Saturday, February 6, 2010

Two Wessons and a stainless Taurus 65 go shooting on a chilly day

My sympathies to all my fellow gun nuts who live in the snow belt, which this particular Saturday seems to stretch from coast to coast but mostly north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Here in the almost-sunny South it was mid-40s and with a bit of wind felt like 30s, but most certainly not too cold to go shooting for the first time in more than a month. I did wear gloves, but other than that, it was fun as usual.

The wimp who runs the outdoor firing range I usually go to didn't open up today, but here in the gun-friendly South, there's a place beside the road nearby that locals call "the clay bank" which never closes and is also free.

At right are three new-to-me pistols which I shot for the first time, starting bottom left, S&W 469 Mini 9mm, bottom right, Dan Wesson 722 .22LR revolver and top, Taurus Model 65 stainless .357 Magnum with concealed hammer, 2.5" ported barrel and custom wood grips. All three did fine.

The Dan Wesson was the only hiccup of the day. I discovered it to be the first .22 handgun I've ever shot that does not like CCI ammo. I've got a pair of .22 pistols, S&W 22A-1 and Sig P220 Rimfire, both of which are quite picky but love CCI and have never failed with either standard or high velocity loads. Both are not fond of Remington or Winchester .22 ammo.

But the DW didn't like any of the above. I tried two Remington loads, Golden Bullets and high-velocity, Winchester Super-X high velocity and CCI Mini Max, all of which had one dud per chamber load of six. Not acceptable.

But thank God I bought a brick of American Eagle high velocity just because it was cheap. Because the DW loves AE. I shot a whole box of 50 and it never misfired once. Henceforth, it will be fed only AE, though I will try some Federal Gameshock loads too.

As you probably know, AE is the budget brand of Federal ammo.

Musta been a day for duds, I had one JHP fail to fire in the S&W 469, which wouldn't go boom even after I gave it a second chance. In all I ran six magazines through the 469, three 12s and three 15s, including one mixed magazine of four different JHPs. It fed them all perfectly and shot dead on with the sights, so I pronounce it ready for carry duty.

I'll be carrying it as backup in a Galco small-of-back holster with one of my revolvers as main carry, .327 Magnum or .44 Special Charters, S&W 65-3 .357 Magnum or the Taurus, once I get it paid off from layaway.

I've turned into a revolver guy of late both because I like to shoot 'em but also because you can't beat a revolver for reliability. It's gonna go boom almost all the time and when it don't, pull the trigger again until it does.

The last of the pistols I shot today is a quadruple new-to-me. It's another used pistol from the shop I got to try out before purchase and I love it. Its other three new-to-me counts are:

1) It's a Taurus. I am not a big Taurus fan for their virtually nonexistent customer service. But this one seems quite solid, plus it was customized by an apparently talented gunsmith with a bobbed hammer and a very slick trigger, also with a nice set of wood grips with no sign of Taurus logos.

2) It's a double-action-only revolver, which I have never owned before. But the slick trigger makes DOA shooting a breeze, easy to hold the sights on during the very smooth trigger pull.

3) It's also my first ported handgun with three big holes on top of the barrel, which I presume is more of the unknown gunsmith's talented work. I shot four different loads in it, CCI .38 Special +P 158-gr. and three .357 Magnum loads, CCI 158-gr., Winchester JHP 110-gr. and Cor-Bon JHP 140 gr. With the exception of the Cor-Bon, all shot every comfortably. The Cor-Bon was definitely more manageable than it is shooting in my S&W 65-3, but it is still noticeably hotter and harder shooting. I'll stick to the Winchester 110-gr. for a carry load, which shot to point of aim with the fixed sights, just as it does with the S&W 65-3.

It's no coincidence that the Taurus 65 is quite similar to the Smith 65 with the same model number, both are stainless .357 Magnum six-shot double-action revolvers. The Taurus is an obvious copy of the Smith but I have to say the DAO, slick trigger and ported barrel makes it a very good alternative to the Smith. The Taurus trigger ain't as slick as the S&W Performance Center trigger job on the S&W 65-3, but it's close, which makes it very, very smooth and slick.

According to Bluebook, the Taurus Model 65 blue or stainless was never offered in DAO concealed-hammer with wood grips and a ported barrel, hence my presumption of custom work.

Both Model 65s fit my new Bianchi shoulder harness rig like they were made for it, which will be my preferred method of carry for both these as well as the two Charter revolvers, which also fit the Bianchi rig very well. As Hannibal Smith used to say, I love it when a plan comes together.

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