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9 major or 38 super comp for open?


Muldune21

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Ford vs Chevy.

I'm a 9mm fan. I only shoot 9mm. I have never even considered 38.

I have many 9's and it makes it easier to load. Makes major easily and if you lose brass, no biggie.

9mm range brass is approx $25-$30/1k.

If I remember correctly, 48% 38 & 44% 9mm at nationals. Pretty much split down the middle.

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If you like more powder choices and don't mind picking up brass at every match then go 38 super/comp.

If you would rather give your back and knees a break by leaving it on the ground, which in my opinion makes the match much more enjoyable then go 9 major.

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I have both and I have leaned more towards the 9mm over the 38 super. Its mainly because I don't want to be worried about brass after a stage or match. Also on my mags, I have had problems with 38 super loading consistently into my gun. So I guess the 9mm is more forgiving if the mags are not perfectly tuned atleast on my gun. But I will say that I used some 3n38 powder with the 38 super and the gun did shoot flatter than with the 9mm. So in my case it's a give or take. So my answer for now would probably lean more towards the 9mm for reliability on my gun and not having to hunt for brass after a stage.

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What is better for open gun 9 major or 38 super?

​YES.

​There is no "better".

I shoot 9mm Major because I don't want to spend $750 to purchase 5,000 cases new ...

It isn't really a major problem (no pun intended) to buy 5,000 brand new .38 super cases,

and use them for practice 4 times, and then reload them for lost case matches - and then

they would cost about the same as reloading range brass 9mm cases.

BUT, I just don't want to go thru the aggravation.

I buy range brass 9mm for $50/5,000 and don't have to worry about them.

I'm only a B shooter, and see NO advantage to shooting .38 super, but our local

Master shooter (M) agrees - he shoots 9mm major, and cost is NO object to him.

He just simply doesn't see any advantage to him, and he's trying to get to GM.

Ten years ago, when I started out in OPEN, 9mm Major was a Golden Grail -

tough to safely achieve a Major PF safely and so that it would also function 100%.

Not anymore.

Today, it is VERY easy to shoot 9mm Major and have it function 100%.

Ignoring brass cost/consideration - I have to suggest that it is possible that

you can use a few powders in .38 super which might give you a 1-2% advantage

vs 9mm major - IFF you spend a Lot Of Time developing and testing the

loads and you feel that a 1-2% advantage in recoil pulse makes that kind of

difference to YOU.

For me, it's a no-brainer - 9mm Major.

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.38SC for me. I get back the bulk of my brass back at our local club matches, and when I do shoot Open at a major the cost of a few hundred cases left on the ground is a pittance compared to travel expenses. Seems like most of the finicky Open guns at our club are 9mms.

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Well, I'm the oddball here. My vision problems are now such that I have a hard time shooting Limited anymore. I decided to build or buy an Open pistol. While I was researching the advantages of 38SC and 9mm, I acquired, then modified an Open upper for my CZ TS Limited gun. Developing good loads for 40 Open was an interesting exercise, and proved a lot of conventional wisdom misleading.

While researching the differences, I discovered lots of things. 38SC brass is expensive, and every match I shoot is lost brass. The 9mm crowd using 115gr bullets over boatloads of very slow powder will eventually lose their hearing. They are loud, and all I saw where not dead flat shooting. The 38 Supers were not quite as loud, and the additional case capacity gives you more powder choices.

I decided to eliminate 9mm, because I didn't want to push the envelope that far, and I definitely did now want the noise or concussion. Then I watched Dave O. shoot Open with his highly modified M&P 5" against other Ms shooting 2011s. The 2011s acted just like all the others I had seen in action. Dave's was not as loud and shot dead flat. He cleaned everyone's clock and won all but one stage. He even won a stage where he had a misfeed. I called him later in the week to find out what he was shooting. He told me a 124gr bullet over 6.8gr HS-6 (if memory serves). His comp was custom and he didn't hold the pistol with a death grip. It was eye opening.

I did some more checking and found out that a lot of the poly pistol Open shooters were using 124gr bullets, and occasionally heavier with Autocomp or HS-6. It seems it is only the 2011 crowd who believes in fast 115gr bullets.

Recently I bought a used 2011 Open pistol in 40sw. This one had two poppels in addition to the comp. Results were very similar to what I found in my TS Open upper. 135gr bullets were very accurate, but harsher. 155s using Autocomp or HS-6 were the cat's meow. While very slightly less flat than the 135s, the were quieter, easier to shoot, and the dot behaved very well. It went straight up and down, did not dip and was predictable. In fact, I learned that I could just time the second shot. It was that repeatable.

Along the way I discovered the "advantages" of 29+1 were largely mythical where I shoot. One club with lots of room makes absolutely certain that Open shooters have to cover pretty much the same ground as the Limited or Production shooters. Another makes sure that even Open shooters have to reload. On the one stage where they didn't (except for the classifier), they even named it Limited and Open shooters don't have to reload.

I learned a lot with all this research and experimenting. This winter I'm going to build my self a custom 2011 Open pistol. I haven't decided on caliber yet. Hopefully I'll be shooting a Level 3 match this fall with 13 or 14 stages. If I find that the stage design favors the additional capacity, I'll build it in 9mm and shoot 124gr bullets. If not, it will be a 40 shooting 155 or possibly 135gr bullets, depending on whether I go with a few poppels or not. What it will not be is 38 S or SC. The case capacity is now a non-issue, because I will not be using gobs of really slow powders, Since there is no longer an advantage, the brass costs kill the deal.

To answer another of the OP's questions, 9mm is only 1/3 the cost if you buy cheap, mixed HS range brass, condition it yourself, and don't value your time. I have lots of friends shooting 9mm Minor or Major. Those that do not condition their cases or chamber check them ALWAYS have jams at matches and lose a boatload of time. Those that do, don't. If you don't want to do the work yourself, buying cleaned, resized, decaped, swaged primer pocket, roll sized, same HS brass will cost you 6 cents each in 9 and 40, so the difference in reloading cost is essentially nil. 38S or SC will cost you 11 cents more for the purchase of the brass, otherwise, reloading costs are very similar assuming you do not use VV powders.

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You don't need to do extensive brass prep to shoot 9 major reliably. I use mixed range brass, dry tumble for 45 min and load, after loading I tumble again, chamber check each round in the barrel and place it in a plastic ammo box. I then run my finger over the head stamps and pull out the stepped brass (FM, INT and Ammoland) for use in practice. Since I adopted these steps my guns have run flawlessly.

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I have was shot over 6k rounds out if my used 9 major open gun since I got it. I have only had 10 or so failure to eject . Cant figure out why it does it. I read about all the issues with the 9mm major round and I have not had any of the issues . I load it up like any other 9mm and shoot it. I think enough people had experience making good running 9 guns that it's not issue any more

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Well, 10 failures per 6,000 would not upset me, but I'm still not convinced 9mm Major is for me. I'm going to ask to be placed on squads with the most Open shooters for the rest of the season. That will give me a chance to observe them and talk to them about their problems, if any.

I've also upgraded my reloading setup so I have more flexibility and speed. I'm also trying Lee Carbide Factory taper Crimp dies in 40 and 45. They resize the case on the way down, crimp, and resize again on the way up. If that minimizes the rejects using once fired 40 range brass, I'd probably go 9mm major. In 40, about 1/3 of the brass i buy is Glock'd and is not full sized by my Dillon dies. I chamber check every round to be used in competition. Any that don't drop in and out of my EGW chamber gauge get put in the practice bin. I shoot them for practice and discard the case.

If the Lee crimper cures that for 40, 9mm major becomes that much more attractive. A local indoor range makes you buy the ammo you shoot from them. They pick up the brass and resell it. They charge $10 for a bulk ammo box full (box held 10 50 round boxes of factory) of 9mm. There are 2500-3000 in the box.

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ZZT, also considering open, thought the dot was not supposed to jump up and down?, new to this area of open shooting.

That would be nice. The problem is, the dot moves quite a bit, but hopefully with the right load, good grip, etc. you can keep the dot movement within the lens. If all is well, it seems to go pretty much straight up and down, with small jagged movements to the side. The idea is to minimize it and pull the trigger again when it returns to center. (This is for me - others' experiences are ...?)

The darn thing shows every little movement of the gun, your hands, breathing, etc. It was quite an experience the first 1000 rounds or so, until I got used to it. It does help you develop more consistency in grip, stance, index, etc.

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js, you can develop a dead flat shooting load. I did using the lightest possible bullet and heaps of slow powder. I hated it. Recoil was harsh. It was hard on the gun and even harder on the hands and ears. I had to go up to 188PF to make it dead flat, and that is excessive IMO.

I don't want deafening and harsh and am more than willing to trade a little dot movement for softer and quieter, as long as the dot is well behaved. With my two 155gr major loads, dot movement is very predictable. The Autocomp load tracks straight up and down and returns to center automagically. The HS-6 load does the same except there is a little side-to-side jiggle as well. Neither requires a lot of strong grip.

The 135 loads are not quite as predictable. Grip pressure has to be precise, and I'm not quite there yet.

teros, it even shows your heartbeat.

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js, you can develop a dead flat shooting load. I did using the lightest possible bullet and heaps of slow powder. I hated it. Recoil was harsh. It was hard on the gun and even harder on the hands and ears. I had to go up to 188PF to make it dead flat, and that is excessive IMO.

I don't want deafening and harsh and am more than willing to trade a little dot movement for softer and quieter, as long as the dot is well behaved. With my two 155gr major loads, dot movement is very predictable. The Autocomp load tracks straight up and down and returns to center automagically. The HS-6 load does the same except there is a little side-to-side jiggle as well. Neither requires a lot of strong grip.

The 135 loads are not quite as predictable. Grip pressure has to be precise, and I'm not quite there yet.

teros, it even shows your heartbeat.

I hear you about the heartbeat. I think one of the (unexpected, to me) things about the dot is that it reveals all the movements of the gun that everyone probably has; you just don't see them on an non-dot gun. This makes how we're handling all the fundamentals - stance, grip, sight picture, breath control, trigger control, follow through - a lot more obvious. And how!

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Two years ago I purchased a 38 Sup Grand Master. A large part of the decision was made due the powder shortage at the time. If I had purchased a 9mm I would not have been able to load anything for at least 12 months. I was able to use powder I had on hand for my 9x25 open guns. Powder is not a problem at this time.

The cost of brass is generally the major argument for 9mm open. I shoot about 20K rounds per year but only 3k at matches. At the current cost of brass my total cost is 438 per year if I never pick up brass at a match. While the cost of brass does raise the cost it is not the most expensive part of shooting, compared to match fees, 250 mile round trip to matches for me, lunch after and so on.

You have many more powder choices with 38 super. The comp requires gas to work well so large quantities of slow is best. Loud? Well I shot 9x25 for 15 years, my 38 super barely makes any noise. :)

All that said open to too much fun- you can't go wrong with either.

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.

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While researching the differences, I discovered lots of things. 38SC brass is expensive, and every match I shoot is lost brass. The 9mm crowd using 115gr bullets over boatloads of very slow powder will eventually lose their hearing. They are loud, and all I saw where not dead flat shooting. The 38 Supers were not quite as loud, and the additional case capacity gives you more powder choices. More powder choices like....? N105, Blue Dot, AA#9, I can't really think of any others that you would want to shoot for major that a 38 can use a 9mm can't. Also, I disagree with your anecdote about 9mm's being louder, 38's can make significantly more gas and more often have barrel holes, which both make the guns much louder. Further, as a person that firmly believes we should all be doing as much as possible to protect our hearing, ANYONE shooting open should be wearing double ear protection.

I decided to eliminate 9mm, because I didn't want to push the envelope that far, and I definitely did now want the noise or concussion. Then I watched Dave O. shoot Open with his highly modified M&P 5" against other Ms shooting 2011s. The 2011s acted just like all the others I had seen in action. Dave's was not as loud and shot dead flat. He cleaned everyone's clock and won all but one stage. He even won a stage where he had a misfeed. I called him later in the week to find out what he was shooting. He told me a 124gr bullet over 6.8gr HS-6 (if memory serves). His comp was custom and he didn't hold the pistol with a death grip. It was eye opening. Top level guys have incredible crush strength, so even though they are only gripping at maybe 90% it still makes us mere mortals look like wimps. Also, I'm guessing it was 7.8 of HS6, there is zero chance that 6.8 would be making major with that slow of a powder. HS6 is starting to get pretty far down the list.

I did some more checking and found out that a lot of the poly pistol Open shooters were using 124gr bullets, and occasionally heavier with Autocomp or HS-6. It seems it is only the 2011 crowd who believes in fast 115gr bullets. I have shot both 115 and 124/5 grain bullets in both 2011 and polymer guns, and prefer the 115s in both. Lots of the reasons people load heavier bullets in poly guns is because they are restricted by magazine length, so they use the heavier bullet so they aren't compressing their powder charge as much (less powder to make major).

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Along the way I discovered the "advantages" of 29+1 were largely mythical where I shoot. One club with lots of room makes absolutely certain that Open shooters have to cover pretty much the same ground as the Limited or Production shooters. Another makes sure that even Open shooters have to reload. On the one stage where they didn't (except for the classifier), they even named it Limited and Open shooters don't have to reload. A lot of people assume that people that shoot open can't reload fast/don't know how to reload. Reloading is part of the game, learn it. There will always be stages when everyone has to do a reload, but on those 25-27/8 round stages, 29 vs 25 in the big stick can make a huge difference.

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To answer another of the OP's questions, 9mm is only 1/3 the cost if you buy cheap, mixed HS range brass, condition it yourself, and don't value your time. I have lots of friends shooting 9mm Minor or Major. Those that do not condition their cases or chamber check them ALWAYS have jams at matches and lose a boatload of time. Those that do, don't. If you don't want to do the work yourself, buying cleaned, resized, decaped, swaged primer pocket, roll sized, same HS brass will cost you 6 cents each in 9 and 40, so the difference in reloading cost is essentially nil. 38S or SC will cost you 11 cents more for the purchase of the brass, otherwise, reloading costs are very similar assuming you do not use VV powders. Gonna fully disagree with you here, it take me no more time than for anything else to load. Load it, gauge it, box it. Also, my brass is not 1/3 the price of 38, it is free. I go to the range and just pick up as much as I want after every single match.

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9mm is appealing enough to me that I'm changing my new to me open gun over to it from 38 super. It needs a new barrel anyhow so I figured I'd go the cheaper (and easier on the back) route. Plus I can fund a good portion of the work with the sale of the 38 super brass and dies. Open sounds like too much fun to have to worry about picking brass all day.

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