Range Report 18 December 2018- The Gang’s All Here

We got an invite to meet Pat Hillyer and Courtney Miller at Champion Arms for a bit of shooting this afternoon. Linda was all for it- any opportunity to shoot her Sig 238 Legion is OK with her!

Linda is getting nicely dialed in on the 238 Legion. The custom Desert Ironwood grips were a second Christmas present from me.

Linda happily put another couple boxes of ammo through her new love while I played with some of Pat and Courtney’s toys, including Pat’s Kel-Tec sub 2000. This is an interesting and economical pistol-caliber carbine, and this was my first chance to shoot one. The gun functioned perfectly and was quite easy to manage. I fired off a magazine at ten yards, and did several double-taps. For the most part things stayed nice and tight.

Kel-Tec Sub 2000, ten yards


Recoil was, as you’d expect, minimal. It was easy to shoot accurately at the short range I was firing at and experienced no malfunctions. For all that I found the gun quite unpleasant to shoot. The recoil spring is in the stock (a la AR15) and some weird harmonic made it sting my cheek- surprisingly painfully. I think if I were to shoot one of these regularly I would need some kind of pad on the stock.

I also got to shoot Courtney’s 10mm Glock. This is the first time I’ve really shot a pistol with an optic sight. It was a bit odd, but I’m sure that I would get used to it. This was also the first time I fired a Glock 10mm, and despite firing loads that Courtney described as ‘hot’ it was easily the most pleasant-to-shoot 10mm I’ve fired yet. It was comparable to shooting standard loads in a 1911 .45 as far as perceived recoil went.

First time using an optic on a pistol. Interesting.

My hits were consistently low at 7 yards, but that could as easily be me as the gun. I actually liked it quite a bit!

Both Pat and Courtney tried the Taurus M85 Sub-Compact Custom, and there reactions were similar- they went from ‘How on Earth does this work’ to ‘Holy crap- this really works!’

Taurus M85 SCC (Sub-Compact Custom) .38 Special

The ammo of the day was 158gr. handloads on top of a book-maximum charge of Unique. Neither of the gentlemen had any difficulty controlling the gun or firing it accurately.

Courtney Miller firing the m85 SCC

Pat Hillyer firing the m85 SCC

Both of them were surprised at the gun’s performance. After shooting it the first time Pat asked, “Would you sell this?” He was kidding. Mostly. I also did some shooting with this little revolver and performance was quite good- but not so good I figured I needed pictures of the target.

We also all shot the S&W 61-2 .22 pocket-gun. Everyone enjoyed it- Pat informs me that he has looked one up on Gunbroker and intends to buy it! Linda’s comment was, “It’s not as fun as my Sig…” When I came back from a break she was shooting it some more, so you be the judge. It’s really easy to run through a box of ammo in this little gun, and I did. Between the bunch of us we went through two boxes in total.

The upper target was shot with Linda’s P238, the lower was shot ‘at a brisk pace’ with the little S&W

Just for giggles I ran a target out to twenty-five yards and blazed away. When I reeled it in I found I only hit three of the five shots. ‘That will not do,’ I told myself. I taped up the holes and ran the target back out and fired more carefully. The results were much more satisfactory this time:

Not bad. Not bad at all!

We did experience two stoppages in a hundred rounds- in both cases an empty stove-piped on ejection. Given that the gun is over 45 years old and the ammo is probably 50+ years old I think I can forgive that. I like this little pistol!

I also did some shooting with the Astra Police .38, which has a new set of grips. As usual it’s fine double action trigger and recoil-absorbing mass made it very pleasant to shoot, and the new grip works just as it should. Unfortunately we’d all had so much fun shooting the Taurus that I didn’t have as much .38 Special left as I would have liked to shoot this gun.

Rapid-fire at seven yards. This is a really sweet-shooting gun!


On a less happy note I am not sold on the Federal #100 Small Pistol Primer. Last week I loaded a batch of .380 using a tried-and-true load, but I substituted the Federal primers for my usual CCI500 primers. This load (with the CCI primers) had functioned just fine in our .380s the week before. With the Federal primers neither gun would cycle- this was using the same bullets, the same lot of powder loaded into the same cases. The only difference was the primer. Not good… but the plot thickens.

S&W Double-Action Safety Hammerless (4th Model)

At the end of the session I pulled out my S&W top-break, again using a load that functioned well using CCI primers. Loaded with the Federal primers only one shot in five achieved proper ignition. The other four would give a dispirited ‘Thump’ and sling the bullet gently downrange. I still had some of the CCI-primed loads on-hand and fired them for comparison. Every shot banged as it should. With the only variable being the primer I can only conclude that the Federal primers were not performing well.

Something to bear in mind is that both of these loads use a very small quantity of powder, and the Federal primers simply doesn’t seem to be up to the task of getting good, uniform ignition with these small charges. I also fired 100 rounds of .38 Special loaded with Federal Primers and they worked just fine, as did the .357 Magnum rounds using them. Obviously I’m going to have to restrict use of these primers to loads with a large volume of powder, and use CCI for the rest.

It was a good afternoon at the range overall- it was great to see Pat and Courtney, and we all got to shoot some different guns.

Michael Tinker Pearce, 18 December 2018

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