Range Report for 3 January, 2020: Trials and Errors

Another early evening trip to Champion Arms shooting range in Kent, WA. A bit of test shooting, some practice and drills. A good time overall, but not without issues…

Issue number one, I used the bullseye targets they print on-site, and I don’t know if they’ve changed the paper they’re using, but this time they were tearable. No, that’s not a typo; the targets had a marked tendency to tear when the bullets hit them. A pretty minor quibble; if the problem persists I’ll mention it to them.

Southern Comfort, my Frankengun .38 Sort Colt cartridge conversion, had an issue with punching holes in the primers. I replaced the firing pin and that fixed that. So of course now there’s an issue with the hand spring; the gun has decided to only rotate the cylinder if I point the muzzle up. Bugger. The good news it it has turned out to be surprisingly accurate!

Yes, there really are five bullet holes there, but you have to look very, very close. Target was shot at seven yards. You can see what I mean about the target tearing.

Next up was the Colt Detective Special .32. I did some drills at seven yards and noticed a couple of keyholed hits. Not a good thing… and it got worse. I ran the target out a bit further and accuracy was out the window, and practically every bullet that didn’t keyhole exhibited yawing. These bullets don’t normally do this, but the most recent box has shown this tendency. I’ve contacted the manufacturer.

Drilling with the Detective Special. This is what I call the 7-3-2 drill. At seven yards fire two rounds using a two-hand grip, switch to strong-hand and fire two more, then switch the gun to the left hand and fire the last two shots. Note that several of the bullets have keyholed.
Adding a bit more range and things quickly go to hell. Accuracy is right out the window and more bullets are keyholing than not. Very disappointing!

The Old Dog- a Model 1902 .38 Special- was in fine form, and liking the mid-range 125gr. loads.

More of the 7-3-2 drill. I really like this old gun. I should mention that the point of the 7-3-2 drill isn’t speed- though that comes eventually- but to insure you are competent in all three modes. Don’t shoot this drill any faster than you can get hits; build the muscle memory right!

I tried something different this evening too- the Panic Shot drill. It’s simple- target at three yards, gun in a single-hand grip pointed downward. Point the gun (without raising it to eye level) and get a shot off as fast as you can, alternating strong and weak hand. If you have a partner have them signal you when to fire. It can be very revealing.

Yeah… need some work on this one!

Aside from the minor issue with Southern Comfort’s hand-spring and the keyholing bullets it was an enjoyable and productive session. I’ll get the hand-spring fixed, dead easy really, and get some different .32 bullets.

Michael Tinker Pearce, 3 January 2020

Oh, and Happy New Year!

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