Saturday, December 12, 2009

.44 Special Hollow-Point Testing: Speer Gold Dots the clear winner

There's a big problem with carry handguns with fixed sights. If you can't adjust the sights, you have to find an ammo combination that fits the sights.

It helps if you know what the manufacturer had in mind when the fixed sights were set up at the factory and in the case of common cartridge/pistol combinations, it's easy. For instance, Smith & Wesson .38 Special revolvers, particularly the older ones like the Model 10, are set up at the factory for 158-grain lead roundnose bullets.

I had that point illustrated quite well at a recent N.C. Concealed Handgun Permit class. One of my students was using a S&W 10 .38 Special, the original Military & Police model, and when he started firing the first set at 3 yards, I told the students to aim for a head shot, right between the bad-guy-target's hairy eyeballs.

I figure if they can't make a head shot at 3 yards, there's not much point in asking them to do it at the increasing distances for the qualification firing, 5, 7 and 10 yards.

So this guy starts firing away at the target and I hear this loud clanging noise and sparks start flying. We stop the shooting and take a look and his rounds are hitting the target clamp a few inches above the BG's head.

Thank God the clamp was heavy duty at the local National Guard Armory range because no damage was done.

But I dug into my range bag and came up with a box of .38 Special 158-grain LRNs to give the guy and immediately he started drilling holes right between the BG's hairy eyeballs.

In the first outing with my new-to-me Charter 2000 Bulldog Pug .44 Special snubby, (top photo and at top in 2nd photo) I discovered the good folks at Charter set up the iron sights for full-house-load 240-grain bullets.

I had a box of Cowboy Load 240-gr. ammo which is certainly no wimp at 760 FPS, classic numbers for .45 ACP .230-gr. FMJs.

But the Charter's iron sights placed the Cowboy Loads about 2-3" low on the target. Then I tried some full-house-load 240 gr. SWCs and they were exactly what the iron sights liked, right on the bull.

So the next step in using the Bulldog for a carry pistol is to find a jacketed hollowpoint load that will line up with the iron sights.

I never did find a JHP load that lined up with the iron sights of my Charter Patriot .327 Magnum (bottom pistol in 2nd photo), so I had to get a set of Crimson Trace Laser Grips to enable it to hit where I'm aiming.

I suspected that might be the case with JHPs for the Bulldog Pug. I had four JHP loads to test. Top left on the target board, standing two-handed at 25 feet, are some 200-grain Georgia Arms Gold-Dot JHPs. Printing low and with a lot of muzzle blast and recoil. Not pleasant. The three clustered at 6 o'clock about 3" low are mine, the other holes are by the sergeant at the Armory, whose rounds drifted even lower and to the left. All the rest of the holes in the other targets are mine. Three of the GA Gold Dots were all the sergeant wanted to try. Can't imagine why.

Top right target are some CCI steel-case JHPs, probably 200-grain but they were some loose rounds we had at the gun shop with no box, so that's just a guess. Even hotter and more unpleasant to shoot than the GA Gold Dots and though still low, closer to the bull by a bit.

Then bottom left are five holes with Winchester Silvertip 200-gr. JHPs, much more pleasant to shoot and getting pretty close to the bull.

Finally, bottom right is the clear winner, five rounds with Speer Gold Dot 200-gr. JHPs, right on the money and also fairly pleasant to shoot. I am delighted to find a carry load so easily and not to have to add CT Lasergrips for the Bulldog. I may still add some grips later, but not right now when I've got other pistols to buy hopefully in my near future.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent review! It clears up what was happening to my Bulldog .44. Thanks!