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Old 11-02-2012, 05:49 PM
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Anybody else have this experience? I have a 442 which has always shot high and right, as compared to my 49, 649 and 638 which are all pretty much dead on for windage - elevation does vary a bit with bullet velocity and weight. The difference is that at ~10 yards I can knock down 8" steel plates with the other 3 by holding center of disk, but with the 442 I have to hold at or just off the edge of the disk at 7-8 o'clock. (If I hold center of disk with the 442 the bullet is in the dirt at 1-2 o'clock.) I can also knock down those disks pretty consistently at ~25 yards once I get the holdover figured out, except that I virtually never hit with the 442 at that range. Not to say that I'd take a "serious" shot at that range, but just that I do know how to shoot the little beasts.

I've shot all of the guns double action for purposes of these tests. The variation among guns is pretty much regardless of the grips used (stock boot grip, Magnas w/BK grip adapter, Pachmayr Compac or Pachmayr Decelerator.)

S&W has seen the 442 and said it's within spec and doesn't need any adjustment. I'm not in a position to argue with 'em, but apart from putting a laser grip on it and zeroing the red dot for actual POI I don't have a lot of confidence that *I* can hit where I want with the thing.

Hence my original question - anybody else had this kind of experience, and if so is there a solution (other than a laser grip, or get rid of the gun?)
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Old 11-03-2012, 11:39 AM
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The shooting high you can compensate for by using a 6 oclock hold, but the windage thing.....Seems like unscrewing the barrel just a whisker would move the front sight to the right and the POI to the left, but I'm not sure how much to go or even how feasible this is. Another approach is to shave down the left side of the front side & open up the left side of the rear sight notch, but again I don't know how feasible this is.
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Old 11-03-2012, 01:12 PM
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My M442 does the same thing, especially with heavy, slow bullets, like 148 gr target WC's. It does much better with 125 gr plus P ammo and would probably be right on with 110 gr plus P. I like the WC's, but I have compromised with the Speer 135 gr SB. Its good ammo, also. I am going to try to load some 125 gr plated bullets at standard velocity. I think they should hit about the same as the SB plus P. I am not a big fan of 110 gr bullets. I don't think real world penetration would be enough.
I don't think it would be a good idea to unscrew the barrel a little on a crush fit gun. It might just keep unscrewing over time. My gun shoots to about 1 O'clock with the WC's. Maybe about 8 inches at 25 yds.

Rick
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Old 11-03-2012, 04:20 PM
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Is it accurate enough at "normal" self defense distances? If not, I'd sell or trade it.
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Old 11-03-2012, 04:55 PM
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The factory can fix that by turning the barrel.
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Old 11-03-2012, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Photoman44 View Post
The factory can fix that by turning the barrel.
I just got it back from the factory, where I had sent it complaining that it shot right. They said they shot it and it met spec, and didn't make any adjustment. But FOR ME it's off by 4" at 7 yards. That means I would miss a head shot at that distance unless I remember to aim low and left - with THIS gun, but not with, say, my 49 or 638.

I've pretty much standardized on 158g bullets. I get cast lead 158s at my local reloading store for $36/500 and keep asking myself why I don't buy 5,000 instead of 500 at a time, as I shoot a bunch of 'em. My carry loads are Hornady Custom standard pressure loads with 158g XTP bullets. (The +P version isn't enough faster from my 2" barrels to be worth dealing with, and I do occasionally carry an older Model 49 that isn't +P rated.) The 158 lead loads are pretty much dead on with all of my fixed sight J and K frames except the 442.

I've thought about shaving the sight blade and notch, but haven't decided that I'm ready to cut into an aluminum frame. The least destructive (but not cheapest) fix would be a laser grip. But now that I have another snag-free airweight (638) that shoots to its sights I'm thinking it would be better to dump the 442 and get something else, maybe a small 22 for practice and cheaper fun (there were a bunch of 22LR Ruger LCRs at a gun show today in the low $400s, as well as the new Ruger 22 DA/SA automatics under $350). So many guns, so little time.
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Old 11-03-2012, 06:33 PM
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Something is very wrong if a gun shoots 4" inches wide at 7 yards. Have you let others shoot the gun and did they get the same results?

Edit to add: The XTP bullets, in my experience, have been extremely accurate. With that being said, I would not use them for self defense as they do not open up at lower velocities. I've found the Hornady FTX to be a very accurate bullet and I recommend those for self defense.
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Last edited by Photoman44; 11-03-2012 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Photoman44 View Post
Something is very wrong if a gun shoots 4" inches wide at 7 yards. Have you let others shoot the gun and did they get the same results?

Edit to add: The XTP bullets, in my experience, have been extremely accurate. With that being said, I would not use them for self defense as they do not open up at lower velocities. I've found the Hornady FTX to be a very accurate bullet and I recommend those for self defense.
I usually shoot alone and so have not had others shoot the 442, but on many occasions I HAVE shot one or two other 2" J frames at the same time/target/distance/ammo, and always with the same result - the others are pretty much dead on for windage while the 442 shoots high and right. Always has.

Your XTP note is discouraging. I picked that Hornady ammo in part because I can get the bullets as components and can duplicate the commercial load (for practice - I only carry the commercial rounds) for a LOT less per round. I do have to use a +P charge to equal the velocity of factory standard pressure loads, but at least I can do it within the parameters of the loading manuals. (When I switched my daily carry from 9mm to 38 Special I started with the 135g Speer short barrel Gold Dot loads, and found I could NOT duplicate the factory velocities out of my 2" guns with ANY powder at its maximum +P charge.)

Sadly, it doesn't appear that the FTX bullets are available as components in weights that match factory ammo. (At least from Midway.) I only see 110g FTX loads in 38 Special, but don't see the bullets offered separately. I don't see either factory loads or FTX bullets at 158g.

FWIW, I get ~735fps from the Hornady Custom 158g XTP loads out of a 2" barrel and ~785fps from a 4" barrel. As I say, I can duplicate those velocities, using +P charges of either HS6 or W231. I suppose I could switch my carry load to the standard pressure Buffalo Bore 158g lead hollow point, which goes ~810fps out of my 2" guns and ~910fps from a 4" Model 10. I can equal those velocities using Speer lead hollow points and "legal" +P powder charges. But given a choice, I'd rather shoot jacketed bullets when I get to 800fps or more.
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