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Old July 1, 2013, 01:22 PM   #1
Roaddog
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38 super

Is a 38 super +p the same as a 38 SPL+p ?
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Old July 1, 2013, 01:33 PM   #2
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Forget it, I just put the two bullets side by side. Boy I feel dum
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Old July 1, 2013, 01:37 PM   #3
MrBorland
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The .38 Super is a semi-rimmed cartridge generally shot in semi-autos. It's a pretty hot round, too, with pressures in the .357mag range. The bullet's a wee bit smaller in diameter than .38pl, too.

Some revolver shooters use handloaded (and downloaded) .38 Super after machining the cylinder to accept moonclips.
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Old July 1, 2013, 02:05 PM   #4
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It may also be worth noting here that the .38 Super+P isn't actually a " +P " like many have come to understand.

" +P " is not as simple as some believe... it is not just "loaded to a higher pressure." To be accurate, it's a genuine SAAMI designation and industry standard. As such, it's not valid when simply thrown at the end of a cartridge, if that cartridge is not built to a set industry standard... which in our favorite industry... is maintained by SAAMI.

If you look at Buffalo Bore's site, or if you read posts and blogs by some handloaders, they'll toss a careless little " +P " at the end of something they made...to try and tell you that it's beyond industry spec. Buffalo Bore makes fantastic ammo, IMO, but their practice of doing this goes far beyond an minor "annoyance", IMO.

The problem is that when you simply attach a +P to a cartridge for which no SAAMI standard +P exists, all you've done is tell the world that you've made an out-of-spec cartridge that is set to no standard... or to your own mystery standard.

SAAMI has developed and set standards for 9mm+P, .38 Special+P and 45 ACP+P. The others don't exist. Cases have been made for .45 Colt+P, but SAAMI tends to not keep any manner of an active web "page", most searches turn up dated .pdf documents.

.38 Super+P occupies an oddball spot in the world with it's common " +P " moniker in that:
.38 Super
and
.38 Super+P
...are exactly the same cartridge, loaded to exactly the same industry standard. It seems the +P was tossed on to the end of the name quite some time ago to alert the buying public to the LARGE difference in pressure between the .38 Super and the older, much lower pressure yet same physically dimensioned parent round of the .38 Super, the .38 Automatic.

These days, when a cartridge is developed from another and raised to much higher pressures (to offer more performance), they typically lengthen the cartridge to make it physically incompatible with the shorter parent case. Like the .44 Magnum will not chamber in a .44 Special, and the .357 Magnum will not chamber in a .38 Special. That added case length? It's not so they could jam more propellent in there. It's simply to keep Uncle Bubba from blowing up an old .38 Special with some heavy .357 Magnum loads.

The .38 Super -will- fit in to old pistols that were designed around the old, basically dead & gone .38 Automatic round. It is not safe to be used in those pistols. But the .38 Super and the ".38 Super+P" are the same exact round, built to the same standard.
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Old July 1, 2013, 02:40 PM   #5
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The 38 Super was labeled +P for years to separate it from the older, weaker, but dimensionally similar 38 ACP. The Super also came in nickel cases to instantly tell it apart from the 38 ACP in brass casings. The lawyers made them do this so that Super ammo wouldn't be loaded into a 38 ACP by mistake. But this was apparently not enough.

A few years ago I noticed factory Supers with brass cases. I found by using my chronograph that the ammo companies had reduced the load to the level of the 38 ACP. The lawyers won again and the Super was no longer Super.

In the day the Super was a 130 FMJ at 1280 FPS. The last box of Winchesters I clocked went 1080, same as the 38 ACP. Sad state of affairs. I load 115 JHPs to 1350 in my Supers.

By the way, I have guys call me a liar, saying Supers are the same load now as they were in years past. The critics are wrong. I have been shooting Supers for many years and clocking factory loads. I know the truth.
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Old July 1, 2013, 02:47 PM   #6
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Oh, I wouldn't argue even a little bit with that, it's almost no different than 10mm Auto. You can buy five different brands of 10mm ammo on the market today and find five wildly different velocities with the same bullet weight and nobody is really up-front with what they are selling except for the smaller boutique ammo producers that wish to replicate the original spirit of the round.

It's somewhere between annoying and disturbing because if you build and market pistols that are designed around what the BIG manufacturers make (for example, Federal) then true to spec rounds are going to beat the snot out of the platform.

Much of the .38 Super ammo available today from the big brands are weak and either don't eclipse or don't even catch performance 9mm ammo, much like a large portion of the 10mm on the market today won't eclipse a performance .40 S&W load. Yet, due to the economy of scale, it's priced quite a bit higher.
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Old July 1, 2013, 03:26 PM   #7
ClydeFrog
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S&W model 52 .38spl semi auto pistol....

Up until around 2/3 years ago, Smith & Wesson marketed a semi auto pistol in the .38spl caliber. I think it was or is the model 52. It's a target grade pistol.
I wouldn't think the .38spl by design could function correctly(cycle-feed) in a pistol.

To my understanding, S&W is the only factory made .38spl semi-auto pistol.

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Old July 1, 2013, 03:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
I think it was or is the model 52.
Yep. Those things are incredible with the right loads.

Funny thing this should come up. Apparently, the local Wal Mart is out of .38 Special, but they did happily sell a guy .38 Super yesterday. He didn't know the difference, and he put six rounds of it through a S&W 19. It wasn't until he needed help extracting the spent casings that he realized there was a problem.

Thankfully, the (I am not kidding. I wish I was.) .357 SIG ammunition they also sold him simply won't fit in the chamber.
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Old July 1, 2013, 04:02 PM   #9
Bob Wright
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There was a .38 Special Colt Gold Cup a few years ago. It would chamber and fire only wadcutter ammunition. And it was a blow-back design, not short recoil operated, though the same size as the Government Model.

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Old July 1, 2013, 05:06 PM   #10
PetahW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roaddog

Is a 38 super +p the same as a 38 SPL+p ?

Forget it, I just put the two bullets side by side. Boy I feel dum
No need - there's only dumb answers; and AFAIK nobody's born with the knowledge !

So, don't sweat the small stuff...................





.
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Old July 2, 2013, 06:39 AM   #11
Roaddog
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Thanks Petahw. I did lern a thing or two from the other post.
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