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Old 06-11-2008, 12:02 PM   #1
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Most accurate .45 DA revolver

I sent this as a PM to Charlie, because I know he's spent a minute or two at the bullseye firing line. Then I thought, gee - why did I do that? This would be a good public discussion, so here's the question:


Iím setting up a bullseye course in my back yard, and I want to shoot bullseye with a revolver. I know youíve spent a minute or two on the bullseye course so I thought Iíd ask you. Now, I know most of your shooting was with the 1911, but Iím thinking you might have some opinions for a .45 revolver. So, if you were to transport yourself into the past, and compete in bullseye, using a revolver, which .45 revolver would you choose? S&W 1950, 1955, Colt New Service Target; something newer? To me, it really doesnít matter if the cartridge is .45 ACP or .45 Colt. I have bullet molds for both.

Iíd love to have your opinion on this one.
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Old 06-11-2008, 04:04 PM   #2
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Re: Most accurate .45 DA revolver

The easiest and cheapest to find would be a S&W "N" frame.
Something like a Model 1950, or one of the newer .45 caliber models.

Harder to find, and "possibly" less accurate would be a fairly rare Colt Anaconda or one of the Ruger's.

For the best chances of flat out accuracy, the Colt New Service Target or Shooting Master would most likely be the most accurate.
I base this on Colt's old "Bank Vault" lockup and high quality barrels, both of which were famous for giving "consistently" better accuracy.
While other guns "can" shoot better groups, the old Colt action was known for offering better accuracy on average.
In other words, if you test fired 100 of the older Colt's and 100 other brands, the Colt's would have over all better accuracy.

Of course, CONDITION is everything and finding an older Colt in good condition at a price you can afford is going to be MUCH tougher.
Just because it's a Shooting Master means nothing if the action is out of order or the barrel is in poor shape.

Probably the all around best bet is to find a S&W in really good shape, then have the S&W Performance Center go over it, with the understanding that you're to be using it as a real target pistol.
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Old 06-11-2008, 04:20 PM   #3
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Re: Most accurate .45 DA revolver

A S&W Model 25-2 Target Model of 1955 in .45 ACP. Given that a lot of these guns are over forty years old you might have to have some work done on one.

The most common problem affecting accuracy I've seen is the crane getting sprung either by snapping the gun shut with a flick of the wrist or dropping the gun while trying to snap it shut with a flick of the wrist.
 
 
Old 06-11-2008, 06:21 PM   #4
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Re: Most accurate .45 DA revolver

My impression--from the three I own, and from reading about the adventures of others with them--is that .45ACP revolvers are highly individualistic about what sort of accuracy they will produce. I don't think it can be said that any particular make and model will be a guaranteed good shooter. Or a bad one, for that matter. They are great fun to play with, however.

I have zero experience with .45 Colt guns so cannot comment on those.
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Old 06-12-2008, 04:31 AM   #5
 
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Re: Most accurate .45 DA revolver

I suspect, of the older guns, the 25-2 should have the best chance for good accuracy. Mine is certainly accurate, but the cylinder throats are pretty big at .455", so it is probably pretty selective of what it shoots well.

Of the current or recent production guns, the 625, 625JM and 625PC should be your best bet. My 625JM has .452" throats, but it had one of the roughest forcing cones I have ever seen. After that was cleaned up, it shoots beautifully.
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Old 06-12-2008, 05:15 AM   #6
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Re: Most accurate .45 DA revolver

Lfox and I both have Commemorative Model of 1989 Model 625-3s. Mine has a 3" barrel, while hers is 5". Both revolvers have fine triggers, and are as accurate as we are, maybe a bit more in the hands of better shots. After mine was repaired by S&W from failing on the first shot (hand broke) it has been flawless. Lfox's was bought used, but we know the shooter who owned it, and it was, and still has been, flawless.

These are current production guns, so parts and service are routinely available. You don't risk damaging a classic revolver this way.



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Old 06-12-2008, 11:13 AM   #7
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Re: Most accurate .45 DA revolver

I'm starting to see a pattern on the model of 1989, 625...That's what I was hoping to see with this thread. Not that I'm seeing it here, but I've PM'd a few people and have asked some other industry guys and I'm statring to see that they lean toward the 1989 625.

Keep 'em comming though.
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Old 06-12-2008, 12:20 PM   #8
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Re: Most accurate .45 DA revolver

My Brazilian M1937 is more accurate than either of my 25-2s, despite its worse sights and trigger. Go figger.
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Old 06-12-2008, 12:57 PM   #9
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Re: Most accurate .45 DA revolver

Kevin I'm sure you know I did a very lengthy piece on accuracy of ACP revolvers and there was a definite correlation between age and accuracy. In every case new is better. I did not include .45 Colt so I have only a original 1917 Colt for comparison but it did not shoot very well.

The chamber mouth measurement- ball end diameter- in S&Wspeak is very generous and oversize until the late 80s and from that point on accuracy has been much better. The "new" 1917 shot well and I've got a 625 from the Performance Center that is a sub 2" gun.

I have a pair of 25-5s that did not shoot well at all and when I found out that they had made a run of new cylinders with correct dimensions I sent both back and had the cylinders changed. Now they are much better.

Since you said "bullseye" I am applying those standards and machine rest groups etc. At 25 yd. you really want 2" or less with good ammo.
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Old 06-12-2008, 04:40 PM   #10
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Re: Most accurate .45 DA revolver

I have a 25-2 with the 6.5" barrel, a 625-2 of 1988 (Rollstamped) and a pair of 625-2 of 1989 (Laser engraved) both with five inch barrels. All four guns were supertuned at at the Bill Davis Service Center when I originally bought them. I'd have test them side by side at the range to decide which one is more accurate. My sense has always been that the 25-2 was more accurate but it may be the longer sight radius helps me shoot more accurately rather than mechanical repeatability.
 
Old 06-13-2008, 04:07 AM   #11
 
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Re: Most accurate .45 DA revolver

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie Petty
Kevin I'm sure you know I did a very lengthy piece on accuracy of ACP revolvers and there was a definite correlation between age and accuracy. In every case new is better. I did not include .45 Colt so I have only a original 1917 Colt for comparison but it did not shoot very well.

The chamber mouth measurement- ball end diameter- in S&Wspeak is very generous and oversize until the late 80s and from that point on accuracy has been much better. The "new" 1917 shot well and I've got a 625 from the Performance Center that is a sub 2" gun.

I have a pair of 25-5s that did not shoot well at all and when I found out that they had made a run of new cylinders with correct dimensions I sent both back and had the cylinders changed. Now they are much better.

Since you said "bullseye" I am applying those standards and machine rest groups etc. At 25 yd. you really want 2" or less with good ammo.

My 25-2 has .455" throats and I have considered sending it to the factory for a new cylinder, but it shoots so well, I can't bring myself to do it.
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Old 06-13-2008, 07:21 AM   #12
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Re: Most accurate .45 DA revolver

Charlie,

I completely forgot about that piece until you mentioned it. Yep, you're right. Most of my experience has been with single action revolvers, where I routinely measure chamber mouths. <.452 is the norm and sometimes as much as .458. Between .453-456 a good bullet caster can overcome most of the inaccuracy problems, but he factory ammo shooter is just out of luck.

I think I'll just take some plug gauges with me to the next Tulsa Gun show; that's probably the best way to go about it.

You know, the bummer thing is; it's a rare revolver than has undersized chamber mouths. But I have learned that if you can find one, grab it and then ream to your heart's desire.
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Old 06-13-2008, 07:30 AM   #13
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Re: Most accurate .45 DA revolver

Here's how my M1937 shot last year. And the chamber throats on the old pig are huge.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg M1937600.jpg (108.7 KB, 57 views)
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Old 06-13-2008, 06:15 PM   #14
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Re: Most accurate .45 DA revolver

Snake your gun simply proves the rule that where guns are concerned there are no rules.

I wish I had an explanation but I don't.

I've tried the bullet sizing trick trick with mixed results- but no magic.

I think that the whole combination of chamber mouth, b/c gap and forcing cone are related variables and maybe good fortune cancels out the chamber mouth issue.
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Old 06-15-2008, 04:42 PM   #15
 
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Re: Most accurate .45 DA revolver

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie Petty
Snake your gun simply proves the rule that where guns are concerned there are no rules.
Well put. I have seen some old beaters that shot like a dream. I have also seen brand new ones that would not hold a group. I watched a show with Doug Koenig where he was testing barrels. He gets 5 or ten barrels at a time all made by the same place to the same standards. He tests them in a barrel jig to see how they shoot and he was very clear on why he does this. He says that some of them just don't shoot. If they don't shoot a two inch group from the jig he chucks em. he said he chucks allot of em. He said he wants to make sure that if he misses it is his fault and not the equipment. His standards are quite high but the point remains.
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Old 06-16-2008, 06:01 AM   #16
 
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Re: Most accurate .45 DA revolver

Two areas that haven't been mentioned are cylinder alighment and barrel forcing cone, both of which were issues with my 25-2 when I got it, and had to be fixed before it would shoot. Now it shoots well even with the oversized chamber throats.
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