Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: 38 Super

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    182
    Feedback Score
    0

    38 Super

    Anybody have any information on this caliber? I'm having a debate about this caliber with a guy at work. He claims it's one of the best calibers ever developed by man and that it exceeds the 357 mag and even the 45 in ballistic effectiveness. He also claims that the only round that comes close are the 357 Sig and the 40SW. True? I've never heard of or seen a 38 super.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    6,542
    Feedback Score
    8 (100%)
    http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread....ighlight=Super

    http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread....ighlight=Super

    http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread....ighlight=Super


    Neat cartridge, but will never be more than a niche chambering in the future.

    I sure as hell wouldn't want to be shot with one.

    The .357 SIG will do pretty much whatever a .38 Super will do, practically speaking, and is available in high capacity modern semi autos.
    Employee of colonialshooting.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Topeka, KS
    Posts
    1,585
    Feedback Score
    3 (100%)
    In almost all factory ammo a 9mm in +P or +P+ is running at greater velocity, and pushing better bullets, and available in a wide variety of guns that have a proven track record. These guns are either more compact for carry, or available in higher capacity service sized guns.

    A Commander in .38Super has got nothing at all on a Glock 34 loaded with +P ammo, except looks perhaps.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    52
    Feedback Score
    0
    For over a quarter of a century I have been a big fan of the .38 Super. It is indeed a great cartridge, with a great history.

    It has been handicapped over the years by the silly semi-rim that John M. Browning used on its predecessor, the .38 ACP. As soon as JMB saw an example of Kaiser Bill's 9mm cartridge, he too started head spacing his cartridges on the case mouth, instead of the sill semi-rim.

    The .38 Super is not loaded any where near its potential by the manufacturers. Neither is the 9x23mm Winchester, the cartridge truly greater than the .38 Super.

    I still like the .38 Super, possibly just because I like to be different. Since I prefer the 1911 type platform, it is superior for my purposes to the 9x19mm.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    281
    Feedback Score
    0
    I load my 38 Super with a 124gr. CMJ at 1450 fps. So...doing the math, that's 179.8 PF.

    From Cor-Bon ('cause who loads hotter than Corbon?):
    Self Defense: 110gr @ 1500fps (165.0 PF)
    DPX: 125gr @ 1300fps (162.5 PF)
    Powerball: 100gr @ 1400fps (140 PF)

    So...yeah...it can easily have more energy than a 357 Magnum (and in turn 9mm).

    Rich
    "Pressure is what you feel when you don't know what you're doing." - Chuck Knox

    For those that say USPSA/IPSC/3-Gun isn't tactical...speed is a tactic!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    DFW
    Posts
    121
    Feedback Score
    0
    9X23 - the thinking man's 38 Super (unfortunately, thinkers are in short supply!).
    The Super is a great cartridge that has gotten short shrift since WW2.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    281
    Feedback Score
    0
    9x23 failed for multiple reasons, not the least of which it does nothing that 38 Super can't already do.

    Rich
    "Pressure is what you feel when you don't know what you're doing." - Chuck Knox

    For those that say USPSA/IPSC/3-Gun isn't tactical...speed is a tactic!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    DFW
    Posts
    121
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by uscbigdawg View Post
    9x23 failed for multiple reasons, not the least of which it does nothing that 38 Super can't already do.

    Rich
    Well, the 9X23 can safely do 100-150 FPS more than the Super within Saami pressure limits - that's something isn't it?
    I'm betting your 124gr. CMJ at 1450 fps is a wee bit beyond the pressure standard for the Super. The 9X23 has the advantage of a much thicker case web & no rim to trip anything up.

    Don't know you, but that's a pretty ignorant response if you know anything about case design, web strength & pressure capabilites between the two cartridges.

    Other than that, I still love the 38 Super & I'm sorry I brought her prettier, smarter sister into the conversation.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    281
    Feedback Score
    0
    I'm not a Materials Science Engineer, but do know that SAAMI specs only exist to account for the lowest common denominator of guns. So, in this case, a company can only generally produce ammunition and load data so that it's safe in Grandpa's 1920 pistol chambered in 38 Super.

    Modern guns, modern steel and modern engineering can easily and safely shoot the load to the above pressures and beyond.

    The 9x23 was semi-rimmed (IIRC), which made it no better than the 38 Super with regards to magazine capacity. It was a tapered case (like the 9mm) that didn't solve any problems that recognizing that 1911's like rounds loaded as close to 45 ACP as you can to reduce the entrance angle from the mag into the chamber to increase reliability/ease of feeding.

    9x23 is advertised as being able to handle more pressure than a 38 Super and ammo manufacturer (singular) loaded them warmer than their 38 Super ammo because of the above (lowest common denominator) and in the case of the 9x23, there was 1 gun chambered for it at its inception and it benefited from modern steel & engineering.

    We can go on and on about the love affair that Winchester and the gun rags had with the 9x23, but the fact remains it failed for multiple reasons and was NEVER a popular choice in competition circles because it didn't do anything that the 38 Super (a very accurate, and affordable caliber) already did. Some other reasons:

    - One firearm chambered in it available to the public (Colt Series 80)
    - One (major) ammunition manufacturer (Winchester)
    - Little to no brass availability on the reloading market until Starline started making it
    - Bullet variety? Nope...same as the 9mm, 9x21 & 38 Super
    - Flatter shooting? Nope. No different than 9x21, 356 TSW, 9x25 & 38 Super
    - Cache of a different caliber? Possibly, but 356 TSW and 9x25 won out for "wow" factor

    The thread is about the 38 Super and I'm speaking from my experience with it. I find it to be an exceedingly versatile caliber that some can use download for plinkin' all the way to hot rodding it for competition and/or defensive loads. Does that mean that other calibers can't do it? Nope. Just saying that this thread is titled, "38 Super" and the OP asked for information about IT not about 9x23.

    Rich
    Last edited by uscbigdawg; 08-11-10 at 09:02.
    "Pressure is what you feel when you don't know what you're doing." - Chuck Knox

    For those that say USPSA/IPSC/3-Gun isn't tactical...speed is a tactic!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    157
    Feedback Score
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by uscbigdawg View Post
    I'm not a Materials Science Engineer, but do know that SAAMI specs only exist to account for the lowest common denominator of guns. So, in this case, a company can only generally produce ammunition and load data so that it's safe in Grandpa's 1920 pistol chambered in 38 Super.

    Modern guns, modern steel and modern engineering can easily and safely shoot the load to the above pressures and beyond.

    The 9x23 was semi-rimmed (IIRC), which made it no better than the 38 Super with regards to magazine capacity. It was a tapered case (like the 9mm) that didn't solve any problems that recognizing that 1911's like rounds loaded as close to 45 ACP as you can to reduce the entrance angle from the mag into the chamber to increase reliability/ease of feeding.

    9x23 is advertised as being able to handle more pressure than a 38 Super and ammo manufacturer (singular) loaded them warmer than their 38 Super ammo because of the above (lowest common denominator) and in the case of the 9x23, there was 1 gun chambered for it at its inception and it benefited from modern steel & engineering.

    We can go on and on about the love affair that Winchester and the gun rags had with the 9x23, but the fact remains it failed for multiple reasons and was NEVER a popular choice in competition circles because it didn't do anything that the 38 Super (a very accurate, and affordable caliber) already did. Some other reasons:

    - One firearm chambered in it available to the public (Colt Series 80)
    - One (major) ammunition manufacturer (Winchester)
    - Little to no brass availability on the reloading market until Starline started making it
    - Bullet variety? Nope...same as the 9mm, 9x21 & 38 Super
    - Flatter shooting? Nope. No different than 9x21, 356 TSW, 9x25 & 38 Super
    - Cache of a different caliber? Possibly, but 356 TSW and 9x25 won out for "wow" factor

    The thread is about the 38 Super and I'm speaking from my experience with it. I find it to be an exceedingly versatile caliber that some can use download for plinkin' all the way to hot rodding it for competition and/or defensive loads. Does that mean that other calibers can't do it? Nope. Just saying that this thread is titled, "38 Super" and the OP asked for information about IT not about 9x23.

    Rich

    I think a little more reading on the 9x23 and its development is required. Does the 9x23 have better terminal ballistics, probably not since 9mm bullets aren't designed for the velocity it can produce. Pretty much the same as 40vs10mm.
    Last edited by Corse; 08-11-10 at 10:06. Reason: additional comment

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    281
    Feedback Score
    0
    Theoretically, the 9x23 would have higher terminal ballistics, but again, that's all based on the basis of its SAAMI spec vs. the 38 Super (which is often erroneously compared to a 10mm in the 40/10 comparison).

    As stated earlier, SAAMI specs are established based upon the worst case scenario and in the case of a 90 year old cartridge like the 38 Super, that's being able to load it in an old gun. The 9x23's pressure value is higher, I believe, but again...since it's about a decade old (+/-) it's got the advantage of being designed for modern guns.

    It's failure in mass production came down to, 'what do I get for my money?'.

    Do you get increased capacity over 38 Super? Eh...maybe 1 round on a 10 round mag for a 1911 due to the greater rim diameter of the 38 Super over the 9x23 (inspite of what folks think the 9x23 is semi-rimmed hence why there's 9x23 brass and 9 Supercomp = rimless 9x23). If THAT's the only reason though, reload 38 Supercomp (rimless 38 super) and adjust the extractor and done. If you want factory ammo in 38 Supercomp, Atlanta Arms & Ammo. Good enough for the AMU.

    Is the brass and/or ammo readily available? At its inception, no. Winchester was really the only source for ammunition and were not selling just the brass. When they did the price was super high compared to 38 Super and so for IPSC shooters buying brass by the 1-2k for recreational use why would they pay more? It wasn't until Starline started manufacturing the brass that it had a chance, but at that point, the damage and experimentation had been done. Even odd ball brass by top shooters like Todd Jarrett (Hornady's 38 TJ) didn't work for the same exact reason (lack of availability to the public affordably). For factory ammunition, while the 38 Super is not a very popular round with companies, again, Winchester was it.

    Flatter shooting is a non-issue as all the hot-rodded "straight" walled 9 variants are flat. 9x25 and 356 TSW aren't really in the discussion as they were VERY special cartridges and while arguably flatter than the straight walled cousins, you were down mag capacity and beat the crap out of the guns.

    9x23 is a solid caliber and if I had a Colt 1991 chambered in it, it'd be nice, so long as I had a brass supply. However, if I didn't, that pistol would be quickly getting a new barrel to either 9mm or 38 Super 'cause...I can buy ammo for it just about anywhere (9mm obviously more than 38 Super).

    Rich
    Last edited by uscbigdawg; 08-11-10 at 12:48.
    "Pressure is what you feel when you don't know what you're doing." - Chuck Knox

    For those that say USPSA/IPSC/3-Gun isn't tactical...speed is a tactic!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    157
    Feedback Score
    0
    The 9x23 brass seems to be much stronger, with the winchester being stronger then the starline. From some pictures on the internet the web area appears to be quite a bit thicker, enabling it to withstand higher pressures. I think this is particularly important in guns like a 1911 where the original design doesn't have a fully supported chamber. I think a correctly setup older 1911 would be perfectly capable of safely running 9x23, more so then 10mm.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •