.38 Super -- Decisions, decisions

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.38 Super -- Decisions, decisions

Postby Hawkmoon » Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:59 pm

I'm getting closer to starting to reload for .38 Super as well as for .45 ACP and 9mm Luger. Just got in a starting order of Starline brass. Now the big question is -- what bullets to use?

I don't carry reloads for self defense, only for range use and plinking. (And maybe for competition if I decide to use a .38 Super in competition.) I've been using Berry's plated lead bullets for several years and I'm happy with them, so I think I'll continue. In their lineup, .380 ACP, 9mm, and .38 Super are all .356" diameter, so I can mix and match. I would like to reduce components inventory, so I'm looking for one bullet that I can use for both 9mm and .38 Super.

Looking through an on-line ammo catalog, I see 9mm in 115-gr, 124-gr, and 147-gr. I see .38 Super in 115-gr, 124-gr, 125-gr, 129-gr and 130-gr. 130 seems to predominate. Comparing Berry's bullets for 9mm against their .38 Super bullets, the obvious difference is that all the 9mm bullets are longer and pointier than the .38 Super bullets. Niemi24s suggested to me that 9mm ammo may be more pointed because it was developed for the Luger, and that a 1911 in 9mm probably doesn't need that bullet shape. That would mean I could standardize on .38 Super bullets for both that and 9mm.

Has anyone had any experience using rounder FMJ bullets in 9mm 1911s? Is there any reason this wouldn't work out?

Another issue is bullet weight. Berry's offers a 100-gr RN and a 100-gr RN hollow base for .380 ACP, and then they offer 130, 135, and 150-gr RN for .38 Super. Any thoughts on which would make for the best universal bullet, for loading in both 9mm and .38 Super?

Lastly (until I think of other questions), there's another issue. I've been using Winchester 231 for both .45 ACP and 9mm. It's the only handgun powder I have, and finding ANY handgun powder in my neck of the woods is nearly impossible. The Hodgden/Winchester web site doesn't list any loads for .38 Super using Win 231. Does anyone have any load data for .38 Super using Win 231? I'm looking for light loads, nothing near maximum for the cartridge.

Or is Win 231/HP-38 simply not suitable for .38 Super?


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Postby Sparky45 » Thu Jan 08, 2015 6:31 pm

I hear ya concerning the powder situation. I've gone to using Red Dot and/or Green Dot in 45ACP as well as Trail Boss, Clays and of course Unique. Basically, I'm using what I can get my hands on at the time.

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Postby magic mike » Thu Jan 08, 2015 8:48 pm

I have fed my STI 9mm (1911) just about any bullet shape there is and it ate all of them no problem.

I did see some loads on Handloads Online (http://www.handloads.com) for the 38 Super and W231.

I believe that if I was loading for 38 Super and 9mm I would have to think long and hard about Berry's 124gn HBRN. That's a good looking bullet that I think would work great in either caliber.


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Postby doranj » Sat Jan 10, 2015 7:48 pm

In my RIA 38 super I have used the lee 120 gn TC bullet & have fine results with HP-38 & Ramshot Silhouette.

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