Sunday, January 25, 2015

Range Report

   So, Grasshopper oldest son and I went out to the range today. He, to get in some more practice with his new polymer frame 'lightning bolt in the palm of your hand', and I, to test some 'Doc Brown' crazy scientist load recipes¹ in the same caliber, albeit in a steel-framed platform.
  • For evaluation purposes, I'd loaded 10 rounds each, using Hodgdon Tightwad, IMR Trail Boss, and some discontinued Winchester 571 propellant, all utilizing Federal #150 large pistol primers, and Xtreme Bullets 200 grain copper plated projectiles.
Some of the usual suspects
  • Just for grins, we started with the leetle guns, shooting leetle boolits at the steel falling plates.  It's kinda like eating crackers between wine tastings to 'cleanse the palate', or stretching before yoga (if you're into that sort of thing) helping to get one's mind focused on the proper mechanics of shooting firearms.  At this stage, I practiced until I could drop all 6 plates offhand with son's rifle (not too hard), and also with my revolver (a tad more difficult).
  • To his credit, he was able to drop 4 of the 6 with his hand cannon, despite having only a 3.3 inch barrel, and a commensurate sighting radius.  Young people can do stuff like that.  I was not able to match his proficiency at this stage with my full-sized Goliath dropper.
  • Curiously, his proficiency was somewhat less when using my beeg gun,  so there!  Go figure.
Good form, Grasshopper!
  • Finally, the main event, testing the new loads. We moved down to the pistol range with the overhead trolleys and brass catchers.  As I noted in the last post, I was suspecting one of the three loads to do its impression of a raging dragon, due to the slow burning powder, but I am happy to report that that did not happen - in fact it was as tame as the Geico lizard (gecko):
571 Winchester powder, with mild recoil, no muzzle blast
  • Conclusion:  All of today's test loads can be considered successful.  Having made notes during the testing, any/all of them can be increased, as no signs of dangerous pressure were noted.  But, inasmuch as I was doing 'proof of concept' testing, my objective was not to build full-house loads, just some that will safely and reliably cycle the slide for range practice.  To that end, the data collected showed - to my surprise and delight - that the Winchester 571 (of which I have copious quantities, with no other real applications) delivered the best groups, and appeared to be the cleanest burning (not what I expected).
  • Exercising the mind, beautiful north Texas weather (low 60s), spending time with my son - I am blessed.
¹  The characterization of today's session as being experimental is purely for the sake of hyperbole/entertainment.  Reloading firearms ammunition is a serious pursuit - all of today's tested loads were well within the propellant manufacturers' respective published load data.

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