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Old September 4, 2005, 10:27 PM   #1
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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
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38 Special Brass

Segregating my 38 Spc brass by headstamp brought out 3 different types. 38 Special, +P, and +P+...

Is there a difference in these types of brass?
Is the +P thicker than the special, and the +P+ thicker than the +P?
Can the Special brass be loaded to +P pressures?
Or is all the brass the same and only headstamped differently to designate the original factory loading as new ammo?
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Old September 4, 2005, 11:09 PM   #2
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
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I believe that in a straight pistol case it is all the same and the label is just for segregation factory loads. But don't take my word for this. The standard measure of a case is its water capacity in grains. If no fired primer is in the case, plug the primer pocket with modeling clay. Weigh it and record the weight. Use an eyedropper to fill it with water. Take the weight full of water and subtract the empty weight. Voila, you case water capacity in grains.

You can compare the water capacities of the differently marked cases. Lower capacity will likely mean thicker brass. However, lower capacity also means less powder capacity and higher pressure for a given powder charge, so re-work your loads for cases with differing water capacities. +/- a grain or two isn't unusual in some lots of brass.

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Old September 5, 2005, 08:47 AM   #3
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There are differences. +P and +P+ brass side walls thicken closer to the case mouth and may be unusable with flush seated wadcutters. I no longer even try.

The regular brass is adequately strong for any book load. Many of us still use the old Keith loads which generate .357 Magnum pressures. Brass strength is not a problem although I only own .357s and probably would not load those loads if I had a light .38 Special around.
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Old September 5, 2005, 12:19 PM   #4
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Two good answers. No 357's around or even large frame 38's so I wont be loading any +P loads. I just wanted to know what I was dealing with as I haven't really loaded much 38 Special. It's good to look up the road before starting on your way. I can see I'll be loading more 38's in my future.

So go weigh some cases & water, and seat some wc's in some +P & +P+ brass. (I gotta see). Not today though. Today's casting day.

That 38 brass has been stacking up for years. Time to start working it.

(Ti Tauri 2")
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