Series 80-new headspace design? - Pistolsmith

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Old 06-05-2005, 03:58 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1
Series 80-new headspace design?


As you can see from my number of posts, I am very new to 38 super. I see some reference to the "new headspace design" Colt went to in 1988. My gun is a series 80, "COLT MARK IV" marked, and S/N FG775XX.

Is this an old design barrel or new design barrel?

If this is the old barrel, will a drop in with the "new" factory Colt barrel (post 1988) correct the headspace issue? Is it more complicated than that?

Educate me!!! Thanks, Dave
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Old 06-06-2005, 03:30 AM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Virginia
Posts: 964
I think most, if not all, of the Series 80 Supers had the new design barrel. The original design called for the case to headspace the semi-rim of the cartridge on a tiny groove machined into the barrel hood. Well, manufacturing tolerances being what the were and are, most rounds will slip past the hood and plunge deep into the chamber. The end result is poor accuracy. As far as I know, all the Colt 1911 clone makers made their Super barrels to headspace on the case mouth. Colt followed suit with the production of the Series 80.
Old 06-06-2005, 11:10 AM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: SW Ohio
Posts: 489
Just as an aside, one guy here owns an all-original "Super Match" in .38 super, made in about 1933 as memory serves. Guess what, this gun headspaces the cartridge on the case mouth! (Couldn't believe it with my own eyes, actually had to shoot it a few times to be convinced!)
So it would seem that Colt knew about the accuracy bugaboo for many years before fixing it on their standard production .38 super pistols.

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