.38 Super. Overlooked?

This is a discussion on .38 Super. Overlooked? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; 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 ...

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Thread: .38 Super. Overlooked?

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    Member Array GlennO87's Avatar
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    .38 Super. Overlooked?

    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?

    Glenn

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    Distinguished Member Array CDW4ME's Avatar
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    Pistols currently made in that caliber sold in the US?
    Want more penetration than 9mm? .357 Sig or 10mm
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    The .38 Super is a great round, and it about the most powerful thing available in a handgun until the .357 magnum arrived. It just never really got a strong following, maybe because the 9mm was already established internationally and subsequently adopted by the US military.

    Where the .38 Super retains a loyal following is in the action shooting sports, since it can be loaded hot enough to make 'major' power factor, and the hot loading makes a compensator worthwhile. At the matches, your ears will let you know when someone is shooting a Super.

    I think right now, only Winchester makes a defensive round for the .38 Super, with the dated but still effective Silvertip JHP in 125 grain +P. That's about the same as some 9mm +P loads, and falls well short of the .357 Sig.
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    I have a Colt 1911 in 38 Super, very accurate and soft recoiling round. My only complaint is ammo is sometimes hard to find and most manufacturers load in nickel-plated cases.
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    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.

    Besides, it has apparently been resurrected to some extent in IPSC competition in more recent times. The .38 Super probably ought to get more attention than it receives.
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    Distinguished Member Array GunGeezer's Avatar
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    Only thing harder to find than .38 Super is .38 S&W. For the relatively small ballistic difference, why not go with 9mm? But then, Baskin Robbins has done well with 38 flavors.
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    I have a modified Rock Island Armory 1911 in .38 Super. It's more accurate than any of my other 1911s, holds 2 more rounds than a .45, has as much muzzle energy as a light .357 Magnum, and goes bang every time I press the trigger. If you shop around, you can find Magtech and Armscor ammo for around $19/50 rounds. As for defensive rounds, there's the 125 gr Winchester Silvertips, 100 gr Powerball at 1525 FPS (over 600 pounds of muzzle energy), Several Corbon loads, and a 147gr load from Doubletap at 1475 FPS (710 lb-ft muzzle energy). The standard factory loading is a 125 or 130 gr FMJ at 1200-1250 FPS. Not anything I would want to stand in front of. It is, in my opinion a much better defensive round than any 9mm, or .38 Special load, and the equal of a .357 Sig, or .40 S&W.

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    Member Array Springer99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1911LOD View Post
    I have a modified Rock Island Armory 1911 in .38 Super. It's more accurate than any of my other 1911s, holds 2 more rounds than a .45, has as much muzzle energy as a light .357 Magnum, and goes bang every time I press the trigger. If you shop around, you can find Magtech and Armscor ammo for around $19/50 rounds. As for defensive rounds, there's the 125 gr Winchester Silvertips, 100 gr Powerball at 1525 FPS (over 600 pounds of muzzle energy), Several Corbon loads, and a 147gr load from Doubletap at 1475 FPS (710 lb-ft muzzle energy). The standard factory loading is a 125 or 130 gr FMJ at 1200-1250 FPS. Not anything I would want to stand in front of. It is, in my opinion a much better defensive round than any 9mm, or .38 Special load, and the equal of a .357 Sig, or .40 S&W.
    +1 for the 38Super. I also have a RIA GI in 38Super that is a joy to shoot. Even full-house loads are much easier to manage for me, than my 45ACP, and I find that loading it down a bit with LSWC, I have a great back-up bullseye gun. Covers the range from 90-160gr pills. I believe the Super is easier to load for, than the bottle-necked Sig, and .40S&W is so, well, bla.

    38Super--- what every 9mm wants to be when it grows up.

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    Of course I'm such a geezer that I still shoot .38 S&W too.
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    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

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    The 38 Super is a great round. But, since I have been converted to the 1911 platform, I would not hesitate to look at the 9x23 Win.
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    For defensive purposes the 38 super doesn't do anything any better than the 9mm. If memory serves in the early Colt's it wasn't near as accurate as many wanted it to be.
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    I have a custom holster maker friend, who tried one and now is buying up everyone he can find, so there must be something good about them. And he says they are super accurate.

    And a handloader can make it dance on the 9mm's head.

    But sometimes it's just nice to have something different that is effective but not ho-hum.
    And handloaders are not like the mere mortals dependent on the ammo companies to feed them their table scraps.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgb View Post
    For defensive purposes the 38 super doesn't do anything any better than the 9mm. If memory serves in the early Colt's it wasn't near as accurate as many wanted it to be.
    The early 38 Supers headspaced on the rim and being a semi-rimmed case were not as accurate. Later models now headspace on the case mouth the same as a 9MM or 45 ACP with a vast improvement in accuracy.
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    Buffalo bore has a few defensive loads in .38 Super +P, and their loads are nothing sneeze at.

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