Bullet entering Target Sideway.... Can you elaborate?


October 12, 2007, 05:49 PM
I've heard here in the past, person(s) with pistols who had problems with the bullet entering the target sideways. Does anyone have a pic they can post of a target with a sideways shot so I can identify this? Thanks!

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October 12, 2007, 06:38 PM
wow...bad rifling? lol

October 12, 2007, 06:53 PM
It's called keyholing. Can be caused by several things. Whatever the cause the bullet isn't stable and strikes the target at an angle other than point on.
If you do a web search on the term you can probably find pictures.

October 12, 2007, 07:20 PM
Don't have a picture handy, but it is easy to identify. Instead of a round hole made by a bullet properly entering, a keyhole entry will be made by the bullet entering sideways because it is tumbling rather than spinning. Think of a football tumbling instead of spinning properly when thrown.

Keyholing is more common in rifles, never heard it happening in pistols unless you are firing 9mm outta a .40S&W or something similiar where the rifling hasn't/can't stabilized the bullet.

At pistol ranges, this is very odd.

October 12, 2007, 07:26 PM
I did it with a Ruger MK11 target pistol. Thought the world had come to an end.
Sent it to Ruger in Prescot; got it back with a nice note.
"don't use that ammunition anymore" : Lead build up in barrel. Bullet absolutely went through target sideways.:confused: I don't use said ammo anymore; forgot it exist.
Since that time 14 years ago; have double cleaned for lead removal.:D

October 12, 2007, 07:37 PM
Bullet keyholing usually comes from an unstable bullet. Too slow of a twist for a particular length bullet results in poor gyroscopic stability.

October 12, 2007, 07:48 PM
I've never had it happen with a semi-auto, but I've gotten keyholes from shooting standard pressure .38s out of my 340PD. From what I've read, it's not too uncommon in the AirLite 1-7/8" S&Ws.

October 12, 2007, 07:49 PM
Does it have anything to do with the rifling of the bore?

October 12, 2007, 07:54 PM
It can as the rifling is what imparts spin on the bullet. Either worn (or badly fouled) or improper twist for bullet length can cause keyholing.

October 12, 2007, 08:02 PM
It has everything to do with the rifling of the bore. If you're using a heavy round with a slow twist rate its pretty common. Seen it happen with rifles but never a handgun. Bigger bullets need faster twist. Try a lighter round.

October 12, 2007, 08:29 PM
Check Stephen Camp's website www.hipowersandhandguns.com for an article on the original (standard pressure) CorBon DPX fired from an S&W 642. He remarked on keyholing, and included a picture of a target with two of them. Not long after Stephen's article appeared, CorBon withdrew this load, soon releasing a +p version. I still have some of the original load, but I put it in my 4" 686, from which I trust it. My S&W 637 contains Remington +p 158gr LSWCHPs.
Cordially, Jack

October 12, 2007, 09:17 PM
There are a few odd combinations of ammunition and old guns that can also cause it. The one I recall offhand is the use of .38 Special rounds in a .38 Webley. The .38 is .257 diameter and the Webley is .38 diameter. This is probably not happening in your case, but what the hell . . .

October 12, 2007, 10:44 PM
Keyholing is common in many short barrelled belly guns such as Seecamp, Guardian, Keltec. It's only a problem if you're shooting some distance.

October 12, 2007, 10:53 PM
I had a old H&R 950 that would keyhole and get horrible groups in .22 but was an absolute tack driver with the .22 mag cylinder in

October 12, 2007, 11:22 PM
Can also happen depending on the angle of your target. If you're not straight-on with it when you fire, it can appear that the round is keyholing.

October 12, 2007, 11:46 PM
I've read about Kel-Tecs and Gaurdians keyholing but have never seen it in mine. Maybe it's a heavy bullet problem, reloads with long bullets?

October 13, 2007, 12:47 AM
Reason: Bullet is not spun sufficiently by rifling to be stabilized.

Undersized bullet
Oversized bore
Badly worn rifling
Extreme fouling (usually leading)
Bullet too long for rifling twist. (Much more of an issue with rifles)
Muzzle velocity much too low.

October 13, 2007, 12:32 PM
I had this happen to me....I was shooting berry's plated bullets in my .357 mag. Unfortunately the powder charge was way too big and the plating was coming off and the bullets turning sideways

October 13, 2007, 12:39 PM
Soft bullets at high velocity can also cause key holing.
The bullet fails to engage the rifling (AKA 'stripping') and so is not rotating fast enough (if at all) to be stable.

October 13, 2007, 12:40 PM
Keyholing is caused by undersized bullets(usually cast) or a severely worn or leaded barrel. It can happen with unlubed or improperly lubed cast bullets too. The bullet doesn't bite into the rifling well enough to be stabilised. Mind you, anything that causes the bullet not to be stabilised will do it too. Too heavy a bullet for the rifling twist for example. That's mostly a .22 CF or 6mm rifle thing though.

October 13, 2007, 09:05 PM
The bullet fails to engage the rifling (AKA 'stripping') ...Yup, I re-read my list and was going to add stripping but now there's no need. ;)

October 13, 2007, 09:24 PM
For those that reload, I heard that with .45s, keyholing can be due to overcrimping.

October 13, 2007, 09:55 PM
One of my friend's revolvers (S&W 625) keyholes from leading from shooting nothing but swaged 230s.

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