S&W K Frame OK with .38 Spl +P Loads?

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Crash
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S&W K Frame OK with .38 Spl +P Loads?

Postby Crash » Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:29 pm

My wife has an older, nickel plated, K-frame S&W .38 Special with a 4" barrel. The barrel is marked "38 S&W SPECIAL CTG." There is no "+P" after this marking. The serial number is 58304 with "BIC" stamped underneath the number. Is it safe to fire 38 Spl +Ps in this gun?

Thanks,

Crash


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Re: S&W K Frame OK with .38 Spl +P Loads?

Postby cmgee67 » Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:29 pm

I’d get ahold of S&W and give them your serial # and find out everything you need to know! Good luck! Or google or YouTube it
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couzin
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Re: S&W K Frame OK with .38 Spl +P Loads?

Postby couzin » Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:41 pm

Somebody will correct me if wrong, but I think SW started using model numbers on their handguns in 1957. If you have only a serial number it could predate 1957. If so, I would not risk the plus P ammo in it. Probably will not have a serious issue, maybe just cause some damage to components or timing, but a steady diet of plus p might cause a catastrophic failure. I don't know about the BIC mark, maybe it was in Britain at some point. The BNP mark was the British armory marking denoting British Nitro Proofing. Don't know.
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Crash
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Re: S&W K Frame OK with .38 Spl +P Loads?

Postby Crash » Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:59 pm

couzin wrote:Somebody will correct me if wrong, but I think SW started using model numbers on their handguns in 1957. If you have only a serial number it could predate 1957. If so, I would not risk the plus P ammo in it. Probably will not have a serious issue, maybe just cause some damage to components or timing, but a steady diet of plus p might cause a catastrophic failure. I don't know about the BIC mark, maybe it was in Britain at some point. The BNP mark was the British armory marking denoting British Nitro Proofing. Don't know.


couzin,

Thanks for the info and recommendation--I appreciate it.

Crash

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Re: S&W K Frame OK with .38 Spl +P Loads?

Postby The Annoyed Man » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:06 pm

cmgee67 wrote:I’d get ahold of S&W and give them your serial # and find out everything you need to know! Good luck! Or google or YouTube it

What he said. ^^

I’ve done this with a Remington rifle I own. I sent an email to their customer service department with the serial number and model of the rifle, asking how my barrel was rifled, and what the correct twist rate was (their website and catalog listed two different twists for the same rifle model). A week or so later, I got an emailed reply with the information.

I am sure that a S&W CSR can tell you by looking up the serial number whether or not the pistol is safe for +P ammo. They can also tell you what year it was manufactured, and if there is a model# to it, what that might be.
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Re: S&W K Frame OK with .38 Spl +P Loads?

Postby WTR » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:22 pm

Year made? Made of carbon steel?


wheelgun1958
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Re: S&W K Frame OK with .38 Spl +P Loads?

Postby wheelgun1958 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:03 pm

Rule of thumb is if it has a model number it is rated plus p. I don't have my standard catalog (scsw) with me, however I am rather sure of it.


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Re: S&W K Frame OK with .38 Spl +P Loads?

Postby WTR » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:09 pm

:iagree:
wheelgun1958 wrote:Rule of thumb is if it has a model number it is rated plus p. I don't have my standard catalog (scsw) with me, however I am rather sure of it.


That is my understanding also.


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Re: S&W K Frame OK with .38 Spl +P Loads?

Postby rp_photo » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:54 pm

Crash wrote:My wife has an older, nickel plated, K-frame S&W .38 Special with a 4" barrel. The barrel is marked "38 S&W SPECIAL CTG." There is no "+P" after this marking. The serial number is 58304 with "BIC" stamped underneath the number. Is it safe to fire 38 Spl +Ps in this gun?

Thanks,

Crash


I'm thinking that if it was made before +P was in widespread use, it's not compatible unless it's 38/44 rated.
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ml1209
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Re: S&W K Frame OK with .38 Spl +P Loads?

Postby ml1209 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:14 pm

I have a 10-5 tapered barrel, and was wondering the same thing


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Re: S&W K Frame OK with .38 Spl +P Loads?

Postby philbo » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:52 pm

From the 2014 S&W manual I had on the computer:

“Plus-P” (+P) ammunition generates pressures in excess of the pressures associated with standard ammunition. Such pressures may affect the wear characteristics or exceed the margin of safety built into some revolvers and could therefore be DANGEROUS. This ammunition should not be used in Smith & Wesson medium (K frame) revolvers manufactured prior to 1958. Such pre-1958 medium (K-frame) revolvers can be identified by the absence of a model number stamped inside the yoke cut of the frame (i.e., the area of the frame exposed when the cylinder is in the open position)."


If it has a model # on a K frame it's generally approved for +p. If it lacks a model number you can still shoot +p in limited quantities, but the question becomes why? Standard pressure loads will do a decent job


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