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Discussion Starter #1
I have just joined today so maybe this has already been answered. If so, I apologize. I have a S&W Model 19-3 .357 Magnum double action revolver serial number 2KS0779, but the 0 might be an O. I have been told that shooting the wrong ammo will damage the barrel, but was not told what was proper or improper ammo to use. I have some Remington 110 gr hollow points that I bought mostly because that's what was in the store when I went to get ammo. Can anyone tell me if this ammo will damage my revolver and what is the recommended ammo to use for this gun? I will greatly appreciate any help that can be offered.
Thank you
TonyB
 

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Welcome to the forum.

No factory .38 special or .357 ammo will damage a properly maintained Model 19.

The .38 special ammo has a case that is shorter than the .357 and so if .38 specials are used and the cylinder chambers not cleaned completely there could be some loading and extraction issues when .357 ammo is used.

I am including a webpage that may be of benifit to you.

.357 Magnum vs .38 Special - Difference and Comparison | Diffen

Regard,

FlaRon

IMG_0232.JPG My .357 Model 65 "Maggie"
 

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The forcing cones of some 19's were damaged by hot 115 & 125 grain +P loads. There is no factory standard for +P designation & most today aren't too hot but some were real barn burners. The 19 was designed for 158 grain bullets & that's what I'd use, besides it would be next to impossible to find a better bullet.
 

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Your serial # should be 2K50779 and the approximately date of manufacture would be 1971.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
FlaRon:
Thanks for your help. I do truly appreciate it. I wondered about that "S" and well as the "0" and now I know. That was the real reason I included it in my question. Thanks again.
TonyB
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Injunbro:
Thanks for the information. I don't know what +P means, but will avoid it like the plague. I will also get the 158 grain bullets and use them. I'm one who believes that if something was designed for use then it should be what is used. Thanks again.
TonyB
 

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Tony,

Injunbro did not mean you could not shoot +p ammo in your 19 only that a few years back some really hot +p loads caused some forcing cone damage due to gas cutting. +p ammo today is regulated by SAMMI standards and is not as hot as some ammo of a few years back and powder and bullet loads have improved over the one's causing problems. I shoot .38 special +p 158 grain lead semi wadcutter hollowpoints in my S&W Model 65 .357 with no damage to it and also 125 grain .357's in limited amounts again with no damage. My gun though stainless steel and with fixed sights is a k-frame just like yours. Here is another web page that will help explain +p ammo.

+P Handgun Ammunition (.38 Special, 9x19mm, .38 Super and .45 ACP)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you once again FlaRon. I can see that there is a lot I still have to learn about handguns and I appreciate you and Injunbro pointing these things out to me.
TonyB
 

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No factory .38 special or .357 ammo will damage a properly maintained Model 19.
This is patently false. Smith & Wesson warned against firing .357 magnum with bullets weighing less than 140 grains in the K-Frame .357 magnum revolvers. The result of extended firing of this ammo produced severely eroded and/or cracked forcing cones in these guns and it is not uncommon to find used guns in this condition to this day. This was the driving force behind the development of the L-Frame .357 revolvers prior to their introduction in 1980.

Bruce
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you Bruce. That is similar to what I had been told. I don't think that I am going to have that problem since I just ordered a couple boxes of 158 gr JHP rounds. I appreciate your help.
TonyB
 

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Let's further clarify that statement with an extensive steady diet of 125gr .357 mag ammo..

The Model 19 was simply an extended cylinder Model 15 chambered for .357 mag. It was intended to give law enforcement a lighter revolver than the N-frame 27/28 , and be shot mostly with .38 special for practice and qualifying , and .357 for duty use when extra power was wanted or needed. But many shooters just had to push the limits and shoot a steady diet of 125gr .357 ammo. (Still one of the best one shot fight-stopping handgun rounds.) They are not very pleasant to shoot though.
The thin throat area of the barrel that threads thru the frame is thin on the bottom and got hot and eroded and sometimes cracked , but DID NOT FAIL. Gotta figure they're making the smaller J-frame in .357 mag today. And it's even thinner there.

As is often the case with shooters and fishermen , the story got heavily embellished thru the years.
 

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Hey Tony,

Welcome to S&W.

Later, Mark
 

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I'm under the understanding that the 110 grain bullet was the worst culprit (also the 125). The shorter bullet allowed too much hot gas to escape through the cylinder/forcing cone gap causing the forcing cone issues (formerly addressed) as well as burning of the top strap.

Indeed, I agree with the previous commenters, but just wanted to mention the 110 grain bullet exaggerated issues.

Best Regards All,

Geezer
 

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Back in the 70's my department allowed the carry of only .38 special ammo in our personally owned .357 revolvers. I carried 110 grain Super Vel HP ammo in my Model 19. It was the hottest .38 special ammo at that time.When we qualified we had to use the ammo we carried on duty. Over the couple of years I carried the 19 before switching to the semi autos I would guess I fired 500-600 rounds of Super Vel and numerous rounds of standard velocity ammo. I never noticed any funtioning problems or damage to the frame or forcing cone area when cleaning the firearm. Super Vel is no longer made and from what I understand Buffalo Bore Ammo is some of the highest velocity factory ammo made today. I am enclosing another web page for your reading pleasure. This whole firerms life is a constantly evolving learning process for all of us.

Use of Magnum Loads in S&W Model 19 and Other K-Frame Magnums
 

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Just a couple of thoughts on the above response.

Prior to 1980, revolvers dominated the LE market and Smith & Wesson dominated the LE revolver market. The K-Frame was by far the most popular. Bill Jordan's original concept for the Combat Magnum was to have a handy, light revolver with target stocks and adjustable sights for LEO's who would fire .38 Special ammo for practice but only shoot .357 magnum ammo for qualification and duty. Previous to the introduction of the Combat Magnum, S&W's .357 magnum revolvers were built on the N-Frame. Enter the dawn of the light weight, high velocity bullet ammunition in the 1970's. SuperVel was the earliest and leading manufacturer of this ammo and this same type of ammo became extremely popular in the LE & commercial communities. The Combat Magnum which was engineered to be used with a limited amount of the then standard 158 grain magnum ammo and not being bombarded with a steady diet of hyper-velocity (at the time) 110 and 125 grain ammo. It wasn't designed for it and barrel failures were relatively common. To assume that Smith & Wesson developed and initiated the manufacture of an entirely new frame size based on relatively rare and isolated failures is pretty unrealistic IMV. So is the notion that the switch from the pinned barrel to the "Crush Fit" process played a part in the failures. IMR, the L-Frames were the first S&W's to feature the Crush Fit barrels. No pinned barrel L-Frames were built to my knowledge. "Crush Fit" is a manifestation of S&W's marketing propagated by the firearms press. This is because the mechanics of fitting the barrel to the frame are essentially identical whether the barrel is pinned or not. The major difference is the pin and the slot in the barrel shank. Pinned barrels are not just screwed into a frame until hand tight and then a retaining pin installed.

Anyway, used K-Frame .357's should be closely inspected for this issue before purchase. Smith & Wesson no longer has replacement barrels in any length for the old K-Frame .357's and suitable used barrels are hard to come by.

Bruce
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I want to thank all of y'all who have responded to my request for information about the Model 19-3. I have a ton of information that helps to answer my original question and will be using 158 gr ammo. I originally got the gun from an old retired sheriff's deputy and got a very good deal on it. It was he who told me about there being "wrong" ammo and damage caused by it. So I'm pretty sure he did not use any of the wrong ammo, but used 158gr as the gun seems to have been designed for. He has passed on now so I am unable to ask him. But thanks I have a lot of information and a lot learning to do about my handgun.
TonyB
 

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Injunbro:
Thanks for the information. I don't know what +P means, but will avoid it like the plague. I will also get the 158 grain bullets and use them. I'm one who believes that if something was designed for use then it should be what is used. Thanks again.
TonyB
Don't avoid it like the plague. +P means higher pressure. There use to be no standardization now there is. And it also relates to heavy use of these specific rounds. Meaning thousands of rounds. ....thousands. your gun can shoot any 38spl or 357 mag.

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
 

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Pressures;

.38 Special - 17,000 psi
.38 Spec +P - 18,500 psi
.357 Magnum - 35,000 psi

As you can see .38 Spec +P is only slightly more than half the pressure of .357 mag and todays factory ammo is held under that anyway.
The original .357 loads sent a 158gr bullet at 1500fps.

Max Chamber Pressure - SAAMI Specs
 
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A thanks to the contributors of this thread and threads like this, you guys have made this forum a great learning experience for many of us. After reading this I got my 19s from the safe and inspected them, all good. Again Thanks Slim
 

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I just wish the guy in the video knew how to shoot. Makes for a better video when they do. Sorry Just my opinion.!!
 
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