Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

.38 Super vs. .45ACP: If you've Owned Both, Which Do You Prefer?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by SharpsDressedMan, Jun 16, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. mavracer

    mavracer Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2007
    Messages:
    4,414
    Location:
    wichita
    That's my thought as well. Georgia arms 124gr golddots clock 1280fps from my commander, shoot good groups POA and feed perfectly.
     
  2. mtrmn

    mtrmn Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2011
    Messages:
    877
    Location:
    Louisiana
    I load 147 gr Gold Dots in mine with good success, but I'm getting low and haven't seen GD bullets for sale in ages.
     
  3. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    5,035
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    It is an interesting question, but at the end of the day I would pick 38 Super.

    My reason is logistics.

    I reload for 38 Super, 38/44, 357 Sig, 357 Maximum, 357 Magnum, 380 auto, 9mm and 38 special.

    I reload for 45 acp and 45Colt. Not much synergy there.

    So at the end of the day, it is easier to stockpile supplies for ammo for "9mm" caliber since I can use it on more various calibers.

    When it comes to guns, I have 3 45acp's and 4 38 Supers. Kind of tells you where my money goes.
     
  4. floydster

    floydster Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    Messages:
    1,634
    Location:
    Central, Mn.
    I have an Elite Witness Match in 38 Super and 45 ACP, amazing guns, accurate and dependable, right along side my CZ's--very high round count with nary a prob.
    I prefer the 38 Super.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2013
  5. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2010
    Messages:
    7,231
    Location:
    East TN
    I have an old 38 Super barrel that headspaces on the rim. It shoots 158 SWC bullets very well.

    Unfortunately, the 158 SWC rounds will not chamber in a "head space on the mouth" barrel so since I replaced the barrel in that 38 Super M1911, I cannot shoot those loads any more. Too, bad.

    Generally, I load 130 FMJ for 38 Super, 230 GMJ in the 45 ACP. I like both cartridges and really like the M1911. The first Series 80 M1911 that haved owned is a 38 Super. Nice addition to the fifties vintage 38 Super that I have had since the early 1980s.
     
  6. brickeyee

    brickeyee Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    3,135
    I have a switch top 1911 that has .38 Super and .45 ACP tops.

    The only real problem was the ejector clearance in the .38 S slide.

    I finally opened up the clearance groove in the .45 ACP slide a few thousandths.
    (buddy has a horizontal mill that comes in handy every once in a while).

    It is a rel hoot to shot .45 ACP and switch to .38 S in about 45 seconds.

    I keep full length guide rods in both slides to retain the springs, and just hang the slide release from the barrel link.

    Unload, remove mag, remove slide, install slide, insert other mag, off and running.

    The .45 boom becomes the .38 S crack (1300 ft/s at 130 grains with WAP).
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2013
  7. BigG

    BigG Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    7,081
    Location:
    Dixieland
    How do you keep the brass safe to reload with the hot loads. Nobody has answered that.
     
  8. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2007
    Messages:
    5,957
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    Like any other case, .38 Super brass wears out eventually, but faster than lower pressure rounds. You just use them until you feel they are getting stretched, brittle, or otherwise weakened, and discard. Same with .223, .308, .357 Mag, etc. I have a Bar Sto barrel in mine, and I can easily get 3-4 loadings per case before I pitch some of them, then I generally run lower pressure loadings in cases fired 3-4 times, and reserve the top loadings for new cases.
     
  9. mavracer

    mavracer Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2007
    Messages:
    4,414
    Location:
    wichita
    Meister has a 150gr SWC that's designed for 38 super.
     
  10. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    47,500
    Location:
    Alabama
    I have both and love both, but if I had to choose, I would keep the .45 ACP.
     
  11. pendennis

    pendennis Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2011
    Messages:
    643
    Tough choice, but right now I'm carrying a Colt Talo LWC, in .38 Super. It just replaced a Government Model in .38 Super. I have absolute confidence in both guns. They're loaded with Cor-Bon 125gr JHP, stated to run @ 1350fps.

    My bedside gun is a Kimber Ultra Shadow, in .45 ACP, with Winchester 185gr STHP's. Until I switched over to the .38 Super, it was in the carry rotation.

    The Kimber barks a bit louder, and the 3" barrel does flip a bit more. The Government Model is a pleasure to shoot, and the LWC is the most comfortable gun to carry, with the alloy frame. I carry it in an El Paso Saddlery "Crosshair" holster.

    From the previous comments, it comes down to personal preference.

    I wouldn't want to take a round from either caliber.
     
  12. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    Messages:
    25,165
    Location:
    The end of the road between Sodom and Gomorrah Tex
    I prefer .45 to live with and it has nothing to do with terminal performance or how big the hole is. The thing is EASY to load and cast accurate bullets for. I don't find .355" bullets terribly easy to work with handloading cast bullets. As a carry, either works fine. I just think the .45ACP is easier for a handloader to work with and components like brass are a lot easier to come by, too.

    BTW, I cast my own bullets.
     
  13. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    5,035
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Regarding the "keeping the brass safe" question. Just buy guys with a fully supported barrel. Most of my 38 Supers are so brass life is good. Unless I am trying to mimic a 9x23 I can get 6 to 8 loads out of my brass before the rim is beat up from the ejection process.
     
  14. ku4hx

    ku4hx Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    Messages:
    2,794
    I've got both and I like both. But as a boolit caster and hand loader, the 45 ACP is one of my dream cartridges. It's more of an intangible thing when it comes to loading and shooting the two but I seldom reach for the Super.
     
  15. ghitch75

    ghitch75 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Messages:
    744
    Location:
    Greene County,Indiana
    i have both and i like my 45's the best.....but it's fun to load some 125gr Super's with 14gr of lil'gun and watch people on the ranger line jump:what::eek::eek:
     
  16. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,240
    Location:
    MINNESOTA
    Self defense aside, I liked loading and shooting the Super a lot more than I enjoyed loading and shooting .45acp.
     
  17. tipoc

    tipoc Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,911
    If you are thinking about the 38 Super this is a very useful website to visit and spend some time on:

    http://www.38super.net/

    tipoc
     
  18. horsemen61

    horsemen61 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Messages:
    3,406
    I think this thread could use pics of all of these 38 supers please :D
     
  19. tipoc

    tipoc Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,911
    The 38 Super is a niche round, just like the 44 Spl., 41 Magnum and 10mm it's in about the same class in terms of popularity as those others.

    In terms of sales of guns Colt says that the sale of guns in 38 Super is immediately behind sales in 45acp. They have always sold more 1911s in 38 Super than in 9mm. I'm not sure about the other makers. But the Super is a popular round.

    On ammo: Most manufacturers make decent plinking and range ammo in 38 Super. They load these to about the same velocity as the 9mm and most use 9mm bullets of 130 gr. Federal, Winchester, Aguila, Fiocchi, Remington, Magtech and others all make practice ammo of this type.

    Winchester produces a decent self defense load with their 125 gr. STHP though it's a tad slow for the Super.

    Others produce self defense loads that come closer to what the Super can do. These companies include Cor-Bon, Double Tap, Buffalo Bore, Wilson, Georgia Arms. There is more good factory self defense ammo these days than there was a decade ago.

    Look here for an example of some of what is available;

    http://www.midwayusa.com/find?sortby=1&itemsperpage=24&newcategorydimensionid=15427&pageNumber=1

    tipoc
     
  20. BigG

    BigG Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    7,081
    Location:
    Dixieland
    I buy Colt automatics and won't have the frame cut for a ramped bbl so that keeps me with the standard Super 38 and 45 ACP.
     
  21. tipoc

    tipoc Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,911
    Colt Super 38 GM from 1961 with a Bar-Sto barrel and an auxiliary barrel in 9mm.

    61super7.jpg

    c38604.jpg

    Colt Commander in 38 Super from 1951. Bar-Sto barrel.

    38comm3.jpg

    38comm2.jpg
     
  22. orionengnr

    orionengnr Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Messages:
    5,434
    I'd like to try .38 Super one day, but I already have a 10mm. One type of hard-to-find, easy-to-lose brass is enough.

    Think I'll limit my one-off loads to revolver rounds, like .45LC and .41 Mag. At least that brass doesn't disappear...
     
  23. Robert101

    Robert101 Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Messages:
    966
    I think both the 38 Super and 45 Automatic are great rounds. Both will serve the handgun SD role admirably. I like the 38 Super penetration but favor the 45 Automatic as a SD cartridge. My reasons are heavier bullets and I already have plenty of other handgun cartridges to reload in my garage - don't need anther one. I elected to stay with the 10MM (and 40 S&W) in the smaller than .45 caliber role.
     
  24. tipoc

    tipoc Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,911
    That makes sense. For a number of years in the 80s and 1990s and later some competitive shooters were overloading their guns way beyond maximun pressure to make major power factor and because the Super works so well in compensated guns. Many blew out the bottom of their cases. One response was to develp fully ramped and supported barrels.

    But IMHO, if you don't overload the round you don't need these.

    SAMMI sets the maximum pressure for various round. The 38 Super has a maximum pressure of 36,500 psi or 33,000 cup (copper units of pressure). By comparison the 9mm has a max pressure of 35,000 psi and 33,000 cup. The 40 S&W operates at a max 35,000 psi and the 45acp 21,000 psi max. ost loads work well below these maximums and don't need to get close.

    The 9mm works at roughly the same pressure as the Super but with less case capacity. This means that the Super can reach higher velocities with the same weight bullets as the 9mm and do it at lower pressures. Which is easier on the gun and increases case life. It also means that the Super is more useful over a wider range of bullet weights.

    The Super is slower than the 357 Sig in some bullet weights. But again it's length provides for more options with differing weight bullets and bullet types.

    It's easy in the Super to get a 147 gr. bullet to 1200 or 1250 fps from a 5" barrel without signs of over pressure with the right powders.

    You can also get a 124 gr. jhp moving at 1300-1350 from a 5" barrel again without reaching maximum pressures.

    Personally I like both the 45 and the Super. For me it's not one or the other. In a lightweight Commander though I prefer the lighter recoil of the Super and the 9+1 rounds in the gun.

    tipoc
     
  25. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Messages:
    3,819
    Location:
    At The Range
    If you look at the old pictures of lawmen in the early 1930s you see a lot of them carrying 1911s. Most people instantly assume they are .45s, but a lot of them were .38 Supers. A .38 Super with its 130 Grain FMJ at 1215 fps had better penetration on the automobiles of the time and on the primitive body armor some gangsters took to wearing.

    If buying off the shelf, I would pick a .45 ACP. If having a 1911 built, I would pick the 9x23 Winchester before the .38 Super. Stronger brass and higher velocities.

    Just my .02,
    LeonCarr
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page