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Old December 17, 2006, 07:45 AM   #1
Hal
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.38 Super vs .9mm vs .357Sig ?

I've been wondering if there's really any significant difference between these three.
.38 - a hair under 1200 fps w/125 gr.
9mm - a hair over 1100 fps w/124 gr.
.357Sig - around high 12 low 1300 fps. w/125 gr.

- From Hodgdon loading data.

It seems as though there's only about a 10% (practical) difference between the 3 in terms of velocity, when S/D is firgured in.
It looks like the 3 are pretty much duplicates of the same efforts.

Help me out here.
What am I missing?
I know all three have their loyal followings.
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Old December 17, 2006, 08:13 AM   #2
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I have never shot a .38 super into gelitan but I have shot the .357sig and many 9 mm into gellitan. The .357 jhp penetrates a lot deeper than the nine with the same basic bullet configuration but, the big difference was the wound channel. The .357 opened way up towards the end. I think in a defence situation that the .357 sig round may be just to much over penetration. I may be wrong as i really don't know much about the .357 sig in an actual combat situation. I do own Glocks in both cals and for some reason I just like the .357 sig because of it's delivered energy. If I can find the actual data, I'll post it.
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Old December 17, 2006, 11:00 AM   #3
AK103K
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I think the first two are maxing out as they approach the 357SIG in power levels. The usual quotes for the SIG are usually at its base loading of around 1350fps. Double Tap loads it into the 1525fps range for the same bullet.

Another advantage is, the guns built for the 357SIG were made to handle the round. I know of no manufacturer that will endorse +P+ 9mm in their guns, and some will not handle a steady diet of +P. I was never a fan of the .38 Super, and never really followed it. I always looked at it as advantage round for the "games" shooters. Does anyone actually make hot defensive ammo for it?
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Old December 17, 2006, 01:49 PM   #4
Bill DeShivs
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Until the .357 magnum was introduced, the .38 Super was the world's most powerful cartridge. Most modern loadings are tamed down quite a bit. Defensive loads are made for it. Loaded properly, the Super will outclass the 9mm, but the SIG load is not much different.
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Old December 17, 2006, 02:29 PM   #5
ShelbyV8
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I can't comment on the super. I know if you look at paper it may appear that there is not much difference. When firing them the 357sig is much more impressive than the 9mm. The foot pounds of energy in a good bullet design is what I look at.
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Old December 18, 2006, 11:54 AM   #6
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The recoil is a big difference. Being a shooter of the 38 super (for competition) and 9mm (for HD / CC), the recoil of the 38 super is terrific.
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Old December 18, 2006, 12:25 PM   #7
MASTERSMITH86
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The .357 sig recoil from my G32C is quite a lot harder than my 9mm G19C. Both compensated but different kick. The sig is definetly managable, don't get me wrong. I would compare it's recoil more to a full load .40 s&w. Different guns might feel different, thats just been my finding.
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Old December 19, 2006, 01:41 AM   #8
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If you want something hotter than 9mm, let your pistol choose. If you like 1911s, then the .38 Super is a no-brainer. I absolutely love the way my .38 Colt shoots!
If you like Glock, Sig, etc... ,then the .357Sig is the way to go.
The Sig round is the hottest of the three, although the .38 Cobon loads are right there too:
http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/C...mo%20Tests.htm
If you a handloader, the Super will be easier to deal with being a straight wall cartridge (close enough anayway). An inexpensive ($25) set of Lee carbide dies and any good .355, .356, and even some .357 bullets from 90 to 158 grains. A can of HS-6 and you're in business.
No fussy bottleneck cases with case neck issues or pre lubing for plain steel dies like the .357Sig.

Last edited by Hammerhead; December 19, 2006 at 02:13 AM.
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Old December 19, 2006, 10:06 AM   #9
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I've been reloading the 357SIG for a little while now and have not had any issues with it, at least not yet. They do require one or two extra steps, depending if your lubing or not. I dont lube, instead, just use a .40 sizer die first, then the standard 357SIG sizer. Its not messy this way and requires one less step. I have yet to have the case neck not hold the bullet, and if you use a powder that fills the case, the bullet cant set back anyway.

At this point, I dont know if there is really any cost savings,(dies and some bullets are expensive) and I still buy the factory ammo in bulk. I am starting to experiment with different profile 9mm bullets/weights, but have only loaded the 125 grain Speer TMJ's up til now.
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Old December 19, 2006, 11:00 AM   #10
dahermit
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Recoil 38 Super

Quote:
the recoil of the 38 super is terrific.
I have had a .38 super in a Colt Combat Commander for over twenty years. .44 magnum and above have terrific recoil. 9mm, 38 super, .45 Auto, do not have terrific recoil from my perspective. I find it much less than .357 mag with a hot 125 grain load in any case.
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Old December 19, 2006, 11:04 AM   #11
MrApathy
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9mm can send 124/125gr bullets 1300-1350fps using 4" barrel.

357sig burns alot of powder to do what it does

can get more 9mm cartridges into a magazine.

havent seen anyone take a 9mm cartridge that shoot 124/125gr bullet 1300-1350fps and 357sig cartridge that does the same and compare the ballistics results. could use the same bullet in the test.

one reason why 357sig ammo prices wont go down from its current position the powder it has to burn to do so.
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Old December 19, 2006, 11:18 AM   #12
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Sorry. By terrific recoil - I meant that the felt recoil of a 38 super is very tolerable. Much lower than a 9mm.

So if I were to rank the 3 by felt recoil - 38 super (best), 9mm (middle) and 357 SIG(high).

I will not get into any ballistic debates on which bullet is better than the other, because in the end, they are all handgun bullets. They will never have the velocity + energy of a rifle round.

So the last qualifier really is felt recoil and how fast you can do a follow up shot. I think the 38 super is the best out of the 3.
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Old December 19, 2006, 01:08 PM   #13
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Don't forget the 9x23, which is something of a handloader's caliber, but capable of greater velocities than the Super, while still retaining the capacity advantage of the smaller diameter case. I think Winchester still makes a HP round. They claim 1460fps from their 124gr white box load. Cor-bon shows similar ballistics for their load.
Aren't all .357 SIGs built on the same platform as each company's .40? That is, you are getting a small bullet at high velocity, when compared to the similar offering in .40?
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