Any experiences with a .38 special 1911 National Match??

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Any experiences with a .38 special 1911 National Match??

Post by Historian1972 on 6/19/2012, 3:36 pm

Looking to possibly purchase a 1960's Colt .38 special National Match and was wondering if any BE shooters had any experience with the .38 special in CF.

Thanks for any input,

Jeff
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Re: Any experiences with a .38 special 1911 National Match??

Post by Richard Ashmore on 6/22/2012, 7:50 am

My $0.02 worth-

.38 Special, in general, is not a good choice for Center Fire in NRA Conventional Pistol for two reasons. 1. It takes away time from mastering the .45 ACP. 2. It's another expense, which most of us don't need.

In the specific topic of the Colt .38 Special National Match Pistol, I'll simply note that I've never in my life seen anyone shooting one at a match. Actually, I've never seen one at all.
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Re: Any experiences with a .38 special 1911 National Match??

Post by Larry Lang on 6/22/2012, 9:10 am

There was COLT .38 National Match here in the PNW. it's a blow-back gun and the several owners never came up with an accurate load.

To further confuse the issue there are several of us who shoot conversions from .38S, more for fun than competition. We shooters are seniors and not on the fast track to the 2600 club. Best load I've heard of is Winchester Match for 50 yds and Remington 148g HBWC over ~2.9 WST.
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Re: Any experiences with a .38 special 1911 National Match??

Post by Two-Bit Charlie on 8/20/2012, 2:02 pm

Yes, I had one years ago. I sold it when I had my "Gold Cup" accurizied and started out shooting the .38. I wish I had that gun back today. It was a pleasure to shoot. The only problem with the .38 auto was that it was non-forgiving. You just wiggled a little and that shot was out in the white. It taught you how to hold!

When Colt started to make that gun, they stole the idea of having a ball at the end of the barrel, makes a tighter fit in the bushing, from Smith. Smith sued them and so they quit making them. The AMU made some with a special case. They made the .38 special rimless, to help with feeding.

Historicly the Center Fire was for the law enforcement officers who shot the .38 revolvers, the .22 was for the civilians and the .45 auto was for the military shooters (you shoot all three phases as we do now). Everyone shot .38 revolvers for center fire because the .45 auto was so inaccurate at 50 yards. Over time the military pistol smiths got the .45 auto to shoot so well there was no need to shoot the .38 revolvers in center fire matches. Especially in timed and rapid fire, when you either cocked the gun manually or shot double action. The .38 auto's came out in the 60's with the idea of not having to cock the pistol for each shot.

A non-.45 centerfire gun is a point shaver and should only be used for High Expert, Masters and High Masters. Anyone lower than that should use their money for ammo and master the .45.

But if you are looking for a fun shooting gun that no one else has, go ahead and buy it. If not, let me know so I can buy it.



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Re: Any experiences with a .38 special 1911 National Match??

Post by C.Perkins on 9/2/2012, 7:28 pm

I say go ahead and get the .38 for CF.

I have been shooting BE for 4 years now and stuck in expert class(on good days upper expert scores).

Decided since I have a problem with the .45 am going to go this next season shooting a model 52.

I purchased a 52-1 and a 52-2, both are accurate as heck, but settled on the 52-1 for the season.

My initial test groups from my hand are promising(just as good, maybe better then my .45 scores)

We will see how it goes the next 9 months.

I shoot the .22 pretty well and maybe the unforgiving M52 will get me ready for the .45 as I transition through the 2700 match(just my twisted thinking...)

Will see
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Re: Any experiences with a .38 special 1911 National Match??

Post by C.Perkins on 11/1/2012, 10:36 pm

Just an update.

I am within 10 points of the 52-1 and .45 scores.

As I get used to the unforgiving model 52, I believe it will surpass the .45.

I average 830's

Clarence
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Re: Any experiences with a .38 special 1911 National Match??

Post by Dave C. on 11/2/2012, 5:24 pm

Shoot whatever you enjoy the most.
Remember it is only a game.

Good health and good shooting.
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Re: Any experiences with a .38 special 1911 National Match??

Post by Motorcycle_dan on 11/3/2012, 3:53 pm

Last comment was probably the best. Shoot what makes you smile. I once had a custom 38wc built and it shot great. Also bought a used Clark 38wc. Both on 1911 frames with Colt 38super slides. On the best of days they could shoot almost as well as my .45 at 50yd. If you only shoot indoors and enjoy shooting the oddball, there is nothing wrong with them. One of the Master shooters here in Ohio shoots a .32 in CF. They often go through the target sideways. In the 10 ring but look like a rectangle hole. .32 caliber on one side and .58 caliber on the long side. Have your rulebook handy when it comes time to score.
I would not recommend the effort it takes to learn to shoot .38 well. Learn the 1911 .45 then play with a .38 just for fun.
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Re: Any experiences with a .38 special 1911 National Match??

Post by TAJ45 on 11/11/2012, 8:34 am

I've read where the .38 if very marginal for 50 yd accuracy. I'd ordered in a Hammerli for a club member back in the 70's in .38. He wasn't a serious shooter, however it was fine for 50' all told.

As has been said, if it's fun, why not? Whether it is worth the time/$ to set up, tinker, etc etc is entirely in the mind of the beholder. For those trying to dodge the recoil..........well, as Clint Eastwood said: "Every man should know his limitations."

I'm more recoil sensitive now than I was some 30 years ago...........but am moving back to the .45 for practice as I've not been on that gun since I last shot some matches three summers ago. I just started putting some 160 heads on that I got from Dave Salyer and they seem to function well with the load he recommended - imagine that. (big smilie)

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Re: Any experiences with a .38 special 1911 National Match??

Post by tenx9 on 12/12/2012, 7:04 am

I've been shooting a customized long slide (to match my .45) .38 special for many years. While its true 50yd accuracy is somewhat marginal, if your trigger control is good you'll hit the 10ring everytime. If you shoot mainly 25yd slows then the gun will give you 20 points or more in a 900. The rapidfire control is much better if your sensitive to recoil. A 1911 is much preferred over the 52 because frames and trigger feel is exactly the same as a .45. Plus, a well thought out pistol rarely jams, while the 52 is problematic at best. While a real good shooter will reach master with a .45, most of us need a little help and the .38 provides that.....Enjoy

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Re: Any experiences with a .38 special 1911 National Match??

Post by bruce drake on 3/18/2013, 5:07 am

I know its not a 38 Special but I own a RIA 1911 in 9mm and I have a 38 Super barrel being fitted to it as well that I plan to use in the centerfire portion of my future matches. I retire from the Army soon and Bullseye Matches are my stated retirement hobby now that I won't be deploying every other year.
I've never cared for the Beretta grip design (I have small hands) after learning to shoot with the 1911 so when the time came to buy personal pistols I gravitated toward the 1911 grip frames.
All three of my planned Bullseye pistols share the same grip frame design so I hope that facilitates my progress in the matches.
Bruce

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Re: Any experiences with a .38 special 1911 National Match??

Post by tenx9 on 3/19/2013, 8:19 am

I shoot a compensated .38super in NRA Action pistol and I can tell you that even 2 handed it whacks pretty good for a target gun. The recoil pulse is totally different. If you are going to use a super for bullseye, save your money and keep using your .45. Your better off. I think a .45 is alot milder, especially one handed. Just my opinion.

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Re: Any experiences with a .38 special 1911 National Match??

Post by Larry Lang on 3/19/2013, 11:36 am

Don't buy the .38 Natl Match. It's a blow-back action and doesn't lock up as the .45s do, hence not as accurate. If you really want to shoot a .38 get one built by a pistolsmith that functions like a .45...or buy a revolver.

I have one and it's fun to shoot, but requires more finesse on the trigger and follow-through to shoot it well. If you get one PM me and we can talk about loads and other things I've learned.
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Re: Any experiences with a .38 special 1911 National Match??

Post by bruce drake on 3/20/2013, 3:41 pm

tenx9,
The nice thing about being a reloader is that I can tailor my loads to meet my needs. I don't think I need to load the 38 Super to meet a FPS requirement like "Major" to have it be competitive in Bullseye. But we'll have to see.
Bruce

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Re: Any experiences with a .38 special 1911 National Match??

Post by tenx9 on 3/21/2013, 8:48 am

My point was, in NRA Action Pistol the loads are far from major. Generally, the sweet spot on a super is about 1050-1150fps for accuracy. I still think it whacks pretty good even with a 115hp bullet. I shoot a 200gr hardcast with 4.1g of bullseye in .45. And the felt recoil with the super seems heavier to me. Maybe its the blast from the comp or I'm getting whimpy in my old age, but for bullseye, .38spec for centerfire and then old reliable .45 for the next stage.

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Re: Any experiences with a .38 special 1911 National Match??

Post by bruce drake on 3/22/2013, 4:23 am

No need to worry about getting old. We all have to one day. 24 years ago, I never thought I would have a career in the military either.

The 38Spl has a different recoil impulse than the 45ACP as well. I just prefer shooting a 1911 Frame for the Centerfire and the 45ACP portion. I've hated the Beretta ever since they came into the military system. Shot it for qualification multiple times just never liked it despite shooting Expert with it every time.
Once the 38 Super barrel is fitted to the frame, I'll do a comparison shoot-off with the original 9mm Para barrel to see which will be its primary barrel. If I'm lucky it will be a hard decision...

I'm hoping to basically emulate the 38Spl loads with a rimless case. I've got 115 and 124gr bullet molds so I'm set for that part. I'll be using Starline 9mm Largo cases which are the same length without the semi-rim since I'm not having my breechface on the 9mm slide opened up to feed the semi-rimmed case.

You mention that you found your sweet spot at 1050-1150fps. That was the velocity that the original 38ACP pushed a 130gr FMJ, so I think you are right on the money for the pistol.

Comps also make shooting any pistol not fun for shooter as well as onlooker...A buddy of mine has a comped 40S&W and I always ask him to not call me when he takes it to the range.lol!

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Re: Any experiences with a .38 special 1911 National Match??

Post by rfmiller on 3/22/2013, 9:34 am

If you want a 38 Super case without the semi-rim, you can order the "38 Super Comp." It works well but don't get your brass mixed up with a regular 38 super or you will have extraction problems.

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Re: Any experiences with a .38 special 1911 National Match??

Post by bruce drake on 3/25/2013, 3:50 pm

I had the Largo cases on the shelves but the 38 Super Comp are on my list for later purchase when they get in stock at my local gunshop. THey have been ordered so sometime in the next 3 weeks...

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Re: Any experiences with a .38 special 1911 National Match??

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