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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I may have to carry this new handload.

A week or two ago I loaded up a batch of 180-grain Penn bullets over a bunch of Blue Dot (the max acc. to American Rifleman and Alliant), using CCI small pistol primers and a firm crimp from the Lee FCD. According to Alliant's info, I expected somewhere in the neighborhood of 1127 fps from a 6" tube (such as the one on my King Cobra).

Well, the old KC is plenty strong, so I wanted to try the loads out in it prior to putting them through my K-frame 65-5. I'll tell you what: I got a lot more velocity than I was expecting!


The KC's 6" tube gave me an average of 1242 fps, with an extreme spread of 70.83, and a SD of 31.30. Wow - I was sort of amazed at the velocities, but inwardly groaning, "What is it with Blue Dot and big extreme spreads? Time and again I get these, unless I load at pressures that are troublesome."

But, the loads were controllable and didn't seem especially high-pressured. So, I decided to run some through my K-frame. (I figured that I wasn't likely to have a cracked forcing cone from these big boys.)

Was I surprised!
Average velocity was 1230 fps from the 3" barrel, with an ES of only 21.32 and a SD of 8.06 fps. They weren't terribly kick-y, either, though I wouldn't call them particularly fun to shoot in my 65-5 with the smooth nylon Hideout stocks provided to me by a friend on the forum. :)


180-grainers in the 65-5

My friend picked up the King Cobra and loaded up some of the 180-grainers. Took aim at the 200-yard gong. First shot: clang. My other friend and I were all, "Whoa!" Later my friend was potting the 200-yard gong with the 3" 65-5, too!


I shot a group at 10 yards to be sure that the 65-5 would do. Under an inch (though with a flyer - as I said, it's not an especially pleasant round out of the K-frame with the smooth concealment stocks on it - though it's not bad, either) and about an inch-and-a-quarter above POA.

The sectional density on this bullet is .202! I think I'll be leaving the 1076 home when I hike from now on - I can't imagine a better woods round for this light little carry favorite.



Smith & Wesson 65-5 (as modified by Sam Damewood) with Hideout stocks
 
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Well, I may have to carry this new handload.
For 20 or 30 years now it has been pretty much universally accepted that carrying handloads for personal defense is absolutely not the smart thing to do, as it can put you in very grave legal jeopardy in court if you do get into a justifiable homicide and the DA decides to prosecute. This is because the prosecuting attorney can, before a maleable and impressionable jury, portray you as a malevolent, devious type that spent uncountable hours in your basement concocting the "ultimate killer load" and then going out looking for somebody to test it on. Such a scenario (this isn't "theory," this has actually transpired in court) can portray you in a very bad light and can make it much more difficult (possibly impossiible) for your attorney to convince the jury that your use of deadly force was justifiable


This isn't opinion. Any responsible source or publication on the judicious use of deadly force with a firearm will say the same thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
(Oh no, not again! :))

I'm a criminal defense lawyer - if you want to read my comments about carrying handloads, they're found on this and many other forums. I'm okay with it. Thank you for your concern, but I'd prefer to keep this thread about my new load, not about whether I should carry it.
 

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Hello Erich,

Thank you for the great report! I am glad to here that your 65-5 was up to the task, because if you can do, than so can I in my 65-5. The accuracy results of the round are outstanding! I am very suprised about the velocity results from a 3" barrel. I would have logically assumed that they would be significantly less compared to your 6" King Cobra.

Where can I find Penn Bullets? I'll do a hunt down at Bass Pro Shop on the Blue Dot and order the TCD from midwayusa.com.

Thank you again for the excellent report and I agree, this isn't about handloads for self-defense.

So, let's not go there folks.

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi Chris,

:) Thank you for the compliment. I just ordered directly from Bob Palermo, the owner of Penn Bullets. He's got a great online site: http://www.pennbullets.com/38/38-caliber.html

Mr. Palermo will size them the way you want them - I think mine were .358". I was really impressed with the bullet-to-bullet weight consistency of these and the other bullets (.451" 255-grain round noses and 225-grain full wadcutters) that I got from him. Another thing that I really liked is that Bob crammed all the bullets into a flat-rate Priority Mail box, so cross-country shipping for about 40 pounds of lead only came to about $10. :)

Let me know if you'd like me to email you the charge weight I used.

cheers, erich
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I put these up at a couple of other forums today (thought I'd put them here as well, but maybe not . . . unless they were too large, but I don't think they are) - slightly better photos:





 

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Hello Erich,

Nice pictures and they are just fine.

You make me want to head to the range tomorrow and give my 65-5 a workout....and then to Bass Pro Shop to pick up some Blue Dot!

Thank you for the link to Penn's website. They really do have some very interesting bullets to try out.

Your new loads and S&W will certainly make a fine hiking companion.

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Good deal, Chris!

One word of caution: Blue Dot seems great with these 180-grainers, but I often have wildly varying velocities (really big extreme spreads) when using it unless I'm at the upper reaches of pressures. It's a great powder for .41 mag (the reason I bought it for the first time) and the 10mm, and heavy .357 bullets. I have loaded up some 158-grain JSP .357 loads over the max charge of Blue Dot from the old Speer # 10 manual (way above today's "book max") - these gave me 1350 fps from a 6" King Cobra, but seemed really hot and extracted very stickily. Accordingly, I haven't put them into my 65-5 . . . don't want to risk it getting messed up. (Oddly, Lil' Gun could probably give much higher velocities at significantly lower pressures with the 158s . . . .)

Anyway, Blue Dot is fun to play with, but it's sometimes frustrating as well. That's all I wanted to warn you about.

cheers, erich

PS - and Penn Bullets are great! :)
 
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