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Range Report: Shooting a Colt Bisley .32-20.


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Well, yesterday I shot a match with my 1904 vintage Colt Bisley revolver.  First time I've ever used it, which makes sense since I've only had had for 2 days.  

Long story short, I never missed with it once, and when I was actually shooting, the difference in the shape of the grip made no difference to me.

More details, along with some pictures, will come this afternoon.

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Okay, here is a picture of the battery I used at the shoot yesterday.

991415645_32-20Battery.thumb.JPG.e5fa6d31208ff767d19612ba67552ec4.JPG

 

Okay, here's the story.

First of all, you may notice the strangely short barrel on my shotgun.  Normally I shoot a 97 with a 30" barrel.  Well, as I was getting ready for the shoot, for some reason, I pulled this out of the safe as I was looking for the rifles I wanted.  As I went to put it back, I said, "Well, I haven't used this for a while, I think I'll give it a try."

Anyway, as I was setting up for the first stage, I looked at my shotgun, glanced out at the other pards and asked, "Hey, where's the rest of the barrel?"  That got a few good natured chuckles.   Anyway, running the short barrel seemed really strange, but once I actually started shooting, I seemed to forget that about 10" of barrel that were missing, and to my amazement, I didn't miss any of the shotgun targets.

As far as why I had 2 rifles, well, the last time I used the pictured Lighting, which is a real Colt and a .32-20, I had a strange malfunction.  I was getting what I will describe as "reverse stove pipes" in that the primer end of the shell was sticking straight up after it came out of the magazine.  It was suggested that perhaps the magazine tube was dirty.   I checked, and it was.  So, I cleaned it out, and running dummy ammo through it seemed to work everything fine.  So, I wanted to try the gun again, but brought the 92 as a backup.

Well, I had the same problem.  And that irked me.   So, I switched to the 92.  And I had the same problem!   That made me think that the problem was not the rifles, but the ammo.   That made me remember that I had some ammo that was given to me a couple of years ago that I was trying to use.   When I first got it, I pulled one cartridge apart, and discovered a powder charge identical to the one I normally use with a slightly lighter bullet.  Decided I would shoot it.

But here's the thing.  All of this ammo that was given to me had slightly shorter cases than the stuff I was using.  My brass is all factory spec, but the cartridges given to me had been trimmed back just a little bit.  So, from that point on, I used these shorter cartridges only in my revolvers, using my own reloads with the slightly longer brass in the rifle.  No more reverse stove pipes.  But...   The last couple of rounds had a tendency to not pop put of the magazine all the way.  Given the age of the Winchester, I found myself thinking that perhaps the magazine spring is old and not as "springy" as it was in its youth.   Switched back to the Lighting.  No reverse stove pipes.  Yay!  Last couple of rounds not coming out of the magazine all of the way.  Boo!  This gun is even older than the Winchester.  It's a bona fide antique as a matter of fact.  So I am gonna be replacing the magazine springs in both guns to see if that makes this problem go away before I start looking for the help of gunsmiths.

 

I also have to say that shooting .32-20 rifles makes clean up after the match much simpler.  Once you clean the bore, which is a fairly simple process, that's pretty much it.  There's no soot or dirt or fouling or ANYTHING in the action like when you shoot, say, .45 Colt in your rifles.   You gotta love the way those bottleneck cartridges seal the chamber so well.

Okay, onto the main event, the pistols.  As you can see, I was using a 3rd Generation 5.5" SAA and a 1st Generation Bisley made in 1904.   The Bisley action was as smooth as butter, and locked up as tight as a drum.  The trigger was crisp, not too heavy or too light, and has no over travel at all.  The grip seems weird as you handle the gun, but in all truth, during the match I didn't really notice the difference.   I guess shooting double duelist style, the differences are not as noticeable as when you shoot them both in the same hand.  Plus, being known to at random use SAAs, or S&W's or Remingtons or various C&B conversions, I am used to shooting different grip styles and not caring.   I found the Bisley to be very pleasant to shoot, never missed with it once, and enjoyed it completely.  I can envision myself using this every time I decide to shoot .32-20's from here on out.  I guess I'll just have to use my 73 until I resolve the issues with the other 2 rifles.  :)

Anyway, that's my range report.   I hope you found it enjoyable.

And a happy shoutout to the Danvers Desperados who put on a great shoot, and all of the great pards that I had the pleasure to shoot with.

 

Until next time, see you at the range.

Edited by H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619
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A few people found the Bisley to be an interesting firearm.    There were also several comments on how I seem to have an odd collection of unusual stuff and that I'm not afraid to shoot it.

 

I'll take that.  :)

In fact, there's one pard who whenever I see him at a shoot, his first question to me is, "So what do you have today?"

 

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11 hours ago, H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619 said:

A few people found the Bisley to be an interesting firearm.    There were also several comments on how I seem to have an odd collection of unusual stuff and that I'm not afraid to shoot it.

 

I'll take that.  :)

In fact, there's one pard who whenever I see him at a shoot, his first question to me is, "So what do you have today?"

 

 

I have gotten the same comment frequently at SASS matches.  I typically shoot rifles/shotguns with anti-sweep devices attached (bayonets) and for pistols I've used:

"Short" buntline (10")

"Long" buntline (18")

Colt New Service/1917

Luger

C96 Mauser

Webley Mk 6

 

When I shot the Webley the posse was saying that I needed a Pith Helmet to be correct!  

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3 hours ago, The Aggie Rifleman, SASS#55213 said:

 

1

"Short" buntline (10")

"Long" buntline (18")

 

 

Does that mean that a 12" is a "Standard" Buntline?"   I usually pair that with my 3" Sheriff's model.

 

1528034803_SheriffBuntline.thumb.jpg.849935a98d323ff0121a9405bed2ddce.jpg

And then there's my battery of ridiculous.

Ridiculous A
RidiculousA.jpg.e3385c06822399abbc0ec12b4a91cb44.jpg

 

But sometimes that's just not silly enough.   So I go with Ridiculous B.

RidiculousB.jpg.7cdb5e4d893570eff144c8731b719de3.jpg

Some clubs will let me shoot these if I ask nicely enough.    According to the rules the pistols and shotgun are not legal for SASS.

And when I just wanna have fun, I pull out the Big Iron.

745177225_BigIron.jpg.9281b95c50ba354ef92e3aea8b37b176.jpg

As I said at the range, "To quote Bugs Bunny, 'I don't ask questions, I just have fun!'"

 

Edited by H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619
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HK,

sounds like a problem I had with my 32-20. Condensed version. Bought a '73 (original), in 1966 for $65.00. Shot it off an on and bought ammo for it when I could. Bought ammo for it whenever and from whoever had it. Fast foward, joined SASS in '96 shot 44-40. Around 2002-3 , my LGS owner went to the SHOT show. Told her if she could order a pair of 32-20 SAA's, order a pair for me 4-5 months later they come in. OK, now I've got to start reloading for it. I've got between 300-350 empty's from shooting my '73 over the years. Order bullets and about 300 new Starline cases. I grab a handful of the old cases and a few Starline. I load about 50-60. Get out the range can't shoot a full mag without jamming. Get home measure loads ,,, all ok. At range again (2-4 mos. later) , same thing. Get back home, measure again, same thing,,, scratching head ,,, wait, check case o.a.l. . Seperate by headstamp , WOW ,,, each company had a different case o.a.l., Winchester, Remington, UMC, etc, all had a different length. Starline was the shortest. I'm NOT turning all those down by hand. Hit up ebay , find a used Lyman electric trimmer ,clean it up, order a couple of parts and I'm good to go. Turn them all down to Starline length, load them up and ,,,All,,,,, is ,,,,,, good. Haven't had a problem since.

YMMV,

Isom

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