642 range results and questions

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by jokerl90, Feb 27, 2016.

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  1. jokerl90

    jokerl90 Member

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    I went to the range this morning trying to get an idea of the groups my 642 38-special is shooting while removing myself as much as possible.
    The results are in the attached photo.
    Fired from a rest (see photo) at a target 10 yards away. Sights were even and centered holding at 6 o'clock on bullseye.
    Fired 5 each of the following ammo;
    Blazer 158GR. LRN
    Winchester 130GR. FMJ
    Remington 13GR. FMJ
    Hornady Critical Defense +P 110GR.
    Buffalo Bore 20c/20 158GR soft cast hollow point.
    The hits I got from the rest are about what I shoot offhand.

    I guess my biggest question is this what I should expect or is something off?
    Should I quit trying to aim for bullseye and work on aim to point of impact?

    Side notes;
    At around 5 yard I feel that I do better looking over the sights than aiming with the sights.
    Fired some offhand with a buddy recording on his cell phone. Did one string with a snap cap hidden in with the 4 live rounds. I could not see any movement at all when got to the cap.
    Fired my buddies little Glock at 15 feet and was putting 3 to 4 in the bullseye with the rest close by.
    Thanks for any thoughts or ideas.
     

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  2. Apple a Day

    Apple a Day Member

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    I've got a 637 that's dead on with standard velocity 158 grain ammo. With lighter weight bullets POI shifts low and left like that. I would have expected tighter groups from a rest, though
     
  3. BSA1

    BSA1 member

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    You have not master the fundamentals well enough yet. J-Frame revolvers are very unforgiving for less than perfect sight alignment, trigger pull, grip, breathing and stance. Their small sights, short distance between front and rear sight, small grips, heavy trigger pull, lightweight of the gun all add up to making the J-Frame a better choice for experienced shooters.

    J-frame revolvers are capable of shooting tight groups. Work on tight groups and when you are satisfied increase the distance and adjusting sight alignment to center of target.
     
  4. AZAndy

    AZAndy Member

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    I'd be very interested to see what a target would look like at 10 yards, from a rest, with all the same ammunition-- preferably 158 grain standard loads. Some of that spread may be due to the varying ammunition. My 642 was very accurate when new, if I gave it a chance to be. After a couple thousand rounds, it's a little high and to the left. I don't know why.

    Edit to add: Just noticed your post count. Welcome!
     
  5. jokerl90

    jokerl90 Member

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    Thanks for the welcome Andy!
    Was going to do a "hey I'm here post", slipped my mind.
    So far I have around 200 to 250 rounds through the 642.
    Been doing a lot of dry firing with snapcaps and a laserlyte LT-PRE laser trainer.
    (I know all the laser trainer does is to show you where your barrel is pointed at the moment the hammer falls)
    Been watching and reading a ton about grip, trigger control, etc.
    Been hoping to find someone who really knows this gun to shoot it to rule out the idea it's a gun problem.
    I fully expect the problem lies with me, but until I know better, there is a very very small chance there is a problem with the revolver. Thats why I bought the rest. Not going to buy a Ransom Rest lol.
    This revolver is just perfect for my needs, would really like to get it under control.
     
  6. AZAndy

    AZAndy Member

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    I've read that the sight configuration for the J-frames is for 158-grain standard loads at 10 yards. You might find that painting the front sight helps-- Walmart has a set of fluorescent Testor's paints for less than five bucks. Something else that might make a difference is a set of reduced-power springs from Wolff; the factory S&W setup is pretty stiff and that makes a big difference in double-action trigger control. Dryfiring the heck out of it will smooth the action some as well.

    Edit to add: If you haven't already noticed the 642 owner's club here on the site, you should check it out. Lots of good info there!

    Edit again to add link to 642 club: right here.
     
  7. redbone

    redbone Member

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    He is not low and left. Just left. Said he was holding 6 o'clock. That is usually corrected by trigger finger placement.

    Joker: years ago when I couldn't hit the paper with a j-frame, I was able to get a .22 (model 43) and shot it a lot. Practice makes perfect! Stay with it.
     
  8. roo_ster

    roo_ster Member

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    jokerl90:

    I doubt your 642 is broken or messed up.

    Like others have written, J-frame snubbies are unforgiving of any deviation form good technique. Breathing, trigger squeeze, grip, sight alignment, etc. have to be done right to have any chance of good grouping. Get yourself some snap caps and use them while dry-firing several thousand times while watching teevee. This will help smooth the action and strengthen your trigger finger.

    I have had better luck "bench rest" shooting handguns with sand bags and a piece of canvas or leather (to protect the sand bag from flame cutting). Kinda like using a tree to steady an otherwise off-hand rifle shot, I do not touch the handgun to the sand bag, but to my two-hand grip. I really like to lean into the heavy bags a bit, it helps steady the figure-8 dance of the front sight.

    Took me a while to find a load where POA~POI.
     
  9. 627PCFan

    627PCFan Member

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    At the distance you would "use" that gun, any of those hits works for you. I practice with my 638 for practice sake but I always remember its never going to be a sniper.
     
  10. gbran

    gbran Member

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    I like all my J-Frames, 649 maybe most. The 442 and 638 are only around 14-15 oz. All are decent, but not tack drivers, which I never expected.

    442b7eb4-c2eb-4329-ae33-b758dca24a9b_zpstqxxikhi.jpg
    Ready20Case_zpsqnngcof1.jpg
     
  11. Monster Zero

    Monster Zero Member

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    Thank you. "Minute-of-bad-guy" seems like a reasonable expectation.
     
  12. RunninLate

    RunninLate Member

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    I changed out my springs in the 642 with an Ampex spring kit. It brought my groups a little tighter.

    At 10 yards is the bullet still rising? With a 223 sighted in at 100 yards will be an inch or so low at 50 yards. Not sure how that would relate to a 38 with 158 grn bullet. Might want to look at the ballistic charts.
     
  13. Water-Man

    Water-Man Member

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    Try using more finger. That should help your shooting to the left.
     
  14. V-fib

    V-fib Member

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    Jokerl90, I've had a 642 for many years now and I don't shoot it as a target pistol as I have my taurus tracker for that.

    Here are few things you can do to train with it. Get yourself one of those life size silhouette targets that show the head chest etc life size. Cut around the silhouette itself and then glue it to a piece of strong cardboard. Then trim the cardboard and you now have a template that you can trace using a magic marker onto another piece of cardboard for targets. You can draw a face on your target if you want.

    Next paint your front sight bright orange. I like to use white nail polish first and then blaze orange (the white makes the blaze orange much brighter)

    I usually stand about what I would feel would be situations where you might need to use your weapon and using the front sight as a guide fire at your target. You will be surprised at how many of your shots will be COM or better. And that's all you need. Again this is not a target gun.

    This winter we had enough snow that I was able to back away from the target and let myself fall back into the snow (simulation of being pushed to the ground) and was able to land the majority of my shots in the target.

    I carry 158gr. lswc bullets in my gun for ccw but since I reload I also train with some light 148gr. dewc's. I also have a crimson trace lasergrip on it for low light situations.

    good luck to you

    v-fib
     
  15. greenmtnguy

    greenmtnguy Member

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    OP already has painted the front sight orange, from the picture attached.
    \
    I'd say the revolver is probably fine, just takes alot of practice with snubs to get sight picture and grip/trigger pull right, even at 10 yards. Resting revolvers like that can be a tricky proposition, heavy loads, or light guns (like the 642) with regular loads cause the gun to recoil, and any contact of the heel of the grip with the table surface or other surface can throw things off. This is why serious testers use a Ransom rest, or, have a shoot hold the gun in hands while resting/bracing the forearms over a bag of shot/sleeping bag, etc.

    Light bullets almost always impact lower than heavier ones, assuming similar load/MV as the sights are regulated to account for muzzle rise during recoil while the bullet is traversing the barrel. Lighter bullets with lower recoil have less rise and therefore impact lower.

    Just keep practicing - the snub revolver takes a little time to master, but it can make you a good shooter in the process.
     
  16. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I called S&W and they told me that my M642 was sighted to point of impact with 125 grain bullets. Older snubbies were sighted in for 158 bullets. At 25 yards, I will say my M642 shoots to point of aim with 125's.

    This is not a target pistol. I am of the opinion that it is spitting distance gun, and at that distance, point of impact is not that noticeable.
     
  17. jokerl90

    jokerl90 Member

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    I called S&W a couple of weeks ago, he said my 642's sights were set at 10 yards using 158 gr bullets.
    I have this same type of thread going on another site, lots of good info and advise here and on there. Thought about getting a full size .38 to work with, but don't think I'm going to.

    I found a bent/deformed sear spring in my revolver. It still shoots and functions fine. I'm going to get 2 or 3 from S&W or Bushnell's then take a crack at putting it in myself, if that doesn't work I'll take it to a gunsmith to be done and while there get the trigger and parts stoned. Not going to change springs.

    I'm going to try something I read somewhere, wish I had copied the authors name to give credit, but I didn't.
    What he advised was a lot of dry firing then using full size silhouette targets at the range with a sheet of copy paper on the chest area. Start of at 3 yards and move targets out as you get better. Then fold paper in half and start over again.
     
  18. V-fib

    V-fib Member

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    Jokerl90

    After posting I saw that you did paint your front sight orange. Great.

    However reread my post and make yourself a lifesize silhouette target.

    Do you practice at a public range? If yes do they allow you to start firing at your target from say 3-5 feet as you back up? If no then you have to find a place (a friend that lives in the country where you could shoot?) where you can simulate SD scenarios. He in MI I shoot on my own property, but you can also shoot on public land.

    After looking at you target photos, those shots were steady take your time shots right? If yes then the 158gr load would be your best bet for SD. I use lswc but the lswchp would be a good alternative.

    It looks like in the pic they were pretty much right on and a few were a little low to the left. All of the shots would be deadly if you were aiming COM. However in a SD scenario you do not have time to stand and take careful aim at your “target”. In a SD situation your also going to be moving around and nervous. So, If you are able to set your silhouette target at say 10-15 ft from you and take 2-3 quick shots using the orange front sight aiming at COM while you are backing away or moving left/right and see where they impact. If for example they are all left and down then simply get used to say aiming for the collar bone or shoulder and if your aim is true you will disable your attacker and if they happen to shoot left and down your hitting mid chest. Either way its a good SD shot. In the majority of SD scenarios you are less than 10 feet from your attacker, you do not have time for careful aiming.

    When bowhunting if your sight pin is set at 20yards but the deer is at 25yards you simply raise your pin sight 2-3 inches high and your arrow should be right where you want it.

    Snipers shooting 800yards or more after calculating for distance and wind etc. are many times aiming 3 or more feet above their target and maybe 3 or more feet to the left/right of the target and they may not be able to even get a complete sight picture of the target but the shot usually hits where it was intended.

    Again, as I said before the 642 is not a target gun it is a SD gun and that's how you should train with it.

    Good luck

    v-fib
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2016
  19. jokerl90

    jokerl90 Member

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    Yes I did paint the front sight, It came off in two pieces night before last. :banghead:
    I have a LaserMax center point green laser sight. (fits under barrel). Once I get this sorted out going to put it back on and get it set where it is usable.
    I do practice at a public outdoor range, we try to get there early, before anyone else gets there . Not a lot of rules there, other than common sense safety.
    I'm going to start practicing with 158 gr lead round nose only. I carry Buffalo Bore 158gr lead hollow points standard pressure 20c/20. Still pretty stout.
     
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