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38 Special +P vs. +P+

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by 509survivor, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. 509survivor

    509survivor Eastern Washington Member

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    I recently got a few hundred 38 Special brass from a family member. Most of it is Federal +P+ marked brass, with the FC head stamp. There are a few regular +P cases in the box as well. The story is that the +P+ cases were picked up at a police range back in the 70's when that was a typical police round. They have been stored since that time and never reloaded.
    My question- Is there a difference between the +P and +P+ brass? I have found several cases with "Federal" head stamp marked just +P, so I get the idea they are different.
    I would like to find the hottest load I can find for them using magnum primers and some JHPs. Just to keep around in case of chaos.
    Input from any of the experienced 38 Special reloaders would be appreciated.
     
  2. 2ndtimer

    2ndtimer SE Washington state Active Member

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    There is no difference in any of the cases for the .38 Special other than the rollmark on the head of the case. The +P and +P+ cases were loaded to higher than normal pressure than standard .38 Special loads, but the cases are no different. The more important question to answer is what are you planning to shoot your "hottest loads you can find" in? If it is a .357 Magnum or an older large frame .38 Special like a K-frame Smith or a Ruger Security Six, fine. But if you want to fire them from a D-Frame Colt, or a J-Frame Smith, you might want to reconsider your plan, as a steady diet of +P .38's will loosen them up fairly quickly. Kind of like shooting hot loaded 125 gr JHP .357 Magnums in a K-Frame Smith (which usually results in a cracked forcing cone in the barrel before the action loosens up) Don't ask me how I know.
     
  3. 509survivor

    509survivor Eastern Washington Member

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    357 Magnum, I load some Trail Boss light loads for plinking.
     
  4. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Sometimes +P and +P+ brass has a thicker web. Unless you're pushing magnum loads this shouldn't even be a consideration.