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They are similar in size, but the Super is enough longer that it requires a "large" frame, like the 1911, while the nine will fit in smaller-framed guns. For a given bullet weight and velocity, the Super can do it with less pressure. The advantage of the nine is it can make enough power, cheaper.
 

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9mm also has a slightly tapered case while the super has straight walls. With the right powder, both can be safely loaded to major PF (IPSC = 160PF, USPSA = 165PF).
 

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First, let me confess my ignorance on this matter. I was under the impression that the 9x21 & 9x23 calibers were developed because "regular 9mm" (9x19) could not safely make major. Also, I was under the impression that .38 Super is the popular cartridge in the action shooting sports because it's the best the best cartridge for making major with the least recoil. And now I read above that 9mm can safely make major.

Can someone educate me on this?
 

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1. They redefined "major." Major power factor was 175, now 165.

2. There is more selection in powders to pick one that gives higest velocity at bearable pressure.
 

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Thank you, Jim. One more question, please: what is the basis for the continuing popularity of .38 Super?

Rod.
 

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RetiredRod said:
Thank you, Jim. One more question, please: what is the basis for the continuing popularity of .38 Super?

Rod.
The longer dimension also give better feeding from magazines. 9mm (x19) requires dedicated magazine with "spacer" or the new Metalform/Springfield "Front ramp" to feed reliably, and still that's nowhere near as reliable as the longer 9x21 or 9x23 cartridges. 9x19 even with the above magazines still suffer from an occasional cartridge nosedive in the magazine.
 

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I have yet to see an Open gun in 9mm that runs as reliably as those in Super or Super Comp. Shooters want to save some $$$ on cheap 9mm brass, but the Super Open gun was perfected years ago, while the 9, in the U.S., still requires some work.
 

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OK, so there are two. :)
JPL; who was that guy that looked like you, swearing at what looked like your gun?
 

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9mm has a .355 diameter bullet, oal 1.169, case length .754
.38 super is .356, oal 1.280, case length .900

.38 super can achieve much higher velocities therefore a higher power factor due to the larger case
 

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There are far more than two & several of the top 20 finishers at the Open Nationals this year used Major9. These were the best of the best who don't have to worry about brass costs; moreover, the Nationals consisted of more than 300 rounds over 3 days - can you seriously argue that 9mm Major is not reliable when it has proven itself in the hands of hundreds (if not thousands) for more than two years, at the Nationals, and at the recent World Shoot?

Remember that there were hold outs who argued the .38 Super could never cut it in IPSC/USPSA & .45 was the only way to go. They said the same thing about .40 (just a passing fad they claimed). That sort of out-of-date thinking was wrong then and those who claim that 9Major is not reliable are just as wrong today. Regards,

D.C. Johnson
 

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To answer the original Q.:

-the 9mm case is typically 9x19mm and tapered. Bullet diameter for jacketed is .355"

-The modern .38 Super (by anyone other than Colt) is usually loaded with the very same .355 bullets; the older barrels used in some single stack guns had larger bores that shot best with .356" bullets, but modern barrels use .355". The case measures 9x23mm and is not tapered. There are several variations with different features including Rimless .38 Super, .38 Supercomp, .38 TJ (Todd Jarret) .38 Lapua, 9mm Supercomp, 9x23 Winchester (tapered case & thicker head), etc.

Both 9x19mm and .38 Super can safely meat USPSA's "Major Power Factor" of 165 with a variety of modern powders.
 

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TY44934 said:
can you seriously argue that 9mm Major is not reliable when it has proven itself in the hands of hundreds (if not thousands) for more than two years, at the Nationals, and at the recent World Shoot?
Regards,

D.C. Johnson

Yes, I can. How long after the first national or world championship was won with a .38 Super, was the Super a safe, effective caliber for the club-level shooter? I'm sure the top shooters, who have access to the top 'smiths, are having a good time with major nine, but at the club level, where the little people have to buy their own ammo, and pay for gunsmithing services, I see choking major nine, every weekend.
Edit: Every time I've asked someone why they've either changed from Super to 9, or why they chose 9 over Super from the get-go, the response was, "cheap brass".
 

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I don't think there were hundreds, and definitely not thousands of 9mm Open guns at the World Shoot or the last 2 Nats.

I could dig up last year's Front Sight listing how many 9mm Open shooters were there. Unfortunately there was a screwup this year and all Open and L-10 data gathered was useless.

The ones I've seen ran OK, but when and if the dark side calls me, I'll bring a .38 Super varient.

Locally I've only seen one 9mm Open gun, but I know lots of folks are at least considering it.
 

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9 major has always been legal. Legal when loaded long.

The outlaw on major 9 was when it was loaded to a factory OAL to function in small frame (non 1911) guns.

I also have not seen many Major 9 open guns run 100%. A few, yes. They werent shorties. Eventually it will happen, there is just some bugs that still need tweaking.

My thought would be to shoot 124 or 130 JHP's and seat them out as far as they will go, dont lighten the slide up as much as you might for a super. Give the rounds a chance to move up.

What do I know, I stopped shooting open a couple years ago. Too hard on my body.
 

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Always when choosing a caliber, you must define your priorities. If your priority is cheaper brass, then 9x19 is definitely the way to go. If your priority is reliability, then you would do well to choose one of the 38super based variants. Reliability is my TOP priority, so I load Starline 38 supercomp rimless cases. Expensive but definitely the best solution for me. Brass cost is NOT a huge expense if you shoot Open and dont really mind picking up brass at local matches. My wife and I shoot a match every weekend and I have only gone through one order of 3K ($300.00) cases from Starline so far this year.
 
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