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I have worked on thousands of guns and owned many S&W revolvers. I never seen "frame stretch" talked about and I shot heavy loads, the old Keith 429421 with 22 gr of 2400 in the .44, can't remember the .357 loads but stout with 2400. Then max loads of 296 with 240 gr bullets.
I don't know the alloy guns so can't comment.
Two things I found with S&W. Most clean too good and never lube so the front bushing wears as does the ratchet and hand. You MUST lube your guns. I use STP on my SA's and have around 89,000 heavy loads with no wear.
Next, they do not like heavy bullets for the caliber. Inertia of parts like the cylinder stop can unlock the cylinder to spin back wards and the center pin to unlock the front cylinder lock can peen so you can't open the gun. Very easy fixes.
The X frame .500 has doubled and it was called shooter error-NOT. Cylinder stop spring was too light. Hammer bounce from flash hole pressure would send the hammer back and if the cylinder rotated to a live round, it fired. S&W finally made a stronger spring available. Did they see what I said?
Overall, a S&W is a great gun and can take pressure it is designed for.
Next problem with older guns was the crane. Neighbor flipped the cylinder shut, movie stuff, bent the crane. It was so soft I bent it back by hand. Much improved today.
I can't say bad about a S&W, still love them.
 

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The early +P .38 Spec. cut the top strap on M37Airweight Chiefs in less than a thousand rounds. Cut them badly. I see a steel insert in S&Ws today.
 

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Yes, it helps. Big problem with some guns. Seen it with the .357 max. Tighter gaps can increase pressures too. Some calibers with high pressures do not do it. It is a strange thing.
 

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I recently had to replace a cylinder stop on an M66 for that specific reason BFRSHOOTER. I went ahead and replaced the spring as well, of course. It only jumped cylinders when I was shooting H110/296 loads, no problems with +P 38's, but it probably would have started sooner than later. I went through the gun at that time and replaced a number of springs and parts as a matter of maintenance and up keep.

This particular K frame now has upward of 5k of 296 jacketed loads and at least 20k of +P 38's run through it and runs perfectly. Strap exhibited superficial gas cutting within the first 1k rounds or so, but it has not progressed.

I keep it lightly lubed, and I also keep it free of dust and grit around all moving parts.

SMOA
 

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FWIW brass used in new manufacture 148 gr full hollow base wad cutters is different from regular .38 Spl brass---at least it used to be with W-W and R-P---made for taper crimps the length of the bullet, which length was entirely encased in the brass. Not sure if this helps---just thought I put it out there.
 

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I never understood the cannelure ( my spelling stinks) that the base of a bullet stops at. I have .44 mag brass with it too. I never had a problem and none ever broke there but bullets tend to move the other way with recoil.
Years ago I swaged bullets and made a slick little tool to roll one on the bullet for crimp. I bought half and 3/4 jackets from Herter's, lead wire, etc. Talk about explosive bullets.
All that stuff is long gone, should have kept all those goodies. I had the CH swage tools and an RCBS A-2 press. Things came and went depending on money, great guns, etc. All my Smiths are gone and the .357 when I found the .44 in 1956. But I started to work on guns when 16 and am almost 80 now.
Back then we had gun writers that did the work, now they shoot factory loads. We had Elmer, Ken Waters and on and on. You can't learn from a gun rag now, they pay homage to advertisers for free stuff.
Back to the .38, I have seen no difference in brass except a little from alloy or the brand. or the machine used. It is still crazy to make a case from a slug of brass.
I see it done but you have to wonder who made the machines. Those guys are the heroes. Even millions of frozen pizzas on a line, who made the machines and who cleans them? How about a hug and a pat on the back to the geniuses that make life possible.
 

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+P designates factory powder charge in loaded ammunition

Is there any difference in brass stamped 38 Spec vs 38 Spec +P?

I checked my Speer #13 and could find no difference in the brass dimensions altho there are different loads for 38 spec vs 38 spec +P.

Does that mean you can put 38 spec +P loads in brass that is stamped 38 Spec?
The headstamp indicates that the powder charge is designed for +P handguns. There is virtually no difference in the case design. The +P stamp on the case protects a ammunition manufacturer from law suits for injuries or damage from firing +P powder charges in a firearm that is not designed for +P pressures. Once ammunition is removed from the factory box there is no way to tell if it's standard or +P, the case stamp identifies the cartridge as +P if so marked in factory ammo.
 

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That is correct. Starline even says in their online catalog that their 38 Special and 38 Special +P differs only in the headstamp, as that is used to label the cartridge to tell the shooter his load pressure will be higher than normal SAAMI pressure. Ed Harris points out there have been different brass designs for light wadcutter loads, keeping the walls straight and taper-free down closer to the head, so it never squeezes the hollow base of swaged HBWC's down. But that's the only design deviation I am aware of.
 

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I figured out long ago, never get a 38 spec. Get a 357 mag and shoot 38 spec in it. I hate the recoil of the 357 and went to shooting 38's in the one's I had. Found some data for treasury loads back in the 70's and and loaded all my jacketed loads to that data, pretty hot and never had a problem. But mostly in handgun's I shoot cast bullet's, still don't like recoil! Today I have the only handgun I ever owned in 38 spec. 38/44 Smith Outdoorsman I only shoot cast in it! I did fire a Detective Special in 38 with factory loads years ago, that will never happen again. When recoil makes your hand num, it's just to much for me!

I suspect my 38/44 would handle heavy jacketed loads but I won't find out. I enjoy shooting it the way it is.
 

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I've got a Taurus 605 2" .357, that's fine with .38 loads. But, its not fun at all with full house .357 Magnum loads. Whew!
 
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