Sunday, October 13, 2019

Range Report and Some Revolversmithing

I've been on a bit of a revolver kick lately and last night accompanied my dad to his club with my Ruger Police Service Six .357 Magnum and GP100 .38 Special in tow. (Note that the vast majority of GP100s are .357s but Ruger will chamber them in .38 Special for agencies that don't want magnum revolvers. This is one of those.)

Both guns are law enforcement or security company trade-ins. The Service Six has been in my safe for a long time but I haven't shot it much, and not at all in several years. The GP100 was acquired a few weeks ago and has given me a bit of trouble. More on that below.

Anyway, I brought two flavors of .38 Special handloads with me last night.

First was a batch of ammo loaded with Berry's plated 158 grain truncated cone flat points on top of 3.8 grains of Alliant Bullseye, sparked by CCI small pistol primers. These were loaded in mostly Winchester brass. This is a full-power but not +P load.

Second was a box loaded with 178 grain Keith bullets from Matt's Bullets, on top of 5.2 grains of Alliant Unique, again with CCI small pistol primers. These were loaded in mixed headstamp nickeled cases. These rate as +P loads.

(NOTE: Consult with loading manuals before relying on any data you see online, including any on this blog.)

Accuracy with the plated bullets was OK but nothing to write home about. They were pleasant to shoot, however, especially in the GP100. In contrast the accuracy of the Keith bullets was outstanding, with my final group of the night all going into one hole. Recoil on these was brisk, especially in the Service Six. It wears Pachmayr Presentation grips which are a little large for my hands. The GP100 wears the Ruger compact grip / short butt, which fits my hands better than just about anything else I've tried. I've found that it absorbs recoil better than any other DA revolver grip that I've tried. I may get a set of Pachmayr Grippers with an exposed backstrap for the Service Six.

Unfortunately, while the Service Six functioned perfectly (as expected), the GP100 gave me problems. The first time I shot the gun the previous week, I got light primer strikes due to me putting in a reduced power hammer spring. I put the original hammer spring back in before shooting the gun last night, so that wasn't a problem. However, on random trigger pulls the gun felt like it was binding, driving the pull way up and sometimes to the point where I couldn't fire the gun. This was most evident in double action but also happened when shooting it single action. I gave up on the GP100 after about 30 or 40 rounds, and finished up the night with the Service Six.

This afternoon I brought the GP100 out to my workshop, intent on figuring out what the heck was wrong. I field stripped and thoroughly cleaned it. I also removed the cylinder from the crane. Everything got blasted out with brake cleaner.

With the gun apart and clean I went over it closely for any burrs and found some, including in the slot through which the hand moves, on the back face of the frame recess, and on the ratchet on the back of the cylinder.

I carefully removed all the burrs using some gunsmith slip stones from a set I got several years ago from Brownell's.

Next, I reassembled the gun and dried fired it around 20 or 30 times in both single and double action modes. This showed no signs of binding.

I then broke the gun down again and this time after making sure it was fully degreased, I loaded up the mechanism with Flitz metal polish, reassembled, and dry fired it around 100 times.

Once again, I stripped the gun and blasted everything out with brake cleaner, reoiled it, and put it back together. I then dry fired it another 20 or 30 times.

Knock on wood but I think I've taken care of the problem. Naturally, I won't know for sure until I shoot it again, hopefully next weekend.

On another note, I got the chance to put a full 17-round magazine through my dad's IWI Masada 9mm pistol. I'd handled it before and liked how the grip felt, and the light trigger pull.  However, the Masada was a perfect example of why a gun that feels good when you dry fire it may give you an opposite impression when you get to actually shoot it.

In short, I hated it. The Masada exhibits a lot of muzzle flip but worse, the Glock-like trigger actually felt like it was biting my trigger finger. I wasn't getting pinched, rather, the face of the trigger was biting into the pad of my finger tip.

For 9MMs, I'll still with my Browning Hi Power, Beretta M9, and CZ P09.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

re: mediocre accuracy w/ plated bullets

I have never done all that well with truncated cone bullets. Maybe don't blame the plating, or Berry's Bullets - try SWC or round nose? SWC is closest to Keith style and reduces my groups noticeably - been a while since I measured, but it was like from 6" to 4" at 25 yards, by switching from LTC to LSWC of the same weight and powder charge in 45 Colt.