What about a Spanish Destroyer 9mm Largo to .38 wadcutter conversion??

  • 526 Views
  • Last Post 2 days ago
Revolvergeek posted this 2 weeks ago

Good morning all,

I have been reading the Bunny Gun posts for many years and pondering projects. I picked up a well used Spanish Destroyer carbine in 9mm Largo and first started thinking about some heavy and slow handloads for it based on low end .38 spl load data, but then looking at the magazine started pondering about a .38 wadcutter conversion. Has anybody tried this? Seems like maybe a little bolt face / extractor work, ream the chamber and a new modified magazine (I have a couple spare S&W 52 mags with nothing to do) might be all it takes. Any thoughts?

Thanks,

Danny

Attached Files

Order By: Standard | Newest | Votes
frnkeore posted this 2 weeks ago

The Largo is a excellent cartridge, as is. Why not just use heavy SWC's in it?

The Largo is just a 38 Super, w/o a rim. It was originally loaded to 38 Super type velocity's ( 123/124 gr Vs 130 gr bullets). By that, I think the Destroyer should be able to handle at least 25K pressures. I load my Star Super with 38 Super load data.

Rather than try to use 38 Spec brass for flush seated wad cutters, I would suggest shortening 223 brass to suit your application. But, with the flush WC, you may still have a feeding problem, from the magazine.

Frank

Attached Files

TRKakaCatWhisperer posted this 2 weeks ago

I modified the bolt and extractor (SLIGHTLY) to take 38 Super brass.  Much easier to find the brass!

Attached Files

TRKakaCatWhisperer posted this 2 weeks ago

1911 mags work.

Attached Files

M3 Mitch posted this 2 weeks ago

Starline has 9mm Largo brass available, $96 for 500.  In comparison 9mm Luger is $74 for 500.  Unless you lose a lot of brass for some reason, 500 ought to keep you shooting a long time. 

I know that this Destroyer is not exactly the most valuable and collectible gat out there, but, I can't see modifying it (and will the mods work anyway?) when the correct brass is available so readily and cheaply. 

That said if I had a bunch of 38 Super brass available, TRK's slight modification of bolt and extractor to accommodate the slight rim on these might make some sense.

Attached Files

Revolvergeek posted this 2 weeks ago

I have two Destroyers; one pristine and gorgeous and the other well used and worn. I picked up 100 pieces of Starline brass and a ?MecGar maybe? 9 round blued .38 super 1911 mag to modify, with the idea of reloading 9mm Largo at roughly factory levels to shoot in the pretty one. I just have a mountain of .38 spl brass and was pondering the merit of a .38 wadcutter in that sized carbine for a quiet critter getter. I'll probably start out with the 9mm Largo brass a couple 125 ish grain lead bullet loads at 9mmP levels for the pretty one and some 145-173 grain lead at .38 s&w or low end .38 spl loads for the worn one.

Attached Files

frnkeore posted this 2 weeks ago

What mods do you do, to make a 1911 fit the Star Super?

Frank

Attached Files

TRKakaCatWhisperer posted this 2 weeks ago

  Top left: 38spcl in Destroyer mag; under it 38spcl in 45acp 1911 mag; L-R: destroyer mag; 1911 mag; 38 Super - commander mag; and 9mm - commander mag.  ALL fit into the Destroyer.  Far right: destroyer mag showing magazine catch slot.

 

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • M3 Mitch
TRKakaCatWhisperer posted this 2 weeks ago

I would like to do the Commander in 38 Spcl.  Note the angle of feed is much different for the Destroyer and the 1911.  The destroyer depends on the nose guiding it into the chamber. 

Attached Files

Ed Harris posted this 2 weeks ago

Sounds like a fun project that would make an interesting Fouling Shot article!

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • M3 Mitch
Scearcy posted this 2 weeks ago

Fascinating little carbine. I had never heard of it before.

Jim

Attached Files

Revolvergeek posted this 2 weeks ago

Thanks. I always wanted one for years and was lucky enough to find two in the last year locally at quite reasonable prices. Here is the pretty one with both the 1911 mag and the standard mag.

 

 

 

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • M3 Mitch
Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 2 weeks ago

om my !! ... that really is nice ... mine was pretty plain and the bolt was a mismatch, so i sold it unfired ... but since i then had the brass, i bot some Astra 400's ... heh ... completely logical to we certain few ...

ken

Attached Files

M3 Mitch posted this 2 weeks ago

That really is a nice-looking gun.  One more gat for me to be on the prowl for.  A ready-made bunny gun, just buy the brass, cast up some bullets, and get after it.  I would imagine that one of these would make a really great fun plinker, and/or be great for small game. 

How accurate is it?  Although I have never seen a bolt gun that would not shoot better than I can appreciate, given correct-diameter cast bullets.  Are the sights like a Mauser?

Attached Files

Revolvergeek posted this 1 weeks ago

 I haven't shot either of them yet. The ammo that I got with the guns is probably corrosive so was waiting to shoot that up in a Star Super B. The sights on the Destroyers are basic Mauser with a rear notch / long range ladder combo. I expect that they are going to be a lot of fun, just want to load them down to keep them quiet and cheap to shoot.

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • M3 Mitch
M3 Mitch posted this 1 weeks ago

My recommendation would be to get some Starline brass, and some commercial cast 9mm bullets if you don't have a mold, and load up with some Bullseye, Titegroup, or Unique.  You would be best served to check the fit of a bullet to the throat, there are outfits that will cast a bullet to your requested diameter (or size to it).  A too-small bullet will lead the barrel and won't shoot accurately.

Me, I would stash that corrosive-primed ammo for TEOTWAWKI duty, if it ever comes to that.

Do you mind saying what you paid for these?

Attached Files

TRKakaCatWhisperer posted this 1 weeks ago

That really is a nice-looking gun. ...

How accurate is it?  ....

 

Don't expect MOA at 100 yards.  And, at 100 yards it does take the bullet a bit of time to get there!

Attached Files

Millelacs posted this 1 weeks ago

Have you tried .38 Super brass in your Destroyer?

Super brass might fit as is.  My Astra 400's work fine with .38 Super brass (they are marked 9mm / 38).  My Star Super required the extractor to be thinned, otherwise it jammed terribly.  You might luck out.

Wikipedia shows:

.38 Auto       125 gr (8 g) JHP                              1,100 ft/s (340 m/s)  336 ft⋅lbf (456 J)
9mm Largo  127 gr (8 g) FMJ                               1,167 ft/s (356 m/s)  384 ft⋅lbf (521 J)
.38 Super     8.04 g (124 gr) Ruag FMJ                1,411 ft/s (430 m/s)  546 ft⋅lbf (740 J)
.38 Spl         8.1 g  (125 gr) Hornady JHP               900 ft/s (270 m/s)  225 ft⋅lbf (305 J)
.38 Spl         8.1 g  (125 gr) Underwood FMJ +P  1,000 ft/s (300 m/s)  278 ft⋅lbf (377 J)

Comparing 125 gr loads, even the lowly .38 Auto would be hotter with more energy than a .38 Spl +P.

At a price difference of $22.00 for 500 pieces of brass, per M3 Mitch, 9mm Largo would give you a more powerful round with no modifications to your rifle.

Attached Files

Millelacs posted this 1 weeks ago

Do you know if any Spanish pistol (Star, Astra, Lama) mags will fit and function?

Attached Files

TRKakaCatWhisperer posted this 6 days ago

Have you tried .38 Super brass in your Destroyer?
...

The 38 Super is semi-rimless.   SLIGHTLY larger than the 9mm Largo.  I had my bolt face opened SLIGHTLY and the extractor shortened SLIGHTLY; so it does both.

 

 

Attached Files

Larry Gibson posted this 6 days ago

 

My Destroyer had been rode hard and put away wet back when I got it.  Wasn't near as pristine as I've seen since so the modifications I made to it really didn't hurt any assumed "collector value".  I was only wanting a shooter anyway and the bore was clean.  It turned out to be a good shooter actually but there was not readily available 9mm Bergman brass available.  The chamber was a bit over size in diameter and 38 Super cases were to short.  I opened the bolt face to accommodate the rim but unless the rim hooked under the extractor (about 30 - 40 % of the time) it would not headspace and would not fire. 

I pulled the barrel and determined if the barrel was screwed in 1/2 turn the 38 Super cases would headspace.  I did that and faced the barrel off then cut a new groove for the extractor.  A U shaped washer was made to fit between the barrel face and inside the receiver and reshaped into a feed ramp blocking the original extractor cut.  It all sounds harder than it actually was.

 

I then removed the rear sight and base.  I rotated the front sight base 180 degrees and modified it to take an M14 front sight.  The rear receiver ring was D*T'd for a Williams ramp with aperture sight.  I shot it that way quite a bit but discovered a Weaver base for a Contender fit the barrel contour.  So I D&T'd the barrel for that and put a ProPoint red dot sight ala scout fashion on it.  In the end it is a very nice shooter.

  

I worked up some real "burner" loads with jacketed bullets; 1700 fps with a 125 HP and 1873 fps with a 90 gr HP....... however, my standard load is just 3 gr of Bullseye or WST under the 120 gr Lee TC cast bullet.  It runs 970 fps and shoots like this at 50 yards;

The oversized chamber left the case swelled so I use a 9mmP die backed out and just partial size leaving the case mostly swelled.  The cases that way don't get overly sized and if I load the "burner loads' they won't chamber in a 38 ACP/Super.  I haven't loaded any "burners" for some years so I'm content with using the 9mmP dies to load with.  The right cartridge is with the case swelled and reloaded.

 

I started off with a hundred cases but since have picked up 700 - 800 38 Super cases left on the range after several IDPA matches.  Good thing I have those, a 6 cavity 356-120-TC mould and a Dillon 550B to load on because my wife is the only one who shoots it now........I just get to clean it and reload for it........depressed

LMG

Concealment is not cover.........

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • delmarskid
Ed Harris posted this 6 days ago

Larry, I like your adaptation.

Does it function with .38 Super or 9mm Largo factory loads? Just curious.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

Attached Files

Eutectic posted this 5 days ago

Starline has 38 Super Comp and 38 TJ cases which are rimless versions of 38 Super. I use the Super Comp as it has the same internal capacity as 38 Super cases.  The rimless case might be the perfect answer for the Destroyer carbine to avoid modifications. 500 cases is a lot, Starline cases last and last. Why not split up an order of correct Starline 9mm Largo brass?

Call Starline or drop them a e-mail and they will send a few sample cases.

Steve

I would rather get good brass than modify a good rifle.

 

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • M3 Mitch
Larry Gibson posted this 5 days ago

My modified Destroyer functions perfectly with factory 38 APC and Super ammunition.  I have not tried 9mm Largo. 

Eutectic; "good brass" was not available back when I modified the rifle.  I agree I would not modify many of the later Destroyers I've seen.  I am not suggesting anyone modify theirs now as correct reloadable brass cases are readily available.  I merely said what I did.  Every surplus rifle is not a "collectable" and many of them are modified as are many factory firearms to make them more useable to their owners.  As the rifle was when I got it it was useable......I made it useable.

LMG

Concealment is not cover.........

Attached Files

Revolvergeek posted this 4 days ago

 Larry, that is very cool! I was thinking of something along those lines for my ugly one.

 

My thoughts on .38 wadcutter were just that it would be nice to have a little rifle in the same caliber to match up with the revolver to plinking, hiking, target shooting, etc. I have a Star Super B in 9mm Largo but I don't see it becoming a favorite play gun. I don't own anything in .38 super and I don't shoot my .38 ACP so modifying it to use .38 super brass doesn't give me any advantage over just buying Starline 9mm Largo brass (which I already have 100 of).

Attached Files

Larry Gibson posted this 4 days ago

Revolvergeek

That certainly makes sense.  I just tried 5 38 SPL WCs in the Destroyer magazine and they fit okay.  However, they did not feed into the chamber at all as they took a nose dive and hung up well below the feed ramp.  Perhaps with a magazine set up for the 38 SPL?

LMG

Concealment is not cover.........

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • M3 Mitch
frnkeore posted this 4 days ago

 It won't help you with brass, interchangeability but, if you cut 223 brass to 1.38, you can load WC in it, You may have to ream inside or even turn the outside of the case so, that it doesn't bulge and of course lengthen the chamber, as with the 38 Spec.

223 brass is cheap and no modification to the bolt face.

Frank

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • M3 Mitch
M3 Mitch posted this 2 days ago

I see a couple of these on gun auction sites for like $280 and $350, is this about what they are bringing anymore?  Not sure how I have been fooling with guns for more than 40 years and until reading this thread had never heard of these Destroyer carbines. 

Attached Files

RicinYakima posted this 2 days ago

To the best of my knowledge, they were all imported in the 1950's, but ammo was not available after 1960. Action is too short to convert to 222 Remington and not safe over about 36,000 PSI. They are great for what we are discussing, 38 WC;s and 9MM's, but have not been popular except for guys that like "bunny guns" or plinkers. I saw one about 10 years ago made into a .30 caliber based on a very short 223 case that would shoot 110 grain Speer HP's into less than an inch at a hundred at about 1300 f/s. Beautiful blue in a full Mannlicher stock that was the guy's favorite plinker. Kind of like the 310 Cadet, in a world of their own.

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • M3 Mitch
frnkeore posted this 2 days ago

They can also be re-barreled to 7.62x25, w/o modification of the bolt. I don't think the magazine would need to be modified, either. It should feed just fine.

I don't have a Destroyer but, I do have a Star Super and a Mod 54 Tok. Both are excellent cartridges.

Frank

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • M3 Mitch
Close