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Old 03-13-2009, 05:27 PM   #1
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Default .38 Super

How does the .38 Super compare to 9x19? I've read quite a bit about them on paper, but never seen a .38 Super in real life.

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Old 03-18-2009, 06:08 AM   #2
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I have just purchased a Kimber 1911 full size in .38 super. The ammo looks like a 9mm only longer---sort of similar to a .38 compared to a .357.
My reason for purchase is strictly competition. I have it on good authority that the .38 super , with a supported barrel, can not only shoot major class in competition but will have a power factor that can not be exceeded by a .45 acp. With an appropriate compensator the .38 super,shooting a round more powerful than any .45acp, can maintain a recoil that is somewhat equal to a 9mm.
After some practice on my part,I will have the stock .38 super converted to
a "full race" competition gun and expect the above described results. I don't believe that the other caliber has all the advantages of the .38 super.
Plus if you ever go to Mexico,the .38 super is legal down there because it is not considered a military caliber. 38 super ammo is readily available at most stores.
Those are MY reasons for a .38 super purchase ! I don't know the difference in the two cartridges so far as ammo prices but I don't believe anyone purchasing either will be buying them for plinking.
Any different opinions out there? If so ,I would like to know before I throw
more bucks at this competition thing !

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Old 03-18-2009, 11:34 AM   #3
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The 38 Super is not going to be "more powerful" than a 45 ACP. IPSC power factor was nothing more than a scoring tool created by and exclusively for, IPSC. There is no correlation between IPSC major and minor power factor and real life shootings. "Major" was originally a figure of 175. That is all, just a figure. 175 what? Dunno, just 175.

Power factor= bullet weight x velocity/ 1000. A standard load for the Super is a 135 grain bullet at 1200 fps. for a "power factor" of 162. That does not put it in "major", as it relates to power factor. You can make major with a 38 Super, but to do that you need to load a heavier bullet, and still push it pretty darn fast, which ups pressures considerably.

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Old 03-18-2009, 03:01 PM   #4
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Default Real 38 Super


Picture of me knocking down 4" squares @ 35 yards at Sportsman's Team Challenge Nationals.

Matt G,
Not sure exactly what kind of comparison you're looking for but I've been shooting 38 Super since 1994 with a total rounds downrange count of over 150,000 rounds (the majority of which were handloads).

Factory ammo availability quite definitely goes in favor of 9mm.
Factory ammo price goes to 9mm.
Reliability in 1911 style pistols (I personally prefer 38 Super) I can elaborate if you'd like (send PM or better yet, give me a call 318-949-9884 & ask for Renee)
Making major for USPSA/IPSC Advantage 38 Super
38 Super is Semi-Rimmed and has a much larger case capacity than 9mm.

9mm in the middle

9mm: Overall length 1.169" with the case length normally 0.754." Typically, this rimless cartridge measures no more than 0.394 at the rim. (Rimless simply means that the lip of the rim does not extend wider than the case.) Just above the extractor groove, the case is no more than 0.391" wide and tapers to 0.380" at the case mouth. 33,500 to 34,000 PSI range

.38 Super: Same pressure range as the 9mm. Non-tapered case measuring about 0.384" wide and 0.9" long at the maximum. It is a semi-rimmed cartridge and the rim is approximately 0.406" wide. The cartridge is loaded to a maximum OAL of 1.280." Similar to the .45 ACP OAL of 1.275."
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Old 03-18-2009, 07:08 PM   #5
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Kimber Stainless Target II .38 Super

Please read this and then decide what ballistics a 38 super is capable of obtaining ! It also refers to the managable recoil of the gun as well as the relative cartridge capabilities when compared to a .45 acp.
Most info. that I have currently ,has been tendered by a fellow named
Rob Leatham. You may know of him if you shoot IPSC or are familiar with Springfield Armory. There are many more articles available regarding 38 super
and its relative merit.
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Old 03-19-2009, 01:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepcreep927 View Post
The 38 Super is not going to be "more powerful" than a 45 ACP. IPSC power factor was nothing more than a scoring tool created by and exclusively for, IPSC. There is no correlation between IPSC major and minor power factor and real life shootings. "Major" was originally a figure of 175. That is all, just a figure. 175 what? Dunno, just 175.

Power factor= bullet weight x velocity/ 1000. A standard load for the Super is a 135 grain bullet at 1200 fps. for a "power factor" of 162. That does not put it in "major", as it relates to power factor. You can make major with a 38 Super, but to do that you need to load a heavier bullet, and still push it pretty darn fast, which ups pressures considerably.
Please consider that a good commercially produced 38super defense load
being comparable to a .357 will produce the following :
(also note .45acp muzzle energy)

Average muzzle energies for common pistol cartridges http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muzzle_energy
Foot-pounds
9 mm Luger -- 350
.357 Sig -- 475
.357 Mag -- 550
.38 Special -- 310
10mm Auto -- 650
.40 SW -- 425
.44 Mag is missing due to faulty interpretive info.
.45 ACP -- 400
.45 Colt -- 370
.454 Casull -- 1,900
.460 SW -- 2,400
.50 AE -- 1,500
.500 SW -- 2,600
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Old 03-19-2009, 02:55 AM   #7
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.38 Super rocks.

Very flat shooting. I use it when ripping around the dez on my ATV down here in SoCal. Some very wide open terrain can lead to some long shots.

It makes a nice addition to the handgun pile, and fills a niche. Also very pleasant to fire.

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Old 03-20-2009, 05:28 PM   #8
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Default Like the 38 super love the 9 x 23

The 39 super is a great performer in my 1911 but the 9 x 23 barrel on the same gun I use shows even more power and a touch better accuracy. Both barrels are Nowlin installed.

Both of these nines are great on the 1911 for feed and accuracy. I have done some hunting with my 9 x 23 out here in the "dez" of NM with great results.

On steel however my 9 x 23 is showing much more KE delivered on target than either my 38 super or my 45 ACP does.

Enjoy what ever you shoot.

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Old 03-21-2009, 03:43 AM   #9
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I saw with my very own eyes a .38 Super Smith and Wesson I believe in 8 shot with moon clips.....I fell in love with it on first sight when the guy brought it in.

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Old 03-22-2009, 02:31 AM   #10
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Always wanted a 38 super and a 9x23 as well. I really like the challenge of odd ball calibers.

aoakley1 you are hot. Will you marry me?

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