snub nose shooting help needed

This is a discussion on snub nose shooting help needed within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Ok, so recently I got my S&W 638, which I intend to use as a carry piece during the warmer months when I can carry. ...

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Thread: snub nose shooting help needed

  1. #1
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    Array buckeye .45's Avatar
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    Question snub nose shooting help needed

    Ok, so recently I got my S&W 638, which I intend to use as a carry piece during the warmer months when I can carry. The problem is that I don't feel comfortable carrying it yet. After two range trips of about 100 rounds each, I can't seem to get a decent grouping out of it, nor a level of accuracy for even under 7 yards that I find acceptable.

    I am no great marksman, but I can usually do a pretty respectable job with a handgun. On both trips, it tended to shoot high, although beyond that there was no pattern to my lack of skills (yeah, I am going to blame myself for this instead of the revolver.) I don't think that it is just the sights, because they are pretty much the same as on my Rossi 461, which I am completely comfortable with out to 15 yards or so with. The Rossi does have a full size grip though, and the Smith obviously does not, and I think that is where most of the problem is coming from. My father also seemed to be shooting it high.

    As best as I can describe my firing grip on it, the web between my thumb and index finger is at the bottom of the hammer slot, choked up high, with thumb tucked down, touching the middle finger, with both middle and ring finger on the grip fully, and pinky kind of curled up on the bottom of the grip (sorry, I don't have a camera at school or id try to take pics.)

    So, if anyone has any suggestions or comments even on anything as basic as how to hold a weapon with the shortened grip, I'll try em, because my shooting with it can't get too much worse at this point. Thanks in advance.
    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

    Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
    NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor

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  3. #2
    Ex Member Array Pete's Avatar
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    I can't offer any accuracy tips but I can say that I have the same problem to a greater or lesser degree and learnt to accept it.
    Snubs are not for accuracy, period. They are often carried as a BUG so are a last resort type of firearm. They certainly are not for those kind of distances you cited.
    I got a snubby a few months back, I love carrying it but when I first fired it I was surprised at the lack of accuracy, probably where you are right now.
    I saw a feature on one of the TV gun programs where Walt Rauch explained snubs for shooters used to semis (me). He explained that probably 95% of shootings with a snub are at short distance, so accuracy is moot.
    Try a torso target at 7 yds and at 4 yds, you will put every shot in the right place (9 - X ring). For me that is good enough.
    YMMV, that's ok. But I just want my snubby to hit a close torso. I have my Glock 34 for IDPA.

    Hope this helps, it took me a while to come to terms with not shooting as well with one of my guns.

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    I certainly see what you are saying 0.02, but I'd still like to see some sort of grouping besides on the paper at 7 yards. I don't expect it to be able to do what my 1911 or .22 target pistols do.

    It is possible that part of my problem is that I do get decent accuracy with a snub nose at longer ranges, but that snub is basically a K-frame, with a nice full sized grip, and only happens to have a 2 inch barrel.

    Oddly enough the single action mode on the 638 didn't really make me feel any better about myself, as it wasn't as accurate as I wanted either. But that is what further research and range time is for.
    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

    Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
    NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor

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    Member Array BigBore's Avatar
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    What's the bullet weight of the
    ammo you are using ?.My 642 i had shot slightly high with any
    158gr loads.I switched to a 125gr
    load and it shot POA out to 20
    yards.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Array Smith&Wessonfan's Avatar
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    buck, how about some hands on coaching? I am by no means a champion shot but I can wring out better accuracy than that from my 637.

    If you can make it to Piqua Fish & Game or Miami Rifle & Pistol one of these weekends we can compare notes.

    BTW there are two spots left on an advanced CCW clinic at MRPC on May 19th. A club member who is also a Federal Flight Deck Officer will be instructing. Let me know if interested for contact info.

    PS. Your gun is a J frame, smaller than a K frame by a noticeable amount.

    PPS. J frames (especially the aluminum and scandium framed ones) like to be gripped very firmly. They do tend to buck a bit more than most.

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    All the shooting was just with WWB 130 gr FMJ. No need to shoot Silvertips until I am comfortable with it.

    Smith Fan, The K-Frame refence was talkin aobut my other snub nose, with is a Rossi 461 (very similar to a S&W K-frame.)

    Thanks for the coaching offer, but my weekends are usually taken up by work at night, so I sleep all day. But if it looks like I'll have a weekend free I'll PM you about it.
    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

    Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
    NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor

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    VIP Member Array ELCruisr's Avatar
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    0.02 is right to a point. I usually practice at about 20 to 25 feet and get about a 4" group at that range. It did take some practice to get there but the biggest single improvement I made was some after market grips. The stock grips just didn't cut it for me. They are a little larger but I can still pocket carry with them in a pair of jeans or cargo shorts. All in all I figure it took me just over 300 rounds to really get used to it.

    http://www.combatcarry.com/vbulletin...6&d=1176772505
    If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good. ~ Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

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    Member Array samtechlan's Avatar
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    Try the Crimson Trace Laser grips. They make a huge difference withe the J frames. In fact I happen to think that with the laser grips and the Gold Dot 135 grain +p round designed for snubbies the j frames are more than just an old fashioned belly gun. Certainly no 1911 or Python type accuracy but good enough out to 15-20+ yards. Check out www.crimsontrace.com.

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    Ex Member Array Pete's Avatar
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    I need to add that I was referring to speed shooting, not target shooting. It seems we're comparing apples and oranges with your K-frame at 75 ft and my J-frame at 21 ft.

    Your J-frame on the other hand is a fair comparison for mine obviously, I'm happy with 3-4" groups at 21 ft.

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    Speed shooting with the J-frame I would be happy with a 3-4" group, but I'm not even doing that yet, not even trying for accuracy with just SA. The best choice is probably just to do more practice, but I just don't want to be practicing wrong and reinforcing bad habits.

    Even out to 15 yards with the Rossi is still not really target shooting its still for speed with decent accuracy. Target shooting is just for the .22.

    I want some CT's but as a full time student, cash flow is an issue, they are on the list to buy though.
    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

    Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
    NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor

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    Hello. Here are some observations on the J-frames if it might be of some use:

    http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/M...ame%20Work.htm


    Best and good luck in your efforts.

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    build up the grip, I believe there inserts that attach on the front of the grip. For a quick and temporary fix, try taping a long rubber eraser to the front of the hand grip. The first time I qualified with a .38 the old timers told me to do that and it worked. At least it will give you a way to try the idea on the cheap.

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    Member Array Sam Douthit's Avatar
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    I am not sure what accuracy you start talking about when using a snub nosed revolver. If shooting single action from a sandbag rest is one way, or maybe off hand with double action. It makes a great deal of difference. When you speak of accuracy in a pistol my mind goes to the gun fastened in a Ransom rest and fired without the involvement of human frailties. Most all guns shoot better than the shooter. They shoot where they are aimed and are affected by breathing, trigger pull, heart beat, eye sight and grip on the pistol. Nothing that a human can do will equal a machine. Accuracy is a relative term. Training will improve your accuracy if you practice what you learn.
    Last edited by Sam Douthit; April 22nd, 2007 at 11:37 PM.
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    Very informative read Stephen, thanks.

    Sam, I agree that accuracy is very relative. They way I shoot in the competitive clubs (smallbore rifle and pistol) I am in on campus is very different than how I shoot with a weapon I intend to use for self defense. For a SD weapon I generally consider being able to get all the rounds into a 4-5 inch group rapid fire accurate enough, for competition obviously I am going for to center ring.

    With the 638 I couldn't seem to get any sort of grouping at all with any consistency, and I know that is my fault and not the weapon's. I am just trying to figure out what I can do to change that.
    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

    Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
    NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor

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    VIP Member Array ELCruisr's Avatar
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    One other thing I noticed was the trigger improved with more use as well. The first few hundred rounds the trigger on my 638 was pretty bad. I still debate having a 'smith tune it but it's really got a lot smoother with use.

    The other side of the coin is many self defense encounters have a bad habit of happening at very close distance by the time you've drawn. One individual I know of refers to his J Frame BUG as his "Get the heck off me gun".
    If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good. ~ Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

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