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can someone tell me why pistol caliber rifles are inherently inaccurate?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by hipoint, Jan 6, 2013.

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  1. hipoint

    hipoint Member

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    All this started because I really love, yep, really really love my blackhawk in .41 magnum. I can count on it out to 100 yards and thought, well heck I should get a rifle to match it, should be good for 200 yards at least.

    Found some range reports of the marlin 1894 in .41 magnum which to my knowledge is the only repeating rifle in this caliber. I found a very good range report where the author was using the 175 grain winchester silvertip (which my pistol seems to really like) and was grouping 10 inches or more at 60 yards... my pistol with a 4 5/8 barrel does better than that! anyhow, now I'm thinking I may get an H/R handi rifle and have a custom barrel made, or a thompson center with a buttstock and custom length barrel... but before I go through the expense of all that I was just wanting to get a little schooling...

    It seems that these magnum pistol rounds just don't do so hot out of a rifle, yet out of a short pistol, they are more accurate... any reasoning?

    I of course understand that a rifle bullet is a better shape than a pistol bullet and is inherently better, but that's beside the point :D
     
  2. MutinousDoug

    MutinousDoug Member

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    I don't know but maybe Marlin and the H&R Handi rifle are sub-standard platforms?
    I've seen some pretty fine 200 yd performance from Contenders in .44 mag and .357mag/max. The one Ruger .44 mag carbine I've handled shot a lot better than 10" at 60 yds.
     
  3. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    That's a sample size of ONE, and a surprisingly bad one at that.

    I don't know of any really "tack-driving" PCCs (though the TC Contender/Encore carbines can sometimes be pretty accurate), but they aren't usually inaccurate out to the limits of their effective range.
     
  4. hq

    hq Member

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    That may have something to do with muzzle velocity, twist rate, how a particular bullet shape reacts to that and so on, but all seems to depend much more on the particular combination than any generalization. 10"@60yd sounds like there's something terribly wrong, either with the gun itself or the combination of gun and ammo. I've got the same rifle in .357 and even with the worst, most unsuitable ammo I've fed it it has still managed 4-5" groups at 100yd.

    I haven't come across a pistol caliber long gun (and I have a few) that hasn't been able to stay within 1½-2MOA with handloads and many of them can do it with factory ammo. I wouldn't say that the concept is INHERENTLY inaccurate, but with wrong kind of ammo some of them certainly can be.
     
  5. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    I have an 1860 steel frame Henry replica as well as an 1873 Winchester Carbine, both in .45 Colt and both do way better than 10" at 60 yards.
    I can keep both hitting a Paper dinner plate at 100 meters, most of the time no larger than 7" but to be honest, I don't even consider shooting these guns past 100 meters.
     
  6. lefteyedom

    lefteyedom Member

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    It was a bad rifle and or bad run of bullets...

    Remember, if someone has a bad day at the shooting range with a weapon the details in the reports have away of being massaged to fit the writer point of view.

    The other factor is you can "tune" hand loads to get the most out a weapon...
     
  7. hipoint

    hipoint Member

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    I have happened upon quite a few of the 'bad' reports from these. I would consider 6 inches at a 100 yards acceptable. My pistol is capable of minute of deer at 100 yards, it just kinda shocks me that I have run across alot of bad press about the carbines... although you guys seem to be sending me the opposite way...

    I'd really like to get a rifle in .41 mag, even if I have to shell out for a thompson or h/r to be rebarreld... although the marlin would be optimum if it would handle the same loads as my pistol, that's kinda why I want one ;-)

    anyone had any experience with getting their corresponding handgun to be accurate with the same rounds their carbine is?
     
  8. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    First let me give you my pcc experience. So some perspective can be had.

    Marlin camp9
    Hi-point 995
    Win94 44mag
    Rossi 357
    Marlin 357
    Ruger 77/44
    Encore 9mm
    Encore 357max
    Handi rifle 357m x2
    Stevens 200 45 win mag
    Encore 460s&w
    Handi rifle 500
    Olympic ar15 9mm
    Uberti rolling block 357

    Dang I've never put it on paper that's quite a list.

    Some of the above rifles were pretty fair shooters some were mediocre. NONE approached MOA @100 and I would consider any example to be an excellent shooter amongst PCC's if groups were in the 2.5" range at 100

    I slowly came to this realization after building the bolt action custom McGowan barrelled stevens200 that was a 2.5moa rifle like the rest. In fact thus far the best shooters of the bunch above was the roller and the Olympic. I consider myself an accomplished handloader and have dabbled in benchrest with many a sub .2" group in my folder.

    I cannot really explain the phenomena other than my theory is that pistol bullets aren't manufactured to the same accuracy standard as rifle bullets.

    But the silver lining is even at 4moa that's more than enough accuracy to deer hunt or plunked with out beyond a range where the cartridge can no longer be considered effective.








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  9. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Member

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    I think it has more to do with ballistics, aerodynamics, and velocity because pistol rounds were never designed to be accurate at 50 or even 100 yds. In my business unrealistic expectations from the refrigeration equipment my customers bought without having much understanding of the actual physics governing the operation of said equipment is the largest problem........
     
  10. ball3006

    ball3006 Member

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    Says who? I have no problem with mine hitting anything I want to.....chris3
     
  11. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    I wouldn't own a pistol cartridge rifle that wouldn't do at least 3"@100yds. Luckily, I haven't had one shoot that bad and one particular Marlin does 1".

    IMHO, people 'think' they're inaccurate and that seems to be enough for most. :rolleyes:
     
  12. hipoint

    hipoint Member

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    I'm not sure that yall are quite getting what I'm saying... my Pistol is more accurate than any pistol caliber carbine that I have had...

    meaning my 4 5/8 inch barrel produces better accuracy than the rifle length carbines... now it is true that this .41 mag pistol seems to be some sort of "magic" :rolleyes: in my hands, and I have never had a .41 carbine, but with my previous carbine expereinces .45 colt, .44 mag, .357 mag they were pretty abysmal compared to this pistol...


    If I could get 4 moa at 100 yards I wouldn't be complaining, but not hitting the paper at all past 75 yards with my other carbines is just odd... I'm no pro shooter, but I can hit the dang paper ;-)

    I'm asking because if I can find an answer to this, then maybe I can buy/build a rifle to get around the issue...

    One thing that I have noticed is with pistol rounds it seems slower equals more accuracy, does anyone agree with that? If this is the case, would the extra barrel length be making the bullet unstable by increasing velocity? Or is it more likely that these carbines I've had were just poorly made? I have only slugged one of the barrels (the .45 colt) and it was waaaaay over bore, I could imagine the bullet literally rattling down the barrel on that critter (rossi).
     
  13. hovercat

    hovercat Member

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    The marlin has 'micro groove' rifling. Try jacketed bullets, heavy as you can get, lower velocities. The light bullet magnums for hyper velocity are not the best choices for Marlin rifles.
     
  14. hipoint

    hipoint Member

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    for those who say a pistol cartridge can't be accurate at 100 yards, I will respectfully disagree. I do not care to youtube myself shooting to prove it to you though, so we'll just have to leave it at that.
     
  15. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    What platforms did you have and how were they sighted?

    I know you mentioned Rossi and IME all bets are off with that particular platform.






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  16. hipoint

    hipoint Member

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    @ hovercat... I've seen that on a few of my marlins, what does that mean?
     
  17. hipoint

    hipoint Member

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    RW dale, I'll leave the rossi out of this discussion, that's a whole other can of worms and yeah, all bets off with a rossi in my opinion.

    it's been a while, but I'm pretty sure the others were 1894 marlins in .357 and .44


    edited to add:

    sighting, the .44 was scoped, the .357 was iron sighted. that said, I'm "pretty sure" both were 1894's it has been quite a few years and quite a few guns ago...
     
  18. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    Its a particular kind of really shallow rifling. It CAN shoot cast fairly well but it takes some pretty percice bullet sizing to match the bore.

    Making a micro-groove barrel for cartridges that will likely see cast bullets is one of the more retarded decisions made by firearms manufacturers



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  19. blkbrd666

    blkbrd666 Member

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    I only have one, but my Marlin .357 lever is awesome. Haven't tried it at 100yds, but at 50yds it's just one hole.
     
  20. hipoint

    hipoint Member

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    seeing all of the mixed reports has me thinking that it's worth looking for another one... however on the used market and making sure it's a shooter first.

    I have had quite a few of the same models of guns, particularly rugers, that one would be a "shooter" and another one would be a boat anchor...

    I don't know whether to thank you guys or curse you :neener: now, I'm back on the hunt for an 1894...

    not knowing alot about these guns, would it be even remotely feasible to get one in .357 and re-bore it to .41? would the action have to be substantially modified as well as the barrel? I really wouldn't mind saving up and dropping some cash on one that would do what I wanted it to do...
     
  21. RPRNY

    RPRNY Member

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    My experience with H&R Handi Rifles in 45lc / 454 Casull and .357 Mag have been that using H110 and spitzer bullets or ballistic tips, jacketed flat or hollow points, or cast, they will be more accurate at 100 yds than I can shoot a pistol in same caliber / bullet combi. Given the often capacious 45 lc chambers, this can be a little catch as catch can. There is no ballistic "reason " or basis to suggest that bullets suited to the higher velocities arising from a 16" - 20" barrel should be less accurate than from a shorter barrel, all other things being equal. My .454 achieves 1.5" groups at 100 yds with the Hornady 250 gr FTX. In. 357 Mag I have had better groups - sub 2" - with jacketed than cast, but get consistent sub 6" groups with 150 gr cast over Trail Boss plunking loads! I have no experience with the. 41 Mag.
     
  22. hipoint

    hipoint Member

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    what I think I understand about this now is that the pistol caliber carbines are either A. made a little more sloppy than rifles are and/or B. that rifle rounds are a little less sensitive to loose tolerances...

    thoughts?
     
  23. hipoint

    hipoint Member

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    I'm leaning more towards that rifle rounds are less suceptible to flaws in the barrel (such as overbore) than pistol cartridges are... I have an 8mm mauser that the bore is pretty awful in, you can VERY easily slide a bullet through it, but it's still minute of deer at 100 yards...

    seeing as my pistol is capable of taking deer at 100 yards I would want this to be minute of deer at 200 yards... seems as if I may still need to have one built to suit me (and hope it turns out right)...

    I'm thinking that possibly this is something that'll require a bit more research, and even finding someone with a 200 yard accurate carbine in this caliber that I can check/measure extensively...
     
  24. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    If you're getting 10" groups at 50yds something is terribly, terribly wrong. A smoothbore musket should do much better than that. It is certainly nothing to do with the particular cartridge in question. Could be the rifle, could be your bench technique. We can talk about accuracy with regards to the hardware all day long but it won't do any good if we don't know how well you shoot other rifles.


    At this point, I wouldn't make any generalizations whatsoever.


    200yds is pushing it but if the rifle shoots MOA, it is certainly within the realm of possibility with loads in the 2000fps range.
     
  25. hipoint

    hipoint Member

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    i'm no pro shooter, but trust me it's not me...

    anyhow, the 10" at 60 yards thing was referring to a review of someone shooting an 1894 in .41 magnum using winchester 175gr. silvertip.

    3 pistol caliber carbines that I have owned however, were awful, just awful so I got rid of them asap...

    there has to be something going on here that can be generalized though, 3 out of 3 is saying something while I've never had a "rifle" shoot that poorly.

    It is possible that all 3 of those were somehow lemons, but I think I/we may have stumbled onto something here in that the pistol caliber rounds are a little more suceptible to a bad bore, whereas a rifle bullet is a little more forgiving... just based on the evidence, there has to be something going on here. We all know a rifle round is just flat out more accurate due to it's shape and whatnot, but pistol rounds can be acceptably accurate given proper circumstance...

    The rossi I had you could literally DROP a hornady round from breech to crown and it would fall right out the end :-( the cast rounds would hang about half way through, but a good shake would push them the rest of the way.

    oh well, thank you guys for the input, I'll keep on researching and testing the best way I am capable of with my limited resources, I do think I have gained some more knowledge, or at least a feasible theory to go on until it's proven wrong... I'll start checking more pistol caliber carbines when I see them for possible overbore and asking the owners about their accuracy (not witholding of course fish tales)...
     
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