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00jeepxj
December 13, 2013, 19:04
Ok so i figured i would through this out there for anyone who might be willing to share some wisdom.

I have a chance to pick up a nearly new, less then 100 rounds through it, taurus 1911 in 38 super with couple hundred rounds to go with it. I am not new to the creation of St. John and have a para GI expert that i love.

Here is my questions, I know ammo is a pain to find but I reload so that solves some of it... I was told that you can use 9mm bullets to reload the 38 super cases. Is this true? If so is there anything that i need to pay attention to with reloading this cartridge? Some manufacturers use two caliber to a magazine design. Is the 9mm mag's for the 1911 usable for the 38 super? And lastly I am wondering if there is any kind of quirks that i should know about with the Taurus 1911 and the 38 super cartridge.

Thanks for reading!

W.E.G.
December 13, 2013, 19:40
any kind of quirks that i should know about with the Taurus 1911

200-round test-fire before buying.

00jeepxj
December 13, 2013, 21:28
200-round test-fire before buying.

meeting at a local gun shop that i have done a lot of work with. The smiths there are going to go over it for me, are the taurus's known for issue's with the 1911's?

ALL FAL
December 13, 2013, 22:13
To my knowledge the known Issues with the Taurus 1911 is that they are fine pistols. I have wanted one in .38 Super too.

Retired Bum
December 14, 2013, 00:12
I own a Colt Mark IV 70's Series .38 Super Auto and I have been handloading the round for close to 40 years.

The correct jacketed bullet diameter for the .38 Super is .355" same as the 9mm Luger. When I load lead bullets I size them .356". One thousandth of an inch over groove diameter is standard practice when it comes to loading lead bullets regardless of the cartridge.

The Colt and Mec-Gar magazines I use in my Colt 9mm Combat Commander have a filler strip in the back of the magazine so that there won't be any feeding problems with the shorter round. Otherwise except for the marking on the base plate they are identical to the Colt and Mec-Gar .38 Super magazines I have. I have never seen a M1911 9mm mag of any make that would accept the longer .38 Super round. Which doesn't mean that such a magazine doesn't exist.....

Handloading the .38 Super is a pretty straight forward job. The case is straight wall and tungsten carbide dies are available from all the die makers. The case is semi rimmed and requires it own shell holder. I have loaded the Super with bullets as light as 115 grains and up to 150 grains. The standard factory load uses a 130 grain FMJ-RN. It has been my experience that the heavier bullets 130 grain and up give me better accuracy than the lighter 115 grain bullets. I have a Ransom Rest and have shot enough rounds through the Colt using this device to determine which bullet weight gives the best accuracy. The barrel in my Colt is a handfitted Barsto which headspaces on the case mouth. I don't know what the Taurus uses but I would be very surprised if it didn't use the same type of headspacing. The Colt factory barrel used the old headspacing on the semi rim which resulted in horrible accuracy. I am talking 12 inch groups at 25 yards in the Ransom Rest.

One word of caution when it comes to handloading the .38 Super. Do not try and duplicate the heavy bullet extra high pressure loads that the IPSC major caliber shooters use. Those "race guns" are modified to handle those hot-rodded loads. Off the shelf guns like your Taurus and my Colt aren't.

And so it goes.


The Retired One

tdb59
December 14, 2013, 00:30
I would recommend using McCormick .38 Super magazines.
For loads, I had EXCELLENT results with 130-160 grain bullets and Unique.
Unique when loaded to proper density burns quite clean.

legion489
December 14, 2013, 16:55
I bought a Taurus stainless PT1911 .38 Super w/rail from CDNN for $450 (including S&H) and it is GREAT! Feeds everything, worked out of the box (the Kimber I bought at twice the price didn't), has an EXCELLENT trigger pull (Kimber was off the charts), three dot sights, etc. I HIGHLY recommend the Taurus PT1911 from the examples I have seen.

Since I use .38 Super mags for 9mm (works fine for me and my pistols. Just add a 9mm barrel) in all my 1911's, I have not tried any of the 9mm mags in the PT1911, but all my .45 ACP mags work, so I have no doubt the 9mm's would too.

Slug the barrel. 9mm/Super barrels are all over the place. Some WW II 9mm barrels are .360" and some are probably larger. Many/most current (last few years) barrels are in the .356"-.357" range, and unless the current lot have tightened up specs considerably I would expect the same now. The custom barrel makers are/were about the only ones that have .355" bores. With jacketed slugs, 9mm bullets are fine. With cast I like to shoot at least .001" over and sometimes even larger if the barrel will chamber them. You really have to try to see what YOUR barrel likes and will shoot accurately. Try 130 gr and up bullets first. I generally use Win 231/HP38 (same exact powder according to Hodgdon) for everything except mag loads. Avoid extreme high pressure/super heavy bullet loads, you will blow a case head and that is not fun. Any carbide die set is fine, I use Lee dies a LOT.

OK, what don't I like about the PT1911? I can live with out the rail. That's it. I bought a PT1911 with a rail because I wanted to try a rail. Now I know I don't like the rail and more importantly, WHY I don't like rails.

The Taurus "life time warranty" is reportedly MUCH improved over what it was reported to be years ago. Of course as a gunsmith I can give you horror stories about Kimber, Ruger, Henry, etc., that rival anything said about Taurus and they happened to me, not some story I heard.

00jeepxj
December 14, 2013, 16:56
thanks guys. I ended up picking up it today... ran five through it and loved it! Well... one round went into the range shed as i was wearing gloves and the safety seems to be an issue. It is too loose and i have attempted to tighten it ( two blocks of wood as per range officers recommendation ) and it still loosens a little over shooting.

I found mec gear and glad to hear that they are solid. I will be picking a couple up soon as time allows.

Retired bum... what kind of powder are you using? I have accurate no.7 and was thinking that it would be fine. Also, some of the cases are a silver looking material. Is that just nickel plated brass? Do you have a recommendation for the dies? I have a Dillon progressive and plan on getting another set of lee dies for it. Thank you for the info on the 9mm mag's.

TDB59 I plan on using mostly 130 grain as i have that in 9mm right now. What kind of primers are you using for your brand of powder?

All in all i am loving this thing. I have always thought that i would like the 38 super in a 1911 and it seems that i was right. I would prefer a colt but i will work my way up to that. :biggrin: Once the weather warms up some I will go back to the range and run a lot more rounds through her.

00jeepxj
December 14, 2013, 17:04
legion... I have owned a number of other 1911's and had problems with them too so i know what you mean. My para is the first 45 1911 that i haven't had any trouble with aside for fiachii ammo. It would fire it.. but tended to stove pipe then clear and continue to fire. I didn't really notice if the barrel is larger then it should be. How would i go about checking that? I have a verner gauge / dial indicator that will allow me to measure the inside barrel but not accurately enough for my tastes. If I wanted a better barrel is there one that you gentlemen would recommend over the other? This isn't going to be a race gun but i do plan on doing to modifications to it to bring it closer to what i am liking. Mostly lightened hammer, grips, safety and getting rid of the massive one piece recoil spring rod as i don't really like those all that much. That is if they make them for it.

Retired Bum
December 14, 2013, 17:36
OOjeepxj,

When it comes to powders for the .38 Super I prefer the faster burning ones. Winchester #231 and Unique are the two that I use the most. I have used Red Dot with decent results also. Blue Dot is a bit slower and I have used it for some of the higher pressure loads that duplicate factory loads.

I use Winchester Small Pistol primers and have been doing so for as long as I can remember. Most of my cartridge cases are Winchester brass but I do have several hundred nickel plated Win and Rem cases as well. Like any long time handloader I have snarfed up once fired brass on my club's outdoor pistol range. I have a mixture of Federal, Corbon, and Aquila cases. I use these mixed cases for plinking ammo loaded with a Lyman 128 grain roundnose lead bullet I cast.

I use a set of RCBS dies with the tungsten carbide sizer . These dies are dated 1974 which is when I bought them new. Still going strong after close to 40 years now. Probably the best die sets for the money are the Lee's. Not as nice looking as the RCBS but they work just fine.

My favorite jacketed bullet for the .38 Super is the 130 grain FMJ-RN. I buy both Win and Rem and both give excellent accuracy in the Barsto barrel. My favorite factory load for serious social purposes is the Win 125 grain SilverTip JHP. Accurate and it gives virtually identical performance to any good 124 grain JHP +P 9mm load.

There are some rip snorting factory loads available. I have chronographed the Corbon 115 grain JHP at 1465 fps and the 125 grain JHP at 1390 fps. These loads bring out the true potential of the .38 Super IMHO.

And so it goes.


The Retired One

00jeepxj
December 14, 2013, 19:54
sweet. now as i am still fairly new into the world of reloading... is accurate no.7 a fast or slow burning powder? I just ordered a set of dies for the 38 super and i got the lee's as i have been using them for my 45 acp for a little while now. Your primers... are they magnum or just standard primers. Two different reloaders told me that if i am using ball powder then i need to use magnum primers, was wondering what your thoughts are on this.

So i did what any good new gun owner would do and tore into her. I made a sad but good discovery. The detent and spring that give the safety it's click ( for the life of me i can't think of the name, it's the set on the side in the tube that also hold the slide lock in place ) were completely missing. I have not reassembled as there is no point. Gun isn't safe in my eyes so it will wait till the new parts that i ordered will arrive along with my reloading gear that i ordered for it. Which should be this week... yay new parts!

tdb59
December 14, 2013, 21:25
TDB59 I plan on using mostly 130 grain as i have that in 9mm right now. What kind of primers are you using for your brand of powder?

.

WSP primers with Unique.

Retired Bum
December 14, 2013, 23:36
AA#7 is a medium slow burning powder IMO. I use it in the .357 Sig round to duplicate factory load velocities. For full power .38 Super loads (130 grain FMJ at 1200-1225 fps) #7 should work just fine. The original Super load was rated at 1275 fps/475 fpe. But you won't find any name brand 130 grain factory loads that will do this today. Like so many of the older handgun rounds still in use, the .38 Super has been down loaded by the ammo makers for liability purposes.

Standard small pistol primers are all that is necessary for any sane sensible load in the .38 Super.

My first .38 Super was a Colt Gov't Model made in 1933. It had been purchased new by a FBI agent who worked out of the San Francisco office. The agent sold it to an old friend of mine circa 1950 after he retired. The new owner was a prison guard at Alcatraz Island. I bought the Super from him after he retired from the Bureau of Prisons in 1976. Like a fool I sold off that four digit serial numbered Super when I broke up my firearms collection some years ago. Price pre war Colt .38 Supers today and you will be astonished at the prices they bring.....

And so it goes.


The Retired One

00jeepxj
December 14, 2013, 23:58
I weep for you with that first super... wow. Gotta say thanks to everyone for the help and knowledge that you have all shared. Keep it coming cause I know I am no where near done learning.

W.E.G.
December 15, 2013, 00:21
Just to be sure I got this right.

New Taurus 1911 in .38 super arrived without any of the guts for the safety lever?

When quality control issues like that appear, don't you wonder what else they let go?

00jeepxj
December 15, 2013, 10:03
Just to be sure I got this right.

New Taurus 1911 in .38 super arrived without any of the guts for the safety lever?

When quality control issues like that appear, don't you wonder what else they let go?

Yes and No. And the shop that i took it too failed. When I called them and explained what I found they back peddled and then took ownership. I ordered a number of new parts for the build of this gun through them at their prices. Also it is a used gun the gentleman bought this year, new to me though. When I called and asked him about it he pointed out that it functioned fine for him.

I bought this gun because the owner needed to sell bad and I wanted a 1911 to build on that I had little or no care about if it was down for extended periods of time. It's not my carry by any means and won't be a race gun, but i have always wanted to actually build a 1911 instead of buying it already built out of the box. Practice for when i finally build myself a kit fal.

W.E.G.
December 15, 2013, 16:07
they back peddled and then took ownership

What does that mean?

The seller gave you your money back?

00jeepxj
December 15, 2013, 16:55
What does that mean?

The seller gave you your money back?

The gun store that we met at didn't catch it and do their job right. I confronted them and they didn't admit that they made the mistake and then finally admitted that they made an error in not finding the issue. The seller and I had talked about it having this issue but not about me getting my money back.

W.E.G.
December 15, 2013, 17:02
So, who owns the broken Taurus now?

00jeepxj
December 15, 2013, 19:10
So, who owns the broken Taurus now?

I still do. The gun store purchased the parts that i need and wanted for me. Allowing me to begin my build.

legion489
December 18, 2013, 14:20
To slug a barrel you need a soft (pure) lead bullet or ball of slightly larger than what will drop through the barrel. Since it is soft lead, it will deform easily and I don't worry about exact diameter, as long as it will fit in the neck of the chamber and stops, it is good to go. Use a wood rod (so you don't tear up your bore) and gently push/tap it through the bore. This will allow you to feel tight and loose spots (for example, Marlin barrel are full of tight and loose spots, but still shoot amazingly well usually. Sure they can make better barrels, but that costs more money and who would want to pay more for better barrels when these are fine?) and when it pops out the other end (on to some soft pillow, blankets, etc, DO NOT drop it on a concrete floor, etc.) you can measure it. If you are doing it quick and dirty, just get the same size ball, put it in the chamber and then put a primed case behind it and fire into a gallon jug of water through the open top so the bullet drops into the water. Normally on pistols the bullet will just clear the barrel or stop just inside the muzzle, depending on how tight the bullet is, barrel length, primer, etc., etc. If it doesn't clear, just tap it out with the wood rod.

As to barrels, there are lots of good ones out there, Bar-Sto being one that comes to mind, but there are a dozen as good. Just pay more money and take your choice. The Taurus barrel might well be all you really need, you won't know until you try it.

I use standard Winchester primers for all my non-magnum loads. If it isn't a load of slow burning powder in a large case, it gets a standard primer. You might try mag primers to see if they improve accuracy, but that is a gun by gun issue and generally doesn't help in my experience.

Is the loose safety the original or a replacement? If the original, try calling Taurus and see what they say. Get a shipping label from them if the gun is under a year old and ship it back. I have not tried Taurus customer service, but it has improved, FROM WHAT I HEARD. Put all the original parts on it when sending it back too. Ruger and Lee have the two worst customer service centers I have ever dealt with (even computer and electronics CS are often better!) and Henry isn't far behind. Never had to return a Winchester or Remington, so I can't say about them.

00jeepxj
January 01, 2014, 15:04
legion... I will have to try the slugging test to see how the barrel is once I get more free time. Thanks for the knowledge on primers. Most of what i shoot is larger caliber ( 45, 308, 300 win mag ) so I definitely will be using my standard primers with everything but the 300 win mag. The parts I needed came in and I installed them myself and it fires and functions perfectly.