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Old 08-19-2012, 15:38   #1
Kentguy
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38 Super

Hi everyone,

Just was wondering what your opinions are on the 38 super cartridge. I have a possibility of getting into this caliber (shooting/reloading) but I have never owned or shot this caliber before so I know very little about this.

This would be more of a "toy" or something else to horse around with if I decide to jump in.

What I am looking for is Pro's and Con's from you folks that have experience with this round.

Thanks
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Old 08-19-2012, 15:43   #2
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A good, old, storied cartridge. Used to be called Super 38.

If you're looking to run an open gun in competition, consider the 38 super comp... same cartridge, just rimless.

Just a round for playing at the range?
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Old 08-19-2012, 15:47   #3
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Steve,

Yes exactly, I forsee this as something else to shoot at the range and have fun with.
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Old 08-19-2012, 16:23   #4
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Well if you don't need a certain power factor for gun games, I'd just do 9mm unless I had some historical fascination for it.

If you just want load a nostalgic cartridge, get a blackhawk and load .45 Colt from mouse fart cowboy action loads to semi nuclear levels beyond .44 mag's abilities.

With .38 Super, even the guys that compete with it and try to drive a 9mm bullet to major power factor are really pushing the limits of the cartridge.

I have nothing against it. I just think the cartridge fits such a small micro niche that I'd really have to love its history to go down that road.
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Old 08-19-2012, 16:32   #5
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From what little I know about .38 Super it's great if you're a reloader because the factory ammo I've seen is really pricey.

The power factor is slightly less than .357sig but you have a wide range of .357" bullets which have a lot of self-defense and hunting applications.

And a lot of shooters swear by the 1911 platform which they claim is the finest of all.
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Old 08-19-2012, 17:35   #6
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I love my super. I handload my ammo though. Its a great cartridge if you reload. Caliber Corner
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Old 08-19-2012, 17:57   #7
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Why no aftermarket barrels for glocks in 38super? I would guess it would take a large frame glock ...20,21/29,30 for it to chamber?
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Old 08-19-2012, 18:27   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snapper2 View Post
Why no aftermarket barrels for glocks in 38super? I would guess it would take a large frame glock ...20,21/29,30 for it to chamber?
That probably goes back to it being a semi-rimmed case. Again, .38 Super Comp gets a lot of play around here in open class for that reason.
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Old 08-19-2012, 20:48   #9
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If I ever were to purchase another 1911 target gun, it would be a .38 super. I shot one a while back when I still shot IDPA and I fell in love with it. Very controllable, very accurate and a much flatter trajectory than the .45 for those distance shots.

It's a very easy cartridge to deal with all around. It's hard to beat a .38 super race gun!

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Old 08-19-2012, 21:13   #10
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I have read some articles that have stated the .38 Super is very close to the .357 Sig round. I already own a G32 but I would like to have a 1911 in .38 Super and one in 10mm. I would like to get them both in a Kimber Stainless Target II.
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Old 08-19-2012, 21:23   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokin762 View Post
I have read some articles that have stated the .38 Super is very close to the .357 Sig round. I already own a G32 but I would like to have a 1911 in .38 Super and one in 10mm. I would like to get them both in a Kimber Stainless Target II.
With CAREFUL handloading the super can exceed the 357 sig. Also you have the option to run heavier bullets.
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Old 08-19-2012, 21:26   #12
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Originally Posted by glock_19guy1983 View Post
With CAREFUL handloading the super can exceed the 357 sig. Also you have the option to run heavier bullets.
Since I am just getting into reloading, that should not be a problem.

Thank you.
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Old 08-20-2012, 06:42   #13
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Steve,
I do like the historical aspect of this (and other) calibers that is what kind of drew me to it. I have shot & reloaded 9mm for quite a few years now and although I like this caliber it is getting just a bit "routien".

glock_guy1983,
What bullet/powder do you use for your rounds?

NEOH212,
Do you remember who made the 1911 you shot at IDPA? Just curious because a friend of mine left me a message on a "must buy" deal for a 38 super. I have to call him back to see just what he has but it usually is worth it.

Thanks everyone for the impute, not sure if Im going to jump in both feet but it is worth looking into.

Alan
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:00   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zombie Steve View Post
That probably goes back to it being a semi-rimmed case. Again, .38 Super Comp gets a lot of play around here in open class for that reason.
YEP, only problem is finding the brass
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:11   #15
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YEP, only problem is finding the brass
midway sells it every day. Ive got some supercomp brass but have found no real advantage to it in my single stack. Rimmed brass feeds just as well for me.

Kent guy: My plinking and IDPA load is a homecast 120gr lead TC with 5.2gr of Win 231. My SD loads are 124gr gold dots and a slightly over max load of AA #7 It gives me just over 1400fps out of my 5 inch barrel. A word of caution though. If you are going to hot rod this cartridge make sure you get a gun with a ramped barrel and fully supported chamber and work up loads very carefully. Kimber, STI, wilson and maybe springfield have these. As far as I know colt still uses a standard barrel.
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:07   #16
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If I ever were to purchase another 1911 target gun, it would be a .38 super. I shot one a while back when I still shot IDPA and I fell in love with it. Very controllable, very accurate and a much flatter trajectory than the .45 for those distance shots.

It's a very easy cartridge to deal with all around. It's hard to beat a .38 super race gun!

I shot a few... they are pretty darn slick.

Quote:
Originally Posted by glock_19guy1983 View Post
With CAREFUL handloading the super can exceed the 357 sig. Also you have the option to run heavier bullets.
Again, you're running the cartridge to its max. Not something I like to do with handloads.

From Sierra's Suite 16:

"Reloading the Super is not difficult but requires extraordinary caution. Loads that make "major" have become the Super's stock in trade, but they must be approached with prudence and common sense. Some of the loads being used by competitors have been tested and found to give pressures as high as 50,000 CUP! For the record, Sierra emphatically does not recommend the use of "major" loads as a steady diet for any handgun. Such loads are terribly hard on the gun and dangerous to the shooter. The 38 Super is an excellent, but highly specialized cartridge. "

Just talking about gun games and power factor here, but to me, I can make major with a mid range .45 auto - 200 grain bullet going 850 leaves me room to spare (170 PF). Low pressure, easy to shoot, easy on the gun, easy on the brass. Makes no sense to me to drive something that hard to punch a hole in a piece of cardboard or knock over a piece of steel.

YMMV
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:27   #17
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Personally I like it for a carry round because its got more energy, more capacity, and less recoil than the.45. VV has published data that will get a 124/125gr bullet to 1500fps Wish I had a buddy with some N105 for me to experiment with. I dont want to buy a pound of it just to work up a few loads. 624ftlbs of energy is pretty nice in a low recoiling platform.
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Old 08-20-2012, 10:48   #18
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Jeez. You folks are as bad as the hot-rod 10mm crowd.

I may be sounding like a broken record, but you're pulling a horse trailer with a V6 here. Go get a .357 magnum and be done with it.

N105 is right around the burn rate of Blue Dot, and would be a good choice for full power loads, but all the data I'm seeing (you know, from the guys that have pressure testing equipment?) max out at 1,300 - 1,350 from a 5" barrel. Alliant / Speer even calls that ".38 Super Auto +P" at 1,315 from a 5" barrel using Blue Dot.

You want better performance than that, my opinion is you go get a different gun that shoots a bigger cartridge instead of trying to make .38 Super into something it's not. Please re-read what I quoted from the Speer manual.

There are 1911's out there shooting 10mm (but then you'll be trying to take that to .41 mag levels... I know).

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Old 08-20-2012, 11:05   #19
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Originally Posted by Zombie Steve View Post
Jeez. You folks are as bad as the hot-rod 10mm crowd.

I may be sounding like a broken record, but you're pulling a horse trailer with a V6 here. Go get a .357 magnum and be done with it.

N105 is right around the burn rate of Blue Dot, and would be a good choice for full power loads, but all the data I'm seeing (you know, from the guys that have pressure testing equipment?) max out at 1,300 - 1,350 from a 5" barrel. Alliant / Speer even calls that ".38 Super Auto +P" at 1,315 from a 5" barrel using Blue Dot.

You want better performance than that, my opinion is you go get a different gun that shoots a bigger cartridge instead of trying to make .38 Super into something it's not. Please re-read what I quoted from the Speer manual.

There are 1911's out there shooting 10mm (but then you'll be trying to take that to .41 mag levels... I know).

Ive got a .357 and love the ballistics but a slim light weight 1911 is so much more pleasant to carry. A 10mm kimber eclipse is on my short list and more than likely ill run up some max loads for it, or look for a 9x25 dillon barrel for it. Running hot loads has its risks, but there is enough data out there from people that have been running major loads for a long time that its not too hard to follow in their foot steps relatively safely. Ive loaded some max blue dot loads but ive heard of pressure spikes with BD so I kind of hesitate to work up a hotter load with it. The VV n105 load is posted on their website. 10.4gr N105 at 1501fps out of a 5.5" barrel. Im sure Lapua has the equipment to test the pressures their load data is producing.http://www.lapua.com/en/products/rel.../relodata/6/30
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:43   #20
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Maybe they found a sweet spot with their universal receiver and N105. Good for them. That's the best speed I've ever seen for .38 super. Sierra data maxes out at 10.0 grains from a 5" STI 2011. Different cases, slightly different bullets, slightly different barrel lengths... Sierra got 1,350 fps.

Whatever.


My point was more on the idea of taking loads to max. Your wiggle room drops to zero. One bullet gets set back .05" and you're way overpressure. As I said before, doing the same work with lower pressures is always easier on your gun, your brass, and you have a little room to work just in case. It's the smart play IMHO, but I see it all the time with people using 10mm to chase .44 mag numbers, maxing out .30-06 to try and get closer to .300 win mag, et cetera.

My point was to get the bigger gun from the start and outperform the other cartridge at lower pressures. The V8 engine can pull the horse trailer a lot easier.

This is all aside from the fact that you often find your most accurate loads on the low end of the data.

I understand trying to eek out as much as possible for sd or hunting applications, although I still think getting a bigger gun is the better answer. No point battering your gun for range time though, which is the overwhelming majority of .38 Super shooters.
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