Cleanliness Is Next To …

Well, I thought that gun was clean but, brother, did I miss a spot – at least that’s what I think is causing so much trouble.

Over the past couple of range sessions, the Model 41 (Smith & Wesson 22 caliber target pistol) has been having more and more extraction problems. At first, I thought it was the ammunition I had been feeding it. You see, we did some accuracy tests a while back and, since then, I’ve been shooting up the leftovers to find out how reliable is each of the brands as well as how accurate is it.

Last night I was shooting the red boxed Eley Tenex in the regular league – we shot the International format of three 10-round Precision Fire targets followed by three 10-round Dueling Fire targets. Before the competition started, I “fouled” the barrel with about 25 shots of this ammunition without a problem. And the Precision Fire targets seemed to go well with only a single stove-pipe.

But once we reached the Dueling Fire segment of the competition, it was “jam city.” I could not get through a 5-round magazine without at least one stove-pipe, sometimes more.

My suspicion had been that either the brands of ammunition I was shooting just did not perform in the manner the 41 preferred, or that the chamber, which I have not made any special effort to clean, had accumulated so much crud that, no matter what ammunition I fired, extraction was becoming more and more difficult.

Thank goodness there were only three other shooters there last night. They were patient – very patient – with my alibis and I certainly had more of those than the rules would normally allow. One of the shooters volunteered a brush to try and clean the chamber and surrounding area but I think it was just too dirty for the cursory brushing. He also donated a couple of dozen rounds of a different ammunition noting that he too had found jamming to be a problem in warm climates with Eley Tenex (it feels stickier as the temperature increases) but the offered ammunition jammed just as badly.

The bottom line is that until I’ve thoroughly cleaned the chamber area using a .25 caliber brush, Hoppes #9 and lots of elbow grease, the gun’s reliability is overshadowing any reliability issues it might have with different brands of ammunition.

P.S. Jams aside, I shot fairly well. My aggregate was 515 out of 600 points or 85.8% which places my 22 shooting in the Sharpshooter category. (If I could just do that with the 45!)

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