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Thread: Making SUPER 38 Super brass from 223

  1. #1
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    Buckshot's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    So. California

    Making SUPER 38 Super brass from 223

    ............This was from "Handloader Magazine" #116. July-August 1985. Note that this was NOT an article about shooting cast in the 38 Super. Of the 34 loads shown (30 reloads, and 4 factory) all but 2 were jacketed loads. The 2 cast loads were also fired in conventional 38 Super brass.

    The basic reason for using the 223 case for forming Super, 38 Super brass (they were calling it the "Super 9" was because of the common headspacing issue the Super was afflicted with. This was a means to make a case long enough to truly headspace on the casemouth. In addition, due to the difference in the rim between the two cases, it may be necessary to modify the extractor. The author's gunsmith altered his and it worked with both conventional and mod'ed 223 cases.

    Also a matter is chamber ID and the barrels groove if shooting cast. It is possible that the 223 cases may have to be inside reamed. Finally the author found that using small rifle primers worked better, due to their height difference in a case designed for small rifle primers.

    The Basics, using commercial 223 brass

    1) Cut 223 Rem cases to 1.1"
    2) Trim to approximately .905" using a .33 pilot*
    3) Expand in 38 Super die
    3a) Ream with .356"-.358" reamer if using .357" bullets or boolits**
    4) Run through FL size die
    5) Re-expand
    6) Chamfer inside and de-burr outside of case mouth
    7) Prime with small rifle primers

    * Experiment with final trim length as after firing, the expanded case will shorten slightly
    ** This will depend on the brass, chamber ID and your projectile diameter

    Some load data. Barrel length 4-1/4". Remember, this was 23 years ago

    90gr Horn JHP, WW540 11.5grs, 1770 fps. Working load.
    90gr Sierra JHC, WW571 13.3grs, 1816 fps. Max
    115gr Horn JHP, Unique 7.7grs, 1460 fps. Low Velocity
    115gr Horn JHP, WW571 12.1grs, 1650 fps. Max, full case.
    125gr Speer JSP, Unique 7.9grs, 1390 fps. Full case.
    125gr Speer JSP, WW571 10.5grs, 1450 fps. Max, full case

    If you're inclined to heavy slugs in the Super, Layne Simpson had an article in "Handloader Magazine" #158, July-Aug 1992 Titled (for some reason) Heavy Bullets in the .38 Super.

    34 Loads (jacketed) with 147gr Hornady, 150gr Noslers, 158gr Speer, 160gr Hornady, 170gr Sierra, and 180gr Noslers. Velocities from 1228 fps to 1012 fps.

    23 Loads (cast) 147gr TCFN Bull-X, 150gr SWC Bull-X, 155gr SWC Bull-X, 160gr CS RN. Velocities from 1238 fps to 1150 fps.

    Another Layne Simpson article in a 1996 "Handloader" on the 38 Super has load data for 4 load levels of intensity, and DOES show that the modern 38 Super IS pretty SUPER

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  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    I used data from this same article to make almost identical brass for a 9mm Astra. It worked but was a lot of work and a real PITA. Specially for a pistol that scattered each clip of brass over half the Black Hills. I really liked the quality and looks of the pistol but the trigger pull and handling were something else again and I sold it. Shortly afterwards ammo became available. Neil

  3. #3
    It's called 9x23 Winchester and mine does 1500fps with a 125 Silvertip from a 5" 1911 at circa 50k psi. Starline sells 9mm Super Comp and it's dimensionally the same but the brass is a little softer. Running 9x23 loads in a 38Super in an unsupported chamber is gonna grenade sooner or later. S/F.....Ken M

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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