The Super .38 Super: Part II

Volkmann Precision Custom 1911

The Volkmann Precision Super .38 Super performed well with Sig Sauer factory loads.

About 10 years ago it was my privilege to test and evaluate a pair of custom .45 ACP pistols, one 1911-style and the other on the Commander pattern both of which were by Volkmann Precision. Those two Luke Volkmann .45 ACP pistols were the Combatant Carry and the Custom Signature Series 1911 .45 ACP.  Both were exceptionally well carried out, extremely accurate with great sights and trigger and performed flawlessly when it came to feeding and chambering. Today, I have my own.

Luke describes the Volkmann Precision Process thusly: “The process I used to build your pistol is ideal for a custom 1911. There are no assembly lines at Volkmann Precision and all pistols are built one at a time to the customer specifications. My parts are machined to maximum dimensions, then hand fit for minimal tolerances while providing flawless functioning. I utilize only the best quality bar stock and hardened steel to craft my components. My custom frames and slide are CNC cut for extreme precision from an all steel forging then hand fit with small pillar files and lapped with a multitude of abrasive compounds. The larger working parts are then fit and blended into the frame and slide with the help of a vertical mill and special cutters. My machined, hand broached and chambered barrels are cut to precisely mate up with my slides and frame. I fit these premium match barrels by hand along with an oversized Stainless Steel barrel bushing for guaranteed accuracy. After the pistol is in mechanical order, I unify the parts into one smooth form and dehorn all edges of the weapon.”

I especially appreciate the dehorning. My hands have become more and more tender over the years and do not meet up well with sharp edges. In addition to the dehorning process the edges of the rear sight blade are also smoothed off as are the sides of sight proper. At the same time, the rear sight can be used in an emergency to work the slide and chamber a round. Guns are supposed to be comforting; however, I still appreciate it when they are also comfortable.

I did not give Luke any specifications for this pistol. He took what he knew about me and incorporated everything into building the Perfect 1911. He knew I hold the semi-automatic .38 Super in the same high esteem as the .44 Special in a sixgun. He also knew of my liking for smoothed out stag grips with just a little bark left on them. The stag grips really contrast nicely with the finish of the all-stainless-steel Super.

The top of the slide is flattened off with full length serrations running from behind the front sight to the front of the rear sight. The front sight is a Patridge with a gold bead and set in a dovetail while the rear sight is a custom Volkmann Battlehook also set in a dovetail. The square notch rear sight is serrated on the back to cut down glare and, and for my eyes, the square notch fits perfectly with the front sight. The sides of the slide are polished and marked “COMBAT CUSTOM” on the right side and “VOLKMANN PRECISION” on the left. Cocking serrations are found below and to the front of the rear sight on both sides of the slide. The hammer is Commander-style matched up with a beavertail grip safety with a memory bump.

The flat mainspring housing and the front strap are both finally checkered providing for a very secure hold. (They also look exceptionally attractive.) The nine-shot magazine releases easily when the magazine release button behind the trigger is pushed. The trigger is the three hole-style and is set at a smooth and crisp 4 pounds. The barrel is tapered to the front and matches up tightly with the bushing. Working the slide quickly shows the effort which went into fitting the slide and frame together as it feels like the proverbial ball bearings. Controls found on the left side include the slide stop and a serrated and slightly elongated thumb safety.

Handloads shot at 20 yards with the Volkmann Precision Super .38 Super.

The original .38 Super load was a 130 grain FMJ bullet with a muzzle velocity rated at  1.190 fps. This is duplicated today by the Black Hills 130 FMJ which clocks out at 1,202 fps and puts six shots into 1”at 20 yards while the Winchester 130 FMJ clocks out at 1,126 fps with the same accuracy. Other results with factory loads include the Armscor 125 FMJ, 1,080 fps, 1”; Winchester Silvertip 125 HP, 1,155 fps, 1-1/4”; and Sig Sauer 125 V-Crown JHP groups in 1-1/4” with a muzzle velocity of 1,242 fps.

Some favorite handloads include the Hornady 124 XTP-JHP over 9.2 grains of Accurate #7 for a muzzle velocity of 1,207 fps and a 1-1/4” group; Hornady’s 147 XTP-JHP with 8.6 grains of Accurate #7, 1,117 fps,1”; and Hornady’s 115 XTP-JHP clocked out at 1,374 fps using

7.5 grains of Power Pistol while giving a one-inch group. My two practice loads using Oregon Trails Hard Cast bullets consist of the 125 RN over 8.7 grains of Accurate #7 at 1,144 fps and just under one-inch while 8.0 grains of the same powder under the 147 FN results in a group just over 1 inch with a muzzle velocity of 1,178 fps.

This Volkmann Precision Combat Custom Super .38 Super is definitely a Perfect Packin’ Pistol. Volkmann Precision can be checked out at