+P Ammo Question?

Discussion in 'The 1911 Forum' started by dcriner, Jun 16, 2012.

  1. dcriner

    dcriner Member

    Apr 18, 2011
    I have two new 1911s: a Colt Series 80 (chambered for .38 Super) and a Remington R1 (for .45 ACP).

    The Colt instruction manual says, "Extensive use of +P ammunition will accelerate wear in your pistol."

    The Remington website www.1911R1.com says, "The 1911 R1 is designed for use with industry standard SAAMI spec ammunition. It is not designed for use with +P ammo nor is it recommended that this ammo be used in your firearm."

    I seem to recall reading that any recently manufactured 1911 should be good with +P. I'm not too concerned with the Colt warning, but I'm a bit surprised at Remington's prohibition. Thoughts? I wonder what other current 1911 manufacturers say about the use of +P?
  2. Airdale

    Airdale Active Member

    Mar 31, 2009
    N.W. Arkansas
    Not being a wise arse but why +P? The .45 is a plenty powerful round for SD unless you're hunting grizzley. Why beat up your 1911?

  3. dcriner

    dcriner Member

    Apr 18, 2011
    Sometimes, +P is more readily available or more economical. This seems to be more true for .38 Super than for .45.

    But, even though I use regular, not +P, when readily available, I wonder about a modern gun for which +P is more or less prohibited. The maximum SAAMI pressure limit for regular .45 ACP is 21,000 psi vs. 23,000 for +P, a difference of a bit less than 10%. And that is for the maximum pressure. I would prefer that a gun not be within 10% of the maximum allowable pressure - since there are always possible variations in loads, barrels, etc. I can understand and accept a gun that maybe wears out a bit quicker with +P, but I would like more than a 10% safety margin.
  4. Country101

    Country101 Well-Known Member

    Feb 28, 2004
    NW AR
    There's a safety margin built in there, but when you go to +p it stretches that boundary too much, not leaving an acceptable amount.

    What it boils down to, is the materials and/or design aint good enough. They cheap out and dont build stuff right. If it aint able to shoot +P, it aint for me. I want a quality weapon.

    On a side note, there is a differance in the effectiveness of +P versus standard loads, in my experience. Granted, the bullet weights were differant, but I'll give you the info and you may use it if you like. I have shot roughly a hundred or so hogs with my 45 using 230g hydrashoks and 185g +P hydrashoks. The 230's dropped them much faster. I know shot placement is key, but from what I have seen, the 230's did better irregardless as long as it was a decent shot. The 185's may have killed them, but they atleast seemed to go farther. I did not recover any of the bullets, but that would have been interesting to see how they looked and seen exactly what the penetration was. So, for my money, I will stick to the big slow boolit, even if I have to search around for them.
  5. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    I will try to explain a basic concept relative to pressure induced wear in firearms with real world examples.

    Take a "as new" or "NRA Perfect" condition, circa 1970, "K" frame S&W and use it to shoot Bullseye or PPC, using match target wadcutter loads that develop only about 8000 psi; and you will stress and wear the revolver little faster than just dry firing it with snap-caps. It will likely go about 100,000 shots/cycles before developing any mechanical problems that require relatively simple repair.

    Take the same gun and start feeding it a diet of really hot 40,000 psi .357 Magnum equivalent ballistic performance loads and it will likely crack the barrel's forcing cone, stretch the frame, and become unserviceably loose in 3000 to 6000 shots.

    A violent attacker might (but probably will not) experience a difference between regular and +P ammo. A paper target, definitely will not. Your gun will wear faster when you subject it to higher stresses.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2012
  6. hogger129

    hogger129 Well-Known Member

    Nov 29, 2009
    My feelings basically mirror yours.

    I think if I was hunting bears with a pistol, I'd step up to the .44 Magnum too.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012
  7. hogger129

    hogger129 Well-Known Member

    Nov 29, 2009
    One question I have for everybody too is that if 1911s can be built to handle 10mm Auto (which is a pretty hot load if I understand it correctly), why would they have a problem digesting +P .45ACP or .38 Super loads?

    Granted the 1911 you're firing it from is a forged steel one which I always thought was a stronger metal than cast or stainless. It would certainly put more wear on it, but I don't know why it wouldn't be able to handle it.

    Isn't the R1 made from forged steel?
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012
  8. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    If you fire a few +P rds in your pistol, you won't hurt it. Practice, and plink with standard ammo, carry +P if you want to. Even the old "K" frame S&W example that Hammerslagger used will handle the +P, so long as it is not a steady diet! Again, use standard loads for practice, and plinking. Carry the +P if you feel you need to. Personally, my choice is to carry what I shoot all the time, and that is standard loads.
  9. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    Responding to the questions posed by post #7, and going back up this thread to post #3:

    The .38 Super is a different cartridge than the .38 ACP (aka .38 Auto) which is the .38 Super's parent. In fact, dimensionally the cartridges are almost exactly the same going back for about 80 years. Originally, the Super was developed for use in the Colt 1911-A1 type commercial pistol which was much stronger than any pistol chambered for .38 ACP.

    The Super did not get a "+P" designation until about 1974 when its historical pressure and usual velocity (thus power) were significantly reduced (not increased) by SAAMI as compared to what was typically being loaded prior to WW II and a little after. CIP came along and further "neutered" it.

    Some persons or lawyers appear to have believed that a "+P" marking on the packaging and case head might dissuade a person too ignorant to know the difference, from using Super in a .38 ACP pistol.

    As to post #7 questions about about 1911 type pistols. Those in caliber .45 have the thinnest barrels and shoot the heaviest bullets. I have seen more than one 1911 type .45 ACP barrel crack from long use with hot loads. Almost everything has a "service life" or mean time before failure. Items subjected to significantly heavier stresses tend to fail earlier than the same items subjected to lighter stresses.

    The 1911 type pistol was designed to be made from parts machined from metal that had been subjected to forging. There have been some metallurgical improvements to some parts since the WW I era. Metal working technology developments (aka cheaper ways to make things that are "good enough" as opposed to being "the best" design) lead to both "various types of cast" and "MIM" (sintered) parts being used in these and most other firearms. Few, if any, 1911 type pistols being made today are 100% machined from forged metal (save the grips) as were guns prior to about 1950.

    As to the type 1911 model "R1" being made by a division of the "three headed dog"; I have not had an opportunity to closely examine (i.e. disassemble and examine) one. therefore, I can not have knowledge or have an opinion as to "how or where" its various parts are made. However, I (and likely a lot of other persons) would be most interested to get some independent and definitive information. Rumors (that are nothing more than rumors; and not credible, in and of themselves) are out "on the street" about how and where some parts of the R1 are made. If anyone here, reading this, has one; I believe that many persons would be interested in your findings from a close complete tear down inspection.

    The Ithaca name and blueprints were recently purchased from bankruptcy and moved to Ohio. The new Ithaca company is making a 1911 type pistol that they claim is 100% USA made; but they advised me that it uses an investment cast frame, but does have a forged slide.

    Hope some of this is informative.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012
  10. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Well-Known Member

    Sep 18, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI
    My recollection is that when Colt put out the first 1911's chambered in 10mm, back in the 1980's, quite a few stories sprang up about very limited frame life - the figure 5,000 rounds comes to my mind. 10mm sales were never real big, and sort of fell off a cliff when 40 S&W came out, so I haven't heard much since.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012
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