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Flat Shooting Load?


Big Guy

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I have been running a DP .38 Super Shorty for the last year. However, lately I have been noticing the dot is not flat as it was before (or at least as I thought it was). My load is 8.1 g of N350 at around 1.245”. Last week I shot a buddy’s load consisting of about 10 grains of 3N38 I found the load to be much flatter shooting than the N350 load. Any thoughts on this???

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Any chance you have just adjusted how you grip the gun?

Have your done Matt Burkett's timing drills lately?

And, perhaps your body has just allowed the gun to get a bit less flat...maybe because that might dampen the "jigglelyness" of the dot ?

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And, perhaps your body has just allowed the gun to get a bit less flat...maybe because that might dampen the "jigglelyness" of the dot ?

That just when over my head…. Could you expand??? :wacko:

By the way I have an 8 lb recoil spring in the shorty.

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Rule #1- Your buddy's gun always shoots flatter and softer than yours.

That said, I'd be surprised if 10gr of 3N38 didn't shoot flatter than 8gr of 350.

Also as guns wear in and loosen up, the percieved recoil goes up since less energy is soaked up by friction. This is what Slide Glide and new springs are for.

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Rule #1- Your buddy's gun always shoots flatter and softer than yours.

That said, I'd be surprised if 10gr of 3N38 didn't shoot flatter than 8gr of 350.

Also as guns wear in and loosen up, the percieved recoil goes up since less energy is soaked up by friction. This is what Slide Glide and new springs are for.

Would you recommend cahnging the recoil spring? Say to a 10 lb spring??

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First... my opinion.... as an absolute, flatness doesn't matter (within reason). What matters most is a gun/load combo that will consistently cycle straight up and down (assuming you're doing your job and letting it). That's the only way you can time the gun. Flatness only becomes a relative factor at that point. If the gun flips so much that you lose the dot during recoil, you either need to work on your grip/stance, or look at a different load. I've shot guns that were extremely flat, but the dot just "jiggles" randomly. I couldn't time those guns at all. Some loads/calibers can create a negative recoil impulse as their first move, even - that's also awkard to shoot.

Softness doesn't matter at all, either, in terms of performance. That's a personal feel thing, and can also affect how the gun wears on your elbows and wrists, of course, and can affect you some in awkward stances if your platform isn't solid.

The general rule of thumb is - try lots of things and see what works best for you. Start off w/ Flex's suggestion, work the Burkett timing drills, and see if you can improve on your grip/stance. I've been doing some of this myself, too (got too grippy over time...).

A fresh recoil spring might change the appearance of the dot to you. Realize that flip comes from two points in the cycling of the gun. The first is the slide pushing against the frame via the recoil spring as the slide starts to move rearward. The 2nd is when the slide reaches the rearward limit in its travel and bumps against the guiderod head. Too much spring, and you get more flip, but its a "rounder" movement, being more gradual in how the dot begins to rise. Too little spring, and the slide will smack the guiderod head harder, and the dot movement looks like a slight rise (slide moving rearward), followed by a quick jump up, and then back down. A lot of guys running light springs will also run a shok-buff of some form to help minimize that hard bump at the end of the slide travel (or an Alumabuff, or whatever...)

Personally, I find the gradual movement a little easier to track, so I run a heavier spring in my gun - my gun is a totally different setup from yours, but a 12# seems real nice in mine. Shred and DJPolo both run Dawson mini-strokers (I think w/ 8-9# springs, and some sort of buff?? they can fill us in on the details...). We've compared my gun against both of theirs, swapping loads, and whatnot. In the end, all three guns were very timeable and would cycle straight, etc. The end result is - experiment, and find what works best for your setup with your loads, etc.

As far as loads go, more gas generally means more comp/port action, but it may not mean a more trackable/consistent dot, which is what really leads to faster shooting.... ;)

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Great post XRE! i agree with your perceptions as well. Load selection is just one of the factors in making an open pistol shoot flatter.

I am using a 5 inch schuemann 4port hybrid barrel with a bedell titanium comp in .38 super. My load data is 124gr sellier and bellot fmj's with 8.6gr 3n37. PF 165. Dot bounce is well within the cmore's HUD but the 2nd shot was still going 6-8 inches from the first shot.

We were watching some of our shooting videos, when we noticed that the pistol's muzzle was still flipping significantly. I was thinking of a too loose grip but when going over the pistol, we noted that the the cmore's allchin mount had a big powder mark on its blast shield. The force on the blast shield was flipping the gun higher than I liked.

So I had my smith trim the allchin's shield about 1/2 its original size. Some of the blast is still hitting the shield but now the pistol is shooting very flat with less muzzle flip. I am now able to track the dot significantly faster and keep the second shot 1-2 inches from the first hit.

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I remember when sometime ago I purchased a nice, powerfull "muscle" sports car. When I stepped on the gas it pinned me back and it was oh so sweet. I remember checking the 0 - 60 mph, and it would put a smile in my face. A year later, same car, same set-up, and I step on the gas ... but I don't feel the same feel on my back, nor the same adrenaline rush. Something must be wrong! I checked the 0- 60 times, and now they are even faster, but it doesn't feel as fast. What has changed? Me! I got used to the rush and speed to where it became nothing unusual anymore. In order to get that feel again I needed to drive an even faster car ... and sure enough there was that feel again. Your mind and your perception can surely play tricks on 'ya. :o

On the other hand, things could have changed. You did not say how many rounds you have put through your gun. Shooting "does" take a toll on your equipment. You could have developed some "erosion" of your comp baffles to where they are not as efficient anymore. Still working, but having lost some of it's edge. Also, have you kept your comp "clean" and free of "fouling"?

IMHO, it could be a thing with familiarity build-up, or "novelty phase" wearing off. Maku-mozo!!!!!

Clean up your gun (including the comp) and lube it up. Put in new springs, etc. to match that "new fresh scent", and go for a ride again. If this fails, then maybe you outgrew your gun, and its time for a new model. ( Just like with the car, I ended up getting the newer more powerfull version, he, he. :rolleyes:;)B) )

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Caught a little mention of Aluma Buffs [page 12 of Dawson's catalog] and light recoil springs.

That's what I'm using now. Since I've tried them I really like them. Might even be kicking the dot a little higher than the rubbery normal buffs [not sure] but the recoil is more predictable for me. More like a sewing machine.

I'm one of the rare ppl who feel that Sprincos and Recoilmasters make the gun bounce around like a rubber ball. If you don't notice that then there's no need to try the Aluma Buff. But I love 'em.

Still on the first one & I can see it getting beat on by the slide a little. Probably turn it around on the guide rod after it gets 2-3000 rounds on it. Which takes me a while, shoot maybe 250 rounds a week total, that's when there's no exams to study for...

BTW I use one buff, a 9-lb Wolff spring, 17lb hammer spring, 9.x gr HS6 and a 115 JHP. And a Dawson thumb rest. On a 46-oz gun. Pretty flat!

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  • 1 month later...
I remember when sometime ago I purchased a nice, powerfull "muscle" sports car. When I stepped on the gas it pinned me back and it was oh so sweet. I remember checking the 0 - 60 mph, and it would put a smile in my face. A year later, same car, same set-up, and I step on the gas ... but I don't feel the same feel on my back, nor the same adrenaline rush. Something must be wrong! I checked the 0- 60 times, and now they are even faster, but it doesn't feel as fast. What has changed? Me! I got used to the rush and speed to where it became nothing unusual anymore. In order to get that feel again I needed to drive an even faster car ... and sure enough there was that feel again. Your mind and your perception can surely play tricks on 'ya.

That example explains why I've spent a ton of money on turbos!! I hate getting use to stuff!

But to the original question......I think we've all done the "that feels better than mine" thing. I know I have on several occasions, especially with ammo and springs. When I didn't like my gun and load, I borrowed a buddies gun that I thought shot better. I made my load the same as his and shot it through his gun until I got use to it. Then I went back to mine and I liked it better than his. Sometimes we just need a change I guess. If you've been shooting good with what you have, go practice with it. Borrow some of his ammo and run some drills with both of them. See what you shoot better with on the clock or under pressure. I think we make ourselves see things when we're REALLY looking for it by just shooting a few rounds.

If this is something that developed over time, maybe it's time to freshen up your recoil and hammer springs. Those will affect the cycle and flip of a gun if they're worn out.

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