Just a comment that getting new or decent used parts for the Colts is getting harder and harder...no real problem finding S&W parts, except for the parts unique to the older models.
The basic lockwaork of the Colt is actaully more labor intesnive to fit than the S&W. As time when on, S&W developed new ways of making the same basic lockwork without all the intense hand fitting...Colt just gave up in the early 1970's. Eventually Colt tried various types of modern lockwork (in no way the same as the tradtionial lockwork) but the models were not a big suscess.
Doesn't keep me from shooting the old ones...just keeps me from abusing them. If you intend on shooing several thousnad rounds a year, may want to consider either a modern S&W or a Ruger.
Marshall tried to fix it this morning, but it doesn't look like he had any luck. Alex won't have a chance to work on it until later. (I still think there's a young lady diverting his attention.
I've lost posts when my connection dropped. Now I cut and paste any long posts into Notepad and save them to disk. If I have a crash, I just paste it back into this reply box.
I can at least congratulate myseflf on having two Army Specials, and one Officers' model, all on the same frame with what you tell me are interchangeable parts. So, with that combination, I should be able to keep at least one gun shooting for quite some time.
And as you say, there is nothing to stop me getting a vintage SW targeter llike the k-38 at some point down the line.
The problem with qualified work seems harder to fix. As I said in the last pf my posts, I better move closer to Ribbonstone! heh, heh.
And now, I have a general question about dry firing: I always thought dry firing was OK in a centerfire piece. I understand the problem with rimfire, but I was under the impression that dryfiring my revolvers would do them no harm. And then, the other night, another shooter told me that I should not be doing this without a "snap cap" in. Now, wouldn't contact with a snap cap actrually put MORE milieage on the firing mechanism than just falling in the empty chamber?
This is important to me, because I am routinely loading three and shooting six, in order to fight the flinch.
When the firing pin hits a primer it's slowed as it indents the primer, relative to the sudden stop against the frame in a design like a S&W revolver. Although it rarely happens, S&Ws can break from dry firing. I'm not familar while the old Colts, but a set of 6 .38 Special snapcaps was $21 at Wholesale Sports.
Going back to your post about sights, the threads on the sight adjusting screws on a S&W are 80 per inch. That works out to 5.9" at 100 yards per turn on my 6" M-28. Since a good shot (not me) can keep them that close from a rest, and the best can do it offhand, it shows you what good eyes can see.
I will definitely invest in a set of snap caps then.
As per sights, the lesson I have learned, is that the sight picture is more important (within reason) than where you are aiming on the target. In other words, if you have the sights lined up perfectly, but the gun is wobbling all over the center area of the target, you will still score better, than if the gun is perfectly still, but the blade is up or down a noticeable amount in the back groove.
And the application of this lesson, will be for me to pay more attention to the exact placement of the blade, while moving the trigger, rather than worry about exactly where the gun is pointing.
Naturally, both aspects are important, but I believe Ihave been mistakenly giving too much attention to keeping the blade on the bull, and not enough to keeping the blade properly aligned in the groove. I believe this explains a lot of my low scoring shots, even when I felt I had a decent bead on the bull.
Time will tell. And luckily, there always is a next itme.
P.S. "What good eyes can see..." When you consider the math of the the situation, it is a small miracle that any of us we get anywhere near the target, let alone right in the middle.
When I have a new handgun student, I draw a sight on a target, in a perfect 6 o'clock hold. I draw it life size, with the rear sight an inch wide, as on the High Standard. Then I draw one off centre with the front sight squarely in the notch and explain that if she or he fires with the sights there, it's still a 5. Finally I draw another one directly below the first, but with the front sight half out of the notch, up and right, and tell them that they'll be lucky to hit the upper right hand corner of the target. I explain that they won't hit if they chase the bull with the front sight and ignore the rear. They should lock their wrists and concentrate on sight alignment first and the bullseye second.
A flintlock with it's slow ignition is a different problem. Then you're better off shooting when the sights are perfectly steady and an inch off centre, than firing when the sights are swinging pass centre.
Speaking of shooting 6" groups offhand at 100 yards, consider that the 10 ring on the NRA B-6 50 yard target is 3.36" in diameter, so shooting a possible requires the equivalent of a 7" 100 yard group. You need to shoot 97% to make High Master, and considering that rapid fire isn't easy means that a High Master can't lose many points in slow fire and has to clean timed fire, IIRC. Somewhere I read that the highest score ever was 2680 out of 2700. That's 20 nines on 27 targets. Way out of my league.
"I explain that they won't hit if they chase the bull with the front sight and ignore the rear. They should lock their wrists and concentrate on sight alignment first and the bullseye second."
This very well put, and it confirms what I have been figuring out for myself. I think my confusion sprang from the constant repitition of the first principle of focusing on the front sight. This is perfectly true, but it invites an ignorance of what comes second: the REAR sight. Your formulation is much more complete,and if I may paraphrase comes down to this:
1. focus on the front sight
2. place the front sight in line with the back
3. find the bull.
This explains a lot, because I have been shooting groups that are much higher than they are wide. So I seem to be centering side to side without too much concentration. But I think I have a tendancy to poke the blade out a little, and obviously to varying degrees, in order to see it clearly. On some targets, the result is an almost straight line of hits, right through the centre of the target, from below the bull right up to the top of the rings.
With this new understanding, I am hopefull of getting a much better result. (hope springs eternal)
But I don't aim at six o'clock, as you do. I am experimenting with a center of the bull approach, which I find less stressful. The blade isn't moving from white to black, which I find nervewracking, but stays within the black. All over the black, of course, but still, in there. Logically, if I can keep the sights aligned as we have been discussing, I should be able to keep my shots in there too.
It is interesting that you should say this about a successful shooting session:
"considering that rapid fire isn't easy means that a High Master can't lose many points in slow fire and has to clean timed fire"
What strikes me, is that you seem to expect the best result from timed fire. That is certainly true for me personally. Last friday, I shot 89 timed, 83 rapid, but only 63 slowfire. And yet this is not the way the Canadian Shooting Federation sees things. On their badge/reward qualifying scheme, they always expect higher scores in slowfire.
For instance they call "expert" 94 slow 90 timed, and 86 rapid.
"Master" is 96 slow 93 timed and 88 rapid.
For the time being, my groups are just too big to score high in the smaller slowfire rings, but more forgiving on the timed/rapid target. The time I have to shoot doesn't seem to matter. More time just doesn't equal smaller groups.
And one more question: In another thread going on, people are talking about "ghost rings". Is there some reason why aperture sights are not more popular among handgun target shooters? Are open sights actually better (in opposition to experience with rifles)? I mean, is it just impossible to get a good tight aperture view at arms length?
Thee are people who try to use the ghost ring sights on handguns...for me it won't work with the apature at arm's length. The idea is that with a big apature close to your eye, it kind of dissapears...your eye centers the hole, then it kind of ignores the thin ring. You really don't even notice it BUT with a rifle you have something to keep you face plasterd in the same place (a stock). With a handgun, there isn't anything to keep yur head in position. Was NEVER designed for precision, it's supose to be "fast"...and it is on a rifle or shotgun.
With a handgun, the ring never becomes a "ghost"...you still see it and have to exert the same effort at sight alignment as with open sights.
For your old guns, try blackening the sights. Know that bright colores are the "hot" for gun sights, but a flat dull non-reflective black on a well lit range is tough to beat. your oldies have small sights, rounded sights, and probably well worn shinny sights...better to make them dull black.
When I need color, I use liquid paper....it comes in various colors, and I kind of like the canary yellow for use on poorly lit ranges. Cleans off with solvent aver the range visit.
Can blacken them with soot from a flame (a disposble lighter will work..so will a match). It rubs off, so it's not for duty use.
"with a rifle you have something to keep you face plasterd in the same place (a stock). With a handgun, there isn't anything to keep yur head in position."
Wow. This really cuts to the difference with a handgun. With the head effectively "attached" to the stock of a rifle, and the eye virtually at the same spot as the receiver peep sight, there is a sighting line of only two points: the front sight, and the eye/backsight. But with the handgun, there are THREE points that have to be on the line: front sight, back sight and eye.
The hangun line is from the eye to the front sight, which are the end points, but the rear sight has to be brought into line in the middle. This is like shooting an imaginary rifle with a joint in the middle of the barell, where it would be the shooter's job to make the jointed tube into one straight line, in order to shoot.
This also explains why I've found the advice to "lock the wrist" to be confusing. The line of the shoulder, to the muzzle is not the same line as the line from eye to fron sight. If the gun were a perfectly straight extension of the arm, the eye sight line would not lline up, because these lines are different. So the wrist HAS to make up for the difference, both side to side and up and down.
In any case, the wrist doesn't actually "lock", the way the elbow or knee do, in a straight extension of the limb. What we are really talking about is just immobilising the wrist in a rigid position, like a tennis player.
So now, I see my aiming routine this way:
1. Focus on the front sight
2. Raise the arm straight, more or less on the bull, while placing the rear sight precisely in line.
3. fine tune the bull, by using the wrist to maintain the sight picture as the rigid arm moves slightly up down and sideways.
4. when the whole picture is right, freeze the wrist.
5. squeeze off the shot.
The goal with the wrist, then, would be to find the position which feels closest to straight in line with the arm, but which, first and foremost, still produces the perfect line of bull-front-back-eye. But not to line and lock the wrist on the arm before the final sight picture is acheived.
All because, while the line of the rifle stock and the sighting line are essentially the same, the line of the arm and the handgun sight line are two different lines intersecting at the hand, where the ball joint action of the wrist is called upon to make the final ajustment.
One of the odd things i've found with fixed sight revolvers (actually with all revolvers, just that the adjustable sight shooter re-adjust sights) is that how you grip the pistol will change POI. In general, the harder you grip a pistol, the lower it shoots on target.
That sounds odd...but if you get a dead straight edge and run it from the tip of the front sight to the rear sight, will notice the sights actually point ABOVE the bore line (or the bore points below the sight line). What actually happens at a shot is that we line up the sights to the target...but the bore is lined up BELOW the target. At the shot, recoil starts as the bullet moves...long before the bullet actually exits the muzzle. If everything works out, the gun rotates up (along with the arm hanging on to it) and the bullet exits pointed in the right direction. Anything that changes this roation can change the POI.
The sight to bore line differnce is less noticable on low recoil guns (like .22's), less noticable on heavy weight guns in any caliber, but VERY noticable and measurable on light weight big bore guns (the old Charter Arms .44 specail didn't even need a straight edge to see the difference in lines).
It's one of the reasons that when we get tired (and don't grip so strongly) we get fliers.
...sorry...server trouble, and I had to either post or get dumped off line.
In classic one hand shooting, can make the revolver an extension fo the arm...you are more sideways to the target, so you can look straight down your arm and the handgun that follows the same line as your arm. MOST of us actually hold the grip a bitt off-line...the more we face that target, the more we "monkey wrist" the grip to get the barrel to line up with our eye. Really not a problem if you can do it exactly the same each time...but it does induce more fatigue.
Id shooting two-handed, it's nearly impossible to get the arm in direct line with the barrel.
Lots of advice on grip strength...I'll try grabbing the gun as in line with my arm as the stance will allow, and grip as hard as I can without shaking...usually "ill grip to a shake, then back off until the muzzle stops jumping, and luse that pressure. Is way more than a .22LR or light loaded .38 will need for control, but as I shoot a pile of calibers (some that do tend to recoil a bit) find it better to err on the strong side of things.
Sorry if I confused you about locking the wrists. Of course you lock your wrists after the sights are aligned with the eye and then get on target by moving your upper body. I have a tape of Susan Nattrass doing her thing at trap. She locks her face,arms and shoulders to the gun and breaks a hard left by pivoting her lower body.
Ribbonstone's last post is correct. My right shoulder is too far gone most times to shoot one handed. When I do, my right arm is almost straight out sideways and I put my left hand in my back pocket.
Usually I use the isosceles position with my elbows slightly relaxed. You may prefer the Weaver stance, with the right arm pushing and the left arms pulling, assuming you're right handed. If I use the Weaver, I only bend my left elbow slightly. I've seen some pictures lately of shooters with their left elbow bent about 90° and aiming cross body, so that the barrel to shoulder angle is about the same as a rifle shooter's. That doesn't work for me.
It's so long since I shot regulation slow, timed and rapid strings that you'd wonder if I was bragging or complaining. No doubt the thinking has changed, but IIRC, the idea back then was that you had to clean timed to win in the Masters rank. Now I'm happy to break 80 at slow fire.
You're getting there. Keep practising and thinking.
Been a while for me as well...at least where the scores will be posted for all to see. Found that as time progresses, the ability to shoot long strings decreases. If you cut the scores into 1/3's, will fothen find a consistant decreases in each of the secotions. Can still hold one handed and squeeze off 10-15 rounds well, but with decreasing ability thereafter.
Picked up the cap-and-ball revlovers again after a long leave-off. If you think the sights on the old Colt's suck, this will make them look like the big improvemnts they actually were.
If I were starting freash (and young) would consentrate on paper targets more and plink less. While we all enjoy plinking, do find that there is no feedback for misses....don't get that paper confirmation that you pulled one way or the other, so difficult to sourt out the error. The second poor result of plinking is that it draws attention AWAY from that front sight...we all do it...it's just so much fun to watch that target shatter, leak, explode, zing off into the sky, or topple over.
When I was more serious about poaper punching, would often shoot home made targets. Would use black construction paper with a white bull just big enough to aim at clearly. Didn't so mauch give a rat's-rump where the group was (with an adjustable sighted gun, can make them land just abouth where ever you wanted) just how small and how round it was. Oddly, pretty happy with a 1.5" circular goup...unhappy with a 1.5" string or "cluster'flier" group. Same results, but the round group (the goal was one that looked pretty much like the top of a pepper shaker) showed a btter hold than the smaller strung out group...with that last, know I could have done better.
http://www.bullseyepistol.com/ then goto
Error Analysis and Correction and check out the wheel of misfortune. There's lots more at this site. My cousin-in-law was shooting alongside Bill Blankenship once. Bill got all excited and adjusted his sights because he was shooting low 10s instead of Xs. Check out his article.
Concerning arm to body angle: straight out sideways would be perfect if our arms were really straight, but they aren't. When you lock your elbow, or your knee, for most of us the joint goes past the straight position. So, with the elbow locked, the arm, is crooked and you should be just sighting down the line of the forearm. To do that, the arm will be less than 90 degrees, with the deviated forearm pointing back to where a really straight arm WOULD have pointed at 90 degrees.
And then there are other anatomical considerations. Jack: I'm sorry to hear you have shoulder trouble. I do as well, and I simply can't hold at 90 degrees. As a matter of fact, my best spot is even less than 45 degrees, and so I do have to cheat with the wrist a little ("monkey wrist" as Ribbonstone says).
Two handed, I like the rifle-like, cross-body grip you mention, probably because I have more rifle experience than handgun, but I'm getting more and more longsighted, and I am getting to like it better when the sights are farther from my face.
I have been doing a lot of one hand bullseye type shooting, simply because I (complete hazard) joined a club with a tradition of active members shooting shoulder to shoulder. On any given night, we practice however we want, with whatever we want (or just sit around shooting the breeze), and then, when emough people have shown up, we shoot three targets of .22, slow timed and rapid, and then for those who wish to, three more targets of center fire.
This only takes an hour or so, even if we need more than one group to get everybody into the twelve lanes. And afterwards we go back to free range and tall tales.
A number of guys just shoot those targets to maintain their skills, more or less painlessly, year after year.
And it all adds up. We tally scores all year long, and then, have a party and award each other trophies. Lots of trophies. Four classes: A, B C and D. First and second place in each class, in both rimfire and center fire, plus first and second in agregate of rimfire AND center fire, ALSO in each class... That works out to 24 trophies. So, the chances of anybody working their way up the ranks without ever getting ANY trophy are pretty slim. heh, heh.
And that is without counting how the class system works. Because once you qualify for a higher class, there is no turning back. Thus, there are a lot of guys in "A" class who have seen better days, and are now shooting lower, but are not eligible for lower classes. So, most of the trophies are going to people who really CARE about trophies, which is to say the up-and-comers (who are out practicing while more reasonable people are hobnobbing in the club room)
As I say, I found this group by accident, but I am really glad I did. This particular kind of relaxed competition, and just the ritual of shooting together, provides a special kind of social glue to an ordinary evening at the range.
This Friday night, my best targets were both timed fire again. 80 with the .22 and 73 firing my four-and-a-half inch Colt Army Special. 73 is not a competitive score, but I still take some satisfaction in the notion that I can put 10 shots on paper, with 9 scoring, in two strings of twenty seconds, using an eighty year old revolver with fixed sights.
Unfortuneately, I just wasn't quick enough to get all 10 shots away in the 10 second rapid strings. Maybe I didn't mention this, but I am shooting strictly single action: cock, sight, bang! cock sight, bang! This really requires good timing.
The best advice I have gotten is:"push the gun into the target with your right hand and pull it back with your left". This forms a locked triangle of body and arms. Makes all the alignment things fall into place.
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