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I'm at a loss

This is a discussion on I'm at a loss within the Gun Talk forums, part of the Gunner Forum category; So, I'm at the range on Thursday as usual. I have been shooting my Ruger SP101 4" so as to use up my 38 reloads. ...


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Old 02-10-2017, 09:29 AM   #1
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I'm at a loss

So, I'm at the range on Thursday as usual.
I have been shooting my Ruger SP101 4" so as to use up my 38 reloads.
Take note that I said "Reloads".
I've run thru about 400 rounds and the accuracy is always terrible.
Here is what I have found.
The rounds hit the target at about 20 feet and they seem to be erratic.
I tell my shooting partner to give the Ruger a try.
He takes careful aim and he too experiences the same problem..The holes in the target are all over, and not in the area he aimed at.
I'm talking a spread of 4-5 inches.
He hands me the revolver back after 5 rounds and shakes his head.
So, is it the ammo or the Ruger?
I'm betting Ammo.
I will take my 38 lever gun next week and see if this continues.
Let me know what you think.

Last edited by KimberLover; 02-11-2017 at 03:37 AM.
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Old 02-10-2017, 09:41 AM   #2
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You mean SP-101? I'll assume the revolver "felt" okay, and was examined for any damage or loose parts.

Otherwise I would bet something about the reloads. Sounds like they're losing power somewhere. Bullet size a pinch small, charge a little short? Loose crimp? You could pull a bullet, check the bullet diameter and charge; whatever else can be checked after the fact. I'm not a reloader, so not well versed on this. Above all else, be safe!
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Old 02-10-2017, 10:42 AM   #3
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I assume it hadn't been accurate with those same loads and started shooting badly. My guess would be it either didn't like the load (I've had that happen especially if the bullet keyholes) or if they are lead or cast the BBL got leaded up enough to affect accuracy. I have the 2 1/4" so the sights are fixed. Is the 4" fixed as well. I'd give those a look at.
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Old 02-10-2017, 06:52 PM   #4
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KimberLover, are your bullets true .38's at a diameter of 0.357"?

Some people use 9mm bullets, which are usually 0.356"

Also, how does it group with factory ammo?

Personally, my reloads group as good or better than any factory ammo.
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Old 02-10-2017, 09:12 PM   #5
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erratic at 20 feet.........

not meaning to be critical, but i tend to always start with the human factor.

sit down at a bench, rest the gun for support....

use a white paper plate for a target with a black one inch dot marksalot in the center so you have a precise small aiming point..........

and shoot 5 rounds single action and see what happens........

i would try to eleminate any possibility of human error.

once the human factor is removed, then i would start checking the gun especially the sights. The 4" SP that i am familiar with has adj sights. Check that rear sight to make sure she is not loose, have a loose blade, or some other problem.

Check the bore and the throat, forcing cone for leading problems. I have read that some Rugers are erractic in the cylinder throats as well but that is usually on the 45's.

Try some factory ammo.......does factory ammo do any better?

who did the reloading as is it a trusted source?
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Old 02-11-2017, 03:41 AM   #6
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I corrected the R101 to SP101. I've had the R101 on my mind too much.
I failed to mention that my shooting partner is a spot on shooter.
He does on occasion pull to the left and down an inch or two.
But he is 90% dead on target.
I'm going to mic the bullets today, but at the time I was reloading I bought only .357" bullets.
They are however hollow point lead with a copper coat.
They perforated the target with a perfect hole and no tumble.
Out of 50 rounds this Thursday only one felt like it was a 357. A little over powered.
The Ruger has had maybe 400 rounds put thru it since new.
I shoot single action as I do pull off on double action.
I've got a project today, but after I get that out of the way, I'll do some checking on the Ruger.
Thanks guys.
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Old 02-11-2017, 05:36 AM   #7
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OK, so with my errand complete, I took the Ruger out and cleaned it. I then did a visual and I could not find anything out of the ordinary.
I checked the bullets with a micrometer and sure enough they were .357 and the crimp looked to be correct.
I did notice that some of the hollow points were slightly off center.
These were bought bullets and not made by me, so I am now almost certain the the bullets might be my problem.
I am going to buy a box of factory 38's just to see if I have found the problem.
I'll post the results after the next range visit.
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Old 02-11-2017, 06:17 AM   #8
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Do check the gun with some decent factory ammo, KL. Odds are very much against it being the gun. Never had an SP that wouldn't group. Have had my share with other out of the box issues - hey, it's a Ruger - but accuracy has never been one of them. Good luck.
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Old 02-11-2017, 07:37 AM   #9
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Sound like your reloads are bad and your gun maybe leaded up super bad. Normally under 25 yds junk bullet heads will still print good with a damage nose of a bullet . Now a damage base of a bullet is a different story , will make them fly very erratic . NEXT Some powders don't shoot well with reduced charges or your powder measure not throwing the same charge every time . If your still using a progress loader to load ammo . STOP You can't not control or feel the ammo you are making . It is too easy too make a mistake with them and blowup a gun . I make CUSTOM ammo [ not reloads ] . and I will shoot it against the best factory stuff . Sometime you get lucky with a load and hit a magic load for 1 gun . This is my cowboy load in my rifle and it is loaded for FPS 750 and not for accuracy . These are not copper wash , gas check or jacket bullets .



This target is a test fire target and not a cherry picked target after working on the gun . This 6.0 of Unique [ 1000 fps ] is NOT a max load . I put this load together just for this test to check the forcing with jacket bullets and I shot in Bond just for kicks .



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Old 02-17-2017, 03:56 AM   #10
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Getting back as promised.
Thursday I took two guns to the range.
One was the Ruger SP101 and the other a Rossi Lever gun. Both in 38/357.
I put new factory ammo in the Ruger and the reloaded 38 ammo in the Rossi.
I set up a target and fired the rossi for 20 rounds.
I had picked up a scope meant to be put on another rifle which caused the first two rounds to be high.
The next 18 rounds were dead on and removed the center of the target.
The Ruger held the factory rounds in the center of the target.
So, it appears that the Ruger does not do too well with the reloaded hollow points.
I'm disappointed as I was counting on the Ruger to help use up the reloads.
But at least I found the problem with the spread on the target from the Ruger and the reloads.
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Old 02-17-2017, 06:15 AM   #11
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Glad to hear the SP shoots as it should, now that you have the right ammo for it. As for the reloads, I would typically use ammo like that for close up, point shooting, rapid fire drills where group size is less of a factor.
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Old 02-18-2017, 07:17 AM   #12
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You can still use the Ruger to "use up" the reloads, just won't be able to hit anything.
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Old 02-18-2017, 08:24 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry_P View Post
You can still use the Ruger to "use up" the reloads, just won't be able to hit anything.
What a revolting development!
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Old 02-23-2017, 06:42 AM   #14
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Try the same load in .357 cases. Or else try shooting them out of a .38 Special chambered gun. Perhaps the long run at the rifling is causing problems. I never shoot .38's out of my .357 guns because of this. I've had .38 Special loads group tightly out of my S&W Model 14 and 15. But the same load in my S&W 686's were all over.
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