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.38 Super . . . It Really Is!!

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by schmeky, Aug 19, 2007.

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  1. schmeky

    schmeky Member

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    Being a 30 year veteran of handgun shooting, I must say I have owned and shot most calibers over the years. Somehow the .38 Super never crossed my path.

    I bought a new Colt 1911 (recent manufacture) in .38 Super, one of the "EL" series in bright polish stainless. Out of the box this gun is a work of art, truly a beautiful pistol, with great fixed high visibility 3 dot sights combined with a really great overall fit and finish.

    I finally decided to shoot this thing at an indoor range. I was amazed at the out of the box accuracy of this pistol. I shot a 5 shot 3/4" group at 21 feet with a crude rest and really bad eye sight. Recoil, although more than a 9mm, is very controllable. The .38 Super feels very powerful and being a long time reloader, I feel this cartridge is possibly a handloaders dream. Load it up, down, or in between.

    There were no failures of any kind during my shooting stint. I also have a never been fired Colt XSE Commander in .45 that I will be taking to the range soon.

    All I can say is, the .38 Super feels like a 9mm Magnum. If I were to wade off in a fire fight (God forbid), I feel the Super would be the better caliber (compared to the 9mm) to be armed with.

    Hats off to Colt and a thanks to Colt for keeping the Super going.

    This is going to be a ton of fun. I encourage others to think outside the box!!
     
  2. DiN_BLiX

    DiN_BLiX Member

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    Rock island also makes a nice 1911 in 38 super, like 350-400 range.
     
  3. Novus Collectus

    Novus Collectus Member

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    Just out of curioustity for reasons of comparison, every shoot Sellier and Bellot 7.62x25 out of a CX52?
    If you have, how was accuracy and how did recoil feel compared to the .38 super?
    If you fired any Tokarev ammo out of a TT33 or a CZ52, then I would still be interested in a comparison of experiences.
     
  4. ccmdfd

    ccmdfd Member

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    .38 Super is one of my favorite rounds. I discovered it about 4 years ago. Since then, I've sold off all but two of my .45 1911's, and have purchased quite a few more supers, including the one that you have.

    My collection of Supers as it stands today:
    [​IMG]

    cc
     
  5. makarovnik

    makarovnik Member

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    You're out of control. I'm jealous!
     
  6. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    It sounds like you have the "El Presidente" model perhaps? A truly beautiful gun in every sense. Early Colt Super 38's were sometimes erratic in terms of accuracy due to having the round headspace on the rim of the cartridge. But when the popularity of the combat pistol shooting competitions took off in the seventies and eighties, new interest in the Super 38 did too. That's because the Super could be "pushed" or handloaded to make major caliber status in terms of scoring, and give you more rounds in your magazine as an added bonus. All this new interest in the Super had Colt rethinking their accuracy problems, and resulted in later models utilizing the case mouth for headspacing. However, you'll want to be careful in handloading because without a supported chamber, weak brass and a hot load could cause some serious problems. Keep it on the safe side and have fun, you've got a real beauty there. And ccmdfd: I think the BDA is truly the "sleeper" of your magnificent collection.
     
  7. Noxx

    Noxx Member

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    I've never owned or fired a .38 super auto. May have to get around to that now.
     
  8. Charles S

    Charles S Member

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    ccmdfd, very nice collection.

    I love the 38 Super, but then I have always been a sucker for a great round that is not all that popular.

    I really like the 41 Remington Magnum also!
     
  9. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    BTW, EAA makes the Witness in 38Super. I have been thinking about on off and on for years. I have thought that the 38 Super has never gotten the respect/defensive ammo is deserves, due to the "38" in the name, and it's huge popularity in an unpopular country. $489 MSRP ain't too bad.
     
  10. BigG

    BigG Member

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    I always enjoyed the big muzzle flash of the Colt Super .38. :)
     
  11. schmeky

    schmeky Member

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    ccmdfd,

    That Colt in the right hand column on the bottom is the one I have. I am now thinking about getting another "Super". The Rock Island would be a great way to get into the Super without spending "Colt" money.

    Power, accuracy, and reliability are hard atributes to argue with, combined with the beauty of the 1911 platform.

    It's like a new girlfriend, I think I'm hooked :rolleyes:
     
  12. John Holbrook

    John Holbrook Member

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    Here are a couple of "Super" Super .38s

    The top one I built for myself as a shooter, and it does just that!!

    The lower one is an original early example that was owned by a Texas Ranger.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. wally

    wally Member

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    If only they'd named it 9mm magnum :)

    The existence of old .38 ACP chambered guns usually means factory ammo is loaded well below its potential.

    --wally.
     
  14. ccmdfd

    ccmdfd Member

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    I love that lower one John.

    One of these days I'm going to have to break down and buy one of the older, pre-70's Colts. They are just so classy looking!

    cc
     
  15. ccmdfd

    ccmdfd Member

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    Wally:

    Yes, most .38 Super ammo these days is far from the cartridge's potential. That despite the +P you see on the ammo boxes.

    I'm told, although I've never owned or shot any, that you can load the Super to rival the .357SIG/.357Mag. Not beat, but close to it.

    cc
     
  16. RogersPrecision

    RogersPrecision Member

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    Here are a few pics of a 38super, 9x19, 9x23 I recently finished.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    :D
     
  17. John Holbrook

    John Holbrook Member

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    Here is the Colt and the display placard I use in my displays.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    I remember Jeff Cooper doing something with a Super 38/Super 9 about 35 years ago. Using a Colt Commander frame with a 6.5" Bar-Sto barrel, they were able to go 1750 fps with 90 grain bullets, and nearly 1600 with 125's. Of course, they also began blowing out cases at this point because of the unsupported chamber. They did come up with an interesting solution to the problem; they started using cut down .223 brass, which provided them with thicker case walls and greater sectional density near the cartridge base. As the .223 can go to 52000 psi, they were able to take the 90's up to 2000 fps and the 125's to 1750. This was definitely putting the Super 38 ahead of the .357magnum and doing it in a smaller, lighter package with a couple of more rounds for good measure.
     
  19. RogersPrecision

    RogersPrecision Member

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    Factory WW9x23 124gr JSP gets 1500fps from a 5" barrel!
    :eek:
     
  20. schmeky

    schmeky Member

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    John Holbrook,

    That Caspian framed Super you built is beautiful. I absolutely love a "blank" slide with no markings. This is one of the things I really liked about my new Colt Super.

    RogersPrecision,

    That's a really different, fine looking 1911.

    I agree with the comment that if the Super were to be renamed to 9mm Magnum, it would probably take off, especially if thicker walled brass was used to allow higher chamber pressures and muzzle velocities of 1600-1700+ fps. With a 110-125 grain bullet, this would be more energy in ft. lbs. than a good .357 revolver, since an auto has no barrel cylinder gap to bleed off gas pressure.

    I would like more info on the cut down .223 brass. I think the Super is great as is, but as a reloader, different, while being safe, is always more fun.
     
  21. ccmdfd

    ccmdfd Member

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    I'm going to have to try some of that!

    Thanks, and beutiful Super BTW.

    cc
     
  22. Kimber1911_06238

    Kimber1911_06238 Member

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    9X23? sounds like fun
     
  23. TehK1w1

    TehK1w1 Member

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    Oh, so THAT'S what 9x23 is...
     
  24. Cocked & Locked

    Cocked & Locked Member

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    Here are my Super .38 1911's, none of which are Colts. :cool:

    Springfield Armory factory nickled Super .38...(my main squeeze)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A couple of Rock Island Armory factory finished shiny Super .38's...one is nickel, the other polished hard chrome.
    [​IMG]

    This is the polished hardchrome RIA
    [​IMG]
     
  25. jpwilly

    jpwilly Member

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    Ooohh those hardchrome 1911's are nice!
     
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