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Anyone ever fire a 38acp?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by JellyJar, Jan 10, 2010.

  1. JellyJar

    JellyJar Participating Member

    Aug 29, 2009
    Many years ago ( perhaps as much as 20 ) I was at an outdoor range in north Harris county Texas. I spied and picked up an empty brass case that was head stamped 38acp. I already knew then that the 38acp was the predecessor of the 38 super and that the physical dimensions of both calibers were exactly the same. Also, it would be catastrophic ( IIRC ) to accidentally fire the 38 super in an old colt designed for the 38acp. So to give shooters a clue as to which is which the 38acp case is always bare brass but the 38 super case is always nickle. That means that in all probability someone had actually shot an old original Colt chambered in 38acp!

    So my question is this, has anyone here ever fired one of the original old Colts chambered for the 38acp? I understand that they are quite fragile compared to their descendant the 1911.
  2. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Senior Elder

    Dec 24, 2002
    I have shot the .38 ACP cartridge in both a 1902 Military and a later .38 Super. However I would not shoot the older one today.

    Why not!!! Aren't all guns made to be, and intended to be shot????

    Well in this case no. You can if you want to, but not me.

    In this early Browning design the slide is held onto the frame by a small key or wedge. If it should fail the slide will come off backwards and hit you square between the eyes. Browning quickly learned his lesson, and all future pistols, with the exception of the .22 Woodsman were designed so the slide was removed by pulling it forward.
  3. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Mentor

    Apr 28, 2005
    Oregon Coast
    Just to clarify, all .38 Super brass isn't nickel plated. I have several thousand .38 Super +P cases that are brass, with no nickel plating. I also have .38 acp brass that is nickel plated.

    You have to read the headstamp to be sure of the ammunition, at least in factory fodder.

    Hope this helps.


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