Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

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Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

Post by beeser on Wed Aug 06, 2014 11:07 pm

How difficult would it be for SA to convert the 9mm Range Officer to a .38 Special Wadcutter?

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Re: Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

Post by Rob Kovach on Wed Aug 06, 2014 11:17 pm

I asked that same question to a prominent 1911 gunsmith and was told the .38spl wadcutter automatics are obsolete for a reason and that you can get better performance from .38 super and 9mm.

Magazines are scarce.  Based on my research it would cost at least $2000 to get a gunsmith to make the conversion--but most gunsmiths won't take the job because .38 spl 1911s are a pain in the butt to get the magazines and gun to function well.

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Re: Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

Post by beeser on Wed Aug 06, 2014 11:35 pm

I sort of asked a similar question earlier about the origins of the S&W 52 and recall being told that it was derived from the 9mm S&W 39.  The 9mm cartridge OAL is very close to the .38 Special OAL so I wonder what's the problem.  Also, the performance of the 9mm might be better than the .38 Special but I don't know of any 9mm wadcutter bullet made.

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Re: Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

Post by dronning on Thu Aug 07, 2014 12:11 am

If it was worth pursuing there would be a bunch out there on the line already.

JMHO

It would take less time and cost less in the long run to wait for a Clark .38 Special to come up for sale.  The couple of shooters I know that have them had a tough time getting them to run right.  Once they did they loved to shoot them, BUT they shoot their 45's in competition.

Dave

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Re: Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

Post by kc.crawford.7 on Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:11 am

Beeser, I'll have to agree with Rob.  I would turn the job down.  Regardless of how well I converted the gun, mags are the total downfall of this idea.  If you have a .38 special mag that runs it is worth it's weight in gold.  If it doesn't run you can't throw it far enough away.

If you really want to convert you RO to another caliber I would recommend a 38 Super and download it to .38 Special velocities.  Everything works with that platform and you can have a very fun AND accrate shooting pistol.

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Re: Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

Post by 3 gun Gus on Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:59 am

If you still want a 38  spl 1911 start with a 40 s&w.  The bolt face very close to a 38 spl.

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Re: Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

Post by Jon Eulette on Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:05 am

I've been building a lot of 9mm PPC pistols lately. They shoot great at the expense of lots of recoil to get them to shoot 1" groups. I wouldn't want to shoot one for CF because my .45 has less recoil. I've been shooting my .38 special a lot for the last couple of months and love shooting it. Minimal recoil and shoots exceptionally tight groups. I haven't tried the .38 super at lower velocities, only major power factor for the IPSC pistols I build. Most of the .38's I run across are older Clark's and the occasional other 'smith' pistols. Haven't seen many alibi's on the line with them. Unfortunately most of the one's I see are loose as a goose and I doubt their accuracy capabilities. And KC is right about the magazine issues. When I build a .38 I just expect to have to tweak a magazine to make it reliable. But I love shooting the .38 special; been shooting mine for 25 years now with no issues.
Jon

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Re: Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

Post by beeser on Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:21 am

So ultimately then the only full wadcutters available are either the Walther GSP, Pardini HP, etc. chambered in .32 S&W and a S&W 52 chambered in .38 Special?

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Re: Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

Post by Jon Eulette on Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:36 am

1911 converted to .38 special wadcutter.
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Re: Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

Post by DavidR on Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:39 am

The hammerli P240 came in 38 special as well as 22 and 32, very well built very accurate.

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Re: Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

Post by Virgil Kane on Thu Aug 07, 2014 11:09 am

beeser wrote:So ultimately then the only full wadcutters available are either the Walther GSP, Pardini HP, etc. chambered in .32 S&W and a S&W 52 chambered in .38 Special?


Yep!

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Re: Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

Post by LenV on Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:28 pm

Well... That's not really the only choice. Check this one out. They really are rare but out there.

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=432930052


I would seriously question the " unfired " part of the add. The magazine has seen some serious use and the hammer has slapped the grip safety a bunch of times. Clean,nice,rare ok. Unfired   No

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Re: Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

Post by beeser on Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:54 pm

OldMaster64 wrote:Well... That's not really the only choice. Check this one out. They really are rare but out there.

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=432930052


I would seriously question the " unfired " part of the add. The magazine has seen some serious use and the hammer has slapped the grip safety a bunch of times. Clean,nice,rare ok. Unfired   No
Thanks OldMaster64 for the research.  So, it can be done and has been done.  The question that remains is why can't it be done again?  I don't see it happening on a one off basis by an independent gunsmith but Springfield Armory seems to be hungry for business.  What would it take for them to take interest in the project?

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Re: Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

Post by LenV on Thu Aug 07, 2014 9:19 pm

20,000 active bullseye shooters between 20 and 30 years of age. So..not going to happen.

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Re: Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

Post by beeser on Thu Aug 07, 2014 9:35 pm

OldMaster64 wrote:20,000 active bullseye shooters between 20 and 30 years of age. So..not going to happen.
Isn't there an interest in a wadcutter round besides with bullseye shooters?

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Re: Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

Post by LenV on Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:22 pm

Honestly, No.   None of the other pistol disciplines want this wimpy of a pistol with a limited capacity. It would also make a poor self defense pistol for the same reasons. The round has its place in the world for anyone that can't handle any recoil for self defense. But they don't need a 1500+ dedicated pistol for that. No,only bullseye requires the "hallmark" pistols.

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Re: Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

Post by beeser on Thu Aug 07, 2014 11:06 pm

Makes sense OldMaster64.  Obviously there was once a sufficient interest when the S&W 52 and the other .38 special wadcutters mentioned above were made.  Bullseye interest has dropped that much since then?  I'm going somewhere with this.

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Re: Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

Post by Rob Kovach on Thu Aug 07, 2014 11:16 pm

The interest in bullseye and the move away from .38spl wadcutter automatics aren't related.  Because the .38spl is a black powder cartridge, it has shortcomings that can't compete with the modern cartridges.  As technology improved, the .38spl shooters shifted to .38 super and the .38 super was able to out perform the .38spl in every way (except for the awesome crisp holes)
...at least that what I was told....

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Re: Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

Post by beeser on Thu Aug 07, 2014 11:48 pm

I don't understand Rob.  It's my impression that the .38 Special in a wadcutter configuration can be just as capable in bullseye as any other semi-auto caliber, the success of the 52 as an example.  I'm beginning to think the problem or explanation to my underlying question is found in the rules that permit the .45 in centerfire and the economics involved.  If so, why have separate events.  Make it one, bring anything to the bench event.

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Re: Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

Post by Jon Eulette on Fri Aug 08, 2014 1:12 am

In my opinion the only advantage .38 super has over .38 special is availability of pistols already made in that caliber and bullets available. I've been building .38 specials since the early 90's. They all have shot 1.5" groups at 50 yards with quality ammo. They are a dream to shoot and easy to reload. Back in my 2650 days an 880 was a bad match. The Smith 52 has always been a crappy 50 yard pistol in my opinion.  I've never seen any one (Army All Reserve Pistol Team and AMU) shoot them well at 50 yards. We had over 30 2650 shooters on reserve team and if a 52 was used they didn't come close to winning the match. My personal best was 889 with my .38 special. So unfortunately the .38 special conversions are expensive, and you might get a lemon, because I've worked on a lot of them, but a decently built .38 can shoot with the best of them. I will go to my grave with mine, it's that good. Bullseye isn't rocket science.  You can win with a cheap gun and win with an expensive gun, the shooter is the biggest contributor to winning. Building a 9mm that shoots 1 " groups is no big deal. But the velocity required to get good accuracy gives excessive recoil.  That's why you don't see high masters shooting them. You will lose points. A marginally grouping pistol with an excellent trigger is the key to winning matches. All the heavy hitters from the late 60's and 70's were shooting 2670's with guns that would barely hold 2.5". A lot of 1.25" pistols out there now and maybe 30 2600 shooters in the country. Not the gun, it's the shooter. Shoot what makes you happy.

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Re: Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

Post by Rob Kovach on Fri Aug 08, 2014 10:56 am

Jon Eulette wrote:Shoot what makes you happy.
This is exactly right--but you can't shoot the .38spl in the .45 stage even if that makes you happy.

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Re: Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

Post by LenV on Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:16 pm

Beeser,

   if you seriously want a 38 spl on a 1911 frame then you should take a look at this one. This is what a nice one is supposed to look like.

Len

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=435750196

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Re: Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

Post by Rob Kovach on Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:31 pm

Soooo nice.  Too bad I need tires for my truck....It's for sale not far from my house.

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Re: Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

Post by beeser on Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:24 pm

Rob Kovach wrote:Soooo nice.  Too bad I need tires for my truck....It's for sale not far from my house.
Looks exactly like my pre-70s Colt National Match except in .45 ACP.  The outstanding bluing is what prompted me to buy it.  The one listed doesn't look quite as nice.  The one magazine is a drawback.

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Re: Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

Post by Art on Sat Aug 23, 2014 11:36 am

25 years ago I picked up a Colt 1911 in 9mm and send it to Wilson for trigger work, slide/frame tighten and a match barrel.

I found that the 147g LaserCast flatpoint over any of the classic target loads for the 38spl shot extremely well.

The 9mm with the 147g lead bullet is 1.125" COL where the 38 spl flush seated wadcutter COL is 1.40"

They are very similar cartridges in case capacity and bullet weight loaded as described above.

I've shot 3.2g of WW231 in the 9mm and at 50 yds it shot as good as my 52 with the same powder charge.

I never saw any sign of the 9mm bullet tipping at 50 yds as I sometimes see with the 38 HBWC.

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Re: Range Officer 9mm ----> .38 Special Wadcutter

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