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CBOW

.38 super???

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I found a really good deal on a DW Guardian in .38 super locally. I have been searching for a Guardian in 9mm for awhile and haven’t been able to find one. I Have never shot .38 super. Would it be a good carry round? I’m assuming it’s way more expensive than 9mm. Wonder if you could swap barrels and bushing to 9mm if you wanted

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Well, let me put it this way: It's better than a .40... Oh!

Seriously though, .38 super has enough energy for what you're thinking if you can find rounds loaded with suitable projectiles.

In terms of economy, you're right about never finding anything that's truly cheap. You'd have to reload, or make friends with someone you're willing to entrust your fingers, eyes, and life to (and who's willing to take on the responsibility).

And, if it would be an acceptable substitute, @CBOW, check the STI 2011 in the classifieds here.

Edited by TomInMN
Additional thought.
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I'll ask others with more knowledge to chime in on this, but wasn't the 38 Super a pretty popular competition round some years ago?

In my personal experience, I find it a fun round to shoot. Very soft in a 1911. As a defensive round, I'll let others comment; but I don't want to be shot with it. As TominMN said, it's a high energy round, and pretty darn flat shooting for accuracy.

I've had a couple of 1911s in the 38 Super over my long sordid life and still like them. I have a couple of Colts for the round. Prize possessions for me. 

I was fortunate enough several years ago to get a couple of cases at a reasonable price. 

I hoard it like gold! lol

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Think of it as a 9mm on steroids. 130gr .356 dia. FMJ bullet @ 1200-1300 fps.  :eek:

I'm a fan of the 38 Super and currently own 4 of them. Colt invented it in 1929 as a better option against steel auto bodies and early bulletproof vests. It became extremely popular in Latin American countries where owning guns in military calibers was forbidden. I believe it was in the 1960s that IPSC competitors discovered that in the 1911 the 38 Super could be pumped up to meet Major Power factor with less, recoil and faster follow up shots over the .45acp.  Plus you can get a couple more of them in the gun. It became a serious cartridge in competitive shooting sports and still is.  

The .38 Super is an outstanding defensive cartridge. However its also always been kind of a niche cartridge. So most ammo makers only offer a few choices in this caliber. But excellent defensive ammo does exist. BTW: Major Power Factor ammo (1400-1500 fps) is readily available. Cost is a bit high, but if you reload, its no big deal. ;)

Can't absolutely swear to it, but I believe a 38 Super can easily be converted to a 9mm with a simple barrel swap. But I wouldn't do it. The .38 Super is the superior round.  :D

Edited by Grayfox54
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Have my brother-in-laws Dad's Colt in 38 super in my gun safe awaiting me to work up some loads for it. Have 500 pcs of Starline brass, need to get her done. Nice nickel Colt, will be passed on to me when brother-in-law passes, no body on his side of family wanted it. Sad for them.

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I'd buy it.  .38 Super runs about the same speed and muzzle energy as a .357 in some loading and comes in a 1911 package.  Call DW, but as stated, you can likely have a 9mm barrel fitted and have a dual caliber gun. 

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I have a friend who converted one to 9mm.  I believe he swapped barrels and magazines and tuned the extractor.  He may have replaced the extractor.  

i think .38 Super initially had a bad reputation for accuracy due to headspacing off its rim instead of the case mouth. 

The .38 Super loaded to “major” power factor (bullet weight x velocity  = at least 165,000)  is popular in USPSA/IPSC Open division, but is losing ground to the 9mm.  Rules were changed years ago to allow shooting major with 9mm.  Yes, it can easily be done, but is a specialized load in a specialized gun (same as loading .38 Super major).  Most off-the-shelf .38 Super won’t make major.  The 9mm has the advantage of easily obtained brass.  You can always identify .38 Super shooters at a match—they are the ones looking at the ground immediately after shooting a stage.  

Edited by deerslayer
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I'm a grandpa 38 super affectionado.   Got an o!d 70 series Colt in the safe... They are great to shoot, but ya need a barrel that headspaces on the case mouth ALA 9mm and 45 Auto...  The original Colts spaced (... as others have noted...) on a tiny rim on the original supers... I'm thinkin that Colt finally fixed the problem sometime in the 80 s, but I ain't sure... My 70 series has the old barrel... Now in honored retirement...

leroy...

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The 38 Super is a semi-rimmed cartridge. The early guns did indeed headspace on that tiny rim. As a result, accuracy suffered. I believe it was Bar-Sto  who finally figured out that headspacing on the case mouth like other semi-auto cartridges solved the accuracy problem. 

Just about everybody had fixed the headspacing problem by the late 80s. Except Colt. They were hard headed and didn't finally admit their mistake and fix the problem until the very late 90s. I think its safe to say that any 38 Super built in the last 30 years headspaces on the case mouth. 

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