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Hope I'm not asking a question that has been answered before. I have a Colt pistol marked "Colt Super .38 Automatic". It was purchased new in 1949. The gun is in nearly new condition. I think that makes it a model 1911. Anyway I recently shot the last of some old ammo that was .38 super and all I find now is .38 super+p. Can this old gun shoot this hotter ammo? If not where do you buy it? None of the regular manufacturers sell .38 super ( no not+P).
 

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As I understand it, there is no such thing as .38 Super "non +P."
SAAMI members went to labeling all .38 Super as +P. The loads are no hotter than what was claimed when the gun was new in 1949. Maybe less, or more honestly tested. Winchester now shows .38 Super +P 130 gr FMJ at 1215 fps and 125 Silvertip at 1240 fps. The old claim was a 130 at 1300.

I don't know how many of the old .38 ACPs there are around, but maybe they felt a need to add one more thing on the label to keep you from overloading a 1902.

I have a 1954 vintage Super that handles current ammunition quite well.
 

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Jim, I have yet to find ball .38 super factory ammo that comes very close to its stated velocity, out of a 5" gun anyhow. The Winchester 130 gr. FMJ for example seems to come in at just under 1100 fps from the two 5 inchers I've tried it in.
 

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This is the way I think of it......

All 38 super is supposed to, or assumed to be +P weather marked that way or not.
The 38 auto is a completely different ctg as far as pressures.
I suppose you could run 38 auto in a 38 super gun, just not the other way around.
the 38 auto is the early forerunner of the 38 super.
I'm pretty sure case dimensions are the same from auto to super.
Eric
 

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TL,
I have a similar 1949 vintage .38 Super Government Model, congratulations. They have a blueing not found on many guns built these days.

I have shot some Armscorp Super .38, bought cheap online several years ago, and no longer available from that source. Also bought some Cor-Bon 115 JHP +P, but have yet to shoot it, also having concerns about +P in the older gun. Check out the ammo forum for online sources, there should be some threads that you can search for Super .38.

Thanks Jim, Brian and ct for the extra info, feel better giving it a whirl now.

Good Luck,
Steve
 

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All .38 Super is +P. Or none of it, depending on how you look at it. The cartridge didn't change, but the markings were changed to help reduce the chance of a .38 Super round finding its way into an ancient .38 ACP. The two cartridges have identical external dimensions, so there's no way to tell the difference, other than reading the headstamp.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
found some low velocity super .38

Thanks to all that replied to my question. Today I found that Corbon makes and sells online a .38 super in a 140gr bullet. Fires at 950 fps. I'm gonna give it a try and hope that it cycles ok. I really do not want to hurt this gun, as it was an inheritance from my grandfather who basically bought it, oiled and kept it in the box. It may have never been fired until I shot up the 1 box of Remington shells he bought in 1969. When I had it appraised they rated it as mint and said it appears to never have been fired.
 

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Take good care of that gun...many people are asking $3K+ for a gun of that condition and age.

As to the ammo, your gun was built when .38 Super ammo ran a 130 grain FMJ bullet at 1300 fps. What no one realized was that many people were also sticking .38 Super rounds in the .38 Auto 1903 Colts...they didn't "blow them up" just rattled them to pieces. So what ended up happeneing is that all the Super ammo ended up being downgraded to nothing more than .38 Auto, like back to the 1100 fps for the original .38 ACP load, +P ended up being really just .38 Auto +P. The only loaded to full potential .38 Super ammo is from CorBon ([email protected],125s @1350,100 gr. PowR"[email protected] and Glaser), Georgia Arms and another prefragmented round I can't remember.

So any of the ammo, +P or not, from Winchester, Federal, Remington, Agilla, PMC or MechTech will ware your gun actually less than the rounds that were out in the 1940s...

Would suggest you put in a new 18.5# recoil spring incase the one in the gun has taken a set...

One other thing...the chamber of your gun is cut to headspace on the case rim instead of the case mouth like the new barrels do. They are usually not very accurate. If you plan on shooting the gun much you can get a dropin replacement barrel for shooting that will not require any alteration of the gun and keep the original barrel for display.

Bob
 

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The Cor Bon loads are the 'stoutest' one can normally get, although there are some smaller companies loading this round (which is very popular in competition) a bit hotter. I have fired a fair amount of 'white box' Winchester 38 Super +P in a prewar 38 Super with no stress or ill effects. Dave
 
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