Range report for April 2nd, 2017

With a fresh batch of 100 .38 S&W reloads Mrs.Tinker and I went off to the range this morning. Having adjusted the height of the front sight on her gun I was eager to see if it was hitting closer to point-of-aim. The stars of today’s show-


Our ‘Steampunk Snubbies,’ both S&W .38 Safety Hammerless 4th Model, with shortened barrels and improved ergonomics. Linda’s is the nickel gun with the Mother of Pearl grips.

The load we were using in these is a Hornady 148gr. HBWC over 2.5 grains of Unique with CCI small pistol primers.

I fired Linda’s gun first and determined that the lowered front sight provided a decent 6 o’clock hold. We ran a full-torso target out to 7 yards and it was Linda’s turn. “Aim center-mass,” I told her. She nodded and fired. Bam bam bam bam bam. Reload. Bam Bam Bam Bam Bam.

“Um, you’re hitting him in the face…”

“Isn’t that better?” she asked brightly.

I had to allow that it was, but she needed to adjust her grip because she was pulling left. I showed her how and she was ready to go. I told her this time I really wanted her to aim center mass.

More Bams. Good, now she was placing them center-mass. Even more bams.

“So now you are shooting him in the throat?” I asked.

“It’s a compromise,” she said.

OK then. I tried some 7 yard rapid-fire with my gun.

A couple of fliers but I am not really dismayed with the result. Given the tiny, hard-to-see sights and 2-1/4″ sight radius of these DAO guns I pretty OK with our shooting today.

The S&W M1902 .38 Hand Ejector was also trotted out.

Linda had to adjust her grip a bit to get comfortable but was shortly producing decent groups at 7 yards. We were shooting Freedom Munitions 158gr CPHPs, and until she found her grip she found them a bit unpleasant; she is quite recoil-sensitive. Come to that she isn’t in love with the grip on her own .38, but she does love the Mother of Pearl so she’ll put up with it.

Speaking of grips I really like the new grips and grip adapter on the 1902. Very comfortable and secure, easy to index and point. Plus I like the overall vintage appearance.

I’m finding something odd with the M1902. My 7 yard groups are only OK when shooting Double Action, but double the range and the DA group remains the same size. Run it out to 25 yards and the DA group is only about 50% larger. I guess I need more practice. Uh, darn?

Overall a very nice morning at the range, and Linda was very pleased with her shooting. She’s established that she really does like revolvers best and finds them easiest to shoot. Myself I am liking my little top-break more and more.

It was also a real treat to have Linda accompany me; she’s missed the last several outings. Today she rediscovered her love of shooting, so I expect her presence at the range will be less rare in the future.

Tinker Pearce, 02 April 2017

4 thoughts on “Range report for April 2nd, 2017

  1. Nelson Kline

    .38 Special wadcutters are the key to happiness, plus those perfectly round holes. The $15 Hogue rubber grip on my 1917 S&W .38 is pure pointing pleasure.

  2. William Maxey

    Hello again! I really like the top break S&W snubbies. Did you shorten the barrels any? How do they compare in size with a model J frame?

    1. tinker1066

      Yes- I shortened the barrels to 1-5/8″. These guns are a bit smaller than a J-frame; lighter than a steel-frame j-frame also. A Model 36 J-frame weighs 19.5 oz., and the blued .38 Safety Hammerless (4th Model) shown above weighs 18.5oz. including the ironwood stocks.


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