38 Super for Bullseye pistol?

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38 Super for Bullseye pistol?

Post by S148 on 7/4/2017, 3:49 pm

First topic message reminder :

Hi all. I'm wondering how popular the 38 Super is for use in Bullseye pistols. 

Any members here use it?  Thanks.

S148

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Join date : 2017-07-04

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Re: 38 Super for Bullseye pistol?

Post by Allgoodhits on 9/22/2017, 10:33 pm

As one who has loaded many tens of thousands of rounds of 9mm, .38 Spl and .38 Super here is some of what I have garnered. I have variety of guns in al of these calibers which I loaded for and competed with. Some production, some metallic sight and some open division guns.

It is easy to come up with an accurate (<2"@50) load with all three, in quality guns, using quality components and recipes and quality re-loading procedures. To do the same with a soft load is easier with a revolver, since the functioning (feeding, extracting and ejecting) are not impacted by the power or lack of. Barrel twist rate may play a role in your bullet weight selection, but I would fret over that too much. S&W factory revolvers have a 1:18 twist and some will shoot 110 gr up though 158gr bullets very accurately, yet many PPC guns are re-barreled to 1:10, 12 or 14 twist. Semi auto 9mm barrels range from 1:9 to 1:32. Many 1:16 shoot very well.

To attempt to get a 9mm or .38 Super to shoot loads equivalent to .38 Spl WC is likely not going to happen successfully. There are some very accurate .38 spl WC recipes around 700 fps. To get a 9 or Super semi-auto down that low is probably not a good approach for reliability and accuracy. Yes, you could load some 147gr lead or JHP bullets down to mid 800 fps or so, but I don't think you will get good enough accuracy at those speeds, unless maybe you really lighten the slide, and possibly get the barrel sleeved with a fast twist. Still doubtful.

So if you want a soft shooting 9mm or .38 Super, simply compensate it. If done correctly it will take nothing away from accuracy and may even add some. Lead bullets are a pain with a comp, since it will load up more. A quality comped 9 or Super with 115 or 125 grain bullets loaded in the 1090 -1150 and 980-1070 ranges respectively will yield 50 yd groups well under 2" and very little muzzle lift or recoil. They will be louder for sure. If shooting from covered firing point, you may get some snow or insulation dust falling on you. 

I would caution light loads especially in the .38 spl and some very light .38 Super loads when using low charge weights of say W231, HP38, WST and others, because there is a lot of unfilled volume in the case. The first shot from a gun brought up from a low position will be 40-80 fps slower than the remaining shots fired in a string. WC seated flush help prevent this condition. This is not always a huge problem, but it certainly can be on a longer target, or if shooting on a moving target. This is not as much a problem with the smaller 9mm case, or with hotter loads or heavier bullets, which fill more of the case when using the low charge weight powders. ( Don't take my word for it. If you have access to a chronograph try it. Shoot each shot from a vertical gun down get that average. Then shoot each shot starting with a vertical gun muzzle up and get that average. There will be a significant difference, all else being the same)

Compensators work. I have a revolver with a removable comp. Even shooting 148 gr WC in the low to mid 800 fps range, there is a noticeable difference with vs without the comp. Running 125 gr bullets around 1020 fps even more noticeable. Adding a comp to the barrel of a 1911 will impact the functioning. One would have to increase the charge of powder, or reduce the recoil spring, or it will not run. The effect of the comp forcing down on the muzzle, will not allow the barrel to drop down at the rear and unlock. No problem, just run a 6-8 lb recoil spring and a moderate load and you''ll like it.
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Re: 38 Super for Bullseye pistol?

Post by Axehandle on 9/25/2017, 6:19 am

My take is the 9mm will shoot as well as the 38 Super but at that point recoils like a 45.  My experience with the 38 WC gun was with issued team guns in the form of the 52 S&W and Clark built 1911.  Those 38s shot so good but the slide cycled so slow.  I could feel the slide hit both ends.  They shot very well but my follow through was so poor that I could not shoot them well.   My 38 Super experience is significantly different.  I have a Kart barreled 38 Super built by Dan Norwood and a Bar Sto barreled 38 Super built by KC.  Loaded to the level of a 38 WC load they cycle quickly.  At 65 I'm not the high master shooter I was 30 years ago but these guns shoot good.

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Re: 38 Super for Bullseye pistol?

Post by Axehandle on 9/26/2017, 7:58 pm

My personal experiences with the 38 Super as a bullseye gun started in the mid 90s with tales of Alan Fulford's  Clark built 38 Super shooting X ring at 50 yards.  Terry Labbe captured Fulford's load information for us.  It used the Nosler 125 JHP with a Vit powder.  As member of the All National Guard shooting team at that point in time it was easy to get Dan Norwood to build me one.   Flash forward to a third wife and retirement and I'm starting back shooting after 18 years off.   I looked for a backup gun for my Norwood Super.  Up comes a KC Crawford 38 Super and with it comes the load that KC developed with 452AA and a 150ish cast bullet running just over 700 FPS.   You guys that have not shot one need to find one to shoot...

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Re: 38 Super for Bullseye pistol?

Post by Magload on 9/26/2017, 10:41 pm

Axehandle wrote:My personal experiences with the 38 Super as a bullseye gun started in the mid 90s with tales of Alan Fulford's  Clark built 38 Super shooting X ring at 50 yards.  Terry Labbe captured Fulford's load information for us.  It used the Nosler 125 JHP with a Vit powder.  As member of the All National Guard shooting team at that point in time it was easy to get Dan Norwood to build me one.   Flash forward to a third wife and retirement and I'm starting back shooting after 18 years off.   I looked for a backup gun for my Norwood Super.  Up comes a KC Crawford 38 Super and with it comes the load that KC developed with 452AA and a 150ish cast bullet running just over 700 FPS.   You guys that have not shot one need to find one to shoot...
A 38 Super is at the top of my bucket list.  I been working on getting my bay boat back in the water and had to put a hold on the Gun of the Month Club.  Having with drawls so need to start looking.  Don
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Re: 38 Super for Bullseye pistol?

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