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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay guys, I know very little about this round so fill me in if you can:

How does it compare to .45 acp in terms of velocity, recoil, cost of factory ammo... the usual stuff.

Trying to decide if a SA Milspec in .38 Super needs to go on my wish list. I've got a Birthday coming up and I've been pretty good this year!


Thanks,
Mac
 

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In standard factory trim, think of the .38 Super as a 9x19 +P+. You can get pretty good ballistics out of it without pushing past the red line, like 125's at 1300 fps.
Some factory ammo will be lighter than that, a few hotter.
If you want to push past the stated max to make Major for competition, there are some limitations. Mechanically, you should have a ramped barrel for extra case support. Your brass will last longer if you do.
You should get a barrel (if possible) with as tight a chamber as possible, to minimize expansion and sizing work, which leads to brittle cases.
In competition, you can't use the .38 Super at Major unless you shoot in Open, and even then must have a supported (ramped) barrel. If you want to shoot your Super as an uncomped, non-optics gun in Limited, you can't shoot Major. (You might as well use the wimpy loads then, 125's at 1050 fps)
It will be an accurate gun, and in light loads a creampuff to shoot. In Major it will be loud and have stout recoil.
Ammo costs are comparable to .45, unless you're loading Major, in which case the cost goes up due to costlier components and more powder.
Example:

.45 200 gr lead, 4.5 gr powder, primer

.38S (minor) 125 lead, 4.2 gr powder, primer

.38S (major) 125 jacketed, 9.5 gr powder, primer

The jacketed bullet and double the powder use cost more money. But, you can load jacketed bullets and slow-burning powders in the .45, too.

For all the noise and velocity, the Super is still a marginal hunting cartridge when you approach deer-sized critters,

[This message has been edited by Patrick Sweeney (edited 07-13-2001).]
 

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You can also look at the 38 super as a mild,
accurate and pleasent experence..One must
reload to do this, but how many shooters have
wanted a 38spec.in a auto pistol?? The super with light loads can be super accurate,some
thing the 9mm isn't..I have seen guns that
would even feed a full wadcutter..When was the last time you saw a 38spec. auto ??
With the right loads and springs you have one.. Just a fun to shoot 1911..
 

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I would much rather have a 9x23 or .357 Sig than a .38 Super. I think that these two rounds are superior to the super.

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"Of those that will penetrate, the edge is always with the bigger bullet."
 

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Agreed, if what you're looking for is the most velocity out of a .355" bullet. then again, if you want the most, get a 38 Casull. 124 jhp at 1825 fps.

The Super gets a lot of jobs done, the brass is everywhere, you can fit a lot in a 1911 frame, and reloading it is a snap.

Will someone explain to me why are we using .45's?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Originally posted by Patrick Sweeney:


Will someone explain to me why are we using .45's?
Heh heh, that comment just MIGHT get you booted outta here buddy!


Mac



[This message has been edited by Maclean3 (edited 07-19-2001).]
 

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Nobody is big enough to throw me out, or make me wear fuzzy chaps and shoot cowboy.
 

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I hope I can help to continue this thread, because I am interesting in learning more about the .38 super. I have a 1911 Colt in .38 Super that came from my grandfather. It has some sentimental value and has only seen about 30 rounds through it. I have always just let it sit in the safe (I know horrible thing for a gun's personality. After reading about the 1911 style guns I am getting more and more curious about them. I am considering pulling the gun out of the safe and giving it a workout.

I went to Remington's site and read the ballistic spec's on the bullet and I must say I am confused. Compared to the .45.....

.38 Super has a 130grain projectile.
.45 has a 230grain projectile.

.38 Super has 426ft-lbs of energy at the muzzle
.45 has 356ft-lbs of energy at the muzzle
.38 Super has 298ft-lbs of energy at 100yds
.45 has 300ft-lbs of energy at 100yds

With this information it seems the .38 may be smaller but it packs more of a punch because of it's greater velocity. It would seem that the .45 doesn't come out on top till 100yds. And that's a bit far to kill something.

Is there more to the story than these numbers? I know there should be the largest wound channel possible, which is a big plus for the .45. But doesn't energy count for something?

I guess I am looking to find out how the .38 super is in a defensive role. If I put a bit of work into the gun would it be a decent carry gun? (If I ever can get the laws changed in NJ!! or move)
 

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I think the .38 Super is still suffering from it's early image. Once upon a time, you could either shoot your Super with FMJ ammo, or you could wear it on your watch chain. Now that people know how to make a 1911-pattern gun work with assorted bullet types, I don't know any good reason why the .38 Super shouldn't be considered a good caliber choice.

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If God didn't want us to own guns, why did He make the 1911?
 

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Originally posted by Kavall:
[

.38 Super has a 130grain projectile.
.45 has a 230grain projectile.

.38 Super has 426ft-lbs of energy at the muzzle
.45 has 356ft-lbs of energy at the muzzle
.38 Super has 298ft-lbs of energy at 100yds
.45 has 300ft-lbs of energy at 100yds

With this information it seems the .38 may be smaller but it packs more of a punch because of it's greater velocity. It would seem that the .45 doesn't come out on top till 100yds. And that's a bit far to kill something.

Is there more to the story than these numbers? I know there should be the largest wound channel possible, which is a big plus for the .45. But doesn't energy count for something?
[/B]
You need to be careful with energy numbers. IIRC, the energy numbers say that the .243 Win. is more powerful than the .45/70. Now which one would you want to shoot a bison or a bear? Speed in the cartridge is too heavily weighted in these calculations. Speed is fine but it doesn't penetrate nor break bone.

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"What most of these people need is a good slap upside the head. What I don't need is any more lawsuits." John "The Tooz" Matusak
 

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BillD,

That's what I am getting at. What does make a good bullet? Energy is .5M*V^2, right?

So what does that actually tell you? I would think energy is a definative number. If a bullet stayed on one peice and had more energy than another wouldn't it break bone? Wouldn't it penetrate? I understand that a ligh object can be deflected or all together smushed however the animal would have to absorb this energy wouldn't it?
 

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Everyone

We are in danger of opening the old energy vs. momentum debate. Sure it can be fun, but this is not my intent. The comment that energy pays too much attention to velocity is probably correct. If we were going to look at numbers, for their entertainment value, we would look at energy and momentum together, since that is what we have in the real world.

Energy = (M*V^2)/(2g) where g= gravity constant

Momentum = M*V

In simple terms energy is how hard the bullet hits a target, and momentum is the bullets tendancy to keep moving (i.e. penetration). I want as much of both as I can get.

So for the .38 Super vs. .45 ACP question, 45 has the historical edge because it penetrates better, not to mention that a lot more pistols were made in 45 rather than 38S.

I hope this was entertaining if not helpful.
 

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Str8,
Between your VERY good explaination and a chat I had last night with some of the people on here. I must say, I understand!! Thank you all for your help. I guess it is time to pull out the .38 super and have a smith look into getting it to feed reliably, odds are it just needs to be shot. I will run 500 rounds through it before I do anything else.


Anyone know of any reasonably priced lighter loaded "target" ammo? Something that won't wear me out shooting alot. And something that won't make me broke shooting alot.
 
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