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Old July 13, 2012, 02:27 PM   #1
Rachen
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Pet Loads for the .31 Pocket Revolver (or Don't Underestimate the Little Mousegun)

I always found that using a duplexed (Black powder only) charge of 7 grains of finely ground FFFFG powder, then 6 more grains of FFF on top of that, with the entire load well sealed and packed at both ends with heavy grease, gives the highest velocity with relatively good accuracy.

The gun in question is the Pietta steel framed .31 Remington. Velocities using a 50-grain .31 buckshot ball range about 800 to just under 1000 fps with the above load and a relatively energetic propellant like Swiss or my own homemade sulfurless "cocoa" powder .
H777 gives erratic readings,
Pyrodex is just plain weak in this case,
APP/Jim Shockey Gold? Fuggetaboutit! You'll be lucky if the assailant doesn't catch the ball in flight and throw it back at you.

But real, energetic black powder performs the best for .31 pocket pistols.

Before people start scoffing about how the little .31 is "too weak" or "too enemic", remember, there was a simple reason behind the fact that the .31 Colt and Remington pocket guns outsold their military counterparts and were still being produced into the dawn of the smokeless age. And then, their smokeless cousins such as the .25 and .32 ACPs continue to sell well only after the 1990s, when the availability of stronger alloys led to the creation of pocket pistols in much more powerful calibers like 9mm and .380 ACP.

A couiple of days ago I witnessed a large, burly bouncer proceeding to rough up a couple outside of a bar in a rather seedy part of town. The bouncer had brushed the smaller man aside to the curb and was really pounding on the woman, hard. What he did not see was the smaller man get up and lash him full in the face with a set of keys on a long, chain type keyholder. The bouncer retreated immediately, howling strings of profanities and grabbing at his eyes.

The point of this observation? Even if the attacker or home invader is a 350-lb ex linebacker, being whacked in the face, or neck by a 50-grain projectile traveling at 800 fps will seriously, permanently ruin his day. And at close ranges, the bullet is not the only object that whacks the target. Hot gases from the burning powder are propelled behind the slug at high velocity also entering with the bullet and it can be lethal just by itself.

When I am working in my shop, I usually have a .31 Remington laying around the tool area, nicely discreet and inconspicuously. But if I ever needed it, I am sure it would do the job it was designed for. I know that if I ever have to protect someone I love, the little .31 will make an assailant receive far more than what they bargained for.

In the spectacular Chinese TV series "The Line" (Sheng Shi Shen) one of the main characters is a former officer of the KMT 17th Route Army named Long Wenzhang whose entire regiment was destroyed during the Japanese onslaught on Shanghai. His colonel later committed suicide because he was haunted by his failure to protect the city and it's people from the enemy invasion but before he died, he gave Long Wenzhang his personal sidearm, a little Walther semiautomatic handgun chambered in .32 ACP, which is ballistically similar, if not the same as the .31 Colt and Remington pocket guns.
Later on, he and his guerrilla unit came upon a Japanese rear-echelon security force in the process of herding the inhabitants of an entire town into a barn and gassing them to death. Captain Long Wenzhang and his men attacked, killing the entire enemy force. During the engagement, Long Wenzhang personally killed several enemy officers with his .32 Walther. He would always get close, within 25 yards, and fired at the enemy's heads. He always aimed at the heads. He sneaked up to a Japanese machine gun nest and shot down one soldier who was loading fresh belts into the gun. As soon as the gunner whirled around, just in time to see his loader collapse to the ground after taking a .32 round to the head, Long Wenzhang drilled the gunner neatly through the face, less than 15 feet away. All within a space of a few seconds.

Goes on to illustrate the brutal effectiveness of a mousegun caliber in the hands of someone who is determined and sober.
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Old July 14, 2012, 09:47 AM   #2
noelf2
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Quote:
Goes on to illustrate the brutal effectiveness of a mousegun caliber in the hands of someone who is determined and sober.
Rachen, no disrespect, but what happens in a TV series is "fiction". Antique guns and reproductions of them, even though we are all enthusiasts, are not to be weapons of choice (if you have a choice). Having to aim for the head is hard in most aggressive situations. That's why a larger caliber aimed at center mass is thought to be the best practice in real situations. That said, a .31 BP pistol is many times better than a sharp stick or pepper spray.
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Old July 14, 2012, 04:30 PM   #3
arcticap
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Rachen,
That's why the Israeli Air Marshals carry and are trained to use Beretta tip up semi-autos that are loaded with .22 shorts and to aim for the head of any terrorist that would hijack an Israeli jetliner.
I imagine that the Air Marshals are probably trained to fire as many accurate shots as possible in rapid succession.
With proper training and accurate shooting then even the lowly .22 short rimfire round can be an effective man stopper. Rata tata tata tatat!

Last edited by arcticap; July 14, 2012 at 04:38 PM.
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Old July 24, 2012, 12:13 PM   #4
32HR MAG
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Why not just use 4f Blackpowder ? 4f Blackpowder is ok to use full strength in the steel frame . Your not putting enough in it to blow it apart . It was used back in the day and still good to use today . Of course accuracy is very important when using it as more than a plinker . Someone I know has used his to take rabbit at 10yds .
The only problem I have seen with these is , the bore is some where around .323 and the chambers of the cylinder are around .315 . I have thought about reaming the chambers bigger but then where do I find balls to fit ? So maybe have the barrel lined ? Maybe search for a barrel of the right bore size ? Or , just leave it alone have have fun .
Oh ya! I have used a full load of T7 and lubed wad in mine with good results .

Last edited by 32HR MAG; July 26, 2012 at 01:32 PM.
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Old July 26, 2012, 02:29 PM   #5
Rachen
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Quote:
Why not just use 4f Blackpowder ? 4f Blackpowder is ok to use full strength in the steel frame . Your not putting enough in it to blow it apart . It was used back in the day and still good to use today . Of course accuracy is very important when using it as more than a plinker . Someone I know has used his to take rabbit at 10yds .
The only problem I have seen with these is , the bore is some where around .323 and the chambers of the cylinder are around .315 . I have thought about reaming the chambers bigger but then where do I find balls to fit ? So maybe have the barrel lined ? Maybe search for a barrel of the right bore size ? Or , just leave it alone have have fun .
Oh ya! I have used a full load of T7 and lubed wad in mine with good results .
I use 4F in the .31 all the time. I usually use my own sulfurless powder or Swiss when I can get it. I ALWAYS, no matter percussion or cartridge, ALWAYS crush 2 to 4 grains of powder into superfine serpentine granulation, before spreading it out over the bottom of the chamber/cartridge case, and then load the main charge over it. Helps in ignition and distributes fire evenly to the main charge.

In the .31 I usually get velocities close to 900 fps. The little Beals shoot high at 15 feet but by 15 yards, it hits slightly under the point of aim.

My favorite exercise with this gun is "cutting strings". I would tie a string or a piece of solder to a hanging target rack and weigh down the end of the string with a washer or some old hardware pieces, doorknobs etc... I would aim for the thin dangling string and try to cut it in half with the shot. This little gun is very accurate, always hit where I lined up my sights. The very few times it did not hit, was because of my own fault, such as not properly timed breathing, shaky hands, general tiredness etc...
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