Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Range Report

Very short and no pictures, sorry! (Maybe later. Hey, it's free ice cream).

Off to Eagle Creek I went, late in the day when it is warmer. I'd been very physically active at The Skunk Works the previous week, a lot of ladder and overhead stuff with torque wrenches even (Our Proud Motto: "210 inch-pounds"), so I wasn't up to a long range session.

Took my Ruger Mk. II .22 pistol (always), the .45 ACP Sistema Colt, and dug out my shiny-shiny Colt 1911A1 in .38 SA. After all, the .45 has been a tack driver since I did the Cylinder and Slide "drop-in" trigger-pull upgrade and had the gunsmiths at Coal Creek Armory install nice Trijicon sights, so why not give the ol' .38 Super a try? I'd picked up a box of .38 SA at Gander Mountain earlier in the week (they have ammo in stock! Hooray!), so it was either that or my EAA Witness.

Possibly the Witness should have been my choice. Made nice close little groups with the .22, right where I was aiming. The Argentine marvel -- now with the slippy grip shimmed -- left big, raggedy holes in the target, also right where I had it pointed. It still hammer-bites me a little but such is the cost of keeping it Old School. Moved over to the .38 Super, 9 rounds, and.... Um. Stitched a sloppy line off below the target and a little left. What? And this with no bite, either.

Dry-fired it. Not flinching. Back to the .45, seven shots, wham, wham, wham, nice close group. The .38 SA again, same nasty line, down and a bit left. Eyeballed the sights, nooo. I just can't shoot it worth a darn. Gripped it even tighter and tried again, not much better. Gave up and finsihed my hour with .22 and .45.

Back home, I conferred with the in-house expert. "Trigger pull," says Tam. Next range trip, I'll let her and Shootin' Buddy give it a try, too.

It's old enough that the chamber indexes on the rim and not the case mouth,* but if that was the problem, it should result in a biger, randomly-dispersed group; the difference in accuracy should not be significant at the close (7-yardish) range I shoot at most of the time. It shouldn't result in what sure looks like a classic "jerking the trigger" displacement.

The good news: the sear, hammer, disconnector, triple spring and mainspring are standard 1911A1 items, so if I save up, I can do another C&S upgrade. The bad news? I really like the hammer that's on it now but hand-fitting that to a new sear is not something I should probably do myself.
* Not sure I'm saying that right -- most semi-auto cartridges are positioned in the chamber by that "step" in diameter at the open end of the brass where the projectile is seated, while rimmed ones (more often shot in revolvers but not always) use the rim at the other end to do that task. The semi-rimmed .38 Super was too much temptation for Colt and it wasn't until some of the drop-safe upgrades (downgrades, depending on who you ask) were done that they changed it.


Ed Skinner said...

How's the 38's trigger compared to the others? Heavier triggers take more Oomph and will show minor trigger-pull directional errors much more.
Also, is the pinky finger doing something different with the 38?

Ritchie said...

Colt's chamber dimensions may allow the vestigial rim to slip over the dinky seat on the barrel hood and end up who-knows-where. One (at least) of the 1911 improvers has a barrel properly dimensioned to discourage this sort of thing. There was a big fuss about this discovery a decade or 2 ago when IPSC shooters were looking for a small caliber that could make major rating.

WV: bangsmar The "T" was removed as it was becoming an attractive nuisance involving spotted owls.

Anonymous said...

Try checking that the trigger goes straight back, with the same resistance, whether you press the trigger at the top, in the middle where you're supposed to, and at the very bottom.

What your looking for is rough spots within the trigger guard that the trigger runs across, or in the trigger track itself. Detail strip that puppy and feel along all those areas for a burr or such. Sometimes running a Q-tip around will pull at the cotton tip, showing you a thread.

Then look at the trigger stirrup. I'd recommend the taking the stirrup die to it in any case, unless it's a trigger fitted by a gunsmith.

Lastly, check the hammer hooks, the sear engagement surface, trigger stirrup engagement with sear, make sure the hammer slot is smooth, and that neither safety nor disconnector is hanging up ever so slightly.

Hope that helps, but let us know anyway what you find.

Anonymous said...

The theory of where a particular cartridge is supposed to headspace is pretty cool. Of course, in the real world, most arms are actually headspacing on the extractor. And, like the bumble bee, they don't know they're not supposed to function that way, so they go right along working very well.

A gun that consistently has problems with the extractor staying tuned and functional, may actually have a chamber out of spec.

Caleb said...

Clearly your gun is broken. Give it to me, as I have a policy of accepting broken guns into my loving arms.

Roberta X said...