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Hello. I bought this revolver on 12.08.89 for $460, but never really shot it all that much over the years. While I "liked" the gun, I've never really cared for the full-length underlug so common on S&Ws today. It's fine on a Colt Python, but just isn't my "cup of tea." The shooting that I had done with this thing had pretty much been limited to .45 ACP using the half-moon clips that came with the pistol as well as some full-moon clips I purchased later. I also rather quickly invested in a little handtool for removing the fired cases from the moon clips. I didn't like the Pachmayr "Gripper" stocks that came on the revolver and replaced them with the same company's "Compacts." (I know they should be wooden, but I've just put a pair on my Mountain Gun as well as my Model 24 so it'll be a little while!) It's had no trigger work. The DA pull is a bit heavier than on my other N-frames, but the SA is extremely light. I'm told that the DA's a bit heavier to insure ignition even if the moonclip's not exactly up flush with the rear of the cylinder; I don't know.

Anyway, here's the gun as currently set up and showing both full and half-moon clips loaded with .45 ACP rounds and the "tool of mercy."

A time back, I decided it was time to begin shooting other than my Browning HPs and I did! (I still shoot them very regularly, but I kind of like shooting wheelies, too!) I ordered 2000 R-P Auto Rim cases such that I could load/unload the gun "normally," i.e.: w/o the stinkin' moonclips. Jerry Miculek might be poison with them, but I'm not and simply prefer to work w/o the clips.

I'd also hoped to be able to get this thing to be a ballistic equal of the .45 Colt cartridge "honestly," but not too "hotly" loaded for the S&Ws. In that I did not succeed to my satisfaction, BUT I did get something pretty nice. More on that later.

Chronography: I also chronographed some handloaded Auto Rim rounds as well as some common .45 ACP factory rounds. The average velocities listed are based on 10-shot averages. The Extreme Spread and Standard Deviations are listed as well. The chronograph was 12' from the end of the muzzle. All figures are rounded to the nearest "full number." The chronograph was a Chrony Master w/printer and all those darned function thingys. (If I hit the wrong button, I'm dead.)

All cases are new R-P and all primers used are Winchester Large Pistol.

Handloaded .45 AR:
Rainier 200 gr PSWC
7.0 gr Unique
LOA: 1.23"
Average Velocity: 953 ft/sec
ES: 75 ft/sec
SD: 26 ft/sec

Sierra 200 gr "Competition" JFP (Don't know if this one's still even being made.)
4.2 gr Bullseye
LOA: 1.17"
Average Velocity: 697 ft/sec
ES: 34
SD: 15

Speer 230 gr Gold Dot Hollow Point
7.0 gr Unique
LOA: 1.23"
Average Velocity: 937 ft/sec
ES: 35
SD: 12

Rucker 185 gr "Competition Plus" CSWC
7.2 gr Unique
LOA: 1.25"
Average Velocity: 897 ft/sec
ES: 56
SD: 21

Rucker 230 gr CRN
7.2 gr Unique
LOA: 1.23"
Average Velocity: 895 ft/sec
ES: 67
SD: 20

Kead 255 gr CSWC
6.0 gr Unique
LOA: 1.20"
Average Velocity: 860 ft/sec
ES: 32
SD: 11

Speer 200 gr JHP (Pre-Gold Dot)
7.2 gr Unique
LOA: 1.18"
Average Velocity: 873 ft/sec
ES: 99
SD: 40

Factory .45 ACP:

Federal Classic 230 gr JHP
Average Velocity: 854 ft/sec
ES: 52
SD: 18

Federal 230 gr HydraShok (Old style truncated cone bullet)
Average Velocity: 901 ft/sec
ES: 18
SD: 7

Winchester USA 230 grain FMJ
Average Velocity: 804 ft/sec
ES: 14
SD: 5

Triton 230 gr QuikShok Prefrag +P
Average Velocity: 930 ft/sec
ES: 27
SD: 13

Remington 230 gr Golden Saber JHP
Average Velocity: 840 ft/sec
ES: 6
SD: 3

PMC 230 gr Starfire JHP
Average Velocity: 848 ft/sec
ES: 33
SD: 14

Note that this revolver seems to be more efficient in terms of ft/sec per grain of powder with the heavier slugs. Also, I have NEVER seen Golden Sabers have such uniform velocities as with these today. The USA ball was also surprisingly uniform.

Shooting: Shooting was done at 15, 25, and 50 yards. At 15 yards, all rounds were fired standing w/2-hand hold. As I was deciding on a load or two for this gun at this time, I fired from a rest at both 25 and 50 yards and used a 2-hand hold. All shooting was single-action.

15 Yards:

These are with the handloaded Auto Rims.

These are the factory .45 ACPs.

I strongly believe that the flyers in each group are me and not the ammo or the revolver.

.45 ACPs being loaded via the half-moon clips....

25 Yards:

I only fired two of the handloads at 25 yards and none of the ACP factory rounds. As mentioned earlier, I am selecting a load or two for this revolver as well as the range report.

This is likely THE load I'll do for the AR and this revolver. More on why later. It is the Kead 255 gr CSWC/6.0 gr Unique load.

Another promising load is the 230 gr Speer GDHP/7.0 gr Unique.

50 Yards:

This was also fired with the 255 gr CSWC and consists of 24 shots.

Just for grins, I fired a couple of the JHP handloads into some wet dirt I could still find for a really "scientific expansion test." As noted in other reports, I know that this translates to little, but seems to be of interest.

The round on the left is the old Speer 200 gr JHP while the other's the 230 gr GDHP by the same company.

(I'd meant to bring some 250 gr Hornady XTPs loaded over 6 gr Unique, but forgot to! I suspect that I'd get little if any expansion at roughly the 850 ft/sec they'd likely be travelling at. I also forgot that damned tool for taking the hulls out of the clips!)

It's clear that I like Unique powder and use it in several calibers. The fact that I have lots and lots of it is a factor, too. It's also the "old" Unique that's "dirty."

Here's the clean revolver before a shot was fired today.

...and after....

I've not tallied up how many rounds were fired, but quite a few. The "dirtiness" of this powder caused zero problems and won't next time either as the revolver will be cleaned today.

Observations: Recoil was very light and seemed lighter to me with this revolver than had the same (ACP) rounds been fired from one of my full-size 5" 1911s. Maybe that full-length underlug's not so ugly after all?

I also suspect that any of the rounds tried today are much more accurate than the target's show as there's human error involved, but I do note that this revolver with this powder and these bullets does like the heavier slugs. I'll likely not shoot lighter than 230 grains in it from now on.

In fact, I'll likely shoot only the 255 gr CSWC load.

The reason is that it's pleasant to shoot, yet has enough "oomph" (another "scientific" term) to "handle" anything needing it in Texas. I do NOT plan to use this revolver for defensive purposes so I'm not at all concerned with the handloads-for-self-defense-rhubarb that shows up frequently on the boards. Yet, were I required to do so, I suspect that the big, flat 255 gr slug would be "alright." I know it would be fine on coyotes, javelina, and other such critters as well as a Texas whitetail should it be within my self-imposed range of about 35 yards.

Also, right now the only company making AR cases is Remington. When new, one can load jacketed bullets meant for the automatic with no problems, but when resized for subsequent reloading, I cannot get them down enough to sufficiently grip jacketed bullets. Old time reloaders may remember this being the case with RP .45 ACP brass years ago. I've tried several different dies and combinations. Yet, the 255 gr slug's big enough that it works fine in both new and fired cases. The R-P stuff has been "fragile" to me in that any kind of roll crimp results in split cases within one to two loadings as well and if the case is not flared quite enough and I try to do the minimal, seating the bullet crushes the case much easier than in other calibers.

Such a revolver would also be good for shooting up handloads or factory rounds that don't work well in one's semiautomatic.

But, there may be hope! Starline Brass has announced that they will soon be offering .45 Auto Rim cases. I hope they're just a tad thicker. We'll see.

Though not even on the short list (for no good reason I can think of), this revolver could be an effective defensive weapon with current .45 ACP rounds using either the full or half-moon clips. I do see a problem with reloading but one or two at a time during a possible lull in the shooting, but it could be used.

I think it'd get a bad guy's attention....

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