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  #1  
Old 07-20-2018, 02:36 PM
huntingsgr8 huntingsgr8 is offline
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I have a very nice 14-3 that's I've been loading for the last few month, and I've shot about 500 rounds so far trying to find an accurate load. I've cast my own, I've used manufactured lead bullets, and still no luck. As things are the best I've had my load do is 8" of a rest at 25 yards. Winchester factory 130 gr fmj's do about 5". I've always considered the operator to be the problem, but I'm starting to think that isn't the case, as I can regularly keep my groups inside of 4" at 25 yards while shooting offhand with my stock Norinco 1911A1.

I've experimented with Universal, Clays, and Longshot. My best load was 3gr of Clays, measured, and a 158gr Missouri Co. SWC. 57fps of extreme spread in that string, and an SD of 22fps. Shot an 8" group off the rest at 25 yards. I've shot between 2.5 and 3.3gr of Clays, crimped in the crimp groove, crimped at the shoulder (only with 2.5gr). My brass is a mix, but I use only brass of one brand to test accuracy and velocity, all S&B or all Blazer, or Winchester. I don't used mixed brass in a string. I used Longshot hoping that taking up more space in the case would give me more consistent velocities, it didn't.

As a side note I'd like some of the more experienced loaders to look at this load Hodgdon published:

5.5gr of Longshot, 158gr XTP, 965 fps, 7.7' barrel, 17'000PSI.

It's listed as +p, but 17'000psi is the maximum pressure for normal 38 loads. Any harm in putting it through my gun long term? I loaded 5 to test them out, the cast Missouri SWC being the only difference, 5 shots averaged 979fps. It's been my understanding that you can use a cast bullet in the place of a jacketed one, of the same weight, with no ill effect, and lower pressure.

The Model 14 is a target gun, I know it can do better, I watched a guy on Youtube print about 6" at 100 yards with his, using target ammo and a rest.
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Old 07-20-2018, 05:29 PM
Qc Pistolero Qc Pistolero is offline
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Welcome to the Forum!
I too have a 14-3;I've had it for over 25 years and I'm sure you are just unlucky as of now and that your tough luck can be turned around.

I use my own cast bullets sized .358.I can push them through the chamber mouth with but a slight resistance.That is the first test you can do.If you can't push them through the chamber mouths you'll have to have them opened up a bit.
When I use cast bullets,I inspect them one by one.Any imperfection at the base and they get to be remelted.I use WW brass with 2 cannelures(the second cannelure kinda ''untapers'' the inner part of the tube).
My wc come out at 152gr. are cast quite soft(aprox 6 to 7 BHN) and surface lubed with liquid Alox.Since the stuff is so sticky,I coat them with baby powder.This way,a lot less Alox will migrate in the seating die.I crimp with a Lee die after seating them completely in the case.Using the Lee crimp die dispenses me of the hated trimming operation.
Loaded on top of either 2.6 gr 700X or 2.8 Bullseye or Red Dot or Promo,I can keep them in 4'' off hand(single hand) at 25 meters(on a good day...which is not that often).
Good luck and have fun!
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Old 07-20-2018, 05:44 PM
ken158 ken158 is offline
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I’m thinking that your gun needs a very good cleaning with a Lewis Lead Remover. I had a model 25-2 that did the same and was amazed how much lead was in the barrel.
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Old 07-20-2018, 06:06 PM
SMSgt SMSgt is offline
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People get too concerned about slugging a revolver's bore when the cylinder throats are what need to be measured. Like QC mentioned, your cast bullets need to fit slightly snugly in the throats. The size isn't as important as consistency for all the cylinders. A set of pin gauges will be needed for accurate measuring. If the bullets don't fit the throats properly, they can enter the forcing cone cocked, and the results will be obvious down range.

I'd also check for leading. A good scrubbing with a brass brush wrapped with strands of Chore-Boy scrub pads will clean it out easily.
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Old 07-20-2018, 06:12 PM
Mike in Reedley Mike in Reedley is offline
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Inspect the crown too.
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Old 07-20-2018, 06:27 PM
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@ OP,

I strongly suggest a thorough cleaning. I use to use a product called RB17 (no longer found) to clean the lead. I also cut small squares of a lead away cloth.

For my 38 Special target loads, I use either swaged HBWC (Speer or Hornady) or my own cast BNWC (about 150gr). I use either 2.8gr of Bullseye or 3.1gr of WW231. With the swaged bullets I crimp over the wadcutter, but with the cast bullets I do a roll crimp in the crimping groove.

I have never benched this load, nor chronographed it. When I shoot, it is one handed, single action. I usually can keep my shots in the aiming black at 50 yards (slowfire) and 25 yards (times and rapid fire).

As an aside, I will not shoot jacketed or FMJ bullets in either of my K38s.
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Old 07-20-2018, 06:29 PM
huntingsgr8 huntingsgr8 is offline
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The barrel is clean, the crown is mint, I'll have to push some through and measure each chamber but they all allow me to put the end of a cast bullet in about .020" before it's snug.
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Old 07-20-2018, 06:58 PM
2152hq 2152hq is online now
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Are the sights loose?

The rear sight assembly as a whole, or any single part off it.
Make sure the elevation screw is engaged and not stripped at it's current setting. The sight will just jump around at that point if it is and not hold a steady setting. Even if you have to lock it all the way down in elevation just to check and see if the gun will group well at that setting, then you'll know it's the elevation screw or it's post.
The windage screws get snapped off occasionally or stripped. The blade just drifts a bit on it's own from side to side as you shoot. Not good for fine accuracy and groups.

Even the front sight on these target Smiths can be loose. Allowed to move a couple .000 between shots will give you extra inches in your group diameter. Add in ammo and operator error in the group size and it can be tough to hit a beach ball at 20yrds.

I'd double check for leading. Not just a visual check which can be deceiving and look OK. But a good scrubbing w/a lead remover chemical or scrub mesh.

Check the bbl and make sure it is torqued in tight into the frame. Give it a really good side to side and up and down as well as trying to unscrew it check.
If the front sight is pointing to a different spot each time you pull the trigger, even if only by a matter of a couple .000 again,,there's your shotgun pattern groups.
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Old 07-20-2018, 07:04 PM
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I have had good results in revolvers in .38 Special and .357 Magnum
with moderate loads of Unique and Bullseye and 158 grain LSWC
bullets. Not target loads, just a touch above that level.
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Old 07-20-2018, 07:05 PM
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1 clean revolver really clean

2 factory 148 HBWC target ammo. May not be best load but will be a good one. Will also eliminate your loading as a cause bc we're checking your revolver not you.

3 go to range on a good day. Take plenty of sandbags and a good rest if available.

4 if you have a 22 target pistol take it. It is your control to see if you are having a good day at the bench before you shoot your M14 for group size. The 22 will tell you if you're having a good day or a bad day.

5 do you have a buddy who is really good shooting handguns off a bench? If so recruit him. Results from 2 shooters will help tell whether it is you or the handgun.

What I'm suggesting is eliminating as many variables as possible to see if your revolver shoots or was made on a Tuesday after a 3 day drunkfest weekend. You may be a great handleader but maybe haven't found THE load. You might be a great pistol shot off the bench or maybe shooting a handgun off the bench isn't in your skill set. BTW handguns off the bench and me don't mix at all even though I'm really good w a rifle off a bench. I'm not being critical just pointing out you're another variable. Your loading may also be a variable. May be a plus might be a minus. Finding out if your revolver shoots well by eliminating all possible variables will tell.

See how your revolver shoots w as many variables removed as possible. I'm repeating that on purpose.

One of my most accurate centerfire handguns is a M14. One of the worst I ever owned was a different M14. One the bad one the front of the cylinder wasn't cut square. You could measure the bore cylinder gap and get different measurements depending on which chamber was lined up.

Next look at the sights on your 1911 compared to your M14. How you see the sights makes a difference. I need a lot of daylight in the rear sight to shoot a handgun well. Some folks shoot better w a tight notch.

Are you shooting your M14 SA or DA? Call me Captain Obvious but I'm trying to dx problems w/o being there.

How is the SA trigger pull on your M14 compared to your 1911?

Do you have a set of grips that fit YOU on the M14? Guys on this site are queer for original factory grips. I hate them, can't shoot w them and until folks started paying obscene money for them I either gave them away or threw them out w the box. Forum admin please don't send a hit team for that comment admission.

Finally if you don't realize it there are guys who are a little red wagon and all that w a 1911 who can't hit anything w a revolver and vice versa. Make sure you are evaluating your revolver and not you. That is not a criticism. Personally I'm good w a revolver shooting DA. SA not so good. With a 1911 big target close and shooting fast I'm really good. I regularly outshoot guys who blow me away for pure accuracy shooting. 25 yard SLOW fire group like off a bench is my weakest part of my game w any handgun.

I hope that helps sort this out. Hope you find your M14 is great and it's one of the variables making you unhappy. If so you can beat that. Finally I hope I didn't step on your toes. Sure didn't mean too. I've seen loading variables and shooting and shooter variables make a guy think his firearm was the problem. My gunsmith built his son a basic but very solid hunting rifle. The boy couldn't hit w it. The boy decided it was crud. I sat down at the bench and shot a 3 shot .75 inch group w cheap factory ammo. Offered to buy the rifle. Kid decided that while he was really good w an AK maybe he needed to learn how to bench a scoped bolt rifle. Good luck.
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Old 07-20-2018, 08:59 PM
MyDads38 MyDads38 is offline
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My "go to" powder for 38 target loads is Bullseye. 2.8 grs. under a HBWC (Hornady or Speer) and 3.0 grs. under a 158 gr. cast LSWC. These are "standard" loads that usually work in most revolvers. That's all I can offer, except when Bullseye wasn't available, Red Dot was an excellent substitute. IMO, a Model 14 should shoot better than what you describe...
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Old 07-21-2018, 01:57 AM
huntingsgr8 huntingsgr8 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwk View Post
1 clean revolver really clean

2 factory 148 HBWC target ammo. May not be best load but will be a good one. Will also eliminate your loading as a cause bc we're checking your revolver not you.

3 go to range on a good day. Take plenty of sandbags and a good rest if available.

4 if you have a 22 target pistol take it. It is your control to see if you are having a good day at the bench before you shoot your M14 for group size. The 22 will tell you if you're having a good day or a bad day.

5 do you have a buddy who is really good shooting handguns off a bench? If so recruit him. Results from 2 shooters will help tell whether it is you or the handgun.

What I'm suggesting is eliminating as many variables as possible to see if your revolver shoots or was made on a Tuesday after a 3 day drunkfest weekend. You may be a great handleader but maybe haven't found THE load. You might be a great pistol shot off the bench or maybe shooting a handgun off the bench isn't in your skill set. BTW handguns off the bench and me don't mix at all even though I'm really good w a rifle off a bench. I'm not being critical just pointing out you're another variable. Your loading may also be a variable. May be a plus might be a minus. Finding out if your revolver shoots well by eliminating all possible variables will tell.

See how your revolver shoots w as many variables removed as possible. I'm repeating that on purpose.

One of my most accurate centerfire handguns is a M14. One of the worst I ever owned was a different M14. One the bad one the front of the cylinder wasn't cut square. You could measure the bore cylinder gap and get different measurements depending on which chamber was lined up.

Next look at the sights on your 1911 compared to your M14. How you see the sights makes a difference. I need a lot of daylight in the rear sight to shoot a handgun well. Some folks shoot better w a tight notch.

Are you shooting your M14 SA or DA? Call me Captain Obvious but I'm trying to dx problems w/o being there.

How is the SA trigger pull on your M14 compared to your 1911?

Do you have a set of grips that fit YOU on the M14? Guys on this site are queer for original factory grips. I hate them, can't shoot w them and until folks started paying obscene money for them I either gave them away or threw them out w the box. Forum admin please don't send a hit team for that comment admission.

Finally if you don't realize it there are guys who are a little red wagon and all that w a 1911 who can't hit anything w a revolver and vice versa. Make sure you are evaluating your revolver and not you. That is not a criticism. Personally I'm good w a revolver shooting DA. SA not so good. With a 1911 big target close and shooting fast I'm really good. I regularly outshoot guys who blow me away for pure accuracy shooting. 25 yard SLOW fire group like off a bench is my weakest part of my game w any handgun.

I hope that helps sort this out. Hope you find your M14 is great and it's one of the variables making you unhappy. If so you can beat that. Finally I hope I didn't step on your toes. Sure didn't mean too. I've seen loading variables and shooting and shooter variables make a guy think his firearm was the problem. My gunsmith built his son a basic but very solid hunting rifle. The boy couldn't hit w it. The boy decided it was crud. I sat down at the bench and shot a 3 shot .75 inch group w cheap factory ammo. Offered to buy the rifle. Kid decided that while he was really good w an AK maybe he needed to learn how to bench a scoped bolt rifle. Good luck.
Well, the sight is finer on the 1911, but at the same time my hand loads for that gun have an SD of 6fps. I only really shoot groups single action. The trigger pull on the 1911 is slightly heavier, and noticeably longer with the 1911. The rear sight is solid and un-stripped, the front does have some play, though I'd assume it settles to the same spot on every shot, as the play is mostly forwards and backwards. As soon as I can get my hands on some more LR44's I'll slug my cylinder throats. Would have gone with Bullseye instead of Clays, but the local gun shop had none. I'm convinced it's the ammo or the gun, the 1911 is arguably the harder to use, with 6 grains of Universal and 230gr FMJs it's much louder, and kicks harder than my Smith, I can hardly shoot it without blinking, yet this afternoon I still managed 3" t 25 yards offhand with it for a 5 shot group. If I could just get my SDs down I could eliminate the ammo as a factor. I'll see if I can borrow a set of feeler gauges and measure the gap for each chamber in the cylinder. Scrubbed out the bore tonight, no flecks of lead came out, but I'll find out in the morning if it helped any. The grips are the thick ones, I prefer service grips myself, but haven't found any locally.

No offence taken, no toes trodden on, I won't get better unless I find out what's wrong, and if it's something I'm doing, I won't find out until someone mentions it to me. In the name of success, gratitude is all I owe someone who offers criticism.
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Old 07-21-2018, 09:08 AM
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Front sight movement is not good. Get that fixed. Might have gunsmith widen rear notch. I need daylight on both sides of front sight for a consistent sight picture. A tight notch doesn't work for me at all.

On the ammo a SD that low is good but just bc you have a low SD doesn't mean your firearm will like that load. Ammo is like food. Just because that is the best liver and onions in the world I'm not going to like it. I'd still invest in a box of target ammo it's cheap and a good baseline.

I'd also find some grips that fit your hand. I find that to be very important. Rubber grips are ugly but they often work well and they are inexpensive.

Finally what experience do you have w other revolvers? Have you ever been able to shoot one well? Again some folks shoot one type handgun a lot better than others. You might just be a 1911 kinda guy which isn't a bad thing. If you have access to a known accurate 22 revolver how well do you shoot w it?

Keep us posted. Good luck.
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Old 07-22-2018, 12:15 PM
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+1;
on a visit to a Gunsmith for a check up.

Nice to know if it is good to go, or needs fixing.
It will solve one major question for you.
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Old 07-22-2018, 01:39 PM
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I always accuracy benchmark a new gun with known factory ammo. If it shoots with that, then you know it isnt the gun. So ething is seriously wrong with any pistol/revo that can only do 8" at 25y from a rest. If the barrel is sound, clean, does it lock up solid? If the gun is sound & it wont shoot factory ammo, you just got a **** bbl I mo.
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Old 07-22-2018, 01:58 PM
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MyDads38 has posted some great proven loads. Make sure that your bullets are top quality. Let someone who is known to be a very good bench rest pistol shooter or borrow a Ransom Rest to take you out of the equation. If the gun doesn't perform with those parameters, you just might have a gun that won't group.
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Old 07-22-2018, 03:40 PM
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My go to powder is 231. If you want really tight groups, start with the brass. Make sure it is all the same headstamp and batch, then size, trim to the same exact length. Ream the inside flash hole of any burrs. Uniform ream the primer seat for uniformity from case to case. Prime with Federal primers. Hand weigh the charge, 3.2 gr. 231 "exactly" and seat the swagged lead 148 gr HBWC just .010" shy of flush, and taper crimp .003". If your gun doesn't shoot them into 3" or less (usually under 2") at 25 yards there is something wrong with gun or operator.

With this load I have shot clusters of 10 shots into 1.2" at 25 yards from a ransom rest.
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Old 07-23-2018, 01:52 AM
Rogeronimo Rogeronimo is offline
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In some of my applications, Ramshot Silhouette has done what no other powder could. If 231 can't perform for you with this bullet, that's the direction I would move toward. Best of luck!
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Old 07-23-2018, 02:18 AM
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I know that thousands of shooters have had great success with Bullseye, Unique and W231 for decades. But I have found Tightgroup to be a better powder for me!

I have 1911’s in both .45 and 9mm. My .45 (Springfield) was not reaching power factor (170) with maximum loads of W231, a locally repackaged Winchester Action Powder (another well known accurate powder) or Tightgroup. I carefully increased loads .1 gain at a time with all three powders until I reached the PF I required.

W231 and WAP were not bad, but there was always a “loose” shot or two in any 5 round group. Tightgroup, however, had no “loose” shots and even the “central” group was tighter. In my 9mm (Kimber) a maximum load grouped better than a load reduced by .2 gn, even though average velocities were identical.

I have a drill where I shoot a 3/4 size popper at about 10-12 meters which activates a 3 target clamshell at 12-15 meters. The three rear “shoot” targets rise and 1 second after they reach the top of the arc the three front “no shoot” targets rise up leaving a 100 mm (4 inch) strip of the IPSC target A zone showing.

I can usually get two A zone hits in the nearest target to the popper and one in the centre target before the “no shoots” get in the way. The second round on the center target and both rounds on the furtherest from the popper are aimed at that 100 mm A zone strip as fast as I can fire and obtain another sight picture. Usually the two shots in the furtherest target are about an inch apart in that A zone.

In .38 special I load a maximum charge of Tightgroup under a 148 gn plated HBWC. Firing my 6” 686 from prone single action I shot the target below at 50 yards.

I realise Tightgroup will not be for everyone but for me it has become my go to accuracy powder in maximum loads.
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Old 07-23-2018, 05:37 AM
Forrest r Forrest r is offline
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I would re-visit your clays load along with moving in closer, like 50ft.

I would also use targets designed for revolver sights. I like to use "keith" targets. They are designed to keep the sights square/centered and even with the bottom of the aiming point. A 100yd keith target.


50ft keith targets


The black/white contrast is important. If you're having issues holding the sight on the bottom edge of the black square. Move up and hold the bottom of the inner white square.

Your 14-3 should be shooting bugholes like these 6-shot groups @ 50ft.
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Old 07-23-2018, 07:01 AM
scooter123 scooter123 is offline
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First I would suggest that you get that front site corrected, it should not move around at all. Actually I find it very odd that you have any movement in your front sight, in my experience the pinned sights have no wiggle at all. What can have some wiggle is the DX system interchangeable front sights and I don't think that sight system was ever offered on the model 14.

Second, check your B/C gap, cylinder End Shake, the frame under the barrel in the yoke cutout for a crack, and finally check to make sure the barrel is tight. Because even with some wiggle due to a DX sight system you should be grouping under 3 inches at 25 yards off a rest. Note, when resting a revolver you NEVER EVER rest the barrel, because that will throw any accuracy in the trash. Barrels vibrate when the bullet is transiting the barrel and anything that interferes with that vibration will just trash accuracy.

Finally, NOT a fan of any of your powder choices. The 38 special is a very long case originally designed for compressed Black Powder loads. The powders you have chosen are all Shotgun Powders that were designed to be used in a compacted charge. End result of that powder rattling around in the 38 special is variation in velocity and poor accuracy. What I suggest is a powder that I have tested for Position Sensitivity in a 38 special and found to have NO Position Sensitivity. While you won't like the price at 38 dollars a pound or so you WILL like the results. That powder I suggest is Vihtavouri 3N37, a powder that was originally designed for 22 Long Rifle but which also works very well in 38 special. Note, it also works very well in 9mm loads featuring 124 or 147 grain bullets. Another plus for 3N37 is that it meters superbly, so no need to hand weigh each charge thrown as is necessary for Longshot.

PS, I am also a Shotgun shooter and currently am set up to load for 20 gage, thus my familiarity of your choice of Shotgun Powders. Universal was designed for 410 through 10 gage loading, Clays was designed for Skeet and Trap loads, and Longshot was developed for long range Goose and Turkey loads. In all loadings the powder charge is compacted by the Wad being pressed on top of the powder charge. Use of these powders for handgun loads was sort of secondary and none of these powders was designed in ignition enhancers in order to promote ignition in less than compressed powder charges. Yeah, they do work in handgun loads but they really aren't well suited for charge/volume ratios under about 60-70%. BTW, Unique was also originally designed as a shotgun powder but sometime between 1960 and 198? in was re-designed with a more handgun oriented mixture so Unique is actually quite good in both handgun and shotgun loads, however it meters like dog poop.
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Old 07-23-2018, 03:05 PM
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Guys, no amount of load tinkering is getting a 5"-6" gun down to a 2" gun imo. Something else is wrong. Have another shooter shoot it with good factory ammo as a benchmark for accuracy. If not, there will be a huge amount of time & $$ wasted trying to fix an unknown problem. My exp with 38sp revo, if in good shape, they all shoot better than the shooter out to 25y & 2" would be pretty much normal accuracy.
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Old 07-23-2018, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by huntingsgr8 View Post
the 1911 is arguably the harder to use, with 6 grains of Universal and 230gr FMJs it's much louder, and kicks harder than my Smith, I can hardly shoot it without blinking,
Try 5gr -5.3gr.. In my load with Unique, 6gr to harsh, 5.2gr and the spent cases just clear the gun and it's powder puff to shoot.
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Old 07-23-2018, 03:43 PM
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I'll see what I can do about the sight, but I swear everything checks out with this gun, the barrel is tight, there are no cracks. I'll give a different target a go that might make using that mile wide front sight a little easier, but I'm going to be pretty busy with work for the next little while, so this project it going to the back burner for a bit. I've used shotgun powders thus far because it's what I've got, I load for 12 gauge too. The gun shop didn't have any true pistol powders on hand when I went, all sold out. As for 38$ a pound being expensive, it isn't by my standards. 14oz bottle of clays is 32$ here, Longshot is in the 40's, and rifle powders like Varget are about 53$. Half of the appeal with clays was the low volume, 2k+ loads with one 14oz bottle in 38spl, and if I cast my own and use free scrap lead, it costs me less to shoot 38 than .22lr.
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Old 07-23-2018, 04:10 PM
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AFAIK, the first thing to check is bullets.
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Old 08-09-2018, 08:20 PM
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So, I've been doing some thinking, and here are a few things I found, i just don't know how relevant they are. The cylinder has some very light play rotationally, not enough to see, but enough to here, and some forwards and backwards play, again, not enough to see. The barrel leads quickly, first cylinder, of even my lightest loads (2.5gr of clays, 158gr cast). The leading looks worse on the right side than the left, it starts about 1/8" into the bore and continues for about as far. There are also machine marks on the forcing cone, it isn't smooth at all, the entire forcing cone is covered in rings, like it was cut with a lathe .005"/rev. Any thoughts?
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:29 AM
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So, I've been doing some thinking, and here are a few things I found, i just don't know how relevant they are. The cylinder has some very light play rotationally, not enough to see, but enough to here, and some forwards and backwards play, again, not enough to see. The barrel leads quickly, first cylinder, of even my lightest loads (2.5gr of clays, 158gr cast). The leading looks worse on the right side than the left, it starts about 1/8" into the bore and continues for about as far. There are also machine marks on the forcing cone, it isn't smooth at all, the entire forcing cone is covered in rings, like it was cut with a lathe .005"/rev. Any thoughts?
Jerry Keefer (RIP) gave some very good advice on another forum. I can't improve on it:

"If you are looking for improved accuracy, do away with the forcing cone...They are archaic and antiquated..The Taylor Throat is far superior in performance. The standard forcing cone starts to disrupt and upset the projectile before it is even out of the chamber. With the Taylor system, the bullet is completely suppported and centered as it enters the rifling leade. Indicate the barrel on both axis and then make the cuts. After the freebore is made, I pick up the very edge of the existing forcing cone and blend it with a 1.5/2 degree taper into the freebore with a single point tool.. There are many such guns setting records and winning matches regularly."

Take care

Jerry
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