Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Back to the range...

Colt Official Police 5" made in 1929
After my rather interesting day attempting to sort out how useful my S&W 1905 4th change in .32-20 might actually be, I was told that it must be me responsible for the dismal performance. While that's certainly true in some way, the question is in WHAT way. Is it my eyesight, my shooting ability (eye/hand coordination), the loads used, matching the load to the gun, or what? So, I decided to try another firearm.

The gun in question is this Colt Official Police in .38 S&W Special. The range was again, 15 yards and I used the same 50-foot slow fire pistol bull. Once again, I alternated right to left, DA to SA for 48 rounds on each target. I shot at the same time of day, with the sun in about the same position.

Several issues became apparent. In DA I had one chamber that would not rotate into position correctly every time. That is to say, when I started the cycle by pulling the trigger, the hand couldn't "lift" or rotate the cylinder into position. This didn't happen with any but the one chamber, it didn't happen every time but often enough, and it didn't seem to be caused by something like high primers (and how did I manage to load a high primer case to affect the one chamber and no others?). It wouldn't do it when unloaded nor would it do this when used SA, thumb-cocking the hammer.

Another problem was the sights. Again, I would lose the front sight. These sights aren't polished to a "silver" like the Smith and the rear notch is much more generous. Still, I would lose the front sight and be unable to focus on it. This does nothing for repeatable sight alignment.

The third "problem" for me was the grip shape. This gun is a bit larger than the K-frame S&Ws and there is a longer reach to the trigger. This is particularly noticeable in DA and I caught myself incorrectly handling the trigger particularly after the distraction of the aforementioned malfunction. You can see in the DA target that my trigger control issues are much more pronounced.

SA target
DA target

Loading and shooting was done as quickly as it was possible to load from the ammo boxes set on the ground at my feet. I used the 6 o'clock hold (or thought I was). The load was the Hornady 158 gr. swaged SWC over 5 gr. of Unique. This is not a wimp load for the .38 Special. Clearly the gun wanted to shoot, the limiting factor was me. I think it is my vision. As I mentioned before, I have cataracts and wear bifocals. This is clearly affecting my ability to see the sights. It is more than a bit frustrating.

However, it is clear to me that the other gun, the S&W 1905, has at least some issues with the ammo used.

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