Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
CBOW

.38 super???

Recommended Posts


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.
  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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
  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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...

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By Moped
      Anyone dealt with Robertson Trading Post in Henderson?  I noticed on GOA, that they have several pistols I'm possibly interested in.  I might be up for a trip to Henderson to check them out.  Are they open to the public or doing online ordering only?  Are they good people to deal with?
    • By The Legion
      I wasn't planning on picking up a new gun "BUT" Walther just came out with the new Walther PPQ Q5 Match Steel Frame.  I sold my polymer PPQ and picked up the new steel frame.  It has been a long time since I really got excited about a new gun but I really like this gun.  It is a heavy gun at 2lbs 10oz with an empty magazine so it will be legal for SSP/ESP division in IDPA.  My main purpose for the gun is to shoot Carry Optics division and the weight limit is 45oz with an optic.  The optic I will use will be the C-more RTS2 6 MOA.  The gun does come with three mounting plates, not for the C-more.  Had to purchase one from C-more.  The grip is a little bit more aggressive than the polymer gun and I am very happy with that.  I hope to get out to the range soon and when I do I will do a range report.
       
       
       
    • By loadedp3at
      I just got an almost new Smith Wesson model cs9 in stainless steel and would like to buy a recoil guide for but I can't find any. I know the pistol was discontinued but surely there are some parts out there. Does anyone know of a good place to get old Smith parts? Thanks for your help.

The Fine Print

Tennessee Gun Owners (TNGunOwners.com) is the premier Community and Discussion Forum for gun owners, firearm enthusiasts, sportsmen and Second Amendment proponents in the state of Tennessee and surrounding region.

TNGunOwners.com (TGO) is a presentation of Enthusiast Productions. The TGO state flag logo and the TGO tri-hole "icon" logo are trademarks of Tennessee Gun Owners. The TGO logos and all content presented on this site may not be reproduced in any form without express written permission. The opinions expressed on TGO are those of their authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the site's owners or staff.

Before engaging in any transaction of goods or services on TGO, all parties involved must know and follow the local, state and Federal laws regarding those transactions. TGO makes no claims, guarantees or assurances regarding any such transactions.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to the following.
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Guidelines