Need some help shooting my 642 accurately ...


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Mulliga
September 30, 2005, 09:19 PM
THR revolver gurus, can you help me out? ;)

I grip the 642 like so:

http://www.cise.ufl.edu/~akwan/PICS/GRIP.jpg

Sights are like this:

http://www.cise.ufl.edu/~akwan/PICS/SIGHT.jpg

Trigger finger is positioned with first joint near trigger:

http://www.cise.ufl.edu/~akwan/PICS/TRIGGER.jpg

At 15 yards I get semi-recognizable groups. At 25 yards I can barely keep all five on a piece of notebook paper, and at 50 yards I'm off to the right of point of aim by a solid foot or so. I get in LOTS of dry-fire practice at home (I try to aim at specific objects and I go for a smooth squeeze without staging). I tried both the straight press back and staging the trigger (though I know this is not advised) and neither method got me on paper.

Any tips? Problems? Suggestions? Thanks. :)

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Majic
September 30, 2005, 10:12 PM
To shoot at 25 to 50 yards require lots of practice. It would help to have the action smoothed out for a better trigger. Probably the biggest help for you would be to try a more handfilling stock/grip and shoot more with the pad of the finger rather than down near the joint.

ChuckB
October 1, 2005, 01:02 AM
Mulliga- first off, why are you shooting a 642 at 50 yards? :confused: It's a close quarters combat revolver, my friend, not a target gun.

You're only showing one hand on the gun. Are you using a two hand grip when shooting? If not, you should do so (while still doing some right and left hand practice for close self defense). If you are, let's see that grip, too. When pulling the trigger back, pretend you are pulling it toward your nose. With a proper two hand hold, that will keep the trigger- and the whole gun- stable, and on target.

If I were you, I'd shoot only at a few yards, until my groups were pretty tight. Then I'd increase the distance a little at a time, until you're confident at 25-30 feet, max. After that, you can play around at longer shots, but always come back to combat distances.

Chuck

Polishrifleman
October 1, 2005, 01:47 AM
I remember my brother shooting his new 9 and showing up to him telling me it was "broke", what do you mean broke I ask? Shoot that he points, a can on a stump about 30 yds out. I walk up to 10 yds and remove it from the stump and hand it back saying it will get the job done. :D

Close your range and read the thread on light pin strikes FYI, just in case.

gunfan
October 1, 2005, 01:52 AM
"Shoot more with the pad of the finger rather than down near the joint."

I couldnt have given better advice myself! You read my mind!

Scott

Majic
October 1, 2005, 09:39 AM
Mulliga- first off, why are you shooting a 642 at 50 yards?
Why not? The revolver is fully capable of delivering fine accuracy at 25 or 50 yards. It's up to the shooter to do his/her part in making the shot. If you have the mechanics of shooting mastered to where you can make the 25 to 50 yard shots then the 7 to 10 yard shots become a piece of cake. Shooting is the same at all ranges. It just takes a little more skill at the longer ranges.

ChuckB
October 1, 2005, 12:09 PM
Majic- please reread my post. I recommended honing his skills with the 642 first, then to try longer distances. Revolvers can be great at longer distances, but that's a pretty broad statement. It's a rare shooter indeed who can nail a tin can at 50 yards with a snubby. Trying to do that right off the bat is a great way to discourage its use for its intended purpose. 50 yards with my 66? Sure- I'll try that; with my 637 in D.A.? Nah, except out of curiousity, or for a fun bet with a buddy.

Chuck

RyanM
October 1, 2005, 12:21 PM
Looking at your grip, you may want to get stocks which completely fill in the space behind the trigger, and fill your hand a little better. Inconsistent grip can cause problems.

280PLUS
October 1, 2005, 01:42 PM
Practice at close targets until you shoot decent groups and then gradually move the target back as your groups grow consistent at each stage. Too much finger on the trigger should make you shoot left of POA not right. right IIRC is anticipating recoil. Sneak or have someone else sneak a dead round in their to see if you are jerking the trigger. Remember, it's all in the trigger control. Forget that the sights are wobbling all over the target and concentrate instead on a nice smooth trigger pull. A target is nothing more than a report card on how you performed on your end of the gun. A good group but not in the center indicates a good trigger pull but not a good sight picture or out of adjustment sights. Inconsistent groups indicate trigger pull problems. Look around here on THR for the diagnostic targets that have been posted many times and use them to find where you're making your mistakes and how to correct them.

ChuckB
October 1, 2005, 05:10 PM
A target is nothing more than a report card on how you performed on your end of the gun.

I like that. :)

Chuck

1 old 0311
October 1, 2005, 05:16 PM
Chuck and 280 are right. Start close. Gradually move further back. This will build confidence and make you a better shooter.

Kevin

280PLUS
October 1, 2005, 05:40 PM
I'd like to be able to take credit for that statement but I stole it from our current CT indoor pistol champ. :D

Majic
October 2, 2005, 01:14 AM
Chuck,
If you reread my second post you should see I was referring to your post of why shoot the 642 at 50 yards because you call it a close combat revolver. I was simply stating that the feat can be done and by anyone who takes the time to master their basic shooting skills and practice at shooting long ranges. The 642 is a revolver designed to be carried discreetly, but it is fully capable of making the same shots it's longer barreled brothers can. The shooter is the limiting factor. Mulliga asked how to make those shots and even though you choose not to shoot at those ranges he/she may still wants to know. Now you gave good advise at the end of your first post except for the part of "always come back to combat distances". If you become competent at the longer ranges then the short range shots will pose no problem.
As I said in my first post to make those long shots (which Mulliga had asked for help with) the shooter must put in a lot of practice, have the best possible fit of the handgun to his hand, and have a smooth action.

DBR
October 2, 2005, 02:08 AM
Mulliga:

I would suggest that you grip the gun higher - the web of your hand needs to be above the top of the back strap. Then practice rolling the trigger pull. I mean pull it thru smoothly at a medium speed and try not to anticipant the let off. It is very difficult with a J frame to not anticipate the recoil. Do a lot of dry firing aiming at a target that doesn't move ie don't shoot at TV Images. Pay particular attention when dry firing to any change in the sight picture when the hammer drops.

c_yeager
October 2, 2005, 03:01 AM
Practice at close targets until you shoot decent groups and then gradually move the target back as your groups grow consistent at each stage.

If he is really shooting notebook sized groups at 25 yards I would imagine that his groups are at tight as they need to be at close range.

Majic
October 2, 2005, 06:46 AM
I would suggest that you grip the gun higher - the web of your hand needs to be above the top of the back strap.
The web of the hand does not belong above the knuckle on the backstrap. The knuckle is there to stop the handgun from rolling up in your hand on recoil. The knuckle should hit the web of the hand on recoil which keeps the grip from shifting in the hand. Slide the web above the knuckle and the revolver may roll up in your hand. Try that grip with a big bore magnum snubby and watch the results.

280PLUS
October 2, 2005, 08:14 AM
If he is really shooting notebook sized groups at 25 yards I would imagine that his groups are at tight as they need to be at close range.At 25 yards I can barely keep all five on a piece of notebook paper, and at 50 yards I'm off to the right of point of aim by a solid foot or so. As tight as they NEED to be, yes, as tight as they COULD be, probably not. One other thing about that 642 however, it has the same sights as my 332. They are hard to see because everything is gray. My biggest complaint for my gun is the sights. I was just shooting mine yesterday and those sights are difficult to index correctly, especially quickly. They are really not meant for more than a few yards at best, The gun is intended for up close. I'd say get a gun that is more capable of shooting good groups at 25 and 50 yds and practice with with that for a while. Maybe a Ruger MK II or III whatever they are these days. Once you can shoot THAT well at 25 and 50 yds you should see improvement in your 642 shooting.

ChuckB
October 2, 2005, 02:38 PM
I put a little fluorescent paint on the front sight of my 637. It made a big difference in target acquisition, and accuracy.

Chuck

TOADMAN
October 2, 2005, 03:13 PM
I am old and need glasses to see food - beer - front sights and other important stuff. I put Crimson Trace Laser Grips on my 642. Helped me get on target bigtime and better focus on trigger pull. Practice is the key to success.

Old Fuff
October 2, 2005, 05:01 PM
Mulliga:

You didn't mention what kind of ammunition you're using, but I suggest you might do better with a lighter load, say .38 Special 148-grain mid-range wadcutters.

I also suspect the finger grooves on the S&W grips may not match your fingers, A slightly larger set of stocks would help.

Start close, and work your way to longer ranges - those 50 yard groups will happen someday.

Shoot slower, and carefully. Add speed later.

Last tip, be sure you keep your eye(s) focused on the front sight, and worry about perfect sight alignment after you've pulled the trigger about 2/3's of the way.

JoeHatley
October 2, 2005, 06:41 PM
http://www.iowatelecom.net/~hatley/642_2t.jpg

I highly recomend buying the book, "How To Become A Master Handgunner : The Mechanics Of X-Count Shooting", by Charles Stephens.

It's a short (50 pages) paperback, that will be the best $10 you will ever spend.

Good Luck...

Joe

Mulliga
October 3, 2005, 07:26 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions. :cool:

Probably the biggest help for you would be to try a more handfilling stock/grip

A larger grip would be nice, but it'd make the revolver that much harder to conceal, I'm afraid.

Are you using a two hand grip when shooting?

Yes. I usually shoot with two hands (with the requisite one-hand and weak-hand drills) at the range. With two hands, I usually just place the second hand over the right hand, with the left thumb over the right thumb.

When I dry-fire, I do pay attention to how the sights are when the hammer falls. They do sometimes move from the correct sight picture, but not by a lot. Of course, I may be anticipating the recoil. Time for more practice. Need to order a case of .38 special now. :)

Bill B.
October 3, 2005, 09:04 PM
Though I thought the world of my S&W 642 it was not a 25 yard gun! Try them groups at 7 to 10 yards and you will find out if you have a issue or the gun does!

Pappy John
October 4, 2005, 09:07 AM
Ditto, Bill B. I've owned a good few revolvers and the 642 is the only one that would embarass me on a regular basis......even at the 7 yard line, where I could normally spit into the X-ring. It's gone now, replaced by an .357 SP101 for day-in day-out carry. I'm not sure, but I think that it must have been the lack of heft. I just could * not * shoot that gun with the accustomed degree of accuracy. The trigger was not bad, but I'm putting magnum rounds into much smaller groups now with the Ruger than I could put specials into with the 642.

Joe, that's amazing. :what:

Old Fuff
October 4, 2005, 10:05 AM
My 642 will shoot a group (as opposed to a pattern) at 25 yards, but I don't try to do this with the kind of loads some people insist on ... :evil:

The '42 series of Smith & Wesson's were designed and intended to be pocket or boot guns. They could be concealed in places that others couldn't, and drawn from deep cover without snagging.

But there is no such thing as a free lunch, so they do have their limitations.

If you carry a sidearm in any kind of shoulder or belt holster you can go to something with larger, better hand fitting stocks, and perhaps a longer barrel plus more weight. All of these things help in the shooting department, and when it comes to bullet placement at any range they are more effective.

But as a rule they aren't pocked guns ...

A S&W K-frame with a 3" barrel, or a Ruger SP-101 with the same, or for that matter an old Colt Police Positive Special with a 4" tube can be concealed in an IWB holster as easily as a similar model with a snub-length barrel. But the former are much better weapons.

It's a case of choosing what best fits your needs.

Mongo the Mutterer
October 4, 2005, 10:15 AM
I often discuss the fact that there is no "perfect" vehicle with my fiance. By the same token, I do not expect my 642 to shoot at 25 yrds as well as my Government Kimber.

But... the Kimber doesn't fit into my front jeans pocket. :D

Paco
October 4, 2005, 12:44 PM
I recommend putting a scope on your gun...

Heh,heh...

Ok, here's my advice. I have a 340pd which is very similar to your j-frame. With all my DA revolver shooting I do what I call 'staging the trigger'. Essentially I very quickly (now), and smoothly take up all the movement of the trigger, or 'stage' it, up to the point right before it fires. Pay particular attention as to how close you can get before the hammer slips the sear and drops.

Then it handles, more-or-less, like a slightly creepy single action: you finish off the trigger pull by squeezing, not pulling, the trigger.

This technique works like a charm for DA, DAO, revolvers and pistols. Your patterns will shrink alot.

The old-time way of 'squeezing' (all the way through from start to finish) the trigger works, but only if you're handling a piece that has an equally fitted old-time trigger, meaning ultra smooth and with a super-crisp break. If you're using a modern lawyer-tampered heavy, gritty, or creepy trigger on revolvers or autos, I recommend Paco's Trigger Staging Technique (tm).

p.s. For a small fee, I'll send you an autographed picture of myself! :neener:

bubbygator
October 4, 2005, 02:28 PM
I am well-satisfied with a 4" pattern around the X at 10 yards. I don't want to shoot farther with a SD snubby. If there is something out there at 50 yards that needs a bullet in it, I'll use a rifle.

fiVe
October 4, 2005, 03:27 PM
I started out with 135gr Gold Dots by Speer, but my results improved GREATLY when I switched to 125gr Personnal Defense by Remington. I tried to be sure my technique was the same regardless of ammo, but in the end, the results with the 125gr was better.

YMMV.

R/fiVe

ChuckB
October 4, 2005, 05:03 PM
Then you found the right combination for YOU. Good for you. :D

Chuck

Mulliga
October 4, 2005, 07:26 PM
Just the cheapo WWB value pack stuff - 130 gr. FMJ. A notch less recoil than the Speer 135 gr. snubbie load I carry.

280PLUS
October 5, 2005, 09:55 AM
Stole it from another thread... :evil:

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=29576

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