Safe to shoot 38 Super in Star Modelo Super ?


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kemper
July 25, 2011, 11:23 PM
I have a Star Modelo Super that I purchased over 15 years ago. I have been told that they are solid guns and that it is safe to shoot 38 super ammo out of this handgun. Is that true ?

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Clifford
July 25, 2011, 11:49 PM
Is it chambered for .38 ACP, .38 super or 9X23 largo?

thou some may tell you that they have used .38 super in these guns, unless its clearly marked .38super or .38super auto I wouldn't try it. The .38ACP and 9X23 share nearly the same chamber dimensions as does the .38 super one can load them in the weapon usually without trouble. The big problem is pressure, the .38 super runs much higher pressures than the other two cartridges. I'm sure someone more knowledgeable than myself will come along shortly and set everything straight.

tipoc
July 26, 2011, 02:53 AM
Yep the important question here is...what caliber is the gun chambered for? If it's not chambered for the 38 Super than I would not fire the Super in it.

tipoc

GCBurner
July 26, 2011, 10:26 AM
The action is strong enough, but only if you have a barrel actually chambered for .38 Super. I have a Super Star with barrels for 9mm Luger and 9mm Largo, and can change calibres just by field stripping and swapping the barrels, the magazines are the same. The 9mm Largo is in about the same power range as the .38 Super, anyway, and the CCI 124 gr. FMJ and 124 gr. Gold Dot Hollowpoints shoot fine, and hit with some authority. The Super Star is a good, sturdy, all-steel pistol.

Clifford
July 26, 2011, 02:42 PM
Info for the OP...

.38 Super max pressure / 36500 PSI

.38 auto/acp max pressure / 26500 PSI

9X23 largo 33000 PSI* that wasn't from SAAMI so take it with a grain of salt

kemper
July 26, 2011, 03:50 PM
9mm Largo is the caliber for the gun, although it only says 9mm on the slide, but it was advertisede and purchased as a 9mm largo. I've shot a couple of boxes of the 9mm Largo ammo out of it, but was wondering if it could handle 38 super ammo. What do you guys think ?

1KPerDay
July 26, 2011, 03:55 PM
See above.

Clifford
July 26, 2011, 03:56 PM
Most current .38super ammo is loaded well below max pressures so you would probably be fine to run a couple rounds thru it. If it were me, I wouldn't. I like my pistols and body parts to stay in their current configuration. It just ain't worth the risk.

Pick up a single stage press and roll your own if availability and or cost is your problem.

retDAC
July 27, 2011, 01:57 AM
I have an old magazine article where George Nonte asked the factory reps whether .38 Super was safe to fire in 9mm Largo Stars. They said it was.

Keep in mind this was before +P.

ugaarguy
July 27, 2011, 02:34 AM
The actual SAAMI data is:
.38 ACP: 23,000 CUP MAP
.38 Super +P: 33,000 CUP MAP
9x23 Winchester / 9mm Winchester Mag: 45,000 CUP MAP

http://www.saami.org/specifications_and_information/publications/download/205.pdf

There is no SAAMI standard for 9mm Largo / 9mm Bergmann-Bayard.

The Speer Reloading Manual, Number 13, P. 507 states:
Caution!

Never attempt to fire the new 9x23 Winchester cartridge in any pistol chambered for the 9mm Largo. The Winchester competition cartridge operates at nearly twice the pressure of the Largo and would surely destroy these older pistols.


On P.507 the authors note that .38 Super +p is higher pressure than 9mm Largo, and should not be used in pistols chambered for 9mm Largo. They further note on p.507 that when CCI developed their Blazer 9mm Largo they held MAP to 30,000 PSI. On P.509 under the Lab Notes... heading, the authors note that they observed some battering where the slide stops against the frames of the Stars even when fired at the 30k PSI MAP loadings (Load data was developed to be safe in the Star and weaker Astra pistols chambered in 9mm Largo).

R.W.Dale
July 27, 2011, 04:45 AM
You guys are completely missing the point here debating pressure here. Because ALL the full sized stars have also been chambered for 9x19 or can be converted with a simple barrel swap. The slight pressure difference between super and Largo is a non issue compared to 9mm Luger's 35k cup pressure rating.

From a pressure standpoint 38 super is just fine in a Star

HOWEVER

What you SHOULD BE DEBATING is what are you headspacing against with a 38acp/super case in a 9mm Largo chamber


Tapatalk post via IPhone.

GLOOB
July 27, 2011, 07:34 PM
The bore difference isn't a biggie. Shooting a .357 caliber bullet in a .355 bore, no problem. Some 9mm bores are bigger than .357, even.

Headspace, also not a deal breaker. Some people shoot .40 out of a 10mm. If that's not for you, then don't do it. But you will not typically get things like case head separations and stuck cases from poor headspacing in a straight walled pistol cartridge at such low pressures (relative to rifles).

R.W.Dale
July 27, 2011, 08:37 PM
The bore difference isn't a biggie. Shooting a .357 caliber bullet in a .355 bore, no problem. Some 9mm bores are bigger than .357, even.

Headspace, also not a deal breaker. Some people shoot .40 out of a 10mm. If that's not for you, then don't do it. But you will not typically get things like case head separations and stuck cases from poor headspacing in a straight walled pistol cartridge at such low pressures (relative to rifles).

You may not think headspace is a big deal but remember a Star isn't a glock. They don't make parts to replace the extractor you broke firing the incorrect cartridge. At which point you have a somewhat expensive and really good looking paperweight.


Tapatalk post via IPhone.

GLOOB
July 27, 2011, 10:09 PM
You may not think headspace is a big deal
Didn't say it wasn't a big deal. It's a deal, alright. Just not an automatic deal breaker.

But anyways, wiki says 38 super brass is 22.86mm long. Vs 23.0mm. That's a difference of less than 5 thousandths. I don't think I own a piece of luger brass that's less than a couple hundredths too short.

jcwit
July 27, 2011, 10:34 PM
The .38ACP and 9X23 share nearly the same chamber dimensions as does the .38 super one can load them in the weapon usually without trouble.

Completely wrong. For those of you in the know?

Case dimensions for the .380 ACP

OAL .68, Head dia. .374, Neck dia. .372

Case dimensions for the 9mm Largo

OAL .91, Head dia. .390, Neck dia .375

One can use 38 ACP cases and 38 ACP Super and 9 x 23 Winchester.
However they should be loaded to 9 mm Largo specs.
The dies I use are 38 ACP.

Onmilo
July 28, 2011, 10:03 AM
I am going to wade in on this because i shoot an Astra 400 in 9mm Largo.
DO NOT shoot .38 Super in a 9mm Largo chambered pistol, don't do it.
The recoil springs and chambers are different enough to cause problems up to and including catastrophic failure of the firearm.

You can handload .38 Super brass to 9mm Largo ballistics and get it to work just fine.
Stuffing any and all .38 Super ammo in the gun is a recipe for disaster.
There are still millions of 9mm Largo surplus cartridges available for sale in the US, actually more here than there is in Spain now.
Finding or loading safe ammo is not at all hard to do and will safe you trouble down the road. HTH

jcwit
July 28, 2011, 11:19 AM
Absolutyly correct Onmilo.

CZF
July 28, 2011, 01:22 PM
Can you shoot 9 Largo out of the .38 Super?

Jim K
July 28, 2011, 02:02 PM
The major problem in firing either the .38 ACP or .38 Super in a gun intended for the 9mm Largo is that the .38 cartridges, they either will not chamber fully or the extractor may not get a full grip.

Guns like the big Super Star are perfectly OK with .38 Super if they are marked .38.

Onmilo, that Astra is a blowback pistol and IMHO no picnic to shoot with 9 Largo; if I had to fire .38 in it, I would stick to .38 ACP level more out of concern for my hand than for the gun. BTW, in spite of much nonsense, the Astra 400 was not and is not made to shoot 9mm P, 9mm Kurz, 9mm Browning Long, 9mm Steyr, .38 S&W, or any of the other cartridges some gurus say you can fire in it. It was made for 9 Largo; that it can fire .38 ACP is an accident, not a feature.

Jim

Onmilo
July 29, 2011, 11:13 AM
Jim K. I agree the Astra was never intended to shoot a wide variety of 9mm/.38 ammo as many have alluded, however, the gun WILL shoot 9mm Bergmann/Bayard provided you could find some as 9mm Largo is nothing more than a Spanish synonym for the same cartridge.
As for the Astra 400s,,,

There are military guns and there are commercial guns.

Military guns are marked 9mm on the chamber.

Commercial guns are marked 9mm/.38 on the chamber.

Some imported to the USA by Stoeger were chamber marked .38 Super Power!,!
These Stoeger imports probably started the misconception that the guns could use .38 Super cartridges and likely resulted in many of the guns being wrecked beyond repair as the older Super .38 shells were loaded quite a bit hotter than most of todays offerings and the Stoeger marked guns are quite rare even though they were imported in fairly respectable numbers.

The first imports of commercial 9mm/.38 chamber marked guns likely started the belief that ANYTHING with 9mm or .38 on the packaging could be stuffed into and fired from these guns and I'm sure gun salesman of the day were quick to point out this wonder of wonder as a quick and final selling point!

Cor-Bon .38 Super is likely about as close to the original loads as you can get today.
Don't shoot these in any 9mm Largo pistol regardless of the maker or the markings!

Do not confuse 9mm marked Astra 400s with the shorter Astra 600 which was chambered for the 9mm Parabellum.
As an added bonus, some Astra 400 pistols were rebarrelled to take 9mm Parabellum cartridges.
These can also be marked 9mm, or 9mmP, or 9mm Luger depending on who made the barrel.

If you compare the breechfaces of the two models you will note the commercial guns are modified and safe to shoot with commercial .38 ACP cartridges as well as 9mm Largo & 9mm Bergmann/Bayard.
The Spanish did this intentionally as their biggest exports went to Europe and the USA, both places where, at that time, .38 ACP and 9mm Bergmann/Bayard were abundent, 9mm Largo, not so much.
Again, and i can't say this enough,,,
The guns were NEVER designed to shoot the hotter .38 Super ammunition!
Don't use it in 9mm Largo chambered guns!

The Military guns, intended for issue to Spanish forces were only made to function with 9mm Largo ammo.
Of course, that elusive Bergmann/Bayard ammo will work fine in them also but I am guessing the powers in power didn't mention that fact to the rank and file soldiers who were issued the handguns,,,
Some will work with factory .38 acp, some require turning the case head down and turning an extractor groove on .38 acp/super cases and the cases will then work. You can load them from .38 Super dies but need to find a suitable shellholder.

Star, not being dummies in the gun manufacturing world, latched onto the modified breechface principle and I am willing to bet, most, if not all their 9mm Largo chambered guns used the dual purpose breechface.
If Star needed to make 9mm Largo guns for the military or .38 acp/.38 Super guns for the commercial market, the only change they had to undertake was marking the guns to the required/specified caliber.

Now 9mm Parabellum chambered Stars and Astras are different animals.
These guns were ONLY intended for use with 9mm Parabellum ammunition.
If you have one, DO NOT attempt to fire any of the longer 9mm/.38 cartridges in them.
Even if you get the cartridges to fit and feed from the magazine to the chamber, the end result will not be pleasant for gun or shooter.

Got_Lead?
July 30, 2011, 02:49 AM
I have a Modelo B Super. Mine is chambered for 9mm Luger, however, they were also chambered for 9mm Largo. They could probably be re-chambered for .38 super, however, you would probably have to machine the bolt face to accomodate the semi-rimmed dimensions of the .38 super. Recoil springs are pretty light in this pistol, and Wolff only offers a slightly more stiff XP spring at +10%. .38 super might batter this gun up a bit. But they do seem like a very well built gun, and the steel seems pretty hard and durable. Parts are pretty hard to find though.

HisSoldier
July 30, 2011, 09:45 AM
You can handload .38 Super brass to 9mm Largo ballistics and get it to work just fine.

The only possible problem I see in that is the confusion factor. Good reloading practice is to stay within the boundaries of the headstamp. Not a big deal, but many of my doubts are fueled by non documented reloads in my storage, if one stays within the power range of the headstamp religiously it will never be a problem.

Onmilo
July 30, 2011, 03:31 PM
Probably not a good idea to take your .38 Super and your 9mm Largo to the range at the same time.:rolleyes:
MTM makes wonderful cartridge boxes that can be clearly marked with the caliber inside.

Clifford
July 30, 2011, 09:15 PM
Jcwit, you listed specs for a .380 i was referring to the .38auto. The .38 is dimensionally identical to the .38super and pretty damn close the the 9X23. You are correct that the .380 is nowhere near the same size but that wasn't the cartridge i was talking about. Though i can see where you misunderstood, i called the round a .38acp instead of the .38auto.

Jim K
July 30, 2011, 10:40 PM
Hi, Onmilo,

I guess we disagree on .38 Super in those Stars, but they were made for the .38ACP/.38 Super not for Europe or the U.S. but for Latin America, including Mexico, where .45 ACP was/is banned because it is a military caliber. Colt exported tons of .38 Super GM's to that region and Star was competing directly with them, not with other European makers. The Latin American market demanded .38 Super, considering the .38 ACP obsolete and lacking in power, and Star made guns that would take the round the market demanded.

Jim

jcwit
July 30, 2011, 11:13 PM
Regarding unlabled ammo.

I have NO ammo that is not labled as to what caliber it is, what the powder & load is, and what the bullet is.

To do it otherwise would simply be foolish as I reload for close to 40 different calibers.
Mistakes are not an option to consider.

retDAC
July 31, 2011, 12:48 AM
... Recoil springs are pretty light in this pistol, and Wolff only offers a slightly more stiff XP spring at +10%. .38 super might batter this gun up a bit. But they do seem like a very well built gun, and the steel seems pretty hard and durable. Parts are pretty hard to find though.If you want to experiment with recoil springs, get a pack of various weight springs for the S&W 39/59 full size guns and if needed, cut to fit yours.

As to the steel, (pre Firestar) Stars are supposed to be spot hardened in areas of high wear. E.g. original finish BM slides bear witness to this.

Some of the parts are easy enough to make or adapt from other guns. Firing pins and extractors are examples of the former; springs, the latter.

kemper
August 1, 2011, 06:19 PM
WOW ! Thanks for all the good info. I think I will probably just stick with shooting 9mm Largo ammunition out of this old pistol. Anyone know where the best place to get a good deal on HP, JHP or JSP ammo for this auto loader instead of just the FMJ ?

Onmilo
August 2, 2011, 09:51 AM
You are pretty well limited to FMJ unless you handload.
You can pull the bullets and replace them with any 124 JHP/JSP bullets that float your boat.

Jim K., there was a time when .38 Super/.38 acp/9mm Largo were quite poular here in the states and Spanish guns had a higher reputation.
There have been several windows over the last hundred years with the Spanish guns being either very high quality or pure unadulterated crap.
My Astra 400 is a commercial import that dates from the 1925-1935 era and is very high quality.

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