Range Report: Different Guns, Different Ammo

So back I went back to DFW Gun Range for Round 2 of “getting to know the High Power (again)” (with a small detour along the way).  Some parameters:

  • all shots in this session were fired “slow, deliberate”
  • in 8-round strings
  • into a standard NRA B-27E silhouette target
  • at 8 yards (25 feet) distance — because I had a little trouble with the mechanism and couldn’t get the target past that distance, not that it’s important.

Because I’m a Cheap Bastard, I prefer to use as few targets as possible, so what I do is shoot one round into an open area of the target, then use that bullet-hole as the aiming-point for the remaining 7 rounds.  The grouping is what it is.  Here’s what the target looked like afterwards (explanation to follow):

Item 1:  The 1911 detour
I wanted to do a quick comparison in feel between the .45ACP 185gr JHP practice ammo vs. my old 230gr FMJ standard.  The 185gr was the super-cheap “Monarch” brand (on sale for almost a pre-2008 price):

…while the 230gr stuff was regular Winchester White Box.

So here’s the “.45 area” of the target, with each group noted, starting with the 230gr:

  

I have to say, I’ve fired a lot of 230gr FMJ ammo in my life — at a rough guess, well over 50,000 rounds in various 1911 pistols, so shooting it holds no surprises for me.  Nevertheless, as I’ve noted recently on these here pages, the recoil from the heavy bullets may be starting to cause a little distress to my old wrists, hence my desire to try a lighter load.  I’ve shot quite a lot — close to a thousand — of the 185gr loads before, but never this brand, and its cheapness gave me low expectations.

Not anymore.  Hell, given the fact that the Monarch ammo is hollow-pointed, I may just use it as my carry load — but before I make that decision, I’ll do a few “real life” comparisons between the cheap Monarch JHP and the premium Hornady self-defense stuff.  (Don’t get excited;  I’m not going to use hippies as targets, tempting as the idea may be.)  I’ll use the old standby (watermelons, water jugs or something like that).  Watch these pages.

On to the High Power, and the cheap Sellier & Bellot 9mm 115gr practice ammo.

For this area of the target, I’ve simply noted the groupings in order of their arrival on target.

Accuracy started to improve around group #5 (with one flyer), then strings #6-#9 just flew where I wanted them to go.  I was so happy that I broke with my normal tradition (I generally don’t shoot at the head of the target), but my blood was up, and in fact, I think I fired that string at a slightly faster pace than the first nine, not “controlled rapid”, but certainly quicker than “slow deliberate” at any rate.

People sometimes say “the worst day at ____ is better than the best day at the office”, or something like that.  That’s not always true of range sessions;  I’ve had some absolutely shitty days at the range — broken guns, etc. — which quite frankly are worse than a couple of really good days I’ve had at the office.  But at the end of this range session I walked away with the Warm & Fuzzies, a much better day even than the time at the office when I told my boss to fuck off, and wasn’t fired*.

I must be getting old, to make a statement like that.

The only problem arising from this range day was:  I can’t actually decide whether I should use the Browning (with its 12-round mag) as my regular carry piece, or stick with the 1911, now loaded with 8 rounds of 185gr JHPs.  (I always have at least one  spare mag on me, btw, regardless of the gun I’m carrying.)

Your thoughts in Comments.


*Details of that  event some other time.

Shaking Hands

Not the quivering that happens before hopping into bed with a first-time lover, or when about to shoot in competition against  (say) Jerry Miculek;  I’m talking here about shaking hands last Friday afternoon with two old friends:

…the Ruger Single-Six having been exchanged for my Ruger MkIV 22/45 (thankee, Reader Jerry!).  As such, this specific gun wasn’t an old friend, but I’ve owned a Single-Six before, so it was a familiar experience.  All shots were taken at 10 yards, and here’s what the target looked like, in overview:

First:  the Browning High Power.  As my delivery of practice 115gr ammo hadn’t arrived yet (some nonsense about needing an 18-wheeler), I had to go with ten rounds from an old box of Fiocchi I happened to have lying around in Ye Olde Ammoe Locquer — oh sure, like none of you  have any “orphan ammo” in your lockers, right?  The self-defense load tested was thirteen rounds of SIG V-Power 147gr.  I wasn’t trying for any serious accuracy with the 115gr. stuff;  it was just getting re-familiarized with the High Power’s trigger.  Here’s the result:

Shooting the 115gr was a breeze, and the three outliers were the first three shots taken, holding on the “8” in the target — trigger familiarization, folks.  Then I got a little more serious, and dropped the last seven bullets into the single hole, as shown.  A tad high, but next time I’ll hold at the bottom of the 8.

Then I changed to the SIG ammo, and I have to admit that the heavier 147gr. bullets took a little getting used to (the hold was on the X):

The 13-shot grouping wasn’t as tight as that of the lighter 115gr, but certainly in terms of self defense clustering, I wasn’t too displeased with the outcome.  (Only one  flier?  I must be getting better, or else the High Power is a better gun than I remember.)  It looks like the hold, as for the 115gr FMJ ammo, is at the bottom of the target circle.

I love my High Power 9mm, and once its carry holster arrives from Don Hume and the spare mags from [can’t remember] , it’s onto my waist it’ll be going, on probation of course. You may all reach for the smelling-salts now.

Next came the Single-Six (aiming at 2 1/2″ yellow targets), and I shot one cylinder each of .22 LR and .22 WinMag without too much regard for the grouping, just to get used to the single-action trigger.  Then I got a little more serious, and took my time with the next two cylinders, first with the CCI Mini-Mag .22 LR 40gr. solids:

…and then with the CCI Maxi-Mag .22 WMR, also 40gr. solids:

Hmmm…  thought I’d do better with the .22 Mags, as I was getting really used to the trigger by then.  So what does that mean, Readers? [3…2…1…]

“MOAR PRACTICE!!!!”

Can’t wait.  It’s a good thing I stocked up with .22 WMR during the Dubya Administration:  .22 Mag is more expensive than 9mm.

And yes:  a slow, deliberate, one-shot-at-a-time session with the single-action Ruger was just fantastic.