Ramped vs unramped barrel in 38 super - Pistolsmith

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Old 01-25-2004, 08:09 AM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 13
Ramped vs unramped barrel in 38 super

I am looking to get a Kimber or Colt 1911 in 38 super. I will reload for it and may also get a 9x23 Winchester barrel for it also. What is your opinion on ramped vs unramped barrels for this caliber? Do these calibers need the ramped barrel to handle the higher pressures? :roll:
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Old 01-25-2004, 11:16 AM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Winfield, IL
Posts: 58
Most production guns like Colt will have a non-ramped barrel, and I believe some others like Springfield have ramped (Wilson/Nowlin style I'm told) for added safety around the case head. You will hear many opinions both ways. The reality found with my project guns is rather simple and practical: Any high pressure calibers like .38 super and .40 S&W (even 9x23 and 10mm with well designed cases that don't require it), get all ramped barrels for added safety and easier multi-frame use, that will provide more options if one decides to do any variation of barrel/slide switch tops.
Old 01-28-2004, 01:12 PM   #3
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 298
I think I read a post many years ago where Dane thought unramped feeds better.

Tell you what though, my Colt unramped shows case bulging when I boost juice slighty over book. My Kimber ramped, on the other hand shows no signs with wicked hot USPSC loads. Same for my SV race gun.
Old 03-31-2004, 01:25 AM   #4
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 15
For what its worth, I would go with the ramp. I have had 3 supers total. An SV, Caspian and a Nowlin. All with ramped barrels and worked and feed problem free.
Old 06-21-2004, 07:59 PM   #5
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 7
You will need the ramp if you are loading for IPSC, or other hot off book loads, otherwise, it isn't needed. I think they do feed well if properly thoated, as most of mine will feed empty brass out of the mag. That isn't required to prove anything, but it is peace of mind if you compete or use it for defense.
Old 06-23-2004, 05:29 PM   #6
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 446
custom ramped bbls

It may be of some interest to know that when I was still in the business I had some 5 1/2 and 6 inch bbls made from Douglas blanks. They were made in 38 super and had all of the normal accuacy spots like the tang, the rear locking groove is shallower and the lugs are oversize. A few are threaded for comps . Price now is 100.00 each. When we were installing them we got 2 in at 50 yds. By the way they are ramped.
Old 07-01-2004, 09:01 PM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 231
Gunsmiths for the ramp cut

Ok, if I was to go out and have my receiver cut for a ramped barrel, two questions:

1) Which style ramp? I read somewhere that the Clark/Para ramp design was better from a mechanical durability perspective than the Wilson/Nowlin ramp. Any comments?

2) Being a firearm enthusiast on a budget, any recommendations on a "reasonable" gunsmith for the operation? Gather I'll have to have a match barrel fitted while I'm in the process. I browsed a few gunsmith's pages the other night and the prices do vary....considerably. From my brief search Clark seemed the most reasonable so far. Could use recommendations. I have been debating having the ramp cut into my Colt or selling it and finding a Springfield Armory that has already been cut.
Old 07-06-2004, 06:50 AM   #8
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Winfield, IL
Posts: 58
When I went through the process of developing a "ramped" model, again, I looked at what was the most practical. That was, Wilson/Nowlin ramp (seems to be most popular on single stacks) and I believe (not 100%) that is the choice with Springfield and Kimber (what does that tell you).

Also, I used an older (but good) frame and slightly modified base gun because you loose retail market value when you do ramp cuts of any kind. In other words, when you alter your stock 1911, you kill your trade-in value at retail, so why not alter a gun that already has some modifications or blemishes altering trade-in value?

By the way, all my work was done on a limited budget with a local, but experienced gunsmith.

Good luck. I found that after many, many, years of "don't do it" talk, that in the end, it was a great way to further enjoy multiple calibers and greater flexibility with the 1911.
Old 07-12-2004, 02:25 PM   #9
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 446

The debate about ruining the resale value of a ramped bbl in a frame, I dont think you are in the shooting sport for fun. If I had not completely modified a great many pistols experimenting, as did some other smiths, we would not have half of the better pistols today. Why are some of my guns worth so much today?? Because they are better than the best. (greatly modified)

Enjoy the sport and stop worrying about resale value. For instance, you dont buy a new car and not run it so its worth more some day. Austin

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