SAAMI and +P

by
posted on September 22, 2011
wiley-clapp.jpg (2)

SAAMI stands for Small Arms Ammunition Manufacturer's Institute. It is an organization in which member companies establish standards for the production of all types of commercial ammunition. This includes the actual dimensions of a given round—width, length, case wall thickness, etc—as well as the pressure level to which it is loaded. When the SAAMI member companies agree to these yardsticks, gunmakers may proceed with building guns that can comfortably accept SAAMI-standard ammunition. Although handloading is an active and widely practiced adjunct to the shooting sports, no gunmaker will ever warrantee his gun when it is used with handloads. That's because they cannot exert any control over the way the ammo was loaded or what components were used. With virtually all commercial ammunition sold in America loaded by SAAMI members, the shooting public can proceed with their sport in relative safety. It is an excellent example of an industry regulating itself.

In the case of a few cartridges, the need for greater performance has driven SAAMI to create a so-called “+P” level of pressure. This simply means that the ammunition is loaded to a slightly higher pressure and is safe to use in guns rated by their makers to be strong enough to handle it. Some shooters are insistent on squeezing every last bit of velocity out of their hardware and this +P business is a controlled and safe way to get it done. But only a few cartridges have a +P standard and printing that mark on a box of hot-loaded cartridges of another type just won't do.

I have heard that .45 Colt ammunition loaded to high velocity and marked +P is available from several makers. The .45 Colt is an elderly cartridge, probably our longest-serving handgun round. Originally designed for use with black powder, the cavernous .45 Colt case will accept large charges of smokeless, which can destroy older revolvers. As loaded by SAMMI standards, .45 Colt ammo is on the mild side. Yes, I am aware that there are much stronger .45 Colt guns on the market, and some will take a great deal more pressure. But if higher pressure ammo finds its way into older guns, you have a recipe for accelerated wear and possiblydisaster.That's why there is no SAAMI standard for .45 Colt +P.

Latest

Shotgun patterning target with infographic for shot string and lead pellets
Shotgun patterning target with infographic for shot string and lead pellets

How To Pattern A Shotgun

Want to hit more birds—clay or feathered? Then you need to spend some time at the patterning board. Patterning your shotgun is as important as sighting-in your rifle before going afield. Here’s why.

Preview: Fiocchi USA Golden Turkey

Nickel-plated lead shot in 3" loads for 12- and 20-ga. shotguns are now available from Fiocchi USA.

Review: CZ P-10 M

Five years after the release of the P-10 in 2016, CZ-USA introduced a new, more compact version of its successful striker-fired, polymer-framed pistol with the CZ P-10 M. 

Beretta's Model 1301: Fast, Reliable And Attractive

Seven versions are available today, each wearing synthetic stocks and chambered to handle 12-ga. shotshells up to 3" in length. There are five members in the Tactical Model 1301 family—color choices include all black, FDE, marine and OD green.

2022 NRA Board Election Results

The National Rifle Association is pleased to announce the preliminary results of the 2022 Board of Directors election.

Rifleman Q&A: Military Krag Loads

I recently acquired a U.S. Krag rifle for my collection, and I want to replicate ballistics and performance of the arm—as well as for my .45-70 Trapdoor—using the original government loadings.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.