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View Full Version : Why 38 Super? If 9mm x 21 and 9mm x23 Winchester already pre-existed?



cclaxton
11-06-2013, 08:47 AM
Does anyone know the background on why 38 Super was developed?
Since 9x21 and 9x23 pre-existed, why develop 38 super?

CC

JV
11-06-2013, 09:20 AM
9x21 essentially a 9x19/9mm. The case is 2mm longer, but the bullet is seated 2mm deeper.

It's not a real competitor to 9x23 or 38 Super, it's a 9mm for people that live in a country where civilians can't own a military caliber.

cclaxton
11-06-2013, 09:27 AM
I did find this excellent internet article, but it really doesn't tell me why.
http://38super.net/Pages/9X23.html
CC

Chuck Haggard
11-06-2013, 09:51 AM
The 9x23 is an evolution of the Super. The Super predates both of those other rounds, and itself came from the .38acp. It was basically what was needed to have a .38cal semi auto pistol.

Note that the .38acp predates even the 9mm Luger, and was used in guns like this; http://www.icollector.com/Colt-Military-1902-Cal-38acp-SN-32323-Early-Colt-semi-auto-pistol-in-38acp-Predecessor-to-the-191_i9301841


Paging Tam for a history lesson..................

Bill Riehl
11-06-2013, 10:34 AM
Does anyone know the background on why 38 Super was developed?
Since 9x21 and 9x23 pre-existed, why develop 38 super?

CC

Why - More power is more better. Especially when punching through low carbon auto bodies (or at least, that's what I was told).

The Super predates the other two by a bunch of decades.

Chuck Haggard
11-06-2013, 10:58 AM
Best info I have on the .38acp, from which the Super came, is that it dates into the 1890s

cclaxton
11-06-2013, 11:08 AM
Best info I have on the .38acp, from which the Super came, is that it dates into the 1890s

So, I asked the wrong question: Then why the 9x23, if the 38 Super had already been designed?
CC

JAD
11-06-2013, 11:37 AM
So, I asked the wrong question: Then why the 9x23, if the 38 Super had already been designed?
CC

The 9x21 was developed to skirt ipsc's ban on 9x19 loaded to major.

The 9x23 is a rimless (feeds better, stacks better in the magazine) super with a thicker case web (enables imprudence).

9 super comp, and the like, are rimless alternatives to super that do not do as much to enhance case strength.

9x23 was in a sense developed by Jeff Cooper, so I am required to think it's a good idea.

JV
11-06-2013, 11:44 AM
The 9x21 was developed to skirt ipsc's ban on 9x19 loaded to major. I've never read that as an argument for 9x21's creation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9%C3%9721mm

The 921mm pistol cartridge (also known as the 921mm IMI or 9 mm IMI) was designed by Israel Military Industries for those markets where military service cartridges, like the 919mm Parabellum, are banned by law for civilian use.

I'm not saying Wikepedia is an authority on gun related items, but this jives with all of my other data-points.

HCM
11-06-2013, 12:03 PM
The 9x21 was developed to skirt ipsc's ban on 9x19 loaded to major.

The 9x23 is a rimless (feeds better, stacks better in the magazine) super with a thicker case web (enables imprudence).

9 super comp, and the like, are rimless alternatives to super that do not do as much to enhance case strength.

9x23 was in a sense developed by Jeff Cooper, so I am required to think it's a good idea.

Derived from the 9mm Super Cooper- .223 cases cut to 38 super length.

I believe the 9x21 was originally developed for civilians in countries which do not allow civilians to own weapons in Military calibers and later adapted to IPSC use. It's an alternative to .30 luger in such places. There is a similar round called .45 HP, basically a civilian legal 45 for countries like France and Italy. This is also why you will occasionally see runs of export AR-15s and Mini 14s in .222 Rem.

The popularity of the .38 super ( and now 40sw & 10mm) in Mexico is also due to their prohibition on possession of military caliber weapons and ammo. This used to extend to Mexican state and local LE as well, though I believe this has changed, at least for agency owned weapons.

John Hearne
11-06-2013, 04:11 PM
This week's edition of Michael Bane's Podcast has a long segment on the 9x23 that covers everything you want to know: http://www.downrange.tv/blog/down-range-radio-340-the-obituary-for-the-9-x-23-winchester/26241/

FWIW, the reports of the 9x23's performance are quite impressive.

Tamara
11-06-2013, 04:36 PM
Best info I have on the .38acp, from which the Super came, is that it dates into the 1890s

My 1902 (http://cosmolineandrust.blogspot.com/2008/10/classic-colt-1-model-1902-military.html) is chambered in .38 ACP. Fortunately some companies make properly-headstamped new ammo. I don't want to get that stuff mixed up with Bobbi's .38 Super fodder.

Interesting trivia fact: ALL .38 Super ammo is +P, since the SAAMI definition of "+P" is a higher pressure cartridge that is dimensionally identical to another extant chambering.

WIILSHOOT
11-07-2013, 09:55 AM
Wasn't part of the reason that they wanted a long cartridge (.45 ACP length) to ensure feed reliability in the already developed colt .45 ACP pistols?

Chuck Haggard
11-07-2013, 10:15 AM
Wasn't part of the reason that they wanted a long cartridge (.45 ACP length) to ensure feed reliability in the already developed colt .45 ACP pistols?

The .38acp came before the .45acp

JAD
11-07-2013, 10:26 PM
I've never read that as an argument for 9x21's creation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9%C3%9721mm


I'm not saying Wikepedia is an authority on gun related items, but this jives with all of my other data-points.

Yup, mea maxima culpa, written in a weak moment. X21 got what legs it used to have in the states for the reason I describe, I have heard, though I can't substantiate that. Ditto 356 TSW I dimly recall. Or it's all a groovy-bear / KriegerCleanse driven hallucination.

1986s4
11-08-2013, 08:04 AM
I have enjoyed this thread on the 9mm/.38 auto family. Where does the .356TSW fit in?

BigT
11-08-2013, 01:44 PM
My 1902 (http://cosmolineandrust.blogspot.com/2008/10/classic-colt-1-model-1902-military.html) is chambered in .38 ACP. Fortunately some companies make properly-headstamped new ammo. I don't want to get that stuff mixed up with Bobbi's .38 Super fodder.

Interesting trivia fact: ALL .38 Super ammo is +P, since the SAAMI definition of "+P" is a higher pressure cartridge that is dimensionally identical to another extant chambering.


Wouldnt the existence of 9mm Glisenti therefore make all 9x19 ammo +P. And as a result 9mm +P would be +P+ . 9mm +P+ would therefore be 9mm turbo OMG!!!!


Or maybe im being absurd on the last one:)

Tamara
11-08-2013, 01:54 PM
Wouldnt the existence of 9mm Glisenti therefore make all 9x19 ammo +P. And as a result 9mm +P would be +P+ . 9mm +P+ would therefore be 9mm turbo OMG!!!!


Or maybe im being absurd on the last one:)

There is no SAAMI spec for 9mm +P+. It's purely a marketing/CYA designation from ammunition manufacturers. (And not all ammo thus marked exceeds SAAMI specs for 9mm +P. Go figure.)

BigT
11-08-2013, 02:22 PM
There is no SAAMI spec for 9mm +P+. It's purely a marketing/CYA designation from ammunition manufacturers. (And not all ammo thus marked exceeds SAAMI specs for 9mm +P. Go figure.)

I am aware of that I was aiming more at the 9x19 Glisenti vs 9x19 Luger/Parabellum/.NATO etc dimensional similarities. The rest was an (obviously a poorly made) attempt at comedy.

Tamara
11-08-2013, 04:07 PM
I am aware of that I was aiming more at the 9x19 Glisenti vs 9x19 Luger/Parabellum/.NATO etc dimensional similarities. The rest was an (obviously a poorly made) attempt at comedy.

Y'know, I don't know if there's a SAAMI spec for the Glisenti round or not? You've tickled my gun nerd now.

I don't know that the ammunition's ever been sold commercially in this country except for small runs of Fiocchi years ago.

Chuck_S
11-09-2013, 07:05 AM
Colt Super .38 was introduced as an automatic pistol cartridge in the 1930s as a response to .357 Magnum. Marketing. :)

-- Chuck

caleb
11-09-2013, 08:44 AM
Colt Super .38 was introduced as an automatic pistol cartridge in the 1930s as a response to .357 Magnum. Marketing. :)

-- Chuck

That would be a hell of a magic trick, since .38 Super was introduced in 1929, and .357 Magnum wasn't introduced until 5 years later in 1934.

ToddG
11-09-2013, 03:13 PM
That would be a hell of a magic trick, since .38 Super was introduced in 1929, and .357 Magnum wasn't introduced until 5 years later in 1934.

The .38S is so fast, it traveled back in time.

Tamara
11-09-2013, 04:31 PM
The .38S is so fast, it traveled back in time.

You'll get "Super Face" if you don't use 9x23 brass for that trick. :eek:

JAD
11-09-2013, 07:06 PM
The .38S is so fast, it traveled back in time.

Interestingly the one time I shot 9x25 Dillon it aged me by three years.

dbateman
11-10-2013, 02:28 AM
Colt Super .38 was introduced as an automatic pistol cartridge in the 1930s as a response to .357 Magnum. Marketing. :)

-- Chuck

The story I got is it was developed to punch thru auto bodies/glass and body armour at the time.

It's a good round one of my favourite pistol rounds, good all round chambering for SD hunting and general range use.

Gary1911A1
11-10-2013, 06:07 AM
The 38Super was introduced in 1929. Maybe the Depression had something to do with it not taking off? I have three 1911s' in 38Super, one a single stack with a compensator on the end of the barrel I used for IPSC Matches built by Les Baer when he was in Allentown before he went to work at Springfield Custom.

John Hearne
11-10-2013, 08:02 AM
The 38 Super was endorsed by John Dillinger for its ability to punch through auto body. How's that for a celebrity endorsement?

Tamara
11-10-2013, 09:55 AM
The story I got is it was developed to punch thru auto bodies/glass and body armour at the time.

I don't know how much of that is truth and how much is after-the-fact romanticization.

The cartridge itself is a pretty logical up-loading of the existing .38 ACP to take advantage of the greater safety margin of the 1911 design over the earlier "parallel rule" Colt autos.

Bill Riehl
11-10-2013, 10:17 AM
The story I got is it was developed to punch thru auto bodies/glass and body armour at the time.

It's a good round one of my favourite pistol rounds, good all round chambering for SD hunting and general range use.

Raw velocity does more for armor (soft or hard) penetration than any other individual factor.

It wasn't until more "modern" steels (meaning less strain rate sensitive, but still "hard") that projectile composition comes into a more significant role. Which is one reason any multifunctional armor is composite (composite as in more than one type, not necessarily "composite" like carbon fiber) nowadays.

Armor and knives make my inner materials engineering nerd all giddy.

Tamara
11-10-2013, 10:37 AM
Smith & Wesson's .38 High Velocity was certainly developed in response to the .38 Super, and popular lore (as sanctified by the official company historian) is that it was designed to give the po-po a better chance to shoot through car bodies and suchlike.

Tamara
11-10-2013, 10:44 AM
Raw velocity does more for armor (soft or hard) penetration than any other individual factor.

It wasn't until more "modern" steels (meaning less strain rate sensitive, but still "hard") that projectile composition comes into a more significant role. Which is one reason any multifunctional armor is composite (composite as in more than one type, not necessarily "composite" like carbon fiber) nowadays.

Armor and knives make my inner materials engineering nerd all giddy.

This is tangentially related to a topic I would like to geek out on in a dedicated thread.

Absurdly oversimplified here, but: The big, flat meplat lead wadcutter plows through the giant block of beef that stymies the screaming tungsten phonograph needle, while the latter goes through the piece of steel that stymies the former.

I have a dim grasp of the factors involved, but I'm always down for some educational programming.

Chuck Haggard
11-10-2013, 11:03 AM
Smith & Wesson's .38 High Velocity was certainly developed in response to the .38 Super, and popular lore (as sanctified by the official company historian) is that it was designed to give the po-po a better chance to shoot through car bodies and suchlike.

I know a retired KHP trooper who still has his first duty gun, a 38-44, and several boxes of issued duty ammo, the Winchester 38 metal piercing load.

Very cool stuff.

Bill Riehl
11-10-2013, 12:17 PM
This is tangentially related to a topic I would like to geek out on in a dedicated thread.

Absurdly oversimplified here, but: The big, flat meplat lead wadcutter plows through the giant block of beef that stymies the screaming tungsten phonograph needle, while the latter goes through the piece of steel that stymies the former.

I have a dim grasp of the factors involved, but I'm always down for some educational programming.

You remember Dragon Skin?

Tamara
11-10-2013, 01:31 PM
You remember Dragon Skin?

I did not pay close attention to the whole Dragon Skin thing. I mean, I think I remember the concept behind it: Like a ceramic lorica squamata rather than a single big trauma plate?

Little Creek
11-10-2013, 01:34 PM
In USPSA/IPSC 38 Super (Major) came about in the 1980's. The guns were single stack 1911 pistols with embedded Bomar style sights. The bullet weights were either 130 FMJ or 158 RNL cast hard. Originally factory barrels were used with new +P brass for major loads. Once fired brass and 38ACP brass was used for reduced practice loads. After a few cases of "Super Hand", the web of the shell case blowing out, sending the guts of the magazines out the bottom of the magwell and splintering the grip panels, fully supported barrels were developed that required milling of the Frame. I had two of these, Accucomp LE, built by Wilson Combat. It was not long before double stack magazines and red dot sights took over. Back then the magazine length was limited to flush with the grip frame, without the base pad. It was a fun interesting time.