Tuesday, December 8, 2009

You Spin Me

I bought a S&W 64-3 double-action only .38 Special from J&G Sales a while back and it's been sort of sitting around while I waited on my .38 Special reloading dies to come off back-order. Well, they did, and I hit the range with some handloads to test, and I shot this group from 20 yards.Above: Houghton custom ammo into a Houghton custom target--printer paper with a 4" triangle drawn with a sharpie and tape measure.

Looks like all that snap-cap practice paid off pretty huge. Part of it is that a heavy and smooth double action trigger pull from a vintage S&W will help you master the art of a clean trigger pull. I haven't mastered it yet, given the two rounds that did not go in the same hole as the other four, but damn if I'm not getting closer. Granted, I did this very slowly. It probably took me 45 seconds or so to fire all six shots. But I'll take it.

Semi-autos own the "tactical" (I hate that word) world, but the wheelgun still rules the range and the hunting world. I have a soft spot for S&W revolvers, and I'm also partial to mega-bore revolvers from Ruger. S&W has tried to resurrect revolvers as a tactical piece by making an 8-shot .357 Magnum that uses moon clips (AKA full moon clips) for faster loading. But you could spend a fraction of the money on a S&W M&P9 service model that has 17 rounds on deck and can be reloaded by your average person very quickly. As far as I'm concerned, the wheelgun has seen its day as the primary sidearm of choice by 99% of law-enforcement and 100% of the military. But it is FAR from dead.

Revolvers will always live on because they aren't limited by the dimensions of a detachable magazine that runs through the grip. You can make that cylinder just as big as it needs to be to house a nuclear bomb like the .460 S&W or .454 Casull. I wouldn't hesitate for a minute to take my hetero-lifepartner's .454 Casull Ruger Alaskan into bear country with me, or in case I ever had to shoot down alien spaceships.

Another great reason to own a wheelgun, particularly in .357 magnum or .38 Special, is the cost of reloading. You SHOULD be able to recover 100% of your brass, and .38 special operates at very low pressure, which helps lengthen case life. The .38SPL takes a very light powder charge, even at max loads, and cast lead bullets in the 125-158 grain range are pretty reasonably priced. I can reload .38 Special 125gr LRNFPs pretty cheaply. There isn't much better than cheap shooting, except for hitting what you're aiming at.

Gratuitous S&W Pornography

As a side note, I plan to shoot the 64-3 for my concealed weapon permit class on Sunday. I bet I'm the only one there under 65 who shoots a wheelgun. Probably the only one PERIOD to shoot a DAO wheelgun.

FLGN out.

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