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Thread: Model 36

  1. #1
    Martywj's Avatar
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    Model 36

    I have a S&W Model 36 3" nickel plated that I have had since back in the late '70s. I bought this gun back then for my mother as she had a need at the time. I got it back about 10 years later, and carried it occassionally in the car when traveling. The gun is in very good shape and the only downside is the nickel finish has dulled some from keeping in a leather holster for so many years. But the gun is still probably 85% even with that issue. It function perfectly. It not been shot very much it all since I have had it.
    I have applied for my CHL here in Texas, so we have gooten back into guns again. I have taken this gun to the range a few time recently, and it seem very accurate despite only a trench sight on the rear and fixed sight up front. Shooting double action the trigger was pretty rough at first, but the more I shoot the better it gets. I am thinking of adding this revolver to my carry arsenal when my ticket comes through.
    My question is this can I use +P loads in this gun? Is it rated for them?
    Marty

  2. #2
    sheepdog is offline Banned
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    If it is an all-steel Smith...

    ...it will stand occasional +P safely...I'd practice with standard .38Spl. and load it for defense +P...if it is an airweight...aluminum frame...no +P...to get the official lawyer-answer...contact Smith with the serial #...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by sheepdog View Post
    ...it will stand occasional +P safely...I'd practice with standard .38Spl. and load it for defense +P...if it is an airweight...aluminum frame...no +P...to get the official lawyer-answer...contact Smith with the serial #...
    Given the production date of the gun, i.e. late 70's, I would definitely follow Sheepdog's recommendation to contact the factory for an authoritative answer....and also like he said, if it's an airweight, forget shooting +P in it. However, being an olphart retired LEO who has seen the Model 36 tried quite a bit with warm handloads back in those days, I differ a little in that I personally wouldn't fire any +P ammo in it until I talked to the factory. The S&W Customer Service number is 800-331-0852 and they'll have a quick answer for you.

    To answer a question you didn't ask, if the sideplate hasn't been removed from the gun since it was new, the roughness in the trigger is most likely coming from congealed lubricant and foreign matter in the action. You need to have a gunsmith clean the action and relubricate it. Smith and Wesson triggers of that time were rarely ever rough or gritty from manufacturing flaws....crud is almost always the culprit. Hope this helps.

    Congrats on owning such a nice gun.

    JP

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    Thanks for the replies sheepdog & JayPee. I aquired the gun, used back in the '70s. I was told the gun was manufactured in the '50s the serial # is J123xxx. It seems as if I had read somewhere that matched up to being manufactured then. I have not fired any +P ammo, just standard load stuff. I will do as both of you suggest and check with S&W bfore doing so.

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    Martywj's Avatar
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    Here are a couple of pictures of the gun. Sorry for the quality, seems like the nickel finish reflects the flash right back. As you can see I still have the original grips having just put the Pachmayr's on recently. They make it much more pleasurable to shoot. you can also see where the gun was in the holster for so many it dulled the finish on the cylinder. I just didn't know it would do that.




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    Marty that's a real beauty even despite the dulled finish on the cylinder....and don't feel bad....I once stuck my 1911 under the drivers seat of my car not realizing it was directly over the exhaust pipe, which brought up the condensation in the carpet and rusted my blue job after a few days....so you're certainly not alone in the "boy I wish I hadn't done that" department.

    I sold my 3" Model 36 in order to carry a heavier off duty gun because of the lack of high performance .38 Special ammo in those days and I have been kicking myself ever since. Since your gun was made in the 1950's, am I correct in saying that the serial number is probably on the bottom of the butt, not in the yoke recess of the frame? If so, it will be helpful for the factory to know that fact.

    Let us know what you find out. Best wishes.

    JP

    PS - Hang on to those factory grips.

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    sheepdog is offline Banned
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    If you would...

    ...please post back their answer on the +P...I've been shooting the FBI load in any quality .38 no more than 20 rounds...and I know the older ones aren't rated +P...could you ask them if it causes frame stretching or just topstrap cutting if they say no...that round isn't superhot and it kicks no more than the 130gr. fmc practice ammo...I slipped 5 into my stainless Bodyguard and my 12-year-old never knew the difference...hit every shot with them...but the Bodyguard is all-stainless...better safe than sorry...

    ...JayPee...never messed up a gun that way, but just finished cleaning the rust off two of my favorite hammers and a pry bar for that very reason...never rusted laying on the hump, but I put them under the seat and two wet weeks later.....thanks for the tip!!!! Never made the connection...

  8. #8
    Martywj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sheepdog View Post
    ...please post back their answer on the +P...I've been shooting the FBI load in any quality .38 no more than 20 rounds...and I know the older ones aren't rated +P...could you ask them if it causes frame stretching or just topstrap cutting if they say no...that round isn't superhot and it kicks no more than the 130gr. fmc practice ammo...I slipped 5 into my stainless Bodyguard and my 12-year-old never knew the difference...hit every shot with them...but the Bodyguard is all-stainless...better safe than sorry...

    ...

    I will keep you informed as to what S&W says.

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    You don't need +P

    Your 36 is not an airweight and is a quality gun. You could probably shoot the +P but you really don't need to. Check some of your ammo companies and you'll see the difference in velocity, especially in your gun, is only about 50 feet per second. I'd carry the regular stuff and not worry about it. IF you can hit what you are shooting at, it's not going to make any difference.

  10. #10
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    Nice 36. You might try some Flitz on it. It will help reduce the fine scratches and the dullness. By the serial number, it was produced in 1973.

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    I own and carry (one at a time of course!) 5 different modern J-frames (all +P or .357 magnum rated.)I always carry standard pressure ammo in them. There are so many good SP choices out there now that there is no need to punish yourself with the additional recoil.

  12. #12
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    Well to all who are interested. Just got off the phone with Smith & Wesson CS. The gun was manufactured in 1976 and it is NOT +P rated according to them. I bought the gun used from a fellow that I worked with in about '76 or '77. So the gun has been in my family most of its life. I think I paid less than a $100 for it.

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    sheepdog is offline Banned
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    Thanks...

    ...for the comeback!!!

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    Thanks Marty. Appreciate you getting back to us on it. Listen, there are some ammo firms who now make ammo specifically for short barrelled revolvers, and if you can find one of those that isn't +P, I think that's where I'd start my search for a good defensive load. I agree with the other guys that bullet technology has come far enough that a standard pressure load with a good high-tech bullet should make the .38 Special a new animal. Keep us posted on what you find for good loads. Best wishes

    JP

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    sheepdog is offline Banned
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    This may help...

    Last edited by sheepdog; 12-07-2009 at 04:31 PM. Reason: add a link

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    Martywj's Avatar
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    Thanks for the links!
    Marty

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