Monday, May 14, 2012

Range Report

I took all three 6" .22 revolvers to the range -- Eagle Creek, where The Guy himself, principal of Tactical Firearms Training, was rangemastering. This makes for a nice day, as he's a born teacher and there's quite a lot to be learned just by paying attention.

J.C. Higgins: The sights are off. Way off. Somebody had a flinch! With a heavy .22 revolver? Tsk. The action's just as smooth as silk, though, and it goes bang! every time. I can tap the rear sight back in line by eye and it should do fine.

Iver Johnson: Cleaning and lubing took care of the slightly "scratchy" trigger but I'm still getting light strikes. About 80% success first-time with the cheap rounds and 90% with CCI Mini-Mags. The more I shoot this gun, the more I appreciate the sights -- "old school," but quite large enough for easy shooting. I realize this was an inexpensive firearm but I think it'd be worth running it past the gunsmith to fix the light strikes. Based on my experience, I have no hesitation in recommending this model to anyone who'd like a .22 for range or tackle box.

The Sentinel: I need to clean it as I had the other two (chambers are getting a little tight) but it's a fun tackdriver: line up sights, squeeze trigger, boom! hole in target. I own -- and shoot -- guns with poor grace, that want to leap in odd ways or are a bit awkward in the hand. This is the exact opposite: it hasn't any bad habits at all. It shoots exactly as well -- or as poorly -- as you do. It's the revolver equivalent of a Ruger Mk. II (etc.), another fun-to-shoot .22.

Colt and S&W both made a number of very nice .22 revolvers; it'd be hard to go wrong with either one. However, they command Colt/S&W prices, too. They're not the only options; I'm very happy with my alternative choices.

I took my .32-20 Colt Police Positive Special as well and ran 18 rounds through it. It's always a treat; the recoil is hardly more than a .22. I need to pick up more ammunition for it, which is mildly painful unless you think of it as ticket to fun.


Anonymous said...

There is some good made 32-20 ammo and the prices are down from what it was a few years ago. The cowboy action shooters love the low recoil of their chosen load. Take a look at the various brands of cowboy 32-20 ammo. Mostly or all lead bulleted loads, usually 50 to a box. I agree they are fun shooters. I have a S&W hand ejector which is spot on with most loads. Enjoy.

B.S. philosopher said...

3-4 grains of Unique and a 100-110 gr cast bullet makes a pretty good .32-20 plinking load, suitable for even the oldest of the 1880-1890's revolvers.

At $40 per box of loaded ammo you'd be money ahead after the second or third loading since you should already have the brass.

og said...

The Iver Johnson had similar issues to the Hopkins and Allen top break i have, the striker would get peened and be too wide. Also, the striker would sometimes protrude too far intothe "body" of the case making the strikes not deep enough to ignite the primer. I was lucky enough to find a spare hammer, whose nose I carefully stoned into a curve on all sides. You don't want sharp edges or the case will rupture. I kept a bunch of spent brass to test the hammer strike depth with until I got a firm and repeatable crimp. A gunsmith will also be able to reharden the striker so it will last for a long time.

Dave in Indiana said...


F.Y.I., Paul is out.

Anonymous said...

Carteach0 had a good post on rat shot this weekend. Your tackle box comment reminded me of it.

Terry T

Mark said...

Lees precision has a set of dies for the 32-20, it's currently sold out. I check Factory sales where I get most of my reloading supplies but they don't stock the 32-20 dies. You can get a single stage reloading kit or a hand press kit from factory sales though and the dies from Lees Precision. It would run you about 65 with shipping I'd estimate. It's not that hard actually. My daughter and I just reloaded 150 rounds of .38 special the other day in about 2 hours using a Lee Loader and a mallet. They don't make a lee loader for the 32-20 though. You can ask if they have an old one in the stock room or check Fleebay for one.

Roberta X said...

32-20 is said to be tricky to reload, brass at the case mouth being quite thin; but it could be worth it.

Beaumont said...

.32-20 is not a good reloading choice for Type A personalities. One needs a very Zen attitude to successfully reload a cartridge that seems to have been designed by an opium addict. So I just keep a couple of boxes of factory ammo on hand for Grandaddy's M&P. If I take it out to the range, I'll just replace the ammo used, and possibly trade the brass to a CAS type.