Saturday, January 23, 2010

On the Range

I went out to the range today for a couple of specific purposes. I wanted to test some various handloads for velocity in the Smith and Wesson Model 28 and the same load in the Marlin 1894 to see what difference there might be from a handgun barrel and the longer rifle barrel.

We started with a standard wadcutter loading, using a 148 grain hollow-based wadcutter loaded over 2.7 grains of Bullseye. This has proven to be a very accurate load in my revolvers.
With the Model 28-2, average velocity was 624.1.
With the Marlin 1894, average velocity was 602.4.
Interesting! The HBWC target load actually lost velocity in the longer Marlin barrel.

Next, we tried a light .38 special load, using the TL358-158 SWC bullet, loaded over 4.3 grains of Unique. This load has also proven to be a very accurate load in a variety of revolvers.
In the Model 28-2 we saw average velocity of 790.8.
In the Marlin 1894 we saw average velocity of 950.9.
That's an increase of 160 fps. I don't know yet what I'm going to do with that informaiton, but there it is.

We moved on to the .357 magnum case. First, we tried the TLC358-180 RF (Ranch Dog) bulet over 12.0 grains of 2400. This is a fairly stout magnum load throwing a heavy bullet.
The Model 28-2 showed us an average velocity of 1022 fps.
The Marlin 1894 showed us an average velocity of 1340 fps.

Then, we tried the same bullet, that TLC358-180 RF, but this time over 15.0 grains of Hodgdon Lil'Gun powder. You might recall that this is a gas-checked bullet.
The Model 28-2 gave an average velocity of 1190 fps.
The Marlin 1894 gave an average velocity of 1592 fps.

Understand, all these velocities are out of my guns, over my chronograph. All these bullets were lubed with Liquid Alox and while I was cleaning the barrels, I looked for lead and didn't see any on the brush or the patches.

Additionally, I shot the Ruger New Model Super Blackhawk.

With the Skeeter Shelton load, 7.5 grains of Unique under a 240 grain semi-wadcutter, I realized an average velocity of 971 fps. Recoil was mild to moderate and the revolver was very controllable. I did not get to post a target, so I was shooting directly into the berm, but I was able to pick off dirt clods.

Then I stepped up to the full-house load, 19.0 grains of 2400 under that same 240 SWC bullet. Average velocity was 1345 fps and recoil was interesting, although not severe. I knew I had a serious handgun and a serious load. Accuracy was okay, although these were the first shots from this revolver and as I get used to a single action, I'm sure my groups will improve.

Both loads from the .44 were fun. I can see the utility of having both of them in my ammo cache, and I'll probably shoot more of the Skeeter loads than the magnum loads. Still, the heavy load is nothing to be afraid of. I fired about 15 rounds of the full-house stuff with no ill effects. My Model 28-2 had more apparent recoil with the Lil'Gun load and I'm accustomed to firing full magnum loads through that revolver.

It was a very interesting morning.

1 comment:

J said...

Re: 2.7 grains of Bullseye load giving less velocity in the rifle. It probably reached max pressure in 8" or less so the long barrel slowed it down.

Re: 180 RF & 15 grs Lil'Gun @ 1592 fps in the rifle. You could probably get 15.5 grs in the case and 1650 to 1700 fps--maybe 1750--but there ain't no moss growin' on 1592 fps and a 180 gr bullet. Maybe go 15.1 grs so you could have an honest 1600 fps load.

I bet you're already wishing deer season was open another month so you could take that load and rifle to the thickets.