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Old 05-27-2005, 08:16 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1
.38 Super Factory Ammo Search

Hi! I'm new to this forum, but am excited about having found it!

I have a Colt Mark IV Series 70 in .38 Super, and am currently competing in a rimfire/centerfire precision pistol league. My problem is that, according to Colt, my pistol was manufactured before 1980... and pistols manufactured before that year, according to them, should NOT shoot .38 Super +P ammo.

My range only allows factory ammo, but they (and I) can only find +P factory rounds. Has anyone else found any NON +P ammunition?

I LOVE the gun, it groups GREAT, but are it's shooting days over?

I DO use the .22 conversion kit, so AT LEAST I can enjoy THAT!


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Old 05-28-2005, 05:22 AM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Virginia
Posts: 964
I might be wrong, but I think all 38 Super ammunition in marked +P to distinguish it from 38 ACP, which is dimensionally identical, but loaded to much lower pressure and chambered in the 1909 Colt pistol. So in a stock 38 Super pistol, any factory loaded 38 Super ammo should be just fine.
Old 05-28-2005, 07:49 AM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: San Jose, CA :-( the CA part
Posts: 259
Call Colt and ask.

Old 05-29-2005, 05:30 PM   #4
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 7
38 Super Factory Ammo

You should be able to tell based on the muzzle velocity of the factory round. I shoot a fairly warm load in mine--a 130 grain bullet over 6.9gr of VV N350, which chronographs at around 1250fps or so. When I looked, I found:

PMC 130gr "+P" is 1090fps
Winchester 130gr "+P" is 1215fps
Federal 130gr "+P" is 1200fps
Cor-bon 1115gr is 1400 or higher (!)
Georgia Arms 147gr is 1250fps (!)

Most of these makers are making for the lower pressure stuff, but if you're worried, then go with the lowest you can find in factory, which would, according to their web site, be PMC. I almost don't believe PMC is really down that low, to be honest, it'd be nice to get a box of each and actually run them across the chronograph.

One thing you can, and probably should, do, is to run a fairly heavy spring. I think 18 pounds is standard, from what I remember. I run a 17 pound variable, and it seems to work fine for me. I replace my spring about every 200 rounds or so.

As an aside, I wouldn't shoot someplace I couldn't shoot reloads. :-)


Old 05-29-2005, 08:15 PM   #5
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: SW Ohio
Posts: 489
Don't have the numbers in front of me, but most of the factory .38 super I've chrono'd was somewhat wimpy, didn't match the velocity promised by the makers a'tall. The exception to this was the CorBon loadings, which matched up almost exactly with what was printed on the boxes, when fired out of my 5" gun.

I'd suspect most of the other .38 super ammo--the wimpy stuff I mentioned anyhow--to be pretty low pressure, since it doesn't exceed (or even meet in some cases) the power of many ordinary 9mm Para offerings.
Old 06-26-2005, 11:39 PM   #6
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 10
I seem to recall Corbon actually makes a low pressure, low velocity load for .38 Super. I don't remember what it was, but i remember shooting a few mags of it about a year ago.
Old 07-01-2005, 07:04 PM   #7
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 74
Any of the Government model pistols in .38 Super manufactured since the introduction of the .38 Super cartridge in 1929 will be safe with any of the .38 Super cartridges in current production.

I have been shooting .38 Super for over a quarter of a century. Old timers tell me that the factory loads used to be even hotter.

Some people hot rod it quite a bit more than I ever did. I used to load it quite warm when I was a young man. My first .38 Super was a Mark IV/Series 70. Don't worry about hurting the pistol.

You can, however, blow a case head with hot handloads. I managed to do this after 25 years with a load that I still think was reasonably mild, but I admit the brass was much used. This is the major reason I have switched over to the 9x23mm for warm loads.

Anyway, shoot any .38 Super factory loads in your Series 70 that you want too. You are not going to hurt it with factory ammunition.
Old 11-20-2007, 05:31 AM   #8
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 3
Answer to old post

For completeness, I thought I'd reply in case someone does a search later. You can get factory ammo from a variety of manufacturers. However, if your gun needs a high power factor (as my STI Trubor did), go to Atlantic Arms and Ammo (http://www.atlantaarmsandammo.com/). They sell a 38 Sup/Super Comp 125gr JHP (TN38S) that can be got in both Minor and Major power factor. Their major ammo shoots a chrono'd 1453 fps (182 PF) in my Trubor. Used it to break it in. Am now switching to lighter reloads that still allow the gun to cycle properly, which conventional factory loads don't.

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