Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Practice Rounds

Finally allocated some time to load up some rounds. Years of being a brass rat are paying off, as I don't have to search for common cartridges that are anything but; I'll just make my own.

Since primers are scarce these days, this seems look a good season to concentrate on revolvers. I find that I tend to burn through rounds at a slower pace with them, probably because of the enforced breaks to reload. Additionally, I prefer to do most of my firing double-action. If I ever have to use a revolver for defence, I doubt my fine motor control will be delicate enough to safely use single action. I've had to remove a pistol under true stress from a holster once, and I've never forgotten my surprise at how difficult it was. It felt like trying to operate a pistol while wearing winter gloves. Thus, better to learn to work with a heavier trigger weight that reduces the chance of unintended discharge from reduced sensation/motor control.

Here at Schloss Hundsabber, we keep Smith and Wesson .357s as ready guns. Although the models are different, operation isn't. And until recently, ammunition was easily found. Fortunately, these are well suited for cast-bullet reloads, allowing low cost, control in recoil, and above all, availability.

So it's off to the garage casting bench, and a Lee six-cavity mold for the 158 grain lead round nose bullet; a long-standing classic that while not notable for being a reliable man stopper, is very well suited for familiarization with one's revolver. In this case, due to a personal desire to spend minimum time in bullet prep, I had purchased the tumble-lube version, resulting in a bullet with appearance of having been dipped cheap varnish. But at a minute or so in saved labor per round, over the course of what will probably be around 1,000 rounds this year, shiny and pretty can be overlooked. It may not be as pretty as store bought, but it's actually in my hands, and shoots fine:

As a side note; even when sorting .38 from .357 brass well in advance of a loading session, I seem to always have one slip through:

Guess if I'm feeling extra-stingy, I could cut it down to .38 length at least.

This particular run consists of mixed brass (not shooting bulls-eye type targets, so minimal groups aren't a priority), the previously mentioned 158 grain lead round nose bullet, CCI small pistol primers, and 4.3 grains of Winchester 231 pistol powder. Time permitting, I'll find my chronograph this week, and see what we get for velocity out of the three different barrel lengths we have here. If not, I'll just have to settle for shooting a pistol for the first time in nearly two years this weekend.

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