Blogging to you from the Northeastern Badlands of The County of Lake, in the state currently known as Fatmanistan, DEEP DEEP DEEP DEEP DEEP inside the heartland of the Banana Republic formerly known as the USA, WELCOME TO THE NEXT CHAPTER! WARNING! ALL FORMS OF SOCIAL MEDIA ARE ADDICTIVE; EXCESSIVE USE MAY LEAD TO MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS, REDUCED JOB PRODUCTIVITY, INSOMNIA, SOCIAL ALIENATION, GENITAL ULCERS, BLINDNESS, POLITICAL EROTICISM, AND / OR DEVIANT FUNAMBULISM. NOTICE: NO GUNS OR AMMUNITION ARE FOR SALE VIA THIS BLOG. (No, I will not trade my Colt Python for some lubricious adventures with your trophy wife and a future first-round draft pick.) CAVEAT: This blog is not suitable for viewing while at work, while inside a public library, while inside any public or private school, or while inside any public or private restroom. Do not view this blog while driving a motor vehicle or while piloting an aircraft. Viewing this blog may be illegal inside the EU, NYC, Chicago, Seattle, and other parts of the Third World. THIS BLOG CONTAINS (albeit often very childish) ADULT-CONTENT. DISCLAIMER: This blog is a hobby, it is not a livelihood. Even though much of what I blog about relates to firearms collecting and recreational shooting, I am not an expert (by any measure) on any facet of guns, shooting, hunting, or personal defense. Entries at this blog are akin to good old-fashioned campfire chats or post hunt bourbon-fueled barroom-bluster; I offer no opinion on what you should or should not purchase, or what you should be using or doing. What does or does not work for me could be rugged-country-miles away from your tastes and your needs. All products, places, and miscellany that I review for this blog are purchased / rented / leased at retail price by me. I do not accept payment, gifts, discounts, freebies, products on loan, distilled spirits, recreational pharmaceuticals, plea-bargains, probation, parole, Papal Blessings, Presidential Pardons, or sexual favors for doing any review or blog post. TRACKING COOKIES: Google et al stick tracking cookies on everybody. If you are online, you are being spied on via one method or another, for one reason or another; 'nuff said. You may be able to minimize your online DNA residue by using Tor and Duck Duck Go. Vive la liberté! Vive all y'all! Ante omnia armari. To each of you, thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Smith and Wesson Model 36 .38 Special Range Session at 5 Star Firearms in Zion, Illinois

Yep, I went into full retro mode and left the original splinter-grips on this 1988 vintage Chief's Special.  I have had it for three-years and just now got around to taking it for a test run.

Yes, the small grips (stocks) do make the revolver more of a challenge to shoot accurately.  These factory original grips are more uncomfortable for shooting than are any copy of Craig Spegel's boot grips that I have ever used (even the ultra bad copies).  This comes as no surprise; I've fired this model many times over the years.  Silly old me bought this one out of a sense nostalgia; S&W still sells this classic model but it now comes with that insufferable lock ...  

Yes, this 20-ounce steel frame revolver should be more recoil friendly than my 15-ounce airweight revolvers ... but it isn't; modern grips on the airweights do attenuate matters.

Yes, with any of my J-frame holsters I could carry this revolver as it is but I probably won't ... I cleaned it up after the range session and put it back in the safe for now.  I'm not looking for another concealed carry option at the moment.

Yes, the single-action trigger on this piece is darn nice, but I didn't use it for any of this session. 

Yes, the long and strong double-action trigger is close to being just as sucky on this lightly used older model as the triggers are on all of the modern J-frames.   It should get a wee-bit lighter and a whole lot smoother with a few years of use (dry and live fire); for now, it is what it is ... I'm not into having lighter springs installed and such ... you might choose otherwise.

Yes, the rudimentary sights (gutter and blade ... sounds very "Chicago" doesn't it?) on this gun are pretty much as shitworthy as those on most of the newer factory no-frills J-Frames ... except these seemed even WORSE.  I was losing sight of the front-sight on some of my Target #2  speed-drills.  I didn't get out the calipers to confirm, but I suspect that the front blade on this gun is 0.1'' wide instead of the 0.13'' wide blade that I believe to be common on modern no frills J-Frames.  

Technical Information
Caliber: 38 Special
Bullet Weight: 125 Grains
Bullet Style: Nyclad Hollow Point
Case Type: Brass

Ballistics Information: 
Muzzle Velocity: 830 fps

Muzzle Energy: 191 ft. lbs.

Yes, in the world of the .38 Special non+P carry loads, this load is kinda middlin' ... not on the hot end and most assuredly it is not mild enough to be called a puffpuff.  With the right grips, I have always found this load to be just wonderful.  It has a decent record of performance in police use.  During the days of old it was nicknamed The Chief's Special load ... allegedly for having a recoil that was manageable in the S&W Chief's Special.  (NOTE:  Just for the record, I have never been in law enforcement.)

Target #1
30-rounds total as follows (typical of an Illinois Concealed Carry qualification drill):
10-rounds @ 15-feet (5-yards)
10-rounds @ 21-feet (7-yards)
10-rounds @ 30-feet (10-yards)
21-rounds of the 30-rounds fired during a qualification must land in the numbered scoring area.
Head shots don't count in Illinois qualifications, only body shots landing inside the numbers.
For Target #1 I used a two-handed hold and staged the trigger (slow fire) for each shot.  After each string of live-fire I dry-fired five to ten times on the empties (good practice for me and long-term it may help smooth the action of the revolver).

Target #2
22-Rounds @ 30-feet (10-yards)
Rarely will I have a good day when my durable zone of snubnose suckiness moves out to 40-feet.
Target#1 declared this to be NOT one of those days so I limited my fundamental drills to 30-feet.
(sometimes my durable zone of suckiness can be 21-feet, 15-feet, or near powder burn distance)  
No trigger staging on this target; I went for as much speed as I could safely muster.
Some of the rounds were fired unsupported weak side (left hand only ... no support grip)
Some of the rounds were fired unsupported strong side (right hand only ... no support grip)
I'm glad I didn't bring more ammo; this little gun beat the hell out of my hands.  

For hearing protection at the range, some folks wear muffs and some wear plugs;  I wear both at the same time.  It helps minimize flinching from the noise of whatever I am shooting as well as from the noise of whatever my range-neighbors are shooting (yeah, I'm talking about you, Missus .454 Casull).  Further, this particular shooting range has much better acoustic design / engineering than does the range closer to my domicile.

The only downside to double ear protection is that whenever someone on the range tries to speak to me I need to lift one side of my muffs away from my ear to hear them and then the range safety officer (not knowing that I am also protected with plugs) gets concerned.  I've taken to informing the S.O. beforehand ...

Frequent Flyer Miles!
Not only is this range nice enough to have discount days for those of us on tight budgets, they also offer a premium via punch-cards.  The bottom card is all punched out and I get a free hour of range time ... on any day ... i.e. it does not have to be on Senior Discount Day.

ADDENDUM 01/14/2019
I failed to mention that I have been using range sessions to practice reloading techniques and I also failed to mention that the grips on this Model 36 were very speed-loader / speed-strip friendly.


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