Nambu World: Shooting Japanese Handguns

Be sure your gun is in safe condition before shooting it: have it checked by a competent gunsmith! The information provided here is for your interest only. I take no responsibility whatever for any injury, damage or death you may cause by using or misusing it!!!

            Currently (summer 2006) I am focusing on shooting and then developing loads for my Type 26 revolvers, because I cannot buy ammo for them at all in Canada. I began this project on July 14, 2006. This section will start with a log of my progress on this project. Further down there are accounts of my earlier experiences shooting Japanese handguns in somewhat less formal, technical circumstances.

            To begin with, here is the CDTSA pistol range southeast of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where I am doing my test shooting (taken July 14, 2006).

 

            Here is my chronograph set up on my Cullman photographic tripod. The table I shot from is in the foreground and the 25 yard target frames are in the background.

 

            This is the chronograph I am using. It is an inexpensive, made-in-Canada unit I bought almost 20 years ago. I paid C$129 for it way back then. The company is still in business, with a website at Shooting Chrony. Although it was very inexpensive, its measurements were confirmed by much more expensive chronographs when I used to shoot IPSC and had my loads chronographed at every competition (they do this to make sure your ammo meets the minimum power standards). When using this chronograph you must shoot through the two roughly oval-shaped holes in the front and rear screens.

 

First Session: July 14, 2006

            When I set out there was a lot I didnft know. I had not been to the range in almost a year, so I did not know if changes had been made, or how busy it was likely to be. I had not shot any of my Type 26 revolvers, so I did not even know if it would work, or if it did, where it would shoot. I did not know the velocity of the ammo I had, or whether my chronograph would still work after sitting in a drawer for 15 years. Thus, the first session was just a sort of reconnaissance and work-out session to test equipment. The Type 26 revolver I used was an arsenal rework in excellent condition, serial number 45254. This was the first Type 26 I acquired--(you can see it at Nambu World: Type 26 Photos (Arsenal Rework with checkered grips). The ammo I had was a box of now discontinued Old Western Scrounger ammo labelled as having 160 grain bullets. You can see this ammo at Nambu World: Shooting ammo for Japanese handguns. Using a chronograph will be a vital part of this series of tests, as there is a great deal of controversy about the muzzle velocity of the original Japanese 9mm revolver ammo, with various sources citing figures from less than 500 to 750 feet per second.

            Fortunately, when I got to the range it was completely deserted, so I did not have to worry about disturbing other shooters with my set-up. Probably the range was deserted because the Calgary Stampede was in full swing, so everybody in town was watching rodeo activities or drinking except for this Nambu nut.

            First I tested my chronograph using my .38 Special reloads in my S&W Model 586 revolver with six-inch barrel. Everything seemed to work fine.
            Then I tested the point of impact of  the Type 26 revolver I was using. I fired at 10 feet, as this is how far the chronograph was to be positioned from the shooting position. The sights were very hard to see, but other than that the revolver functioned flawlessly with the Old Western Scrounger (OWS) ammo I had. I have only 50 rounds of this and can't get any more, so I was very frugal (this ammo looks terrible, as it looks like the rim on the .38 S&W brass used was thinned using a dull, rusty nail--very crude machining). My first two shots were fired at a seven inch paper plate with a one-inch orange dot in the centre. This revealed the gun shot about three inches high at that distance, with no marked deviation to the right or left. I then aimed three shots near the bottom rim of the plate, about three inches low, and they all hit about where the dot was. This confirmed that the gun shot about three inches high at that short range using this ammo. The recoil was mild and the only real problem was seeing the front sight. It was shiny and the glare from the midday sun made it hard to see exactly where the top of it was. I will have to figure out a way of blackening the front sight more effectively. I used to be able to get a spray on sight black product (basically soot in a spray can), but it is not available up here anymore.
            I then fired seven rounds over the chronograph. One of them went slightly to the left and missed the measuring hole, so I got six readings. Shooting over the chrono was very disconcerting, as I had to aim so low I was almost aiming at the device itself, rather than the holes you are supposed to shoot through. The front screen of the chronograph was about ten feet from the table, or about 11 feet from the gun's muzzle.

            The six readings for the OWS ammo were as follows:
506 fps
497 fps
497 fps
523 fps
462 fps
455 fps
  This yields an average velocity of 490 fps. I did not have meteorological equipment with me, but at home, 20 km away, the temperature was 24 degrees Celsius, the humidity was 60% and the barometric pressure was 101.7 kilopascals (30.03 inches of mercury). The sun was bright and there was a very slight breeze, just enough to be noticeable, but not enough to lift flags, as you can see in the above photos. It was between 11AM and noon. Calgary is around 3500 feet above sea level.

            As soon as I got home, I cleaned both the S&W revolver I used to test the chronograph and the Type 26. The latter was extremely dirty after firing only twelve rounds.

            My next step will be to pull the bullets from an original round and one of the OWS rounds to verify their bullet weights. Then I will test fire a small number of original rounds to determine what muzzle velocity to aim for when I hand load my own ammo.

 

July 16-18, 2006

            Well, it seems like I hit the jackpot in selecting the original round I did. I am pretty sure it is the black powder load that has been the subject of some unconfirmed speculation. The Derby & Brown book says: "It has been reported that cartridges loaded prior to 1900 were charged with black powder; a smokeless propellant was used after that date" (page 298).
            Here is the full story. I selected an OWS and an original round for pulling. The OWS one went smoothly and I recorded all the dimensional and weight data that are reported below. The original round was a different story. I was using my RCBS kinetic bullet puller, the kind that looks like a hammer with a turquoise head.

            What happened surprised the heck out of me. The third whack seemed to release the bullet, but I saw the case go flying and land about three feet away. The bullet was caught in the collet on the bullet puller and did not descend into the puller's capture chamber. At first I thought all was lost, but then I picked up the case and saw that the wad had kept all the contents intact, i.e. no powder was lost. I measured the bullet length and the distance down from the case rim to the wad and compared it to the overall case length. It did not appear that the wad had moved.
            The wad seemed pretty  well stuck in there, so I contacted a cartridge collector friend for ideas on how to get it out without damaging it. He didn't really have any suggestions, so I ended up using a safety pin to pick at the edges of this thin flat cardboard wad until I could pry it out. Lo and behold, there was another wad underneath! This one appeared to be of a hard waxy material that I think is beeswax. So I again picked at the edges until I could get that out in one slightly dinged-up piece. I looked inside and there was a THIRD wad, another flat cardboard one. When I picked that one out, only a bit of powder seemed loose. I dumped that out and then had to use a pin and a pick and a small screwdriver to get the rest out.
  I think the powder is black powder based on its appearance, the fact the load was very compressed, and the weight of the load (9.0 grains, far more than any sane smokeless load for this cartridge-- DO NOT USE THIS AS A LOAD WITH EITHER BLACK OR SMOKELESS POWDER!!!!.). However, because I had to pick the powder out of the case, I do not know what the original grain size was (FFg, FFFg, etc.)
  I am attaching photos of the wads and the powder. DO NOT USE THESE POWDER WEIGHTS AS A LOAD!! I DO NOT KNOW WHAT THE POWDER WAS IN THESE CASES!
  I am also summarizing all the data from pulling these two rounds below:
Total weight of loaded round: OWS 226.4 gr, Original 210.2 gr
Weight of bullet: OWS 165.3 gr, Original 148.5 gr
Weight of case with primer: OWS 59.6 gr, Original 50.2 gr
Weight of wads: OWS n/a, Original 2.50 gr (see below for more details)
Estimated powder weight: OWS 1.5 gr, Original 9.0 gr (by subtraction: loaded round minus weight of other components) DO NOT USE THIS AS A LOAD!!!!.
Powder weight as per scale: OWS 1.3 gr, Original 9.0 gr (OWS bullet was lubed and some powder was lost by sticking to other bits, my fingers, etc. DO NOT USE THIS AS A LOAD!!!)
Overall length of loaded round: OWS 1.126", Original 1.189"
Rim diameter: OWS 0.435", Original 0.435"
Case diameter: OWS 0.382", Original 0.382"
Rim Thickness: OWS 0.016", Original 0.029"
Bullet Diameter
    -part inside the case: OWS 0.345-0.348", Original 0.353"
    -widest part outside the case: .OWS 0.362", Original 0.354"
Bullet Length: .OWS 0.744h, Original 0.605h

Case Length: OWS 0.774", Original 0.8665" (halfway between .866 and .867)

Original Round Only:
-
distance from top of case down to top of upper wad: .0.293-0.294"
-measurements of wad components
            -upper cardboard wad: weight 0.43 grains, thickness .020"
            -middle beeswax wad: weight 1.6 grains, thickness .094"
            -bottom paper was: weight 0.35 grains, thickness .020"

 

            I measured the case capacity of the OWS case, the original case and the Buffalo Arms-supplied case. I did this using a technique suggested to me by a reloading expert. He said to use a fine-grained pistol powder to fill the case and then weigh the charges, as this was likely to be more accurate than attempting to use water unless one has an array of extremely finely graduated lab equipment. I have a large supply of Winchester 231 powder, so that is what I used (incidentally, the powder in the OWS case looks a lot like 231). I filled each case, gave it two light taps on the bottom, and then drew a wooden tongue depressor across the top of the case to remove the excess above the case rim. Here are my results.

DO NOT USE THESE AS LOADS!!!!!! THEY ARE MEASUREMENTS OF TOTAL CASE CAPACITY TO THE RIM OF THE CASE!!! IT WOULD BE FATAL TO USE THESE LOADS IN ANY TYPE 26 REVOLVER!!!
Original case holds 12.5 grains of Winchester 231 to fill it to the brim (do not use this as a load!).
OWS case made from W-W .38 S&W brass holds 9.8 grains of Winchester 231 to fill it to the brim (do not use this as a load!).
Buffalo Arms case made from R-P .38 Special brass (cut down) holds 12.0 grains of Winchester 231 to fill it to the brim (do not use this as a load!).

I REPEAT: DO NOT USE THESE AS LOADS!!!!!! THEY ARE MEASUREMENTS OF TOTAL CASE CAPACITY TO THE RIM OF THE CASE!!! IT WOULD BE FATAL TO USE THESE LOADS IN ANY TYPE 26 REVOLVER!!!

            I think the OWS ammo maker may have used the .38 S&W case, which is shorter than the original, to overcome the potential problem of not filling the case enough with the miniscule smokeless load they were using.

 

August 2, 2006

            This was the big range test day. I wanted to test both original Type 26 and Type 14 ammo.

            My Type 26 tests were conducted under a clear sky, no wind, 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit), barometer 102.5 kilopascals=30.27" mercury (I brought my barometer/thermometer along). Distance from muzzle to target 10 feet, distance from muzzle to chronograph also 10 feet (I brought my tape measure this time). Calgary is around 3500 feet above sea level, I think. All firing was done with my arsenal rework Type 26 revolver #45252, the same as the OWS ammo test reported above. I addressed the glare problem I had experienced earlier by painting the rear edge of the T26 front sight with flat black paint, setting up a patio umbrella to provide shade for the shooting position and then wearing polarized clip-on sunglasses. I also found I could focus better using my reading glasses rather than my distance vision glasses, so that is what I wore.
            First I needed to know where the original Type 26 ammo shot in order to be sure I did not shoot my chronograph, so I set up a 7h paper pie plate target on a large white paper background, and put a one-inch orange adhesive aiming dot in the middle of the pie plate. I positioned myself with the muzzle ten feet from the target and fired two shots, aiming at the bottom edge of the aiming dot (i.e. a six ofclock hold). The two aim-point shots were 2.5" high at 10 feet. Since this was about the same as the OWS ammo, it made me think the velocities of the original and OWS ammo would be similar, and they were.

            I then fired seven original rounds over the chronograph. I wanted six measurements and one was extremely low, so I fired an extra round to get six gnormalh measurements. I had previously measured and recorded the weights of most of the rounds I fired.
 Here are the velocities:
532 fps (total weight of loaded round before firing 203.5gr)
598 (203.5gr)
545 (203.2gr)
599 (203.9gr)
425 (200.7gr) (this was the extremely low velocity round, perhaps an outlier caused by faulty ammo)
546 (203.4gr)
615 (exact weight not recorded, but it was in a row where I quickly checked them with a scale set to 203gr and all in that row were close).
            If we toss out the 425fps round as an aberration, the average velocity is 572.5fps. If we keep it in, the average is 551fps. I later received a letter from Mr. Don Sharp, who advised that he had fired one round of original ammo and recorded a velocity of 635 feet per second.

            I had no dud rounds in this series of tests, however one round seemed to have a rim that was too thick and bound when it was its turn to rotate into the firing position, no matter what chamber I loaded it into.
            Prior to the range test I also weighed a bunch of 9mm revolver rounds to test my theory that the weight of blackpowder rounds should enable them to be identified. The blackpowder round I pulled weighed a total of 210 grains, and the average of the ones I fired today was about 203. They all appeared to be smokeless. A difference of seven grains or so would make sense since the blackpowder round had 9 grains of powder (DO NOT USE THIS AS A LOAD!!!!) and 2.5 grains of wads. The cardboard wad and smokeless powder load could not weigh anywhere near that. I will keep this in mind as I do further measurements to test the hypothesis that it may be possible to identify black powder rounds by their greater weight.

            My Type 14 tests were conducted under a clear sky, no wind to an occasional light cross-breeze, 22 degrees Celsius (72 degrees Fahrenheit--it was warming up as the morning progressed), barometer 102.5 kilopascals, 30.27" mercury (I brought my barometer/thermometer along). Distance from muzzle to target 10 feet, distance from muzzle to chronograph also 10 feet (I brought my tape measure this time). All firing was done with my Chuo Kogyo (Nagoya Nambu) Type 14 serial 87566 (see Nambu World: Showa 15.12 Type 14 Photos for details on this gun). This gun is all matching with an excellent bore, but has been re-blued and had the magazine retention spring replaced, so I intend to use it as my standard shooter for tests. Calgary is around 3500 feet above sea level, I think.

            First I tested the Old Western Scrounger (OWS) ammo, which is made with the HDS 102 grain plated bullets.
            The two aim point shots were 3/8" low at 10 feet.
            The measured velocities of shots fired over the chronograph were:
973 fps
959fps
996fps
982fps
975fps
945fps
987fps
989fps
            This gives an eight-shot average of 976 fps for the OWS ammo.  I had two jams during the firing. I think two rounds had the primers penetrated, but I will have to examine them with a loupe to be sure. I had installed a repro striker from Gunparts beforehand to prevent breakage of the original. In my post-firing examination I noticed the tip was bent and seemed to protrude too far, so that may be the reason for the penetration.
            I tried my aim-point test at 10 feet with early cupro-nickel (silver coloured bullet) ammo first, but both rounds were duds, so I switched to the later post 1942 ammo with the copper-coloured gilding metal jackets. Both of them went off the first time.
            The post-1942 original ammo with the gilding metal (copper-coloured) jackets shot 0.5" low at 10 feet. Since this was about the same as the OWS ammo, it made me think the velocities of the original and OWS ammo would be similar, and they were.
            Here are the seven measured velocities of the original ammo fired over the chronograph (I had four dud rounds during this test, but no jams).
998fps
1027fps
983fps
1003fps
1000fps
1003fps
1045fps
            This gave an average velocity of 1008fps, which converts to 307 metres per second.
            In both the Type 26 and Type 14 aim-point tests the two rounds left holes that were touching and the vertical spread centre-to centre was only 1/8", so I felt fairly confident about my testing of where the gunfs point of impact was with that ammo. In both tests they were reasonably well centred on the left-right axis, too. I have retained the targets from all the aim point tests, each labelled fully, and I also photographed them on site
            I was pretty lucky as I found most of my brass. The T14 dumped the brass very close, often on the shooting table. Since the extractor and ejector are both positioned in the centre, the primary direction the brass goes is straight up, not to the right as with most semi-automatic pistols.

 

Early August, 2006

            Over the course of several days I continued my investigations.

            Is it possible to tell whether a round is loaded with black powder before you pull it? (like most other Japanese cartridges, the rounds have no headstamp). The intact black powder round had weighed 210.2 grains before I pulled it and the bullet weighed 148.5 grains. The powder was 9.0 grains (DO NOT USE THIS AS A LOAD!!!!)and the three wads, 2.50 grains in total. Now, 11.50 grains of wads and black powder must weigh a lot more than a smokeless load and a single thin cardboard wad. The rounds I fired in the shooting tests reported below had weighed only an average of 202.8 grains (n=8; I forgot to weigh one). So I weighed all my remaining original rounds. I found seven that weighed over 210 grains. They weighed an average of 211.7 grains, with a high of 213.4 and a low of 210.4. The remaining 30 rounds averaged 203.8 grains, with only two in the grey zone between 206 and 210 grains. So I pulled the heaviest round (213.4 grains) and sure enough, it was another black powder load, with the same three-part wad (weight 2.2 grains) and the same powder charge of 9.0 grains of black powder that had congealed into a hard, solid mass (DO NOT USE THIS AS A LOAD!!!!). I then tried the other part of the theory, pulling a rather grungy-looking round that weighed 203.6 grains. It was smokeless, with a charge of 2.6 grains of little pillow-shaped powder DO NOT USE THIS AS A LOAD!!!!. The primed case weighed 51.4 grains, bullet 148.8 grains, pink cup-shaped cardboard wad 0.6 grains. While these results are clearly not a big enough sample to prove my theory, they are consistent with it. Could variations in bullet and case weight account for the weight difference of about eight grains? My nine rounds of fired brass with spent primers weighed an average of 50.4 grains (low 49.7, high 51.4), while the four pulled rounds had unfired primed brass weighing 50.9 grains (low 49.4, high 52.5). The three intact bullets for which I had measurements weighed an average of 149 grains (low 148.5, high 149.6).  Thus, there does not seem to be enough variation in these components to account for the differences in weight I found. These data also point towards differences in total weight being a distinguishing feature between the loadings. However, the jury is still out and I would invite anyone who pulls a round to let me know the results so we can see if this is a valid way of distinguishing the black powder rounds.

            I also had a round with a deformed bullet that was clearly missing part of its original mass. I pulled it and found it was a smokeless load, but a different one than the one my friend had sectioned. This one had 3.7 grains of a fine, amorphous, irregular powder with a greenish tinge (DO NOT USE THIS AS A LOAD!!!!.) and a pinkish, cup-shaped cardboard wad that weighed 0.8 grains. The powder looked a lot like the powder that was in a 7mm Baby Nambu round that Paul had sectioned for me. So now we have three different Type 26 loads: black powder, pillow-shaped smokeless powder and the irregular smokeless powder!

            To summarize, here is what we now know about original Type 26 rounds. There is a black powder loading and there are at least two different smokeless loadings. All use wads. It MAY be possible to tell the black powder rounds by their greater weight, though this is still conjecture till we have more data. The velocity of the original rounds is at least in the 550-570 feet per second range. It may have been higher if the rounds I fired had deteriorated. All of them fired, with no duds, so they couldnft have been that bad, but they were all at least 60 years old and perhaps over 100 years old..

            Next I need to get some handloads put together and then proceed to range testing. I will be comparing the trajectory of the handloads to the original Japanese trajectory data to see how close my loads come to the original specs.

August 24, 2006

WARNING!!!!

PLEASE READ THIS WARNING CAREFULLY!!! THE RELOADING DATA PRESENTED BELOW ARE PRESENTED ONLY AS A RECORD OF MY RESEARCH. I DO NOT AND CAN NOT WARRANT THEIR SAFETY. I DO NOT KNOW YOUR GUN OR YOUR COMPONENTS OR YOUR RELOADING PROCEDURES, SO I DO NOT KNOW WHETHER THESE LOADS ARE SAFE FOR YOU. THE FACT THEY WORKED FOR ME IS NO GUARANTEE THEY WILL WORK AND/OR BE SAFE FOR YOU. I ACCEPT NO RESPONSIBILITY WHATEVER IF, DESPITE THIS WARNING, YOU ATTEMPT TO USE, MISUSE OR ABUSE THESE DATA. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK!!! IMPROPER RELOADING CAN CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY, PROPERTY DAMAGE OR DEATH. FIRING ANTIQUE FIREARMS WITH ANY AMMUNITION IS AN ACTIVITY WITH AN INHERENT LEVEL OF RISK THAT CAN BE REDUCED BUT NEVER ENTIRELY ELIMINATED!!!!
            I went to the range again on August 24 to test my first batch of reloads, which I had completed the previous day. My rounds were loaded to an overall length of 1.157". This is slightly shorter than the original length of around 1.182". The difference seems to be because the original bullet is a bit more pointed compared to the relatively blunt-rounded lead round nose bullets I was using. These bullets were made by a Vancouver company called OMA with red lube around 15 or 20 years ago. I weighed ten of them and got an average weight of 156.6 grains. All were .357h in diameter, plus or minus .0005h. I used a moderate roll crimp. All rounds tested used Federal No. 100 small pistol primers. I prepared rounds with 1.8, 2.0 and 2.2 grains of 231 (SEE WARNING ABOVE).

            The weather was 21C (=70F), barometer 30.3"=102.5 kilopascals, humidity 66%, bright sky with scattered clouds, almost no wind. The firing of aim point rounds began at 10:10AM, the chrono rounds at 10:16AM. Calgary's elevation is unchanged at somewhere around 3500 feet.

            The aim point rounds at 10 feet were both touching each other (about 50% overlap). They were about 2.75 inches high and just slightly to the left (maybe half an inch at most). These rounds had 2.0 grains of 231 (SEE WARNING ABOVE!).
            First I chronographed the 2.0 grain rounds (SEE WARNING ABOVE!). I got the following velocities in fps: 592, 575, 602, 586, 602, for an average of 591.4 fps. Three rounds did not register. All of these were rounds that went through the top of the cardboard chronograph frame when I tried to shoot a little higher through the window in the chronograph (more on this below).
            Then I fired the rounds with 1.8 grains of 231 (SEE WARNING ABOVE!). The following velocities resulted (in fps): 545, 539, 546, 516, 559, 508, 507. This gives an average of 531.4 fps. (541 fps without the two low ones). One round did not register (again too high, as explained below).
            Last, I decided to fire the rounds with 2.2 grains of 231 (SEE WARNING ABOVE!). I got the following velocities in fps: 666, 640, 676, 677, 640, 659, 645. This yields an average of 657.6 fps. Again, one round was too high to register.
            None of the cases showed any visible signs of excess pressure.
            Now, about the rounds that did not register because they were too high. I wanted to see whether it was possible to both chronograph a round and check its point of impact. Howver, because these rounds strike so high at 10 feet, I have to aim at my chronograph to get a reading. This means I can't see the targets at the end of the range. When I tried aiming a bit higher so I could see the aim points on the targets, the rounds all went through the cardboard frame on the chronograph and did not register. The conclusion is that I can either chrono a round or measure its point of impact, but not both. 

            During this trip to the range I also checked the actual distance to the targets on the handgun range, which is nominally 25 yards. I used my new Stanley 100 foot tape measure. The range is actually about 18" short, but by standing slightly back I can get 25 yards. It is 74 feet to the metal upright for the long narrow tables and 75 feet to the  rear cross brace at the bottom of these tables. 25 meters would be a problem, though I might be able to do it if there was no one else there and I could stand well back of the tables.

September 1, 2006

            This trip to the range was to test the trajectory of my handloads versus the trajectory specified in an old Japanese manual. There are a lot of detailed data here so I have just pasted in the spreadsheets below. Three notes about the testing. First, the shooting was done using a fold-up TV table with an old wooden rest on top, while sitting on my suitcase-style gun case (the stool I brought was too high). In other words, greater accuracy could probably be obtained using a fancy Ransom rest and solidly anchored tables. However, to test at the different ranges I had to improvise, and I think the results are not bad. While accuracy was not the focal point of this test, the results certainly put paid to the idea that these guns are inherently very inaccurate. With decent ammo and a shooter who is experienced shooting revolvers in double-action mode, acceptable results can be obtained. The 13 metre group was especially good.Second, the trajectory seemed to be very high—much higher than one would expect based on either the Japanese manual or later reloading manuals that have ballistics tables. Third, there are two sets of 20 metre results. This was because at 20 metres I could not clearly see the one-inch orange dot I had been using as an aim point (6 ofclock hold). After firing six shots at the orange dot (five were on the paper, the other off the top), I switched to some old targets I had with a 3.75h bullseye and fired another ten rounds. Both sets of results are reported below. (When shooting I use my reading glasses so I can see the front sight clearly, but at 20 metres this means the aiming point is very blurred.)

PLEASE READ THIS WARNING CAREFULLY!!! THE RELOADING DATA PRESENTED BELOW ARE PRESENTED ONLY AS A RECORD OF MY RESEARCH. I DO NOT AND CAN NOT WARRANT THEIR SAFETY. I DO NOT KNOW YOUR GUN OR YOUR COMPONENTS OR YOUR RELOADING PROCEDURES, SO I DO NOT KNOW WHETHER THESE LOADS ARE SAFE FOR YOU. THE FACT THEY WORKED FOR ME IS NO GUARANTEE THEY WILL WORK AND/OR BE SAFE FOR YOU. I ACCEPT NO RESPONSIBILITY WHATEVER IF, DESPITE THIS WARNING, YOU ATTEMPT TO USE, MISUSE OR ABUSE THESE DATA. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK!!! IMPROPER RELOADING CAN CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY, PROPERTY DAMAGE OR DEATH. FIRING ANTIQUE FIREARMS WITH ANY AMMUNITION IS AN ACTIVITY WITH AN INHERENT LEVEL OF RISK THAT CAN BE REDUCED BUT NEVER ENTIRELY ELIMINATED!!!!

Type 26 Revolver Handload Test

1.9 gr 231, 157 gr LRN, R-P cases

September 1, 2006.

14C=57F, 103.3kp=30.5"Hg, 64% humidity

10:05AM, occasional light breeze (sheltered), bright clear sky

Calgary 3500 feet above sea level.

T26 serial #45254

 

Federal SP Primers No. 100. Temp rose to 22C by noon (end).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

517

 

Chronograph Test of Velocity

 

 

535

 

Chrony placed 10 feet from

 

 

552

 

muzzle to front screen.

 

 

515

 

 

 

 

 

 

522

 

 

 

 

 

 

540

 

 

 

 

 

 

548

 

 

 

 

 

 

545

 

 

 

 

 

 

526

 

 

 

 

 

 

519

 

 

 

 

 

 

5319

Average 531.9 fps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Metres

(data in mm)

 

 

 

 

Above Aim Point

String

From Centre

 

 

174

 

1

23

Left

 

 

174

 

1

36

Left

 

 

169

 

1

37

Left

 

 

160

 

1

31

Left

 

 

147

 

1

18

Left

 

 

139

 

1

19

Left

 

 

138

 

2

12

Left

 

 

139

 

2

3

Left

 

 

147

 

2

0

Left

 

 

152

 

2

3

Left

 

 

1539

 

 

182

 

 

 

Average 153.9mm

high

Average 18.2mm

 

 

(inches

6.059055

 

(inches

0.716535

 

 

Group

36mm high by 37mm wide

 

 

 

Group

1.417323

inches by

1.456693

inches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Metres

(data in mm)

 

 

 

 

Above Aim Point

String

From Centre

 

 

220

 

1

58

Left

 

 

220

 

1

55

Left

 

 

235

 

1

33

Left

 

 

233

 

1

3

Right

 

 

267

 

2

17

Left

 

 

250

 

2

8

Right

 

 

232

 

2

30

Left

 

 

203

 

2

17

Left

 

 

201

 

2

13

Left

 

 

183

 

2

20

Left

 

 

2244

 

 

 

 

 

 

Average 224.4mm

high

 

 

 

 

(inches

8.834646

 

 

 

 

 

Group

84mm high by 66mm wide

 

 

 

Group

3.464567

inches by

2.598425

inches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 Metres

(data in mm)

 

 

 

 

Above Aim Point

String

From Centre

 

 

302

 

1

64

Left

 

 

303

 

1

33

Left

 

 

285

 

1

38

Left

 

 

266

 

1

49

Left

 

 

275

 

1

40

Left

 

 

271

 

1

50

Left

 

 

260

 

2

68

Left

 

 

252

 

2

54

Left

 

 

254

 

2

50

Left

 

 

296

 

2

39

Left

 

 

2764

 

 

485

 

 

 

Average 276.4mm

high

Average 48.5 Left

 

 

(inches

10.88189

 

(inches

1.909449

 

 

Group

51mm high by 35mm wide

 

 

 

Group

2.007874

inches by

1.377953

inches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 Metres

(data in mm)

(first test)

(orange dot)

 

Above Aim Point

String

From Centre

 

 

467

 

1

52

Left

 

 

417

 

1

13

Left

 

 

399

 

1

4

Left

 

 

371

 

1

44

Left

 

 

351

 

1

19

Left

 

 

2005

 

 

132

 

 

 

Average 401mm

high

Average 26.4mm left

 

(inches

15.7874

 

(inches

1.03937

 

 

Group

115mm high by 48mm wide

 

 

 

Group

4.527559

inches by

1.909449

inches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 Metres

(data in mm)

(second test-black bullseye)

 

Above Aim Point

String

From Centre

 

 

515

 

1

61

Left

 

 

481

 

1

99

Left

 

 

470

 

1

90

Left

 

 

442

 

1

87

Left

 

 

460

 

2

128

Left

 

 

450

 

2

113

Left

 

 

430

 

2

60

Left

 

 

466

 

2

18

Left

 

 

482

 

2

39

Left

 

 

512

 

2

22

Left

 

 

4708

 

 

717

 

 

 

Average 470.8mm high

Average 71.7mm left

 

(inches

18.53543

 

(inches

2.822835

 

 

Group

85mm high by 110mm wide

 

 

 

Group

3.346457

inches by

4.330709

inches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary

(mm above aiming point)

 

 

 

7 metres

153.9

Difference

 

 

 

10 metres

224.4

70.5

between 7 & 10 metres

 

13 metres

276.4

52

between 10 & 13 metres

 

20 metres

470.8

194.4

between 13 & 20 metres

 

 

 

 

********************************************

            Here are my earlier experiences shooting Japanese handguns.

 

Type 14 (1)

            It took a couple of months for me to get to shoot my Type 14 by the time the registration paperwork came in, I received the ammo from out of town and I finished making grips for it. On July 16, 2003 I fired it for the first time. I fired a total of 11 rounds: one round first to make sure it functioned; then two rounds to make sure it cycled; and then a full magazine of eight rounds to test the magazine. I had heard so much about how wimpy the cartridge was supposed to be that I was surprised by the recoil. It wasnft severe (about like a .38 Special), but it was more than I had expected, especially since the gun is pretty big (my Japanese roommate, who is 5f0h (150cm) tall, was astounded that the Japanese would have used such a large, heavy pistol). The empties ejected vigorously and tended to land about 10 feet (3-4 metres) straight ahead, though some hit the ceiling of the indoor range and landed closer. The accuracy was quite good considering that there is very little rifling left in the bore. Most of the shots were within an inch at 7 yards once I figured out where the gun was shooting (pretty much on centre, but a little high, at least at that short range; I needed to know where it shot at that short range in order to do chronograph tests). I found the sights were a little hard to get used to with the odd sight picture (the front sight is a tall, thin triangle and the top of each side of the rear sight points in towards the middle instead of being cut square). The main flaw was that the first few rounds fired from the full magazine didnft load properly. The last five or so went fine. I suspected this might be the case since the last few rounds I put in didnft seem to lay in the same way as the first ones. I am not sure whether this is a flaw in the magazine itself, some friction with my homemade grips, or a problem in my loading procedure. The magazine spring is very strong and you pretty much have to depress the follower button to get the rounds in; you canft just use the cartridge to press down the previous one.

 

Type 14 (2&3)

            The next time I got to the range to try out my Japanese pistols was Friday, March 19, 2004. I took my 19.1 dated Toriimatsu pistol, which is in excellent, all-matching condition. The first couple of times I could only load seven rounds in the magazine, but then it seemed to loosen up a bit and I got the full eight in. The sight picture didnft bother me this time and in fact I found it easy to use. This one tended to leave most of the empties right around my feet, which was much more convenient. The pistol was very accurate and shot right to point of aim. It was also reliable, with no stoppages....until....it jammed up completely. When I took it apart I discovered that the tail had broken off the striker. After trying out my Type 94 (see below) I went home to examine it more closely. I replaced the striker and went back on Monday, March 21. It again fired fine for several rounds and then the same thing happened. It appears like the striker was moving with some force and the striker tail was stopped, eventually stressing the metal to the breaking point (see photo). I have several theories as to what may have happened. Perhaps I tightened the cocking knob too tight. Other possibilities include the sear bar not moving down easily enough (perhaps due to an improper spring having been installed) or some kind of interference with the locking block. We are moving, but once I get set up in our new pace I will do some more detailed investigations.

 

Type 94 (1)

            I took my Type 94 to the range with me for the first time on March 19, 2004. I fired a magazine of Old Western Scrounger 8mm Nambu ammo through it. It is not as pleasant to shoot as the Type 14. The trigger pull is long, hard and creepy, and the sights are much poorer, making it hard to focus on them. My groups were larger than with the Type 14, though this was probably more due to my inability to focus on the poor sights rather than any intrinsic accuracy problem. When the gun was fired, there was quite a visible flash, and it seemed to come from the breech rather than the muzzle, although I canft be sure as it happens really quickly. If it is coming from the breech, it may suggest premature unlocking of the breech. The empties again ended up around my feet. Several times the bolt didnft go all the way back and I had to pull it back and release it to chamber another round for the next shot. Some people say the Type 94 is pickier about ammo and often needs a stiff load to function reliably (modern ammo may be downloaded a bit for liability reasons). Despite these shortcomings, firing it was an interesting experience. Although I have very large hands and the grip is often criticized as too small, I found it comfortable to shoot given that the cartridge is not that powerful and hence recoil is moderate (it would be another matter trying to shoot .44 Magnum with a grip that small). At least, the grip would be the least of my concerns if I were given this thing as a combat weapon.

 

            Last updated: September 4, 2006. All contents are copyright Teri unless otherwise specified and may not be used elsewhere in any form without prior permission.

             

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