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Rossi .38SPL Question

FatstratFatstrat Member Posts: 9,147
edited May 2012 in Ask the Experts
My FIL recently passed and MIL showed his guns. One was a Rossi snubnose .38SPL. I could find no model number.
He had it loaded w/ +P ammo.
Question. Are Rossi .38SPL strong enough for +P?


  • JuggernautJuggernaut Member Posts: 719 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    My condolences on your loss...
    Not having any pictures or information such as the model # or date of manufacture, here is a link to the company website and the info there may help...
    If you cant find a model # try looking for a serial # in all the obvious places and if still no dice then you may want to either open the cylinder and check inside the frame or look under the grips as well...
    The company seems to express that their .38 Spl Revolvers will handle +P however not knowing the date of manufacture I would call the company and have the revolver checked by a competent gunsmith as well first.
    +P or 'hot loaded' ammunition can add considerable stress over time to any firearm when factory ammunition will not to the same degree, but will perform the same function and if not then consider a different caliber perhaps...
  • abcguns2abcguns2 Member Posts: 2,320 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Steel Frame ???
    You can shoot ANY Factory (inc. +P) stuff , a steady diet of +P type stuff will play a number on some of these ! Of course , you may very well get a bunch of "experts" who will tell you that you cannot shoot them at all ?????
    Thanks !!!
    d.a.stearns ........... a.k.a. ........... SKEEZIX ..................
    Gunsmith / LEO
    Athens , Tn

  • FatstratFatstrat Member Posts: 9,147
    edited November -1
    Where is the usual Model number location? Looking at my Gun Traders Guide, it looks like a Model 88. MIL is planning to keep it for a SD weapon. He also had S&W Stainless model 66 .357 w/a badge on the grips. He used to be a Sheriff.
  • JuggernautJuggernaut Member Posts: 719 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Here is the model number look-up link if you still cant find it, the serial number should be on the right side of the frame apparently as I believe that Rossi is a division of Taurus.

    Taurus acquires Rossi
    Forjas Taurus S.A. announced in September 2008 its acquisition of the manufacturing and distribution rights of all Rossi products...
  • charliemeyer007charliemeyer007 Member Posts: 7,289 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Any ship can be a mine sweeper once. I gave away a very nice rossi that was a S&W model 36 copy. I don't shoot +p in my S&W model 60. Will they take a +p, sure for a while. IMHO If you want a 357 buy one.
  • nmyersnmyers Member Posts: 16,856 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    You may want to post a photo, as there were several models imported. The first .38's imported in the late 1960's did not have a model number, & were a close copy of the S&W M36. They were not rated for +P (which hadn't yet been invented). No one paid $60 for one of them believing that the metallurgy was superior, they bought them because they were cheap. I would not fire +P ammo in an early Rossi unless someone was breaking into my house & I had no other gun or ammo.

  • Riomouse911Riomouse911 Member Posts: 3,493 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    If MIL is using it, this is a great chance to take her ot the range, make sure she knows the ins and outs of the gun, and have her shoot loads that she is comfortable with (wadcutters to start, etc.)

    IMHO standard pressure Hornady critical defense .38 Spl. (110 gr bullet) will work just fine in the defense role, it won't batter the gun any more than any other standard load, and the recoil isn't enough to intimidate new/older shooters.
  • beantownshootahbeantownshootah Member Posts: 12,776 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by Fatstrat
    Question. Are Rossi .38SPL strong enough for +P?

    .38+P is only 10% hotter than "ordinary" .38 special ammo, and is (by design) safe to be fired in ANY modern .38 special pistol, even ones that aren't "rated" for +P.

    If you check the actual ballistics, some of the "so-called" .38+P isn't even ANY hotter than "ordinary" .38 ammo.

    Remember, .38 special was originally a black powder load, and that round is loaded to relatively weak (by modern standards) pressure levels of only about 15,000PSI. Typical modern rounds (like 9mm luger, 357 magnum, etc) are loaded to fully DOUBLE that operating pressure.

    In my opinion, if that particular gun isn't safe enough to be fired with .38+P ammo, its a piece of junk and not safe enough to be fired with **ANY** ammo.

    So my quick answer, is "yes". If this Rossi is in otherwise sound mechanical condition, and if it fires ordinary .38s OK, it should be perfectly fine to fire the OCCASIONAL .38+P round through it for practice, and keep it loaded with .38+P ammo for defense.

    As mentioned, old Rossi guns in particular happen to be near the bottom of the heap in terms of metal quality, and so I'd try to keep the .38+Ps to a minimum here. I don't think these will "blow up" the gun, but increased operating pressure and recoil over many shots with +P ammo can degrade the guns timing, and if that happens, bluntly, its not going to be worth the expense necessary to repair it.

    Responding to some of the comments above:

    I actually *only* keep my Smith model 60 (NON +P rated, incidentally) loaded with +P ammo. I've shot plenty though the gun, haven't noticed any issues. The ALL STEEL Smith J-frames, in particular, are actually nearly strong enough to handle .357 magnum pressures, even in the non+P rated guns, and I have yet to hear of ANYONE actually wearing one out with +P ammo. But obviously, a Rossi from the 1970s isn't the same as a Smith from the 1970s!

    On the company, Rossi is *NOT* owned by Taurus in the sense that its a wholly owned subsidiary of Taurus. Instead the two have a complex business relation where each makes guns for the other, and Rossi guns are marketed in the USA by a division of Taurus.

    Regardless of the exact CURRENT relationship between the two, thirty years ago (when the early Rossi guns came into the USA), Rossi was NOT owned by Taurus. I also believe that these older guns are NOT, in fact, covered by the current incarnation of Rossi/Taurus' warranty, another good reason not to push things too hard with lots of over-pressure ammo.
  • rsnyder55rsnyder55 Member Posts: 2,525 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    When working at Turner's in Culver City in the 80's, we had some Rossi 38 specials come with a tag on the trigger guard that stated: 'Do not shoot with jacketed or +P ammunition',

    I believe these may have been imported by Interarms.
  • FatstratFatstrat Member Posts: 9,147
    edited November -1
    Found out it's a model 351. According to Gun Trader Guide, current production.
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