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Discussion Starter #1
Never shot a .38 Super which was always just a listing in the Colt catalog for many years. Never thought much about it, but a friend has one and wants me to go shooting with him.

Hmmm....Seems like a pretty good round, superior to the 9mm and not far short of the .357. I wonder why it's never been more successful.

Seems like a worthy round. Better than the 9mm and has the advantage over the .45 ACP of 9+1 capacity.

Any .38 Super fans have any thoughts on this round?
 

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When the 38 super came out, it didn't headspace on the case mouth like the 45acp.
The extractor held it against the breech face, so it wasn't an accurate round.
It is however, a great round with a barrel that headspace on the case mouth.
It's a step behind the 357 magnum, a step ahead of the 38 special, and a football field ahead of the 9mm.

You may not know who Frank Hamer was, but he was possibly the best Texas Ranger that ever lived to date.
He tracked down Bonnie and Clyde, and was wounded some 17 times while transitioning from horse back Rangering to automobiles.
He carried his Colt Single Action Army named "Lucky" thru out his career, but on his left hip was a 1911 in 38 super.
 

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Thanks for a great reply.

I'm aware of Frank Hamer but not of his use of the .38 Super. I'm also aware of the headspacing issues of the .38 Super and efforts to improve it. Surprised it's never caught on in the trend to the 9mm since it's very much superior.

Sounds like a worthwhile round.
 

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It's what 9mm owners think their 9mm is. Great cartridge.

However, if you want +1 capacity on a .45ACP in a 1911 platform a 10mm is a better option ... and an even better cartridge.
 

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Just got my PT 1911 back from Bar-Sto Barrels in Sturgis, SD and she shoots the way I've always wanted a 39 Super to shoot, accurately. POA is POI at 25 yds and more loads group into incredibly small groups than don't and even some of those that don't still group better than a lot of factory stuff. I can practice or plink with a 130 gn flat nosed fmj bullet at between 1250-1300'/sec or throw a 125 gn hp out to near 1400'/sec. A government length 38 Super will perform on par with a 4" 357 magnum with a higher capacity and quicker reload capability. It used to be you could put a 158-160 gn cast slug out at near 1200'/sec, now about 1100'/sec is the max although the 147 gn range slug can be sent out to about 1140'/sec. Jeff Cooper thought it a excellent field round. The 9mm will never be what the 38 Super is. A standard comparison is the 9mm to the 38 Special and the 38 Super to the 357.
The 10 mm is a great caliber, for field work but a bit heavy for personal defense unless your antagonist weighs in around 400 lbs. Good for Bear, Hog , Whitetail etc., but maybe a bit heavy for chasing coyotes, imo.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Just got my PT 1911 back from Bar-Sto Barrels in Sturgis, SD and she shoots the way I've always wanted a 39 Super to shoot, accurately. POA is POI at 25 yds and more loads group into incredibly small groups than don't and even some of those that don't still group better than a lot of factory stuff. I can practice or plink with a 130 gn flat nosed fmj bullet at between 1250-1300'/sec or throw a 125 gn hp out to near 1400'/sec. A government length 38 Super will perform on par with a 4" 357 magnum with a higher capacity and quicker reload capability. It used to be you could put a 158-160 gn cast slug out at near 1200'/sec, now about 1100'/sec is the max although the 147 gn range slug can be sent out to about 1140'/sec. Jeff Cooper thought it a excellent field round. The 9mm will never be what the 38 Super is. A standard comparison is the 9mm to the 38 Special and the 38 Super to the 357.
The 10 mm is a great caliber, for field work but a bit heavy for personal defense unless your antagonist weighs in around 400 lbs. Good for Bear, Hog , Whitetail etc., but maybe a bit heavy for chasing coyotes, imo.
Thanks for the info. According to the Colt website, Colt makes the .38 Super in the Gov't model. Glad Bar STo makes barrels for this round. Seems like a great round to me.
 

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I once owned a colt lightweight commander in 38 super. For a carry gun hard to beat. I should never a sold it. But at the time I was heavy into 10mm and carried a Kimber stainless target 1911 in 10mm.
 

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I believe both Colt and Springfield, as well as Kimber and maybe someone else make a 1911 Commander sized pistol in 38 Super.
 

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I believe both Colt and Springfield, as well as Kimber and maybe someone else make a 1911 Commander sized pistol in 38 Super.
I think your right, but the ammo is almost mandatory online ordering.

I don't recall ever seeing more than 1 or 2 boxes on a gun store shelf.
 

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Dee: you're right about the 'on the shelf' ammo availability for the 38 Super. I don't haggle with my local dealer, I just tell him what I want and he finds it and orders it. No arguments either.

Igm: LOL, that's how we used to make 38 Super ammo and then turned that into short Tokarev ammo just to get the things to shoot but yes, 9x23 cases can be made from 5.56/223 cases. However, you may need to rework your 38 Super extractor, or tweak it to reliably extract the rimless 9 mm case if you want to use 9x23 brass. The 9x23 is 23 mm long, the 38 Super is 22.8mm long. You would want to make sure they can chamber properly and that you have the correct head space.
None the less, you need not go through the process of making your own brass. Brass for both the 38 Super and the 9x23 is readily available from Starline Brass for beginners, and Remington, Aquila, Fiocchi and GECO all make decent ammo and the brass is reloadable. Have fun.
 

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Glad to see so many shooters going over to .38 Super... If one looks over on GunBroker there are lots of guns for sale... Colt and Llama were the only Supers available in the US up until the 1980s when Springfield Armory, Detonics and several other companies got into making 1911s. The SA guns were WAY more accurate because Colt refused to recognize that their method of headspacing the casde on the rim instead of the mouth were the basis of their poor accuracy. They finally came around in 1990+-.

What most people don't understand is that there really wasn't a round named .38 Super when Colt brought out the gun in 1929. The gun was called the SUPER .38 and made to run the same round as the 1903 COLT...the .38 ACP. The velocity was listed at 1180 fps and in the early 1930s Remington boosted the velocity to 1300 fps with a 130 grain bullet. At the time Colt thought there would be no problem with the older 1903 autos but although the enhansed rounds didn't blowup any of the old guns it did beat them to death. So then there were two rounds both labeled .38 ACP, one high velocity said to be in nickel brass for 1911s and low velocity in plain brass cases. It wasn't until the late 1940s or early 50s the HV round started being called .38 SUPER. SAAMI then stepped and called the all .38 Super ammo +P when really what it was was .38 ACP +P. Most of the generic 130 ball ammo today is loaded to the 1100 to 1200 fps range and so it can be shot in the 1903. REAL .38 Super ammo from CorBon, Georgia Arms, Buffalo Bore, Underwood and others is really .38 ACP +P+. These rounds will run bullets of 115 grains in the mid-1400s, 125s at 1350 and 90/100s in the mid 1500s.

Have carried a 1952 Commander daily since 1980. The first one from 1980 to 2007 had the sights replaced with MMC and a BarSto barrel Accuracy went from 18" at 50 yards to 3.5" with the same box of ammo. The second is much like the first but has MMC Tactical Adjustable night sights and full hard chrome finish. Ammo is the Underwood Xtreme Defender that runs 1560 fps...

Cutting down the .223 case to make the 9mm Super Cooper is a major pain..BTDT and the only thing one gets if a stronger case head/web so the guns can be run at higher pressure. The 9x23 Winchester is basically the same case but properly tapered which the .223 cases are not. Many .38 Super chambered guns can also run 9x23 Winchester...some. If the barrel has a tight camber as many of the new Colt barrels have the 9x23 will not seat. Have run them from all my BarSto barreled Colts as well as two Kimbers. If one is running 9x23 all the time it is recommend that a flat bottom firing pin stop (to retard slide unlock), heavy firing pin spring, 23# recoil spring and a 26# mainspring (24# is stock) to slow the slide up. Factor Winchester ammo runs 1540 for Silvertip HPs and 1560 for the whitebox flat poing...it is a very good round...

pastorp...if you ever want to run .38 Super...all you need is a barrel. Kimber cuts the breechface of their 9mm/Super/10mm slides all the same. Have a Stainless Target II that has 10mm, .40 S&W, 9mm and.38 Super barrels (that will also run 9x23 and 9mm Largo) all on one slide/frame.

247655


It also has a .45 slide that is set up to run ACP and Super and a .22 Conversion Unit (now have a silver one to match).

Old .38 Super website that unfortunately was abandoned...


CorBon ammo...



Reloading with modern powders...




...hope this wasn't too long...

Bob
 
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