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Monday, July 6, 2015

Range Review S&W 640-1 with Federal .357 magnum 110-grain Semi-Jacketed Hollow Points

In the comment section of my previous post, Jon T asked which load I prefer for the 640-1 (magnums or +P .38 special), and about the often-mentioned pain in my arthritic shooting hand.

Please CLICK HERE for my first blog entry regarding this S&W 640-1 magnum revolver.

Please CLICK HERE for my blog entry about a similar magnum revolver, the Ruger SP101.

My current load preference for this revolver is the old commodity grade (almost every major brand sold them at one time or another) 110-grain .357 magnum semi-jacketed hollow points.  IMHO, they are decent enough for personal defense use and the load is light enough (when used with steel revolvers) to allow me to endure range sessions of between thirty and fifty rounds before the pain (and swelling) in my hand becomes too distracting for me to continue.  It is my belief (I could be wrong) that this load has a bit more stopping power than the +P .38 Special loads.  NOTE: Many allege that prolonged use of this load on any given revolver causes flame-cutting of the top strap and / or forcing cone erosion; I cannot offer any insight on that, one way or the other.

Below are some targets and comments from a 11/29/2014 range session.

As a baseline for my range sessions, I use the Illinois Concealed Carry qualification criteria of using NRA B27 target(s) and firing thirty rounds total; ten rounds each at distances of five, seven, and ten yards (fifteen, twenty-one, and thirty feet); of the thirty rounds fired, twenty-one of the thirty rounds fired must be on paper AND inside the scoring area.

The first target, set at fifteen feet (five yards), went okay.  Eight rounds went into the "good zone" and I plunked two rounds low.   All in all, the first two cylinders (ten rounds) of .357 Magnum 110-Grain Semi-Jacketed Hollow Points did not turn out to be too bad of a start.

On the second target, set at twenty-one feet (seven yards), instead shooting two-strings of five-rounds each as intended, my mental focus sailed full speed off the rails during a "senior moment" and I fired thee cylinders (fifteen rounds total).  Anyhoo, six-rounds were in or on the line of the "good zone" and I splattered the other nine-rounds into the lower numbers.

The final target, set at thirty feet (ten yards) had only four-rounds in the "good zone" and I sprayed six-rounds high on the target into less impressive numbers.

Obviously, I have plenty of room for improvement using this revolver with this load.  The best that I can say about this range session is that all thirty-five rounds fired were "in the numbers" and no rounds were "off paper."  IMHO, the cumulative pain from recoil (and anticipating the pain) is a major distraction for me.  Centennial J-Frame revolvers have a nice, long, rolling trigger pull and the effects of cumulative pain mess with my mental focus and trigger technique.  It only takes a hint of a flinch or a bit of a wigwag for me to alter a J-Frame's point of aim.


Phil said...

Any of those shots on an attacker would ruin his day so I wouldn't be too hard on yourself.
I am adding you to my Blogroll, I see I am on yours and wasn't aware of it until I stumbled across you on my Stat Counter page!


James Zachary said...

Thank you, Phil!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info James.

I am surprised I hadn't seen you previous 640 post - I thought I had read your blog from cover to cover.

It years since I shot a S&W snubby and living in the UK I don't think I'll ever get the chance again. But quite a couple decades ago I had the opportunity to put a few rounds through a couple of Chiefs specials. The first one cut my thumb up due to the skinny grips and ceased being fun after a few rounds. The second one had grips that were somewhat "fatter" at the top and was way more comfortable - I could have shot it all day. Rounds used were my homeloads - 158gr Semi wadcutter (cast lead) with 3.8 grains of vitavouri powder.Not exactly hot. I was surprised what I could hit with it. But back then I shot larger frame revolvers a lot.

All the best


James Zachary said...

Thanks again for stopping by Jon T. It has been a pleasure.