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Old August 20, 2021, 08:11 PM   #26
Forte S+W
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I've always been of the opinion that if Standard Pressure ammunition isn't enough for the intended purpose of the firearm then an overpressure load isn't either, and it's time to step up to a more powerful cartridge.

If you're going to shot +P and especially +P+ ammo out of a firearm, then it had better be a heavy duty firearm, preferably one which is overbuilt for the cartridge that it's chambered in, but frankly, I wouldn't do it regardless.
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Old August 21, 2021, 03:30 PM   #27
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Yes, 74A95, I am saying the same thing. As I said earlier, I stand by the statement.

I just stopped by my reloading bench, scooped up a .38 special case full of Unique (a common powder) and weighed the load. Thirteen grains. Lyman Reloading Handbook, 49th Edition, recommends a maximum load of 8.3 grains with a 158 grain hollow point bullet for .357 magnum. That maximum load generates 38,300 PSI by the CUP method. Would you consider my 13 grain load safe in your .357? In your hand? Because without a definition for +P+, there is nothing to keep me from labeling that +P+. It's more than +P and it fits in the case. That's pretty much the only definition of +P+.
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Old August 21, 2021, 04:16 PM   #28
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True, you can overload a .357 magnum with an unsuitable powder in .38 Special cases and call it +P+ because there is no official definition of the term.

But do you really think Federal is going to do that and sell the result to a government agency?
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Old August 22, 2021, 01:27 PM   #29
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No, Mr. Watson, I got off track from the OP. I apologize.

I personally don't shoot +P+ because I don't know what it is. The example I chose was rather extreme, though, and would not want to be thought to be accusing Federal of dangerous marketing.

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Old August 22, 2021, 02:01 PM   #30
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The only way to know what +P+ means, in terms of pressure, is to contact the manufacturer and see if they will provide the information.

I have done that once and in that specific case, it turned out that, according to the manufacturer, the pressure was actually right at the top limit for +P. I suspect that they labeled it +P+ because they couldn't guarantee it would still be within the spec for +P in extreme conditions (high temperatures, heavily fouled chamber/leade, etc.).

Anyway, that underscores the idea that there's no telling what you have until the manufacturer weighs in.
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Old August 22, 2021, 08:16 PM   #31
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I have done that once and in that specific case, it turned out that, according to the manufacturer, the pressure was actually right at the top limit for +P.
This is the story I heard about the Federal load, the last one the FBI approved for purchase. It was right on the +p limit for pressure and due to the variance in individual rounds some rounds would (barely) exceed the listed spec so since ALL the rounds couldn't be guaranteed to be at the spec or under it, they just listed it as +p+.

Many (most?) rounds do not have a SAAMI +p spec. For them, there is no such thing as +P+. Anything over the standard pressure spec is considered +p no matter how much, or how little.

Same goes for cartridges that do have a SAAMI +P spec. Any round exceeding that spec is +p+ no matter if it is just 1psi over the limit or 10,000.
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Old August 22, 2021, 09:24 PM   #32
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I'm going to call Federal this week and ask. Curious to see what they say. I may also pull a round apart and see if I can figure out what's in it. May start a new thread in the reloading section for that though. Will link when I do.
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Old August 23, 2021, 12:23 AM   #33
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I may also pull a round apart and see if I can figure out what's in it.
That's pretty much a waste of time. Unless the maker tells you what they used there's no way to know with certainty. Similar LOOKING powders can be drastically different, and the big ammo companies deal in powder batches in the tons weight range, mixing and blending until they get the results they want, and much of the time, that's different from identical looking cannister grade reloading powder.

Simply put, no matter what it looks like, you can't KNOW for sure what it is and the makers often use stuff we can't get.
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Old August 23, 2021, 08:35 AM   #34
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There was a gunzine article about a police department that ordered up a batch of service ammo. Ordinary stuff like bullet weight and velocity were specified. But not flash retardant. The new stuff fired indoors or in low light had a bright flash, much more than the old stuff. So they pulled down a round of each, and sure enough the new order had a larger charge of entirely different powder.

An article on match shooting with the AR described the AMU ordering factory match .223 by the pallet. When an order came in, they would pull a bullet. If it uncovered Ball powder, they relegated it to the 200 and 300 yard events; ammo loaded with extruded powder was saved for 600 yards.

So even if you did pull a bullet and see something familiar, it doesn't mean you will get the same thing next time.
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Old August 23, 2021, 09:23 AM   #35
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Gosh, I have put so many rounds down range over the years it would be hard to count. But I have never shot +P+.
Nor do I ever intend to and will avoid if humanly possible. Now if it is the end of the world and the Zombies are coming and that is the only ammo I have, Yes I will use it, and pray I do not tear up the gun I happen to have.
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Old August 23, 2021, 10:15 PM   #36
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That was kinda my thoughts. Wanted to shoot a cylinder worth to see where they hit with my 38 snubbie. Then save it and hope to never have to use it. I know my 357 will handle it if need be , but is also a 6in hunting gun, something for woods carry only

Option 2 is pull the bullets, dump the powder and save the primed brass and bullets to reload.I feel silly pulling factory ammo though, but it may be the only good option...
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Old August 23, 2021, 10:32 PM   #37
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I've shot plenty of +P+ 9mm from several different pistols...none had any problem with it, or showed any I'll effect.
Mainly Winchester Ranger 127gn, and Federal 115gn BPLE.
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Old August 24, 2021, 11:23 AM   #38
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Option 2 is pull the bullets, dump the powder ...
I'd say that goes beyond silly, all the way to dumb.
If you were desperately short of .38 Spl brass and there was no other choice, then its a maybe,,, otherwise, its foolish, I think.

It's factory ammo, there's nothing wrong with it. If it's not suitable for your gun, go with

Option 3 sell or trade, or just give it to someone who can use it.
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Old August 25, 2021, 12:57 AM   #39
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Agree. Especially since you've got a .357Mag you could shoot the ammo in.
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Old August 25, 2021, 01:23 AM   #40
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Some years ago I chronographed some Federal .38 +P+. I can't remember the bullet weight, etc. but do recall velocity was unimpressive. If velocity is any indication of pressure, that ammo was not hot at all.

FWIW, I have used quite a bit of Federal 9mm +P+ 9BPLE 115 grain and Winchester 115 and 127 grain 9mm +P+ in a variety of firearms. I was never able to detect any premature wear, and certainly no breaking, bending, deforming, etc. of component parts due to use of +P+ ammo. As most know, this ammo is most often sold on contract to LE agencies. Within my humble experience in LE, departments do not tend to buy items suspected of prematurely wearing or damaging equipment, or being dangerous to personnel and public. In any case, due to my own experience with major US manufacturer +P+ ammo, I am comfortable in it's use in quality, properly maintained firearms........YMMV

Interestingly perhaps, the CorBon 9mm ammo I've used, rated as only +P, routinely produced velocities as high or higher than any Winchester or Federal +P+ ammo I've tested. So is CorBon +P at velocities as high or higher than +P+ OK, while +P+ at lower velocities a problem?

I should mention that the CorBon I tested was produced before the CorBon change of ownership, so I don't know what CorBon is like now days...
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Old August 25, 2021, 11:36 AM   #41
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FWIW, I have used quite a bit of Federal 9mm +P+ 9BPLE 115 grain and Winchester 115 and 127 grain 9mm +P+ in a variety of firearms. I was never able to detect any premature wear, and certainly no breaking, bending, deforming, etc. of component parts due to use of +P+ ammo.
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In any case, due to my own experience with major US manufacturer +P+ ammo, I am comfortable in it's use in quality, properly maintained firearms........YMMV
Just out of curiosity, have you used any other +P+ ammo?? Any other caliber?? Its been pointed out several times in this thread that there is no standard for +P+ pressure range.

Like the German Autobahn, there is no upper speed limit, only a lower one.

I'm sure you are accurately relating your experience, but I think your conclusion, as stated is simply overbroad and not accurate.

There are LOTS of "quality, properly maintained firearms" that are simply not suited for use of +P+ ammunition. ALL +P+ ammo is NOT the same. The only thing all +P+ ammo has in common is the +P+ marking, because it exceeds the +P pressure rating by some amount.

Specific to 9mm Parabellum, I have 3 different "quality, properly maintained" pistols that I would not dream of running +p let alone unquantifiable +P+ ammo in. And they were made by Mauser and Walther.

I don't think this is a matter of YMMV but a matter of YM WILL Vary...
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Old August 26, 2021, 03:38 PM   #42
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Attached Images
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File Type: jpg top of box.jpg (151.9 KB, 71 views)
File Type: jpg bullet design.jpg (207.9 KB, 73 views)
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Old August 26, 2021, 03:39 PM   #43
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Old August 26, 2021, 03:45 PM   #44
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There is the box and info. Called federal today. Waiting on a call back for details on pressure of the load.

As near as I can tell the lot number is as follows
Shift / Line / Year / Julian Day

can't tell shift / Line 17 / year 2001 / Julian day 239

I thinks that comes to Nov 25th 2001, but I could be way off, had trouble trying to figure the julian day.

The box does state
Quote:
These cartridges are loaded to a higher pressure, as indicated by the +P+ marking on the cases. Use only in firearms recommended by the manufacturer for +P+ ammunition
Out of curiosity does anyone know of 38spl guns rated for +P+ ammo? it seems like an oxymoron....
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Old August 26, 2021, 05:08 PM   #45
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How can you "rate" a gun for ammunition that has no single specification?

But yes, there is such a thing. The first production run of S&W M640 was marked "Tested for +P+." But then they realized there was no +P+ standard to test by and dropped the nonsensical marking.
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Old August 26, 2021, 05:14 PM   #46
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I have several boxes of the old Winchester white box "Law Enforcement Only" 38 SPL +P+ 110 grain SJHP. Whew. I only shoot it in my .357 Magnum revolvers and not all the time. It's getting older (though I store it properly) and it was meant to be used by police officers who were carrying magnum revolvers, but who couldn't use 357 Magnum cartridges for various reasons.
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Old August 26, 2021, 06:44 PM   #47
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That seems odd. If your loading 38s up close to 357, levels, it makes no sense to use them instead of 357s
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Old August 26, 2021, 10:08 PM   #48
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Something like a low recoil 357 for a snubbie makes more sense than a +P+ 38spl...
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Old August 26, 2021, 10:26 PM   #49
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The first of the type was going to a government agency at a time when "Magnum" was a dirty word. Doesn't "Special" just sound nicer?

And the antis' catch phrase was "Bullets shaped like the engine nacelles of a B47. The bullets don't explode, YOU do!"
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Old August 26, 2021, 11:40 PM   #50
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According to one source on the internet (ironically an old TFL thread) the 38HS2G Federal loading runs about 23Kpsi.
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