38 Super [Archive] - Glock Talk

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Kentguy
08-19-2012, 15:38
Hi everyone,

Just was wondering what your opinions are on the 38 super cartridge. I have a possibility of getting into this caliber (shooting/reloading) but I have never owned or shot this caliber before so I know very little about this.

This would be more of a "toy" or something else to horse around with if I decide to jump in.

What I am looking for is Pro's and Con's from you folks that have experience with this round.

Thanks

Zombie Steve
08-19-2012, 15:43
A good, old, storied cartridge. Used to be called Super 38.

If you're looking to run an open gun in competition, consider the 38 super comp... same cartridge, just rimless.

Just a round for playing at the range?

Kentguy
08-19-2012, 15:47
Steve,

Yes exactly, I forsee this as something else to shoot at the range and have fun with.

Zombie Steve
08-19-2012, 16:23
Well if you don't need a certain power factor for gun games, I'd just do 9mm unless I had some historical fascination for it.

If you just want load a nostalgic cartridge, get a blackhawk and load .45 Colt from mouse fart cowboy action loads to semi nuclear levels beyond .44 mag's abilities.

With .38 Super, even the guys that compete with it and try to drive a 9mm bullet to major power factor are really pushing the limits of the cartridge.

I have nothing against it. I just think the cartridge fits such a small micro niche that I'd really have to love its history to go down that road.

unit1069
08-19-2012, 16:32
From what little I know about .38 Super it's great if you're a reloader because the factory ammo I've seen is really pricey.

The power factor is slightly less than .357sig but you have a wide range of .357" bullets which have a lot of self-defense and hunting applications.

And a lot of shooters swear by the 1911 platform which they claim is the finest of all.

glock_19guy1983
08-19-2012, 17:35
I love my super. I handload my ammo though. Its a great cartridge if you reload. http://i996.photobucket.com/albums/af88/sbeatty1983/2012-07-17_19-39-49_829.jpg

Snapper2
08-19-2012, 17:57
Why no aftermarket barrels for glocks in 38super? I would guess it would take a large frame glock ...20,21/29,30 for it to chamber?:dunno:

Zombie Steve
08-19-2012, 18:27
Why no aftermarket barrels for glocks in 38super? I would guess it would take a large frame glock ...20,21/29,30 for it to chamber?:dunno:

That probably goes back to it being a semi-rimmed case. Again, .38 Super Comp gets a lot of play around here in open class for that reason.

NEOH212
08-19-2012, 20:48
If I ever were to purchase another 1911 target gun, it would be a .38 super. I shot one a while back when I still shot IDPA and I fell in love with it. Very controllable, very accurate and a much flatter trajectory than the .45 for those distance shots.

It's a very easy cartridge to deal with all around. It's hard to beat a .38 super race gun!

:supergrin:

smokin762
08-19-2012, 21:13
I have read some articles that have stated the .38 Super is very close to the .357 Sig round. I already own a G32 but I would like to have a 1911 in .38 Super and one in 10mm. I would like to get them both in a Kimber Stainless Target II.

glock_19guy1983
08-19-2012, 21:23
I have read some articles that have stated the .38 Super is very close to the .357 Sig round. I already own a G32 but I would like to have a 1911 in .38 Super and one in 10mm. I would like to get them both in a Kimber Stainless Target II.

With CAREFUL handloading the super can exceed the 357 sig. Also you have the option to run heavier bullets.

smokin762
08-19-2012, 21:26
With CAREFUL handloading the super can exceed the 357 sig. Also you have the option to run heavier bullets.

Since I am just getting into reloading, that should not be a problem.

Thank you. :wavey:

Kentguy
08-20-2012, 06:42
Steve,
I do like the historical aspect of this (and other) calibers that is what kind of drew me to it. I have shot & reloaded 9mm for quite a few years now and although I like this caliber it is getting just a bit "routien".

glock_guy1983,
What bullet/powder do you use for your rounds?

NEOH212,
Do you remember who made the 1911 you shot at IDPA? Just curious because a friend of mine left me a message on a "must buy" deal for a 38 super. I have to call him back to see just what he has but it usually is worth it.

Thanks everyone for the impute, not sure if Im going to jump in both feet but it is worth looking into.

Alan

Glockbuster
08-20-2012, 08:00
That probably goes back to it being a semi-rimmed case. Again, .38 Super Comp gets a lot of play around here in open class for that reason.

YEP, only problem is finding the brass :wow:

glock_19guy1983
08-20-2012, 08:11
YEP, only problem is finding the brass :wow:

midway sells it every day. Ive got some supercomp brass but have found no real advantage to it in my single stack. Rimmed brass feeds just as well for me.

Kent guy: My plinking and IDPA load is a homecast 120gr lead TC with 5.2gr of Win 231. My SD loads are 124gr gold dots and a slightly over max load of AA #7 It gives me just over 1400fps out of my 5 inch barrel. A word of caution though. If you are going to hot rod this cartridge make sure you get a gun with a ramped barrel and fully supported chamber and work up loads very carefully. Kimber, STI, wilson and maybe springfield have these. As far as I know colt still uses a standard barrel.

Zombie Steve
08-20-2012, 09:07
If I ever were to purchase another 1911 target gun, it would be a .38 super. I shot one a while back when I still shot IDPA and I fell in love with it. Very controllable, very accurate and a much flatter trajectory than the .45 for those distance shots.

It's a very easy cartridge to deal with all around. It's hard to beat a .38 super race gun!

:supergrin:

I shot a few... they are pretty darn slick.

With CAREFUL handloading the super can exceed the 357 sig. Also you have the option to run heavier bullets.

Again, you're running the cartridge to its max. Not something I like to do with handloads.

From Sierra's Suite 16:

"Reloading the Super is not difficult but requires extraordinary caution. Loads that make "major" have become the Super's stock in trade, but they must be approached with prudence and common sense. Some of the loads being used by competitors have been tested and found to give pressures as high as 50,000 CUP! For the record, Sierra emphatically does not recommend the use of "major" loads as a steady diet for any handgun. Such loads are terribly hard on the gun and dangerous to the shooter. The 38 Super is an excellent, but highly specialized cartridge. "

Just talking about gun games and power factor here, but to me, I can make major with a mid range .45 auto - 200 grain bullet going 850 leaves me room to spare (170 PF). Low pressure, easy to shoot, easy on the gun, easy on the brass. Makes no sense to me to drive something that hard to punch a hole in a piece of cardboard or knock over a piece of steel.

YMMV

glock_19guy1983
08-20-2012, 09:27
Personally I like it for a carry round because its got more energy, more capacity, and less recoil than the.45. VV has published data that will get a 124/125gr bullet to 1500fps Wish I had a buddy with some N105 for me to experiment with. I dont want to buy a pound of it just to work up a few loads. 624ftlbs of energy is pretty nice in a low recoiling platform.

Zombie Steve
08-20-2012, 10:48
Jeez. You folks are as bad as the hot-rod 10mm crowd.

I may be sounding like a broken record, but you're pulling a horse trailer with a V6 here. Go get a .357 magnum and be done with it.

N105 is right around the burn rate of Blue Dot, and would be a good choice for full power loads, but all the data I'm seeing (you know, from the guys that have pressure testing equipment?) max out at 1,300 - 1,350 from a 5" barrel. Alliant / Speer even calls that ".38 Super Auto +P" at 1,315 from a 5" barrel using Blue Dot.

You want better performance than that, my opinion is you go get a different gun that shoots a bigger cartridge instead of trying to make .38 Super into something it's not. Please re-read what I quoted from the Speer manual.

There are 1911's out there shooting 10mm (but then you'll be trying to take that to .41 mag levels... I know).

:upeyes:

glock_19guy1983
08-20-2012, 11:05
Jeez. You folks are as bad as the hot-rod 10mm crowd.

I may be sounding like a broken record, but you're pulling a horse trailer with a V6 here. Go get a .357 magnum and be done with it.

N105 is right around the burn rate of Blue Dot, and would be a good choice for full power loads, but all the data I'm seeing (you know, from the guys that have pressure testing equipment?) max out at 1,300 - 1,350 from a 5" barrel. Alliant / Speer even calls that ".38 Super Auto +P" at 1,315 from a 5" barrel using Blue Dot.

You want better performance than that, my opinion is you go get a different gun that shoots a bigger cartridge instead of trying to make .38 Super into something it's not. Please re-read what I quoted from the Speer manual.

There are 1911's out there shooting 10mm (but then you'll be trying to take that to .41 mag levels... I know).

:upeyes:
:rofl: Ive got a .357 and love the ballistics but a slim light weight 1911 is so much more pleasant to carry. A 10mm kimber eclipse is on my short list and more than likely ill run up some max loads for it, or look for a 9x25 dillon barrel for it. Running hot loads has its risks, but there is enough data out there from people that have been running major loads for a long time that its not too hard to follow in their foot steps relatively safely. Ive loaded some max blue dot loads but ive heard of pressure spikes with BD so I kind of hesitate to work up a hotter load with it. The VV n105 load is posted on their website. 10.4gr N105 at 1501fps out of a 5.5" barrel. Im sure Lapua has the equipment to test the pressures their load data is producing.http://www.lapua.com/en/products/reloading/vihtavuori-reloading-data/relodata/6/30

Zombie Steve
08-20-2012, 11:43
Maybe they found a sweet spot with their universal receiver and N105. Good for them. That's the best speed I've ever seen for .38 super. Sierra data maxes out at 10.0 grains from a 5" STI 2011. Different cases, slightly different bullets, slightly different barrel lengths... Sierra got 1,350 fps.

Whatever.


My point was more on the idea of taking loads to max. Your wiggle room drops to zero. One bullet gets set back .05" and you're way overpressure. As I said before, doing the same work with lower pressures is always easier on your gun, your brass, and you have a little room to work just in case. It's the smart play IMHO, but I see it all the time with people using 10mm to chase .44 mag numbers, maxing out .30-06 to try and get closer to .300 win mag, et cetera.

My point was to get the bigger gun from the start and outperform the other cartridge at lower pressures. The V8 engine can pull the horse trailer a lot easier.

This is all aside from the fact that you often find your most accurate loads on the low end of the data.

I understand trying to eek out as much as possible for sd or hunting applications, although I still think getting a bigger gun is the better answer. No point battering your gun for range time though, which is the overwhelming majority of .38 Super shooters.

glock_19guy1983
08-20-2012, 12:52
No point battering your gun for range time though, which is the overwhelming majority of .38 Super shooters.

Ill agree with you there. the majority of my loads are only loaded in 9mm range. In my picture above that target was shot with 5.2gr of win 231 and a 120gr cast bullet. I shot that at 25 yards from a rest. Hot loads are only used as SD loads. I worked up a load and loaded enough for function testing and carry surplus. Im carrying an aluminum framed gun so over using the hot stuff frequently is only going to wear my gun out quicker. I would like to have a titanium framed 10mm for woods carry though.

390ish
08-20-2012, 13:02
It is one of the best rounds out there if you pony up and get a fully supported barrel and the right recoil spring. Otherwise, you kind of stand around shooting 130 mc bullets wondering if you are cool or not. It is bad news with 140 grain XTPs and AA#9 loaded to the upper limits.

Kentguy
08-20-2012, 15:01
Just to toss my 2 cents in here,

Let me say at the outset that this has been and is a very helpful discussion, please continue.

With the 38 Super (or Auto) my purpose for reloading this caliber is to gain experience and to develop a round that I can take to the range and have fun with. From what little I know about the 38 Super, it can be but is not intended to be a real powerful round, so I intend to make mine accordingly. I very rarely load anything max or over, I see no point in it for my type of shooing. I have found that my most accurate rounds are always somewhere in the low-mid to high-mid range... always.

Example;

I recently posted some data for a the new Hornady 225g FTX LEVEReolution bullet that I loaded and tested out of a S&W .44 mag w/8 3/8" barrel (with a scope) at 30 - 60 and 90 yards. I followed Hornady's manual to the letter however most everyone who responded thought that my loads were way too weak and suggested I could go way over max and my posted data. Even out to 90 yards (all but 2) I had kept in a 12" circle. I'm not sure I need any better than that for paper. Not to mention I could shoot this load all day without calling 911 after just 1 or 2 cylinders.

For self defense, I have a 9mm load that is nowhere near max and will penetrate a 1/4" piece of plywood. How much is enough?

My point is - I like shooting and I really don't like to shoot anything that will make my wrist numb after a clip or two. IMHO I feel some people just get carried away with this entire "Full Power Load" thing. I know you can reload like that, but the real question is why?

OK, sorry, I'm done ranting now.

glock_19guy1983
08-20-2012, 15:58
Some people just enjoy pushing things to their limit. Same with sports cars. You have one guy that buys a Z06 and never gets it over half throttle then you have the other guy that goes to the track and pushes it to the limit on occasion.

avenues165
08-20-2012, 20:24
Some people just enjoy pushing things to their limit. Same with sports cars. You have one guy that buys a Z06 and never gets it over half throttle then you have the other guy that goes to the track and pushes it to the limit on occasion.

Very true!

dougader
08-22-2012, 02:14
9x23 Winchester was designed as a 50k psi round. No problem pushing 124/125 to 1500 fps with VV3n37 or AA7, among others. I have a Crawley Custom with the Para wide body frame (20 round mags), a Caspian slide and a Nowlin fully supported 9x23 barrel.

Factory Winchester ammo runs their 125 STHP to about 1435fps in my 5" gun.

glock_19guy1983
08-22-2012, 06:38
9x23 Winchester was designed as a 50k psi round. No problem pushing 124/125 to 1500 fps with VV3n37 or AA7, among others. I have a Crawley Custom with the Para wide body frame (20 round mags), a Caspian slide and a Nowlin fully supported 9x23 barrel.

Factory Winchester ammo runs their 125 STHP to about 1435fps in my 5" gun.

Its a shame the 9x23 hasn't caught on with the general public. It really is an impressive caliber. I was tempted to convert my 9mm Kimber to 9x23 after seeing an article about a light weight springfield 9x23 but I couldnt find a barrel chambered for 9x23 and didnt want to go to the extra trouble of re chambering another 9x19 barrel. Ended up going with the easier choice and got a .38 super barrel.

zaphar
01-26-2013, 03:54
http://www.k8nd.com/documents/hl38sup.pdf
http://38super.net/
At this point, the potential of the 38 Super is well explored. It has many advantages but also some drawbacks.
The advantages:
-reloading allows for the use of .355 (9mm,.380), .356(.38), .357 bullets and there are rimed/rimless brass .38 Super Auto +P, .38 Super Comp, .38 TJ
-magazine capacity on par with 9x19mm, in my double stack Witness, I get 17rnds
-a wide range of bullet weights 95-180gr

The disadvantages:
-not well supported by large firearms manufactures like 357 SIG or the generic 9,40,45
-not many options in terms of off the shelf ammo, you are generally stuck with 130gr mild loaded semi-rimmed for regular use but there are defensive loads by Corbon and a few others
-generally limited to the 1911 platform although Tanfoglio/EAA makes a CZ clone for this caliber and Taurus also made some of their models too

Generally speaking, if you want to go for off the shelf, don't go the 38 Super route, go with the 357 Sig. If you reload and like large framed, hammer fire pistols, the 38 Super may better suit you. A rimless 38 Super, in a double stack pistol is hard to beat in my opinion if you're looking for a better performing 9mm.

SCmasterblaster
01-26-2013, 07:33
Yes indeed to find a bunch of brass and start reloading. It uses the same diameter bullet as the 9mm, so you won't have problems getting bullets. The .38 Super is a powerful cartridge, so any SD concerns can be met by the .38 Super.

390ish
01-27-2013, 07:53
Yeah, if you don't reload, best to stay away from the 38 super.

Bren
01-27-2013, 08:10
Steve,

Yes exactly, I forsee this as something else to shoot at the range and have fun with.

For playing at the range, a 9mm is a lot more practical - much cheaper and easier ammo to find, same sized hole in a target.

Where .38 Super would be superior is for a self-defense gun. 9mm sized bullet with a lot more speed/energy.

The reason it was once THE cartridge in USPSA was the ability to have the magazine capacity of a 9mm, with enough power to make the "major" power factor.

I had one a while back and it was a brand new, beautiful blue Colt. It looked so good, I never used it, for fear of scratches and wear and I ended up getting frustrated by that and trading it for a couple of shooter guns t a member here.

I still have 84 rounds of Remington .38 Super +P 130 gr. FMJ I have no use for.

meangreenlx50
01-27-2013, 09:26
Lone Wolf Dist. will make you a Super .38 Barrel for your G20. Its been done by a member of this forum sometime back, I researched it and haven't pursued it yet as I have a Rock Island Super .38 with Novak sights. I like the Super and carry my 1911 a lot, it does have a lot going for it and yes I reload. Research a bunch and decide whats best for you.