From left to right- Abilene .44 Magnum, Colt Detective Special .32 S&W Long, Chiappa Rhino .357 Magnum, S&W M1903 .32 S&W Long, Rossi M68 .38 Special, Cimarron Richards-Mason .38 Special, S&W M1905 .38 Special
November has been interesting. I mean, if you consider getting migraines practically every day interesting. I don’t; it gets in the way of everything- including making a living. Then there was the fact that we had a novel to finish (we did,) a bit of hunting, stocking the freezer for the winter, butchering goats etc. In short there has been little time for shooting or writing about shooting. I haven’t been to the range in weeks.
That changed this afternoon. I needed to test some new loads in the .44 Magnum, test the modifications to the Rossi and S&W .32 and just do some shooting for pleasure. I took a fair selection of revolvers as you can see above and several hundred rounds in three different calibers. What I did not bring was the correct glasses- I accidentally brought my reading glasses. Bugger. So shooting the .44 at 25 yards was a matter of guessing where the target was and resulted in 5-6″ groups, which sucks. Basically I had a choice- wear readers and see the front sight, or wear regular shooting glasses and be able to see the target but not the sights.Â Â OK, short range work then.
The Abilene shot well at short range. Recoil was quite easy to manage; between the porting, the 7-1/2″ ported bull-barrel and the reshaped grip it was very nice to shoot, and the loads were quite accurate- at least as well as I could shoot under the circumstances. It’s just that somehow posting targets from less than 25 yards with this gun seems a bit silly.
The Rossi M68 is an ongoing project. We got it cheap and it had been messed about with quite a bit so I fell no compunctions about experimenting on it.Â It’s been a learning experience for sure; it’s a part-for-part copy of a S&W Model 60. In the past I made a custom grip, shortened the barrel to 2-1/4 inches and re-crowned it, made and mounted a new front sight. Recently I considered ‘Fitzing’ it, but I couldn’t bring myself to cut away the front of the trigger-guard. I did bob the hammer, narrow and reshape the front of the trigger-guard and reduced the handle to the smallest useful size I could do.Â This involved modifying the grip-frame and relocating the grip screw. Now that I have sussed it out I’ll make a new grip. I wanted to remove the writing on the barrel so I slab-sided it because I liked the look.Â I also smoothed and rounded the trigger and chamfered the chambers.
So how does it shoot? Unreliably and like it needs trigger work. Despite the fact that it gets 100% ignition with primed cases if I fill those same primed cases with powder and a bullet ignition drops to about 70% reliable. I have no clue why this is.
Accuracy is alright and it hides marvelously in a pocket, but it’s an experiment, not a carry piece. Unless or until I can make it 100% reliable it never will be, either. Still, it’s serving it’s intended function of education, so it’s all good.
I also fired the M1905 and the Chiappa Rhino. Both shot well as expected, but results were pretty typical for me and none of the targets were exceptional. I had really wanted to wring the 1905 out at 25 yards, but with the wrong glasses on-board that was not going to be a happening thing.
Next were the .32s, starting with the I-frame S&W.Â Â This gun had serious issues when I got it; rust and pitting, massive end-play and cylinder-gap, timing problems… the list is long. I’ve already documented resurrecting this gun, and now it was time for more test-firing. Suffice it to say it is now tight and right, refinished and ready to go. Rapid-fire at seven yards produced an acceptable group- rather to the left. Since I reset the barrel I probably need to tweak it a bit to get the front-sight aligned.
After I get this issue sorted I am probably going to make a period-style target grip; this is a range gun but properly kitted out it might make a fine small-game getter.
The Detective Special was the star of the show; as always a delight to shoot. This is a 7-yard rapid-fire target-
I was pulling a bit to the left- need to work on that. I shot this target at ten yards, also rapid-fire-
This was rather better. I do love this gun, and wouldn’t hesitate to carry it for self-defense. I’ve considered a Tyler T-grip to improve the grip, but my pinky-finger falls naturally underneath the handle and locates the gun quite consistently so it is not strictly-speaking necessary.
Despite the ‘oops’ with the glasses I had a good, much-needed range session. Since it looks like circumstances have conspired against hunting tomorrow I’m glad that I got out for this.
The reloads used for today’s shooting were:
.44 Magnum- 260gr. HC SWC over 9.3 Gr. of Unique with a CCI Large Pistol Primer. This should be making 1175-1200fps. and around 800ft/lbs. of energy. A nice mid-range load for Blacktail deer.
.38 Special- 148gr. BBWC over 3.3gr. of Unique with a CCI Small-Pistol primer.Â This load needs to be a little stouter; some hits are tearing the paper occasionally and I want to punch nice, neat holes.
.32 S&W Long- 96gr RNFP over 2.7gr. of Red Dot with a CCI Small Pistol primer. This is a pleasantly snappy load with modest recoil and excellent accuracy
Michael Tinker Pearce, 17 November 2017