Tuesday at Champion Arms shooting range is Ladies Night, where women shoot free when accompanied. We packed up quite a lot of ammo this time- two new loads in .45 ACP, a new load in .450 Adams and my first attempt at loading .32 ACP.
The .32 ACP was so that Linda could try out a new gun- an NAA Guardian .32. Only slightly larger than most .25 autos, Linda was contemplating it as a replacement for her beloved Colt Jr. .25. It’s a rather different beast than the Colt, being double-action only. The trigger pull is smooth and reasonably light but very long. I loaded some 73gr. FMC over 2.1gr. of Red Dot powder with a CCI500 primer, and we purchased a box of Fiocchi 73gr. ball for comparison.
Both types of ammunition functioned flawlessly, with my hand-loads having slightly less felt recoil- not that either load had much. This is not an easy gun to shoot well with it’s one-finger grip, DAO trigger and microscopic sights. Groups at seven yards were not spectacular, but I am pretty sure they could be dialed in with practice. Many would correctly point out that this gun is designed for use at arm’s length distances and that the inability to print good groups is not really relevant to the mission.
The gun is very well-made, and came with a spare magazine. All-stainless construction makes it heavy for it’s size, but this is all to the good as it helps tame recoil. Also, heavy for it’s size is not damning- it’s seriously small. Recoil is practically non-existent, but it does want to jump around while shooting. This was a problem for Linda; something about the shape of the handle caused it to gouge her painfully, making it quite unpleasant for her to fire. Since I wasn’t particularly into it we’ll be shuffling this little gun along. Mind you there is nothing wrong with the gun, it simply doesn’t suit us.
Next up was the Detonics Mk.1 Combat Master .45. Linda loves shooting this gun, and ran several magazines through it. This time out she was stringing her groups vertically- hardly tragic, but not what she was hoping for. She also did this with the Frankengun (my 1911a1.) She’s had a bad back all day and was getting a headache, so we chalked it up to just an off day and she retired from the range.
I ran a couple boxes of mixed loads through the gun, which slurped them up with gusto and asked for more. The first of my hand-loads used a 200gr LRNFP bullet over 4.0gr. of Red Dot. The other is a Montana Gold 185gr. JHP over 5.4gr. of Red Dot. Both used CCI 500 large-pistol primers. The 200gr. load was very pleasant to shoot from the Detonics. The 185gr HP loads were a bit less laid back, but still easy enough on the hands.
After this trip I think this gun is ready for prime-time. I’ll need to make a good IWB holster and a mag-pouch for it.
On to the revolvers. When I switched from hollow-base bullets to conventional bullets the Webley RIC started key-holing shots, so I decided to produce some hollow-base bullets. I built a set of simple tools to turn 200gr. RNFP bullets into hollow-base semi-wadcutters-
I loaded these over 4.0gr. of Unique with a CCI300 primer and tried them out. These actually produced more recoil than the previous 200gr LRN hollow-base bullets with the same charge and primer. Maybe this is a function of the much greater bearing surface? I don’t know, but in the future I’ll back down the powder charge a bit and see how that works out.
I brought along a pair of .32 revolvers as well- a S&W m1903 (5th Change) .32 Hand Ejector and a Colt Detective Special in .32 Colt New Police. They both actually fire the same cartridge- .32 S&W Long- but Colt could not suffer the thought of writing ‘S&W’ on their gun, so they put a different bullet in and pretended it was a different cartridge.
Both guns are a delight to shoot- the Colt a bit more so because of it’s ample grip and better sights. For this trip I loaded 96gr. LFP bullets over 2.5gr. of Red Dot with the CCI 300 primer. This proved to be a nice, soft-shooting load in both guns, as I had hoped; I really wanted to entice Linda with these guns, but her back had sidelined her before we got to them.
Both targets were shot standing/unsupported using the double-action trigger. I was targeting the nine in the picture on the right. The sights on this gun are terrible, and the grip is not great in my big hands but I can make it work. Still, a set of target grips may be in this gun’s future…
It was a shame Linda retired early, but other than that it was a great trip to the range. New loads tried, shot some guns I had been neglecting and got in some much needed stress-relief.
Michael Tinker Pearce, 10 July 18
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