Thursday, April 13, 2006

Wheelgun Range Report

After letting it sit and gather dust in my gun cabinet for far too long, today I went to the range with Dad and shot my Euroarms 1858 Remington .44 cap and ball revolver. I also shot the S&W Model 640 (no dash) .38 snubbie I picked up last week, and Dad's new 50th Anniversary Ruger Blackhawk .357.

We put 5 cylinderfuls (30 shots) through the Euroarms piece and it shoots well. I loaded it with 28 grains of Goex FFFg black powder, Wonder Wads, and Hornaday .457 roundballs. I believe Euroarms suggests .454 balls but I also have a Ruger Old Army and only stock the larger size. The .457 balls give a slightly longer bearing surface and should hopefully shoot a bit more accurately anyway. Caps were CCI No. 10s.

In the past I've always used some kind of grease, e.g., Crisco, Bore Butter, or CVA Grease Patch, over the ball, but I really like using the wads. Much less messy and the gun still cleans up well.

I prepped the gun by coating the inside of the frame recess and bore with Crisco to keep fouling soft, cleaning out the nipples with a pipe cleaner, and putting a few drops of Ballistol on the cylinder pin. This was the first time I used Ballistol for this. I bought it based on a post by IIRC Mike Weber on THR, who recommended Ballistol for keeping Remingtons running. It works very well. After 18 shots I put a few more drops on to keep the gun running smoothly.

We shot at 7 yards and my groups were one ragged hole, when I didn't jerk the trigger. POI was about an inch to the left of POA. Close enough for government work, as they say.

I had one failure of a cap to ignite on the second cylinder. I'm pretty sure what happened was that it wasn't fully seated on the nipple; the CCI No.10 caps are a snug fit. It went off on the second strike. Some fell off after they were shot, while others stayed on and had to be picked off. I experienced no cap jams, which was a refreshing change from my past experience with Colt replicas.

I'm very pleased with my Euroarms 1858 Remington. It's a lot of fun to shoot and if it was all that was available, I'd feel pretty darn well armed with it, 19th Century design or not.

I forgot to bring my camera so I took the following pic with my camera phone, so please excuse the fuzziness:

{Click on the image for a larger version}

The Smith & Wesson Model 640 functioned perfectly, as expected. J-Frame .38s are no damn fun to shoot due to the recoil, so I limited myself to 12 rounds of WWB .38 Special 150 grain LRN and 10 rounds of Winchester .38 158 grain LSWCHP +P (my carry load). At 7 yards the gun shoots a little to the right of POA but all rounds hit in the "0" zone of an IDPA target. I got me a new pocket gun. :-)

Dad's new Flat Top Blackhawk is nice. It has a 4-5/8" barrel, and the grip frame and ejector rod housing are made of steel, unlike most New Model Blackhawks which have those parts made from aluminum. The grips are hard checkered black rubber.

The gun is a lot smoother than most fresh from the factory Ruger guns I've handled. It has a very nice trigger pull -- a little bit of creep, but a light let-off with no overtravel. Ruger's bluing job was also done better than most recent examples I've seen.

Dad was shooting rather small one-hole groups. I put 6 rounds through it pretty rapidly, and they landed in a nice small cluster.

One of these 4-5/8" Flat Tops in .44 Special or .45 Colt would be a really sweet woods walking gun, I'm thinkin'.

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