Sunday, June 13, 2004

My first deer ever was taken with a Marlin M336 .30-30 (if I can find the serial number of that gun I would, foolish youth sent it on it's way in a trade...[:I]) with a Williams Foolproof Receiver Sight. My dad bought it for me (although I'd thought I'd saved enough for it and that it was MY money that crossed the counter) and it was bought used from a Western Auto (remember those?) in Harrisonburg, VA. I still go by the spot I shot that deer every year, usually carrying Dad's gun... Anyway, it was a buck that field dressed at 120 pounds and had a little 5 point (eastern count) rack. My dad drove it off a clear cut and I shot it at about 40 yards. I think that was 1970... We found a 20 gauge Foster slug just under the skin and just behind the rib cage and that wound was all healed up. Lots of fine memories in that one hunt...

I often wonder if Dad knew just what that one event would mean to me over the years. In Korea, when fall came and I couldn't go home to hunt, I'd often day dream of that hunt. Of course, it wasn't just killing my first deer or first buck or using my new-to-me rifle, it really was about sharing the whole experience with my dad. I have to say that I got punished about as much as any other kid I knew and that my dad wasn't one to spare the rod but I've no bad memories of him at all. I deserved every spanking I ever got. What I do remember best are all the times we were in the outdoors. When dad kept me from going over the side of the 120 foot fire tower, or when we were in the 16' open motorboat crossing Lake George in 6 foot waves (Dad couldn't swim) with water coming in the boat and all of us bailing... Come to think of it, Dad wasn't bailing, he was sitting in his usual position, slightly hunched over (he was 6'+ tall) with both hands firmly grasping the seat. Maybe he was scared, it didn't seem so at the time. I remember the long hikes in Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia. I remember the fishing even when I was 6 at Spruce Knob Lake in WV or on the river on Grandpa's farm. I remember the sight of my dad coming in from fighting a forest fire still wearing his grimy white T shirt (they were ALL white then and with no logos) to take me to the Elkins, WV Forest Festival. I remember oooohing and aaaahing over the live otters in the tank at the WV Game Commission display while Dad talked with people he knew (probably about the fire). I remember seeing parades from his shoulders and having trouble standing afterwards. The thing about Dad was that there was a lot to remember about him. I guess I was kinda lucky.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

FINALLY remembered to carry the Speed-Six to the range (it is the bedside gun) and the results are... (drum roll please)... 1359 fps avg for 648 fpe with an AD of 39 fps and an SD of 51.

I have to say that I have one chamber than consistently gives lower velocities and one that consistently gives higher velocities with every load.

Also, I shot for group at 25 yards. I got 3 and 3½ inch groups for 6 rounds. This is a romper stomper compared to most loads I've been using. When I want something really powerful in a handgun I go to a .4something! Again, the 180 gr. bullet load gave 1179 fps for 556 fpe from this gun. I did shoot it for groups too, but at 50 yards and it gave 4-6" groups at that range.

The 180 gr. Rem SJHP load went into a 1.75" group at 100 today. I think this is remarkable given the sights (particularly the front bead). Another interesting point is that zeroed, the Williams Foolproof is resting on top of the receiver! One would truly need a higher front sight with this gun and an aperture sight when using lighter bullets. I've never needed to replace the front sight on any other levergun after mounting an aperture sight. This gun might be the exception. If so, it will get a sourdough front just .002-.003" taller. I think that is all the extra front sight it would need to zero that barn burning 158 gr. XTP load that goes over 2000 fps.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Some additional thoughts today...

About primers, the CCI500s and 550s performed about the same for me in the loading with Lil'Gun and the 158 gr. XTPs but NOT the same for the 180 gr. SJHPs. I don't know why, but the extreme spread was halved by switching the magnum primer with the 180s (with corresponding reductions in AD and SD numbers) while no noticeable difference occured with the 158 gr. XTP load. If I was a betting man, I'd bet on the CCI550s (or perhaps another magnum primer like the Winchester) as the place to START not to finish.

Another thought is that the 158 XTP HPs will not handle the velocity that the 158 XTP FPs will. I'd expect that the HPs would not be deer suitable but the FPs would be. I don't think that the FPs would be the rompin' stompin' pistol load though... So my all rounder will the 180 which is going slow enough not to blow a turkey all to heck, shoots flat enough that I can utilize the gun to the range the sights are useful (without needing a new, higher front sight), and will work wonders on deer and coyotes as well. If I have to use it for AP work, well the 158 won't be that much of a hinderance, will it? However, if I had already loaded all those rounds with the XTP FP, I might rethink my plan...

As to accuracy, well, the sights are some handicap for grouping but fast to hit with. Still, I cut cloverleafs at 50 yards, 2" at 100 seems to be easy.

BTW, I've heard that Buffalo Bore uses Lil'Gun in their loads and yes I believe their figures. Others report similar results with Lil'Gun. They also up their loads but I won't. I want 100% function, not riding the ragged edge of success. I adapt by aiming and stalking closer. Not always as "successful" but always fun and rewarding. Lil'Gun beats H110 all hollow in my .357s does really well in my .41 carbine and is about the same as H110 in my .44 Mag.

Marlin 1894C .357 Magnum

Well, I've received my new (to me) Marlin M1894 .357 Mag from LubbockDave. Hoorah. Actually better than described, well cared for and smoooooooooooth from use. Does shoot a little high now that I've got a Williams Foolproof Receiver Sight installed (about 10 minutes after I picked it up ). I think it will probably shoot POA or close to it with my intended load of Lil'Gun and the Remington 180 gr. SJHP. Yeah, I got it at 9:30 and was at the range by 10:30!

I looked high and low for a pre-crossbolt safety (which I might have mentioned that I detest ). I think it is actually a better gun than my old (and departed ) M1894 in .44 Mag. It is as accurate (even with the .38 Special FBI load) at 50 yards.

For those wondering if LubbockDave is fit to do business with you'll only get a big thumbs up from me. Modest description with complete photos, what I think was a fair price, fast shipment (and apparently good packing! ), and darn nice correspondence about it all to boot. I think he'll do to ride the range with.

This was my first net purchase and I was a bit nervous about it. Not because of the seller but because of the system.

It certainly IS a lot of fun. I've got the factory rear sight off and a dovetail filler in. I was really surprised by how well it shot (Microgroove barrel and all) the Federal .38 Special FBI load. I was adjusting sights but got a couple three cloverleafs at 50 yards. Swaged bullets never worked well in my 1894 .44 Mag but they did pretty good from this gun.

125 gr. Federal factory load (in fact I used up what I had) and they averaged 2068 fps. I also loaded a few (had some 6 primed cases ready, the bulk of my brass is in the trim stage) with Lil'Gun and the Remington 180 SJHPs. For MY rifle the bullets have to be seated so that the cannelure is just a shade below the case mouth (as trimmed). Easier to fix by trimming the cases a bit shorter than rolling a new cannelure.

With Federal .38 Special "FBI" load of 158 gr. swaged bullet, I got about 1100 fps and 2 inch groups at 50 yards. My bead almost covers the 50 yard pistol slow fire pistol target center I was using.

The 15 gr. Lil'Gun under the 180 gr. Remington SJHP does 1669 fps for 1114 fpe from my gun. My old 125 gr. SJHP loads over H110 did 1978 fps for 1108 fpe. These are just about as fast as the Federal factory 125s and shoot high just like the Federal ammo (no surprises there!).

I also ran the 158 gr. XTP over 18 gr. of Lil'Gun (CCI500 primer) over the chronograph. Temps were about 63-65 degrees. Average velocity was 1989 fps for 1389 fpe with an AD of 8 and SD of 10. These even beat the 125 gr. bullet reloads using 2400 I had!

Now this was with the HP version but I've no doubt it will do as well with the FP version which will probably hold up to these velocities and contact with actual game.

I also tried the 15 gr. of Lil'Gun under the 180 gr. Remington SJHP with the CCI550 (magnum small pistol) instead of the CCI500. Avg velocity was up slightly to 1675 fps with an AD of 15 and SD of 21. However the extreme spread (ES) was cut in half! I bought 500 of these and will no doubt load up the rest over the CCI550.

The 158s will shoot a bit flatter and have an extended point blank range over the 180s but the 180s have a lot going for them. They will probably penetrate a bit better, they were cheaper by half, they use less powder, they are just as accurate and they shoot flat enough given how much that front bead covers at range. I won't have to get a higher front sight either.

I also had 4 old (1975 vintage?) Glaser safety slugs for the .38 Special. These went 1986 fps (heck I was going to shoot them up anyway and have almost forgotten just how expensive they were at the time ).

The more I shoot it the more I like this gun. My old M1894 .44 Mag didn't have a barrel band at the forearm tip and always looked a bit odd to me. So that feature is an improvement in my book. Also, the 18½" barrel of this model seems to make it handy and balance like it ought to. I want to use this for my "truck gun" which is used on the very odd coyote (suicidal is more like it), feral dogs and cats, foxes, groundhogs, and maybe a deer now and again. Have yet to take a turkey with a "truck gun" but I see more turkeys from the truck than on stand! May have sold yet another of those Marlins! A couple of "spectators" were really excited to see those numbers. Of course, they had to try it out as well and went through most of the rest of my ammo.