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Old September 25, 2011, 04:55 PM   #1
ScotchMan
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Why Isn't the .38 Spl SP101 +P Rated?

Just curious why the SP101 line includes a .38 Spl-only revolver but doesn't specify that it is +P rated? I think most people agree you can fire +P out of these.

It also weighs EXACTLY the same as the .357 model in the same size/configuration (26 oz, 2.25" barrel, with hammer). Comparing the two, its not like the .357 is built any stronger. So why not stamp the +P on the barrel?
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Old September 25, 2011, 04:58 PM   #2
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I have a better question...

Why would anyone buy the .38sp SP101.
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Old September 25, 2011, 05:04 PM   #3
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There are a few of us who like firing the caliber the gun was designed for. I never intend on firing .357 out of a 2" barrel.
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Old September 25, 2011, 05:11 PM   #4
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My only point is that they are the same price as the .357 and the .357 would hold resale value better than the .38sp. Most people that buy the .357, do so with no intention of firing the magnum rounds except perhaps occasionally.
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Old September 25, 2011, 05:28 PM   #5
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I got a good deal on a used .38. And I understand that there are some very minor downsides to firing .38 out of a .357 due to the slightly shorter cases. So if everything else is equal and you have no intention of firing .357, .38 is the better choice, barely.

And I got a good deal on it.

But this isn't about justifying my purchase, I'm asking if anyone knows the story behind the decision not to call it +P rated.
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Old September 25, 2011, 05:44 PM   #6
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I'd load up 38+P and never think twice about firing them in the SP101. If you can do that in a S&W Model 15, I feel sure the Ruger would take it as well. There's not that much difference in pressure.
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Old September 25, 2011, 05:46 PM   #7
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If I was really concerned about +p loads in the weapon, I would give Ruger a call and ask their customer service dept.
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Old September 25, 2011, 05:47 PM   #8
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The practice of stamping +P on a barrel originated with S&W, and it's a marketing-only deal. No difference in the +P marked guns vs identical earlier non-+P marked guns other than the barrel markings.
Unless a maker specifies otherwise in the manual, all current .38s should be considered "rated" for at least occasional use of +P. Every Ruger .38 ever commercially sold was.

Why bother to specifically stamp it on every .38 barrel?
Of course the SP in .38 can handle +P stuff. The fact that Ruger doesn't stamp it such has nothing to do with what it can or can't handle.

You may notice that technically most (if not all) S&W .38 Specials since the 1950s were & are capable of dealing with +P pressures, but only recently did the company start stamping +P on some of 'em.
You don't see Ruger marking Blackhawks ".45 Colt +P", even though they can certainly run those safely.

You don't see .380 pistol makers stamping +P on their guns that can use +P ammunition.
Or 9mm pistol makers so stamping their guns.

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Old September 25, 2011, 05:50 PM   #9
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This particular ad says you can.

http://www.lipseys.com/itemdetail.as...es&model=SP101
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Old September 25, 2011, 06:15 PM   #10
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The catalog lists them as 38 SPL +p

http://www.ruger.com/footer/catalogViewer.html

around page 23.
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Old September 25, 2011, 08:24 PM   #11
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Interesting, thanks Denis. The LCR is stamped +P, and while I hadn't thought about the semi-auto world, you're right, no one else puts that on their barrels.

It still begs the question though, if S&W is stamping +P, and they put it on the LCR, why not their other offering in .38 Spl (which is actually stronger than the LCR, I'd guess).

I'm sure the answer is its not worth retooling the line, but that's not nearly satisfying enough.
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Old September 25, 2011, 09:15 PM   #12
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Because 38 Special p+ is 38 Special. Nothing more.
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Old September 25, 2011, 09:22 PM   #13
DPris
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Again- why bother?

Some of the lightweight Smith snubs are stamped +P because they're so light that the crimps on standard velocity loads may not be enough to hold the bullet in place under recoil. On those, there's a reason for the stamping. My Scanditanium .38 has that on the barrel for that reason, meaning S&W recommends you ONLY fire .38 +P jacketed stuff through it.
Other Smith snubs don't have a +P jacketed warning on them.

On steel Model 64s, I believe the current guns have that +P stamping now (among other models), and in that case such new 64s handle +P pressures no better than my 31-year-old Model 64 that doesn't have +P markings.
Both are +P "rated".

Since there's no real reason to stamp +P on every gun that CAN shoot +P, there's just not much sense in doing it. Those that SHOULD shoot +P, I can see.

As far as the markings on the LCR, probably just a reaffirmation to new owners wondering if the plastic & aluminum can tolerate +P pressures, whereas the assumption may be that of course the steel guns can, most people wouldn't question it.

Glocks are fully rated for 9mm +P, but Gaston doesn't see the need to stamp every one that way.

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Old September 25, 2011, 10:06 PM   #14
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Care to expand on that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CajunBass
Because 38 Special p+ is 38 Special. Nothing more.
Would you expand on that statement, please?

If +p is the same as 38 Special, why waste the ink on the extra characters? It was my understanding that +p is about 10% higher than standard ammunition and +P+ designated higher-than-S.A.A.M.I approved pressures.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overpressure_ammunition states that +p ammunition is the same as the pre-1972 ammunition (when ammo manufacturers lowered their pressure specifications) but this is news to me (and Wikipedia is not an official source, but a concensus based on casual sources, so may not be authoritative.)

Thanks in advance for the enlightenment.

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Old September 25, 2011, 10:57 PM   #15
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The way I remember it, some of the first sp101's were not +p rated or recommended to shoot light 110 or 125 grain out of them.

The notion that stamping +p was a gimmick is absurd. It was put there because some guns could not hand the extra power

Some people don't want to mess with cleaning chambers after shooting a lot of 38spl in a 357 cylinder, so they purchase a 38 only gun.
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Old September 25, 2011, 11:05 PM   #16
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As I said, on those lightweight S&Ws the barrel marking is there as an advisory TO use only +P jacketed.
The steel S&W guns don't need to be marked +P because they were already +P.

Same with the steel Ruger .38s.
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Old September 25, 2011, 11:14 PM   #17
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Not all steel framed 38spl are +p rated, to assume that they are could end up badly!
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Old September 25, 2011, 11:15 PM   #18
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Quote:
Would you expand on that statement, please?
There is nothing to expand on. It's just 38 special with a press agent.

In the car world it's putting fancy wheels and a stripe on a Dodge Neon and calling it a GT. It might look hot, but it's still a Dodge Neon.
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Old September 25, 2011, 11:31 PM   #19
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I was under the impression the only reason the 38 spec sp101 exists is to meet the carry parameters for back up / off duty carry of some police departments.

This makes sense to me. Why else make a gun identical save for what chamber reamer they use? Heck the 101 is beefy enough why not 6 shot 38? That I would buy!

In this case marking it 38 special may fit with the parameters of the department / need.

Oh and it may just be a roll mark... Have seen ond that would easily chamber 357. Maybe someone modified or ruger screwed up. Who knows?
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Old September 25, 2011, 11:56 PM   #20
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The cylinder lengths are different & so are the frame lengths. You can't chamber a 357 in sp101 marked 38spl.
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Last edited by comn-cents; September 26, 2011 at 11:55 AM.
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Old September 25, 2011, 11:59 PM   #21
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Actually, Ruger does specifically rate the .38 Special SP101 for +P ammunition. On page 10 of the instruction manual, the following is stated:

Quote:
Notes on Caliber .38 Special: .38 Special caliber revolvers are designed
specifically for modern higher-powered factory loaded cartridges, including .38
Special and .38 Special + P ammunition.
https://ruger-docs.s3.amazonaws.com/_manuals/sp101.pdf

Quote:
The practice of stamping +P on a barrel originated with S&W, and it's a marketing-only deal. No difference in the +P marked guns vs identical earlier non-+P marked guns other than the barrel markings.
Not all .38 Special S&W revolvers are rated for +P ammunition. According to S&W, even all-steel K-Frames are not rated for +P ammo if made before 1958. Also, older alloy-frame guns such as the M12, 37, 38, and 42 should not be fired with +P and older all-steel J-Frames such as the models 36, 40, 49, and 60 (.38 Special only version) are not specifically rated for +P although conventional wisdom is that limited amounts won't hurt them.
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Old September 26, 2011, 11:21 AM   #22
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S&W stamping +P on IDENTICAL models such as the 64 that previously DID NOT HAVE THAT STAMPING is marketing. I further said "all current .38s" from S&W are +P rated.
Model 64s didn't go back to the 1950s.
You're carrying this way beyond the scope of the original question & my original answer.

And to get back to that original question: Why should Ruger bother to do the stamping?
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Old September 26, 2011, 11:38 AM   #23
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They aren't stamped for it but my P.D. issued +P+ for all of our Mod 15's with no problems. We fired our issue +P+'s at the semi-annual range for Qual and they issued fresh +P+'s. As far as backups we could carry .357 mag revolvers but had to use issue 38 +P+'s in them.
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Old September 26, 2011, 12:07 PM   #24
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Quote:
S&W stamping +P on IDENTICAL models such as the 64 that previously DID NOT HAVE THAT STAMPING is marketing. I further said "all current .38s" from S&W are +P rated.
Model 64s didn't go back to the 1950s.
You're carrying this way beyond the scope of the original question & my original answer.
S&W currently catalogs several J-Frames including the Models 36 and 40 that were not rated for +P ammunition until fairly recently (1999 IIRC). Likewise, currently produced K-Frame models including the models 10, 14, and 15 were available in pre-model number configurations (.38 M&P, K-38 Target Masterpiece, and K-38 Combat Masterpiece respectively) that were nearly identical to their post-model number counterparts.

Quote:
And to get back to that original question: Why should Ruger bother to do the stamping?
Perhaps so that confusion such as that which led to this thread can be avoided.
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Old September 26, 2011, 12:33 PM   #25
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The really amazing part to me, as a Ruger owner and an SP101 owner, is that Ruger actually chose to NOT write something on the barrel.
They just LOVE engraving lines of their manual on their barrels!
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