Of Hardball Ammunition, Specifications and Duplications

As it is the quietly assumed standard ammunition of .45 ACP semi-automatic pistols, my general purpose reload for the caliber is what is commonly known as ‘hardball’. The rather ordinary 230 grain, fully jacketed, round nose bullet at about 850 feet per second muzzle velocity. Not as easy as I thought.

Short note: This ammunition is referred to as ‘hardball’ for two reasons. It is fully jacketed, common to all military cartridges, handgun, rifle and machine-gun. Also, in the case of the .45 handgun, the bullet is ’round-nosed’, nearly spherical in shape and reminds one – with a bit of imagination – of the small ‘hard’ ball used in baseball. This design is not particularly ferocious; designed not to expand on contact with any target. The U. S. Armed Forces – and other armed forces – refers to the ammunition as ‘ball’ ammunition. This derives from the muzzle loading days when ammunition was in fact loose balls to fit the arm and loose black powder. The modern term ‘ball’ means the projectile is, other than possessed of velocity, inert; opposed to tracer ammunition (which leaves a light trail), incendiary (to start fires), armor piercing or blank. Enough.

According to “Department of the Army Technical Manual (TM) 43-0001-27 Army Ammunition Data Sheets Small Caliber Ammunition FSC 1305, dated April 1994”, the “Cartridge, Caliber .45, Ball, 1911” the projectile weight is not listed, but the velocity is given as 885 +/- 25 fps. The manual also lists the propellent as “SR 7970, (weight) 5 gr”.

I was under the impression I had been loading a proper duplication load. My own ‘stand by’ reload is 5.2 grains of W231 powder. Then I tested a new (to me) pistol and the velocity came up short. Curious, I decided to chronograph test the same load in five other pistols in .45 ACP. (They are all examples of the Browning designed, Colt built ‘Government Model’.) All six pistols have nominal five inch barrels.

The six pistols gave ten-shot averages of 764.9, 754.6, 754.5, 747.4, 742.4, 742.0. The average of these is 750.9. This is roughly 135 fps shy of the specified velocity. The good news is there’s about 22 fps difference between the highest and lowest average velocities. So the loading is fairly consistent in these six pistols.

Looking in various reloading manuals, very few loads are listed which will in fact duplicate the standard .45 ‘hardball’ load. My usual powders for handguns do not appear to push the projectile to the specified velocity. Jumping back to the specifications in the TM, the minimum velocity is 860 fps (885 minus 25 fps)

However, in the Speer Loading Manual #14, I find some information that indicates I may be able to duplicate the load. To make things better, the powder is one I have in my inventory: Power Pistol. In fact, a ‘maximum’ load is not required, even better. Time to load up some test loads again.

Returning from the range I bear good news. I have a valid ‘hardball equivalent loading which less than a ‘maximum’ charge. I chronographed the shots fired and the results bear out my research.

Using regular Winchester (nickeled) commercial brass, a (in this case Winchester) Large Pistol primer, a 230 grain FMJ bullet and the charge of 7.2 grains of Power Pistol gunpowder; the projectile registers 878 feet per second with the chronograph 15 feet from the muzzle. This charge is about half a grain of powder less than maximum recommended; so it isn’t on the ragged edge of destruction. It is not a relaxing and serene load to shoot, the report is impressive and the recoil is fatiguing over time.

If factory “hardball” seems a bit ‘harsh’ to shoot, you will not like this load any better. (It is manly, however!)

WARNING: This load was done by me, at my reloading equipment and scale. Then it was fired in my pistol. YOUR loading technique, YOUR reloading equipment, YOUR scale and YOUR pistol ARE DIFFERENT! Please be cautious should you decide to duplicate my work. Get solid information from a reputable loading manual and begin with minimal charges. Work up to the velocity desired without exceeding the recommendations of the reputable loading manual. Use only in well maintained firearms designed for use with full charge .45 ACP ammunition.

And double check the charge loads with the manual.


Filed under Firearms and their use, Uncategorized

Doctor Carson is Right.

The only answer to mass murders and personal violence is active resistance.

Why do a number of persons – victims – stand by and allow mass murderers to kill others and the victim waiting in line to be killed?

Here’s a hint: It is not ‘human nature’. Humans have always been defensive and responsible for their own safety. However, in the last sixty plus years, U. S. citizens have been brainwashed with the message of “don’t resist, don’t fight back”. Initially, the idea was ‘property isn’t as valuable as human life’. From this, the idea of not resisting was emphasized.

Somewhere in this – I’m not sure of the specific moment – the idea that because your property was being stolen, the thief’s life was more important than the property involved. This functionally became the concept the thief’s ‘right’ to steal your property was more important than your ‘right’ to keep it.

It has been ruled by courts a ‘fleeing felon’, not presenting an immediate threat can not be countered with deadly force. This broad rule ignores the specific cases where a ‘fleeing felon’ has gone on to either immediately or with some time lapse commit other felonies, including personal attacks of a violent nature to include rape and murder.

Some states have gone so far as passing laws requiring the victim ‘retreat’ and not offer a defense of any form until they are physically unable to retreat further. The last possible moment is not a good time to begin a defense. But the ‘must retreat’ laws require this conduct. Of course, many of those same states do everything possible to remove firearms from non-felonious citizens. This furthers the pro-criminal stance of the politicians involved.

When the citizenry is prevented from self-defense, the only alternative is for the ‘government’ – usually in the form of police – to provide ‘defense’. However, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled in several cases, no police department can be expected to protect all citizens at all times, nor can they be reasonably expected to provide such service. When one realizes the average time for a response to a “911” call reporting deadly violence is several minutes – presuming anyone sees the crime being committed or the victim is able to place such a call – any thinking person should realize the individual is alone and can depend only on themselves for assistance or defense.

Please don’t misquote this as an attack on police officers or even police departments. The individual officer(s) will respond to such calls as quickly as possible. However, a call to 911 for help goes to a response call center, is evaluated (to separate non-emergencies from actual emergencies and fraudulent calls from honest calls), then passed onto the officer(s) assigned to ‘handle’ the request. The officer(s) then must physically travel to the scene of the request and gain entry to the immediate location. This all takes time. Again, this presumes a help call can even be made.

Three minutes could be a very long time for a college aged woman being sexually assaulted by four men. It could be a very long time for a college aged man being sexually assaulted by four men. (If you don’t feel three minutes – picked at random by your humble correspondent and deriving from no particular information – try holding your breath for three minutes and see.)

Now this concept and doctrine is coming back to present itself as more confident felons preying on the public.

Mass murderers should not be encouraged and abetted by politicians seeking more power for the government, either state or federal.

The only real world defense is that provided by the targeted victims. Denying a victim the ability to defend from a predatory criminal is abetting the predatory criminal. That is the answer, not more idiotic ‘gun control’.

One last thought. The stupidity of ‘Gun Control’ is based on the rather silly view that ‘guns’ are the essence of the problem. Allow me to present some reality: an inanimate object does not influence human thought. No artifact can engender evil in the mind of anyone. The evil is engendered within the mind and will of the person seeking to commit evil. Laws that deal with inanimate objects rather than evil are doomed to fail.

Unless the actual goal is to remove from honest people the ability to resist a dictatorial government.


Filed under Civilization, Firearms and their use, General Idiocy, Idiot Politicians

Sad News for “Women of Distinction” Magazine

I just received an email notice telling me I have been “… chosen as a potential candidate to represent your state and profession in the upcoming edition of “Women of Distinction” for 2015.”

Prior to writing an acceptance speech, I feel the need to tell them I am male.

For those of you who do not know me, I was born male. I am still male. If it makes any difference, I am sexually attracted (considering my age) to females. I have no intention of changing anything mentioned.

I wonder how I got on their list?

Life is like that at times.

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Why Only ‘This’ Powder for ‘That’ Cartridge?

Back in the old days, there was original gunpowder – black powder. The combination of sulfur, charcoal and saltpeter (potassium nitrate) is quite old and fairly simple – although dangerous at times – to use. Black powder is termed a ‘explosive’. That is, it always burns at the same rate, whether confined or open to the air. It is a ‘low’ explosive in that the burning rate is subsonic and it is not as brusque, so to speak, as ‘high’ explosives.

But black powder was used in all sorts of guns. Everything from rather small caliber handguns to cannons. Due to the constant burning rate, it cannot be over-loaded. When it goes off, it simply burns and the excess is expelled from the gun. The exception being if the gun will not hold the basic pressure of the initial burn. But then, even a minor load of black powder will damage the gun.

By the 1800s, gunmakers and shooters found by sizing the kernels or granules of the powder, the burning rate is somewhat effected. Essentially, the smaller bits tend to burn ‘faster’. This is still limited to the overall limitations of the chemical compound, but is somewhat useful for different applications. This is recognized by the designations of “Fg” which means ‘fine granule’ and “FFg” (fine, fine granules) and so on. One uses the smaller sizes in shotguns and handguns.

Then ‘smokeless’ powder happened. Actually, modern smokeless powder was developed in stages. There are a couple of places on line which explain the development of smokeless powder and I’m not going to copy it here.

The benefit – and complication – of smokeless powder is smokeless can be better suited by design for certain firearms. The benefit of course is that a specific application makes the application more effective. The complication is selecting which specific powder for a specific application.

Just for the record, smokeless powder is a propellent, NOT an explosive. Properly used, smokeless powder of any ilk does not explode. It burns very quickly when confined, but this is NOT an explosion. The term ‘explosion’ gets used often by the press (in ignorance), fiction writers (also in ignorance), and various other official people of one level or other out of simple neglect (they ought to know better and don’t bother.)

When smokeless gunpowder ‘explodes’ the burning rate is much higher than the formulation is designed to function. This normally is destructive to some level to the firearm or cartridge and is rather dangerous. It is equivalent to what used to be referred to as ‘knock’ in a gasoline engine.

In general, the ‘specificity’ of any smokeless powder (‘any’ referring to the common use name of the powder) is the burning rate. Burning rate of smokeless powder is roughly similar to the ‘octane rating’ of gasoline. Just as higher octane gasoline burns slower and is more suited to high compression engines, ‘slower’ burning rate powders are more suited to higher pressure and velocity arms. Again, similar to gasoline, although the burn rate varies with specific formulations, all gasoline when confined burns far too quickly to differentiate with the naked eye; the same with smokeless powder. Virtually all the powder in a cartridge burns prior to the projectile leaving the barrel; mostly within the first few inches of the chamber and barrel. “Virtually” is used here as some small percentage of powder never burns. This is true of small handguns and large cannons. (It’s easier to see the unburnt kernels from cannon.)

Just for the record, the ‘muzzle flash’ of most arms is NOT the final burn of gunpowder not consumed in the barrel. See http://www.navweaps.com/index_tech/tech-090.htm for a full explanation.

Smokeless powder burns best when pressures developed are within certain (powder specific) ranges. By ‘best’ one means more uniformly. Generally, ‘faster’ powders burn at a lower pressure level than ‘slower’ powders. Therefore, ‘faster’ powders are typically used in lower pressure arms. However, this can be over done; I’ve found some cartridges and applications stretch the meaning of ‘slow’ and ‘fast’ at times.

There are several conditions which determine the proper burning rate for a specific application. No single condition is the sole controlling factor, it is a combination of all factors.

1. Ratio of bullet weight to powder charge. In short, the larger the powder charge relative to the projectile, the slower the burn rate of the powder. Consider the amount of Bullseye powder safely used in a .44 Magnum revolver compared to the amount of 2400 powder in the same revolver using the same bullet. Also consider the amount of any sort of powder used in a .357 Magnum to propel a 150 grain bullet versus the amount of any powder used to propel a 150 grain bullet from a .30-06 rifle.

2. Resistance to movement of the projectile. The more pressure needed to move the bullet requires a slower burning powder. Consider the demands of shooting a 200 grain .38 Special bullet against the demands of shooting a 200 grain .45 ACP bullet. The 200 grain bullet in .357 caliber is ‘heavy’, yet a 200 grain .452 caliber bullet is ‘moderate’.

3. Expansion ratio of the arm. Expansion ratio is the ratio of the initial burning chamber volume (cartridge in chamber with bullet in place) to the total volume of the chamber and barrel out to the muzzle (where the bullet no longer confines the expanding gasses. The larger the expansion ratio, the faster the powder need be. Check any loading manual. A rifle with a bottle neck cartridge (.30-30, .22 Hornet, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, 7mm Remington Magnum) requires a slower burning powder than a .458 Winchester, .45-70 Government [strong action] or .450 Marlin).

4. Pressure limitation of the firearm. Combined with the above relationships, some firearms are limited more than others in absolute pressure levels. For instance, a .380 ACP pistol operates at 21,500 psi while a .30-06 Springfield operates at 50,000 (CUP). Obviously, one must load different pressures in each.

This explains why so many ‘handgun’, ‘light rifle’ and ‘shotgun’ powders overlap. Both shotguns and handguns have large expansion ratios. Both shotguns and handguns have relatively smaller powder capacities. (Visualize a bullet or shot load moving down a barrel from chamber to muzzle. With each inch of travel of the projectile, a relative large bore will produce more volume than a relatively smaller bore. If the projectile outpaces the burn rate of the powder generating pressure, the pressure level of the firearm drops and velocity is limited.)

Unique is widely used as both a shotgun and a near universal handgun powder. Additionally, Unique may be used in many reduced (low) velocity (not to be confused with low pressure) loads in centerfire rifles. H-110 can be used in the M1 carbine and also for heavy loads in the larger Magnum revolver rounds.

Please note: Barrel length has nothing to do (directly at least) with prospective choice of powder burning rate. I keep seeing people on internet forums going on about how ‘short barrels’ waste powder as the powder doesn’t burn. Since the shorter barrel tends to lose velocity compared to a longer barrel, some feel a faster powder will either counter act the loss in velocity or at least substitute in a shorter barrel. Try it if you must, and chronograph the results.

Lacking a chronograph, study the findings in a loading manual. Note the absence of any comments regarding substituting a faster powder in any load due to a shorter barrel.

The fastest load in a given length barrel will be the fastest in any other length barrel. This ‘short barreled’ rifle may in some circumstances may shoot faster than a different ‘long barreled’ rifle, but the fastest load combination in either of the rifles will be the fastest in the other as well. This ‘short’ versus ‘long’ effect may be more noted in handguns; but the relative velocities remain intact. (One rifle may prefer a different load for accuracy, but rifles are like that. Accuracy and velocity have NO absolute correspondence. In my experience, I’ve had very accurate ‘fast’ loads and very accurate ‘slow’ loads. There is no cosmic rule linking velocity to accuracy. That’s been discovered and announced yet, anyway.)

Good news. The typical reloader does not have to figure this all out by one’s self. The loading manuals have done all this in their research, even if they don’t specifically mention it.

When one buys a loading manual, read all the expository and explanative parts BEFORE jumping into the loading data.

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Recent Events in Pro-Criminal Gun Control Efforts

Charleston, South Carolina: A single, young white man is presumed to kill nine people in local church prayer meeting. According to reports, the shooter is a white supremacist and wanted to start a ‘race war’. That’s the official narrative, but omits mention of the South Carolina law which prohibits a lawful concealed weapons citizen from carrying in a church or religious facility without express permission of the authority body of the organization.

In other words, the victims were forbidden by law having the means to defend themselves. This is another great win for the pro-criminal faction, pretending to be proponents of ‘common sense’. Forbid victims to be armed and violence ceases. Brilliant.

Of course this is a ‘hate crime’. A white man killed some black people. This ignores two factors at least: One is the murder victims were all (presumably) Christians; my Christian brothers and sisters. No mention has been made of that aspect, only that the victims were black. Two is the rioting, looting and vandalism in Ferguson, Baltimore and so on are ignored as ‘hate crimes’. The rather blatant hatred of white people is not important.

I heard an interview on National Public (Leftist) Radio, interviewing a gentleman introduced as a ranking member of the NAACP and a pastor – sorry, I don’t remember the details. In the interview, the individual spoke – ranted, perhaps – how the Federal Government (didn’t mention South Carolina) HAD TO take the responsibility for protecting the congregants in churches from violence. He made clear it is not the church’s (congregation or denomination) responsibility to defend themselves, but the Government’s responsibility. He was asked about the church accepting some responsibility and providing local defense – which is legal. He became incensed, raised his voice and declared words to the effect of ‘There will be no guns in our churches!’

Obviously, this gentleman is completely unaware of U. S. Supreme Court decisions finding that police departments (which includes Federal Law Enforcement agencies) are NOT liable for criminal action on the part of an individual against other individuals. In other words, there is NO Constitution ‘right’ to be safe against criminal danger, or any danger.

This gentleman also refuses the concept citizens need to look after themselves. He refuses the idea of personal responsibility for individuals. I find this most puzzling for a man who self-identifies as a Christian pastor. One of the elemental Christian tenets is all people are responsible for their own actions. Just as the murderer is responsible for his vile actions, the victims are responsible for their own protection and defense.

Further, this gentleman seems to be also unaware of the distinction between Christianity and Pacifism. Nothing in the Bible, either Old or New Testament encourages a passive attitude in life.

There are times when a Christian must submit to lawful authority. There are times when a Christian is physically helpless and cannot forcibly resist. However, Christians are not ordered, directed or expected to willingly be killed at the pleasure of someone else.

Don’t take my word for this. Look for yourself.

Luke 22:35vv records Jesus’ instructions and warnings to the disciples regarding their future, after He was ascended to Heaven. Jesus contrasts this with the prior occasion He dispatched the Twelve in Matthew 10: 1 – 15. Jesus advises His followers to take money, extra clothing as practical, a sword (weapon). His intent is they should be ready for any occasion. While on the earlier episode, He watched over them directly, in the future they would be physically exposed to violent opposition.

Also, look at the passages in Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-19, and Luke 19:45-46. Jesus physically expelled – the wording varies from ‘cast out’ to ‘drive out’ in various translations – the money changers and ‘sellers’ who were operating within the sacred boundaries of the Temple. Anyone who confuses this with Pacifism is deeply inept.

Revelation 19, starting with verse 11 describes the return of Jesus. It begins with a battle in which Jesus leads the Armies of Heaven. There are those who dismiss this passage as metaphorical, but it’s a pretty gruesome metaphor.

Teaching Pacifism as a tenet of Christianity is contrary to Bible teaching and therefore heretical.

The NAACP speaker is obviously more concerned with making political gains from this tragedy than with preventing more murders. In fact, he is working for more murders so he can use the resulting propaganda. Which is standard practice for the Left.

Then our current President weighs in on the matter. He opines this is a terrible thing – with which I agree, which is odd – and then launches off on a renewed ‘gun control’ plea. He ignores the fact the ‘gun control’ preventing firearms in churches ASSISTED the hideous event rather than prevented or even hindered what transpired.

This is leftist logic: If the millions of American citizens who now own firearms and cause no problems are stripped of their weapons and Constitutional rights, criminals will be powerless. If that is even remotely true, then the mass murder in the African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina NEVER HAPPENED. It couldn’t, as no firearms were allowed into the church.

Interesting is the President’s response to the riots, looting and vandalism in Baltimore in the recent past. The President didn’t push for more gun control then. In fact, the whole problem was and is being addressed by the Department of Justice (Attorney General’s Office) by investigating the Baltimore Police Department rather than the rioters.

It’s been a fine week for the totalitarian left. Lots of propaganda and horror and fear and sadness; just what the Leftists desire most in life. Fear allows control.

And this has been said before, but bears repeating. Anti-Gun is Pro-Criminal.

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More Regarding the New (old) Government Model

Follow up as of 13 June A. D. 2015.

Series 70 with checkered plain grips and field expedient grip safety adaptor.

Series 70 with checkered plain grips and field expedient grip safety adaptor.

After disassembly, inspection and so forth, I discovered the ejector was a Super .38/9mm ejector. Which is longer then the standard .45 ACP ejector for this arm. Needless to say, I procured a standard .45 ACP ejector, then test fired the pistol again. I used a different magazine, by the way. The pistol worked better than before, but did malfunction at least every other shot. Arg…

Back home and another inspection. This time I noted the aftermarket recoil buffer, a shock absorbing ring sort of arrangement installed on the recoil spring guide was frayed and disintegrating. So I removed it. (They are not part of the original design and are not popular in some circles.) The arm now works.

Series 70 sight alignment after sights painted matte black.

Series 70 sight alignment after sights painted matte black.

If I didn’t mention it, the sights as purchased were two white dots on the rear sight, either side of the notch. The front sight had a vertical channel cut and filled with white. As popular as such fillers might be in the community, I find them abhorrent and painted them all with matte black model paint.

Series 70 with sights painted matte black

Series 70 with sights painted matte black

I am happy to report my Hardball (with lead bullet) reloads chronograph at an average of just less than 861 feet per second. The U. S. Army Field Manual with specifications for small arms ammunition shows .45 (ACP) caliber standard load ammunition shows the required velocity is 875 feet per second, plus or minus 25 feet per second.

However, now I can fire an actual string at twenty-five yards, I find the pistol groups to the right a bit high. So at the very least, I shall have to move the rear sight to the left about one whack. Since the rear sight is fixed, but ‘drifts’ laterally in a slot cut in the slide, one usually uses a brass drift and hammer of small to moderate size to move the rear sight. Or one can purchase a ‘sight adjustment tool’, consisting of a holder straddling the slide and a tightly threaded screw arrangement to push the rear (or front if of the dovetail variety) laterally. Being the frugal sort I am, the brass drift and hammer work quite well.

Series 70 using Hardball (lead) ammunition at twenty-five yards, two handed rapid fire.

Series 70 using Hardball (lead) ammunition at twenty-five yards, two handed rapid fire.

Series 70 using Hardball (lead) ammunition showing detail of twenty-five yard group. Series 70 using Hardball (lead) ammunition showing detail of twenty-five yard group.[/caption]

I also took the liberty of removing the badly checkered and somewhat cheap Colt grips that had been on the arm. The right side escutcheon kept falling out. It is plastic and flash plated with something alleged to resemble gold. (It isn’t solid metal of any sort, let alone gold.) The grips now in place resemble the style of the U. S. brown plastic grips which graced the pistol in the service from 1924 or so on. Except they are proper wood and checkered by someone or a machine conversant with the process.

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Early Smith & Wesson Model 10 Revolver

Early Smith & Wesson Model 10 with correct era stocks and grip adapter.

Early Smith & Wesson Model 10 with correct era stocks and grip adapter.

Smith & Wesson, .38 Special, “K” frame, Military & Police, Model 10 revolver. This is the basic blue, four inch (pinned) barrel, six shot, fixed sight offering. Once so common they were reminiscent of Passenger Pigeons or the American Bison. Also akin to the Passenger Pigeons and the American Bison, they are quite rare these days.

This is a “C” (serial number) prefix revolver. The “C” prefix ran from March of 1948 to 1967, from 1 to 999,999.

This revolver is a ‘four screw’ configuration (three screws holding on the side plate and one in the forward position of the trigger guard, holding the spring for the cylinder stop. From the same source, this configuration was used by S&W from “about 1955” to “about 1961”.

This revolver is marked “MOD-10” on the interior of the cylinder yoke. S&W started using model numbers instead of names in 1957. It is a Model 10. Not a Model 10 (dash) anything.

The stocks (Smith & Wesson handguns do NOT have ‘grips’) are of the ‘magna’ style, offering a bit wider recoil profile in the web of the hand, but no filler in the gap behind the trigger guard. This era of revolver (until 1967) should have ‘diamonds’ – unchecked section immediately surrounding the stock screw – stocks. Additionally, some commie egg-sucking dog lost the original diamond centered stocks and installed a set of later, non-diamond stocks. The stocks on this revolver are not only incorrect for the period, they don’t quite fit exactly AND they have a different serial number stamped on the interior of the right grip. Cretin.

The Lord is good! In my vast collection of odds and ends, I found a set of diamond center stocks that fit! AND they are in rather decent shape! The serial number stamped within is again the wrong serial number, but at least they look correct and they are no more inauthentic than the ones replaced. Not only that, but I found a Tyler T-grip (type at least) that fit as well. The grip adapter is the worst looking feature on the revolver.

This revolver has a ‘ramped’ front sight vice the ‘half moon’ or ‘round’ front sight of prior times. That change was effected in 1952 (same source as above).

With all that information, this revolver was made in or after 1957 and before the change to ‘three screw’ in 1961. The serial number is less than halfway through the series (1948 to 1967) so I would guess closer to 1957 than 1961.

The revolver is in pretty good shape. There is gentle holster wear on the sides of the muzzle and leading edges of the cylinder. No noted dings, gouges or scrapes from being dropped or dragged. Barrel and chambers appear to be free of bulges or scrapes.

Single action trigger pull is a reasonable three and one-half pounds and clean. No movement prior to release. Double action pull far exceeds my (somewhat cheap) gauge, but seems smooth all the way through. No stops, sudden drops or feeling of ‘what is going on here?’ Two handed dry fire indicates double action hammer fall does not disturb sight alignment. Rather typical for this era S&W revolver. One handed single action dry fire makes one quite sentimental. This is how a ‘good’ sidearm should feel.

Of course, I had to shoot this old darling. My protocol calls for accuracy and velocity testing, plus any observations on shoot-ability, reliability, or surprises.

For testing, I selected my own handloads of two variations. The 148 grain hollow base wadcutter bullet loaded to fairly minimal velocities and the 158 grain RNL loaded to the standard 750 feet per second (or thereabouts) velocity.

The 148 grain hollow base wadcutter load is my own reload. It duplicates, more or less, the standard factory target round. Fired from the revolver under discussion, it produces an average velocity of 687.3 feet per second on the basis of eighteen rounds fired. (See notes for more information regarding chronograph testing and observations.)

The resulting group – fired at twenty – five yards – has a maximum spread (between most distant shot holes) of 7 3/4 inches. The center of the densest grouping of shot holes is approximately 3 inches in the one o’clock direction. Somewhat embarrassingly, the entire group shows the ‘upper right to lower left’ oval stringing which is indicative of squeezing the entire shooting hand. My age old problem. Sigh.

Early Model 10 target results; slow fire with target ammunition at twenty-five yards.

Early Model 10 target results; slow fire with target ammunition at twenty-five yards.

Changing to the ‘service load’ the chronograph reports an average of 668.0 feet per second. This testing also based on eighteen rounds fired.

The group on a Colt silhouette target was fired double action, two handed and rapid fire; in the sense of as fast as I could line up the sights. Distance was twenty-fire yards. The group measures 5 1/4 inches between the furthest shot holes – with one flyer (that I called when I fired it). Including the flyer, the widest spread increases to 6 1/2 inches. The group center registers about 3 inches high and to the left of the aiming point. Admittedly, the ‘aiming point’ is a bit nebulous, as I aligned the sights centered in what I – subjectively – took as the high chest.

Early Model 10 results on Colt target.  Service ammunition fired double action at twenty-five yards.

Early Model 10 results on Colt target. Service ammunition fired double action at twenty-five yards.

Early Model 10 on Colt target, close up view.

Early Model 10 on Colt target, close up view.

Despite the views of some modern schools of pistol craft, this revolver does very well in putting rounds on an intended target.

As it happens this is a somewhat unique revolver – being made in a specific four year period; as it shoots with acceptable velocity and accuracy; as it cost rather less than one would expect for such a example, I am altogether pleased with this acquisition. Rather pleased indeed.

Notes for technical geeks. Or the intellectually curious.

The wadcutter loads used for this report consist of nickel plated cases, Winchester small pistol primers, a powder charge of 2.2 grains of Clays and Hornady’s 148 grain hollow base wadcutter. These loads are seated with the bullet flush with the case mouth. I also use the same ammunition in other handguns, including two target pistols – not revolvers.

The ‘service loads’ used are assembled in R-P unplated cases, Winchester small pistol primers, a powder charge of 5.0 grains of AL – 5 powder (I received this ‘obsolete’ powder by chance) and 158 grain RNL bullets of local manufacture. As the ‘advertised’ velocity of ‘standard’ loading is 755 feet per second, I think the 668.0 feet per second derived in this testing is a bit disappointing. However, the load used is a fairly mild load and not at all close to full pressure.

I always test revolvers with three rounds from each chamber of the cylinder. This allows me to determine if one chamber is significantly ‘faster’ or ‘slower’ than the other chambers. I keep track of which chamber provides which velocity by marking – or taking advantage of prior marks – and firing the cylinder in order.

An odd thing. After analyzing the velocity data I found chamber number 6 fires wadcutters an average of fifty feet per second slower than the other five chambers. However, shooting the ‘service’ load chamber number 1 is the slowest by about the same amount. The wadcutter load is one I find accurate in the semi-automatic pistols and the ‘service’ round is at the lower end of the powder charge and pressure levels. I suppose I should test a near maximum pressure load – at least according to the loading manuals.


Filed under Firearms and their use, Uncategorized