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Old June 21, 2019, 11:53 AM   #1
Stargater53
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Shooting +P+

I have some of this ammo I acquired from a friend several years ago. Some people say that guns should have stiffer mainsprings before shooting this kind of ammo, but it sounds like a hassle.

Does this kind of ammo put a lot of wear and tear on guns? I have a number of guns with steel slides (S&W 5906, 3906) and I've got a Taurus PT92. I'd think all of these guns would be robust enough to handle it.




S&W 5906 (top) and Taurus P92.

Does anyone shoot this type of ammo? And is it hard on guns?

Thanks!
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Old June 21, 2019, 12:02 PM   #2
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What manufacturer is making +P+?
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Old June 21, 2019, 12:43 PM   #3
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Ive shot a fair amount of 9mm Federal and Winchester +P+ out of Glocks and SIG's with the factory RSA's in them, and with no noticeable wear or issues.

It might be an issue over time, if it was all you were shooting, but I doubt that the occasional box or two, or even a case, here and there, would be any problem.


Kind of a parallel thing here, I had a Glock 31 in 357SIG that was beating the underside of the slide up pretty good shooting 357SIG out of it, and it never showed any signs of stopping.

I have a 17 that had more +P+ 9mm of the same weight within a few grains through it than the 31 had 357SIG, and it showed basically no wear at all, other than some light finish wear. It also had a boatload of standard and +P 9mm through it at the time too.
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Old June 21, 2019, 01:16 PM   #4
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"...guns with steel slides..." Isn't the slide that matters. It's whether or not the manufacturer says their pistol is rated for +P+ or not. Most are not as there is no SAAMI spec for +P+. That doesn't mean they'll blow shooting the stuff though. It just means there's no +P+ spec.
Very much doubt either Smith is rated for +P. Never mind +P+. Certainly wouldn't shoot either without changing springs myself. Wolf Springs sells 'em up to 22 pounds. A kit containing most of 'em for $31.49. You take one out and put the other in. No hassle.
Same recoil spring for both models too.
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Old June 21, 2019, 01:17 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies.

Winchester makes it. From what they say, +P is ten percent higher. And +P+ comes in at 17 percent higher.

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Old June 21, 2019, 01:27 PM   #6
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According to an engineer at Speer I talked to a while back, the pressure ratings for standard 9mm is 35,000 PSI, +P 9mm is 38,500 PSI, and +P+ 9mm, is 40,000 psi.

Seems the makers, or at least Speer, does have and use a standard for +P+, whether or not SAAMI approves or disapproves.

I wrote to them asking about +P+ 9mm vs 357SIG, and their response was, they would be very similar, as rounds of the same pressure, using bullets of equal or similar weights, would give similar results.
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Old June 21, 2019, 01:37 PM   #7
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According to an engineer at Speer I talked to a while back, the pressure ratings for standard 9mm is 35,000 PSI, +P 9mm is 38,500 PSI, and +P+ 9mm, is 40,000 psi.
Interesting. Note that those are MAXIMUM pressures.
Technically, 35,001 psi would be +P, if you could read pressures that closely.

Norma ran into that a number of years ago with the oddly named .38 Special Magnum. They advertised it as a high velocity round that did not reach +P. Except that somebody tested an early shipment and it was slightly over standard and therefore +P. They changed the label rather than reduce the load.
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Old June 21, 2019, 01:58 PM   #8
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If manufacturers are going to call something +P+, I appreciate that at least some of them are willing to define it. I hadn't heard of that before, but I am glad to see it.

I still wouldn't run it in my pistol, but for those who do, having pressures limited is a positive.
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Old June 21, 2019, 02:52 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by HighValleyRanch View Post
What manufacturer is making +P+?
Winchester. Federal. Speer. Magtech.
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Old June 21, 2019, 02:58 PM   #10
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Once upon a time +P+ was for government agency sales where the ammo could be loaded to the maximum the issued guns would handle.
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Old June 21, 2019, 04:00 PM   #11
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I was told years ago by an engineer at Federal that +P+ was loaded to the top of the SAAMI +P pressure. +P was loaded a bit hotter than standard, I forget exactly where but it was not near max.

Anyone remember the UZI machine gun ammo e could get in the 1980's? That was WAY hotter than +P+.
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Old June 21, 2019, 04:27 PM   #12
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Anyone remember the UZI machine gun ammo e could get in the 1980's? That was WAY hotter than +P+.
I shot a good bit of that out of my machineguns and my Glocks back in the late 80's, early 90's.

My buddy was working at a local gun shop at the time, and they had a letter from Glock, on their letterhead, recommending its use in their pistols.

There were a lot of complaints early on, that some commercial 9mm wasnt cycling the guns properly, and Glocks solution, was hotter ammo.

I ran into that with my reloads, and had to bump the load up a good bit to get the Glocks to cycle. What worked in my High powers, and P38 would choke the Glocks. Never had any problems with 9mm surplus of the time though.

While I really didnt think that Uzi "black tip" carbine 9mm was really all that hot, at least by the way it felt while shooting it (if youve ever shot true SMG rated 9mm out of a MAC, with your cheek on its wire stock, you know what "hot" feels like), it was the only brass ammo to ever actually start to fire form into the flutes of my MP5's chamber and was not reloadable.

These were not the typical flute scratches you get with the HK's, the cases actually had (slightly) raised "ridges" on them. Even hot SMG surplus ammo, that did feel a good bit hotter when shot, wouldnt do that. I always figured that IMI must have been using a lighter brass case or something.
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Old June 21, 2019, 06:39 PM   #13
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FWIW, I've used my share of 9mm +P+. Mostly Federal and Winchester, with just a little Remington acquired for testing. I've not used +P+ in Beretta/Taurus 92 type pistols, but have used it in a bunch of other 9mm pistols, to include S&W 5906s. No issues. I also used and chronographed the CorBon 115 and 125 grain +P ammo. The +P CorBon routinely equaled or exceeded +P+ velocities. Some 115 +P CorBon was hotter than any 115 +P+ Winchester, Federal or Remington I ever tested. I suspect some current 9mm, available from smaller "Boutique" manufacturers, might equal the CorBon...

BTW, reference the IMI Blact Tip ammo back in the '80s, I used all I could afford. I chrongraped the black tip, and ballistics were similar to current 9mm NATO. There was also an IMI 9mm with a dark brown tip that chronographed the same as the black tip. No issues in any case.
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Old June 21, 2019, 07:36 PM   #14
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Winchester makes it. From what they say, +P is ten percent higher. And +P+ comes in at 17 percent higher.
Quote:
According to an engineer at Speer I talked to a while back, the pressure ratings for standard 9mm is 35,000 PSI, +P 9mm is 38,500 PSI, and +P+ 9mm, is 40,000 psi.
Quote:
I was told years ago by an engineer at Federal that +P+ was loaded to the top of the SAAMI +P pressure.
There is no agreed upon industry standard for +P+. So different manufacturers will tell you different things. All of them are right (they're telling you how THEY loaded a +P+ loading) and all of them are wrong (they don't know and can't tell for certain how other manufacturers load +P+).

If you want to know about a particular loading, you MUST ask the manufacturer about that specific load. What other manufacturers say is not going to be helpful, and it's not even a given that a particular manufacturer always uses the same standard for their own +P+.
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Old June 22, 2019, 10:43 AM   #15
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SAAMI defines ammo by the maximum pressure for a given load. So for standard 9mm the pressure is 35,001 psi. For +P it is 38,500 psi. These figures are agreed upon by all members of SAAMI so all members of SAAMI abide by it.

I'm not sure right now if SAAMI recognizes a +P+ designation. I know they did not use to.

This means any ammo under 35,000 is standard pressure. So ammo at 34,000 is standard.

Any round above that up to 38,500 psi is +P So a round at 36,000 psi is +P.

As you can see there is room for variation and a good deal of it.

There is no formal agreed upon definition of +P+ in the industry. So no upper limit for that is set. So anything running at 38,525 psi and above is +P+.

Because there is no upper limit set many manufacturers hesitate to say that their semi-autos hand guns are rated for +P+

It's defined by pressure and not by bullet weight or velocity.

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Old June 22, 2019, 12:46 PM   #16
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Seeing the pressure specs, I would question what parts of an auto would be stressed with higher pressures. We first consider the chamber. The +P+ should not damage the chamber, so the next pressure consideration would be the recoil, which would send the slide back, impacting the frame. I would think a steel slide would be a plus in shooting such ammo. With the military Beretta having had problems with slide separations a few years back, I would hesitate shooting the +P+ in them.

If I put heavier recoil springs in my autos, would I experience greater failures to feed with standard ammo?
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Old June 22, 2019, 01:15 PM   #17
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With the military Beretta having had problems with slide separations a few years back, I would hesitate shooting the +P+ in them.
As I recall that issue was back in the late 1980s and cleared up rapidly.

I don't shoot a steady diet of +P+ in anything. I can't think of a good reason to do that.

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Old June 22, 2019, 01:53 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Stargater53 View Post
Seeing the pressure specs, I would question what parts of an auto would be stressed with higher pressures. We first consider the chamber. The +P+ should not damage the chamber, so the next pressure consideration would be the recoil, which would send the slide back, impacting the frame. I would think a steel slide would be a plus in shooting such ammo. With the military Beretta having had problems with slide separations a few years back, I would hesitate shooting the +P+ in them.

If I put heavier recoil springs in my autos, would I experience greater failures to feed with standard ammo?
I'm confused. Don't most centerfire cartridge pistols have steel slides?

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Old June 22, 2019, 02:03 PM   #19
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Not ALL, but definitely the vast majority.
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With the military Beretta having had problems with slide separations a few years back, I would hesitate shooting the +P+ in them.
A few decades back, would be more accurate--that's been over 30 years ago now.

There are certainly reasons not to use a steady diet of +P+, or even +P in a 9mm pistol, but the slide separation problem appears to have been a metallurgical issue which affected a small number of pistols in the middle 1980s. Probably not something to be concerned about these days.
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Old June 22, 2019, 05:27 PM   #20
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Why risk damage to the gun or injury to yourself shooting loads above saami specs? Just got to another caliber that gives you the performance you want within saami specs. There is so much crossing in performance among calibers these days, depending on the load, I don’t see a reason to ever shoot +P+ anything... Then if you still need more power, move to a shotgun or rifle...
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Old June 22, 2019, 10:47 PM   #21
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I don't understand the need for +P and +P+ ammo. Why do you need more than the normal loads? I don't know of any reason to have hotter loads than normal and I don't understand why people pay more money and risk excessive wear and tear or damage to their firearms. We have more risk with over penetration than we do with under penetration. In America, we tend to think more power is better but is it really? People buy and drive a 700+ HP Hellcat to brag about but they do the same thing with it that I do with my 200 HP car.
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Old June 22, 2019, 10:51 PM   #22
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We have more risk with over penetration than we do with under penetration.
Usually +p rounds expand more, not penetrate more.
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Old June 22, 2019, 11:43 PM   #23
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Shoot it here and there. It’ll be fine. Were it dangerous, ammo manufacturers wouldn’t make it. We had a discussion a while back on buffalo bore ammo, and there was some hyperventilation by some that BB exceeds SAAMI specs in some cases. My argument is “so what?” There is no law forcing compliance with SAAMI specs. SAAMI obviously serves the greater good by working to ensure that ammo is made to a standard and is safe. That being said, SAAMI is the “big tent” that doesn’t fit every application. Their standards are exceeded daily, by 10s of thousands of knowledgeable reloaders, who know what application they are making ammo for and make ammo accordingly (and safely). Should I never exceed SAAMI spec, I would be stuck at 37k psi max for my 8mm Mauser ammo in a ww2 era Mauser. Mind you these mausers were frequently sporterized and chambered in 30-06 or 270, with a much higher pressure, to no ill effect. Why does SAAMI limit me? For rifles from the late 1800s, few of which are still in circulation, that couldn’t handle typical rifle pressures. That doesn’t apply well to my situation. Take 45 colt ammo in a Ruger revolver. Safe to exceed SAAMI max. 38 special in any modern revolver. Again safe for +p and likely beyond. That same 9mm standard ammo has to be safe in a keltec pf9, in addition to the S&W 5906 (quite a robust firearm)... despite the 5906 being able to withstand hotter ammo than the keltec. +P+ in a sufficient firearm is safe.

For your pt92, others have hit on the locking block issue. There are still locking block failures to this day and beretta is on their 3rd redesign of the part. I would not feed the pt92 much +P+ ammo.
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Old June 23, 2019, 12:15 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by TunnelRat View Post
I'm confused. Don't most centerfire cartridge pistols have steel slides?

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Yes, I m meant to say steel frames. Sorry!
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Old June 23, 2019, 01:02 AM   #25
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Shoot it here and there. It’ll be fine. Were it dangerous, ammo manufacturers wouldn’t make it. We had a discussion a while back on buffalo bore ammo, and there was some hyperventilation by some that BB exceeds SAAMI specs in some cases. ... That same 9mm standard ammo has to be safe in a keltec pf9, in addition to the S&W 5906 (quite a robust firearm)... despite the 5906 being able to withstand hotter ammo than the keltec. +P+ in a sufficient firearm is safe.

For your pt92, others have hit on the locking block issue. There are still locking block failures to this day and beretta is on their 3rd redesign of the part. I would not feed the pt92 much +P+ ammo.
Thanks. Makes sense. I once thought the Beretta lock-up was extremely solid. Then slides began popping off the frames. (I worked at the Naval Sea Systems Commandb in a Arlington, Va., at the time and had a long talk with the guy in charge of the Navy's testing of the Berettas. I learned the following:

1. There were no known slide separation issues with the Italian or commercial Berettas;
2. A slide separation could occur any time after 6,000 rounds;
3. There were no warnings of when such separations would occur;
4. In all test guns, electron-microscopic stress-cracks were searched for, yet none were ever found, making them impossible to predict;
5. Beretta's suggested fix (at that time) was to install something that would keep the slide from separating from the frame --- not something that would keep the break from happening;
6. Finally, Taurus claimed its "Beretta clone" guns used superior metallurgy, but this wasn't substantiated. (Taurus claimed it's never had a reported slide separation.)

He added that the shooters who experienced slide separations could never be used for further testing. I don't know what happened after that and whether Beretta fixed the problem or just added that stop-gap. I only met the man because he was retiring and he had to sign out in my office. I was eating lunch and reading a gun magazine, which he noticed. He was quite put out with the Navy and I was happy to let him vent.
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