Your thoughts on Colt .38 Super [Archive] - Glock Talk

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IndianaMatt
01-06-2011, 13:58
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!

bac1023
01-06-2011, 15:24
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.







.

woodrowNC
01-06-2011, 16:53
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.

woodrowNC
01-06-2011, 17:26
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!

1006
01-06-2011, 18:23
I have often thought of buying one, but have stayed away due to ammo prices.

Kegs
01-06-2011, 18:31
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!

Superb cartridge and check out 9x23 winchester while you're at it.

thecableguy
01-06-2011, 18:57
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!

I don't know anything about the 38 but I am seriously liking this new one by Baer. http://lesbaer.com/1911SuperComche.html

38 Super Fan
01-06-2011, 20:02
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!
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:

http://img338.imageshack.us/img338/4961/lm007.jpg

http://img143.imageshack.us/img143/3435/coltsandkimberandfamily.jpg

GVFlyer
01-06-2011, 20:59
My Colt .38 Super Special Combat Government is one of my favorite shooters, it's flat shooting, has low recoil and is powerful.

http://i444.photobucket.com/albums/qq166/GVFlyer/xm813/ColtSCG-1.jpg?t=1294368961

bac1023
01-06-2011, 21:13
The 38 Super is a fantastic cartridge with low recoil (as light or lighter than 9mm) and 357 Magnum type power.

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.

38 Super Fan
01-06-2011, 21:17
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.
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.

woodrowNC
01-06-2011, 21:27
My Colt .38 Super Special Combat Government is one of my favorite shooters, it's flat shooting, has low recoil and is powerful.

http://i444.photobucket.com/albums/qq166/GVFlyer/xm813/ColtSCG-1.jpg?t=1294368961

nice looking shooter

GVFlyer
01-06-2011, 23:26
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".
;)

SHG21
01-06-2011, 23:29
I thought it was designed for competition shooting? Please school me outside of wiki.

38 Super Fan
01-07-2011, 00:02
I thought it was designed for competition shooting? Please school me outside of wiki.
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.

FM12
01-07-2011, 00:27
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.

38 Super Fan
01-07-2011, 00:35
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.
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.

Glolt20-91
01-07-2011, 01:40
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.



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;

http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o144/aztrekker/At%20the%20range/38Supervx357mag125FTX003.jpg

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

http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o144/aztrekker/At%20the%20range/38Super125XTP-1491fpstire-bone004.jpg

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;

http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o144/aztrekker/At%20the%20range/38Super124XTP_513x_5991.jpg

A captured 125gr XTP, chrono 1491fps;

http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o144/aztrekker/At%20the%20range/38Super125XTP-1491fps012.jpg

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;

http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o144/aztrekker/At%20the%20range/Barriertesting10mm38super45acp017.jpg

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

Glolt20-91
01-07-2011, 01:46
I thought it was designed for competition shooting? Please school me outside of wiki.

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.

http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o144/aztrekker/At%20the%20range/38Superstopsanygame.jpg

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

Bob :cowboy:

woodrowNC
01-07-2011, 03:09
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;

http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o144/aztrekker/At%20the%20range/38Supervx357mag125FTX003.jpg

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

http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o144/aztrekker/At%20the%20range/38Super125XTP-1491fpstire-bone004.jpg

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;

http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o144/aztrekker/At%20the%20range/38Super124XTP_513x_5991.jpg

A captured 125gr XTP, chrono 1491fps;

http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o144/aztrekker/At%20the%20range/38Super125XTP-1491fps012.jpg

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;

http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o144/aztrekker/At%20the%20range/Barriertesting10mm38super45acp017.jpg

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

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

bac1023
01-07-2011, 04:53
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.

No doubt :)

FreeAmerican
01-07-2011, 10:31
And 135 gr running 1250 fps or more is no slouch either. My fav round these days.

JohnH
01-07-2011, 11:13
Colt20-91, is the the barrel in your Super ramped, or the traditional Colt setup? By the way, very nice write-up and pictures!

JohnH
01-07-2011, 11:25
I've been fascinated by 1911s in 38 Super, especially the Lightweight Commanders. After many years of reading about the 1911 38 Super, I'm of the opinion that they are more inherently more reliable than the 45 ACP. The 38 Super is the same cartridge length as the 45 ACP (.90), feeds closer to the bore-line being a smaller caliber, and has the semi-rimmed base that gives the extractor more contact area.

Reloaders seem to love the Super as it is a straight-walled case, friendly to cast bullets, cheap to reload, can shoot 9mm bullets, and very accurate. I'd love to have a Commander, just wish Colt would make them with fully supported barrels.

HAIL CAESAR
01-07-2011, 13:03
Everybody ought to have a go with a Super at least once. A great cartridge.

Also think of getting a 9x23 barrel fitted...or learn to do it yourself. Then you will have real 357 Magnum performance (or more) in a gun that kicks less than a 45 ACP, holds more rounds, and maybe more inherently reliable than a 45ACP.

woodrowNC
01-07-2011, 13:56
Everybody ought to have a go with a Super at least once. A great cartridge.

Also think of getting a 9x23 barrel fitted...or learn to do it yourself. Then you will have real 357 Magnum performance (or more) in a gun that kicks less than a 45 ACP, holds more rounds, and maybe more inherently reliable than a 45ACP.

possible project for my aarp years? which by the way seem to traveling at warp speed.

JohnH
01-07-2011, 13:56
Everybody ought to have a go with a Super at least once. A great cartridge.

Also think of getting a 9x23 barrel fitted...or learn to do it yourself. Then you will have real 357 Magnum performance (or more) in a gun that kicks less than a 45 ACP, holds more rounds, and maybe more inherently reliable than a 45ACP.

The 9x23 should have been the future. What a great cartridge!

HAIL CAESAR
01-07-2011, 15:11
possible project for my aarp years? which by the way seem to traveling at warp speed.

Yes it would be a great one, and yes it is.:wavey:

The 9x23 should have been the future. What a great cartridge!

That has always boggled my mind also. But I think that it has some to do with 1911'ers are a nostalgic lot and are hard to except anything new. Some will say a 9mm 1911 isn't a "1911". A CCO isn't a "1911".

To steal somebodies wording "A 9x23 is a better mousetrap in a 1911 than a 45 ACP". ( Regarding power, capacity, and likely better feed mechanics/reliability)

Glolt20-91
01-09-2011, 15:35
Colt20-91, is the the barrel in your Super ramped, or the traditional Colt setup? By the way, very nice write-up and pictures!

While the Para's barrel is ramped (stiffer recoil spring set-up), the Colt has the stock barrel set-up. The Para is nice, but I prefer to carry the Colt.

Here's a summation of some primer/bullet testing that I did with the Super;

38 Super Primer Comparison 124gr-125gr JHP

Start-up load tested with VihtaVuori N105 10.0grs

124gr XTP, (9mm designed bullet for 750 to 1200fps) R-P +P brass V;

WSP, 1436fps/568fpe, ES 27fps, SD 11fps
CCI 500, 1446fps/576fpe, ES 19fps, SD 07fps
Federal 100, 1455fps/583fps, ES 13fps, SD 04fps

125gr XTP, (.357mag bullet designed for 850 to 1600fps) R-P +P brass V;

WSP, 1436fps/568fpe, ES 28fps, SD 10fps

Both the 124gr and 125gr XTP share the same MV, 20fps MV difference between WSP and Fed 100 small pistol primers. Brass ejects from 4ft to 7ft, minimal recoil and muzzle blast, excellent first shot accuracy at 25 yards.

Load range with VihtaVuori #4 (124gr Hornady FMJ) is from 9.9grs (1407fps) to 10.4grs (1501fps) and this load range does not exceed 33,350psi. Hornady load data for both 124gr/125gr XTPs . . . 8.2grs to 8.9grs, does not always give reliable slide function.

From Vihtavuori;

The .38 Super Auto has a long semi-rimmed case that headspaces on the case rim and provides 20% more powder capacity than cartridges like the 9mm Luger. Therefore the .38 Super Auto provides greater muzzle velocities and performs well with slow burning powders. Its performance is significantly higher than that of the 9mm Luger and when loaded with lighter bullets will stay only a few clicks behind the .357 Magnum in barrels of equal length.


Bob :cowboy:

Ruggles
01-09-2011, 23:55
I think the fact that is is still in production after all these decades shows its worth. :)

I have a 4" 1911 in .38 Super. Shoots reliably and smooth. Never a problem out of it. I would buy one again.