Shooting Times Magazine
A Leading Situation
Q I plan to use either the Remington .44 Magnum "medium-velocity" load or the factory .44 Special cartridge as adefense load in my Smith & Wesson Model 29. Since both loads are topped with soft-lead bullets, would using up to necessitate the use of a lead-removal tool, or could I get by with just a thorough cleaning with brush, patches, and solvent? Other .44 Magnum owners I've discussed this with use only jacketed bullets for fear of cylinder and/or barrel leading
A I would certainly think you could get away with considerably more shooting than 50 rounds between cleaning with either of these cartridges, although the hotter medium-velocity Remington load will likely cause more leading than the mild .44 Special round. You should not runinto a leading situation that can't be cleaned up with a brass brush and solvent. I use surplus .50-caliber brass brushes for this purpose in my .44-and.45 caliber guns.
Ejector Housing for Blackhawk
Q Where can I get a steel ejector housing for my Old Model .41 Magnum Blackhawk? I've been told that one from a Colt SAA might fit.
A Any good gunsmith can fit a Colt SAA ejector rod housing to your Blackhawk. I have one on one of my Super Blackhawks, and it greatly enhances the appearance of the gun.
S&W K-22 is Good Choice
Q I'd like to buy a Model 17 Smith & Wesson K-22 revolver for plinking and small-game hunting. From several of your articles, I know you like this handgun. I read an article in one of the annuals describing target pistol accuracy, and the author reported the K-22 to be capable of only 3.5-inch groups at 50 yards, compared to about 2.1-inch groups for several rigid-barreled automatics.
Based on your experience with the K-22, is this difference in accuracy really significant for casual shooting at ranges of 25 to 50 yards?
A The K-22 is an extremely accurate field gun, and you're right - I like it. Tests like you mention, using only one specimen of a gun and perhaps only one brand and type of ammunition, do not always reflect the true accuracy potential of the gun.
The several K-22s I've owned were capable of a little better grouping at 50 yards than 3.5 inches when paired with the right ammunition. For your purposes, it would be hard to find a better choice than the Smith & Wesson K-22.
Let S&W Shorten Barrel
Q I would like to have the barrel of my S&W Model 55 in .45 ACP shortened from the 6 ½ inches to four inches to make it a better gun for home protection. Who would do the nicest job of cutting it down?
A I don't see how shortening the barrel of your Model 55 would make it a better house gun. My wife favors a 7 ½-inch .45 Colt Single Action Army for such use. But if that's what you want, send it to the factory.
Some years back, the factory did a beautiful job of shortening a 1950 Model .44 Special Target and a 1950 Target in .45 Colt for me. The guns looked new and original except that the rollmarkings were off center on the barrels.
Don't Grind Trigger Guard
Q I have a problem when firing my Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 Magnum. Sometimes the knuckle on my middle finger is banged by the square-backed trigger guard.
Would oversized grips help? I've thought about grinding the sharp corner off the guard, but I'm afraid I'll do more damage than good.
A Don't grind that trigger guard. It isn't thick enough, and you'll ruin it. A really good welder can cut it and reshape it to the dimensions of the oval Colt trigger guard; this should solve your problem. Probably the simplest solution is to obtain the grips you mentioned. They are available in walnut from Herrett's (Box 741, Twin Falls, ID 83301) or in black neoprene from Pachmayr Gun Works, 1220 South Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90015.
Converting .32 to .380
Q Have you noticed the apprent flood of used but excellent Walther .32-caliber PPs that many dealers are advertising in The Shotgun News? The prices range from $198 to $225, and you get two magazines and a cleaning rod.
Is it possible to easily convert the .32 to .380?
A I'm afraid not. This would be a job for a skilled gunsmith, as PP, PPK, and PPK/s barrels are fixed solidly into place. Besides this, the necessary parts are not readily obtainable.
Retime Your Set of Cols SAAs
Q I own a cased, matched set of unfired Colt SAA commemorative revolvers. Recently, I discovered one of them has a definite scratch around the periphery of the cylinder, in line with the bolt notches. Gunsmiths tell me this normal. How can I prevent this condition from deteriorating?
A First, quit cocking or dry-firing those guns. The condition you mention is caused by the locking bolt prematurely falling against the cylinder when the gun is cocked. This does no real damage, other than mark the cylinder. A good revolver smith can cure this for you by retimeing the gun. I'd recommend Bob McGrew, 3315 Michigan Ave., Colorado Springs, CO 80910.
New Barrel for Single Action?
Q I'm a fourteen-year-old avid shooter. I really like Colt single actions, and I have a Colt single-action Frontier Scout in .22 Long Rifle. This pistol has had many rounds of Shorts, Longs, Long Rifles, and shot cartridges fired through it. Would it possible to replace its barrel?
A I'd be greatly surprised if your Frontier Scout really needs a new barrel. It is next to impossible to wear out a barrel by shooting .22s through it. I'd give that barrel a thorough cleaning with a brass brush and have an experienced shooter inspect it. If you still think it needs replacement, query Colt and see if any Frontier Scout Barrels are available.
Load Too Hot for .38 Special
Q I bought a Lyman No. 358156 gascheck mold after reading of your use of it over the years and plan to use your load of 13.5 grains of 2400 in .38 Special cases. Can you give me the details of this load? Will it work in my .38 Special revolvers?
A The load you refer to is too hot for .38 Special guns, and I caution you not to fire it in them. I'd confine its use to the .357 Magnum revolvers. Note that the No. 358156 bullet has two crimping grooves. When loading the maximum of 13.5 grains of 2400, seat the bullet out and crimp in the lower crimping groove. Use new or once-fired .38 Special cases, preferably uncannelured. The bullet should be sized to .357 inch.
This load was originally recommended to me by Ray Thompson, the designer of the mold, over 30 years ago and has served me well. It develops about 1200 fps in most revolvers and is exceedingly accurate.
Accuracy Job For Gold Cup
Q I'm very pleased with my new Colt Gold Cup, but a pistolsmith told me that an accuracy job would make it shoot even better. If this were true, who could do it, and what would it cost?
Also, if I bought a Combat Commander in .45 auto, could it be accurized to match the Gold Cup's accuracy.
A A good accuracy job would improve your Gold Cup. It is also possible to accurize the all-steel Combat Commander. A great many smiths specialize in this work, and one topnotch man who comes to mind is J.E. Clark, Rte. 2, Box 22A, Keithville, LA 71047. Write to him for details and prices.
Dark Canyon Home Page