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Shooting an Oldie

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Jonesy814, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. Jonesy814

    Jonesy814 Member

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    A couple of weeks ago I had traded an old rifle for a S&W model 1905 3rd change in 38 special. I have been waiting for good enough weather to get out to try it. Over the weekend it was 29 degrees but sunny with no wind. A friend and I hiked up on old logging road through 5 inches of fresh snow to the shale pit we shoot in and gave it a try. This thing sure has a nice trigger, especially in single action. The rear sight notch sure is narrow on these old revolvers and the cold temps, bright day with fresh snow conspired to turn the photo gray lenses in my glasses quite dark. A bulky jacket didn't help either, but when I got everything lined up right this old gun really put them in there. First target is the first 6 shots I fired, and second picture includes the next 6 shots. These were all from a standing position with a 2 handed grip at 25 feet, single action. I was shooting my reloads. A 158gr plated SWC over 3.5gr of Titegroup
    19053rd.jpg first6a.jpg second6a.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
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  2. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    You did good. Looks like it was cold and snowy!

    Those older pistols, the sights were tiny, and the don't get easier to see with age. I just have to wonder why the old timers liked paper thin sights on their pistols and rifles. Maybe they thought nasty medicine was better than nice medicine? Maybe these were the guys who turn off the hot water in the barracks so the showers will suck even more? The M1903 front sight was as wide as a seven inch mark at 200 yards. I don't know why that was the standard, and I wonder, who could see a seven inch diameter bull, or target, at 200 yards.

    Just be nice with your older S&W. Very early versions did not have heat treated cylinders, frames, or barrels. I think it was in the 1930's S&W started heat treating cylinders but the rest of the pistol was dead soft. Just keep them to standard pressure loads and you will have a lot of fun shooting a lot of rounds through the things.
     
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  3. Shimitup

    Shimitup Member

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    Here's my son getting to shoot his great grandfathers M&P 1905 4th change, made about 1916. Pretty ugly, my dad said it rode the floor boards of a model A Ford for quite a few years. The target inset is my efforts from a previous range outing though my son does pretty well. How in the world that 7yd group happened is a miracle, those sights are like trying to see the edge of a razor blade in a gnats crotch!

    KToddysw.jpg
     
  4. The Evangelist Cowboy

    The Evangelist Cowboy Member

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    Good shooting on both pics guys! I used to have an old M&P like that but its long gone, Hope to own one again soon.
     
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  5. Jonesy814

    Jonesy814 Member

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    The loads I am shooting are fairly mild. I would have to get up to 3.8- 3.9gr of Titegroup to hit a full power 38 special load with a plated 158gr bullet and mine are at 3.5gr
     
  6. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy

    Well, here's the old Nit Picker. I'm pretty sure there is no such thing as a 38 Model 1903 3rd change. First there was the Model of 1899. Then the Model of 1902 came out which was basically the same as the Model of 1899 except there was now an underlug on the barrel for the extractor rod to latch to. There was also the Model of 1902 1st Change. Then we jump to 1905, which has the same basic internal mechanism as any modern S&W revolver. There were 1st, 2nd,3rd, and 4th changes with the Model of 1905. The 1905 3rd Change was made from 1909 until 1915.

    32 Model of 1903, yes. 38 Model of 1903, no. The 32s were smaller guns, built on the I frame.

    Be careful, I'm pretty sure there is no hammer block inside that one. If there is, it is the old fashioned type that was not completely reliable. Just don't drop it on the ground with a live round under the hammer.

    Yes, the sights on the old Smiths are pretty minimal. You get used to them.
     
  7. Jonesy814

    Jonesy814 Member

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    You are correct.. I mistyped. It's a model 1905, 3rd change .Edited and corrected in my original post .It's got a hammer block, but yes its the older type and a good drop on the hammer on a hard surface could result in a discharge. Also the cylinder is not heat treated. The gun was built about 1910
     
  8. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Jnesy814

    That will do quite nicely, especially given the conditions you were shooting in.
     
  9. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Still, a mighty nice old piece.

    Here is a 38 M&P Target model from about 1917. Still a real nice shooter.

    MP%20target%2001_zpszvedd98o.jpg
     
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  10. Shimitup

    Shimitup Member

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    Well that depends on ones age. I see you you have one with sights I can see..... some what. It's a real beauty!
     
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  11. Mauser lover

    Mauser lover Member

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    It's so they could pick which button on the bad guy's shirt to use as a reference. Then you pick which hole in the bad guy's button you want to shoot. You just cant do that with big wide modern combat sights.
     
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  12. Jonesy814

    Jonesy814 Member

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    My first impression was that the really narrow sight channel allows for a degree of precision. After shooting that gun, I will stick by that assessment. The one condition being that you can actually see the sights. With the bright day, the lenses in my glasses really darkened and the dark front sight, dark narrow rear channel and my 55 year old eyes wasn't the best combination. I think I will add a dab of bright nail polish to front sight. It has helped with some of my other guns. Even with the challenges I think I shot OK and the gun was shooting right to my aim point. From a rest I think I could have shot one ragged hole
     
  13. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    My eyes are 67 years old. And I think I can safely say I probably have worse eyesight than anyone on this board. I won't go into all the reasons why.

    Anyway, in poor lighting conditions I have trouble seeing any sights. I have given up on long range rifle shooting because I just can't see the targets, plus I have so many floaters.

    But with good lighting I can usually see my revolvers sights well enough to hit the paper. I may not be getting bullseyes with every shot, but I can usually see the sights.

    But it does take a little getting used to, particularly if you are used to modern sights.

    Here is the rear sight on a S&W 455 Hand Ejector, 2nd Model. This is an older style sight than you usually find, they stopped making them like this probably sometime in the 1920s or 1930s.

    Still, on a good day I can usually hit what I aim at.

    Usually.

    rear%20sight_zpsxacqm6wm.jpg
     
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  14. Jonesy814

    Jonesy814 Member

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    One difference I noticed on these old fixed sights is that the front sight fills the sight channel. On modern sights I was taught to have equal light showing on either side of the front sight. On the M1905 there is no light showing on either side.
     
  15. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    There were basically two different styles of rear sights on fixed sight Hand Ejectors.

    This is the older style. This one is on a 38 M&P 1st Change made in 1906. Basically the same as the sight pictured above. A ball endmill was lowered into the frame at an angle, creating a spherical depression. Then the actual sight groove was cut. You will notice on this one, the groove is round bottomed, the groove on the 455 Hand Ejector pictured above is flat bottomed. The 455 HE was made in 1916.

    Rear%20Sight%2038%20MP%201st%20Change_zpsm2lui0hi.jpg




    This is the more modern style of rear sight on fixed sight Smiths. This one is on a 38 M&P 4th Change that left the factory in 1934.

    Rear%20Sight%2038%20MP%204th%20Change_zps7njrcqwj.jpg





    I don't know all the history of these different style sights, there were various changes that happened over the years, usually the width of the sight groove and the front sight.

    I do know that even with that 'ball type' (my definition) sight on that M&P from 1906, in good light I can see a sliver of light on either side of the front sight.
     
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  16. ancientnoob

    ancientnoob Member

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    Such a fine wheelgun.
     
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  17. Jonesy814

    Jonesy814 Member

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    Mine is like your first picture with the ball type cut. As I cleaned it today I was lining up the sights and you are absolutely right. There is a sliver of light visible on either side of the front sight when it is centered. When I had it out shooting I didn't think there was, probably due to how dark my glasses were.
     
  18. ACES&8S

    ACES&8S Member

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    Old revolvers are magnificent works of art. From a time when people were more tuned to what was not only accurate
    but dependable & handsome at the same time. Not like today's competition based models where shiny or black, with basic block
    looking pistols are really dependable & good looking, when everyone knows they aren't good looking, they are just today's
    result of manufacturers & distributors push to sell the next hot thing.
    Like someone said the other day on Gun Stories, the old guns had soul.
    I admit that today a lot of rifles & semi auto pistols look , mean, or cool, but that's all.
    I know some of you may differ with me on that but I respect your opinion as well.
     
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  19. Shimitup

    Shimitup Member

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    For me it's not just revolvers, whenever I take apart any old gun I think about the engineers with slide rules and paper, then machinists running manual mills, lathes shapers etc. Amazing to think about what was built before computers and CNC.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018
  20. Jonesy814

    Jonesy814 Member

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    John Browning didn't even have formal training as an engineer. I had read he did not start with a plan or blue print. He had a mental picture of what he wanted and just started by building a prototype. Once the prototype was finished and everything the way he wanted it, then it was drawn up so the machinists knew what to make.
     
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