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Does someone have the time to expain to me some basic information about the 38 super cartridge? Why was it deveoped? What are its charactertics, what are it's usual shooting applications, how much kick is there relative to other cartriges? Thanks.
 

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RM, the 38 super was developed to give increased penetration for the 1911 pistol. I think it came out in the 30's as a higher pressure and velocity version of the 38acp. It is a rather unusual cartridge in the respect that it is semi-rimmed instead of rimless. If you see a 38s case, you will feel a noticable rim on it. This is the only cartridge I know that is still made in this format. As to its application, it is mainly used as a competition cartridge. You probably have heard of the IPSC race guns with compensators and dot scopes. The 38s is the most common chambering of these. It is also gaining some inroads into IDPA because 10rd mags are available for it, making it ideal for ESP class. In a standard gun, it feels like a hot 9mm to me. In a comped gun it is a completly different experiance. These guns don't move as much in recoil, and allow for much faster recoil recovery. I know that some people are getting carry guns in this caliber because it can be loaded to ballistics similar to the 357 mag and Sig, while giving the advantages of a 10rnd capacity in 1911s and higher in the SV/STI platform.
 

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The .38 S was an attempt to give police officers a round that had a better chance to defeat the obstacles the average mobster of the time had between himself and the police:the heavy car doors of the 30s.

The .38 S and the .357 M both are fruits of this endeavor.

Who was the IPSC shooter who broke the .38S? Was it Leatham? I forget which it was, but in the early 80s the IPSC world was astounded by the success that Leatham (?) had using the .38 S in competition. And it has grown since then.

While not overly popular here, it is said that the .38 S is very popular in Mexico--where it is is illegal to possess a military/police cartridge weapon. Freakin' socialist there!

I have an EAA Witness in both .38 S and 9x23 W and both calibers are quite accurate in that pistol. With the capacity of 18+1, near .357 Mag ballistics (or better in the 9x23 from a like sized launching platform) and an easy shooting pistol, what can be better than that?

Derek
 

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The round came out in 1929 as the successor to the anemic .38 ACP. Many lawmen carried 1911s in .38 Super in Texas and Oklahoma from the 1930s to the 1960s. In its original load, it pushed a 130 grain bullet (FMJ) at 1300 fps from the five inch barrel of a Gov't Model. This load made it suitable for shooting through such obstacles as car doors. Yet, a fast FMJ zips rights through human flesh. "Stopping Power" is similar to the hot 9mmP when loaded with decent bullets.

Unfortunately, thanks to some crappy pistols imported into the U.S. from Spain, which were chambered for the .38 Super but unable to take its heat, manufacturers begin to downgrade the loads. The current 130 FMJ load from PMC has a velocity of about 1050 fps. The Winchester Silvertip round, 125 grains, works at a more respectable 1250 fps. Several makers load this round, so it is still viable.

When I lived in OK in the 90s, gunshops often had a respectable selection of 1911s in .38 Super because many of the old-timers would still ask for it. As stated, IPSC has kept the round hopping, albeit loaded to "major" (which is only suitable for a custom pistol in this caliber). And, true, our friends South of the Border love it. Although private firearm ownership is now illegal in Mexcio, they are crazy about their guns, especially pistols in .38 Super.
 

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Originally posted by RM:
Does someone have the time to expain to me some basic information about the 38 super cartridge? Why was it deveoped? What are its charactertics, what are it's usual shooting applications, how much kick is there relative to other cartriges? Thanks.
Not to seem cynical but, like most other cartridges, it was developed to generate revenue for the manufacturer


I think it came out about 1929 - and as mentioned is dimensionally itentical to the older .38 Auto or ACP but loaded to higher pressure. One of its selling points was indeed penetration, especially in auto sheet metal. The display at the FBI Academy indicates that they were actually issued for a while though in 1935, the first year that the FBI was actually authorized to carry guns (I bet none of them did before that...right
) the .357 was introduced.

It always seemed a quait cartridge back before the competition boys "discovered" it. With 125 gr. bullets it shot flat and was a good hunting cartridge for game up to 100 pounds (of course you can kill larger stuff with it).

Cordially,
Jim Higginbotham




[This message has been edited by JimH (edited 10-04-2001).]
 
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