Saturday, April 3, 2010

Charter Arms Southpaw gets a carry load: Federal HydraShok +Ps

Spent some more quality time at DeWitt's outdoor range today with the main objective being determining a carry load for my new Charter Arms Southpaw .38 Special.

It's a lightweight 5-shot J-frame size revolver so I was expecting what American Rifleman's review termed "stout recoil" with +P loads.

But contrary to their terminology, I found the +P loads to be a bit stiff but not unpleasant at all, certainly quite manageable. I tried three different loads, Hornady Critical Defense .38 Spl. 110 gr. FTX and two +P loads, CCI 125 gr. TMJ and Federal Premium 129 gr. HydraShok JHP.

The gun shop is out of the Critical Defense +P loads so I will try those when they're back in stock. The regular .38 Critical Defense loads are the five holes low and left in the first target on the left. The next five in that target, three in the black and two in the bull, are the CCI +P 125 gr., obviously more to point of aim of the iron sights, standing at 10 yards.

So I changed over to the Federal HydraShoks for the target at the right, 10 rds. same distance. Five in the black and five close by. Viola! We have a carry load.

It's gonna take a while for me to get used to a lefty-friendly revolver with the cylinder lock on the right instead of the left. But I like it. A lot.

Then I moved on to my Dan Wesson .22LR revolver, shooting from a rest to zero its sights. I've had the Dan Wesson way too long to just now getting around to zeroing the sights, but I've been pretty busy. That's my Sig P220 next to the DW, ready for testing of Winchester Ranger T .230 gr. JHPs.

First target on the left is testing and adjusting the sights of the DW. Like a fool I fiddled with the up-down adjustment while trying to get the left-right fixed. Finally figured out you have to hold the flathead screw while tightening the Allen screw. Who knew?

Then I shot a magazine of Ranger T's at the target on the right, standing 10 yards. Shot too fast but the test was mainly to see if they would cycle. Yes.

Then I fired three magazines of MagTech 230 gr. FMJs at the next target on the left, 10 yards rapid fire standing, just because.

I seemed to be shooting a bit low today so I slow-fired the target at the right with Ranger Ts. Some in the black, but most a bit low. Close enough for government work.

The gun shop has a pretty good supply of Ranger T ammo, 50 rds. of quality JHPs for only $34 a box, so I'll be stocking up on them. Anytime you can get quality hollow-points for less than a buck a round, buy 'em. And if they're Ranger Ts, well duh. That's one of the best law-enforcement rounds ever manufactured.

I only have one complaint about the Sig P220. It goes into slide-lock way too fast, as in "Damn! Is that eight rounds already?" It's one of only two single-stack pistols I own, the other being my itty bitty Kel-Tec PF-9 and when you're shooting +Ps in it, you're glad when it goes to slide-lock.

I like high-capacity pistols but this Sig P220 is making me take a second look at single-stacks.

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