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44 MAG Favorite loads?

8576 Views 66 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Black Prince
No 44 Mag threads going. Heres one. Who loads for the 44? What is the load? My favorite load is with a 300 gr cast lead bullet.

FC Brass
Federal LP Primers.
18.0 gr 2400 Powder
Lyman mould 429265(?) GC 300 gr
1.700 OAL
Heavy Crimp
Gravity Ejection of cases!

10 rnd avg. 1401 fps / 1308 fpe
Avg Deviation 14 fps (extreme 54 fps)
7-1/2" BBL (SBH)

This is 6 rounds of it at 50 yds. Sandbagged at the bench just to see what it was capable of, and sighting in purposes. I was trying for target zero, so POA was 6 O'Clock and when it came back like this I said good enough and didnt fiddle with it! I probably dont need 1400 fps so I may just trim this load back to 1250 or so

For reference purposes only! It may work for me but you and your gun may be in trouble if you try this load without working it up slowly like you should. Safety first!

Aint 44's Grand?! :cannon:


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Man oh man. Go to work for a couple days and come back to see the 44 making a comeback. Sweet.

Well, I've only ever used Bullseye for real light loads and kind of abandoned it for 44's, when you get to max with Bullseye, it goes max real quick in the pressure department. Unique impressed itself to me as a medium load powder for 44. The 2400 runs the whole spectrum from light all the way up to bear stompers. I almost only use 2400 any more for 44's. I suggest trying a pound of that.

Unique works real good in the shotloads. Take the plunge and buy a mould or two! At the price of ammo or even slugs for that matter, it'd pay for itself in no time. Maybe 200 bucks to get going on casting. Sizer/Luber and a couple moulds.

I tried some 'Laser Cast' bullets for the 44 just cause everyone talks so good about them anf found that they are pretty good. Nice and hard and little to no leading.

Come back with your questions.
Wal, ma question is this here: If a hen and a half laid an egg and a half in a day and a half, how many eggs would six hens lay in seven days?:rolleyes:

If ya saw a pack of dogs crossing the bayou chasing a wild hogeux across a sand bar 300 yards distant onto your property where you have signs clearly posted that says it is private property, How quick can you sit down with your back against a Magnolia tree and kill the lead dog with your S & W 44 pistolgun?

How dead will a 250 grain cast Keith bullet loaded with 22 grains of 2400 kill said dog?:rolleyes:
1. Enough for sunday breakfast.

2. Ahh, trick question. I'd use the Redhawk, take out the Hogeux, they'd stop to eat, then take out all the dogs. Elapsed time? mmm, maybe 2 minutes. Then bacon & eggs! Of course I'm the master of 300 yd running hogeux shots wid a pistol!:rolleyes:

3. On my EDI (Edwards Death index) scale, it would be a 9.1 with a single shot, 12.2 if a followup shot was needed. You do have your EDI chart don't you?;)

1) 42 eggs
2) about 30 seconds because I missed the first shot but kicked enough sand on him to knock him down. The second shot took him through both shoulders.
3) Graveyard dead!:p
Hmmm. You must live inna less swat infested area than I. I'd have to look around for the man for at least a minute and a half first! I did take 5 squirrels outta the tree (over time) with 22 shorts and got away with it, my dog loves em.

Cant make up my mind if you're pulling my leg with that shot or not. Iron sights, I presume? What load was it? How big the hog? Did ya have bacon & eggs?

Sure you aunt stretching it just a little?
You ain't listining son. I shot the dam dogeux; not the hogeux. The load was 22 grains of 2400, CCI # 300,and Keith's 250 grain SWC that is your namesake. The revolver was a S & W Model 29-2 6 1/2 inch barrel and I still have it and will have it until I die. I only have iron sights on my handguns except for the one Contender chambered for the 357 Herrett and it was scoped when I bought it and I've left it that way. The distance was every bit of 275 to 300 yards across part of Buffalo bayou and most of the big sand bar. I saw where the first round hit about six feet this side of him (short) and just held up a little more front sight on the next one and that was it. One dead dogeux. Graveyard dead.

But in those days, I could hit a gallon jug at 100 yards off hand five times out of six and here's news: I was not the best shot in the group of men I shot with by any means. Of course, the ISU 22 rapid fire champion at the time was one of the shooters and the tri-state 2700 bullseye champion was also in the group.

When you shoot with shooters like those ( and in those days I could see the damn sights) you learn to shoot or you buy a lot of root beer floats for the others because that was our standing bet. The people who owned the Upton's Dairy Bar LOVED to see us come in every Saturday afternoon because SOMEBODY in the group was the low man for the day and he had to buy all the others root beer floats. And the Upton people always ragged and harrassed the low man. It was motivation to not be the low man next week you betcha.

But, many people did not believe what Elmer Keith said about being able to shoot his 44 mag either. You'll usually find those doubting it to be people with no real long-term shooting experience or with any long range shooting exposure. We all shot from 25 to 400 yards EVERY Saturday unless we went to a pistol match somewhere and we did it ALL DAY long for a period of 15 years. We did it on my range, on the Pine Belt Rifle and Pistol Club Range and in every empty dirt pit along the county roads in five counties. We didn't shoot rifles. We shot 357, 44 and 45 ACP and Colt pistols and revolvers.

One of my neighbors was a dentist. He asked me one day if he could zero in his Browning auto 7 mm mag rifle on the range. I said sure. When I went down there, he had shot holes in my steel plates with that damn 7 mm mag and I raised hell with him for doing it. He looked at me and said, "well, what are they up there for if you aren't going to shoot them?" I said, we shoot them with pistols and lead bullets that won't put holes in them you idiot. He said, you can't hit that with any damn pistol.

Well, hee, heee. I just looked at him and said, You wanna bet a root beer float at Upton's Dairy bar son? An with that I pulled my Mod. 29 outta my belt and banged every one of the gongs from 50 to 400 yards without a miss. He couldn't believe it. He told everybody in the county about it and I started getting phone calls from all over the place from people who wanted to learn to shoot. But that was good because it was the begining of the Pine Belt Rifle and Pistol Club.

But you have to understand that the gong targets were progressively larger the further the distance. The one at 400 yards was 40 inches around for example but the one at 50 yards was only 10 inches and it was made out of heavier (thicker) steel plate to take the pounding of heavy caliber six guns at close range.

But I'm not kidding you one bit about any of that. Actually, I was just what we'd call and "average" shooter back then in that part of the country. But this was in the Free State of Jones in Mississippi and I didn't know anybody that didn't have at least one 44 magnum and most of us had two or more. Damn!! Those were some good days son. You had better enjoy them while you can. One day you'll wake up like me with a "film" over your eye and it'll look like you are looking through frosted glass and that'll be the end of it all. But I'm not bullschmitting you one dang bit when I say we had a sho-nuff bunch of GOOD shooters down there at that time in the history of the world and I can't tell you how much I miss it.

Elmer Keith was exactly correct and I've seen some of his shooting duplicated and have done it myself on occasion. But few people have EK's shooting experience or mine either. No brag. Just fact son. When you shoot as much as EK did and as I did, you get damn good at it. Either that or you are one dumb sumbritch.

Most people just are not up to much full house 44 mag shooiting any. The 6 1/2 inch MOd. 29 I have had been fired exactly six times when I bought it. It still had the one box of cartridges that came with it and there were 14 rounds left in it. I bought it from a friend that owned a gun shop. He sold it to the man Saturday morning and the man brought it back and traded it in on a 357 magnum Mod. 19 at noon. He called me and told me he had it and I bought it right then and there sight unseen and I've been happy since then. My buddy with the gun shop is dead now as are most all of those shooters I shot with back then. They were one hellva bunch of dirt road sports . . . yep, by God, we were.

I'm jiss an old half blind fart now son. Don't ever get old Edward. It's no fun.
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Great story, Davy. It sure harks back to better days. I know dang well there are some "magazine reader experts" out there snickering, but I've seen this type of stuff done. Except for the occasional watermelon field after pickin', though, most of my "long range" stuff has been around 225 yds. or so, with little longer. I can attest to that back-braced sitting position being THE berries for field use, though.

If a man wants to become any sort of bonafide pistolero, grab a Ruger Super Blackhawk and do some long range shooting with it.
That long, slow, heavy hammer fall will dang sure MAKE a man learn to "follow through" the shot.

A man who can shoot tin cans at 50 yds. regularly will likely surprise himself if he'll put up a 5 gal. plastic bucket out at 200 or better. Learning how much front sight to hold up over the rear notch is the only real requisite, other than good form. At longer ranges, the .44's always outshot ANY .357 load I've shot against.
Those big bullets also usually move the big bucket around, too, which gives that instant feedback that any real shooter loves. It's cheap, it's easy, and there are more folks out there who can likely do it - at THAT range, anyway - than most would think. Ain't no magic to it at all - just good form, consistency, and practice, practice, practice.

Long range handgunning is one of the most satisfying field pursuits around. FUN, too!

I haven't done that in a long time, and while my eyes aren't as bad as your right one, they're DANG sure not what they used to be. Never were all that great, really. I just learned to line up the blurs. Age has increased the blurriness, and has also made it very nice to have about a 6 foot barrel on my revolver, but I can't hold one that long up any more. Ain't it a bee-eye-itch growin' old? Only thing worse is the other option.

BTW, yew learnt ta' shoot left-eyed yet? I've known a number of folks who were right handed and left eyed, and shot that way from the start. Just requires a little different wrist work, which will probably be a real challenge for you now. The twig's bent, the tree grown, and you and I don't bend like we used to, so learning new stuff ain't exactly as easy as it used to be. You just can't "uncondition" yourself - not completely, anyway, and when you have to do something quick, you'll almost always go back to your prior learning. It's a good thing you're an ornery ol' coot, an' like to wrassle! You might miss one day.

On second thought ....... naaaaaahhhhhhh! I'm bettin' you won't.
Osmosis or one'a them things'll almost always lead a well practiced man to hit when it's REALLY important. In the spur of a moment, a man always reverts to his training.

I got a suspicion Redd's gonna' shad us all, anyway. My root doctor says so.
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Sorry bout puttin you on the spot there, Black Prince, I believe you. I started to doubt you when I didnt hear back for a few days about it. I hear so much tall talk on different boards most of em got to be lying. When you ask em for a few details about their feat they cant remember or don't reply or contradict themselves or just plain get mad, thats when you know they lie. You got that casual no brag matter of fact ring to your words that sound truthful. No offense, jus wanted to see how you'd sound if pressed a little deeper bout it.

I read Elmers stories of taking deer at 250 and 600 yards with a 4" 29. I believe them too. On a good day I can hit a gallon jug at 100 yds 3 or 4 times (Staged DA, in kind of a jackass ricepaddy prone). My wife got 5 once, with my 5.5" RH. I never really did any back braced shooting, think maybe I'll try that.

My 5.5" is gone now, stolen. Its been replaced with a 7.5" RH and I got the SBH since too. One of these days I'll really pit em together for an accuracy comparison to see which one has the edge. I've been neglecting my SBH for the M1A. I got a guy who's trying to get me to come shoot High Power with him an his buddies but between time constraints and not wanting to make a total bad showing, I've been declining until I'm better equipped to do so. So I've been neglecting serious pistol work lately.

Hearing stories like that are encouraging. It lets me know whats possible if I do my part. Gives me something to work towards. Good shot, man. My hats off to you. I'd be lieing if I told a story like that. Best I can do is one shot .429" groups at 100!;) :confused:
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Ed, these type shots are far from unheard of, really. Luck won't do it by itself, either. You've got to be good, AND just a mite lucky at the same time. I've got a buddy who shot a wounded deer running across a very large field. If it had gotten to the woods, it would never be found, since that's a BIG swamp, and experience, along with everything else, made it known that the deer WAS going to make it in there, despite being obviously very sick. Field was wet and plowed and no vehicle could have entered to cut it off and gotten as far as 50 yds., so my buddy Jimmie took out his 4" .357 mag., and let fly. As in Davy's case, the first shot was low and back. He adjusted his hold, and on the next shot, it tumbled end over end like a rabbit! Bullet, it turned out, had hit it in the neck where it joins the shoulder.

Another time, a fair number of years before, Jimmy was in a similar situation with a deer running wounded toward refuge, but THIS boy was at 900 yds. No pistola THIS time! He had his '06. He swung along with a buddy spotting through his own scope, and fired. Low and behind ..... again. Next shot, the deer humped up momentarily, then stumbled and fell. Jimmie paced it off, and whenever we've shot together, his long strides consistently run 99-101 long steps for each 100 yds. Mine generally run 96 or so per hundred.

The point I want to make, is that GOOD shooting, much like GOOD anything, usually goes to the person who really WANTS it. I'm not talking here about willingness to shoot large volumes, but of QUALITY shots, time after time. Hathcock used to speak of "getting in his bubble" when he won Wimbledon, and just about whenever he was shooting. It's all about concentration, and noticing the little things. Things like the timing of how one's heartbeat affects sight alignment, and the rhythm of it when you squeeze off. Timing the trigger release when the rhythm puts the sights plumb dead center really DOES make a bigger difference than most think.

Most fellows could shoot 100,000 rds. a year, and never get more than passable, because they just don't notice things, and the reason they don't notice things is because they don't really, really, really WANT to make the shot.

This is something that affects one's ability to perform under pressure, too. My buddy Jimmie, cited above with the two "impossible" shots, is one of the best shots under pressure or for money that I know. Most guys, when their pennies are on the line, start second-guessing themselves, and telling themselves that they probably won't make the shot. Voila'! They miss!

Now there are a lot of folks selling "Positive Self Talk" tapes and other stuff for wannabeez with money. I doubt there's one in a thousand that really benefits from it. The simple reason for this is that the reason they THINK they need it in the FIRST place, is that they KNOW their limitations, to quote Dirty Harry here. They KNOW they just aren't the type to really bear down and "get in their bubble" and make the shot. They tremble MORE when there's something at stake, than when practicing. THEN they conclude that folks who speak of making "impossible" shots, such as those that handgun silhouetters do every match, are shooting those shots with their keyboards. T'tain't so. Not always, anyway.

You spoke of the tone in Davy's post. Well, I detect a tone in yours that makes me think that you've got what it takes to be a real, sho' 'nuff pistolero. Most of what it takes, we take to the range before we even open the shooting or ammo box, and that's the simple WILL to do it. If a man's got the will, and is willing to learn by trial and error, isn't afraid of making mistakes, is willing to learn from his "betters," and is consistently and willfully challenging his own previous best effort, then he'll get there.

Good and CONSISTENT shooting is largely a matter of just plain, old fashioned wanting to do it. The rest is practice, noticing things, learning as you go, and just paying attention, always WANTING to do better. I've got a sneaking suspicion that you're the type of guy who's already on his way to becoming a real shooter. One thing that tips me off is that you're a listener, and you notice things that many just offhandedly dismiss, if they even note it at all. A man like that can't help learning, and the more a man learns, the more he'll put into practice, especially when what you're doing is just plain FUN, and satisfying as well.

One reason real shooters enjoy it so much, I think, is because they truly enjoy challenging themselves. After all, sitting there shooting the same ol' 2.5" group at 25 from a rest gets kinda' old, doesn't it? Some shooters get jaded because they just never challenge themselves, and fail to pay attention and learn.

When a shot flys an inch out at 10:00, the good shooter trys to figure out why. If he can't figure it out right then, he takes note and continues shooting until he does it again, and sooner or later, he'll notice what it was that made that shot fly there instead of where he wanted it to go. Then, he'll find out what's causing him to do that, and try to work out a "cure" for it. Might be the grips may need a tad of sanding at a certain point. Might be something else. Some things can be solved by modifying the equipment, and some have to be solved by modifying one's mind and habits and "muscle memory."

A Ga. State Trooper once told me that when they get issued those Smokey Bear hats at trooper school, they're told not to worry if they don't fit, because if they wear it long enough, their heads will change shape to fit the hats. Shooting well is a little like that sometimes, too. If you TRAIN yourself, and develop the right habits, and concentrate and pay attention, you WILL get GOOD!

One last thing: Concentration isn't something you MAKE yourself do, as so many think, and try to achieve. You have to LET yourself concentrate. There's a BIG difference! If you try to MAKE yourself concentrate, you increase your tenseness, trap yourself into a blind canyon of thought, and it becomes less and less likely you'll even be ABLE to concentrate, much less hit anything consistently. Go watch a good shooter, and one of the first things most notice is that he's as relaxed and intent as he can be. That's because he's having fun, and paying attention, and playing his own little game of "Well, let's see if we can put this one right smack dab on top of that 'X' and punch it right out."

I think if you'll think back to your best performances on the range, it was most likely when you were relaxed, and letting yourself have some quiet, pleasurable fun, and NOT when you were "bearing down." Am I right? One reason shooting becomes so enjoyable is that no matter what's going on elsewhere in the shooter's life, when he's on the range, he's SHOOTING, and that's ALL he's doing. He allows himself the simple liberty of taking care of all that other stuff when he gets through on the range. And you know what? After a good range session, he's likely to take the other stuff less seriously, and will likely handle it more effectively and with more aplomb as well. It really IS "all a state of mind," and IF a man can just ALLOW himself the simple liberty of a brief respite from all the cares of his world while he's at the range, he'll not only be a better man for it, he'll be a better shooter as well.

In this vein, shooting really CAN be a sort of "religious experience," just like sitting in the woods, just soaking up what's around you, the whispers of the wind, the rustle of the leaves, the scents of each plant or tree, and the overall scent of all of them together. LET your mind soak up what all's around you, and the cares of this world suddenly seem awfully small and trite.
THIS is what makes a good shooter. It's all in the Spirit, and the simple desire, and the ability to ALLOW ourselves to become something we want to be. It just simply can't be MADE to happen. It has to be ALLOWED.

Am I making any sense here????
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You make a lot of sense BW. My father retired out of the Marine Corps as a handgun instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolious, Maryland. When I was 12 years old, I started shooting a High Standard Field King 22 pistol under his instruction. He said Marines started training with that same pistol because it had the same grip angle as the 45 Colt auto they would later learn to shoot just as I later learned to shoot it. By the time I went into the service, I shot expert with rifle and pistol on the first day I was on the range.

When I got out of college and went to work, I was a special deputy sheriff. I was also in one of the most lawless counties in the south and one that had a lot of damn good shooters in it. In a matter of two years, I was a lieutenant in charge of the pistol team.

At this time, the National USA Combat Pistol Championship was held at the Mississippi Highway Patrol Pistol Range near Jackson, Mississippi. The range I shot on in the little town of Laurel was fully the equivelent of the Highway Patrol Range only it was newer and everything worked. Most of the time I shot at Jackson, something broke down in the middle of the darn match.

And, in those days, Bill Jordan was the South-Eastern NRA Field Rep. and he came to all of our matches. I got to know him very well and he usually stayed at my house over night or he at least always had dinner there.

When you shoot with and talk to and learn from those kinds of people, you learn to shoot just like you breathe. It becomes just that natural. We have all heard the advice about, sight picture, trigger control, stance, breathing, and mental conditioning. But I can tell you, just like my dad and Bill Jordan told me, that the only things you really have to do is Tiger the sights and make the sear break when you are sure the sights are alighned.

In other words, all that other stuff does not matter if the sights are not alighned and if you can't control the trigger. Now there are those who will tell you that you squeeze the trigger slowly and that a "surprise" break is what you want. BULL!! If you don't know or if you can't control the trigger break, you can't shoot a pistol. Maybe you can manage to get hits with a rifle but not a handgun. It takes MUCH MORE mental and physical control and skill to shoot a handgun well and if it isn't automatic, if you can't do it out of muscle memory, if it isn't just like breathing, you are not a trained handgun shooter.

That is what I mean when I say I shot a lot. Geeze. I shot so much it is about all I did do but I made EVERY SHOT count. I never shot a round that I didn't call first and I KNEW where my sight was when the sear broke and if it wasn't where I wanted it to be, I did a mental check and made myself "TIGHTEN UP" so the next round did and if you don't do that, you will NEVER be a good handgun shooter. When I started the shot, NOTHING ELSE EVER ENTERED MY MIND. I shut out EVERYTHING except my attention on the sight picture and making the sear break when I wanted it to. And anybody that says you can't do that is an inexperenced shooter and does not know any better simply because he has not been able to do it.

But then, you don't get to that level of shooting by going out in the dirt pit and just shooting cans with your buddy either. Every good handgun shooter I ever knew all had formal training usually by military trained people or law enforcement shooters who are usually X military shooters anyway.

It's true when we say " No good thing comes without effort." It is for damn sure you don't become a good handgun shooter without it and without burning a lot of powder while under the trained eye of a good coach. Once you learn what it takes to shoot, then it's up to you to do it but that early training is absolutely critical if you ever want to be anything except an also ran.

At least, that is my opinion anyway and I don't give a fig who agrees with it or not. I can't see worth a hoot anymore but I sure as hell would not want me shooting at me within 50 yards because if I do, I am gonna have a bullet hole in me every damn time I shoot and I still have absolute confidence in that.

I can't see those damn little "X"'s on the target anymore but if I can see it, I can still hit it.
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You two guys should be writin books or something. Yeah, you make perfect sense.

< I think if you'll think back to your best performances on the range, it was most likely when you were relaxed, and letting yourself have some quiet, pleasurable fun, and NOT when you were "bearing down." Am I right? >

This is correct. On my best days its almost like its a spectator sport, and I'M the spectator. I'm just watchin...seein what happens. I'm jus holding a pistol while I watch is all. When it goes good, I was right there and hopefully notice little things that were in place that allowed it to happen. I agree its more of a letting go than a bearing down. May sound a little twilight zone to some but its real and it works.

<Most fellows could shoot 100,000 rds. a year, and never get more than passable, because they just don't notice things, and the reason they don't notice things is because they don't really, really, really WANT to make the shot.>

Most would deny it too I think! I was like that until about 10 yrs ago & realized that even though I was going through a lot of ammo (for me) I wasn't really getting any better. It occured to me that they were just plinking sessions and I wasn't trying to get better. Then I started paying attention and found out I could actually shoot less ammo and get more out of it. Largely just paying closer attention.

<Most guys, when their pennies are on the line, start second-guessing themselves, and telling themselves that they probably won't make the shot.>

I try not to set limitations in my shooting. I go into it lately with the attitude of 'I am the greatest unknown pistol champion and can make the shot"! Others have done it before me so it IS possible. I just have to do my part. I think I should be able to call every shot or its like I just fired into the air without looking. I'm doin pretty good with that, 'looking through the shot'.

<that the only things you really have to do is Tiger the sights and make the sear break when you are sure the sights are alighned.>

Wouldn't that be like sayin that all you gotta do to play the Blues guitar is to hit all the right notes at the right times?:confused: :D

I hear you though, suprise break works on rifles but I dont think it can be correctly applied to pistols. You nudge it when coupled with a good sight picture enough times and learn what you can get away with, within the sphere. Some are calling this compressed suprise break.

<If you don't know or if you can't control the trigger break, you can't shoot a pistol.>

Exactly. I agree completely. Somebody at the door, gotta go...
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It all comes down to the Zen of pistol shooting Edward and here it is: SEE THE SHOT PERFECT. GUIDE THE BULLET TO THE TARGET WITH YOUR MIND.

Now I know you think that is, as you put it, "twlight zone" stuff, but it is true and you can learn to do it. If you don't see it perfect, I can tell you for sure, it will not be.

OK. I'll get off my soap box now. Sorry if I run on. I don't mean to sound like a know it all. Lord knows that isn't true.
Ah, on the contrary BP, Others see it as twilight zone, I see it as a reality. I've made it there a few times and go home feeling like it was spiritual or magical. Its more than just the bullseyes even though thats the goal.

Brian Enos touched on this stuff a little in his book and I've tried to discuss it with some other shooters, who wind up not getting it. Those are the shooters that don't do very well too.

'Going Zen' on demand is what I cant do yet. It happens sometimes. Sometimes it don't. One guy who kinda gets it tells me its probably what I eat the day before I go shooting that affects my system positivly or negativly and allows or disallows me to reach it. Says I should pump up on water for a week before shooting also, that its in the mind but proper diet allows the mind to be properly prepped and functional.

Guy, you don't run on unneccessarily and don't come off as a know it all. A know a hell of a lot maybe!;) So you just get back on that soapbox if it pleases you cause if you still talkin, I'm still listening. I enjoy your stories and theres plenty of tidbits in them that point me the right direction or confirm what I already knew/thought. You and Blackwater are top notch and I appreciate your time & effort to spread your knowledge to me. Life's short and you guys might not be here next year...So talk on. They should give you guys your own forum!

So did you make that dog shot single action? I try to stage the trigger on my RH in DA when shooting at 100yds, and I can do it pretty good but its a small spot where it stages and its easy to pull the shot if I don't get it right. Think thats a waste of time & ammo? I don't, but wondered bout what your thoughts are on the matter...
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I always made those kind of shots single action with the Mod. 29. And whenever I could, I always sat down and braced my back against something and held my revolver across my knees. I can get as steady like that as I can on sand bags. But I can't do any fine shooting with my 29 using fast double action. I can do right well using slow double action but what's the use? I cock my hammer with my left thumb and never move my grip hand or trigger finger.

But not being able to shoot a Mod 29 well using fast double action is not all due to the recoil factor. Frankly, most of it is in the trigger design. My Mod. 29 has the target hammer and trigger. In my opinion, they are an abomination and I should have had Smith change them out years ago. The target trigger is so wide, I can't shoot it double action very well at all. It actually cuts my skinny little trigger finger when I try to shoot it fast double action.

Interestingly enough, Elmer Keith said the same thing about target triggers. The trigger on my little 6 inch barrel Mod. 19 357 magnum is the standard, groved Smith trigger and I can make that sucker sound like an auto and hit with it. I'm sure sight picture recovery time is more with the 44 though, but most of the difference is due to that dang target trigger.

But 25 years ago I spent one rainy Sunday polishing it to perfection and I have not wanted to change it because I don't think I'll ever have another trigger in that Relover that is as fine as that one is right now. I can THINK the word fire and it will. That is of course, part mental conditioning, but when you get to the point where your sear breaks when you think fire, you have arrived where all good pistol shooters must get to in order to be able to shoot well.

As far as what you eat and drink, people will think I'm absolutely nuts but all of the more serious people I shot with all had a diet and exercise plan. All of us were runners and I ran 5 miles every day and seven miles on weekends. Most of us took 1000 mg of Niacin daily to keep our veins flushed out. Niacin is a basil dialator and it will cause you to "flush" when you take that much. Your head will get hot and you'll sweat but it'll flush your system and open up your veins.

DO NOT do this. If you are going to try it, start with 500 MGs and even then, I'll bet your face gets red and the top of your head gets hot. It's a rush and it's not comfortable. But it goes away in about 10 or 15 minutes. You can take more as your body becomes aclimated to it but none of us ever got to where 1000 mgs wouldn't cause us to flush.

I had a piece of broom handle about two feet long. I had a piece of nylon cord like you use to set trot lines with about 4 feet long attached to the broom handle. It had a small fishing weight on the other end and it does not have to be heavy. I'd start with the weight on the floor and I'd wind up that cord on the broom handle while holding it at arms length using both hands to wind it up. Then I'd unwind it and do that until I couldn't do it any more.

A good handgun shooter needs strong forearms. Try that little exercise and see what it does to your forearms. And of course, the last thing I did EVERY night was dry fire 10 rounds at a little target I had stuck on the other side of my bed room wall and I called a 10 on every shot or I dry fired until I did. That probably did more good than anything else to keep my shooting sharp.

So yeah, I ate salads, drank filtered water and gatoraide, took Niacin, meditated, exercised and ate, slept and breathed target shooting. Sure did. But like I said, Oree Parker was the International Shooting Union (ISU) world champion in 22 rapid fire and I shot with him every Saturday. Jim Meyers was the tri-state 2700 bullseye champion three years running and I shot with him every Saturday. We cast bullets and reloaded together and we practiced together. We coached each other and supported each other through the little slumps we all go through.

To tell you the truth Edward, when we shot, we only used a target center because it only has the first five scoring rings on it. If any shooter shot any bullet out of the black (out of the 9 ring) an audible gasp could be heard in the crowd. That was because you can see it really well because it's in the white and shows up like a sore thumb. And because everyone KNEW that shooter could not possibly win the match. The shooting was so close that if anyone ever blew a round out of the black into the 8 ring, he was toast.

I once shot a 98 with 6 X's and took third place because I was out X'ed. If you didn't shoot at least 99 with 8 X's, you would not place in the top two because that is the level of shooting that was being done.

Of course, we were in the master class and not everyone shot at that level but once you get there, you can say that you know how to shoot a handgun and be standing on very firm ground when you say it. We all could have applied for and got the Life Master Classification but none of us did because we knew we would loose the ability to compete at that level as we got older. Jim Meyers still competes in 2700 matches and he's 70 years old and he still shoots in the high expert class. He still exercises and takes Niacin. He still eats slads and lifts weights. He is still a bad MF on the firing line you betcha but he has spent a lifetime doing it and he can still see. For sure, it's darn difficult to shoot what you can't see as I know all too well.

Pistol shooting is like anything else in life that requires skill, discipline and effort. Most people want to be able to do it but they are not willing to make the commitment it takes to accomplish it. But no good thing comes without effort and that is a fact. Well, unless your name is Rockyfeller or Kennedy and even then, I'll bet none of those rich basnerds can shoot a pistol as good as I can now, even having a bad right eye.:confused:
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I hear ya on the 29 T trigger. My dad sent his 29-2 to my son and I loaded up some reeall light loads for it to let himget used to it and I of course had to try some fast DA work with it and sure enough, it kept pinching my finger.

I used to take niacin when I was on the healt kick thing and its like you can feel your hair growing on your head. I used to flush splotchy red from my head all the way down my chest. Pretty itchy stuff.

Think you could kinda outline the course of fire of one of those matches for me so I can go up and see just how I might fare if I was shootin next to you guys? Distance, power levels, targets, round counts and so forth. Is it all offhand?

My kids are pretty competitive but they dont go with me as much as they used too. Maybe if I brought home some targets they'd be spurred to try an best ol dad and get em up there some more!

We shot the Outdoor National Match course in 2700 aggregrate. You shot 900 possible points with the .22, 900 with a center fire, and 900 with the 45 auto for a total of a possible 2700 points or 270 shots. Everything was shot with one hand in the classic NRA stance.

2lb trigger minimum

2.5 lb trigger minimum (except .45 auto is 3.5)
.32 cal (.312) minimum, etc.

.45 ACP auto or Revolver
Auto must have a minimum 3.5 lb trigger
Revolver may have a 2.5 lb minimum trigger

Service Pistol:
.45 ACP Colt 1911 or clone
No external modifications allowed except:
- Stippled frontstrap
- Stippled triggerguard
- Adjustable rear sight
- Undercut square front sight
Guide rods and front slide serations ARE external
modifications, and NOT allowed.
Minimum trigger pull is 4 lbs.
Ammo must be FACTORY 230 Gr. FMJ Ball or brown box hard ball

50 ft. Slow (on B-2), Timed, Rapid (on B-3 Target)
or 25 yd. Slow (on B-16), Timed, and Rapid (on B-8)
or 50 yd. Slow (on B-6), 25 yd. Timed and Rapid (on B-8)

Slowfire Match:
1 stage, 20 shots
2 strings of 10 shots each in 10 minutes.
National Records are kept

National Match Course (50&25 yd),
NRA Short Course (25 yd),
3 stages 30 shots
Slowfire Stage
1 string of 10 shots in 10 minutes
Timed Fire Stage
2 strings of 5 shots each in 20 seconds
Rapid Fire Stage
2 strings of 5 shots each in 10 seconds
National Records are kept

Timed Fire Match:
1 stage 20 shots
4 strings of 5 shots each in 20 seconds
National Records are kept

Rapid Fire Match:
1 stage 20 shots
4 strings of 5 shots each in 10 seconds
National Records are kept

"900" Aggregate Match:
Aggregate of
1 Slowfire Match (200)
1 NMC (300)
1 Timed Fire Match (200)
1 Rapid Fire Match (200)
National Records are kept
Usual course of 50 foot Indoor Tournaments

"1800" Aggregate Match:
Aggregate of
1 900 Aggregate with .22 (900)
1 900 Aggregate with Centerfire (900)
NO National Records
Usual course of 25 yard Indoor Tournaments

"2700" Aggregate Match:
Aggregate of
1 900 Aggregate with .22 (900)
1 900 Aggregate with Centerfire (900)
1 900 Aggregate with .45 (900)
National Records are kept
Usual course of Outdoor Tournaments, State , Regional,
and the National Matches.

As a comparison, I shot in the low 2600's in the 2700 Bullseye matches with an occasional jump up to 2650 but I could never do it consistently enough to earn the high master classification. Myers and Parker, my shooting buddy's, were both high master shooters and always shot in the mid 2600's.

We also shot Siluetas Metalicas matches where you shot 10 steel chickens at 50 meters, 10 hogeux at 100, 10 turkeys at 150 and 10 rams at 200. But we didn't do much of that. It'll run you to death going down range and setting those dang targets back upright. Wore out 2 good four wheelers and a motorcycle doing it. Also got started off on the wrong foot with those shooters anyway.

And we shot "45 Combat Matches" that were all the rage back then but after I witnessed two different buckos shoot themselves through the upper thigh trying quick draw with a condition one 45 auto, I quit going because if he'll shoot himself, he'll damn well shoot me too.

I shot Eley 22 match grade stuff in my 22 ( which was a model 41 S & W). I shot 2.7 grains of Bullseye and a Lyman 148 grain wad cutter in a 38 Special case in my center fire (which was a S&W Model 52 Master) and 4 grains of bullseye and a 200 grain Lyman SCW in my 45 auto ( Which was a commercial Series 70 Colt Auto tricked out by Armond Swenson.).

I shot the steel rams with my S & W Mod. 29 44 mag. Loaded with 22 grains of 2400 and Keith's 250 grain SWC.bullet. It'll knock those dang rams on their tea kettle butts at 200 meters son and they don't get up either.

If you shoot tin cans and dirt clods, you get sloppy. To really hone your shooting skill, always shoot paper targets so you can see and measure what you are doing. If you can't measure it, you can't control it simply because you don't know where it is.

I agree it's more fun to shoot tin cans, but you will not become a good target shooter doing it. And once you get good on targets, you will not have any trouble shooting in the field. You hear people say stupid things like, Oh yeah, he's a good target shooter and always out shoots me but I can shoot circles around him out the field. BALONEY!! Any man that can stand there and knock the center X out of a target can shoot the dang eye out of critters in the field. I have never understood why some people think that way but many do. Pay no attention to them because they don't know what they are talking about.

Now the above is in reference to sight shooting. If you are going to point shoot, then shooting dirt clods or tin cans can be very beneficial because it will quickly show you the relationship of how you point your pistol to where the bullet strikes. Many people say you can't be a good shot using point shooting. Somebody should have told Bill Jordan that because he didn't know any better and shot those asprin tablets using point shooting techniques. And of course Col. Rex Applegate, the father of the CIA, proved the usefulness of it many years ago, and he was, and is, exactly correct about it's effectiveness.

I've shot so much, I can use either method about as well inside of about 20 yards. Past that distance, I use the sights whenever I can. You'll find point shooting to have a limit for you as well but it may be longer or shorter, depending on your experience, motivation and ability.

If you want to really "get into" this stuff, go to
and check it out. It'll give you more information than you want to know about it. Have fun.
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I wouldn't want you shooting at ME, EITHER! Not even if you were blind, blindfolded and hawg-tied! Really good shooters, I think, use their whole mind and body in lining up. Seeing and aligning the sights is just the final culmination when a quick shot's required. That's how Jordan and McGivern and others of their ilk did some of the things they did.

Point-shooting (not using the sights) has come into disrepute these days, but if Jordan could shoot aspirin tablets without using the sights, that's the best indication I can cite that it's the shooter's whole mind and body, working together, to sense and direct a bullet. Were it not so, Jordan couldn't have done what he did, and there's no doubt that he DID do it, because there are thousands of witnesses to not only his feats, but his consistency at it.

As you say, when it gets to be as natural as breathing, you've really learned to shoot. The eyesight may go, and the muscle memory may need a little "reminding" as time goes by, and the vagaries of life and age get to us, but a man who really learns to shoot will always be able to shoot well.

Another example of using one's whole body and mind together in unison is the quick, short range shots, often in self defense or to protect a client, that African PH's have sometimes had to make.
A miss and a client gets et, or stomped into red tinted dust. A man in that position HAS to get good, or he and his family don't eat. After all, dead clients don't pay!

Another thing relative to this, I think, is that I think good shotgunners have a greater understanding, albeit maybe inate or more "felt" than clearly understood, is how that mind-body relationship is the key to good, quick shotgun shooting. My eldest uncle, Uncle Titus, was without doubt, the very finest shotgunner I ever expect to know on this earth. That man was some sort of savant, I think. At his funeral, I got to talk to many of his cronies who knew him way back when. I asked them about the tales I'd heard so often about how when he was a teenager, he'd go out with the old single barrel 12-ga., and a box of 25 shells, and would often if not USUALLY come back with 30-32 or so birds! Now THAT is shooting! To a man - and woman - every one of them very matter of factly verified these stories. Of course, he was a fine rifle shot, too. Never saw him shoot a pistol, but any man who can shoot the long guns like he did would be short work on a pistol range, too, I think.

The fundamentals of shooting are one thing, and they DO help.
But I think the thing that separates the "men from the boys" in shooting will always be the simple DESIRE to do it. Without that, it's mostly just a casual endeavor, and that just isn't the key to really good shooting - certainly not field shooting, anyway.

It's funny, but I think those old folks who came up during the Great Depression, and pretty much HAD to make each shot count, were a step ahead of us more afluent "moderns" in shooting, because they had the WILL to hit sorta' "built in" by the economic plight of the time. I know that there were a LOT of "good shots" back then, and few of them really got to shoot like you and I have had the privilege of doing. The simple DESIRE to hit really makes a LOT of difference. I doubt any man's deadlier than a man whose belly thinks his throat's been cut.

The first 3 rules of getting really good, in my opinion, are motivation, motivation and motivation. I never had the inate talent of a Jordan or McGivern, but I got awfully good, and the key was that I could do it fast AND accurately. My favorite "drill" was to take 2 or 3 1 or 2 lb. coffee cans, or similar, out to the lower 40 and do a quick turn around and shoot on each as fast as I could shoot. When I started, I missed widely a LOT. But as time went on, I got into the rhythm and timing, and started getting that "flash" sight picture you read about (and it really IS just a "flash," too!), and I started hitting or badly scaring those cans with almost every shot. THAT kind of shooting only comes with a LOT of shooting. I think Jordan shot, if not every day, then about 3-5 times a week, didn't he? And when he and his ilk shoot, they notice stuff that most just simply don't, and they LEARN from it. That only comes with motivation, and that's why motivation's so crucial to excelling at any endeavor, whether it be shooting, or whatever. The funny thing is, the more you learn, the more interesting and challenging it gets, and the more you tend to notice, and the more you tend to learn. It's a snowballing kind of thing.

It's really neat, too, to have something to do that, no matter what's going on around you, allows you a true respite from it all.
Getting engrossed in your shooting is a truly great pleasure, and the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. I guess it's like a lot of stuff in life in that respect, isn't it?

I just wish Uncle Titus could have made me a better shotgun shot!
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Yep BW. It sorta reminds me of flying Piper niner six four two Delta under the Interstate Highway 59 bridge over Leaf River down in the Free State of Jones. It was, as you say, engrossing. But those hippies that were hiding under there smoking dope didn't think so.

You know there are some people who just have no sense of humor?
Yep. Hippiefolk purdy much burnt they sense'a humor up. Yew'd thank, jes' lookin' at 'em, an' how they smiles so dang much, that they'd have a rip-roarin' sense'a humor, but NOOOOOOOO! They jes' set thar lak a doe in yer headlights when ya' speak multi-sylabul werds at 'em, lak, "Don't move!" an' "Set rat thar!" It's a good thang God invented big sticks, ain't it?
I doan know cuz I never talked to them much because it never did any good. I always just pointed to where I wanted them to get and if they didn't get, I'd poke'm with a seven battery cattle prod to "encourage" their cooperation. I've never seen one it didn't "encourage." In fact, I've seen times when it caused a religous experience to occur and they'd yell out "Oh lord" as they were converted to the true way and saw the light.

I remember one Saturday afternoon I was floating down that same Leaf river in my canoe fly fishing when I rounded a curve and there were half a dozen or so hippies naked and playing in the river. I knew about half of them. They were all stoned as they were most of the time. So I got in the deep part of the river on the off side and started around them. One big ole boy named John Watts that I'd arrested twice before, dove under water and I knew he was coming toward the canoe. So I picked up my little stainless 4 inch Model 66 Smith and waited for him to "surprise" me. As he surfaced beside me, I stuck the barrel in his mouth and asked him if he knew Jesus.

Like I said, some people just have no sense of humor at all ,but that sumbritch walked on the water that day to get back to the bank. It was the following weekend that I flew under the Interstate bridge. It was the same bunch under the bridge that was naked in the river. Hell, I STILL think it was funny but some people say I have a strange sense of humor.
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