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Old 08-08-2018, 10:25 PM
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Unhappy J frame shoots low

I am new to J frame revolvers (last 6 or so years). I got a 38 Special Mod 360J that shoots 3” low at 7 yards off a rest with 130/135gr +P and non +P with 4 different ammo brands ( shooting single action).
I had a 642 and a Taurus M85 that where poa-poi. They could shoot X rings all day at 7 yards.
I have used the combat sight picture on all the pistols and revolvers I have ever owned over 50+ years.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

Last edited by Execpro; 08-08-2018 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 08-08-2018, 10:34 PM
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File the front sight down (so it's lower). However J frame revolvers are made for "point of belly shots" so try shooting from a standing position. Big difference in point of impact from firing from a sandbag rest as opposed to standing.
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Old 08-09-2018, 12:51 AM
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Try it with 158 grain ammo. Isn't that the bullet weight for which J-frames are sighted to hit point of aim?
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Old 08-09-2018, 06:02 AM
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Heavier bullet equals more recoil. More recoil causes the muzzle to rise quicker and cause higher bullet strike.

Another thing is grip. I have big hands and wrists and use a firm grip. Most guns used by others shoot low for me. Fixed sight guns shoot low for me.

There is the file the front sight method mentioned. I used it on my CA 44 Bulldog.
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Old 08-09-2018, 06:41 AM
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Myself, I shoot better offhand than off a rest with a handgun. Do not have a problem with rifles off a rest.
Walt
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Old 08-09-2018, 08:30 AM
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Can’t speak for the 360 but my 442 made in ‘13 shoots POA with 130 grain Ranger Bonded +P.
My early ‘70s M60 shoots 3” low at 7 yards with the same load and dead on with 158 grain ammo.
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Old 08-09-2018, 10:12 AM
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If you are new to J Frame revolvers, let somebody else shoot it before you take a file to the front sight blade . . .
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Old 08-09-2018, 10:49 AM
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A heavier bullet means that the bullet spends more time in the barrel than a lighter bullet. In the meantime, recoil is pushing the barrel up.

Thus, using a heavier bullet results in a higher point of impact than with a lighter bullet.

3" low at 21 feet is not bad for a belly gun for most people, for average shooters, and a regular gun only for experts in the use of snubbies.
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Old 08-09-2018, 11:04 AM
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Maybe it is time do more exercises and build up your grip strength
as well as forearm muscles.

Sometimes its not the weapons fault on it's POA.

Just saying.
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Old 08-09-2018, 12:23 PM
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Thanks for all the good suggestions. I will get a box of 158gr lead swc and see how that works. I never did try shooting it without the rest and the grips are a little thin for my hands (6’4” at 276lbs). The gun is also the lightest I have ever shot. 642@17oz approx.with laser grip- Taurus@21oz and 360J@11.7oz. empty.
So:1. Shoot with 158gr bullets.
2. Shoot off rest and free handed(standing).
3. Work on grip for that thin combat grip and look into a thicker grip.
(Both the laser grip on 642 and bull head grip on Taurus are thicker).
4. Have another expert shooter see what they get.
5. Trade the gun off! (Just kidding) I love this revolver!!
And see what happens. I WILL post a follow up when the issue is resolved (It may take a month to get everything done).

Thanks again!
Be SAFE and shoot often! P.S. I promise NO fileing the front sight! I can live with and adjust POA.

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Old 08-09-2018, 12:32 PM
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All good suggestions but the Mod 36 wasn't designed for pin point accuracy. I've had a 2" for years that shoots low but if I had to use mine for self defense, it would do just what it was designed for. I should also mention that I load nothing less than 158 grain projectiles for all my .38s and .357s.
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Old 08-09-2018, 12:56 PM
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I've had a J frame for 30+ years. I don't know whether or not it shoots 3" low at 7 yards. I do know that during practice and qualifications I hit center mass on a silhouette target out to 25 yards with a reasonable pattern. Anyhow, that's all I ever worried about when I carried it. However, I do know that with snake/rat shot it has a 6" pattern at 6'. I wish I was as good with mine as Steve McGarrett was.
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Old 08-09-2018, 02:15 PM
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As others have posted; the J frame ( and K frame for that matter) snubby is a defensive sidearm. No need to be concerned with pin-point accuracy or "tuned" trigger. None of that matters in an adrenaline fueled, survival situation. I've always subscribed to the advice of Massad Ayoob and Clint Smith; snub nosed practice--3, 5, and 7 yards, off hand, rapid fire, 5 or 6 shots in a pie plate ( 5") at the 7 yard target.
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Old 08-09-2018, 02:16 PM
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I would never file the front sight. My first response is to just use more front sight in your sight picture. What I did with a Ruger SP101 that shot a little low was to paint the entire front sight white and then cover a bit over half with an overcoat of red. That way I was sure I got a sight picture that was exactly the same every time.

[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 08-09-2018, 04:37 PM
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I shoot a little low with my J frame snubs.. and aim just a little higher..
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Old 08-09-2018, 05:45 PM
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It might be spot on at 25 yards with that POI. You might want to check.....
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Old 08-09-2018, 06:01 PM
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Great comments! Going to the range tomorrow. Will shoot 158gr to see what happens and work on my grip.
The gun shot sub 3/4” groups at 7 yards from a rest with Winchester Ranger 130gr+P Bonded LE ammo and Winchester 125gr+P white box.
No issues with accuracy just shooting low. I will also shoot at 10-15 and 25 yards.

gnystrom has an idea I NEVER thought of. I painted the entire black front blade (top only)yellow for visibility but never considered indexing it with white paint.
That’s why I come to this forum. People have great ideas and think outside of the box! THANKS

Be SAFE and shoot often!

Last edited by Execpro; 08-09-2018 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 08-09-2018, 06:09 PM
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One other idea is sometimes guns are set up to shoot "to the dot" instead of top of post. Which to me is kind of annoying, but sort of useful. For me most of the modern autos I've owned are like this. Glock / Beretta M9 / XD / Hipower.

My 442 is basically top of post. And to the right. But I think that's me.
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Old 08-09-2018, 08:03 PM
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Will have to research that “to the dot” suggestion. Will try different sight pictures also. Thanks
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Old 08-10-2018, 12:47 AM
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If you haven't bought your 158g ammo yet, keep in mind that higher velocity (+P) ammunition tends to shoot lower than standard velocity for the same reason that lighter bullets tend to shoot lower - less bullet time in the barrel and hence less time for the barrel to rise before the bullet leaves the muzzle.

BTW, if you take virtually ANY revolver and lay a straight edge from the top of the rear sight to the top of the front sight, you will see that the barrel points "down", below the line of sight, because the engineers KNOW that the muzzle will rise while the bullet is traveling down the barrel. (Same is true of pistols, but it's usually harder to see the line of the barrel compared to the line of the sights.)

The trick with handguns, especially those with fixed sights, is to find a grip strength, bullet weight and bullet velocity combination that let the muzzle rise just the right amount when YOU shoot it so that the bullet hits the point of aim at your intended distance. Adjustable sight guns give you some leeway, but even they can run out of adjustability if grip strength is badly out of whack or if the distance becomes too great.

Good luck at the range tomorrow.
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:00 AM
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Here is a great example of sight height and recoil and barrel time. I made a 1917 into a carbine with 18" barrel and a stock. Figured the front sight high, so I could file it down. Ha ha, I had to go way down even though I had added adjustable rear sight. I didn't think about the stock and weight of longer barrel, keeping the recoil from letting the gun rotate up under recoil. Had a long barrel and hence a long barrel time, but little rotation under recoil. Live and learn.
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Old 08-10-2018, 07:29 PM
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I have learned a lot about shooting J frames on this post!
Went to the range. gnystrom,ABPOS and others hit it on the head. I raised the front sight so I could see all of it (top of blade painted yellow) in the rear channel and it hit x ring at seven yards. At 10 yards I got about a 3” group. At 15 yards it opened to about 6” and at 25 yards on a 25 yard target, I managed to hit the target 2 times ( The shots were to the left on the edge of the paper. The grip is to narrow and I need to work on grip strength, also get wider grips that fit my hand. MY fault,not the guns).

I used 125gr+p and 130gr target ammo. I did not shoot any 158gr because my carry ammo is Winchester Ranger 130gr+P bonded and The range did not have any SWCHP 158gr. I may order a box to see how it shoots at a later date.

I want to thank everyone for their ideas and suggestions!
Signing off now.

Stay SAFE and shoot often!

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Old 08-11-2018, 04:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Execpro View Post
The grip is to narrow and I need to work on grip strength
What grips are on the gun? Rubber three-finger grips, aka "Uncle Mikes" or possibly magnas? If the latter, then a Tyler-T grip adapter might do the trick. They're both about the same thickness overall, but the magnas seem to be thicker throughout their length, while the Uncle Mikes narrow a bit at the top and bottom. The Tyler-T doesn't add any width to a set of magnas, but still gives you more to hold onto. My model 60-7 came with a set of Uncle Mikes, but I prefer the feel of the Tyler-T/mangas combination. Plus, it's more pocketable that way. See below:

J frame shoots low-model-60-7_left-side-jpg

J frame shoots low-model-60-7-magnas-tyler-t-jpg
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I did not shoot any 158gr because my carry ammo is Winchester Ranger 130gr+P bonded and The range did not have any SWCHP 158gr.
Save the jacketed hollowpoints for your semi-autos. Of course, that's just my opinion, but J-frames and K-frames alike were originally designed around 158 grain lead bullets. And while there are many good modern JHPs to choose from in general, I tend to think that revolvers and old school lead bullets go together like a horse and carriage. It's hard to beat a 158 grain lead semi-wadcutter hollowpoint for self-defense – the "FBI load". The major commercial ammo manufacturers have watered their FBI loads down, but Buffalo Bore and Underwood both make such a bullet that will do about 1050 fps out of your snubnose 38 spl revolver. They also make hardcast 158 grain SWCs that beat out any JHPs for defense against wild animals.
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Old 08-11-2018, 10:57 AM
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Love that 60!!!
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Old 08-11-2018, 01:29 PM
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I will purchase some 158gr SWCHP ammo soon. The only lead I’ve put down range in 50+ years was from a 50cal musket and wadcuters from a 3” Rossi revolver (target shooting only). All my revolvers in the past were for hunting or Duty carry(issued hollow points).
I look forward to trying 158gr ammo for the J frame now that the shooting low issue has been put to rest.

The gun came with(I believe )Hogue black combat grips just like what is pictured on your 60-7.The length is fine. They are just WAY to THIN and NARROW! I don’t have to get rubber grips. Wood would be fine,they just need to be FAT to fit my large paws(have never had issues until the J frames). The other issue I had was that the trigger guard was beating the H—- out of my knuckle.
I will take all ideas into consideration. I don’t want to spend $60 on grips to find out they don’t fit and can’t return them.
Thanks again for all the input!

Be SAFE and shoot often!

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Old 08-11-2018, 10:51 PM
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If the standard grips are too small for you, this thread might be of some assistance: Large J Frame Grips for Large Hands
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Old 08-12-2018, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Execpro View Post
I will purchase some 158gr SWCHP ammo soon. The only lead I’ve put down range in 50+ years was from a 50cal musket and wadcuters from a 3” Rossi revolver (target shooting only). All my revolvers in the past were for hunting or Duty carry(issued hollow points).
I look forward to trying 158gr ammo for the J frame now that the shooting low issue has been put to rest.

The gun came with(I believe )Hogue black combat grips just like what is pictured on your 60-7.The length is fine. They are just WAY to THIN and NARROW! I don’t have to get rubber grips. Wood would be fine,they just need to be FAT to fit my large paws(have never had issues until the J frames). The other issue I had was that the trigger guard was beating the H—- out of my knuckle.
I will take all ideas into consideration. I don’t want to spend $60 on grips to find out they don’t fit and can’t return them.
Thanks again for all the input!

Be SAFE and shoot often!
Yeah, finding grips that work the best for you is kind of a pain. I've been through a few so far. The Pachmyrs might work for you...... They're on the thicker side of things.....

In fact, if you want, I'd trade you my pachmyrs for your Uncle Mikes...... I've never tried them and may like them..... The pachs are practically brand new. I had one shooting session with them and had them on for maybe a month. Then took them off.


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Old 08-12-2018, 08:21 PM
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I'd jump on that if I had larger hands. The Pachs are blockier overall than the Uncle Mikes and I think thicker along the backstrap, as the UMs are very rounded, which makes them feel smaller than they look... but just fine for my hands (glove size 9). Even still, I only use them at the range sometimes, because the two-finger magna/Tyler-T combo gives me enough control with the steel-framed gun even for stout loads like the Buffalo Bore load I mentioned above.
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Old 08-12-2018, 08:36 PM
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I sent an e-mail to Underwood for more info on their 158gr SWCHP ammo. I liked that the bullets are “hard enough not to lead the bbl,but soft enough to expand”. I will probably get a box soon and have no objection to using for self defense.
This is all new to me (J frames, lead bullets ect.). I understand that J frames were designed for close encounters,but it is a new experience for me to adjust after shooting 4”+ bbls all my life and getting sub 4” groups at 25 yards to adjust to as oink stated hitting center mass on a target at 25 yards with a decent pattern with a J frame.
This is a new and exciting time for me with this new segment of small revolvers! I am not that picky any more (group size at distance) being 70 plus with hands and eyes that don’t work as well as they used to and I am sure there will be an adjustment period.
The Taurus M85 and the 360j all shoot an average of 2” groups at 7 yards (off rest). I just need to find grips that will work for me on this gun.

Thanks ABPOS for the offer,but will need to keep factory stocks in case I sell the gun. By the way, that is a nice collection.
After spending a few hours on the net researching grips,it looks like eather Pachmyrs (don’t know which ones yet) or Altamont wood ( I’ve never had a box of grips before.Guess there is a first time for everything!).

Be SAFE and shoot often!

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Old Yesterday, 02:27 AM
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I've had only positive experiences with Underwood ammo. Underwood doesn't state the barrel lengths they use to test each load on their website like Buffalo Bore does, but I noticed that at least one reviewer of the 158 grain +p LSWCHP chronoed it in a snubnose at the same velocity (1050 +/-) as claimed by Buffalo Bore. I have the BB load on hand and can attest that it is stout but manageable in my steel-framed m60. I would default to that load if you can handle the recoil in your m360 because I really like that sweet spot between typical 38 spl and 357 velocities; however, the standard version should work well enough for personal protection. Heavy soft lead hollowpoints have a long history of solid performance against soft targets. I would expect the slower round to expand less and penetrate deeper and the +p version to expand or flatten out more and possibly penetrate less.

Your J-frame is certainly capable of impressive 25 yard accuracy, even with the short barrel, but it will likely take a lot of practice to get that good with it and that distance exceeds what most people consider self-defense range anyway, so I wouldn't let inconsistent grouping bother you, especially considering that the sights certainly make it a challenge even for young eyes and are the first clue that your snubby is not intended for target shooting. Reliable center mass hits in quick succession are what you're "aiming for". And as long as it points naturally for you, you likely won't even bother using the sights in a quick encounter.

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Old Yesterday, 06:15 AM
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While I understand that the OP shoots single-action with his J-Frame, I am reading where many comments are, or at least seem to be, discussing using the J-Frame as a SD gun. As that appears to be the case, shouldn't we all be talking about shooting DA instead?

FWIW, I have a 2in 642 and 2in K6S that are DA-only, and I don't get anything near what many of the posters are saying as far as accuracy. Sure,... I know that that may just be my "personal" problem, but I have a hard time believing that anyone in a SD situation will be shooting SA. Any DA accuracy feed-back posts would be appreciated...
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Old Yesterday, 11:54 AM
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I won't claim to be good with my 442. But I have hit silhouette targets at 25 yards. Some guys can really do well with it one at that distance. It is possible. You can do it!!

I do believe this was 10 shots standing and 10 shots kneeling at 25 yards with my 442. Kneeling helps a lot. But I lost 1 round off the target completely...... And 2 were barely on....

Strangely enough, I had a M&P .45 (newer auto) that I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with. I was comparing it to my G26 that day and I did better with the G26.


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Old Yesterday, 07:44 PM
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I agree with HorizontalMike. This is for SD, but I always shoot a new gun from a rest to see what it is capable of doing. The rest is up to me.
I ALWAYS practice double action only after I have completed the above process. The 360J shoots X ring at 7 yards so I know if I do my part it will do it’s. I hope this clears up any confusion on my previous post.
I practice at 10,7,5,3,0 yards for defensive shooting from hip,full extension with sights,left and right two handed and one handed,kneeling, standing ect..
Now that I have the sight picture issue resolved,I can shoot 130gr+P ammo accurately and when I get the 158gr SWCHP’s I will know what to look for in regards to POA-POI.
I am looking forward to getting 158gr SWCHP’s from Underwood in both regular and+P versions!
Thanks SeamasterSig and others on the info about 158gr bullets.


Stay SAFE and shoot often!

Last edited by Execpro; Today at 04:30 AM.
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  #34  
Old Yesterday, 08:50 PM
ABPOS ABPOS is offline
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Let us know how they shoot. I've been staying away from lrn because I don't really have a good way of getting the lead out. I don't want to use hoppes. I'm sensitive to chemicals and strong smells.... I usually just use CLP and a boresnack. And use a .40 cal brush for the cylinders.
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Old Yesterday, 09:07 PM
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I got an e-mail back from Underwood tonight and sent them another one asking about the SWCHP +p 158gr. I will post the response when I get the new e-mail.
They do have a description on their website the talks about not leading the bbl,but I believe it’s for the +P. You can check it out.
They did give a bbl length for their test and specs on a 1&7/8” bbl which I will post when I get info on +P.
I have the same issue with chemicals. I use Rem Oil with Teflon for cleaning with a brass bore brush. I’ve been meaning to try a snake.Nothing but good reviews. They do make a foam bore cleaner that touts no smell. Thinking about that also. Old habits are hard to break after 50 years!
I don’t know anything about cleaning lead out of a bbl but I am sure there are lots of videos on YouTube.

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  #36  
Old Today, 02:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABPOS View Post
I've been staying away from lrn because I don't really have a good way of getting the lead out.
A Lewis Lead Remover works well and doesn't require chemicals. You can make something similar with a few strands from a Copper Chore Boy wrapped around a cleaning brush. Just make sure it's the real deal and not an off-brand that may actually be copper-covered steel. You want something that is harder than lead but softer than steel such as copper or brass to scrape away the lead.

On the other hand, if you'd rather not have to deal with cleaning a lead-fouled barrel, JHPs are the only way to go; however, they tend to be lighter bullets in 38 special and can therefore be expected to hit below point of aim. There are other reasons why I generally prefer lead over jacketed bullets, in particular for 38 special. For instance, it takes more powder to get the same velocity with jacketed bullets and you can run into pressue issues with heavy JHPs (obviously not with commercial loads, but I reload). Similarly, you're more likely to experience a squib with jacketed bullets, which is not helped by the fact that most off-the-shelf ammo is loaded on the weak side to begin with.

Hornady offers a 158 grain XTP bullet for 38 special, but I've never seen it locally. You'll probably be lucky to get 800 fps with it out of a snubnose; don't expect much expansion, but if you can find it, it should be a consistent deep penetrator. I like XTPs and have them on hand for reloading in a few calibers, but I push them harder than Hornady does when I'm making my own.

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They do have a description on their website the talks about not leading the bbl,but I believe its for the +P.
Underwood coats some of their bullets with something called Hi-Tek that they describe as a polymer-based compound. I don't have any experience with it, but it is supposed to reduce lead fouling and the smoke caused by the wax lube that would otherwise be required with lead bullets. When I go to the range, people sometimes look at me like I'm shooting black powder The reason that Underwood uses Hi-Tek on the +p load but not on the standard version is because it's soft lead; while you shouldn't experience too much leading with the low-powered version, push a soft lead bullet hard enough and you will get severe leading. The +p load probably wouldn't cause severe leading, but surely more than the standard load. I mostly shoot hardcast SWCs and don't worry about leading.
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Old Today, 04:31 AM
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Underwood states on their site that neither the normal velocity or the +P 158 gr will foul the bbl. So unless someone has first hand experience with this ammo and you can believe Underwood, than you would clean your bbl the same way you would for a regular non lead bullet.
Years ago I shot lead wadcutters in a 3” bbl Rossi revolver and cleaned it as I would a metal jacketed bullet with no issues.
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Old Today, 08:32 AM
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Having followed this thread for a bit I'll finally chime in.

HorizonalMike made a great point in post 31 about DA for defense. Exactly why I don't carry a revolver with an exposed hammer.

Execpro: have you considered a Centennial style? I had a 360PD and could shoot it very well, but it has a hammer so I never carried it.

We're the same height and you might have a few pounds on me. We're big enough not to notice the 8 oz. difference between an alloy gun and a steel one, and I've found the steel ones easier to master. Heck, drink a regular can of soda and you've more than made up that difference.

My hands are like catcher's mitts, and I shoot with both. Here are a few photos of grips I've come to rely on for my Centennials (both makers also make grips for exposed-hammer revolvers). The Karl Nill grips feel like a K-frame, and I don't have a problem concealing at 4 o'clock in OWB leather. The Craig Spegel grips are not quite as hand-filling, but they're more than satisfactory and a bit easier to conceal. PS: note how far down on the trigger guard the grips go -- no busted knuckles here.

A final point about these grips. These are expensive. You only need one pair. How much is your life worth?

Regarding ammo... I tried seven different loads (.38, .38+P, and .357s) out of the 640 Pro. The one I did best with (i.e., poa = poi without adjusting my sight picture) was Barnes .357 140gr lead free hollow points. Guess what I practice with and carry!

Just a few bits of food for thought.
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