.38 Super. Overlooked?

This is a discussion on .38 Super. Overlooked? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I carry 38 super love the round less muzzle flip then 45 and 40 with 357 mag balistics I use a xtp 124 gr with ...

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Thread: .38 Super. Overlooked?

  1. #16
    Member Array Gunnie's Avatar
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    I carry 38 super love the round less muzzle flip then 45 and 40 with 357 mag balistics I use a xtp 124 gr with 5gr titegroup functions flawlesd. Great penetratipn excelant wound channel. Mines a gov 70 series colt id grab it befor 9 or 45 to go to fight.

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  3. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    From a handloading perspective I see the .38 Super as everything the 9mm is cracked up to be yet isn't. The older Sierra and Lyman manuals list some loads that handily whip 9mm and chew on the heels of the .357 SIG. The next Colt Government Model I acquire will be a .38 Super chambered gun. Sure it won't do anything that the .357 SIG won't do but the .38 Super was around first. As a handloader, one doesn't have to stay on the "cutting edge" of cartridge development and can afford to play around with good cartridges that are only obsolescent because they've fallen out of favor, due as much to whims of the market as anything.
    I'm in the same boat... keeping my eyes open for a good 1911 in .38 Super. I found a set of nearly-new dies last year so I'm good to go in the reloading department, although I'll probably have to buy new brass. The local guy I buy my bullets from ("Billy Bullets") shoots a S&W 627 in our steel matches, which is an N-frame chambered in .38 Super with an 8-shot cylinder. He's had a super trigger job done on the gun so the DA is "like buttah" - and his times are close to the Single Stack guys, even without the compensator. I see it as a pretty versatile round.
    Smitty
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  4. #18
    Distinguished Member Array deadguy's Avatar
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    38 super is on my short list, along with possibly the 9x23. Ammo is out there for those that don't reload.
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  5. #19
    Member Array gregcheck's Avatar
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    I have a colt custom in the bright stainless finish chambered in the 38 super ( older version when it was first offered in the brite finish), one nice shooting piece, I find I get much better accuracy when I load the 38 caliber .357 125gr xtp bullets over any .355 caliber bullet I've tried with it, I
    put the xtp's over a charge of HS-6. I know the xtp's are not cheap to go everyday shooting with, but after seeing
    the difference in accuracy these are the ONLY thing I will hand load for my super.
    I actually carry mine from time to time, as I see it as a decent self defense round that has the ability to do some real damage a few make decent
    defensive rounds for it. double tap has some nice s/d loads listed on their website
    I'll say over looked sometimes, but the old school shooters know its capabilities both on the range and in the self defense world.
    G

  6. #20
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    1911 in .38 Super is on the top of my Lotto winnings list.
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  7. #21
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    I thought most of this thread would be negative but im wrong. I have done some research and found that you can get factory defense loads from Corbon, Magtech, Double Tap, Buffalo Bore, PMC, Wilson Combat. Federal and a few other companies make loads, there JHP target loads but if push came to shove........Would be nice to see a big fish like Speer or someone bring it back.

  8. #22
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    I like the 38 super over the 9mm in a 1911 because it fits the frame and magazines, so it feeds much more reliably than 9mm (I shot competitively with a guy who shot 9mm in a 1911, and his comment was that the gun would bobble at least once during the weekly shoots, and good magazines were hard to find). Also, it can easily be loaded past 9mm +p to 357 levels. And it is just something different.

  9. #23
    Member Array Harleycolt's Avatar
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    Only owned one 38 super and that was an Astra A80, 15 rounds in the mag plus 1 in the chaamber. It was a great gun bought it because I couldn't afford a 1911 in 38 super. Never should have gotten rid of it because I haven't seen another one since and that was back in 1988.
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  10. #24
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    I never owned a " real" 1911. I did have a colt 1911 in .38 Super. It was a really nice round and ate most hand loads I made for it. A very underrated caliber.


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  11. #25
    Senior Member Array sensei2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlennO87 View Post
    As many of you know .38 Super is not a defense round for 99% of people. But why is it so over looked? im just curious as why it is not produced in defense ammo by most brands?Glenn

    one reason that has not yet been mentioned is that because .38 Super is about the same length as .45ACP, it requires a bigger, .45ACP size gun to hold the rounds and fire them. notice that virtually all the Super users and advocates talk about the 1911 platform. the initial reputation for erratic accuracy didn't help. the lack of good SD rounds is, IMO, sort of a chicken or egg situation: not too many guns used for SD, so not so many companies make the ammo, which means fewer people choose it as a SD caliber, etc.

    today a person can get much the same ballistics from .357SIG, which is another caliber with a devoted but smallish number of users. (including me).

    .38 Super has been very popular in Mexico, because handguns in 'military calibers' such as 9mm and .45ACP were not permitted to be owned by non-military and non-police. if you ever see ads for older Colt 1911 special editions in Super, you will find many with Hispanic names. this is why. when i worked in a gun store (1997-2002 or so), i sold a number of Super chambered 1911's to Latino surnamed citizens who intended to take them south of the border.
    Last edited by OD*; August 27th, 2012 at 09:33 AM.

  12. #26
    Member Array Fisher10's Avatar
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    The .38 Super does have it's place and during the time it was originally introduced was a great round. However, times have changed so I would choose .357 Sig. It would have higher velocity and a smaller grip size. For these reasons I have no interest in .38 Super.

  13. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fisher10 View Post
    The .38 Super does have it's place and during the time it was originally introduced was a great round. However, times have changed so I would choose .357 Sig. It would have higher velocity and a smaller grip size. For these reasons I have no interest in .38 Super.
    Doesn't it still have an advantage in those countries where military ammo and the weapons that use it are banned? A 1911 in 38 super would be legal where as one in 45acp would not.

    Michael

  14. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlr1m View Post
    Doesn't it still have an advantage in those countries where military ammo and the weapons that use it are banned? A 1911 in 38 super would be legal where as one in 45 acp would not.
    That's why just across the Texas border into Mexico was once a GREAT spot to find nice, old Colt .38 super 1911s. Civilians couldn't legally own a .45 acp 1911. I bought a .38 super all-steel Commander there in 1972. Transportation across the border was much,...uh, simpler back then. Fine pistol.
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  15. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghost tracker View Post
    That's why just across the Texas border into Mexico was once a GREAT spot to find nice, old Colt .38 super 1911s. Civilians couldn't legally own a .45 acp 1911. I bought a .38 super all-steel Commander there in 1972. Transportation across the border was much,...uh, simpler back then. Fine pistol.
    It was probably a matter of which direction things were going--north or south.
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  16. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDW4ME View Post
    Pistols currently made in that caliber sold in the US?
    Want more penetration than 9mm? .357 Sig or 10mm
    Kimber, Beretta, Taurus, Colt, Springfield, Smith & Wesson, EAA, STI, Rock Island Armory, Citadel (Howa) all make models; and Sig, Llama, Auto Ordinance, Para Ordinance models are still easy to find, and Para stills makes them I believe. Not to mention a handful of custom makers out there. Plenty of current pistols for 38Super sold in the US. Agreed on the 10mm, and the 357 Sig, but the 38Super was knocking on the door of the 357Sig some 90 odd years ago, 70+ years before the 357Sig was developed.

    sensei2
    ...... the lack of good SD rounds is, IMO, sort of a chicken or egg situation: not too many guns used for SD, so not so many companies make the ammo, which means fewer people choose it as a SD caliber, etc.
    Various model of the 1911's are used all over the place, including many on here, for SD, and some of the other manufactures models from those listed above. Also, Corbon, Glaser (Corbon), Double Tap, Buffalo Bore, RBCD, Wilson, all make more than one flavor of SD ammo, with Winchester and Zero making some pretty good 124gr SD ammo too. Then, Aguila, PMC, Fiocchi, American Eagle (Federal), Remington, Magtech, Winchester, and PRVI all make FMJ and/or practice ammo. Ammo is easy to find, bulk practice, SD, or hot loads.
    Again, I also agree the 357Sig is a great round (I actually love the 357Sig), I have two different 357Sig guns, but considering the 70+ years time to improve ballistics, honestly the 38Super isn't beat by much at all, with good 38Super loads it is really 'super' close to the good 357Sig loads.

    Glen087
    As many of you know .38 Super is not a defense round for 99% of people. But why is it so over looked? Slightly more power that a 9mm, sometimes a slightly bigger bullet. I would say more penetration than a 9mm. Maybe power wise inbetween the 9mm and .40 or .45? Why is it over looked and do you guys agree. I may be corrected very quickly and im open to just im just curious as why it is not produced in defense ammo by most brands?
    It just never acquired a huge fan base, probably timing more than anything, but most anyone who has owned one or shot one hold them in high regard. Colonel Jeff Cooper held the Super in very high regard, and later after it was developed even more so the 9x23Win that glockman10mm refers too. I regularly shoot 9x23mm out of my 38Supper, it is a great round, pretty much on par with the 357Sig, but it also never took hold of a large fan base. I agree with many who have already posted, the 38Super (and 9x23Win) are what the 9mm should have been, along with the 357Sig. To steal from Colonel Cooper, sometimes people will bring up the "not enough capacity" or "you get more capacity" compared to a newer round, such as the 357Sig, and I guess they must plan on missing a lot. If you really wanna see a hot one, check out the 9x25Dillon, a 10mm necked down to a 9mm, but guns/ammo really is sparse for it.

    I'm not trying to argue or start a debate with anyone including those above, I respect each opinion, and do agree on the 357Sig statements, but in my humble opinion, many reasons people give on why the 38Super isn't more popular, such as lack of guns, or ammo, or guns for the round are too big, are just opinions and simply don't hold water. I suppose that one reason it does not have a huge fan base is just the plain fact that some don't know/understand, or maybe just don't like the Super for whatever reason, which is absolutely ok, but there is no reason to overlook it. Of course that is just my opinion

    “Beware the man who owns only one gun; he probably knows how to use it.” I would append to that: “Beware the man who carries a .38 Super; he knows what he’s doing.” Stephen Hunter
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