A Nurse with a Gun

Sunday, November 23, 2008

+P in Vintage Iron

"I have a 1930 vintage Colt Detective Special that I inherited from my grandfather, and I want to know if it’s OK to use +p ammo in it. The factory won’t tell me anything."
I couldn't have said it better than Syd did.

Specifics on vintage S&W M&P revolver cylinders can be found here.

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Anonymous greg said...

Several points to be made here:

1) Do you really NEED Plus P?

When I carry a wheelgun, I carry Gold Dots or Hydra-Shoks in my D-frame Colts, but that is really just an attempt to wring the very last bit of performance from the .38 SPL. Good BULLETS are likely of greater significance than velocity - as long as they open. So - you might be just as well served in MOST situations by using good bullets in a standard pressure offering, coupled with accurate delivery to the target.

2) From a pure mechanical engineering standpoint, and as Grant Cunningham ( and others ) have pointed out - Plus P in an older frame gun is not likely to result in FAILURE, per se, but the gun will shoot loose quicker and will require a good deal more shop time. Colts are expensive to repair, and finding someone who knows how to do it difficult. This can be said about any small revolver, as well, even the modern super-dooper magic metal guns, and will be true until God repeals the laws of physics.


If you simply MUST carry Granddads old gun with Plus P's - practice with standard velocity fodder and reserve the Plus P for familiarization fire and checking the point of impact - most Plus P loadings do NOT hit where the sights aim. As long as the gun is in good mechanical shape the 12 to 18 rounds a year of Plus P actually FIRED in the gun are not likely to injure anything significantly.

Consider the fact that your gun, if it is in really high condition, may be worth a good deal to a collector , and continued use will reduce the value. If you are a D-frame Colt fan, Detective Specials of late vintage are readily available at reasonable prices - retire your Granddads piece and carry a newer D-Frame.

Just examining through the lens of an engineering cost benefit analysis - your risks while unknown, appear to be reasonably low, but the benefits are low, as well.

Like every body else - I will say that its YOUR gun, and you bear all the risks from your decisions -but I generally think most questions in this vein are a tempest in a teapot.

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DITTO sounds like jihad roulette.
and in a totally unrelated news item
I can still breath...

8:33 AM  
Anonymous tjm said...

I read a very long explanation once, http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-2118.html , it is extremely long and I do not know if the guy is a true expert but it made sense. Basically it stated that old lodes were hotter and the now supper loads are about where the old load use to be. This means +p would not be any worse than the old stuff. I did not write it and I am not saying it is 100% right, it was just interesting and made sense. I would say you should read it and decide for yourself. Also, why would you want to carry you grandpa’s old gun? Get a new one for a couple of hundred and save it for the memories (and antique value)…

10:19 AM  
Anonymous ditto said...

What he said.

1:38 PM  

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