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Old April 29, 2013, 10:35 AM   #1
wogpotter
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.38 Spl Vs .38 Spl +P cases?

Is ther any actual difference between empty cases headstamped ".38 Special" & ".38 Special +P", from the same manufacturer, other than the headstamp?

I'm not talking loads here, just the actual nickle-plated brass cases.
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Old April 29, 2013, 10:47 AM   #2
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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Out side of their head-stamp identification both cartridge brass are one in the same I do believe. No difference in manufacture tolerances if that is what your referencing too. As I recall My Speer Handloaders #10 book. It offers Plus P recipes right along side of 38 Special reloadings with the usage of certain jacketed bullet tips.

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Old April 29, 2013, 04:23 PM   #3
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Thanks. I kind of thought that but wanted to double check.

I have a bunch of .38 Spl brass & some .38 Spl +P & even some .38 Spl +P+, but its all just dumped in together in a big pile, & was trying to figure out what (if any) difference there was. Weighing the cases & checking the volumes produced nothing different, but I was checking for different temper, or materials & so on before I decided wether to segregate it or just make it one honking big batch of brass!

I have load data, but will probably just run it as std velocity plinking loads in my .357, partly because it came with a lot of cast lead bullets & I really hate scraping that stuff out of the bore.
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Old April 29, 2013, 04:38 PM   #4
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It may depend on the maker, but Starline says they thicken their .45 Auto +P but not their .38 Special +P. I'll guess the reason is nobody shoots .38 Special +P in unsupported chambers. Mostly just in revolvers.
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Old April 29, 2013, 04:47 PM   #5
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I load them all the same. So far as I have seen they are just the same. I skip using the nickled cases. They tend to crack ofter a couple of reloads. So I just leave those in the range barrel if I see them.
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Old April 29, 2013, 05:27 PM   #6
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Other than the head stamp they are the same. Go to the Star line website. They have a explanation of this if you will look at the section on .38 brass for sale.

EDIT: I just saw the above post refering to 45 ACP starline brass. I had only looked at their .38 brass section. So answer seems to be yes and no.
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Old April 30, 2013, 04:32 PM   #7
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Note, too, that if they are the same brand, just weighing will tell you if there's a difference.
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Old May 1, 2013, 05:58 AM   #8
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In my 'collection' of 38 Special cases I have +P cases that differ from their non-+P brethern.

I sort 38 Special cases a bit.....
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Old May 1, 2013, 06:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
I have +P cases that differ from their non-+P brethern
In what way do they differ?
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Old May 2, 2013, 05:11 AM   #10
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They have differing weight.
They have different internal dimensions.
They appear (without metallurgical testing) to be made from differing alloys, or treatment.

They are unquestionably different. Like commercial vs military cases.

I note some brands differ only in headstamp.
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Old May 2, 2013, 07:02 AM   #11
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What brands differ & what ones are the same, please?
I have literally several thousand to sort & organize & I'd like to reduce the work to a safe minimum.
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Old May 2, 2013, 10:29 AM   #12
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I load all of mine just the same. My reloads shoot better than I can milk them for.
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Old May 2, 2013, 10:44 PM   #13
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SAAMI case drawing

Here is SAAMI .38 Special case drawing:

http://saami.org/PubResources/CC_Dra...ecial%20+P.pdf

{Edit: copied image violates board policy on posting copyrighted materials. I replaced it with a link to SAAMI, which is OK to do.}

Last edited by Unclenick; May 4, 2013 at 02:09 PM. Reason: Edit to bring into compliance with the board policy on copyrighted materials.
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Old May 3, 2013, 06:01 AM   #14
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I don't sort 38 brass; I use new cases for social ammo, and reload the rest at modest power levels.


If concerned, simply sort by headstamp.
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Old May 3, 2013, 06:46 AM   #15
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Quote:
I load all of mine just the same. My reloads shoot better than I can milk them for.

I think that is typical of most people. If its bulk brass, no need to sort your pistol range target loads. Save that extra labor sorting for some long range match or hunting loads!
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Old May 3, 2013, 07:04 AM   #16
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Thanks for the drawing. I don't see how it relates though?
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Old May 3, 2013, 08:04 AM   #17
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A pragmatic answer to the question of, is there any difference between +P and non +P .38 spl. cases for the purpose of hand loading? If loading for casual shooting, load them all the same without bother to sort. If it is for formal target purposes, buy new brass cases of the same type. It is not a real big issue if almost all your shooting is for casual recreation.
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Old May 3, 2013, 08:06 AM   #18
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I think the drawing relates in the fact that +p and the 38 spl. have the same dimensions. Starline brass is marked +p so you can identify your loads as +P then you don't shoot them in a weapon not rated for +P.
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Old May 3, 2013, 04:52 PM   #19
wogpotter
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Quote:
I think the drawing relates in the fact that +p and the 38 spl. have the same dimensions.
AhHA, thanks. I was too busy looking at the dimensions & comparing to the ones in my manuals to look up at the top.
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Old May 3, 2013, 05:26 PM   #20
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Some of them take more force to resize (like a .357 Magnum) so that means the brass is thicker. And if the brass is thicker the case has less capacity. In my opinion this is all academic, it doesn't really make any difference in .38 Special. Even in +P, it's a low pressure load in a big cartridge.
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Old May 3, 2013, 11:18 PM   #21
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Wagpotter: Notice the upper right hand title. They don't differentiate anything between std. and +P

What people should do when they "think" they have to weigh out powder or sort brass for a pistol load is to consider what distance they are shooting and what the external ballistics are.
Until you exceed 50 yard, none of tiny details matter. Folks with chronos should be doing the external ballistics and proving to themselves that it doesn't matter.
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Old May 4, 2013, 02:43 PM   #22
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Noylj,

I had to edit your post to bring it into compliance with the board policy on posting copyrighted materials. Please read.

The important point to take away from the drawing is that SAAMI standardizes only the exterior dimensions necessary for finished cartridges to fit in a finished chambers made to their standard, and also to control bullet diameter range for shooting down a SAAMI spec barrel. Internal case dimensions are not addressed by the standard at all. The brass forming operations manager at Top Brass told me SAAMI leaves it entirely up to the manufacturer to determine his internal case dimensions any way he wants, so long as they accommodate SAAMI spec bullets and withstand SAAMI spec pressures.

For higher pressures some makers make brass thicker. Some do it by adding forming operations or stamping the headstamp deeper into the head to further work harden the brass (which increases its tensile strength). Starline makes their +P .45 Auto cases with thicker brass than their standard brass, leaving them with about 2 grains less water capacity. But Top Brass, when they've made them, has had their standard and +P .45 Auto brass identical except for the headstamp. Starline's .357 Magnum cases are thicker than their .38 Special cases, and their .44 Magnum brass is thicker than their .44 Special brass. But none of this is regulated by SAAMI standards. It's just what makes them comfortable that the brass will perform properly and that customers will be happy with it.

If you look at the NATO STANAG drawings, those do have internal dimensions; thickness of the head, thickness of the case wall at certain locations. They also have case profiles showing hardness test point locations and values. However, all these elements are "suggested" and not mandatory. (Note that primer pocket drawings are separate from case drawing in order to accommodate different primer types and sizes. Boxer and Berdan primers, in particular, require very different primer pockets.)

The bottom line: whether your .38 Special and .38 Special +P cases have different internal capacities or not can vary by manufacturer. There is no governing standard for this. If you separate your cases by brand, a scale will quickly tell you whether that brand's average .38 Special +P case is any heavier than the standard pressure .38 Special +P case or not. That's pretty much the only way to tell. With Bullseye and other fast powders, figure that for each 1.1 to 1.2 grains greater case weight, you should use about 0.1 grains less powder to keep pressure constant.
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