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Sunday Range Report December 9, 2007

Posted by Mitchell in Guns.

Yesterday I went down and picked up another 100 rounds of ammo for the gun.  This time I paid $26.37 for Remington .38 Special +P 125 gr. semi-jacketed hollowpoints.  I went by the range too, but they were packed and had people waiting so I passed and went today.  There were plenty of stalls available this time so I paid up and headed on in.  I picked up some new targets when I got the ammo so I had plenty of paper to shoot at and I remembered to bring a pen so I could accurately record the ammo and ranges I was working with.  They charge you 50 cents per target if you get them at the range, so it’s really worth buying those elsewhere.  Let’s see how I did.

These targets are about 14 by 18 inches total with the outer circle at 12 inches diameter.  The black inner circle is 8 inches in diameter.  They say they are 100 yard range smallbore rifle targets, but I think they are ok for handguns too.   I started off at the 7 yard range with the new Remington ammo.  I was really interested in seeing how the + P stuff did compared to the regular .38’s.

  1st Target

Pretty darned good at short range!  I shot two loads, single action and pulled it back to see how I did.  I grouped a little low and to the right, but I was happy to see one shot smack dab in the middle of the bull’s eye.  All shots were in the black. 

2nd Target

I remembered what Mr. Minority recommended about mostly practicing at the longer ranges and also to doing more double action shots once I felt I had my single action under control.  This was at 10 yards with the Remington ammo, 14 shots, double action.  This was terrible!  Only 5 shots in the black, low and to the right again.  5 shots missed the circle and one missed the target completely.  Oh dear.

3rd Target

Well, I need to see just how bad it could get, so I backed the next one up to 15 yards and shot two more loads of the Remington stuff with the double action.  Only five shots were in either circle, and again most everything low and right.  Except one shot that just hit the lower left corner.  4 shots missed paper entirely.  Obviously I was very disappointed at this result.  Part of the problem is that at this distance I can’t tell how well, or poorly I’m doing from shot to shot, so I can’t do any corrections. 

I decided to switch off of the +P stuff and go back to the regular .38’s with single action.  These are the Winchester 130 gr. full metal jacket blunt noses at 15 yards

4th Target

Now that’s A LOT better!  All shots were in the 12 inch circle, most in the black and I found red again!  Interestingly, these were on the high side this time, but still on the right.

I brought along a few rounds of the expensive premium ammo to see how they did compared to the cheaper stuff.  First up were the .357 Magnum rounds.

  5th Target

I should have brought full loads of both to test, but I only brought four.  So this was four loads of the premium Federal stuff and three of the Winchester.  I fired the Winchesters first and then the “Low Recoil” Federals, single action at 10 yards.  Not too bad – they’re all in the rings and five are in the black.  I had the worst control with the most expensive rounds of this group. “Low Recoil” my ass.

I went back out to 15 yards with the .38 +P ammo.  This time it was four rounds of the premium Gold Dot Speer 135 gr.  and 10 of the Remington.  Interstingly, I can actually distinguish between the two ammo’s strike patterns on the target.

6th Target

The differnce probably isn’t noticable in these pictures though, and they weren’t in the feel of firing them either.  These were single action at 15 yards.  One round hit on the bottom left of the paper and the rest were in the rings, most in the black.

I decided to finish up with two loads of the regular .38’s at 15 yards, single action.  I think Dave In Texas recommended finishing up a shooting session with full metal jacket rounds to help clear out the lead residue from the gun so that’s what I did.

7th Target

This was a bit of a mixed bag.  Two rounds outside of the rings, but 10 in the black and one more time in the red.

So there ya go.  Overall, I guess I’m a fair shot with the single action at various ranges and ammo types.  I really need to work the double action though and the next time at the range I’m going to focus on it.  Anybody have any tips?


1. Mr Minority - December 10, 2007

Nice Shooting Enas!

For Double Action, without any bullets in the gun, practice just squeezing the trigger, give it a nice even pressured squeeze. as you do this, watch the front sight and see if it move up and to the right. Keep practicing dry firing the gun, and then take it out to the range. If you are going to practice DA, you can do that at 7 yrds, and when you become proficient, move it out top 15 yrds.

2. Enas Yorl - December 10, 2007

Thanks – I’ll try that. So, it’s okay to dry fire guns? I remember from years ago my Dad saying not to do that because it wasn’t good for the gun. Although, why it was better for the gun to trigger a violent explosion rather than a little click was never explained to me.

3. Steamboat McGoo - December 10, 2007

IIRC, the taboo against dry-firing applied to auto-loader pistols and all rifles. Revolvers are pretty much exempt. As a matter of fact, I recall reading that the FBI candidate/students used to be instructed to take their issued pistol home and dry-fire it 200 times with each hand. Sound easy? Try it. Now apologize to your two index fingers.

The reason to not dry-fire weapons with bolt- or receiver/slide-carried firing pins is that a rim can develop on the pin, allowing it to wedge and stick (or break) in the weapon.

.22 caliber weapons of any type are not supposed to be dry-fired because the firing pin (acting on the edge of the cartridge rim rather than the center) will gouge a groove into the receiver – distorting the barrel entrance and wrecking the chambering action – and also dull/wear the firing pin.

All from an old memory – all debatable.

4. Enas Yorl - December 11, 2007

Thanks McGoo! I’ve been practicing the dry fire and my hand definitely moves about durning the cocking action. Even with great concentration I can’t seem to prevent that from happening, but it does seem somewhat consistent to an up and right motion. At least with a steady pull all the way to firing. There is a point where the gun is definitely cocked and I can stop and hold it there briefly to re-center my shot before finishing. The instruction manual calls this “staging” the double action shot and strongly recommends against it. Hm. I suppose if one is in “The Shit” and absolutely, positively needs to get that bullet out NOW one isn’t going to “stage” the shot is one?

5. Steamboat McGoo - December 12, 2007

When you described what you were doing (staging) I immediately thought , “Oh, shit! Don’t!”.

Staging is extremely dangerous because – while you may believe you have control over that hammer suspended there in mid-stroke – if you add a bit of adrenalin and a dose of fear or serious nervousness, you will lose that touchy semblance of control and mis-fire the weapon.

IMHO, the trick to double-action firing is the control of all of the muscles in the hand to eliminate or compensate for the “moving around” during the trigger-pull process. Other things to consider are grips. A mismatch on grips/hands can affect the dynamic of the pull.

BTW: I have small hands, so grip is usually a problem. Its something I have to watch constantly.

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