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Friday, August 23, 2019

08/19/2019 S&W 442-0 Range Session with 110-grain Winchester Silvertip .38 Special JHP at 5 Star Firearms in Zion, Illinois

50-rounds of .38 special 110-grain Silvertips are in an assortment of loaders.  Everything is ready for the range and I'm mentally focused for the trip.  I unload the carry gun, case it up and put it inside the range bag with the loaders; the 5-rounds of Nyclads that I took from the revolver I drop loose into my shirt pocket because they too are destined to serve. I've watched plenty of the "how to" videos showing different techniques on how to be quick and slick with speed loaders and strips.  I've also made available the time needed to practice with loaders using dummy rounds (in my basement cold-range).  My skills have glacially improved --- but only a smidgeon.  It's been maybe over a year or so since I started using loaders at the shooting range but that decision was made for more of a personal reason than a tactical one; LOADING A REVOLVER ONE ROUND AT A TIME IS SLOW, BORING, AND A WASTE OF MY PRECIOUS RANGE TIME!   Having said that, let me offer that I have read and do respect the advice of experts to also practice loading single rounds from the pocket in case the loader suffers a premature ejaculation during the heat of the moment.


A number of years back (>= 12-years) I purchased 500-rounds (i.e., a case of 10 x 50-round boxes) of these.  I found them to be a decent practice-load for the lightweight alloy J-frame / D-frame revolvers and they had a reputation for being suitable for personal protection.  Earlier this year I was chagrined to discover that I was down to a single box of 50 left on the rack so I ordered another 500-rounds (which should last me until the end of time). 

Insofar as comparing the non+P Winchester 110-grain Silvertip to Federal's erstwhile 125-grain non+P Nyclad, the scuttlebutt scorecard of yesteryear arguably gave the "stopping power" edge to the Nyclad. Anecdotally, I find the Silvertips to have a bit of a snappier recoil in the airweight revolvers than do the Nyclads but the overall "feel" is close enough for me to use the Silvertips as a range surrogate (I gotta make my remaining inventory of Nyclads last as long as possible).  I do find that the spent (plated) Nyclad cases are easier to extract than are the spent (unplated) Silvertip cases.

Winchester is good about re-engineering loads to enhance performance.  The serrations on the nose of the bullets aid in expansion.


Target#1 was set at 30-feet (10-yards)
A total of 30-rounds were fired.  
My stance was a modified Weaver with both hands managing the revolver as best as the pains of my age allowed. First I fired the 5-rounds of Nyclads and then chased them with 25 rounds of the Silvertips.  The first 25-rounds of the total were slow and deliberate and the final 5-rounds were fired as fast as I could manage.  The bulk of the rounds landed inside the 9-ring. While there were no off-paper misses, there were 2-rounds that landed outside the scoring rings (not shown in the photo), one in the pink and the other not.


Target#2 was set at 45-feet (15-yards)
A total of 25-rounds were fired (all Silvertips).
I was kneeling and using the range-booth countertop as a support for my arms and hands (scenario: hunkered down, returning fire from behind a protective barricade).  Of the 25-rounds that were fired at this target, 20-rounds were slow and deliberate and the final 5-rounds were fired as fast as I could manage.  23-rounds hit inside the scoring rings but I managed to score only 13-rounds inside of the 9-ring. I own the 2-rounds that were off-paper misses.   It is obvious that 45-feet is my extreme outer limit with a double action only .38 airweight snub.  Does single action use of a double action steel .38 J-frame have merit for me at this distance?  I dunno ... that's something I have yet to try.


During this range session a total of 55-rounds were expended, consisting of:
50 Silvertips 
5 Nyclads 

I had a great time and it all was a bucket of fun but, even with these moderate loads, the airweight 442 revolver beat up my arthritic right hand and it still throbs 4-days afterwards.  Even if I had the time and money to go shooting every week there is no physical way that I could do it solely with airweight revolvers --- they are a light-and-easy carry but somewhat punishing to shoot.

(It is generally (widely?) recommended that we all should practice with what we routinely carry --- at least once in a while; opinions vary on how often.  I do my thing and I offer no opinion on how others should do theirs.)

This was my 11th range session for year 2019 --- a total of 708-rounds fired thus far.  Maybe I'll get a couple of more sessions in before the end of the year but I doubt that I'll reach the 1,000-round mark.  


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