38 super

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Anyone have any first hand experience shooting a 1911 in 38 super? Thinking of getting one.

Thanks,

Charlie

I have had two...sold them both. for me it wasn't that it was a bad cartridge, just wasn't practical. I don't compete and I would not carry it so why have it! As far as shooting it, feels like a 9mm to me and both were very accurate with handloads. Also I haven't seen a lot of factory ammo on the shelves for it and what I have seen has been stupidly expensive. that being said if a 38 super is what you want get it, you only live once...right.
 

cstockwell

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I do reload. I wasn't thinking of it for carry as I have p3at for full conceal while working and a full size S&W .45 for the rest of the time. Yes I do reload so that was not going to be an issue. I was actually thinking of more for competition use and fun. I was a little worried about the ammo aspect but I figure once I buy enough and shoot through lots of factory I can reload what I need. Thanks for the info.
 

M1911

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I do reload. I wasn't thinking of it for carry as I have p3at for full conceal while working and a full size S&W .45 for the rest of the time. Yes I do reload so that was not going to be an issue. I was actually thinking of more for competition use and fun. I was a little worried about the ammo aspect but I figure once I buy enough and shoot through lots of factory I can reload what I need. Thanks for the info.

I wouldn't bother shooting any factory ammo in 38 Super -- it is stupidly expensive. Just get some brass and bullets and start reloading, it will be a lot cheaper in the long run.
 
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Its a great round and can be loaded mild to wild. Its definitely a round to reload for. If you are building, get a .355 bore, it give you alot more options

There are a few different supers. 38 super, 38 super comp and 38TJ. difference is in the rim and web
 
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EddieCoyle

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Not to hijack, but I have a related question:

If I have a 1911 in .38 Super, can I convert it to 9mm with a barrel swap and the right mags?
 
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Extractor will be more than likely need or tuned. Sometimes the slide breechface is to wide, so it may need a new slide. It would need to be measured
 
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Rob Boudrie

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There are two fundamental approaches to 38 super 1911's:

- Standard design, non-ramped barrel, standard pressures, can use factory ammo (if you can find it)

- Custom guns, ramped barrel, generally uses pressure that would make SAAMI cringe. Commercial ammo is anemic except for the custom stuff from places like Atlanta Arms and Ammo. Names like Brazos, LimCat, Bedell and Infiniity come to mind:

F04.jpg


The former is really only of use if you have a particular collector interest in that sort of gun, as you are getting into expensive ammo with no real benefit. Soup it up, build a racegun, and you're into an entire new performance arena for the 1911.
 
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cstockwell

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Its a great round and can be loaded mild to wild. Its definitely a round to reload for. If you are building, get a .355 bore, it give you alot more options

There are a few different supers. 38 super, 38 super comp and 38TJ. difference is in the rim and web

Great info. Thanks.

Not to hijack, but I have a related question:

If I have a 1911 in .38 Super, can I convert it to 9mm with a barrel swap and the right mags?

No hijack. The more I learn about the 1911 in .38 super the better. So I take it as a whole you guys REALLY enjoy shooting that gun.

And Rob, I shoot a Walther GSP Expert in Bullseye league and they are a little pricey but I can't imagine what that gun you posted would cost.[shocked]

walther_gsp_expert.jpg
 
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Rob Boudrie

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Sometimes the slide breechface is to wide, so it may need a new slide. It would need to be measured
It's possible for a 9x19 to work with a super breechface, but it's not ideal. The Infinity super I posted the photo of comes with interchangeable breechfaces (http://sviguns.com/4007.php) so you can put a 9mm or 38 super breechface in the same slide (no need to fit two slides to the same frame). And no, I'm not impartial (I do various projects for Infinity).
 

jasons

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What about 9x23? I hear you can run them a lot hotter than 38 super due to the case design. (Not that you'd need to run them that hot for IDPA, but wouldn't it make a pretty devastating defense round?)
 
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It's possible for a 9x19 to work with a super breechface, but it's not ideal. The Infinity super I posted the photo of comes with interchangeable breechfaces (http://sviguns.com/4007.php) so you can put a 9mm or 38 super breechface in the same slide (no need to fit two slides to the same frame). And no, I'm not impartial (I do various projects for Infinity).

My millennium open gun has a replaceable breechface, Had to change it out when I went from Super comp to super


I've read that some of IPSC shooters are now into 9mm major -- regular 9mm rounds, but loaded seriously hot.

Yep, super and SC run better, but brass is expensive and you spend a lot of time looking for brass. The issue with getting 9mm to run is;

1. the mags, you need a spacer with some mags and the rounds need to run long,
2. since there are so many 9mm manufacturers, there are a lot of tolerance difference and that plays havoc on ejection. Throw a scope on top and the ejection angle is very narrow. With 90 degree mounts, this is no longer an issue, if the 90 degree mount works for you, it did not for me
 

seanc

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Not to hijack, but I have a related question:

If I have a 1911 in .38 Super, can I convert it to 9mm with a barrel swap and the right mags?

yes. all that is needed is the barrel and mag. the feed ramp in the lower is the same for 9 and 38spr. some 38 super mags will actually work for 9mm, but it is hit or miss (more miss than hit)
 

Rob Boudrie

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An advantage to 9x23 or 38 SuperComp is that the case is "unrimmed" rather than "semi-rimmed" like the 38 super, making for easier stacking in the magazine. If you have a 9mm breechface you need to be sure you have ZERO 38 supers in your ammo as the semi-rimmed breechface is too big.

9mm major is typically loaded very hot and longer than SAAMI standards, with the big motivation for its use being cheap brass. 38 Super/9x23/38 Super comp brass is not generally available in bulk used, and runs $160+/K new.
 

Rob Boudrie

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yes. all that is needed is the barrel and mag. the feed ramp in the lower is the same for 9 and 38spr. some 38 super mags will actually work for 9mm, but it is hit or miss (more miss than hit)
Modern 38 supers tend to have a feed ramp that is integral with the barrel rather than in the lower like a traditional 1911. This is generally done to reduce the amount of unsupported case head.
 

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In most casses it is an easy conversion 9mm mag, and barrel. If you are shooting 38super and not 38TJ or 38super comp the extractor will work just fine I have built these gun without problem. They do take some fine tuning at first however once the bugs are out and you have found a load that works all the time these are great guns for shoothing steel plates.
 
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Rob Boudrie

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They do take some fine tuning at first however once the bugs are out and you have found a load that works all the time these are great guns for shoothing steel plates.

True, BUT... There is a huge difference between a "steel gun" and a USPSA open gun. The former is designed to work reliably with light loads; the later is for major power factor loads required by USPSA/IPSC rules. Both are great for their specifically targeted purpose.
 

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To the OP, I was browsing some of the dealer sites the other day and one of them, can't remember which had a
sig 220 in 38 super. Price was good but I think a 220 in that caliber is kind of rare plus getting mags may be an issue.
 

IPSC_DRL

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To the OP, I was browsing some of the dealer sites the other day and one of them, can't remember which had a
sig 220 in 38 super. Price was good but I think a 220 in that caliber is kind of rare plus getting mags may be an issue.

It may use the same mags as the 9mm version. Caspian makes magazines marked 9mm/38. I have an open division (NOT CLASS) pistol that was built by Les Baer many moons ago. It will feed and function with .38 Super, Super comp, 38 TJ and even the odd piece of 9x23 that gets through my press. [grin] I have noticed the different in report and immediately checked the ejected brass. [shocked]
 
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