I had all but given up on 125 grain bullets for my 38 Spl revolvers. I never could get any accuracy with them....and POI was too far away from POA for my tastes (fixed sighted guns). So, I've been shooting only 158 grain LSWC's. I had some left- over 125 grain, Remington SP- HP's (jacketed, not lead of course) sitting around though....and I wanted to give it one more try. I intended to give the remainder of the bullets to a friend, for use in his .357 Mag (GP 100).
So, I thought perhaps a hotter load might help (just a stab in the dark). I loaded 10 each of 4.2, 4.4, 4.6 and 4.8 grains of HP 38, under the 125's. Next time at the range, I gave them a go.
Well, well, well. How interesting. ALL of them.....ALL 40 rounds, went into an area of about 3 1/2" x 2 1/2"....starting at the right/ lower quadrant of the bull....and stretching at a about a 45 deg angle toward the right lower corner of the target paper. A nice, compact mass of hits, with 5 of the 40 in (the right lower portion of) the bull itself.
These were fired from my S&W 3" HB Mod 10....standing/ offhand at 10 yards. I should explain that this gun seems to group just a bit to the right and a bit low with all loads, even the 158's....so this grouping (with the 125's) is right where I would've liked it to be. I'm not concerned about my loads (with fixed sights) not shooting right to the centre of the bull, as long as the hits are fairly close to that....and CONSISTENT. Then, I could easily compensate, if necessary, for centre-mass hits.
This may all sound stupid to you guys, but I am new to handguns. Rifles I have been shooting (and loading for) for a long time.....but handguns only recently. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that handguns truly ARE a different animal.
I am confused about two things. One, if the 125's (I've tried both lead and jacketed) wouldn't shoot with softer target loads.....then why will they shoot with hotter loads (same gun) ? Two, why the heck would ALL 40 rounds, from 4 different loads, group so tightly together ? Makes me think that this Smith is not at all finicky about loads.....that it will throw anything (it likes) well. (Which I am not complaining about, you understand.) This just runs counter to my rifle experience.
Anybody got any ideas ? I'm sure that the experienced pistoleros/ handloaders in the group can explain this....