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9mm to .38 super

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jglenn21
tovaert
jonathan.lane
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Jon Eulette
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9mm to .38 super Empty 9mm to .38 super

Post by Packeagle Wed Apr 27, 2022 6:30 pm

I have a Springfield loaded 9mm I was wondering what it would take to convert to .38 super. Would I just need to have .38 super mags and have a barrel fit?

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Post by Jon Eulette Wed Apr 27, 2022 6:47 pm

Breechface is 9mm, 38 supercomp brass is 9mm rim. Have 38 super barrel fit and 38 super magazines. Pretty simple.
I just built one using KKM 10 twist barrel, shoots excellent.
Jon
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Post by Packeagle Wed Apr 27, 2022 6:55 pm

Jon Eulette wrote:Breechface is 9mm, 38 supercomp brass is 9mm rim. Have 38 super barrel fit and 38 super magazines. Pretty simple.
I just built one using KKM 10 twist barrel, shoots excellent.
Jon
Thanks, that's what I figured. Might have to send it off to a decent 1911 smith and have them work their magic.

 It's currently back at Springfield because the safety was getting stuck halfway between engaged and disengaged. It had an 8.5lb trigger out the box. It worked down to 7.5 furring break in, but thats not really acceptable pull weight on a 1911, IMO. So a trigger job is a must.

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Post by chopper Wed Apr 27, 2022 7:08 pm

Packeagle, Jon is an excellent 1911 gunsmith. I highly recommend him.
 Stan

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Post by james r chapman Wed Apr 27, 2022 7:34 pm

If you just want to play with .38 super, Ebay was selling Sig .38 super bbl's for $40 awhile ago. basically drop in.
also, if you pull the spacer in the back of 9mm mags that aren't crimped in the front, the recommended supercomp brass will work.
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Post by Packeagle Wed Apr 27, 2022 7:39 pm

james r chapman wrote:If you just want to play with .38 super, Ebay was selling Sig .38 super bbl's for $40 awhile ago. basically drop in.
also, if you pull the spacer in the back of 9mm mags that aren't crimped in the front, the recommended supercomp brass will work.
I was having issues with load development for the 9mm, was finding better data for .38 super loads. I appreciate the input it may be a good way to test my ideas without laying out as much money upfront.

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Post by 8eightring Wed Apr 27, 2022 7:52 pm

I put one of those Sig 38 Super barrels in my Springfield 9MM. As others have said, drop in. Regular 38 Super brass worked very well in my Springfield Ronin 9mm. There did not seem to be any binding at all when feeding the regular brass. Shoots great.
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Post by jonathan.lane Wed Apr 27, 2022 11:31 pm

I put one of the Sig barrels in my 9mm Range Officer. Shoots light loads great. There's a couple of loads in the Pet Loads sticky. I ordered my barrel from CDNN.  https://www.cdnnsports.com/1911-38-super-5in-ramped-sts-barrel-sig-sauer.html

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Post by Packeagle Wed Apr 27, 2022 11:34 pm

jonathan.lane wrote:I put one of the Sig barrels in my 9mm Range Officer. Shoots light loads great. There's a couple of loads in the Pet Loads sticky. I ordered my barrel from CDNN.  https://www.cdnnsports.com/1911-38-super-5in-ramped-sts-barrel-sig-sauer.html
I noticed I'd need a link, what size did you use?

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Post by Jon Eulette Wed Apr 27, 2022 11:35 pm

Link is dependent upon the fitting of the barrel. Don’t know until it’s fit.
Jon
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Post by jonathan.lane Wed Apr 27, 2022 11:47 pm

What Jon said. I ordered an EGW link set. IIRC, I used a #2 or #3.

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Post by Packeagle Thu Apr 28, 2022 12:01 am

Jon, you seems to be an SME on here. What kind of accuracy do you suspect I'd get from a $40 "drop in"? I'm all for saving a dollar, but my goal is 1.5" (10 ring) at 25 yards. Not that I shoot that well. I'm not happy with my load development in 9mm in the factory barrel yet, so I'm skeptical that a drop in .38 super will fair much better. It may be better to use that towards a fitted barrel that might meet my expectations.

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Post by Jon Eulette Thu Apr 28, 2022 12:37 am

A drop in barrel of any price will most likely not even be close to a BE barrel fit. So I wouldn’t ever expect it to group well. I won’t even waste my time shooting a pistol for precision that wasn’t built for precision. I know everyone doesn’t have that luxury, but I’m really demanding of my pistols. 
The KKM 38 Super 10 twist I just built shot X ring easily at 25 yds. Was using 110 XTP bullets. I only shot it enough to give it to the owner so he can work on his own load development. I can barely hold 10 ring with any caliber that’s a drop in barrel.
You already figured out 9mm was a pain to load. All my customers with 9’s tell me new brass for 50 and searching for the right lead bullet is difficult. Jacketed almost always shoots well. Martin has great success with his 9 reloads. In my experience he’s the rarity and I’m glad he’s successful.
I have another 10 twist 38 super I’m building now that we are hoping that it shoots similar to 38 special velocities and will group at 50 with lead bullets. We will see.
So 9 and 38 super with factory match ammunition normally shoot well but have higher velocities and jacketed bullets which are more expensive to shoot. Still working on the quest for accurate lighter loads in those calibers.
I personally would not use a drop in barrel unless I was welding it up and refitting it to BE specs. I only use and shoot the most accurate pistols for competition, otherwise I showed up to be a plinker.
Jon
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Post by Packeagle Thu Apr 28, 2022 12:59 am

Jon Eulette wrote:A drop in barrel of any price will most likely not even be close to a BE barrel fit. So I wouldn’t ever expect it to group well. I won’t even waste my time shooting a pistol for precision that wasn’t built for precision. I know everyone doesn’t have that luxury, but I’m really demanding of my pistols. 
The KKM 38 Super 10 twist I just built shot X ring easily at 25 yds. Was using 110 XTP bullets. I only shot it enough to give it to the owner so he can work on his own load development. I can barely hold 10 ring with any caliber that’s a drop in barrel.
You already figured out 9mm was a pain to load. All my customers with 9’s tell me new brass for 50 and searching for the right lead bullet is difficult. Jacketed almost always shoots well. Martin has great success with his 9 reloads. In my experience he’s the rarity and I’m glad he’s successful.
I have another 10 twist 38 super I’m building now that we are hoping that it shoots similar to 38 special velocities and will group at 50 with lead bullets. We will see.
So 9 and 38 super with factory match ammunition normally shoot well but have higher velocities and jacketed bullets which are more expensive to shoot. Still working on the quest for accurate lighter loads in those calibers.
I personally would not use a drop in barrel unless I was welding it up and refitting it to BE specs. I only use and shoot the most accurate pistols for competition, otherwise I showed up to be a plinker.
Jon
I think I agree with all that has been said. 

My 1911 went back to Springfield so I haven't done too much testing on it, but I have been loading for my CZ Shadow 2 for the last year or so. I loaded more mechanically accurate 9mm loads using XTPs and pushing them fast. I found in match conditions I shot them worse than my slower coated loads due to the recoil. The load I've been chasing with mixed sucess has been useing 125 hi-tek coated LSWC from Missouri, and I just grabbed some 150 Bayou hi-tek coated LSWC to try in the 1/10 twist barrel. This 1911 has a 1/16 so it should be happier with the lighter bullets, and I'll work on developing loads for it whenever I get it back. 

I have a feeling I'm going to regret not getting a .45, but the matches I shoot don't require it. I come from the run and gun games where 3" at 20 yards was as precise as I've ever needed to be. All of my pistol loading has been small primer cartridges, and I cannot source Large Pistol Primers in quantity to feel comfortable.

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Post by tovaert Thu Apr 28, 2022 9:52 am

Curious...what is the advantage of 38 Super comp over 9 mm? Is it softer shooting? More accurate at 50 yds? 147 gr XTPs through a 1:10 twist barrel are generally quite accurate even down to 850 (+/-) fps subsonic.

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Post by Packeagle Thu Apr 28, 2022 10:02 am

Honestly, loading 9mm is tricky and with heavy bullets I'm worried about over pressure. Everything I'm reading on .38 super is it's more forgiving due to the higher case volume.

Here are the SWC bullets I'm trying to load in 9mm vs the RMR 147 FMJ and Acme 147 Hi-tek FP I load for USPSA.  I have to load the SWC shorter than the RN and FP, because the shoulder on the SWC 


Then the case volume difference between the 125 and 150 SWC. I have to load them to the same OAL because the shoulder contacts the short throat of my CZ.
9mm to .38 super 20220410
9mm to .38 super 20220411

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Post by jglenn21 Fri Apr 29, 2022 6:56 am

The super is fairly easy to get excellent results from lead. For a long time the 126 Dardus was the ticket but now 150gr swc seem to be the round doing well. Not quite as soft as the 38 spl but softer than a 9.. most supers were 1-16 twist. May have to go get a 1-10..
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Post by messenger Fri Apr 29, 2022 7:57 am

jglenn21 wrote:The super is fairly easy to get excellent results from lead. For a long time the 126 Dardus was the ticket but now 150gr swc seem to be the round doing well. Not quite as soft as the 38 spl but softer than a 9.. most supers were 1-16 twist. May have to go get a 1-10..

That Dardus bullet was great. It's a shame it's no longer available. I have switched from a Kart 1-16 to a KKM 1-10 and am using a 145gr LHP bullet by GT. I am using 3.1gr of WST. Haven't had time to ransom rest the load yet but everything is on call at 50yds. The Brazos 150gr flat tip shows promise also. I haven't slugged any barrels but I find .357 dia a little better than .356. YMMV.

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Post by jglenn21 Fri Apr 29, 2022 10:34 am

Missouri bullets has a 125(128 actually) swc that i need to try. The 150 Brazos with 3.0 of wst runs well.
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Post by LenV Fri Apr 29, 2022 10:59 am

For lead in the super try Magnus 130 gr SWC or their 147gr FP.  I've had excellent results with both. Better results with Zero 125gr JHP but saving  it for Long line. 

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Post by messenger Fri Apr 29, 2022 2:52 pm

jglenn21 wrote:Missouri bullets has a 125(128 actually) swc that i need to try. The 150 Brazos with 3.0 of wst runs well.

I loaded up a bunch of them a while back and was disappointed with them at 25yds in my Kart 1-16 barrel. Just for fun I went to the range today and tried them in my KKM 1-10 barrel. What a surprise! These things chewed a hole in my target. I was shocked. I was told slow twist for light bullets and fast twist for heavy. I guess you could consider 125gr a mid weight. My load is Missouri 125gr High Tech coated .356dia over 3.8gr WST, (pretty stout) COL 1.250 Crimp .378. The recoil felt like I was shooting my 45. I will try a couple tenths less.  

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Post by jglenn21 Fri Apr 29, 2022 5:38 pm

we used to run 3.6 of BE with the 126gr. Dardus.
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Post by WesG Fri Apr 29, 2022 9:27 pm

Thinking about the 9mm vs 38 Super. The 9mm case is tapered. Even with a cylindrical section for the bullet the case wall is thicker at the base. When sized and expanded, it's likely the case will spring back more the further from the neck, leaving a tapered 'socket' to seat the bullet in. A 'soft' cast bullet may get swaged down by that, leaving you with a bullet that doesn't have a cylindrical bearing surface to align it in the bore.

Comments about using new cases only for 50yds might show some evidence that repeated sizing/expanding work hardening the case is exacerbating this problem. But I see the same rec' with 45. For those that can use it ...

The Super, I guess (no empty brass in my junk box), has longish straight walls like a 38 Sp, so repeated size/expand cycles harden it, but it stays 'straight'.

So I guess I need a 9mm slide and a bucket of Starline SC brass? At least one vendor shows 9mm/38s as the same part, so no Super specific slides commercially available? Or do they 'work' but maybe problematic with common Super cases? Not that I have any anyway, just curious.

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Post by Allgoodhits Fri Apr 29, 2022 9:44 pm

tovaert wrote:Curious...what is the advantage of 38 Super comp over 9 mm? Is it softer shooting? More accurate at 50 yds? 147 gr XTPs through a 1:10 twist barrel are generally quite accurate even down to 850 (+/-) fps subsonic.

.38 Super vs .38 Super Comp : Dimensionally the case "barrel'" exterior dimensions are the same. The Super is considered a semi-rimmed case, whereas the Super Comp is rimless.  Some guns will extract and eject both. Some require a slightly different extractor tension. Some feel that since the Super comp is rimless, it is easier for the slide to strip the rounds off the magazine and into the chamber. Especially, when mags are loaded to capacity. The little bit of rim on a .38 Super can snag, causing the nosedive during chambering, especially with full mags.

As far as 9mm vs Super or Super Comp. There are a lot of NRA Action shooters who shoot 9mm in their Bianchi Guns. Quality Bianchi guns will shoot 1.5" or less at 50 yds. This is obtainable with either 9mm, 38 Super or Super Comp. I know a few guys who get the same results with 9x23. Most will run 115gr JHP or 125 gr JHP bullets. A few run 110gr JHPs.  If 110 or 115 gr they run them in the 1120 -1160 fps range. If 125 gr JHP they run them in the 1000-1050 fps range.

Powders: For the above the typical users are using W231, HP38, WST, VVN320. Some who have an old stash use WSL. I am sure there are many other good powders which will work effectively. For some reason, not understood, 9mm seems to do better with loads on the hotter velocity ranges. Most of these have 1:16 barrel twists, although you see a range including Schuemann Gain Twist rifling. BarSto, Nowlin, KKM, Lisner, Clark, SA seem to be the most common.

I am not sure if you are the one asking about re-barreling a 9 to a .38 Super. Here is something that I know can happen, but thought otherwise. I sent a Bianchi Gun to a very well known custom smith who has been around for many decades. It was a .38 Super. When it came back to me it came with a 10 shot test target around 1.25". I was very pleased. When I went out to shoot it, it would not chamber any of my ammo. WTF! It turns out, in error the gun was rebarreled as a 9mm! I should have kept it that way, but instead, I reached out to them, and they immediately provided a return authorization and I sent it back. I got the gun back within 10 days. It now was a .38 Super and it came with a test target, equally as good. I reached out to them and in the conversation, they advised that they just reamed the 9mm chamber to .38 Super. I didn't think this was possible, since I thought the 9mm case is slightly larger near the base compared to a .38 Super. Bottom line they did it, the gun shoots like a laser. My guess is that this result will not work every time, but since they cut the 9mm chamber, then they knew what they had as far as recutting to .38 Super. Of course, this will re-chambering will have no effect on barrel fitment, but if you merely want to change calibers, it may be worth a consideration. I would not have believed this possible, unless I experienced it.

Good luck in your quest.
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Post by Jon Eulette Fri Apr 29, 2022 9:55 pm

Reamers, reamers, reamers…..
I wouldn’t be surprised if they have a custom reamer for their 9mm to 38 Super chambers.
9mm case base is 0.391” and neck/mouth is 0.380”
38 Super case base is 0.385” and neck/mouth is 0.385”
The 9mm is larger, so in order to get a cleaned up chamber 100% it will require the reamer to be oversized.
I screwed the pooch on a KKM 0.355 short chambered barrel several years ago. I was chambering to 38 special and the base of the case was excessively fat and bulged the brass. Duh…..so I get unchambered barrels now and use my custom 38 special minimum dimensions finish reamer.
Live and learn
Reamers are all over the place unless buying custom to order.
Jon
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