Accuracy of new revolver
as many of you know I recently got a S&W 627-PC 8-times. Many believe that's a very accurate revolver, a so-called tack-driver.
Yesterday it was the 2nd time I shot it. Took along 4 different loadings in 38 special to test them.
The range has not a ransom rest, so I used a rifle rest, those ones which swivel on a horizontal plane and whose height you can adjust.
To furtherly minimize the shooter's error I shot single action.
Clusters were pretty lousy. I read reviews where, with 357 mag ammo, at 20 yards groupings were mostly 1" to 2" max for that gun, shooting from a bench rest. Mine at 16 yards were 4 -5 inches and more.
The instructor tried the gun without a rest, some bullets went one upon the other, others went awry.
I did not notice great difference among loads.
I used 158 grns LSWCs with a quantity of VVN340 powder varying from 5 to 5.6 grains.
I know that some people shot 158 grs bullets with that gun with great accuracy. Competitors usually prefer faster burning powder tahn VVN340, but I started with that, following TOF's suggestion and local avalaibility.
Some others shooters say it digests every factory ammo yielding good accuracy anyway.
The instructor told me it's an anomalous situation, might be some undergauge bullets, suggested to gauge the bullet's diameter with a caliper. I've yet to do it. He, like almost everyone else round here, is good at autoloaders but not a specific expert on revolvers .
yesterday I only shot reloads . The previous time, with factory ammo, couldn't say accuracy was exceptional. First time I only shot 50 reloads with lead bullets, so I do not know if leading might have been an issue.
After yesterday's session (200 rounds) I cleaned the barrel with shooter's choice deleader. Visually, now it looks clean and I can see the grooves clearly. Cannot say wether there is any lead left or not.
Any suggestion for the next range session?
Should I try factory ammo and reloads?
How to rule out a factory flaw?
If I cannot work out the problem, I'll try and find a gunsmith and leave him the gun for close inspection and trial (eventually sending it back to 'factory', if bad comes to worse). I'm a maniac of accuracy and would like to make sure that most of the error is due to myself and not the gun.
Just shooting off a rest does not eliminate possible human error. You still have to breathe correctly, press the trigger properly, etc. Has anyone else (more experienced) fired the gun from a rest?
More than 95% of the time that people think they have an inaccurate gun, the blame actually lies with an inaccurate (or in this case, perhaps just inexperienced) shooter.
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Mccoy, what were you shooting before your new S&W arrived and how were your groups? The answer can establish a rough base for current expectations. You should not expect to be any better than before if as good until you adjust to the new gun.
If the PC in your descriptor stands for Performance Center, did you order the gun tuned for lead bullets or is it standard PC output. Throat size and taper can be optimized for lead if that will be your prime application.
A new barrel may require some polishing by firing a number of copper jacketed bullets or other means to yield best performance with lead. A rough bore can build up lead faster than smooth impacting performance.
I expect a S&W Performance Center trigger to be very smooth but they probably improve with a bit with use as do others.
What I really expect is that you need to become more familiar with the gun. If I remember correctly you have been shooting revolvers for a relatively short time so don't have a great deal of experience going from one gun to another.
Regarding your loads:
I have tried a broad range of VV N340 and 125/158 grain lead and SJSP bullets in .357 Mag and custom length (1") cases in my GP 100 4". The 1 inch cases eject fully when ejector is pressed whereas full length cases don't. You don't want to go there yet.
Most grouped within 1.5 inches at 15 yards with occasional fliers. I attribute most fliers to me. If 4 of 5 shots are within a 3/4 inch circle I accept the hole low and left by 2 inches to be caused by the jerk behind the trigger. Some are near single hole. I have had some low velocity loads tumble and pass through the target sideways yielding large groups.
5.7 Grains of VV N340 in a magnum case behind a 158 Grain Hard Cast SWC @ 1.544 OAL yields 912 FPS in my GP 100. Your load of 5.6 in a .38Spl case should be reasonably close and I believe is a good general purpose load. I would stick with that load for a bit till you have more experience with the gun.
One thing that has hurt accuracy for some people, me included, is the desire to see the hole you just made or are about to make. We tend to forget the bullet doesn't leave the barrel instantaneously. We must consistently follow through with our grip if we are to achieve maximum accuracy. If our mind is thinking ahead to the hole position it may loosen our grip prematurely.
We use a stack of several sandbags (home made) on a table. Some small, loose pack bags can be used to position arms and others under the wrist to help support the revolver. I have to rest my arms on something and extend them fairly far to achieve maximum accuracy. Resting the barrel on something does nothing for me. With my arms and wrist comfortably supported the revolver not touching anything other than my hands and proper light I can occasionally produce fantastic groups. Most of the time I have to accept less than fantastic.
Perseverance will get you where you wish to be.
I'd be more than happy to blame myself and not the gun for the inaccuracy. I can improve, a flawed gun cannot.
The instructor also tried from the same rest. He is an IDPA instructor though, pretty good I reckon with autoloaders, cannot say with revos.
The fact that you can err from a rest appears sensible to me though, I tried to rest the barrel first, then the hands, and noticed some difference. I agree the only objective accuracy test would be shooting from a good ransom rest. Italy alas is third world country as far as weapons accessories are concerned (except for hunting and skeet/trap shotguns, I reckon).
I'll follow your suggestion and ask the opinion of another instructor in another range who showed to be pretty good with a revolver.
My gun is standard PC, I do not know wether it's possible here to order it specific for lead bullets.
I shot 150 FMJ and copper plated factory bullets before trying my loads, my first range outing with the new gun.
A more experienced shooter was able to hit pretty small steel targets at 30yards with my loads so I assumed they were on the whole pretty good.
Trigger is not so great initially but yes, those who owned my same model say it tends to soften after about 1000 shots.
My experience compared to yours is nihil. Just 3 months and 1500 rounds shot, mostly with one gun model.
I'll analyze myself and see if the phenomenon of thinking ahead the bullet occurs. Probably not.
From what you tell me about piles of sandbags and stuff, my rested position was not a great deal. Good.
Well, maybe it's me behind the inaccuracy, I would be happy about that. I'm not the kind of guy who blames his tools for his own lack of skill.
I can live with my imperfections and apply perseverance but I need to trust my gun.
You and Mike succeded in reassuring me a bit. I'll probably sleep a little better tonite.
I'll keep you posted on the developments.
I've never shot any 38s in my 627, only 357s. It is very accurate with them. Can you try any 357 loads to see how they shoot?
My first rounds shot were magnums but I cannot say how they were since I changed shooting environment and gun at the same time. Sure I can give it another try.
Originally Posted by hberttmank
Check the Forcing Cone
Did you notice any lead shavings or copper stains on the forcing cone when you fired the revolver?
Have you locked up the cylinder (empty of course) by cocking the action, and then checked for movement in the cylinder? It should be quite tight when locked up.
You might check to see if the cylinder is at any slight angle to the forcing cone. Rorate the cylinder and watch, with a magnifying glass if you can, to see if some chambers look closer, or at an angle.
Try dry firing the gun double action and feel how the trigger is reacting to each cylinder. If the trigger pull and crispness feels different over any cylinder, you could have an inherent misallignment of the barrel and cylinder.
These are elements which would definitely affect the accuracy of your revolver. Any of them would also be under warranty in a new gun. Smith and Wesson are most considerate in resolving such issues.
Hope this helps.
Thanks Theutis for your tips, it appears to be all ok, the cylinder when locked up has a little lateral 'play' but I believe that's all right, forward-backward wise it's perfectly tight.
I didn't notice any shavings, the only visible leading (if leading it was) being at the muzzle.
I'm going to check barrel alignment too, though.
Don't worry, mccoy, that Performance Center revolver is one of the most accurate built from the "factory". All of those are hand fitted, and tested. 1500 rounds is "infancy" when it comes to shooting. From a rest, and offhand, your groups will shrink. I doubt it is the "arrow". It is 99 times out of 100, the "indian".
Like a basketball player shooting free-throws... It's all about the repetitions.
I'm lucky enough to shoot weekly, 100-300 rounds per session, between 45ACP and 22LR, or 9mm and 22LR, with occassional 380ACP through my KelTec. Now, with my "notoriously inaccurate" KelTec P-3AT, I shoot 3-4" groups offhand at 7yds. Most guys who shoot once per month maybe, or have only been shooting a few times, have trouble keeping a custom target gun inside 12" even at 7yds. And I'm "horrible" at 25 yds, compaired to the pros.
Buy snap-caps and dry-fire, dry-fire, dry-fire your gun. The trigger will get better, and more importantly, YOU will get better with the trigger.
Read Mike's post about cleaning revolvers carefully... Yes he said he cleans his Glocks every 6000 rounds of so... That's 120 rounds per week, per gun. I'm guessing now back in the states, that number will go UP. Do that for 2-3 years... 6000+ rounds per year, times 2+ guns. Now, you're a shooter.
I shoot 200-300 per week, 50 weeks per year. That's 12,500 rounds, plus 10,000-20,000 dry-fires per year. I've been shooting regularly for about a year and a half. I've been shooting in total for 30 years, (age 6 or 7).
Don't send that gun back yet... Tune up "the indian" first.
I appreciated very much your concern over my predicament.
It turns out that of course you were right, the fault is with the indian.
Today I was at the range and as soon as I took position I asked the instructor to try my gun. He shot three rounds at 15 yards, all I saw on paper was a single hole.
My shooting went on being crappy (pardon my French) but after a few dozen rounds it started improving.
I just could not imagine how a little difference in the weapon can affect you. I changed from an 'N' frame 357 S&W firing .38 sp to another with identical features, except the barrel 1" shorter.
But it was enough to make my groupings so worse, with an allegedly very good gun, so I could'nt but worry (I also took it for granted that form a rest you had necessarily to be super accurate).
Also, the other instructor fired large groupings as well. He probably wasn't familiar with revolvers. I asked today's instructor (far younger then the other one) about his practice, he told me that he always shoots all of the range's firearms plus he has a stab at the customers's gun when possible, so he developed a feeling for a large variety of guns. A darn good feeling, I'd say.
Jeff, I'm going to shoot about 1000 rounds per month, plus your suggestion on dry firing,
and I'll keep you guys posted on my progress.
It doesn't happen often, but every once in a while, one or two chambers lines up cattywumpus to the barrel. The test is to shoot 3-shot groups out of each chamber (single loading, in other words). Use a Magic Marker or something to number the chambers during the test.
However, I'd expect that the handloaded ammunition is the problem. Neck tension, for example, might be different from one cartridge to the next. Try a box of factory .38s, plain old cheapo white box 130 FMJ, and see what happens.
okay. NOW I've heard it all.
cattywumpus = antigogglin ?
also spelled 'caddywampus' southern term; also known as 'caddiewampus'
aganist the 'thingamajig'
thingamajig = (as you approach South Texas) chingalitty
From the urbandictionary.com:
Skewed or sideways to, out of alignment.
Bubba, you got that manifold gasket in there all cattywumpus.
Ya mean "wonky?" As in, "That drunk guy is walking all wonky."
Originally Posted by mccoy
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