Monday, May 31, 2004


Jeff at Alphecca got picked as the "Website we love" in the summer issue of Outdoor Life. Always good to see a blogger get credit for their hard work.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Losing Power: .38s in .357s

Looking through Ken Waters's Pet Loads, i ran across some test results that are worth noting.

When he fired some .38 Spl +P loads through a .357 cylinder, he actually lost around 70 fps compared to the velocity obtained with a .38 Spl cylinder.

In some ways that's no big deal. Even a standard .38 Spl. will get the job done for CCW or home defense. But it does affect the load choice if 38 +P rounds are carried in a .357 revolver for defensive purposes.

The 125 grain JHP is a legendary load in the .357. It is a consistent stopper. Velocities can exceed 1600 fps in an 8" barrel. It takes a tough bullet to ensure adequate penetration at those speeds. Many 125 JHP loads for the 38 +P load go about 975 fps from a 4" barrel and so will barely break 900 fps if fired from a .357 cylinder.

A tough 125 JHP which gives good performance at 1600 fps probably won't expand much at 900 fps. If .38 +P load uses the same bullet as the .357, you are really just shooting a 125 grain round nose.

At the same time, the .38 loads are attractive defensive loads because they have less muzzle flash and muzzle blast than the magnum. This matters in the dark, confined spaces where defensive shootings take place.

There are two solutions. One is to choose .38 +P loads that were specifically developed for snubbies (like the new Gold Dot 135 JHP). Another is to use a 158 grain LSWC which does not depend on expansion to be effective.

This performance is also an excuse to save money. If you know you are going to use 38 +P rounds as your primary defense load, you can buy a 38 Spl. revolver instead of a .357 magnum. A good used Ruger or S&W 38 will cost half the price of a new .357 and will often be $50-$100 less than a used magnum. That sounds like a deal to me-- spend less, get better performance.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Perfectly Understandable

I think Kevin might be drooling. But he has good reason to.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

First Gun

Jeff Soyer has a good discussion on first guns. Jeff is a really smart guy because i agree with everyone of his recommendations.....
One Gun Conundrum--results

The results are now up here.

No surprises-- .308 rifles, 1911s, and Ford trucks.

I see i forgot to mention my vehicle choice-- GMC Sonoma extended cab.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Smith & Wesson Model 25 .45 Colt Mountain Gun

Nice write-up on this little beauty over at Gunblast.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

One Gun Conundrum

Kim du Toit is running an interesting survey/ thought experiment: If you could only have one rifle and one handgun what would they be?

Les Jones has already given his picks here.

For me, it depends on the cause of the limits. If it is a long-term lifestyle choice (money, no room for a gun safe, local regulation) then i want a S&W Model 19 in .357 Mag and a Ruger Model 77 Compact in .260 Remington.

I wrote about the 19's claim to the status of finest all-round, all-round here and the advantages of the revolver here and here . Plus, since i only have one, I want the flexibility the 38/357 combo gives me.

The Ruger compact will handle almost any sort of hunting. Short and light, it is a better choice for woods hunting than a 24" Model 70 in .300 Win. It is nicer to carry up and down rocky slopes for mountain hunting. At the same time, it is a better long-range proposition than a Model 94 in 30-30.

And the .260 may be the best all-purpose round for the US (along with it's ballistic twin the 6.5x55 Swede). Not my opinion, John Barsness just wrote that in Rifle or Handloader.

OTOH- if this problem is a matter of the SHTF and I had to grab two guns and their ammo as I headed out the door to an undisclosed secure location-- then I would change my choices to:

Ruger Redhawk (5.5" bbl) in 41 Mag and Marlin 1894 in 41 Mag.

I want ammo compatibility. Full power 41 mag loads have all the advantages of the .357 with 50% more bullet weight as a kicker. The heavier Redhawk dampens the recoil so that it shoots as soft as the model 19 with magnum rounds. Plus, I have a bunch of mid-range loads for it that makes it a pussycat while delivering more oomph than standard 45 ACP. But as discussed here, the mid-range loads hit magnum velocity out of the carbine.

Plus, the revolver is a Ruger so it is tough and reliable.
How great was John Browning?

Between 1885 and 1899 EVERY new model introduced by Winchester was a Browning design. And they only went into production with about a quarter of the designs they bought from him.

When it came to firearms, Browning was a one man Bell Labs.