Thursday, August 28, 2014

RIA M200 Initial Testing

I finally have 200 rounds through the RIA M200. Hardly a significant amount, but I have learned a few things, mostly that my revolver shooting skills need a lot of work. The gun has run okay. It hasn't been perfect, but the issues haven't been huge. As I mentioned previously, the timing was on the ragged edge. It still is, but doesn't seem to be getting any worse. The cylinder does not lock until the very last moment on two of the cylinders. The trigger also occasionally has a hitch in it, for lack of a better term. I will be shooting a string of fire and out of the blue the trigger will be abnormally difficult to press. This has only occurred in live fire, and not consistently, so I am not sure what the cause is. Outside of those two issues, the gun has worked as intended. As the round count continues to climb (albeit slower than I would like), maybe some of the kinks will work themselves out, or maybe not and then gun will crash and burn.

The gun shoots decently well in terms of accuracy. I have only used one load so far, so different loads could give different results. Nor have I benched it (and likely won't). This is a 5 round group from 25yd shot in double action, shooting Monarch/PPU 158gr SJHP. It shoots, or I shoot a little high and left with this particular gun. I repeated with another 5 rounds in single action and while the group was smaller, it was still slightly high and left. I am not the greatest shooter from 25 yards, but I can generally do slightly better than this with a gun that I am more familiar with.

The biggest issue I have had is getting my speed back. Drawing from concealment, I can typically get good hits on a USPSA A-zone or similar sized target in 1.5 seconds. With this revolver (and probably any revolver), I am barely staying 2.25 seconds for the first round. I think it has to with the shape of the revolver grip and the lack of a beavertail to index my master grip on as I draw the gun. My hand is just hitting the gun and grabbing, and not always in the same place. If anyone has tips on how to correct this, I am all ears.

My splits are obviously also slower than with a striker fired or single action semi auto pistol. They run about 0.30 seconds. I am okay with that for now though, and anticipate they will get faster as my skill level develops. I am tracking the sights plenty fast, I just can't manipulate the trigger any faster than that. In fact, the recoil is very tame and the gun is easy to control for fast strings of fire.

That brings me to reloads. I have not found any speed loaders locally that will fit (I have been told speed loaders for the Colt Detective Special will fit), so I have been using speed strips. I would exactly describe a reload with speed strip as "fast", but it is functional. The problem I am having though is not with the reload itself, but the unloading of the fired casings. It never fails that 2 or 3 casings will hang in the cylinders when I go to reload. This is due in part to the ejector rod not being long enough to completely remove the casing from the cylinder, and also because the cylinders are a little rough on the inside so casings will stick. It is a relatively easy problem to solve though, will just require a little elbow grease whenever I get around to it.

So far, for a $200 gun I am mostly pleased with it. There are quirks here and there that I don't like, but the gun has essentially been reliable and hasn't broken yet. Fingers crossed that it doesn't break or become unreliable later either.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Moat Group & The Criterion

I noted in my last update that I was participating in The Moat Group's monthly Criterion Challenge. For the month of August they decided to have two divisions, one for handgun and one for rifle. There will be a winner in each division. This months challenge is actually pretty fun, check out the video.

Target transitions are something I really suck at, especially with a rifle. So I decided I needed to try this one on the rifle. Plus I didn't want to go head to head with Alex this month, I wanted a month off :) The way the targets are arranged it presents an interesting challenge. The two cards oriented horizontally require greater sight reference than the cards oriented vertically because even though technically they are the same size, they are shorter, and with the bore offset on an AR-15 shorter targets tend to be harder to hit.

I decided to attack this drill in a way that allows me to ride the recoil of the firearm and not have to fight the gun as much. So I started with the bottom left index index card and shot the left column first. I then took the long transition back to the bottom right and worked my way up the right column.

Best time, a 3.12. I had a couple runs under 3 seconds but they all had at least one miss. I think with some more work, sub 3 second runs are possible.

Speaking of 3 second runs, Alex ran a 3.03 with a handgun. Interestingly enough, he attacked the challenge in a very similar fashion as I did, working each column instead of transitioning across.

Just for giggles, I also ran this months challenge with a shotgun. Because buckshot :)