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Thread: S&W 617-6 with 6 inch barrel--- range report

  1. #1
    Boolit Master tazman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    west central Illinois

    S&W 617-6 with 6 inch barrel--- range report

    I got my new(to me) 617 a couple of days ago and made it to the range today.
    I started out using Federal auto match, then switched to Winchester M-22, then switched to Remington Thunderbolts. Groups were only so so at best. After about 100 rounds, I decided to try it off a rest in case I was having a bad day. The groups at 10 yards were about the size of a ping pong ball. Normally I do better than that so I wasn't impressed.
    I remembered I had a box of Norma match in the bag so I pulled it out and shot 10 rounds off the rest. Surprise!!!! The resulting group was about the size of a dime.
    I tried some more of them offhand and the groups were outstanding.
    I guess it was just a matter of finding the ammo the revolver liked.
    I wish it did better with the cheaper ammo, but as long as I have something it shoots well, I am happy.
    As it turns out, all my 22 rifles love the Norma match ammo as well and I stocked up on it a while back so I am in a good position there.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Norma Match and Norma-TAC are about the same thing. The Match is the same ammo but sorted per quality variance.....tighter control. I have shot both out of several guns and it's almost impossible to measure a difference. If you want to get some more ammo at a reasonable price, MidSouth and Brownell's both have it on sale right now at almost 50% off. I just got a case of it today. It's almost impossible to find at times and it shoots as good as the most costly stuff. This group is out of a rifle at 50 yards, but you get the idea. Can't get too much better with any ammo. It's really good stuff.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #3
    Boolit Master Jack Stanley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    South of the north pole in the land of the falling waters
    I'm glad you got a good one Taz , nice revolvers are a joy to use .

    Buy it cheap and stack it deep , you may need it !

    Black Rifles Matter

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Central Virginia
    Taz, for as long as I've been playing with guns I have found the following to be true:

    Every .22 rimfire, rifle or handgun, will show a preference for a type of ammunition. Out of all of the methods you can try in your efforts to reduce group sizes, the one method that consistently produces the most dramatic results with rimfire guns is to find the ammunition your gun likes.

    Unfortunately, sometimes that preferred ammo is expensive.

    Another route that may produce results with less expensive ammunition is to flat point the bullet in a die. I recently purchased a flat point/hollow point die from Neal Waltz that performs that function. The side effect of flat pointing the bullet is that it swages the bullet to a slightly larger diameter in the process. In some applications that larger diameter may yield tighter groups. I haven't had the time to really evaluate this tool but in some quick informal testing it shows promise. I purchased it because I wanted to flat point bullets to duplicate the CCI Small Game Bullet; increased accuracy was just a bonus.

    Bullseye shooters would also use a rim thickness gauge to sort all of their ammunition before a match and cull out the cartridges that were considerably outside the average. A sliding gauge made by Neil Jones was popular back in the day but I haven't seen one in years.

    A sizing die and rim thickness gauge will set you back more than $140 and you can buy a lot of good ammo for that amount of money, but they can (not always) allow you to shoot less expensive ammo and get match ammo performance.
    Unless you shoot a lot of .22LR, you may just be better off buying what your gun likes, even if it likes the premium match ammo.

    Good Luck!

  5. #5
    Boolit Master tazman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    west central Illinois
    P&P--I am not a good enough shot to tell the difference that most of the techniques you describe would give. The groups I was shooting today were as good as it gets for me. I am happy with that.
    Someone with good eyes and steadier hands would probably do some outstanding things with my handguns given what they do for me.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    SE Ohio
    I had 2 4" 617-6s last year. I gave one to grandson and traded the other. We rested gun in my
    basement and sighted it in at 25'. Ended up with CCI standard velocity 22lr. after shooting Rem
    Gold, Rem-Win& Fed bulk. It may have done better we were getting quarter size 5 shot groups.
    He in college and we didn't want to tune it with stuff that was expensive. He will just be doing
    Plinking and informal target. I've not shot a 6" but the 4" was noticeably heavier than a m18 &
    balanced different. I don't keep stainless but grandson loves it. We put a fiber optic front sight
    on it which wipes me out, I thought the blade was fine. He bought some wood targets for it and
    said it's cats meow.

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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