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I have been shooting 3.55 dia. bullets 115 gr 5.0 grains of 231 and really like it.
but who shoot 3.56 and 3.57 so whats the deal most factory 38 super is 3.55 but the barrels are 3.56?
 

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Technically, the .38 Super is supposed to use .356" bullets, but, some get away just fine with .355 ordinary 9mm jacketed or lead bullets...

Some barrels might do fine/best with .357", assuming your chamber will accept them, and given a true .356" bore, but I'd expect the loaded rounds to look 'weird', or "V shaped!
 

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I have loaded all 3 diameter bullets in 3 or 4 different .38 Supers over a period of time. There is no problem with the .357" diameter bullets as long as they are free to move. It is when they can't get that "running start" that they cause problems.

I have 2 sizer dies for .38 Super. I haven't measured them, but one is obviously smaller than the other. One I have to use for .355" diameter bullets, the other one I can use for .356" and .357" bullets.

The only way to find out if your particuliar barrel will work with a particuliar diameter bullet is to load it and shoot it.
 

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The only way to find out if your particuliar barrel will work with a particuliar diameter bullet is to load it and shoot it.
Not quite, and not even the smartest way to do it. Try slugging the barrel and actually measuring it instead of guessing.
/Bryan
 

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my "smartest way"

Is to shoot-n-see, 'cause then I actually know how they shoot (instead of knowing my bore diameter).

I use bullets sized from .354" up to .357", based on gun and goal.
I have ".355"-bore" barrels sized from .355" up to one 9x19 barrel that slugged over .359".

I 'normally' buy .356" bullets for the .355"-bore guns.
 

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Try slugging the barrel and actually measuring it instead of guessing.
Sorry, no guessing involved. I am not concerned about the diameter of my barrel, as long as the load is safe and accurate. Bullets ranging in diameter from .355" to .357" are going to be safe in a .355" bore, provided reasonable pressures are involved. It doesn't take much to swage a bullet .002" smaller in diameter. For that matter, it doesn't take much of a bump for a .355" diameter bullet to fill a .356" diameter bore.

I remember when Winchester actually loaded .357 revolver bullets in .38 Super, with the case crimped into the bullet cannelure. They shot fairly well, but my Gov't model did not like to feed them. My Hornady manual also shows loads for both .355" and .357" diameter bullets.

The only way to tell for sure is to actually shoot them. That is the smart way.
 

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The problem is the wide variation in bore diameter in 9mm and Super barrels. The best approach is to start with the industry standard lead bullet (.356) and only go up in diameter if you encounter problems; poor accuracy and key holing.
 

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I am confused: measure vs test

Best way to find out which bullet will perform best in your barrel is to slug the barrel.
How, specifically, can knowing this measurement make any difference in how an actual bullet actually performs?

I have slugged many barrels; I own many bullets; I have an open mind and can learn.
 

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I have an open mind and can learn
I too have an open mind, and can learn. I also have 2 barrels for my .38 Super Gov't model. One is an old skinny barrel, probably from the '60s, and it slugs .356". The other barrel is a more recent aftermarket jobbie, and it slugs .355". I also have a Colt Official Police .38 Spl revolver, of 1947 vintage, with a .356" barrel. Plus, an S&W model 13, with a .357" barrel.

Please explain how, using the above information, I can select bullets that will prove to be accurate in each weapon, without actually test firing them? I have obtained reasonably accurate results in all 4 specimens with both a .355" bullet and a .358" bullet. How can you explain this?
 

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I'm old fashioned, myself

I test my bullets in my guns.

That way I can examine the targets and decide, based on holes in the target and measuring how far apart they are, how well a bullet worked.

In my gun.

I may know the diameter of my bullets, and the diameter of my bores, but until I know how far apart the holes are I just have numbers.......
 

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Unlike the "other" 9mms the Super is a very loader friendly cartridge. This is because of the straight wall design and a web that isn't overly thick. Having those two attributes one can load any .355-.358 bullet weighing between 80-180 grains. I say .358 because I used to shoot the Hornady 160 grain silhouette bullet that mikes .358, not .357. They shot fine, you just couldn't push them over 1100 fps.

In the 28 years I have been loading .38 Super I can't say I have ever found an "inaccurate" load ever... The most accurate jacketed bullet I ever used was the 124 grain Hornady FP..the most accurate cast, a Saeco #383 cast from linotype metal sized .355.

Too bad John Browning didn't think to loose that stupid rim back in 1929 and headspace the case on the mouth instead of the rim. If he had I think the Super would have been equal with the .45 in popularity.

Bob
 

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Too bad John Browning didn't think to loose that stupid rim back in 1929 and headspace the case on the mouth instead of the rim. If he had I think the Super would have been equal with the .45 in popularity.
You can't blame John Mose for that rim, since he died in 1926. From what I understand, he designed the .45 ACP to headspace on the case mouth after seeing the 9x19 Parabellum. Prior to that, everyone tried to headspace auto pistol rounds on the shoulder, in the case of the 7.63 Mauser, or on a semi-rim, as in the case of the .38 ACP.

The semi-rimless .38 ACP case was similar to plenty of other 9mm cartridges. The 9x19 was sort of a freak in many regards, as most wanted the slightly longer cartridges. However, since it was adopted by the German army, many people went for it. Since it could easily feed in sub-machine guns, it soon became the most popular 9mm pistol cartridge in the world. Not the best, just the most popular.

Most of my .38 Super barrels date back to the days when they tried to headspace on the semi -rim. Not sure when Colt changed to barrels which would headspace on the case mouth, but I bought a Gov't model in 1984 with the old style barrel. I soon learned to seat the bullets out as far as the magazine would allow.

9x23mm is a good cartridge, but is handicapped by its ability to accept heavier bullets. I have loaded 147 grain Hornady XTP's with good results. I have loaded several .357" bullets in the .38 Super. As mentioned, this gives good results. I stopped at 160 grains though. Never tried a 180 grainer, perhaps I need a new project?
 

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1989-1990 was when Colt made all Super chambers heaspace on the case mouth. In 1986 Colt made a limited run of the Super Elite that was headspace on the case mouth at the insistance of the distributor, AccuSport.

Thanks for pointing out my mistake about Browning...glad I was incorrect...

The 9x23 is an excellent cartridge...like you said though it has limited interior space because the web is so thick. The Hornady 147 XTP will work because it has a boat tail base...most other 147s will budge the case when seated to the maximum LOA.

Bob
 
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