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Discussion Starter #1
I just snagged a M1911A1 in .38 Super. The S/N 41xxx indicates it was made in early 1947. Condition about 80%, excellent barrel.

The grips look to be the same as on GI 1911A1s...dark brown checkered plastic. Would anyone know if these are correct grips for the gun?

Any estimates of the value of the gun?

Thanks

Chuck
 

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Congratulations! Sounds great to me! I looked at what must be a similar piece a few weeks ago at a dealer in Pratt, Kansas. I don't know its dates, but it was definitely an early post war piece and it had the brown, plastic grip panels. I didn't buy it - yet, but the man asked for $800. Others that sound similar on web sites all were $1200+. An educated guess is the plastic grips are authentic for most Colt products from about '49 to '59 or so. I have used them on some guns over the years and I've never had any reason to complain about them. For a police duty gun, I suppose they could get slick in the rain or snow but I doubt if that's what you have in mind for your piece. Let me know how your gun does for accuracy, would you? Some stories circulate about poor accuracy from the .38 supers compared to .45's or .38 revolvers. Others I know say, "Not true - they really are SUPER!"
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have heard there were problems with accuracy on the old .38 Supers as well... apparently due to the fact they tried too make them headspace on the case rim... which it seems was not very standard which in turned caused the accuracy problems.

My new (1980s) .38 Super is as accurate as my .45s. It will be interesting to see if the old gun is equally accurate. I'll report on what I find.

FWIW


Chuck


<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by rcwambold:
Congratulations! Sounds great to me! I looked at what must be a similar piece a few weeks ago at a dealer in Pratt, Kansas. I don't know its dates, but it was definitely an early post war piece and it had the brown, plastic grip panels. I didn't buy it - yet, but the man asked for $800. Others that sound similar on web sites all were $1200+. An educated guess is the plastic grips are authentic for most Colt products from about '49 to '59 or so. I have used them on some guns over the years and I've never had any reason to complain about them. For a police duty gun, I suppose they could get slick in the rain or snow but I doubt if that's what you have in mind for your piece. Let me know how your gun does for accuracy, would you? Some stories circulate about poor accuracy from the .38 supers compared to .45's or .38 revolvers. Others I know say, "Not true - they really are SUPER!" <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>



[This message has been edited by cxm (edited 09-28-2003).]
 

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A great find. What you have is a collectable indeed. Early post wars I have are between $1200-1800 depending on condition. Yours of course headspaces on the rim so accuracy can suffer but I have found them to be accurate enough for combat duty which is what they were designed for.
For a real find try for a pre-war to go with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok... a pre war .38 Stupid... have to look around... Are they worth the effort??

Thanks

Chuck
 

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I inherited my dad's 1954 vintage .38 Super LW Commander and it came with brown plastic checkered grips.

Mine is quite accurate with the Lee cast 130 grain round nose bullets.
 

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Say, Jerry ... tell me more about the .38 super, would you? How accurate is it compared to a .38 special revolver? What do you think of its power? Some gun writers give the impression it will easily out-do the .38 special and give the .357 magnum a run for its money. What do YOU say? <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by jerry6stl:

I inherited my dad's 1954 vintage .38 Super LW Commander and it came with brown plastic checkered grips.

Mine is quite accurate with the Lee cast 130 grain round nose bullets.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
 

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Not Jerry but I will give my $.03. The 38super does not have the pinpoint accuracy that a good 38sp revolver will have(that is why bullseye shooters for decades have been using them). As far as power goes the super is well beyond the 38 +p. Even feeble Winchester Silvertips are 125gr @ 1200fps. Standard 38+p is around 850-950 fps.
 

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Hi, Albert! Ok, then, ... would it be safe to say the 38 super is no tack driver but the tales of a flat-shooting, fast bullet are quite accurate? How does the .38 super compare to the 9mm for accuracy? (An army shooting instructor I once knew just HATED the 9mm ... This was when the army was about to dump the .45, which he LOVED and they'd already dumped the M-14, which he loved, too.) <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Albert Shear:
Not Jerry but I will give my $.03. The 38super does not have the pinpoint accuracy that a good 38sp revolver will have(that is why bullseye shooters for decades have been using them). As far as power goes the super is well beyond the 38 +p. Even feeble Winchester Silvertips are 125gr @ 1200fps. Standard 38+p is around 850-950 fps.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
 

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by rcwambold:
Hi, Albert! Ok, then, ... would it be safe to say the 38 super is no tack driver but the tales of a flat-shooting, fast bullet are quite accurate? How does the .38 super compare to the 9mm for accuracy? (An army shooting instructor I once knew just HATED the 9mm ... This was when the army was about to dump the .45, which he LOVED and they'd already dumped the M-14, which he loved, too.) <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
IMHO the super has a flatter trajectory. With modern handguns with headspacing on the casemouth I find the super to be a little more accurate than a 9mm. Remember that there is a lot more room in the case than a 9mm has so you are operating at lower pressures to achieve the same results.
 

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If you want to collect buy the older ones. If you want to shoot for competition and accuracy go with one after the headspacing was changed to ther casemouth in the late 1980s.
 

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Makes sense. Thanks, Albert. <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Albert Shear:
If you want to collect buy the older ones. If you want to shoot for competition and accuracy go with one after the headspacing was changed to ther casemouth in the late 1980s.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
 

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OK. Thanks. Sounds like I'd better get the money together and go buy that post-war, plastic gripped job for $800!? Tell me, though, which would you buy? The one I just described or one of the new ones from the factory as described in the on-line Colt catalogue, nickled and all? And, while I'm asking, what can you tell me about the fancy one listed on some of the web pages for sale, engraved, silver grips, etc.? I may have poor taste, but it sure is FLASHY? Ain't it? But how does it SHOOT? Over? <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Albert Shear:
Originally posted by rcwambold:
Hi, Albert! Ok, then, ... would it be safe to say the 38 super is no tack driver but the tales of a flat-shooting, fast bullet are quite accurate? How does the .38 super compare to the 9mm for accuracy? (An army shooting instructor I once knew just HATED the 9mm ... This was when the army was about to dump the .45, which he LOVED and they'd already dumped the M-14, which he loved, too.) <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
IMHO the super has a flatter trajectory. With modern handguns with headspacing on the casemouth I find the super to be a little more accurate than a 9mm. Remember that there is a lot more room in the case than a 9mm has so you are operating at lower pressures to achieve the same results.
 

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The plain checkered plastic "coltwood" grips are correct for Colts (45s & 38s) made from just after WW2 until about 1949 when Colt started using the plastic grips with the Colt logo molded in them. Colt was probably using up the left over parts they had from WW2 production....

45automaticman
 

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While I agree that .38 Special revolvers are USUALLY more accurate than Colt .38 Supers, I must have an unusual accurate specimen.

My .38 Super LW Commander shoots 2.5" to 3.0" groups at 25 yards, with my handloads. One "secret" is to adjust the bullet seating depth, such that the bullet just kisses the rifling when chambered. This eliminates any of the rumored headspacing issues.

For informal target shooting I still prefer a .38 Special revolver. It is easier to purchase quality wadcutter reloads, and the recoil is less.

For self defense, the .38 Super seems more than adequate -- 130 grainer at 1,200+ fps.
 

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All right! Nothing wrong with groups like that, eh, Jerry! This whole .38 super thing's got me goin'. I need to tag along with somebody to the range and try a few rounds. I really do like the .45's, too, but this is something new to me. I have noticed a, "special," .38 super on one of the gun sale sites - engraved with silver grip panels!? Gaudy as heck and I just LOVED it! It's new manufacture, so I guess the headspace/accuracy thing would be moot. Now, all I need is ANOTHER $1,000+, besides the $1,000+ each for the Gold Cup, the New Frontier, the SAA and the Python Elite! Thunder and blazes!
 
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