Yesterday, after a ho-hum day at work, I decided to head to the West Side Rifle & Pistol Range on W. 20th Street in Manhattan (NYC). I figured I could use the practice with the Glock, those low scores of mine were bugging me; and I also wanted to make sure I did not get stuck in Memorial Day weekend traffic on the way home. Besides that I wanted to shoot my Ortgies pocket pistol, and a couple of my 22LR handguns I had with me. As it turned out, I forgot the key for one of the gun locks, so my Beretta 70 S stayed in the range bag. I did have a good time though with the S&W Model 17-8, and with my Ortgies and Glock.
As for the Glock, I banged away with about 250 or 300 rounds of ammo. That was fun, and presumably I needed the practice. When it came to the S&W Model 17, I probably fired another 300 rounds easily. Its the only revolver I own, but it sure can be a lot of fun. Being a 10 shot, and shooting inexpensive .22LR rounds, fun is bound to be had with it.
When it came to the Ortgies, I only had 14 rounds of ammo with me for it (I had it in my bag without extra ammo than what was in its two magazines), so I decided to see just how accurate it could be for close in slow fire. I set the target up at 7 yards and fired all 14 shots at it. I was shooting FMJ Magtech .32Auto ammunition. Not a bad little group at 1 5/8". Next time when I have more ammo for it with me, I'll shoot rapid fire, point shooting, at the same distance and also at a closer range to see just how good of a pointer this would be in a self defense situation. My guess is it would be a whole lot better than yelling for help when a bad guy was trying to hurt you.
As you can see from the photo of the target this little pistol, manufactured sometime in 1920's Germany, is inherently pretty accurate. I don't know if it was me, the ammo, or the gun that put almost every shot a tad high and to the right. I'll try with another brand of ammo and see if I get different results. As for the gun itself, I can tell you the sights are darned difficult to pick up, especially with my middle aged eyes, and my guess would be that they would be virtually useless in a low light situation thereby demanding that you resorted to point shooting with it. They are certainly nothing like modern combat sights, and are basically just a sight channel milled out of the top of the slide, and a thin blade front sight milled into the front of the slide. All in all though, my guess is: it would be okay for close in self defense work; and after all that is just what for a pistol like this was designed.
Then onto the S&W revolver. I can say without a doubt that the ammo I shot through the S&W Model 17 made a lot of difference in the group size. I shot four different types of ammo through it on this range trip. I started with Federal Champion solid nosed ammo. This stuff is old, probably at least 15 to 20 years old. It still shoots and gets the job done, though it is pretty dirty leaving a lot of unburned powder behind. I got a fairly tight group with it with one flier. It was high and to the left at 21 feet when aiming center of the target. Of 7 shots fired aiming center of target, 6 were in a group almost covered by a quarter, with one flier. Measured group size was 1 1/4" for 7 shots. When I changed the sight picture to that of a lolly pop, and used Kentucky windage to move things a bit right, the last three shots were pretty much in the bull. A sight adjustment for this ammo would do the trick.
Then I put some American Eagle high velocity solid nosed ammo through the S&W. All the shots were closer to the center, but no tight grouping as with the federal Champion. In fact this ammo produced the widest grouping (not counting fliers) that I shot all day with the 22LR ammo. These shots were scattered in a group spread out to 2 5/8"; pretty miserable.
Next up was Peters high velocity solid nosed bullets. Te ones that come in the yellow plastic box. I had 6 of them make one hole, but also had 2 fliers, and 2 that were close enough to the rest of the group not to be considered fliers. Another 1 1/4" group size, not counting the fliers. All of these also a little to the left, and high (except for one low left flier). I guess that a sight adjustment would do the trick.
Finally I shot some Remington Golden Bullets, high velocity, solid nose. I got 9 shots in a 1 1/9" inch group, pretty much dead center of the target, with one flier low to the left. I cannot recall, but my guess is that last time I adjusted the sights on the S&W it was for this lot of Remington Golden Bullets.
Not the best I have ever shot, not by a long shot, but not the worst I will ever shoot either. All in all I had a fun time at the range, even though I spotted one guy a few lanes to my right who decided he was Billy The Kid, or some other desperado. He was shooting from the hip, somewhat from behind the booth, and therefore definitely too far behind the firing line, with a pistol in each hand. Every few shots I heard that unmistakable zing of a round ricocheting off of something. Since this range is in the basement of an old building in NYC, it has support pillars downrange, and I figured that was where some of his bullets were striking. Luckily no one was hit by a ricochet. Of course, once I saw that, I was off of the range and over to one of the guys who worked there to say my piece about this
Once I left the range, I made it home in about 35-40 minutes at most. That has got to be a record for me, and I drove right at the speed limit at least 95% of the way. I guess staying at the range until about 8PM did the trick and all of the holiday weekend traffic had disappeared, along with all of those folks who were trying to disappear for the weekend.
All the best,