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Your thoughts on Colt .38 Super

Discussion in '1911 Forums' started by IndianaMatt, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. IndianaMatt

    IndianaMatt

    3,621
    40
    Jul 8, 2008
    I have been pining over one of these for as long as I can rememeber. I got a bit of money saved on the side, and its looking more irresistable.

    Anyone have any thoughts on this gun, and this round in particular? How does .38 Super stand up to .45 ACP or 10mm in power, recoil, and accuracy? Is this a gun worth owning? Thanks!
     
  2. bac1023

    bac1023

    102,439
    2,739
    Sep 26, 2004
    PA
    Recoil is less, which was the whole point.

    The 38 Super was designed for the 1911. It was the only round that specifically was, as far as I know. Its got the same overall length as the 45ACP.







    .
     

    Last edited: Jan 6, 2011

  3. at it's advent it was the most powerful semi pistol cartridge in the world. i think colt is the only major manufacturer to have continuously produced a model.
    flat and hard hittin, i want one.
     
  4. and it kinda makes you wonder why it never took off better. less recoil, harder hitting, flatter shooting, and extra round. maybe 38 super fans on to something!
     
  5. 1006

    1006

    873
    0
    Aug 12, 2007
    Newnan, Georgia
    I have often thought of buying one, but have stayed away due to ammo prices.
     
  6. Kegs

    Kegs Ol 8 fingers ;)

    2,688
    2
    Oct 26, 2009
    Cold side of conus
    Superb cartridge and check out 9x23 winchester while you're at it.
     
  7. I don't know anything about the 38 but I am seriously liking this new one by Baer. http://lesbaer.com/1911SuperComche.html
     
  8. 38 Super Fan

    38 Super Fan

    1,595
    67
    Jul 15, 2010
    KY
    The 38 Super is a fantastic cartridge with low recoil (as light or lighter than 9mm) and 357 Magnum type power. As far as accuracy, it's at least as accurate as any other auto pistol cartridge, my RRA LM in 38 Super has the 1.5" at 50 yard garantee. The unique history also really makes the cartridge interesting, as well as the high cool factor. A 38 Super is absolutely worth owning. :cool:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. GVFlyer

    GVFlyer Senior Member

    10,639
    1,650
    Sep 9, 2008
    Somewhere in the air.
    My Colt .38 Super Special Combat Government is one of my favorite shooters, it's flat shooting, has low recoil and is powerful.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. bac1023

    bac1023

    102,439
    2,739
    Sep 26, 2004
    PA
    I wouldn't quite go that far, my friend. ;)

    357mag has quite a bit more power when both are loaded hot. We're talking 50% more energy.

    The 38 Super is a great round though. Its similar to real hot 9mm ballistically.
     
  11. 38 Super Fan

    38 Super Fan

    1,595
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    Jul 15, 2010
    KY
    You're right, both loaded hot, the Super is well behind. But a hot 38 Super can push 125 grains at 1400 fps, which is pretty close to your standard 357 Magnum load out of a 4 inch barrel.
     
  12. nice looking shooter
     
  13. GVFlyer

    GVFlyer Senior Member

    10,639
    1,650
    Sep 9, 2008
    Somewhere in the air.
    Thanks. I'm in Washington, DC right now so I'm gunless; it's not a good feeling. I'm sure I would feel much better if I had this one with me - even if I went to "Southeast".
    ;)
     
  14. SHG21

    SHG21

    270
    0
    Dec 29, 2009
    I thought it was designed for competition shooting? Please school me outside of wiki.
     
  15. 38 Super Fan

    38 Super Fan

    1,595
    67
    Jul 15, 2010
    KY
    http://38super.net/

    Here's a little more info. The 38 Super cartridge was developed in 1929 as an improved version of the 38 ACP, the two are dimensionally identical, 38 Super is just much hotter. It was designed for LEOs who needed a pistol cartridge that could defeat body armor and the thick car bodies common to that era.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  16. FM12

    FM12 I need AMMO!

    2,514
    1
    Jun 17, 2007
    Alabama
    What 38 superfan said. Seems like it may not be really accurate due to headspacing on a semi rimmed cartridge or something like that.Not really sure about that part tho.
     
  17. 38 Super Fan

    38 Super Fan

    1,595
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    Jul 15, 2010
    KY
    Since sometime in the 80s, 38 Super barrels have been made so the cartridge headspaces on the case mouth, as opposed to the rim. Models prior to this had accuracy issues, but it's not an problem with current models.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  18. You are correct.

    This is a Colt carry sidearm that gets used and has seen action multiple times on 4 legged vermin desiring to cause me some grief;

    [​IMG]

    Using Vihtavuori #4 published N105 data, 125gr XTP (1491fps) through a semi 10 ply tire and this range cow leg bone;

    [​IMG]

    The biggest problem with the 9mm design 124gr XTP, .357SIG/9x23mm, is they come apart in the high 1300s to low 1400s. This is a 124gr XTP that chronographed at 1436fps;

    [​IMG]

    A captured 125gr XTP, chrono 1491fps;

    [​IMG]

    These recoil comparison numbers were gathered using RCBS software, pistol weight, bullet weight/velocity and powder weight:

    G17 – 22oz. 124gr Golden Saber 1273fps; 8.6grs HS-7
    Recoil = 9.21ft/lbs, 20.8fps.

    147gr Winchester JHP notched 1164fps, 6.6grs 3N38
    Recoil = 9.55ft/lbs, 21.1fps

    Now an example of gunpowder manipulation to control slidespeed/recoil, by changing powder burn rates from HS-7 to WSF, slightly more velocity is gained using less powder and resulting in less recoil.

    M1911 – 39oz. .38 Super 124gr Golden Saber 1445fps, 9.7grs HS-7;
    Recoil = 6.7ft/lbs, 13.29fps.

    124gr Golden Saber 1455fps, 8.0grs WSF,
    Recoil = 6.22ft/lbs, 12.81fps.

    M686-plus 6”, .357mag, 43oz:
    125gr Golden Saber JHP 1653fps/758fpe, 17.4grs AA #9, 5 round group gave 1.61” at 25yds,
    Recoil = 9.67ft/lbs, 15.21fps . . . about the same recoil as the G17/147gr/3N38 load!

    For whatever reason, Federal small pistol primers achieve faster velocities than CCI/Winchester with 3N38 and N105 powders.

    And my favorite .38 Super (Win 147gr JHP notched, 1200s) pic; 1.55mm steel plate barrier, hit #1 bottle hard enough that the 1/2" pressed wood support was blown out;

    [​IMG]

    I've carried the Super during active mountain lion times at my place and on mountain trails; it's a real nice caliber to shoot and it delivers for the handloader.

    Bob
     
  19. It was carried by gangsters and the FBI, one gangster even had a Thompson sub-machine gun chambered in the Super. According to the son of Texas Ranger Frank Hamer <sp?>, the Super was present at the demise of Bonnie & Clyde.

    [​IMG]

    I believe the original loading was 130FMJ at 1300fps, not bad. :supergrin:

    Bob :cowboy:
     
  20. impressive results glolt. soon as i finish my house remodel and get my shop built, i'm back into reloading in a big way. very enjoyable. i taught myself to shoot with 4,2 grns of bullseye and 200lswc. and there's nothing you can't take in north carolina with a properly loaded 30-06. good info. thanks