(Scroll down for updates) I have been looking at bigger-bore revolvers for a while now. Wheelgun reliability + bigger bullets sounded like a winner to me.
The lack of .44SPL ammo availability (and the anemia of the ammo I have seen tested) pushed me away from a Bulldog and towards the Pitbull. 5-shots, stainless steel frame, DA with exposed hammer. And since it’s a revolver, the chamber is “fully supported”. LOL.
I saw one in the case at the newest gun store in the area, Woodbridge Firearms, and I pulled the trigger so to speak. A more complete review will be forthcoming, but here are my initial impressions after a box and a half of ammo:
After looking back at my ballistics testing, I find myself very troubled by the results of the .38 Spl ammo tests.
In addition to testing more 9mm in the short-barrel Kahr, and more .40S&W in the Glock and the carbine, I procured a batch of different .38 ammo to test. Oddly, not a single retailer stocked the old standby “FBI Load” (.38SPL +P with a 158gr lead semi-wadcutter hollowpoint)
I will be re-testing the Speer Gold Dot short-barrel .38 ammo. I will be using two .38 snubnose revolvers to verify my findings, and a 4″ gun to give some perspective from a “typical” .38 revolver.
While I was caught short on 9mm ammo to test, I had plenty of .38 laying around so I decided to test that.
I discovered some pretty troubling things.
To be clear: most manufacturers publish their ballistics numbers based upon testing that uses a 4″ vented test barrel. Testing that same ammo in a snubnose .38 will result in lower velocities; that’s to be expected. How much lower? Sometimes a little, and sometimes a lot!
Hollow-point bullets are designed to expand properly within a certain envelope of velocities. If the bullet is moving slower than the minimum of the envelope, the bullet won’t expand (resulting in deeper penetration and less “stopping power”). If the bullet is moving faster than the maximum of the envelope, the bullet may fragment instead of expanding (creating a shallower wound channel and less penetration).
If you are going to entrust your life to a gun/ammo combination, you had better make sure you know exactly what you are using and have a good grasp of what it will (and will not) do.
It was soft shooting, and the trigger was an easy enough transition from a DAO revolver trigger. During the break-in period as spelled out in the manual (200 rounds), and later practice, I found it to be completely reliable and more accurate than I expected. 3″ – 4″ groups at 50′ if I did my part. The short sight radius made it a little challenging.
And since it has the shortest barrel of any 9mm I own (3″, including the chamber), I thought I had better test some ammo to see how much velocity I lose with that short of a barrel.
We have talked about pistol-caliber carbines before. They are light, fun to shoot, more accurate than a handgun of the same caliber, and give your favorite cartridge a little extra velocity, too.
But how MUCH extra velocity? Lots of estimates get thrown around, but not a lot of hard #s. And how accurate are the factory specs, anyway?
Well here they are.