Derringer aiming


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BCRider
August 18, 2011, 07:35 PM
A shooting buddy that's allowed to own such things just got a two shot "over and under" derringer chambered in .38Spl. He brought it out to our weekly practice night and we all got to shoot it.

ALL of us, him included, shot the second (presumably upper barrel) shot way high even at a whopping range of about 5 yards. And in this case "way high" is like a foot to foot and a half. When I shot it the first (lower barrel?) shot was at least into the 10 inch pie plate size target about 3 inches from center. I figured "not bad for my first shot from a gun with such a poor grip and hellishly heavy trigger". But the second shot was about a foot and a bit up onto the bank that the target was sitting on. And this performace was pretty much repeated by the other three of us that tried out the new toy.

Now granted this is a "belly gun" intended for up close and personal. But really.... can about a half inch of barrel height make THAT much of a difference?

By the time the third guy shot it he aimed about 6 inches under the pie plate. He still missed high and into the berm but at least it was only by about 5 inches... :D

Having said this it was a seriously fun little gun to shoot. But sadly, for me, such toys are classified up this way as prohibited. So only those that owned such "evil" firearms from before 1998 and are grandfathered for their rights to own such things can buy and trade them. But as a fairly new guy to the sport of shooting I need to live off the coat tails of kindness from such folks as are inclined to share their prohib toys. Luckily I know a few of them... :D

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Pyro
August 18, 2011, 08:12 PM
I carry a 38 Special derringer at times, had a neat pocket holster made for it by a member on this forum (if you lurk here, your holster is awesome).
Now for the topic at hand, I've actually hit a silhouette target at 25 yards with a Buffalo Bore wadcutter. Granted it took 3 tries and I was using the upper barrel since the lower barrel was broken. After I fixed it, the lower barrel seems to be just as accurate as the top one at a range of a few yards. Although both barrels seem to shoot higher than POA (maybe a foot or two at 25 yards). What brand of derringer did you shoot?
You are correct to say that it is a "belly gun". It's performance is very limited with two shots single action (plus the sights suck), I think of it more of a knife than a gun. Stick it his side and pull the trigger.

Ron James
August 18, 2011, 08:22 PM
I admit it, I've carried a derringer before. I always considered aiming it, was a matter of pointing it at a chest size target at a distance of 5 feet or less, shoot twice and run like hell.:) BTW, I still carry one on occasion, mostly on desert walks. I load it with CCI snake loads for those rare occasions I happen to meet a Diamondback that doesn't know the rules, they leave me alone and I leave them alone. Just in case I carry a couple of conventional rounds in my pocket.

Carl N. Brown
August 18, 2011, 08:25 PM
I had a double derringer in .38 Spl. At sixty yards POI of the upper barrel was about six or eight feet above the POI of the lower barrel.

I suspected the bullet was heavy enough, and the gun light enough, that the upper muzzle of the gun rose more under recoil before the bullet left the barrel than the lower muzzle.

Replaced it with a five-shot 38 snub revolver barely larger.

Loyalist Dave
August 18, 2011, 08:33 PM
The advantages of the "derringer" pistol (Deringer was a maker), or otherwise a palm-pistol, are concealability and lethality, at a little bit beyond arm's length or right at about 7' for a max range. Up close and personal, but not so close the other guy can get to you with a knife, n'est-ce pas? That's the ideal distance, but other situations do happen. I got a stainless O/U in .45 ACP years ago when I was in the Corps. We still carried 1911A1's and since Marine infantry goes with salt water, the stainless bit was an advantage. Always nice if your backup takes ammo that can be easily supplied. I don't think the makers intend for them to be really accurate beyond that 7' range. The rifling in mine is pretty rough.

LD

Jim K
August 18, 2011, 08:34 PM
Neat explanations, but the fact is simply that those guns are not made precisely enough for both barrels to point the same direction, and it is only by accident that they will. Nor is there any guarantee that the sights, such as they are, point to the same place as either barrel.

Jim

Ole Coot
August 18, 2011, 09:53 PM
I have better results just by pointing and pulling the trigger. I would rather have another weapon at the distance they are good for.

rcmodel
August 18, 2011, 09:59 PM
I suspected the bullet was heavy enough, and the gun light enough, that the upper muzzle of the gun rose more under recoil before the bullet left the barrel than the lower muzzle.That is zactly what is happening.
Even if both barrels were aligned perfectly, which they very likely aren't.

You need to keep in mind those guns were invented to only shoot minute-of-card-cheat, across a little poker table.
Or to stick it in someboys belly and let the muzzle blast fill them full of germs & bacteria.

I don't even know why they bothered to put sights on them.

rc

BCRider
August 19, 2011, 01:11 PM
Good discussion. Thanks all.

I have to agree with all of you that "aiming" such a gun is really not what it was intended for doing. But target shooting for fun or in matches is what we have up this way so that's all the gun is good for.

Sorry, no idea what brand it was.

I'd also forgotten that I have shot a Bond Arms Snake Slayer at the range about two years back. Like this more recent two shot gun it also had a much different POI than POA for one barrel. I assumed that it was out of regulation but then the owner mentioned the recoil difference. I guess I just didn't think it would be such a BIG difference. And in that case there was more to hold onto than with this smaller pocket size gun from the other evening. The difference in gripping effectiveness likely led to the much wilder second shot issue.

It would be kind of neat if the upper barrel axis on such guns were angled down a little compared to the lower. It wouldn't totally correct for the recoil difference but it would at least make it so both shots could be "minute of dinner plate" at 5 yards. As it sits now to hit a typical SD target would require aiming at around the base of the sternum for the first shot and then the second would need to be pointed at the "dangly bits" to get a mid chest hit.

gpr
August 19, 2011, 01:54 PM
pyro...thanks for the plug

rc....front sight helps holds the gun in the holster

gary

Cop Bob
August 19, 2011, 04:33 PM
Most of the Derringer design guns that are out there today are of pretty poor quality..FIE comes to mind, there are some good ones, the old Hi-Standard in 22 was one that was well made..

However as stated by many, they were "Belly Guns" and I think that the sights on most of them were put on, just because, by golly, pistols are supposed to have sights! Even if they don't work...

The aiming method that I was taught with them was referred to as the

"The Method of the Three P's... Point, Pull, Pray....." I hope this helps...

gunsablazin
August 19, 2011, 04:39 PM
I keep an FIE .38spl derringer in the console of my car. I set it up so that the bottom barrel fires first, it shoots right to point of aim, the top barrel shoots about 6" higher. I have only fired this "gun" maybe 10 times, and that at a range of 3yds. I don't think mine is a very durable gun, and its use is limited to being a gun I can get to and fire without taking off my seat belt. IMHO, if you need to aim a derringer that precisely you have the wrong gun.

oldfool
August 19, 2011, 07:10 PM
there are surely some folks somewhere who can shoot those things with fair accuracy
but I will never be one of them

I feel pretty much the same way about my LCP for that matter
(although I actually do know someone who shoots one quite accurately, though it took him a gosh awful practice round count to get there)
but that doesn't stop me from dropping the "7 shot 380 derringer" in my pocket anyway
for if/when extremely up close and personal, while knowing what I cannot do with it

BCRider
August 20, 2011, 01:52 PM
Gunsablazin, keep in mind that up this way no one carries for defense. The laws don't allow for that. It's range based fun target shooting only. Hence the question being about how they shoot. Still, it's nice to hear about how they are used in countries like the USA where you're actually allowed to carry something for a planned defense.

As far as keeping the derringer in your console box I can't see being able to cock the hammer one handed without two hands. Or maybe I haven't had a chance to do it enough. I'd be thinking that the sort of situation where you would need a gun like that it's likely your other hand would be busy fending off an attacker/carjacker so there would only be one hand available to open the console, find the gun and then cock the hammer. And being so small and clumsy to hold I can't see this being a good scenario when there's adrenaline rushing through a person's veins.

Pyro
August 20, 2011, 11:13 PM
As far as keeping the derringer in your console box I can't see being able to cock the hammer one handed without two hands.
I can cock my FIE 38 Special with one hand in a snap two different ways, which way would depend on the situation.

heyjoe
August 20, 2011, 11:33 PM
i also can cock one handed both the Davis Derringer i have and the two NAA mini revolvers with no problem.

Twiki357
August 21, 2011, 03:36 AM
Maybe I'm just lucky, but I have a Rohm derringer (Stop laughing) in 38 Spl that I bought in the late 1960's. No problem cocking it with one hand and it will put both rounds within 4" at 15 to 20 feet at 6 to 8" below POI.

Jonah71
August 21, 2011, 10:48 AM
I keep an FIE .38spl derringer in the console of my car. I set it up so that the bottom barrel fires first, it shoots right to point of aim, the top barrel shoots about 6" higher. I have only fired this "gun" maybe 10 times, and that at a range of 3yds. I don't think mine is a very durable gun, and its use is limited to being a gun I can get to and fire without taking off my seat belt. IMHO, if you need to aim a derringer that precisely you have the wrong gun.
I have an old F.I.E. .38 spec. derringer. It needs to be repaired. last time I fired it about a yr. ago both rounds discharged. Have not fired it since. may get it fixed even though the cost of repair may be more than it's worth but an old friend left it to me. Scary little thing to shoot.

Gordon
August 21, 2011, 01:47 PM
Well I have a 60s era Uberti made "Maverick" derringer in .357 and used to have one in .45 Colt. I kept the .357 one, which is beefy for a Derringer, because it had decent sights and puts .38 wadcutters within 2" of each other at 50'. I have won a few SASS side matches with it nd it ain't going nowhere. I do not CCW it however.

BCRider
August 21, 2011, 11:54 PM
Well, apparently I was wrong about these li'l belly guns being hard to cock and shoot one handed.

Sadly I won't get to try learning to do this one handed since I'm not the owner of the gun and I don't expect to see it come out to our range much at all. And since I don't have the grandfathered rating to own such items I can't go out shopping to buy one.

orionengnr
August 22, 2011, 12:29 AM
I have a friend who recently "won" a Taurus Judge in a raffle. He has not yet fired it (much the same as two of the other three Judge owners I know) but now is lusting after a Bond Arms Derringer.

I sure don't see the attraction, but it seems that some buy into the theory of "dude...you can't miss...it's a shotgun".

I will try to help demonstrate/educate the ignorant, but there are those who profoundly resist education. :rolleyes:

Jim K
August 22, 2011, 09:50 PM
I don't think the term "regulated" ever is mentioned in connection with those guns because it can't be done. The barrels of a double shotgun or double rifle are regulated by the leaving the front of the barrels separate and using shims and wedges while firing to get the barrels shooting to the same point. Then the barrels are soldered together permanently as the shims are removed. Those derringers simply have two holes drilled in a block of steel (or pot metal with a liner) and there is no way of adjusting them, even if it were cost effective to do so.

Jim

-eaux-
August 22, 2011, 11:34 PM
My Davis .38 is apparrently pretty "accurate", inasmuch as it prints minute of plate out to 7 or 10 feet. But both barrels are anybody's guess as to where on the plate at that distance. Definitely an accross the poker table/ belly gun. As for "fun plinker", not so much. I think I still have bone chips floating around in my hand. Hard to hold onto, and forget about gripping. But yeah,fun for about 4 or 6 rounds. I stick to only mild target loads, sleeved potmetal and whatnot.

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