38 super, accuracy is anything but super. [Archive] - Glock Talk

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MHWASH
12-29-2011, 21:41
I have a '50s Colt 38 Super. I've shot a variety of handloads through it, but everthing goes 3-4" low with about a 6-7" spread. The only thing I can possibly accout for the lack of accuary is all the bullets I've used are 9mm. I can't imagine .001 will make that much difference.

Zombie Steve
12-29-2011, 21:46
A thousandth can make a huge difference. It's worth a try...

dewidmt
12-29-2011, 22:22
Most of the older .38 Supers were not that accurate at all. It was only into the 80's-90's that Colt and other makers started making a true .38 Super barrel and throating it correctly. I would be looking into getting a newer barrel for it, myself.

38 Super Fan
12-29-2011, 22:31
The older 38 Super barrels headspaced on the rim, as opposed to the neck of the case as in newer barrels, poor accuracy was pretty common in the old barrels.

glock2740
12-29-2011, 22:47
If you can find a more accurate .38 Super than this one, you can have it. :cool:


http://i914.photobucket.com/albums/ac341/OU1911/213.jpg

MHWASH
12-29-2011, 22:55
I don't suppose 1911 barrels swap as easily as GLocks. Where's a good place to go looking?

Zombie Steve
12-29-2011, 23:11
The older 38 Super barrels headspaced on the rim, as opposed to the neck of the case as in newer barrels, poor accuracy was pretty common in the old barrels.

Service cartridges headspace off the extractor all the time, even though they're meant to headspace off the case mouth. Shouldn't make that big of a difference.

I don't suppose 1911 barrels swap as easily as GLocks. Where's a good place to go looking?

Lot cheaper to try a .356 bullet first.

GVFlyer
12-30-2011, 01:26
This .38 Super is a as accurate as any Baer, Brown, Wesson or Wilson I own.

http://i444.photobucket.com/albums/qq166/GVFlyer/xm813/ColtSCG-1.jpg?t=1318031668

R0CKETMAN
12-30-2011, 05:42
This .38 Super is a as accurate as any Baer, Brown, Wesson or Wilson I own.

http://i444.photobucket.com/albums/qq166/GVFlyer/xm813/ColtSCG-1.jpg?t=1318031668

Nice Colt

BuckyP
12-30-2011, 07:21
I have a '50s Colt 38 Super. I've shot a variety of handloads through it, but everthing goes 3-4" low with about a 6-7" spread. The only thing I can possibly accout for the lack of accuary is all the bullets I've used are 9mm. I can't imagine .001 will make that much difference.

You might be surprised. My SV Race gun has 50K+ .356 rounds through it. I tried running .355 and the group was pretty wide. However, with .356 it is insanely accurate. :dunno:

38 Super Fan
12-30-2011, 09:47
Service cartridges headspace off the extractor all the time, even though they're meant to headspace off the case mouth. Shouldn't make that big of a difference.



Lot cheaper to try a .356 bullet first.

It can make a pretty big difference, old 38 Supers are notorious for inaccuracy, the fact that Colt changed the design of their Super barrels in the 80s says quite a bit. That said, I agree, a change of bullets is definately worth a try.

fnfalman
12-30-2011, 11:59
I don't know about old Colt .38 Super (love to get one of those), but the new Colt .38 Supers are plenty accurate.

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f308/fnfalman/Colt%2038%20Super/Colt38Super020.jpg
http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f308/fnfalman/Colt%2038%20Super/BernardelliP018011.jpg
http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f308/fnfalman/Colt%20El%20Centauro/Colt100YearsAnniversary026.jpg
http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f308/fnfalman/Colt%20El%20Centauro/ColtElCentauro25yds1stgrp.jpg
http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f308/fnfalman/Colt%20El%20Centauro/ColtElCentauro2ndDay4.jpg

BuckyP
12-30-2011, 12:14
Keep in mind that the winners of Bianchi cup typically shoot .38 super. Bianchi cup is one of the most (likely the most) accuracy intensive of the handgun sports. Winners shoot nothing below the 10 ring, and the winner is determined by the number of X hits. Those guns need to (and do) shoot 1" or less at 25 yards.

meangreenlx50
12-30-2011, 15:35
I can't remember which of the early great 1911 gunsmiths started making barrels with the headspace off the case mouth, but a solution is a barrel away, with some fitting. My low end Rock Island is awesome.

MHWASH
12-31-2011, 09:59
I ordered a box of .356s from Grafs, should know in about a week if that fixes things.

bac1023
01-01-2012, 14:16
As others have mentioned, some older 38 Super barrels were not so good.

GVFlyer
01-01-2012, 15:05
As BAC, 38 Super Fan and others have mentioned - older .38 Supers headspaced on the semi-rim - a poor design. Modern pistols using the .38 Super cartridge headspace by allowing the case mouth to headspace against a shoulder in the chamber. A new barrel will fix your accuracy problem.

MHWASH
01-01-2012, 16:55
Can I buy a simple drop in barrel, like I did for my GLock? Where is a good place to shop for barrels?

glock2740
01-01-2012, 17:02
There's no such thing as a "drop in" barrel for a 1911.

Cobra64
01-01-2012, 19:49
Lot cheaper to try a .356 bullet first.

I agree. :)


http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c2/Davis1950/Weapons/Ammo/P1030076.jpg

rock185
01-02-2012, 03:56
Hello MH, FWIW, I owned both a '70 Series Government Model and Combat Commander with the older style barrel that attempted to control headspace by use of the semi-rim of the cases seating on a small ledge cut into the rear of the barrel hood. When field stripped, dropping a factory round into the chamber, showed it would, often as not, drop off the the ledge on the barrel hood and drop way too far into the chamber. This resulted in very poor accuracy in both guns and flattened and pierced primers, even with factory ammunition. People talk about 1911s actually headspacing on the extractor. The 1911 was not designed to headspce on the extractor and in 45+ years of owning and using 1911s in various calibers, I have never seen a 1911 in any caliber that headspaced properly on the extractor. The old .38 Super barrels with the headspace surface cut into the barrel hood did allow the loaded round to go so far into the chamber that the extractor would catch it. but, this allowed the cartridge to go about .035" too far forward. While it would fire, headspace was gross, hence the poor accuracy, flattened and pierced primers. I tried all kinds of bullet diameters, shapes, weights, cast, jacketed, etc, but the problems I decribed persisted. I didn't make any changes on the Commander, but did install a barrel in the Govt. Model that headspaced properly on the case mouth. All of the decribed problems were solved. Check with Brownells, Midway USA, or some place similar. There are many excellent pre-fit/semi drop-in barrels available that require little or no fitting and will do wonders. The current production Colt barrels group acceptably well, IMHO, and drop in. But, I don't recall if the barrel hood width is the same as the 1950s Supers. There is a reason Colt went to a Super barrel that headspaces on the case mouth, after using the other system for about 50 years. This is not what I heard on the internet, or from a friend's uncle's cousin twice removed or some such, but rather an old 1911 guy's opinion based on quite a few years of experience, and three trips to the Colt armorer's school... ymmv

GVFlyer
01-02-2012, 08:45
Excellent post, Rock.

glock2740
01-02-2012, 08:52
Hello MH, FWIW, I owned both a '70 Series Government Model and Combat Commander with the older style barrel that attempted to control headspace by use of the semi-rim of the cases seating on a small ledge cut into the rear of the barrel hood. When field stripped, dropping a factory round into the chamber, showed it would, often as not, drop off the the ledge on the barrel hood and drop way too far into the chamber. This resulted in very poor accuracy in both guns and flattened and pierced primers, even with factory ammunition. People talk about 1911s actually headspacing on the extractor. The 1911 was not designed to headspce on the extractor and in 45+ years of owning and using 1911s in various calibers, I have never seen a 1911 in any caliber that headspaced properly on the extractor. The old .38 Super barrels with the headspace surface cut into the barrel hood did allow the loaded round to go so far into the chamber that the extractor would catch it. but, this allowed the cartridge to go about .035" too far forward. While it would fire, headspace was gross, hence the poor accuracy, flattened and pierced primers. I tried all kinds of bullet diameters, shapes, weights, cast, jacketed, etc, but the problems I decribed persisted. I didn't make any changes on the Commander, but did install a barrel in the Govt. Model that headspaced properly on the case mouth. All of the decribed problems were solved. Check with Brownells, Midway USA, or some place similar. There are many excellent pre-fit/semi drop-in barrels available that require little or no fitting and will do wonders. The current production Colt barrels group acceptably well, IMHO, and drop in. But, I don't recall if the barrel hood width is the same as the 1950s Supers. There is a reason Colt went to a Super barrel that headspaces on the case mouth, after using the other system for about 50 years. This is not what I heard on the internet, or from a friend's uncle's cousin twice removed or some such, but rather an old 1911 guy's opinion based on quite a few years of experience, and three trips to the Colt armorer's school... ymmv
Great post.:thumbsup: Welcome to GT. :wavey: