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Thread: +P+

  1. #1
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    +P+

    Came into a sizable quantity if military WCC +P+ 38 Special cases, both brass and nickel. Question: What pressure level was this loaded to? I assume it was with the standard 130 gr. FMJ/RN, same as the original load we used in Naval Aviation S&W 38 M&P revolvers during the Viet Nam era. Any one know about these pressure levels?

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    The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturing Institute (SAAMI) has set a pressure ceiling for standard pressure 9mm Para at 35,000 pounds per square inch (psi). By contrast, NATO pressure ceiling is 42,000 psi. In-between U.S. standard pressure 9mm and NATO spec, we have two options. 9mm +P has a SAAMI pressure ceiling of 38,500 psi. There’s no SAAMI spec for 9mm +P+; that’s just a way of saying its pressures exceed +P standards.

    I didn't look up 38 special, but I would suspect there is no telling what pressure level they are loaded to. I would suggest using them in a 357.
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    I do know that the USAF ordered and issued Ruger Stainless steel service six revolvers in the 70's for the security units , Air police, and such. I saw them at Hickham Field when I used to shop at the commisary and exchange. I suspect that they were used there. DOD security on Mare Island Shipyard carried S&W M&P 38s, I don't know what ammo was used. I never saw +P or +P+ with any of our Helo detachments on board ship and I was friends with the Gunners Mates and was given thousand of rounds of fired brass. Haven't got it pinned down yet.

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overpressure_ammunition
    The +P+ designation is not currently used by the SAAMI, but is used by some manufacturers to designate loads that exceed the +P SAAMI specification. One source lists the 9 x 19 mm +P+ loading as having a pressure of 42,000 psi, an 18% increase over the standard pressure of 35,000 psi, and the .38 Special +P+ as 22,000, a 29% increase over the standard pressure.[5]

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    OK: +P+ 38 at 22,000; thats what I was looking for. Thanks

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    The point of my post is that all you know about +P+ is that it’s over +P pressure.

    You only know by how much by “one source”. You have no idea what “source” your ammunition came from.
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    From what I understand which is limited, +p+ denotes higher than +p pressures/velocity but does not give a definitive answer to what that +P+ pressure/velocity is because different manufacturers create different +P+ loads, this is also true if an agency had a +P+ load specifically made up for them.

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    I have a bucket full of +P+ cases I got from a USFS/BLM Law Enforcement team and it is all WCC +P+ from 84 to 87 and some FC +P+, same time period. I was just curious about the pressure level it developed. I cross sectioned a few cases and they seem to be the same dimensions as some FC 58, RA 65, and WCC 71 standard load cases.

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    May I suggest that you dfon't go over +P limits? Remember, the contract went to the lowest bidder.....

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    Can't be any worse than Remington UMC that I've been reading about recently. All my 38's are ok for +P, but I don't remember ever loading any, I'll have to check my records. If I want something like that I load 357. My one true love is standard 38 Special with 158 gr. RNL bullet(lyman 358311) just like it was originally designed for. I also shoot 148 HBWC>

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    The only cases I ever saw marked only "WW +P+" or "FC +P+" were ones used fot what's known as the "Treasury Load" originally loaded for, you guessed it, the Treasury Department in the late 70s to about the mid 80s. These were issued to me working for US Customs but a lot of other agencies also bought them. There is no pressure designation for +P+ just that it's more than +P. I seem to rember someone telling me the Treasury Loads were 25,000 psi. They were is essence a low level magnum witha 110 JHP traveling about 1300 fps from a 4". I did use them in K frame 38s with no ill effects. When they first came out we were told they were okay to use in J frames (I didn't believe that) and after a few S&W M60s blew out cylinders and bent topstraps their use was limited to 357 revolvers.

    I still have some of the brass around and they load just like any other decent brass.

    All military 38 ammo was standard pressure 130 FMJ that went 800-850 fps from a 4".

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    +1 to Griz.

    I remember buying white boxes of Winchester +P+ .38 110 gr. JHP ammo marked "for Law Enforcement Only". They were hot, but not magnum-hot. I recall they kicked less than the W-W .357 mag 110 gr load.

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    270 Win brass is SAAMI registered at 65,000 psi, but no way is it near as strong as 38 sp, 38 sp +P+, or 357 mag brass.

    The purpose of the +P+ stamped into the brass is for identification.

    The max pressure in a thick chamber walled revolver is ~ 45,000 psi before the cases get stuck.

    What does it all mean?
    There is no functional difference in +P+ 38 sp brass.
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