S&W snubby and keyholing

This is a discussion on S&W snubby and keyholing within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; So today marked the day where guns were dirtied again. Shooting Sports, here I come. Grew a wild hair and wanted to try something different, ...

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Thread: S&W snubby and keyholing

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array BAC's Avatar
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    S&W snubby and keyholing

    So today marked the day where guns were dirtied again. Shooting Sports, here I come. Grew a wild hair and wanted to try something different, so I took advantage of their rental policy and played with two revolvers in .357 magnum: Colt King Cobra (4") and a S&W hammerless snubby whose exact model I don't recall (I think a 340). The Cobra was wonderful in every way; great trigger in both single and double action, mild recoil, and smooth all around. I could rip 'em off and hit the little rectangle on the blue silhouette targets on all but one shot. Not bad for a my first time shooting a revolver since the half-box of .44 mag early this year and my second time ever. Since I want my first revolver to be a .357 in a 4" configuration, I'm thinking I'm going to have to hunt for a Cobra somewhere.

    The S&W wasn't quite as nice, but not because of any deficiency in any of the above categories. I didn't even expect recoil to be as mild as it turned out to be, so that's a bonus. No, it was when I looked at the target and noticed that from 5 yards out shots were keyholing and hitting the target sideways or at another odd angle. More shots hit like this than hit normally.

    Now, I realize snubbies are seriously close-quarters SHTF guns, but something tells me S&W makes a better revolver than one that has a tendency to send bullets away at funny angles. Ammo was crappy, no two-ways about that (one box had four duds, and probably a dozen total that needed a second go to fire), but the Colt still handled it all just fine as far as sending the lead downrange. The S&W really didn't.

    Is this common for snubbies, or is this particular revolver just suffering from "rental-gun-itis" and has been used/abused so long that something's causing a problem for bullets leaving the barrel?


    -B

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    That is highly unusual for a S&W snub and at 5 yards something is radically wrong with that particular firearm.

    Just to give you some idea of how nasty that particular snub you shot was...Bob Munden can pop balloons all day long out at 200 yards with an "Out Of The Box" S&W snubbie.

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    VIP Member Array cdwolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    Just to give you some idea of how nasty that particular snub you shot was...Bob Munden can pop balloons all day long out at 200 yards with an "Out Of The Box" S&W snubbie.
    Man I wish I had the money for ammo and time to get that good with a 2". That man knows he can shoot!!!
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    +1 on that. It's a shame (in this case) that shooters are going to judge the performance of a S&W snub based on a defective rent-a-firearm and poor ammo.
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    Senior Member Array Sky Pilot's Avatar
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    Read an article better than a decade ago about using extra heavy bullets in a snub with intent to keyhole, the idea was a keyholing bullet at snub ranges would hit harder. The author's premise was the shorter (standard length) bullets would stabilize but the heavier (therefore longer) bullets would not.
    I have to agree with the above comment about trashy ammo and a defective rental snub.
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    VIP Member Array BAC's Avatar
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    Cool, confirms the suspicion I had. Thanks guys.


    -B

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    Member Array ofdesp's Avatar
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    +1 on the Colt King Cobra. Love mine.

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    I'm a S&W fan but the Cobra is great, no doubt.
    What kind of ammo did you shoot? 38 special or 357? Was it factory ammo or reload? In any event, it's highly abnormal to have so many failures. Weak primer strikes are probably the fault of the firearm and not the ammo. I have seen that with a rented, well-used Smith Model 60 snub but only a few times, using 38spl 130gr FMJ.

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    VIP Member Array BAC's Avatar
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    It was cheap .357 magnum, but I honestly don't recall the brand/load. I know the ammo contributed to a little, but like I said, it shot fine out of the King Cobra (well, when I didn't need to hit it twice). The misfires I don't blame the gun for, it was the keyholing that had me concerned.


    -B

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    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    Ammo

    Was the ammo Lead or jacketed? A bore badly fouled by cheap lead ammo will cause keyholes. Might just need a good bore cleaning to restore it. Of course, if it's a really high volume rental, it could have plenty of problems, damage, abuse, been dropped, etc.

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    Member Array showmebob's Avatar
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    My SP101 will keyhole with reloads but will shoot factory loads just fine. My reloads were lead unjacketed bullets. I no longer shoot them.

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    Like most, I have never had that problem out of my 340 or 642.

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