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Thread: 38-45 ACP chambered 1911 barrels

  1. #1
    Boolit Master




    bruce drake's Avatar
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    38-45 ACP chambered 1911 barrels

    Does anyone still have one of these old 1911 wildcat barrels or have they all gone into dust trails of history? CH4D still stocks the die sets and I've already got a 1911 in .400 Corbon that I load 155gr SWC and sized at .401 and use .38 Special load data to shoot it with so I was wondering if anyone had such a barrel just sitting on a shelf already willing to sell to another fellow gun nut.

    If they are now just a retired stage in pistol history, I can recut a 38 Super 1911 barrel with a PTG reamer and try to replicate the cartridge over the winter. Its not going to be a dedicated 1911 Bullseye upper as I know the history behind the cartridge and its limited Bullseye success rate in matches back in the day but since we've advanced in powder and bullet technology, perhaps it might lead to a resurgence....nah, but I still would like to see how it shoots.

    Bruce
    Last edited by bruce drake; 12-05-2018 at 06:04 PM.
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    Boolit Master sawinredneck's Avatar
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    I’m usually pretty good at finding oddities like this, no love, sorry! I’ve read several have happened across them on evilbay now and again, but nothing listed now. The other sources referred to, old, no longer list them either.
    You did just miss this, http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...arrel-for-1911
    Sorry I can’t help more.
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  3. #3
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    In its day it only met to be a target round. The trouble was guys would try to hot load the round and burst the neck down 45 toward the rim sometime blowing up the grips. Guys got afraid shoting them because burst rounds reports. Use common sence reloading for it.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master




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    Yes, I still believe in common sense reloading. I don't load my 400 Corbon anywhere close to its full potential either for the same reason. Shooting the 400 Corbon with 155gr SWC with light loads in a full size 1911 literally pops the brass down at my feet for easy pickup afterwards. much more accurate that way also.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by sawinredneck View Post
    I’m usually pretty good at finding oddities like this, no love, sorry! I’ve read several have happened across them on evilbay now and again, but nothing listed now. The other sources referred to, old, no longer list them either.
    You did just miss this, http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...arrel-for-1911
    Sorry I can’t help more.
    I saw it also in January. I was like no. 4 in line to try to get it.

    Bruce
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  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy TRX's Avatar
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    Call Bar-Sto, Nowlin, and Schuemann first. Then work down the list. Bar-Sto used to list .38/45 and .38 Casull.

    What happens is, they drop low-selling calibers from their catalogs, even the online ones, even though they sometimes still have the reamers and gages to chamber them. I wound up buying my own reamer and gauges because nobody listed .40 Super any more; turned out Bar-Sto will still make you one, but you have to ask.

    I was interested in the .38/45, discovered the .38 Casull and was planning to build one, discovered .40 Super brass, which would be a lot easier to form into Casull than .45 brass, and eventually decided to just skip the "swage down to .38" step and go with .40 Super.

    I've seen the lackluster accuracy reports for the .38/45 too, but I suspect the problem was people using the wrong bullets for the twist rate. And I'd look into one of the bulky powders instead of Bullseye, something that would fill more of the case, to avoid powder-positioning problems, which would probably be more of a deal with a bottleneck case than a straight one.

    BTW, the Voices urge me to inform you that the .38 Casull factory load pushed a 147 grain bullet at 1800fps, for 891 foot-pounds of muzzle energy, right up there in .460 Rowland , .44 Magnum, or .357 Auto Mag territory.

  7. #7
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    IIRC the O.D. of the 1911 38Super barrel is not the same as the O.D. of the 1911 45ACP barrel.
    I have 38-45 Clerke Dies and have not been able to find one of these barrels either.
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    Boolit Buddy Jedman's Avatar
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    I have never heard of or seen the round but a 45 ACP is so short already that to neck it down to 38 cal. And have even a .200 length neck it's going to be very small powder capacity and to get even 38 spl ballistics would require loading it to quite high pressures.
    I may be wrong as I am a lot anymore but it doesn't sound like a wildcat with any purpose.

    Jedman

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedman View Post
    I have never heard of or seen the round but a 45 ACP is so short already that to neck it down to 38 cal. And have even a .200 length neck it's going to be very small powder capacity and to get even 38 spl ballistics would require loading it to quite high pressures.
    I may be wrong as I am a lot anymore but it doesn't sound like a wildcat with any purpose.

    Jedman
    Back in the '50s and '60s when Bullseye was THE pistol competition, the 38-45 won a lot of centerfire matches for guys who were competitive with their 22 semi autos and 45 hardball guns and wanted a good "third gun." They were accurate and won matches, but the extra work proved unnecessary as many shooters found they could shoot a 45 wad gun in both CF and the 45 leg and only have to build one gun with negligible difference in performance. The lack of factory ammo (or even brass) didn't help, as many shooters didn't want to spend the time to make their own ammo. There WAS a purpose for the gun, but it was just too specialized for it to have a very large niche.

    Froggie

    PS As I've mentioned in a previous thread on this topic, a close friend of mine, now deceased, held the CF Timed Fire National Record from Camp Perry back in the day using a 38-45 he built while on the Navy Pistol Team... so this is pretty close to first hand knowledge!
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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check