stickmaker: (Default)
Got out to the range today for the first time since the flood. Took three handguns with several types of ammo for each. Most of the shooting was mediocre; some was good, some bad, some very good. My last group was the only one at fifty yards. Five shots of .32 H&R Magnum, from a rest on a bench. At that range the black circle on the target looked narrower than my front sight. The five shots were strung vertically, but just about dead on horizontally. One was just outside the black. The other four were in the black, with on in the red square in the center.

Folks, that's better than I can *see* at that range!
stickmaker: (Default)
I continue to be impressed by the inherent accuracy of the .32 S&W family of cartridges. These are the .32 S&W, the .32 S&W Long, the .32 H&R Magnum, and the two and a half year old .327 Federal Magnum. These cartridges are identical in external dimensions except for length, so (as with the .357 Magnum/.38 Special and .44 Magnum/.44 Special) a revolver chambered for one of these will shoot that and any shorter cartridges in the family.

The .32 S&W started as a black powder round in 1878 and smoothly made the transition to smokeless. Out to 25 yards - and maybe a bit beyond - it is a tack driver in the right gun. My gun was a New Model Blackhawk in .327 Federal, with adjustable sights and about a four inch barrel. The combination is very accurate, and the mild recoil (What recoil?! :-) means you can focus on technique.

How mild is it? My current handload uses an 85 grain lead round nose bullet with a charge of *1.5* grains of Bullseye!

The .32 S&W Long is the same cartridge with a longer case. It operates at a higher pressure, and can send the same bullet to higher velocities, as well as pushing bullets impractically heavy for its older brother.

The .32 H&R Magnum was an attempt to produce a modern, high-pressure .32 caliber round for target shooting and hunting small game. Though it was not a major hit it still sells well enough to keep ammunition and several revolvers in production.

The baby of the family is essentially a magnumized version of the .32 H&R. Yet again longer, operating at a much higher pressure, it is roughly equivalent to the .30 Carbine in potency and dimensions. Standard bullet weight is 100 grains, and it shoots *flat*. Muzzle blast is fierce for a .32, but no problem for people used to magnums or even the 9X19 or .40 S&W.

How accurate is the newbie? At the range today, after doing some shooting at 25 yards, I playfully moved the rest around and aimed at a rock at 175 yards. I hit it with the second shot, producing a spray of limestone dust and the sound of a palpable hit.

Can you imagine what this screamer would do from a seven inch barrel? Or from a lever-action carbine?
stickmaker: (Default)
Due to bad weather I've not had much chance to shoot, lately. Finally went out today with three revolvers. Two I was testing handloads for, the third is my new New Model Blackhawk.

I only shot this gun once before, and then had trouble with the adjustable sights because I didn't bring the manual. It is chambered for .327 Federal Magnum, which means it also shoots .32 S&W, .32 S&W Long and .32 H&R Magnum. It's fun having a gun which can go Pop! Bang! BAM! BOOM!!! :-)

Interestingly, the three milder loadings shoot very close to the same point. The .327 shoots a little higher.

I mostly shot .32 S&W, which I hadn't had a chance to try before in any gun. It was surprisingly accurate at 25 meters. After shooting groups of all four loads, I used it to adjust the sights. I shot some additional 25 meter groups with that and the other three loads. Then I tried both the .32 S&W and .327 Federal at 50 meters.

I could occasionally hit the backing paper around the target with the mild round. The last group I shot today was a five shot group of .327. I aimed a little high the first two shots, and a little low the last three. Those three made a group centered just to the right and a little high of bullseye, covering under three inches. One of the holes was touching the bullseye.

If that wasn't a fluke - and my 25 meter tests show that it wasn't - then this might just be the most accurate handguns I've ever owned.

I've complained about the grip on my Ruger New Vaquero. The factory grip on the New Model Blackhawk is also too small for my hands. However, that model has been around long enough that there are plenty of aftermarket grips. I put one on the gun after the first time I shot it. The improvement is *HUGE*. Recoil is barely noticeable, including the problem I had with the bottom edge of the grip rubbing my palm.

That gun, combined with that grip, make me very happy. :-)

September 2017

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