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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I do not own a 1911 in anything but 45 and I've been looking again at the 38 Super. However, the modern 9mm, even some factory, run right up there with 38 Supers for speed..

I can reload either round, I have dies for both. Back in the day I reloaded 9s quite often due to them being a little pricey, but in the late 80s the 9s came way down and stayed there,,,the 38 Super seems on the way out, at least commercially. I'm concerned about getting a good supply of 38 Super brass.

Any thoughts, I've scoped out two pistols, both Taurus', the dealer has one in each caliber...prices are about the same..
 

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I would think it would depend on how much you intend to shoot it. Since they shoot the same bullet, for range use I would rather have the 9. I don't have a 38 super and it would be neat to have one but as a practical matter the 9 wins.
 

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Even though there has always been some interest in the Super it has not had the same attention as the 9mm. You have seemingly endless choices of factory 9mm ammo and since everybody and his brother makes 9mm pistols the cartridge will be around forever.

That is not true with the Super and even though I have several pistols and shot the super in IPSC back in the day I don't think I'd consider buying another and haven't bought a 9mm since last Saturday :)
 

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Ammo, I've been a 1911 owner and operator for a long time. While I've had mostly .45s, I've owned my share, maybe more, of the 9MM and .38 Super versions. In fact, I shoot them more than the .45ACPs now days. While the Super has more case capacity, thus more ballistic potential, I've found there is not a lot of difference with factory or equivalent reloaded ammo between the two, if both are fired in 5" barrels. I think perhaps a lot of shooters may not be aware that most ballistics charts and reloading manuals show velocities for the 9MM in 4" barrels, while showing 38 Super ballistics in 5" barrels. I have come to prefer the ramped type barrels used by some manufacturers for 9MM and 38 Super calibers over the traditional unramped type as used by Colt,etc. This, because of both better case head support and trouble free function, with all bullet shapes, without tuning, tweaking, etc. I have found my current 9MM 1911s just work, without any of the issues so commonly reported for 1911s in this caliber. While I really like the Super, if I had to choose, I guess I'd go with the 9MM...
 

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The Super bullet is the proper length for a 1911.The 9mm can have some real feeding issues.

Bob
 

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You can save more money if you get the 38 Super. Reloading for 9mm only saves you about $10 - $12 per box over the cost of factory ammo. If you reload 38 Super, you can save up to $17 per box over factory prices. If you think my logic is flawed ... don't tell me.
 

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The 38 Super is not going to fade away any time soon. Most 1911 manufacturers produce a gun chambered for this round.

38 Super ammo is manufactured by more and more companies all the time as boutique companies add it to their product line. You can see a list of what manufacturers offer for this round at the link below.

http://38super.net/Pages/Factory2.html

Ammo performance will always favor the 38 Super over the 9mm Luger. The Super has a longer case so it can hold more powder and it has a higher pressure limit than the 9mm Luger. Figure on a 100-200 fps advantage at the same pressure.

Single column pistols like the 1911 will feed more reliably with the 38 Super than the 9mm Luger because the 38 Super case is straight-walled while the 9mm Luger case is tapered. The taper to the 9mm Luger case increases nosedive. For the ultimate in reliability, rimless 38 Super brass (such as Starline 38 Super Comp, see the link below) is the way to go. The 38 Super has a semi-rim, which increases drag, but it still feeds more reliably in a 1911 than 9mm Luger. But the rimless versions of 38 Super are smoother feeding and have less nosedive.

http://38super.net/Pages/Brass.html

If you're interested in getting the most velocity performance from your gun, look for one with a fully supported chamber (usually a ramped barrel). Since you reload you can bring out the best in this cartridge and equal loads from the 9X23 Winchester and many 357 magnum loads (referring to factory 357 measured from a 4" barrel). My self-defense load is a 124 grain bullet at 1500+ fps.

Since you reload, it's a no-brainer = 38 Super has the important advantages - feeding reliability and ballistic performance. The only advantage the 9mm has is cheaper brass.
 

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IMHO the 38 Super shines when fitted with a fully supported barrel and hand loaded. I load 158 grain SWCBB designed by Wilson for Saeco over BlueDot. This was my IPSC load for ten years. Velocity was close to 1200fps with a 5.5 inch barrel with comp fitted.

This loading was not for non-comped pistols! For my EAA Witness pistols, I load a Saeco 145 grain SWCBB with a much reduced load.

Correctly loaded, the Super beats the pants off the 9mm!

Brass can be ordered in bulk from Starline.
 

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I've owned both

I'm concerned about getting a good supply of 38 Super brass.

.
for good reason .
You'll never sweep up bushels of free Super brass like you can 9

You can buy new brass, but IMO, you're just as well off buying factory ammo to build your brass supply

I played with Super for about a year.
there was nothing about it that captured my fancy enough to keep it.
the only non 45 1911's I own now are in 9mm and 10mm


..L.T.A.
 

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I remember in the 70s I traded for a used 38 Super with 500 rounds of used brass and the reloading dies. In about a year I traded it off with 400 rounds of more used brass and the reloading dies. Of course that is back when the 38 Super head spaced off the semi rim (Remember 38 Super is 9x23SR).

Flash forward to 2009 and a friend bought an XSE LW Commander in 38 Super. I was standing there when he bought it and reminded him that the ammo is pricey as he does not reload. After a few boxes of ammo, I bought it from him thinking I would drop a 9mm (9x19) barrel in it, which I did. It is under my 2006 XSE LW Commander in 45 I bought new that year.



What I found with the new 38 Supers that headspace off the mouth of the case, like the 9x19 or 45ACP is they are quite accurate. I was impressed. Also, during the recent panic when you could not buy 9mm, 38 Super and 10mm were quite available at about $2 more for a box compared to the pre panic prices. Bottom line is building brass pile, new reloading dies, and since I bought a 9mm Defender, I really do not shoot 9mm in the Commander anymore, just 38 Super.
 

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The Super bullet is the proper length for a 1911.The 9mm can have some real feeding issues.

Bob
This. The extra expense/effort of procuring Super ammo is easily offset by the inherent reliability advantages of not trying to make a 1911 feed 9mm.

I gave up on 9mm 1911s and happily pay for 45 and enjoy reliability.
 

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If you don't mind me asking a question, what do you consider high when buying a box of target 38 Super ammo? Here in Oklahoma at our local gun range, which is the highest place around sells Fiocchi for $20 for a box of 50, and I have never had trouble finding it.
 

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IMHO the 38 Super shines when fitted with a fully supported barrel and hand loaded. I load 158 grain SWCBB designed by Wilson for Saeco over BlueDot. This was my IPSC load for ten years. Velocity was close to 1200fps with a 5.5 inch barrel with comp fitted.

This loading was not for non-comped pistols! For my EAA Witness pistols, I load a Saeco 145 grain SWCBB with a much reduced load.

Correctly loaded, the Super beats the pants off the 9mm!

Brass can be ordered in bulk from Starline.
Bingo. If I wanted to settle for less,the 9mm would do. I load the 147 gr. Golden Saber in a custom Caspian officer frame. Schuemann ramped bull barrel and accu-railing make the little gun shoot match capable,and not just at short range. A delight to shoot and carry..............................................
 

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Ammo performance will always favor the 38 Super over the 9mm Luger. The Super has a longer case so it can hold more powder and it has a higher pressure limit than the 9mm Luger. Figure on a 100-200 fps advantage at the same pressure.
I did not know that.

I always thought the .38Super was pressure limited, and I always understood one of the reasons for the 9x23Win was to get a stronger case for more pressure in a case of that size. Of course just because the .38 Super may not have the pressure limit of the 9x23 Win, it doesn't mean it isn't stronger than the 9MM. The .38 Super is a newer round than the 9MM, so it does make sense. Thanks for the information.
 

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SAAMI maximum pressure limit for:

9mmLuger = 35,000 psi.
38 Super = 36,500 psi.
9X23 Winchester = 55,000 psi.

I doubt that the 38 Super case is stronger than the 9mm Luger, but who knows.

The 9X23 offers a stronger case for very high pressure loads in an unsupported chamber. The unsupported chamber is the key issue, and the Winchester 9X23 brass has a very thick case wall at the head.

If you have a fully supported chamber, you can load the 38 Super to equal 9X23 performance. In fact, because the 9X23's case walls are so thick, it has less powder capacity than 38 Super brass, so you can achieve 9X23 performance in a 38 Super case with less pressure than the 9X23 case will generate.

IPSC/USPSA shooters in the old days found that conventional 38 Super brass would not safely contain excess pressure loads in an unsupported chamber, which they used for competition to make Major power factor. The 38 Super case was designed around its pressure limit and typical chambers. They got around that 2 ways. 1) If they used heavy bullets to make Major, they could often do so within SAAMI pressure specs. It was the light bullets that were the problem as few powders would make Major with light bullets and still stay within SAAMI specs. 2) They got around the light bullet problem by using guns with a fully supported chamber. Lots of IPSC shooters today run insanely hot rounds through their 38 Supers with conventional 38 Super brass, but in a fully supported chamber.

Fun and interesting stuff about the 9X23 and 38 Super brass can be found at the link below.

http://38super.net/Pages/9X23.html
 

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I have an Ed Brown 9mm and love it but not as much as my Wilson Combat CQB in 38 Super/9mm! I bought the CQB used from a guy as a 9mm and then had a Wilson match grade 38 super barrel fit to it and it is fantastic!!!! If you reload you can have both in the same gun and you can use the same projectiles and powder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm hoping to get out over the Thanksgiving weekend and shoot one of each. A friend of mine has a Kimber in 9mm and a Rock Island in 38 Super. It will at least give me a reference.

To confuse me even more he wants me to shoot his 10mm Glock,,,,
 

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If you're a manly man, the Super's the only way to go. If, on the other hand you're used to your cajones staying in a compartment of your Wife's purse, you'd probably be more comfortable with the 9.:D

Bob
 
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