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Thread: A beginner's guide to revolver accuracy

  1. #61
    Boolit Buddy
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    Great thread.. agree with the guy who says plinking is the way to learn.. Most of us learned that way cause there really were no "ranges"

    A gun writer that I respect came up with a theory that I find to be pretty close to making sense.

    In the many years of testing guns and loads from sandbags and ransom rests and with a variety of shooters he came up with this...

    That if you take any experienced shooter.. not supermen but ones with a lot of trigger time over the years... That if you take their five shot groups from sandbag rests and throw out the two worst shots...

    That the group will be the exact same size that a ransom rest will give. In other words, the best group possible for that gun and load. It makes sense to me. He claims he has checked the theory many many times and it always works.

  2. #62
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by crabo View Post
    We won't hate you, but you had better get off this site if you don't want to start casting. It will get in your blood and the next thing you know, you be getting in on the group buys. Take my advice, stay out of that forum.

    Crabo

    I agree, i started coming here to try and sell my left over used lead from bullet swaging. Now i have hoarded nearly 700 lbs of lead and am in line for 4 group buy molds. 2 in calibers i don't even own rifles for. YET



    ML

  3. #63
    Boolit Bub
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    Coming from a novice shooter...(mind you this is all off a sand bag)

    I've found shooting .22's and .38's is a lot easier than shooting big bore guns. I can easily step into my dad's Ruger single six or his Black Hawk in .357 and shoot 2-3 inches groups at 25 yards without much work up. But when I start shooting 45LC's in my Black Hawk, and light loads at that, I have to work through about 20 rounds before I can get my mind around it. (Used to be a lot more than that) As soon as I get in the mode I can shoot good groups. As I shoot I can physically see the groups getting smaller. By the time I've shot 3 or 4 cylinders I can get my Ruger, mind you this is out of the box no trigger job or sweet grips, to shoot around 1-1.25 inches at 25 yards from a bag. It takes an awfully long time to get there though. Shooting hot jacked loads, I just can't get them smaller than 2 inches. I know its me and I'm either anticipating the recoil or jerking it around.

    Now the more interesting part I've found is...I have a S&W 500 revolver (8 3/8's with a Bushnell scope on it), and it has some mighty recoil to it. I shoot everything from very light loads to full house. The light loads I can shoot without much issue, around 1.5 inches at 50 yards. But when I start shooting the heavy loads I can't help but flinch, and I know I'm doing it. But at 25 yards it doesn't seem to show up...I have 2 loads that both can shoot under 1 inch. At 50 the groups open up a lot more to 2-4 inches (though the first time I took it out to 50 yards I shot groups that were around 1.5 inches, so I know the gun can do it!!!), usually closer to 4 and I figure this is the flinch doing it, but why is it not showing up at 25 yards?

    I love shooting the 500, its just so much fun. My dad always asks why I shoot that cannon...the whole experience is just something else.

  4. #64
    Boolit Man John Van Gelder's Avatar
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    crabo

    A good list.. An addition: a good thermostatically controlled lead pot is a benefit, different temperatures for different metals. Straight lead melts at about 800F, with the addition of other metals the melting temperature decreases. If the metal is not hot enough you do not get complete filling of the mold and voids in the bullet, if the metal is too hot the alloys tend to come out of solution.

    Let me revise my initial statement..A very good list.. There are system available that will allow one to install optics on their gun with out having to make any permanent modifications, so if you want to carry that gun with iron sights the switch back is quick and painless.

    There is no better indicator of what the potential of your loads than knowing you are on target with each shot, something that is much easier to accomplish with a scope.

    The best for last..above all enjoy your self..

  5. #65
    Boolit Master
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    Gee whiz. Lead melts at 621 degrees farenheit.
    Rule 303

  6. #66
    Boolit Man John Van Gelder's Avatar
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    Piedmont

    I stand corrected, 621.5 F.. Sometimes my "old timers" disease kicks in ...

    Thanks ~~ John

  7. #67
    Here's my findings on pistol accuracy. First I'm a gun nut and had handguns for years and never really learned to use them. In my opinion a handgun had only one purpose and it was for home protection or short range shooting. For years I shot handguns and hit close to my targets and was thinking that's all that could be expected from a handgun. Then one day I saw a tape with the proper stance for shooting a handgun. It explained the proper hold and stance and everything. I really watched it and paid attention. I watched it through several times and then went out and tried is just as instructed. I went to hitting almost every shot instead of hitting close. Now if I don't hit I know where I messed up the guns are extremely accurate and if you do your part they will do theirs. Seeing that tape and paying attention to every detail improved my handgun accuracy more than anything. Since that I have really enjoyed handguns and now have a nice group of them that I use regularly and shoot quite well with now. I enjoy plinking and have just about gone to strictly handguns for shooting fun.

  8. #68
    Boolit Master



    Crash_Corrigan's Avatar
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    I have 4 Ruger BH's. A 357, a 30 Carbine, a 45 Colt and my newest a .44 Special. With the first 3 the best I can do is a circular group of 2 to 4 inches of 24 rounds at 25 yds. I haven't worked up a decent load for the .44 yet and I only have about 100 rounds through this new gun so the jury is out on this one.

    However I also have a Smith 586 with a six inch bbl and a Taurus 1911 in .45 ACP.
    With these two guns I can consistently get 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 groups at 25 yds from sandbags. On a great day I can get sub inch groups with the Smith but I cannot predict on what day that will be. Firing 24 to 28 shot groups at 25 yds I get round groups of less than 2" with either of these guns.

    I am always trying to improve my accuracy with these guns and I have found that the most important thing is trigger control and concentration on the front sight. That is assuming that the ammo is consistent and the best loading for that gun.

    I have not bought factory ammo for any of my guns unless it was for CCW use. There I feel using factory ammo is required as it would give a plaintiff attorney less things to hang his hat on if I were to have to stop somebody with my gun.

    The quality of my handloads after over 20 years of messing with them I have complete confidence in. I know they will go bang when the trigger is pulled and the powder charge will be consistent and correct. I spend a lot of time making sure that my ammo is the best I can make.

    The only rounds that I have less confidence in are some of my 9 MM rounds made on a Dillon 550 B. I have had some problems in the past with the primer feed on that machine when I was churning out thousands of those rounds a week. Some of them have only a primer and no powder.

    I found this out when my wife was firing my EAA Witness 9 MM. In the middle of a string of shots she had a round go POP instead of BANG and she failed to stop shooting to investigate. She fired another round and as the first round was a dud without powder it had stuck fast in the barrel. The 2nd round hit the first and caused the barrel to bulge, split from the chamber to the muzzle and some lube or whatever came back to hit her on the forehead and safety glasses.

    Of course after this mishap she finally had enuf sense to stop shooting and put the gun down and asked me to investigate. I expect this was because of the **** that came back to hit her as well as the mini explosion at the end of her hand.

    I had to send the bbl back to the maker for a removal of the old one and the installation of a new one. No other damage to the gun. Wife survived the mishap but we both learned a lesson. She needs to stop shooting when something goes awry and I need to slow down when making 9 MM rounds.

    I have another 4 thousand 9 MM rounds made that are suspect and I will burn them up carefully and keep a range/squib rod and mallet handy for dud rounds.

    I have 3 9 MM weapons and I have yet to find one that will consistently group less than 2" at 25 yds. Maybe it is the guns or the ammo or maybe both. The nine is a finicky round to load.

    The OAL is critical and the casing size so small that the powder charge is also critical. Then of course I am using all kinds of casings that I find everywhere as few people bother to reload the 9 MM and they are all a mite different.

    I ran a few hundred thru a Chrony once to see how my reloads were performing and the velocity readings were all over the place. I was getting readings from 850 to 1100 FPS from ammo which was loaded with the same boolits, lube and powder at the same time.

    This is not conducive to good accuracy. I need to work on my 9 MM ammo. Maybe using the same brand of cases or whatever.
    Pax Nobiscum Dan (Crash) Corrigan

    Currently casting, reloading and shooting: 223 Rem, 6.5x55 Sweede, 30 Carbine, 30-06 Springfield, 30-30 WCF, 303 Brit., 7.62x39, 7.92x57 Mauser, .32 Long, 32 H&R Mag, 327 Fed Mag, 380 ACP. 9x19, 38 Spcl, 357 Mag, 38-55 Win, 41 Mag, 44 Spcl., 44 Mag, 45 Colt, 45 ACP, 454 Casull, 457 RB for ROA and 50-90 Sharps. Shooting .22 LR & 12 Gauge seldom and buying ammo for same.

  9. #69
    Boolit Man
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    I attended the WV Hunting and Fishing Show a few years ago. There was a Colt rep there with some SAA's for everyone to shoot. The targets were 6" plates @ 25yds. I observed about a dozen people trying to hit the plates before I decide to give it a try. I didn't see anyone hit more than 3 and one guy was so frustrated he swore he would never buy a Colt handgun. I stepped up to the firing line, picked up a hawgleg and thumbed 5 rounds in. I looked @ the rep and asked if a 6 o'clock hold was ok. He nodded a yes and I proceeded to knock over all 5 plates. Man, that felt good!

    My favorite revolver is a DW744VH8. I can consistantly shoot 3" @ 100yds with it. It might shoot better than that but I can't.

    My favorite visual effect target is a can of shaving cream. Don't try this up close if you don't have a razor handy.
    GO WVU MOUNTAINEERS!--Hey, our mascot carries a muzzleloader.
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    I love wildlife, it tastes great!

  10. #70
    Boolit Master
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    Tested one of my cylinder throats today since I got leading problems. I did so by driving a CB sized to .430" through the barrel and then pushing that slug through a cylinder throat. It went, after I used all possible force I could to get it through.

    What does that tell you guys about my barrel/cylinder throat sizes? This is a S&W 629 that was bought new.

  11. #71
    Boolit Master crabo's Avatar
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    You need to get some pin gauges and measure your throats. It sounds like they are too small.
    Crabo

    Do not argue with idiots. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

  12. #72
    Being a new guy here and reading the wealth of knowledge that people just toss around here is amazing. Up until a couple of weeks ago I never gave serious thought to loading my own, and now I'm chasing boolits to remake a .38/200 cartidge. You guys are inspiring.

  13. #73
    Boolit Master daniel lawecki's Avatar
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    Great post I shoot 44 mag 45lc your post is right on the mark a chrony is also a great tool

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by healey55 View Post
    Great thread.. agree with the guy who says plinking is the way to learn.. Most of us learned that way cause there really were no "ranges"

    A gun writer that I respect came up with a theory that I find to be pretty close to making sense.

    In the many years of testing guns and loads from sandbags and ransom rests and with a variety of shooters he came up with this...

    That if you take any experienced shooter.. not supermen but ones with a lot of trigger time over the years... That if you take their five shot groups from sandbag rests and throw out the two worst shots...

    That the group will be the exact same size that a ransom rest will give. In other words, the best group possible for that gun and load. It makes sense to me. He claims he has checked the theory many many times and it always works.
    That would be Taffin!
    Not to be here, we shoot load testing at 50 yards and count all shots. No cherry picking. Shots wide of the group have a reason so the problem is found. There is a reason for fliers and they can't be ignored.
    Seems Taffin shoots 20 yards and cherry picks.
    Once you have control, you can read a target and discover the problem. It could be you, the gun, the load, the alloy, the powder or primer. To ignore fliers means you lie to yourself. To ignore them and write about it means you lie to readers.

  15. #75
    Boolit Master crabo's Avatar
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    In my opinion, you need to count every one your pistol will hold. You should also mark the cylinders and see if a particular cylinder throws a shot outside the group. Fliers aren't always the result of poor marksmanship.
    Crabo

    Do not argue with idiots. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

  16. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by crabo View Post
    In my opinion, you need to count every one your pistol will hold. You should also mark the cylinders and see if a particular cylinder throws a shot outside the group. Fliers aren't always the result of poor marksmanship.
    Yeah, could have a gun problem. I have seen it, getting a few fliers from a chamber but after testing over and over with a marked chamber, I found it was me or the load.
    Now one undersize throat can give you a headache but that is easily fixed.
    Maybe I am lucky but all chambers have worked for me.
    Been having a problem with the JRH that I don't get in the .475. The first shot of the day is usually off a little. Not always either.
    I never clean the gun so it might be weather and what is left in the bore that one shot fixes. I am starting to think it dries out and being such a large bore it makes a difference. I can be 3" off at 100 yards just for 1 shot. It will not do it again all day.
    Seems to be a time thing and how long the gun has sat in the safe. If I shoot every day the problem seems to go away.
    Sometimes we just don't know!
    When I shoot softer lead for hunting I always have 3 shots tight and 2 out, my 45-70 will do it all the time until I go back to my target alloy. The shots out are still center of deer to 100.
    I oven harden the softer stuff and if I don't groups just get so large I could not tell a flier from a hole in the ground!

  17. #77
    Boolit Master
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    I finally got around to reading this thread. I think the three most important steps were skipped, and while they may not seem to need to be mentioned, if you don't follow them, everything else is for naught.

    #1, Start with an accurate revolver. Not all revolvers are created equal, and if you have a gun that can't mechanically shoot well, you'll tear out your hair in frustration. I was fortunate to start my quest to shoot a revolver accurately with an accurate revolver. I also had the opposite experience with a gun that fealt great in my hands, but had some mechanical problems that made shooting small groups impossible, inspite of extensive load work and bullet testing. Seemingly minor issues like a barrel choke where the barrel screws into the frame can make a gun that should be able to shoot 1" at 25 yds, shoot 5" at 25 yds.

    #2, Learn how to consistantly hold a revolver from a bench rest position. This is more difficult than with a rifle, but again, without a consistant hold shot to shot, you won't shoot small groups. No need for a ransom rest, just practice consistancy.

    #3, Optical sights. Now matter how good your eyes, my distance vision is 20/15, optics are essential to the smallest possible groups. Not only do optics aid in clearly seing the target, they let you know whether or not your hold is steady. You might not know your hold is less than solid w/ irons, but magnify it 6-8 times and you'll see what I mean.

  18. #78
    Boolit Mold
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    hey guys I'm new to the site been shooting awhile ,buying my cast boolits and been thinking about casting my own, sounds like a good way to save some some money,retired now so any way to cut cost would be a good thing.I shoot some IDPA,IPSC also do some deer and hog hunting with handgun.already have some equip. Anyways good reading on the site so far and glad I found the site...

  19. #79
    Boolit Master S.B.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by detox View Post
    Using my Hawkeye bore scope i inspected how well each cylinder lines up with barrel/forcing cone. I have just one cylinder that worries me a little, but it is not off center by much. How should i mark this one cylinder temporarily...Sharpie pen maybe. Where on cylinder should i mark permenatly if this certain cylinder were to shoot bad. I could leave this chamber empty when i shoot. Gun is Ruger Blackhawk 45LC.
    If this handgun is used for hunting, I think you're making too much of this? Shoot it first to determine accuracey, before making rash judgements.
    Steve
    "The Original Point and Click Interface was a Smith & Wesson."
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  20. #80
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    Mr Mauser 1959:

    My daughter has the bug. No cure that I know of so far, but plenty of range time may help relieve some of the symptoms. I think the best place to start is deciding what sort of shooting you want to do: plinking, hunting, personal protection, home defense, target or competition, sporting, etc. Next decide how much of an initial investment you can manage. Then you can shop for a firearm that meets your current needs.

    The advanced marksmansip course is in the USAMU [U S Army Marksmanship Unit] Manual. It is available on line at: http://www.bullseyepistol.com/amucover.htm and is part of the Small Arms Firing School at Camp Perry every year.

    A mentor will help A LOT because they can watch you and suggest immediate corrections to improve your shooting.

    Quote Originally Posted by mauser1959 View Post
    I have a real problem , I have been shooting both wheel guns since I was young and semi autos. I seem to have passed some of my bad habits on to my daughter. It would be very nice to find a very good instructive list of the way to shoot; such as I have changed my shooting stance since I started teaching her to shoot, and taught her to do the same; not always the wisest decision.

    It would be very nice to be able to be able to build a good home-built type of ransom rest, It should be well within the abilities of most shooters to build. The ransom rest and their need for each hand gun to have its own grip puts it out of the reach of a lot of us; but I believe that many of use with a bit of work could make a good duplicate that would work for the guns that we shoot the most often , and that would supply us with the data needed to know how our guns were shooting. I find it of interest that some of the old gun books have a simple rest to test out hand guns that require a set of grips to be made but the other mechanism is quite simple.

    I have envisioned building a ransom rest starting with a discarded 4 footed kitchen chair and going from there; it would sure be nice to take my human element out of the reloading.
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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check