Took a good cross-section of pistols to the range today, calibers ranging from .32ACP to .44 Magnum. Four of the guns were over a century old, but you wouldn’t know it from the way they work!
Starting with the Colt 1903 .32 ACP- This gun was manufactured in 1912 and I bought it used in the early ’90s. About 25 years ago I gave it to my ex and she’s had it ever since. Recently she’s developed a preference for revolvers and thought that I might like this gun back. Yes please! I gave it a quick cleaning, dug up some .32 ACP and threw it in the range bag.
I fired 28 rounds of mixed 25-year-old hollow-points and Fiochi ball ammo. The gun seemed accurate enough, though because a peculiarity of the lighting on my lane I literally could not see the front sight. The gun functioned flawlessly though and the trigger pull is light and reasonably crisp, making the gun very pleasant to shoot.
I fire the Abilene next and it’s obvious I need a) new glasses and b) a lot more practice. Twenty-five yard standing/unsupported groups were running as big as five inches- not acceptable for a hunting revolver! Moving the target in to fifteen yards improved the groups significantly but I still wasn’t pleased.
Moving on to the Steampunk Snubbies- a pair of customized S&W .38 DA Safety Hammerless revolvers- I was trying out a new load with .361 150gr SWCs over 2.7gr. of Unique. Good, accurate load- a little peppier than I expected but alright. I really enjoy the trigger-pull on these guns; long but super-smooth. Both of these groups were shot at a 1-second per shot cadence at seven yards.
The sights on these guns are tiny, but they are so close together they are basically on the same focal plane and between that, the modified grips and excellent trigger-pulls I find them very easy to shoot accurately at close range.
I didn’t have a lot of .45 Colt ammunition for The Pug and The Outlaw, but they were fun to shoot. The newly-enameled front-sight of The Pug was nice and visible and helped a lot in getting a good sight-picture.
The S&W .32 Hand-ejector and Detective Special in .32 S&W Long were both shooting better than I was today; while I had no difficulty keeping the rounds on target I didn’t seem to be capable of grouping well with either gun at 7 yards. With the Colt I actually got better when I stopped trying to be careful and fired quickly.
I ended the session with The Shopkeeper .38 Special. This gun has fantastic handling and an excellent trigger- but the sights are not the best. I had a good quantity of .38 Special on hand and I put more than a full box. It had been a while since I shot this gun a lot at one time and I was quickly reminded why this is one of my absolute favorite guns. Fired one-handed or two, it’s all good! I ended up rapid-firing three cylinders at seven yards with very satisfactory results.
So how do you rapid-fire a single-action? Catch the hammer in recoil and cock the gun as you bring it back on-target and fire immediately when the gun is leveled. Three shots in two seconds is quite attainable.
The fellow in the lane next to me was quite taken with the Shopkeeper and really enjoyed shooting it. In return he let me run a magazine through his CZ75 Tactical Sport. This is a fantastic gun- long-slide single-action competition version of the CZ75 and includes features like an add-on shelf on the left side of the dust-cover to facilitate a thumb’s-forward grip. The high-visibility fiber-optic front sight was easy to pick up. The trigger was superb- the gun is amazing and every bit what I would expect for it’s $1800 MSRP. Hell, compared to high-end 1911s it’s a bargain at that price. If I could figure out how to scrounge up a couple grand I would be totally happy to spend it on one of these!
A day of mixed results- I really do need new prescription glasses- but a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.
Michael Tinker Pearce, 19 December 2017
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