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Hello Guys,

I have a stainless .38 model 85 SS2 with a 2" barrel that I have owned since 2000 - received it as a gift from my father. I have probably only fired it 50 or so times, all with target .38 special ammunition. Looking up the SERNO, I discovered that it was made in March of 1990 (!) - a bit older than I would have thought, but the gun is still very clean and seems to move fine with snap caps. I am in the process of giving it a bit of a cleaning and oiling before I take it down to the range, and I thought I would "ask the pros".......

I had really two quick questions before I take it down to the range that I couldn't find conclusive answers for on this forum or other sources:

1) Is this pistol rated for +P ammunition? The webpage seems a bit ambiguous, and the barrel clearly states ".38 special caliber" with no mention of "+P" or over-pressure. I'd rather not roll the dice with a 25 year-old gun unless I know for sure - especially for a gun from 1990.

2) Any other "quirks" or "good to knows" about a model 85 from 1990? I plan on making this my primary CC firearm, and lacking an owner's manual or much insight, I'd love to hear any anecdotal observations one might have about this pistol. I know it is a relatively simple pistol, but I plan on taking good care of it, and would love to know the reputation of this year and make.

I'll be sure and fill you in on how I did at the range with it, and when I get around to buying another Taurus revolver, I'll let you know (my other handgun is an HK .45 USP, a bit big for my jacket pocket)........ Thank you in advance!
 

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The model 85 from the late 80's/early 90's is a good, sturdy gun that in most cases is very reliable.

There is indeed a lot of ambiguity as to the +P rating for these earlier revolvers. The best you're really going to get is, that a light diet of +P through these revolvers should be fine, but stick to the regular pressure ammo for most shooting. What I would do is, practice with regular ammo, then run one cylinder full of +P through it so I had a feel for what recoil would be like. Then, when carrying it, I would load it with the +P.

You should give your revolver a good going over to be sure that there are no excessive wear signs. What I said above is for a revolver that is in good shape. If in doubt, just use standard pressure ammo. They've come a long way with hollowpoint ammo these days.
 

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The Model 85 was the first handgun I ever bought and carried, circa 1988. I had it for two years, and shot the snot out of it, but with standard ammo. I don't remember seeing +P .38 Special on the shelves, but maybe it was there. It ran fine for me through hundreds of rounds.
 

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The .38 special cartridge is and old blackpowder designed round that was developed in the late 1890's. Later it was adapted for our modern smokeless powders. It is a low pressure round with .38 ammo being loaded at about 17,000 psi. +P rounds are loaded to 20,000psi or 15% increase in chamber pressure. Thankfully firearm steel has improved dramatically in the last 80 years.
Your M85 is made from Stainless Steel a durable and strong steel. I agree with Texastaurusguy. Make sure your revolver is in great working order. Then Practice and use standard .38 special ammo most of the time. Use +P ammo for the occasional practice and for self defense. If the revolver has sentimental value and you want it for a heirloom, why not get another +P (or a .357mag) revolver for SD. In any event, have fun with it.
 

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I have some Hydra-Shok +Ps that I plan to use for carry. Other than shooting a few cylinders full for familiarization, I will shoot standard stuff for "belly gun" practice. My 2" 85 will not be a 25 yard target weapon! I doubt if occasional +P will hurt your 85.

The .38 Long Colt was a black powder round. In about 1898, they came out with the ".38 Special*" (*I have read sources that say it was BP first, and others that say it was just a smokeless round from the beginning) which was slightly longer than the older black powder only .38 Long Colt. That was so it would not be use in the older, black powder revolvers, just the way the .357 Magnum was longer to prevent it from being used in the older .38 Specials.
 

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I have a 1993 m85 stainless that I have put over 2000 rounds through. I do exactly as texas Taurus guy states in that everytime I shoot it I mainly use standard pressure ammo and at the end of each session I run a cylinder full of 38+p Remington golden sabers as that is what I carry. gun still locks up tight and has had ZERO issues at all. it has been on of my favorite guns hope you enjoy shooting yours
 

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From another thread I posted:

Took her out and shot her today, even though my boot grips are still lost in the mail. SWEET!!!!!!! Shot some standard velocity stuff and even some of the +P+ 147 grn Hydra-Shoks. Double action at about 7 or 8 yards, I was keeping them within a 12" (or less) circle around he point of aim. Single action, however, was "holy sh*t light! Maybe 1.5 to 2lbs tops! First couple were a surprise when they touched off.

I was really surprised. The +P+ Hydra-Shoks were not bad at all. Off course, last time I shot them was in a 16 Oz. Colt Agent with small grips. I can't wait to punch some paper with the little beauty. Today, I just shot pine cones on an embankment in the woods.
 
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