Last weekend I grabbed the chronograph & gear and headed for an afternoon @ a private range. It was mostly cloudy and only in the low to mid 90's....much nicer than blistering 100+ temps!
Needed to load test some loads before loading up a big batch. Also took a couple of .357 Magnum S&W revolvers ( Model 19 4" and Model 27 6") but mostly I concentrated on the .45 ACP handguns.
Took 2 autos (Sig P220 and S&W 1911) and 2 revolvers (old S&W M1917 5.5" and S&W 25-2, AKA as the 1955 Target model with a 6.5" bbl)
Chrono set up with targets @ 25 yds. Shot off benchrest. Only 4-shot groups in the interest of time & expense...just enuff to get a feel for each load. I'm too lazy to type all the load info but I used 185gr Nosler HP, 185gr Rainier TMJ, 200gr cast lead SWC and 200gr Rainier TMJ SWC. Powders were: W231, WSL (Winchester Super-lite), Bullseye and Win 540. Spent almost 5 hrs on the range.
A total of 6 loads were tested in each weapon. Below are some "average" figures for your info/entertainment. I got a couple of the loads a tad warmer than needed so I will back off about a half grain on a couple & that should be just about right. Had very little data on the W540 but was wanting to burn it up to get rid of it (kinda the same for the WSL) Got the W540 load a bit too light & the WSL a bit too heavy. A half-grain correction will fix that. Of the 4 powders listed though, W231 & Bullseye were best performers...I like both.
Average velocity and accuracy @ 25 yds off sandbags using all 6 loads:
Sig P220 ---- 941 fps 2.948"
S&W 1911 ---- 980 fps 1.906"
S&W 1917 --- 978 fps 3.083"
S&W 25-2 ---- 978 fps 2.094"
After all that, it's kinda amazing that the figures are so close, both in velocity and accuracy. I fully expected the S&W M1911 to win the accuracy title as it is a very good shooting pistol. It also demonstrated that a pistol needs less barrel than a revolver to achieve the same velocity as it doesnt "vent" @ the bbl/cyl gap. I think the 1917 would have faired better if it had better sights....the rounded blade and notch in the topstrap are functional but not ideal for shooting targets. Sight black helped. The 25-2 is just a sweetheart of a revolver....love those S&W revolvers! My old Sig was carried for many years on duty and is still a mighty good pistol. Shot close to point of aim with just about all the loads. For the most part, the 185gr bullets shot just a tad better than the 200gr SWC's. I've read where the 185gr Nosler JHP is the USMC's choice for a target bullet. The cheap Rainier gave a good account of itself as a plinker too. I could surely load down to more pleasant velocities but I believe it isnt all bad to keep speeds up to a level that the shooter benefits from getting used to combat level loads and learns to control recoil & flinch....that oughta make light target loads a breeze should I decide to load powder-puff loads one of these days.
Anyhow, hope this entertains and provides a bit of info for those of you less fortunate than I....hahaha, I am indeed a lucky man! Keep your powder dry, keep the faith and have a wonderful 4th of July! I reccommend going out and celebrating by bustin' a few primers....celebrate the 2nd Amendment! God bless America! Wallace
Photographer from Tyler Texas. Images in collections and museums in the region. Still using film for exhibitions. Commercial work in digital.
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