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Old October 10, 2000, 08:30 PM   #1
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Why don't the ammunition manufacturers publish the pressures developed by their ammunition?

I just acquired a Colt Officers Model .38SPL, Ser# 6260xx, manufactured around 1952-53. I bought it mostly for collector value, but for very limited shooting I would like to use some Federal Nyclad .38SPL +P (Part# P38N, muzzle: 950fps, 250 ft-lb) ammo, which I have an ample supply on hand. As the maximum SAAMI pressure for .38SPL is approximately 16,500psi, I would like to know if the P38N develops 17, 18, or 19 Kpsi. If it was at the low end of this range, I might try some in my Colt.

I contacted Federal and they don't publish their ammo pressures. They'd only refer me to Colt. Colt takes the legally, safe position that they don't <recommend> any +P ammo in their guns manufactured before 1980.

Should I just forget about using the Federal Nyclads and buy some standard target ammo? Anyone have any suggestions?

This is not my gun, but mine looks very similar:

[This message has been edited by m3bullet (edited October 10, 2000).]
Old October 10, 2000, 11:41 PM   #2
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The pressures that are published in some of the manuals are only good for the test barrels that they are useing.Your barrel ID makes a great difference in what your chamber pressures will be so who can forsee what the pressures will be.I would think that colt should handle plus Ps but if you are going to play with it and not use it for defense why use them?Just shoot some standard loads and have fun with it.

Bob--- Age and deceit will overcome youth and speed.
I'm old and deceitful.
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Old October 11, 2000, 04:49 PM   #3
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In addition to what Beemerb said, I think they are worried about liability. If somebody was confused over the difference between the crusher method and PSI, or assumed that their Colt SA could handle high pressure 45’s because the colt frame will handle high pressure 357’s, then the company could lose the suit over the destroyed gun.

Is your front sight like the one pictured? I haven't seen that before.
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Old October 11, 2000, 10:05 PM   #4
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Yes, my front sight is the same as pictured. Tracing the 6260xx serial number suggests my gun was manufactured in 1953, which would make it a fifth issue, Colt Officers Model Match. However, the blue book description better matches the fourth issue, Colt Officers Model Special, last made in 1952. My gun appears original, 95% bluing, perfect walnut grips, a real collector.

I finally got thru to the right Federal person today who reported that their P38N Nyclads produce 18,500 psi, approximately 2,000 psi (12%) over SAAMI pressure for standard .38SPL loads. Anything to worry about?
Old October 11, 2000, 10:52 PM   #5
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The revolver you have was likely a "target model", that was intended to use mid-range loads, rather than plus P or even standard service loads, though this latter should not bother it.

If you view it as a collectors piece, sounds like you do, hard usage, plus P loads would constitute hard use would diminish it's value. The revolver might well stand up to the loads you mentioned, but you are pushing the gun a bit. Why?

Like another responder mentioned, if the ammunition makers listed pressures, the figures would only apply to THEIR TEST EQUIPMENT. Even if they tested with an actual firearm, as opposed to a "bond receiver", the numbers would only apply to their gun. Yours might develop greater or lower pressure and velocity, with the same ammunition.

[This message has been edited by alan (edited October 11, 2000).]
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Old October 12, 2000, 08:27 PM   #6
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Well, I wonder.. I know lots of folks with serious reloading afflictions, and NONE of them can measure pressure. Perhaps they just didn't think it worth the effort and space to publish, considering something along those lines. passing thought.
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Old October 14, 2000, 12:10 AM   #7
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The last thing the manu wants to tell you is that your 38 sp can take 1000 rounds of 357mag +P+ loads before it needs a rebuild.

The engineering raw data is unavailable.
Weasel words are available: "+P only in emergencies"
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Old October 16, 2000, 02:52 AM   #8
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Well I would just go by SAAMI specs for the bullets. I would not use +Ps in an older revolver just because I would not want to wear it out not out of fear of breaking it necessarily. All manufacturers (good ones) load their bullets within SAAMI specs. I am only aware of a few that are small companies that exceed specs and Im sure the liability lawyers love them. By the way that is a NICE gun.
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Old October 18, 2000, 04:28 PM   #9
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Spoke with my local gunshop owner (a real old timer) today and he claims all Colt revolvers will safely handle +P, unlike the *&* line. Yeah, but ...

Thanks for all the good input ... I now plan to feed my new Colt Officers Model a very light diet of standard 38 special. No need for +P in this baby, as I want to preserve its' excellent condition.
Old October 25, 2000, 09:22 PM   #10
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I would not try to walk the razor's edge with that particular handgun for several reasons. First, it is a safety hazard. Why takes the chance? Second, there are plenty of handguns currently available which will handle +P loads. That would be a good excuse to buy a new gun, as if we needed one. Finally, it appears from your description you have a well preserved, possibly valuable firearm. Why accelerate its aging with high power loads?
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Old October 26, 2000, 03:11 AM   #11
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A minute change in primer, seating, crimping or headspace and some other factors will significantly affect working pressure. Manufactures will publish pressure specs for their test barrels. But that pressue is not the pressure you'll be getting in your gun.

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Old October 26, 2000, 08:58 AM   #12
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I don't publish pressure figures because I DON'T CARE.

If you're worried about pressure buy someone else's ammo (if I didn't make ammo I'd buy Pro Load.).

Let'er rip.......

"All my ammo is factory ammo"

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