Does A Square Muzzle Matter?
By Roy Huntinton
About a year or so ago I had the crew from the Cylinder & Slide shop here at the old homestead for a week-long “How to rebuild a S&W K-Frame revolver into a good shooting gun” class. Under Jon Tank and Bill Laughridge’s stony-eyed gazes, we stripped a K-Frame (I used a new Model 10) down to nothing then re-did everything, either truing and nudging things here and there, or replacing parts entirely, mostly using Ron Power custom parts. I ended up with a smooth, efficient Model 10 and learned a huge amount in the process. One thing I didn’t do during the class was cut the 11-degree chamfer on the muzzle.
In looking at my gun, it seemed to me the factory chamfer was really nothing more than a quick rounding-off of things, perhaps done automatically. It looked roughly done, with an uneven edge at the rifling’s end. I “saved” that part until I found the time to do some careful shooting before and after a chamfer. After some shooting, cutting and more shooting, was it worth the time?
An even chamfer is important so the bullet gets a balanced start on its journey. If gas escapes in one place before another place, it can skew the bullet. Place a soft drink can on a table with one end facing away. Now, push an edge facing you as if you’re trying to push the can away from you. The side of the can opposite where you’re pushing will veer off. Try another spot and you’ll get a similar result. Pretend that’s gas escaping at a point around the base of the bullet. So, if the gas escapes unevenly (crooked muzzle cut) then the bullet might skew. If the gas escapes evenly, the bullet has a better chance of being more accurate. At least that’s what most people think. But does it hold water?
Roy was surprised as he thoughtthe stock gun would do better.
Maybe that rough muzzle was an issue after all?
This is the basic set-up. Cutting fluid goes on the cutter blades, the pilot holds
it true to the bore and the cutter is turned clockwise carefully as it cuts.
The Model 10’s original muzzle looked rough and uneven.
The first light cut shows there was quite a distance to go yet. Note the uneven cut
means the end of the muzzle is not square to the bore. The plot thickens.
The end result is a clean, square 11-degree chamfer, square to the bore,
with the rifling ends sharp and clean.
Chamfer Or Crown?
The 11-degree chamfer cut seems to be the most popular. Others use different angles and seem to get good results too, while some target barrel muzzles are actually perfectly flat. The “crown” is the raised part around the muzzle chamfer, protecting the chamfer cut. If you drop your gun on the muzzle, this raised “crown” hopefully will prevent a dent or gouge from impacting the rifling’s edge. So the two terms mean different things, it seems.
Check out the “before and after” chamfer pics on the Model 10 to see what we’re dealing with here. Shooting from a Hyskore pistol rest at 25 yards using Black Hills .38 Sp. 148-gr. wadcutter target ammo, showed the Model 10 (pre-cut) to average about 3.75″ groups. Some were a bit smaller, some a bit bigger. I’m a pretty good revolver shot and frankly, I thought the gun would do better than this, but that muzzle did look pretty rough. An L-Frame (with a nice 11-degree factory cut) I used as a standard averaged about 2.75″, so it was a bit more accurate from the factory. Maybe the cut matters?
I used a Brownells chamfer kit with a “pilot” going into the muzzle to hold the cutter centered. The cutter is extremely sharp, you need to use cutting fluid and to remember to only cut “clockwise” — never turn it backwards as it will harm the delicate cutting blades. As you near the end of the full chamfer, you lighten the pressure until at the end, it’s just the weight of the cutter. Then a final quick hone using 220-grit paper polishes things. Nice, eh? But did it perform any magic?
Indeed, it did. Groups averaged about 1.75″ post-cut, with some going as small as 1.35″ or so, while some chased 2″. Still, the “target” chamfer basically cut groups in half — or better. Keep in mind this worked on this gun, using this ammo and your results may vary, as they say. But I think it’s worth a try. If you have a gun which you think isn’t shooting to par and have tried different ammo and loads, take a hard look at the muzzle. On the Brownells website you can see different cutters, pilots (various calibers can use the same cutter) and other related tools. If you buddy-up you can share the cost with a few friends and all take advantage of it.
I’m thinking this was worth the time and expense. Now I feel a need to gussie-up that Model 10 since I know it’s a “shooter!” More on that later.
This is the best post-chamfer group. The four measure 1.35″ and that embarrassing flyer is Roy’s
fault. The new chamfer delivered consistent, tight groups — as long as Roy paid attention!
Using a Brownells chamfer tool kit Roy carefully re-cut the Model 10’s muzzle to 11 degrees.
Did it have any effect on accuracy?
Gun Leather Book
Phil Chriswell has written a sort of “how-to” regarding buying, selling, collecting and learning about holsters of all sorts. It looks to be self-published and while maybe not as polished as a “big name” book company, the info is solid and the line-up of makers is extensive, over 150 specific holsters and 80 renowned makers, most of whom you’d recognize. He calls it “A valuable resource for sellers, buyers, traders and collectors.” It’s $39, plus $7 shipping. For more info: 330 Oak Circle, Boise, ID 83713, firstname.lastname@example.org.
SIG’s New P365
This is pretty big news. SIG’s newest “little” gun offers 11 rounds of 9mm, yet is essentially the same size as other “pocket” .380 and 9mm autos. At 5.8″ long, 4.3″ tall, 1″ wide and weighing 17.8 oz. empty, it’s an honest pocket pistol. The magazine reminds me of the old Savage Model 1907 from the turn of the century and its narrow-necked “first” high-cap design. The Savage was a .32, but this is a 9mm, so SIG really did do some magic. We’ll be getting one for testing soon and will let you know how it goes. MSRP is $599 and a light/laser will be available for it. For more info: https://americanhandgunner.com/company/sig-sauer-inc/; SIG Ph: (603) 610-3000.
UM Tactical Holsters
Constructed of a wiz-bang thermoplastic called “Boltron 4332” UM Tactical’s Ambi Holster and Trigger Guard Holster are both handmade in the USA and show the careful attention to detail UM has become famous for. The Ambi Holster has a clever adjustable ambi-strap attaching to either side, and you can adjust the angle at the same time. The strap allows your belt to really pull the rig in close. The Trigger Guard holster covers the trigger/guard area and the paracord can be looped through a belt. When drawn, the cord pulls the Guard off the gun and presto, drawn gun. Good for purse carry too as it protects that critical area. For more info: www.umtactical.com, Ph: (866) 979-4486, email@example.com.
Young Lady Hunter
Isabella Maningas (12) hunted in Douglas, WY with her grandfather, grandma and dad (Talon Maningas) recently. This is her first antelope, taken with a Gunwerks 6.5×284. That’s grandpa Peter Maningas, grandma Ellen Maningas and Isabella, all with big grins! “I loved getting to hunt with my Memaw and Pepaw,” Isabella said. “My favorite part was the stalking and shooting!” Talon makes sure his kids are safe with firearms, and get to experience the outdoors with family, learning the hunting heritage so important to all of us. A Handgunner “Hat’s Off!” to this family!
Bill McLennen is an old friend, retired Texas cop, former long-time Thunder Ranch instructor and is about old-school as you can get when it comes to guns and gunleather. Bill makes simple, clean, classically styled holsters and a couple of accessories out of best-quality leather for the 1911, Glock and some S&W revolvers — period. Bill’s stuff comes from his own hands in his one-man shop. If you like this sort of thing, you just can’t do any better than Bill’s work. Bill won’t allow anything but the best out, so you can buy with confidence, and you have my word on that. He also has holsters for sale so check out his “My Available Page” on his website. For more info:
www. txgunleather.wixsite.com/gunleather, firstname.lastname@example.org.
When I work with a shooter who has trouble with accuracy it almost always has to do with poor trigger manipulation, and dry-fire practice helps. The G-Sight Laser Training Cartridge is a self-contained “cartridge” (just about any common caliber) containing a laser. When chambered, the gun’s firing pin strikes the “primer” (a hard rubber switch) “firing” the laser. The key here is a simple app you install on your phone. The app allows to point your phone’s camera at any target you put up. The app senses “hits” from the laser on the target. You can dry-fire at your favorite target while the app captures your hits, which you can replay. At around the $50-$60 point, it allows safe practice at home, while actually documenting your “hits.” For more info: www.g-sight.com, Ph: (626) 594-0016, email@example.com.
These guys (and gals!) push the envelope on everything they do and these new grips are no exception. Made of aluminum in the USA, they’re then treated to an in-house Wicked Grip “art-attack” much more durable than most factory finishes. The Desert Eagle grips (the big gun!) are slightly slimmer than factory ones so makes the brawny beast handle better. The 1911 grips come in countless flavors and colors and I’m betting that purple-look would be swell on a favorite gal’s 1911? The K-, L-, X- and J-frame grips come in square, round and round-to-square models. They have grips for a wide range of gun models so check ’em out. As a retired cop, I appreciate the gritty “Thin Blue Line” set shown. It’s subtle — but sure. For more info: www.wickedgrips.com, Ph: (810) 412-4037.
Simple is always good, especially when it comes to lights. The FoxFury Scout Tac uses three AA batteries, one button controls on/off and a low and high mode, it’s waterproof to 20 feet, runs 12 to 50 hours, uses indestructible LED’s, you can freeze it, run over it; it withstands the high heat at fire scenes and has a rugged, simple belt or pocket clip. All of which adds up to plenty of great ideas. I’m in the dark, literally, a lot on our property here and this has found its way onto my chore coat pocket. “Click” on and I can see, leaving both hands free, without the fuss of having to put on a head lamp. At about $45, it’s a solid buy. For more info: www.foxfury.com, Ph: (844) 369-3879.
Ruger PC Carbine
In about 1996 when I was still a cop, Ruger produced the predecessor to this new PC carbine and we issued it in 9mm to the troops. Hit rates went up immediately, but as time passed, the move to the .223 was too strong and it sort of faded from the market. The newest version is not only a take-down model, but uses 10-22 trigger bits so can be easily upgraded. It’s got a rail for an optic, is threaded for a suppressor, and can use the supplied Security 9 mags, Glock mags with a supplied adaptor or Ruger American Pistol mags with an accessory adaptor you can buy. I’ve got one in-hand and will wring it out soonest. A near-perfect home defense/companion gun, cop gun, a lady’s “personal” rifle … the list is endless. A winner, for sure. About $649 MSRP. For more info: https://americanhandgunner.com/company/sturm-ruger-co/; Ruger Ph: (336) 949-5200
Tiger Joins The Club
Friend and well respected tactics/firearms teacher Tiger McKee (that’s his better half, Gretchen in the pic with him) joins our family as the regular Tactics & Training columnist. Tiger has written for us for many years and his thoughts are always seasoned, reasonable and sensible, always delivered in a “been there and done that” but still modest manner. Tiger’s trained with the best of the best and his first book — The Book Of Two Guns — is his hand-written essay on what works, what’s important and what’s not when it comes to guns, gear, tactics and mindset. It’s a great read. Watch for Tiger’s take on things in this and future issues of Handgunner. Tiger founded his school Shootrite, in 1995 and has a strong, loyal following. We’re proud to have him. You can learn more about Tiger and what he does at: www.shootrite.org.