38 hitting low

This is a discussion on 38 hitting low within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have a J frame 642 that I frequently carry. Accuracy wise I couldnt be happier. All of the ammo I have is 135.130,110 they ...

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Thread: 38 hitting low

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array camsdaddy's Avatar
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    38 hitting low

    I have a J frame 642 that I frequently carry. Accuracy wise I couldnt be happier. All of the ammo I have is 135.130,110 they group great but at 7 yards are 3-4 inches low. I realize in a self defense situation a palm size group 3-4 low would still be center mass. I tried 158 lswchp made by Fed but they jump crimp by the third shot so Im not confident in them. I am wondering should I adjust the sites or should I find 158 gr or is 3-4" consistantly low not an ammo issue and maybe operator error

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array highvoltage's Avatar
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    The only way to accurately tell is to put the gun in a pistol rest, line it up and fire a few rounds. If it's accurate in a rest then it's you. If it's 3-4 inches low then it's the sights.

    If it turns out to be you, you might be flinching. To test put a spent casing in the wheel along with live rounds. Spin the wheel before you close it (don't peek), then fire. When you get to the empty chamber if your barrel goes down as you pull the trigger, you're flinching. Work on maintaining an accurate sight picture throughout the trigger pull and follow through.

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    VIP Member Array zacii's Avatar
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    Snub 38s are generally calibrated for 158 grain loads. Anything lighter will usually hit low.
    bmcgilvray and pistola like this.
    Trust in God and keep your powder dry

    "A heavily armed citizenry is not about overthrowing the government; it is about preventing the government from overthrowing liberty. A people stripped of their right of self defense is defenseless against their own government." -source

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    Member Array crabbys44's Avatar
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    If you are getting consistent groups, it's probably not your trigger pull. But that low at 7 yards probably is.

    To be sure: Load some empty brass with live rounds mixed randomly, or better yet have someone else load for you. When you "fire" an empty, you will see if your front sight is dipping. If it is dipping the best cure is dry practice, LOTS of dry practice.

    Triple check your weapon is empty and there is no ammo in the room with you. Tape a nickle on a safe surface, like your gun safe, or at least on a wall not adjoining anybody you like. Practice your trigger press and concentrate on the front sight not moving. I used to put a fired case on top of the barrel and dry practice without letting the case fall off. Then when that's easy, balance a dime on top of the front sight. You will usually get a full trigger press, but the impact of the hammer is usually enough to make the dime fall off. When they fall, leave them on the ground and pick them up when you are DONE dry practicing. Consider it your "cool down" period and time to get your mind out of dry practice mode and back into reality.

    The mechanics of live fire is the same as dry fire. Sight alignment, sight picture, and (most importantly) trigger control never change. Live fire is just louder. Let each round surprise you (surprise break).

    BTW when the round does go off, keep the trigger to the rear in recoil and get a new sight picture immediately BEFORE you reset the trigger. This will teach you follow through and after trigger control is probably the best thing you can do to improve accuracy.

    Remember, 1 shot 2 sight pictures.

    Good luck and stay safe.
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    Senior Member Array camsdaddy's Avatar
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    so what is the standard impact diviation normally between 125 and 158

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    Senior Member Array camsdaddy's Avatar
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    Certainly going to try more dry fire drills. I guess the good thing is Im consistantly low which means once I overcome this my shooting should be pretty good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zacii View Post
    Snub 38s are generally calibrated for 158 grain loads. Anything lighter will usually hit low.
    Bingo - here's your answer.

    Shooter technique will also affect POI. Not sure if the top of your 642 is flat enough, but try balancing a penny on the frame or barrel when you dry fire (and please, no ammo in the room when you practice). Perhaps have someone video tape you as you squeeze the trigger - that's a long DA pull on the 642.
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    Smitty
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    Senior Member Array camsdaddy's Avatar
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    Honestly I know this is the answer. I have had this issue and always blamed the guns. Its time that I work on the software more and the hardware less. If I get this worked out I will be WELL armed with my snub

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    camsdaddy :
    I think you have to aim higher when you shoot so close.
    This is why I said that:
    When I was on active duty, aviators were armed with .38's. I had to aim in at 6 o'clock on the bull at 25 yds; then at 15 yds I had to aim in at center bull.

    As far as the .357 jumping crimp, it is all the recoil because of the light revolver.
    The .357 is faster than the .38 so it leaves the barrel faster, before recoil raises the barrel to the same point as the .38's. POA often changes when ammo grain weight or velocity is changed in a handgun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zacii View Post
    Snub 38s are generally calibrated for 158 grain loads. Anything lighter will usually hit low.
    Zacii got it.

    Curious how the 158 grain loads are jumping their crimp in your Model 642. Well over a thousand 158 grain lead SWC loads, including several hundred +P 158 grain loads have been fired through the Model 642 kept around here and no bullets have "come loose."
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    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

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    Senior Member Array camsdaddy's Avatar
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    Im unsure they are Federal factory 158 LSWCHP+P in 38 special they fire the first one or two and then the cylinder will not rotate. I find the bullets have jumped our and are preventing it from turning.

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    Hi camsdaddy;

    Federal is the only 158 grain +P I've never fired in my Model 642. I've fired quite a bit of the Winchester rendition and a box of Remington. Also some heavy handloads but I crimp the hooey out of them to make the bullets stay put.

    I've read that there has been a Smith & Wesson advisory about using lead bullets in the Airweight revolvers due to the potential of tying up a revolver. It certainly would be worth it to satisfy oneself that the ammunition will reliably hold up to recoil.

    Wonder if anyone else reading this has had this issue crop up?
    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

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    Member Array crabbys44's Avatar
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    The only time I've heard of it happening is with a super light gun shooting a hot load. Or a heavy hunting revolver with REAL HOT CorBon or Buffalo Bore loads.
    Courage is endurance for one moment more…

    Hollowpoints might expand, but bullets won't shrink.

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