9mm accuracy from a .357" barrel


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WC145
May 5, 2009, 09:23 PM
There's been lots of discussion and speculation over the accuracy (or loss of) you get shooting .355" rounds through a .357" barrel. I've posted here before about my S&W 360J that I had rechambered to 9x23. I carry it as a BUG, on aand off duty, loaded with the same 9mm ammo as my duty weapon. I qualified with it yesterday and posted a brief write up on another forum and thought that, given the question over how 9mm shoots out of a .38spl/.357mag barrel, I'd repost it here. I hope some of you find it interesting.



I spent the last two days doing weapon qualifications and training (on & off duty pistol, BUG, patrol rifle, shotgun). Here in Maine the qualification standards are set by the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, so everybody shoots the same courses of fire regardless of agency. Recently they added a new category called "Plain Clothes Pistol" to accomodate officers carrying off-duty guns and BUGs, as well retired officers qualifying under LEOSA/HR218. It is very similar to the normal duty weapon course of fire except there is no prone shooting and you shoot from a maximum of 18yds instead of 25yds. Oh, and we have to shoot each course of fire twice, back to back, for each weapon. Here's the course of fire from their website -

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Maine Criminal Justice Academy
Plain Clothes Course of Fire
50 Rounds

Shooter Proficiency = 40 hits total (80%) back to back.


Total
Distance Activity Time Rounds

3 Yard 6 Rounds total - from holster

1 round standing 2 second
2 rounds standing 3 seconds
3 rounds standing 3 seconds 6 rounds

5 Yard 9 Rounds Total from Holster
Failure Drill = (2 to the chest and 1 to the head)

2 rounds standing, pulse fire, center mass 3 seconds
2 rounds standing, pulse fire, center mass 3 seconds
2 rounds standing, pulse fire, center mass 3 seconds
3 rounds, failure drill, pulse fire 3 seconds 9 rounds

7 Yard 9 Rounds Total from Holster
On the whistle, take one lateral side step and fire

2 rounds standing, pulse fire, center mass 4 Seconds
2 rounds standing, pulse fire, center mass 4 Seconds
2 rounds standing, pulse fire, center mass 4 Seconds
3 rounds, failure drill, pulse fire 3 seconds 9 rounds

10 yard 6 Rounds Total - Ready Gun

3 rounds, standing, pulse fire, center mass 3 Seconds
3 rounds, kneeling, failure drill 4 seconds 6 rounds

12 yard 4 Rounds Total - Ready Gun

2 rounds, standing, pulse fire, center mass 3 Seconds
2 rounds, standing, pulse fire, center mass 3 Seconds 4 rounds

15 yard 4 Rounds Total Ready Gun Barricade

2 rounds standing, over barricade
2 rounds kneeling, strong side barricade 10 seconds 4 rounds


18 yard 6 Rounds Total Ready Gun - Barricade
From the 25 yard line draw the weapon and safely
move to the barricade at the 18 yard line.

2 rounds standing, over barricade
2 rounds kneeling right side barricade
2 rounds kneeling left side barricade 15 seconds 6 rounds

18 yard 6 Rounds Total Center Mass - Ready Gun Move and Shoot
All weapons should have at least 6 rounds for this drill

Approach Target on Command Low Ready

Threat Command - High Ready and Verbalize ID and Command.

Fire Command 3 shots center mass

Stop, Dress Line and Command to Back-Up Low Ready

Threat Command High Ready and Verbalize

Fire Command 3 shots center mass (No Time) 6 rounds

Dress Line and Command to Back-Up Ready Gun

Shooters should be empty. Make line safe. 50 Rounds
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Anyway, this was the first time I've been able to qualify with my 9mm S&W 360 that you've all seen numerous times. I had my concerns because I haven't shot it further than 12-15yds and it has been mostly plinking, making sure I was shooting "minute of POS", and general relaxed practice. Also, there have been a lot of questions about accuracy shooting .355" bullets out of a .357" barrel. Well, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the gun's performance. Our targets are the narrow, coke bottle shaped "Q" targets so we score hits, not points, and I had no trouble with the course of fire shooting DAO. The first time through I scored 49 (I threw a head shot and knew it as soon as the hammer fell) and the second run was a perfect 50. The gun shot a little high using Magtech 115gr FMJ but windage was right on. I was able to use the laser at closer ranges but the sights were fine for beyond 10yds. I shot better with this gun than I did my off-duty gun, a Kahr CW9, on the same course of fire, and my duty gun, a Beretta 8000D, on the regular course. I've qualified in the past with a 642 and did not shoot this well, but, in it's defense (and mine) that was on the 25yd regular course, also.

BTW, moonclips are the way to go. I threw 10 loaded ones in my cargo pocket each time I shot and they all held together except one, which broke when I was loading it but I still got 4 rounds in. They are superfast going in and coming out with the short 9mm rounds. MUCH easier and faster than either speed strips or speed loaders.

Here is a pic of my second target, the 50/50 -

http://lh6.ggpht.com/__3_AZOV0zhc/SgC5RDsV7PI/AAAAAAAAAlY/mt5KVorXF84/s512/SDC10494.JPG

So, based on my shooting and that of the range master, who just HAD to try it out (for about 30rds), there is no appreciable loss of accuracy at combat ranges with this conversion. The gun was 100% reliable, shooting 100rds in about 35 minutes with zero issues, very controllable, and very accurate (IMO). It was also nice to be reassured that my money was well spent and this certainly bolstered my confidence in the gun.

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