What's the story on 9x23 ??


December 24, 2009, 12:12 AM
I was toying with the idea of buying a 1911 in 38 Super when I saw a couple of Colts on Gun Broker that came in dual caliber 38 Super & 9x23.

I've read all the history of 9x23 and pretty well versed on all that. My questions are....
Is there really that much difference in the 2 cartridges?
Are reloading dies and brass easily available for 9x23?
If I want 357 performance would I simply be better off with a 357?

Tell me what you think.

If you enjoyed reading about "What's the story on 9x23 ??" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
December 24, 2009, 12:23 AM
I have both calibers, and the 9x23 is hotter. The brass is thicker and will take higher pressures. Some have pushed the .38 Super to just about the same level of the 9x23, but they're pushing the limits and some pistols have been damaged in the process.

The 9x23 can be loaded with regular 9x19 dies, by adjusting the die heights.

The best performance is with the 124/125 grain bullets the round was designed for, similar to the 357 Sig, which is another of my favorite calibers. I'd love to have a carbine size rifle in either 9x23 or 357 Sig, since they are such flat shooting rounds.

Hope this helps.


December 24, 2009, 02:24 PM
I have one of the Colt 9x23/38 super Government guns. All I can say is that it is the best gun I've ever bought. The 9x23 round is a real "357" in an auto. It feeds great, which can't be said of other rounds in the 1911, is accurate, hard hitting and flat shooting. 38 Super mags work for it, and the brass last a real long time. You can always use the 38 super barrel if you run out of brass. The only thing you need to be carful about is the fact that the cartridge takes Small Rifle primers, not small pistol. SP primers will blow on you when loaded to potential. Load data is lacking and the only pressure data I've seen is from Winchester/Hodgdon, just one load using W231. Corbon has two factory loadings as does Winchester and Glaser has one in the Powerball loading. Finding facrtory ammo is the biggest hurdle. It seems easier to shot than a 45ACP for some reason. The 9x23 has about 200 fps edge over the 38 super. Picking between the 357 and the 9x23 will most be dependant on whether you want an autoloader or revolver. If you plan on hunting make sure an auto is legal, and finding a bullet for hunting bigger deer or larger animals will be difficult, only the Winchester 124gr SP factory load will work.

December 24, 2009, 04:11 PM
Here is a link to some 9x23 data: http://www.handloads.com/loaddata/default.asp?Caliber=9x23 Winchester&Weight=All&type=Handgun&Order=Powder&Source

Here is another, which was recommended to my by Ed Nowack of Winchester, who talked them into loading the round in the first place: http://www.burnscustom.com/9x23/reload.html

Hope this helps.


December 24, 2009, 05:11 PM
Thanks guys. I was looking for an excuse to buy a 1911 and just couldn't get excited about the 45ACP. I currently load a great deal of 9x19, but for carry, even +P causes some minor concern when winter coats come into season. So getting 9's bigger brothers in a 1911 is very attractive on several levels.

So who makes or carries brass for 9x23? I've heard that Col. Cooper looked into cutting down 223 cases or some such.

Thanks again.

December 24, 2009, 06:20 PM
Winchester makes both factory ammunition and produces primed brass for the 9x23. Starline makes their 9mm Super Comp brass, which is supposed to be the equivalent, but I find it a little thinner than Winchester 9x23 brass.

It's a great round and would make an excellent self defense caliber.

Hope this helps.


December 25, 2009, 01:56 PM
Thanks guys. I was looking for an excuse to buy a 1911 and just couldn't get excited about the 45ACP.

Well, there is always 45 super. It has the same ballistics as a 10mm (up to 1400 fps with a 185 gr bullet). From what I read, all it takes to convert an all steel 1911 is to replace the recoil and hammer springs ($10). You do need 45 super brass, but that seems to be readily available.

I'm thinking of trying it myself, not full house loads, but as a way to get a bit above 45 or 45 +P.

I definitely think that 9x23 is interesting, but that's a more complicated and expensive proposition.


December 30, 2009, 10:22 AM
How can I resist? Looks like 9x23 is a "win-win" situation.
Look, it even says so right on the brass....


Sorry. Just found this photo and couldn't resist adding it here.

Thanks for everyone's great comments.

December 30, 2009, 10:27 AM
A couple things about 9x23 Win.

-Yes the brass is thicker. Not only is it stronger, but it lasts through a lot of loadings.
-In my experience, you can load 9x23 Win. with regular old 9x19 dies. The only exotic component is the brass, which is reusable so...
-Recoil is light compared to 10mm and 45 ACP.

December 30, 2009, 12:34 PM
Am I correct in assuming that a 9mmP 1911 could be converted to 9x23 with a new barrel and springs, or is it more complex than that?


December 30, 2009, 03:03 PM
There isn't a lot of pressure tested data and what there is often uses components that are hard to find. Winchester offers pressure tested data for 231 but also when the cartridge was new offered data for the now discontinued (from retail sale) WAP. WAP is very close to a powder offered at retail today by Ramshot - some say interchangeably close.

European sources offered pressure tested data for European components. I like SP2 frex but when I run out that's likely it.

Winchester brass seems to be what some call a seasonal run - I've bought it when and where I found it - sometimes new old stock loaded ammunition off the shelf has been cheap. I once bought some primed Winchester 9x23 brass from Powder Valley at 10 cents a case. I don't think they'll overstock on 9x23 again in my lifetime - but I don't speak for them always ask.

The Winchester flat point bullet is noticably more streamlined than the Silvertip for showing off the flat trajectory but I carry the Silvertip. The CorBon load with the all copper Barnes bullet is I am sure quite effective but the .38 Auto +P or Super loading has identical ballistics - I'm told to max out on gelatine tests and so the 9x23 is slower than it might otherwise be because a faster 9x23 load would have a lower score in gelatine tests.

The forum by Brian Enos (good place to buy Dillon and other products I like his SlideGlide as well) offers extensive discussion, it worked for the poster loads and pointers to additional information.

My own carry gun has a thistle on it and I'm quite satisfied. For a conversion from 9x19 today I'd want to follow all the advice about careful fitting, including a well fitted firing pin (see the small rifle primer notes and figure gas cutting ruins a slide for serious use) and especially such things as a flat(ter) bottomed firing pin retainer with appropriate (does not mean super heavy recoil spring to batter the gun going forward) springs. Magazines for 9x19 are usually blocked for the shorter cartridge and the 9x23 should be loaded as long as possible IMHO, YMMV so new magazines are a must.

As I age and my hands hurt I like the 9x23 for a carry gun. For power the 9x25 is much faster than even an overloaded 9x23 and for serious power the .460 Rowland works. I don't think the .45 Super is a good idea and with the sort of minimal modifications found on the web - instead of from Ace - I think it is a postively bad idea. I know that even .45 Auto +P will cause real problems when used a lot over a number of pistols - as FREX some agencies that have used a lot of +P - that's on a statistical sampling basis, many pistols worked well some didn't. I don't know how to predict in advance except on a statistical basis and my expected value for .45 Super is low so I have a .460 Rowland and use it very very sparingly.

For sure a Service Ace a 9x23 and a .460 Rowland covers an awful lot of potential utility and plain fun in the 1911 platform.

December 30, 2009, 07:04 PM
I have been shooting and loading 9x23 for about five years now, and ClarkEMyers covered most of the issues. I had John Harrison work over my 9x23 Series '80 Colt, and he made the gun suitable for use with the ammo. He also fit a 9x19 Kart barrel, and the gun sees about 10 9x19 rounds for every 9x23 round.

There are not a lot of recipes out there, but the brass is somewhat easy to find. I usually get mine by buying the loaded 9x23 Winchester ammo in case quantities when I find it for a decent price. I just got a case of it from someone with whom I have done a lot of business. One big issue is that I seem to not be able to find about 5% of my brass when I shoot it; that is a big problem with expensive brass.

.38 Super magazines are the right magazines for the 9x23. My 9x23-marked magazines look just like .38 Super magazines. I have a dozen Colt-marked Super magazines that I regularly use. The 9x23 marked magazines just stay home.

For deer-sized game hunting, I like the 124-grain jacketed soft point as it pretty much is a .357 Magnum round. I am not a huge fan of the Silvertip bullet, as that bullet has not been upgraded in quite some time. But I just carry a .45 for self-defense. The 9x23 report, in an enclosed space without hearing protection, is stunningly loud. I cannot imagine the damage to my hearing and the disorientation should I fire the gun indoors in a self-defense scenario.

If you enjoyed reading about "What's the story on 9x23 ??" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!