It was breezy and a little cool this morning but still a great chance to go shooting. Today I decided that I was going to have some old-timey fun so I took my old iron, none of that new stuff. By "new" I mean anything made after the second world war. I decided to take my 3 pre-war Smith & Wesson .357 Magnums since I haven't shot them this year. All of these pre WWII N frames are great handling guns and are just a hoot to shoot! All shooting today was done at 21 feet (7 yards) and using Winchester and S&B 158gr semi-jacketed rounds, which is what these old Magnums seem to like the best and was the original load weight for the .357 when introduced in 1935 (probably not a coincidence). I was shooting double action at Shoot-N-C 5-inch targets and as long as I could keep in the black I was happy. I ended up happy most of the day.
First up was a 3 ½ inch model that shipped to my hometown in July 1939. It's a great shooting gun and despite having the shortest barrel is the easily the most accurate of the three. The reason for the accuracy is the very fine bead front sight. I don't know why the original owner ordered such an impractical sight for a gun that is more intended for self-defense than target shooting. To be honest this front sight would be the last thing I would have considered for a gun that I might use to protect myself or had even the slightest chance that I might carry. But as purely target sight it can't be argued with. Using slow aimed DA fire I can keep the holes nearly touching and even picking up the pace some I can usually keep everything in a 2-3 inch group (I called that flyer so it don't count!).
Next up was a 4-inch gun that originally shipped to the Kansas City (MO) Police Department in 1940. This gun has been well used and refinished at least twice, once at the factory in 1948 and then again a few years ago. This fine old gun has seen a lot of hard use and has seen better days. Even so it will still throw 3 inch groups all day if you do your part. I bet this one has some great stories in it.
And lastly but not leastly is my 5-inch model that was shipped in 1939 to an Inspector in the Virginia ABC. This old revolver probably would also have an interesting story or two if it could talk. The gun just handles and "feels" right. There's nothing quite like a 5-inch N frame although I really like the 3 ½ inch models too.
The day wasn't completely perfect, I did forget my tiny screwdriver and the 5-inch and the K.C.P.D. gun both needed to have their sights drifted slightly (the KC gun down and the 5-inch left). But even with that minor annoyance I still had a great morning shooting some great old Smith & Wessons!