Friday, November 07, 2014

Wednesday Range Notes, Part One...

A day at the office.
So, there I was at the range with the test gun, and I was fixin' to record some chronograph data. Now, mind you, I've just taken the thing out of the box, and the ten shots of Fiocchi 115gr FMJ through the skyscreens are going to be my first ten shots with the gun.

As you can see, I set the chrono on that plastic drum and, because I'm tall and don't have a chair in the pistol bay, I bend over from the waist and rest my elbows on my range bag. This is not the firmest of grips, so...

The third shot from the pistol was a classic failure to feed. I snapped pictures, then slapped the bottom of the mag and the slide dropped into battery. The third shot: Stovepipe. Failure to eject.

Now, this is round-nosed full metal jacket ammo in a brand of handgun that is not generally known for being unreliable. Was it dry, maybe? I field-stripped it and it seemed to have a light film of lube everywhere it was supposed to, but I gave it a squirt of Strike Hold from the can in my range bag because what the heck, right?

Fifth shot, another stovepipe, and then one more feedway stoppage before finishing out the ten round string. It was at this point that my hindbrain drew my attention to the fact that the pattern of ejected brass from the pistol was pretty erratic, with five of the ten rounds fired thus far having dribbled the spent brass back towards my hat, to land on the table between my elbows.

This explained the problem, which was confirmed by the chrono data:
LO: 982.7
HI: 1087
AV: 1035
ES: 104.2
SD: 33.09
Subsonic 115gr bullets aren't going to impart anywhere near enough momentum to the slide of a recoil-operated pistol for it to operate reliably, especially if the gun is held loosely. (Although the fifteen rounds I fired from a normal grip and standing on my hind legs also had two more malfs.)

Still, somebody who didn't know how to diagnose malfunctions could unfairly judge their pistol's reliability by its refusal to work with this stuff, when that would be like judging your gasoline-engine car as unreliable for not running on diesel.

The lot number on the Fiocchi in question, which was purchased at the local Gander Mountain, is 5406188. I'll be contacting Fiocchi and letting them know that they've got some underpowered ammo floating around out there.

Incidentally, the gun ran like a top on the Winchester 124gr Q4318 "NATO" FMJ I had with me.