ammo is sent downrange - however, wear and tear may be accelerated and items that typically wear out will likely wear out faster. Nothing catastrophic, mind you, but something to look for in those parts which should be inspected periodically anyway. You might alwo consider going to heavier springs should you intend to shoot high pressure ammo (particularly stuff like Cor-Bon and Buffalo Bore) with any sort of regularity.
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Old July 3, 2010, 09:34 PM   #16
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Considering all pistol calibers are extremely anemic there really isn't "power there to spare". Plus p rounds have a place in self defense with a handgun. Often the little extra velocity equals the difference between expansion of the bullet and it essentially remaining a FMJ with a hole in it.

The 45 ACP 165grain JHP +P from CorBon is cooking at 1250 FPS. It turns a round which is known for being slow and big into one that is competitive with the 40 and 357 offerings. Fast and big is better than slow and big IMO.
The .45 is right at home in most self defense situations without added pressure and velocity. The +P ammunition in the .45 caliber produces noticeably higher recoil that I believe is unneeded and reduces accuracy in a quick-draw, quick-fire situation. Good ammunition is designed to expand at the velocity the bullet is designed to travel. If you're having trouble with a bullet expanding, you should rethink your ammo choice. I will agree that +P has a place, but saying the reason is that the standard pressure variety causes the projectile not to expand is faulty at best.
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Old July 3, 2010, 09:34 PM   #17
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Trust me, you won't want to shoot +p as a routine load for your pistol. That will get old real fast. There is no doubt that it beats the gun up and the shooter as well. It will beat the living hell out of your wallet too.

I carry +p 185 GR 45 ACP as my defensive round and I shot just enough to know it would cycle reliably in my carry gun.

The difference is pretty dramatic. It's hot stuff. 10MM velocity and 45ACP goodness.
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Old July 3, 2010, 09:39 PM   #18
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Can't we just call +P the label of a properly hot round?
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Old July 4, 2010, 03:37 AM   #19
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1911's don't handle them well at all due to their naturally finicky nature.
I don't really know how you can make a statement like that. Quality 1911s are one of the least finicky guns made. And, have you ever heard of the .38 Super or 10mm? They both would qualify as +P if they were 9mm or .40 S&W. The Super and 10mm both work extremely well in the 1911 platform.
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Old July 4, 2010, 06:53 AM   #20
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The .45 is right at home in most self defense situations without added pressure and velocity. The +P ammunition in the .45 caliber produces noticeably higher recoil that I believe is unneeded and reduces accuracy in a quick-draw, quick-fire situation. Good ammunition is designed to expand at the velocity the bullet is designed to travel. If you're having trouble with a bullet expanding, you should rethink your ammo choice. I will agree that +P has a place, but saying the reason is that the standard pressure variety causes the projectile not to expand is faulty at best.
Big and slow is good, big and fast is better. If you and your equipment can handle it why not use any advantage?

Bullets are designed to expand into naked gelatin at xyz speed. Add a simple layer of clothing and consistent expansion is no longer a guarantee. Speed is our friend and +P has its place in the self defense wheel albeit small.

Quote:
If you're having trouble with a bullet expanding, you should rethink your ammo choice
Constant rethinking is precisely how I came to the conclusion that faster is better. I understand that not every bad guy is going to be a shirtless Floridian. I understand (especially after this winter even here in FL) that coats could slow and plug my bullet. Speed helps. Against the shirtless expansion is more violent. Against the coat wearer penetration is enhanced.
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Old July 4, 2010, 07:00 AM   #21
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1 round of +p does the same amount of wear and tear on a pistol as 10 rounds, 100 rounds, 1000 rounds?

What would you say a single round of +p equals to?
I don't think you understand the question you are asking.

Quote:
Can't we just call +P the label of a properly hot round?
Properly hot? What is properly hot?

+P is just a form of marketing liked "Law Enforcement Only" on ammo, or so it seems. There is no standard for what constitutes +P. Company A may have +P ammo that is actually slower than the regular ammo of Company B for the same weight of bullet. Similarly, I have seen reduced recoil shotgun ammo that had a greater velocity in one brand than the standard ammo velocity in another.
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Old July 4, 2010, 07:07 AM   #22
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Regular 9mm loads are 35,000 psi.
+p loads may be 40,000?
I'm close, it's what a 13% difference?

My Glock will only last 87,000 rounds instead of 100,000.
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Old July 4, 2010, 09:13 AM   #23
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Constant rethinking is precisely how I came to the conclusion that faster is better. I understand that not every bad guy is going to be a shirtless Floridian. I understand (especially after this winter even here in FL) that coats could slow and plug my bullet. Speed helps. Against the shirtless expansion is more violent. Against the coat wearer penetration is enhanced.
I have agreed with you that +P has its place, and I agree with you that if the user and the weapon can handle the load, by all means, use it. But, bullet design is far more important than extra velocity and extra energy. Ballistic testing has shown that the best JHP rounds of standard pressure .45 meet or even sometimes slightly exceed the performance of the exact same round loaded to +P pressure levels. JHP loads of today are engineered to expand and penetrate to optimum levels in standard pressure form, adding more pressure to achieve more velocity and kinetic energy does not automatically translate to better performance in terms of penetration and expansion. But, to each his own. I'll never try to talk anyone out of using +P. All this is my opinion and my experience, and I certainly respect yours.
Quote:
I don't really know how you can make a statement like that. Quality 1911s are one of the least finicky guns made. And, have you ever heard of the .38 Super or 10mm? They both would qualify as +P if they were 9mm or .40 S&W. The Super and 10mm both work extremely well in the 1911 platform.
I didn't mean that in a bad way. I LOVE 1911s. I was speaking more in terms of the .45 and perhaps "finicky" wasn't the best word to use there. There is just more to the 1911 design and using a high pressure round leaves more to wear and malfunction. But, I think your comparison is unfair simply because the .38 Super and 10mm are not a 9mm or a .40 S&W. The .38 Super and 10mm are standard rounds that the gun is designed to easily handle. That is not at all like shooting a high pressure round from a gun.

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Old July 4, 2010, 09:36 AM   #24
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Regular 9mm loads are 35,000 psi.
+p loads may be 40,000?
I'm close, it's what a 13% difference?
Just for clarity, regular 9mm is 35,000, +P is 38,500, and +P+ is 40,000.
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Old July 4, 2010, 10:58 AM   #25
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I'm close, it's what a 13% difference?

My Glock will only last 87,000 rounds instead of 100,000.
I'd say that would be a good rule of thumb. +P loads will decrease your handgun's life by ~10-15%.

FWIW, the Army specs on the M-9 pistol call for it's frame to withstand 5,000 rds of M-882 ball (which is loaded to +P pressures).
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