Monday, December 08, 2008

Recent Range Notes, Vol. I

Back in the early '90s, Georgia changed their hunting regulations for handguns. Previously, they had run with "any centerfire, .25 or larger, with a barrel longer than 4 inches" (or something along those lines; it's been nearly fifteen years, so cut me some slack.)

Some bright spark realized that this would allow you to use, say, a target version of a Beretta Jetfire to shoot at Bambi, and so the regulations were revised to eliminate references to caliber and barrel length and instead set a power threshold: To hunt deer, a handgun needed to generate 500 ft/lbs of energy at 100 yards. All of a sudden, people who had been harvesting deer with scoped 8 3/8" Model 686 Smiths were out in the cold, as no factory .357 Magnum ammo loaded back then put up those kind of numbers.

In answer, Georgia Arms started loading their "Deerstopper", a 158gr Speer Gold Dot bullet propelled to a downright zippy 1400+ fps out of a 6" revolver barrel. They printed the ballistics right on the bag so that you could show them to any inquisitive game wardens, too.

In the intervening years, Georgia revised their handgun hunting regs yet again, and Georgia Arms has kept the "Deerstopper" name while throttling back the velocity.

I found some of the original ones in a box of miscellaneous .357 Magnum ammo that I took to the range on Sunday...

Let me tell you, when you cap off a cylinder full of those things out of a Performance Center 627 V-Comp with a 3" barrel, you don't stand around wondering if the gun went off or not. Neither does anybody else on the range.

29 comments:

og said...

Oooh, jealous, jealous jealous. I'm SUCH a recoil junkie, and that sounds nifty.

Conservative Scalawag said...

That is for freaking sure, hell I've been asked to leave a few ranges for making too much noise.

As for using a .357 mag for deer hunting, never say the point of it, even though back in the mid-90's I tried it once. Reminded me why I use a rifle, because I am lazy and hungry.

OrangeNeckInNY said...

I was toying with the idea of taking a deer with my 10mm 1911 with HP bullets, if the deer was at 25 yds or less (because I can group 4" at 25 yds with the 10mm. Otherwise, I'll have my .243 Win. rifle with me.

I'm surprised those rounds didn't blow out the gun's cylinder.

David said...

I let my 11 year old son take my Springfield '73 trapdoor 45-70 to the range for the first time last weekend.

We were at the end of the rifle range with about 20 other groups of shooters to our right. Everyone was shooting small caliber rounds (223s, 22LR, etc)it was unusually quiet out there.

After my son fired off his first round I noticed the range behind me was really quiet. I glanced over my shoulder to see about 30 faces all looking our direction. After his second round we were barraged with a chorus of "What the hell is that?"

There were several groups of just plinkers who had boys in the group who were fascinated by that rifle. So I let a couple of them have a go with it. When they left their Dad's were getting hammered with: "I want one of those for Christmas."

Several new recoil junkies in the making.....

atlharp said...

Well...........that will keep those damn kids out of the yard!

Shootin' Buddy said...

.45-70 . . . and everyone was looking at me.

Tam said...

*MountainDewThroughNose*

José Giganté said...

Sounds about like the loads I made for carry. 158g Hornady XTP out of a 2.5" snubby at just over 1,300. My friend who's chrony I was using asked me to move back a bit more so the flames didn't singe his chrony.

Mark Alger said...

Aren't you required to warn, "Fire in the hole!" before touching one of those off?

M

GeorgeH said...

Wasn't 158gr. at 1400fps the .357s original claimed performance?
At 7 yards you could set them on fire, even if you missed.

Matt G said...

"Wasn't 158gr. at 1400fps the .357s original claimed performance?"

Claimed is the operative word. Yeah, they might have gotten a few to that... on a hot day, out of their 8.5" pressure test barrels sans cylinder gap.

Pretty much no one ever saw the factory loads really do that, though.

I LOVE Georgia Arms. They are the good-good.

Lergnom said...

Love to try some of those out of my .357 Redhawk. I have some of the IMI 170-grain +P loads I reserve for the Redhawk, and they step out right smartly. The crates were labelled 'Desert Eagle Only'.

Anonymous said...

An official of the Marion County range who has the Eli Lilly shop at his beck and call has a .45-70 handmade revolver. Why yes, it does take both hands to pick it up.

When he fires it after a smallbore match, all discussion stops in the parking lot outside the hotel across the road on the other side of the woods.

Farmer Frank said...

Congratulations Tam, you made me laugh!

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Jay G said...

I'll have to find some of those.

For my 360PD...

Sprechen zie ouchie?

tom said...

Other than burning up ammo, what use is shooting those out of a 3" barrel when you could save them for deer hunting?

If you want muzzle flash and boom you need to get into rifle caliber T/Cs and revolvers with 4-10" barrels?

.450 Marlin out of revolver is much more startling to people near you at the range and makes a bigger flash and boom. I also have the .45-70 wheel.

.223 and .308 Win out of 10" Encore barrels make a nice flame/boom too if you're gonna waste powder. 15-17" Belted Magnums are also fun.

I had a person a few lanes over once ask me "why is fire shooting way out from your guns?" and I said "because it's amusing."

Regards,
Tom
[Alleged Mall-Ninja
that wouldn't go to a mall if his life depended on it.]

Jay G said...

Tom,

I was shooting factory Remington JSP 158 gr. .357 magnums through the 360PD when an NRA instructor peered about the corner.

She then proceeded to ask who had brought the flamethrower...

I like that.

Buffboy said...

We were shooting a bit about dusk a few years back. We were only shooting 30 yards. You could see the bullet go to the target out of my carbine, the revolver was like a flame thrower. My 18 year old (5'0" 110#)niece wanted to shoot both my 4 5/8" revolver and my 16" carbine, both in 454. She'd been shooting since 5 so I let her. Her mom, brother, and father all had a go. By the time it was too dark to see, they had burned the 100 rounds I had with me. They loved it. Whole buncha new recoil junkies there. My old boss always says he can tell every time I shoot that pistol, when he's outside even though he lives 5 miles away. He says it's very "distinctive".

Michael in CT said...

Back when I was younger and more foolish and when recoil didn't hurt quite so much (my 20's), I would load up my 10.5" Super Blackhawk 44 Magnum with a 200gr hollopoint that chrongraphed at 1770 fps. I used it for bowling pin matches. Everybody knew when I fired it because it boomed like a shotgun going off and the pins got airborne and landed 5 feet behind the tables.

Kevin said...

Part of my masochism collection is a T-C octagonal 8" barrel in .30-30 That little beast is worse than the 14" .45-70 Hunter for recoil and muzzle blast

Another youthful mistake was the Springfield Armory Single Shot for the 1911. A slide adapter, magazine replacement and two barrels: 10" .223 and 14" .308
Sighting in the .308 before hunting is what cause me to bastardize the 1911 and add a beavertail grip safety. The Hammer never pinched, but the standard safety damn near ripped through the web of my hand from repeated recoil.
Still have the SASS, but I do my hunting with a rifle these days.

theirritablearchitect said...

I've fired a few too many Speer 170grn Gold Dots and 180 Federal Hi-Shok trough my 4" .357, I'm afraid.

LOTS of blast outta every orifice.

The concussive force smacks you in the face pretty hard.

Tam said...

I've fired plenty of both; they seemed downright McCain-like in their moderation when compared to a 1400+ fps 158gr load...

Rick R said...

Back in the '90's I had Mag-Na-Port do one of their 3" chop jobs on a 629. When I got it back, I headed to the range at night to try it out. I had mistakenly grabbed my loads for my 6.5" barrel gun. The loads full of really SLOW (AA#9) powder.

I set the 7 yards target on fire....

I have yet to live that down.

Rick

Cybrludite said...

The carry ammo I use in my 686 is the Buffalo Bore 158gr Gold Dot, which they claim exits the muzzle at 1475 fps from a four inch revolver. Slightly more muzzle energy than Remington claims for their green box .44 Magnum. Makes my big 686 buck like an unobtainium framed 360 with standard .357s. At last year's Gun Thing shoot in Austin, everyone stopped and looked when I started shooting those. Biiiig ba-da-boom!

Anonymous said...

My .32 ACP Colt tends to make my hand bleed and my eyes water. Guess I'm just not the "caliber" of other shooters here!

tom said...

Looks like Tam needs a .357 Maximum. :-)

Alleged Mall-Ninja

Tam said...

"Other than burning up ammo, what use is shooting those out of a 3" barrel when you could save them for deer hunting?"

I don't handgun hunt for deer, and if I did, I wouldn't be using a .357.

(...and when I go to the range to practice, I try to shoot at least some real ammunition. Hence the MTM casegard boxes of "Misc. JHPs" that come along on every range trip.)

Warthog said...

out of a 3" barrel? So Tam, how's your nose?

theirritablearchitect said...

I've fired plenty of both; they seemed downright McCain-like in their moderation when compared to a 1400+ fps 158gr load...

Then I wouldn't even want to try those out of anything other than an N-frame or bigger, with plenty of barrel.

Seriously, it almost hurts to shoot that steppy stuff through a 27 ounce .357.