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9mm pistol not hitting point of aim

fastcarsgofastfastcarsgofast Member Posts: 7,179
edited May 2013 in Ask the Experts
I have a S&W 915. I can't seem to figure out the point of impact in regards to point of aim. At 5 yds it seems to be a few inches low, but at greater distances it is anybody's guess, and at 25 yds I'm lucky to get it on paper. I am shooting 115 gr fmj ammo.

Any suggestions?

Comments

  • perry shooterperry shooter Member Posts: 17,390
    edited November -1
    It is always harder to Get comfortable with a new Piol than one you have had for some time. First you need to find out If it is pistol or Shooter. Do you have anywhere you can have the use of a bench and some sand bags or padding to support the pistol . If so then sitting behind the gun try at a target at at least 10 yards or more with the use of the bench .If this is not possible do you have someone you know that is a Known 'GOOD PISTOL SHOT" that can try the pistol.[?][?]
  • fastcarsgofastfastcarsgofast Member Posts: 7,179
    edited November -1
    I have taken the pistol to the Dept. range on a number of occasions. No one can seem to get it to act right. I have tried several different brands of ammo, all 115 gr fmj, to no avail.

    BTW, I'm no slouch with a handgun.[;)]
  • M1A762M1A762 Member Posts: 3,426
    edited November -1
    I would try some 124 gr. and 147 gr. ammo. The heavier bullets just might be more accurate. The S&W auto triggers take some getting used to, follow the basics and shoot a few hundred rounds and it just might come around.
  • fastcarsgofastfastcarsgofast Member Posts: 7,179
    edited November -1
    I'll try the heavier rounds when I can find some. 115 gr is all that I can find around here.

    Is it common for 9mm pistols to be picky about the bullet weight?
  • Smoky14Smoky14 Member Posts: 503 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Call S&W and I'd bet they say send it back. I had a 908 that patterned like a shotgun and they made it good, not great but minute of felon.

    Smoky
  • TANK78ZTANK78Z Member Posts: 1,165 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I will second the trying of heavier loads.
    If that does not change anything I would
    carefully look over the barrel crown.
    Is it evenly finished ? Any small nicks?
    Any imperfection can make funny things happen to a bullets path,
    especially the further the distance.
    Look down the bore with a good light from both ends , any thing not consistent ,any marks or fouling of any kind?
  • beantownshootahbeantownshootah Member Posts: 12,772 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by fastcarsgofast
    I have taken the pistol to the Dept. range on a number of occasions. No one can seem to get it to act right. I have tried several different brands of ammo, all 115 gr fmj, to no avail.

    BTW, I'm no slouch with a handgun.[;)]

    "No slouch" means what? Can you consistently put all your shots into a 6" group or less at 25 yards with a variety of OTHER centerfire handguns offhand?

    Smith and Wesson 915 happens to be a DA/SA gun, and its normal for the first DA shot to hit a different point of impact as subsequent SA shots. If you're used to 1911 SA guns with the crisp consistent trigger, this just isn't going to shoot the same way.

    Difference in point of impact between 115, 124 and 147 grain bullets should be minimal at typical handgun distances. Its not zero, but
    at 10 yards its shouldn't be more than an inch or two, and at 25 yards, maybe only a few inches. While one of these bullet weights is probably going to be more accurate than the other two, I doubt its going to be a night and day difference, and therefore I doubt this is really the issue.

    Also 115 grain 9mm ammo is either the most popular or second most popular type out there. Its not some kind of "bizarre" ammo, and I've never seen nor heard of a 9mm gun that would group well with something else, but not 115 grain. If the gun shoots badly with 115 grain, I strongly doubt its magically going to "behave" with 124 let alone 147 grain.

    If you have the same issues with various types of FACTORY ammo (not crappy "remanufactured"), its probably not the ammo.

    Echoing what was written above, new guns can get some getting used to. Smith auto triggers aren't great, but that's not the only potential issue.

    Sometimes its the sights. If you're used to one type of sight picture, but then go to another, it can be really hard to get consistency. Small things that aren't obvious like width of the rear sight notch can make a big difference in group consistency. Sometimes three dot type sights can be regulated differently as to where the group is supposed to be in relation to the sight picture (ie on top of center dot? Behind center of center dot? etc), and that can cause problems too.

    I like shooting small targets, too, but in THIS case when you do your testing, I suggest using a large silhouette sized target so that you can account for ALL shots fired. For all you know, maybe you're getting respectable groups, but if you're off paper, you'd never know it!

    I'd say if (and only if) you can consistently get tight groups with the same ammo in a different gun, but can't from this gun FROM A RESTED position, then you have your answer. . .the gun is out of whack.

    Could be a bad barrel bushing, damaged crown, loose sights, dirty/leaded barrel, or something else out of spec.

    Before you do anything else, try taking the gun down completely, scrubbing it until its totally clean (including a good scrubbing of the bore with a bronze brush), then lube and reassemble. While you've got it apart, check the bore carefully for dirt, leading, and/or corrosion, check the barrel crown, check the bushing, and make sure the locking lugs aren't peened or otherwise damaged.

    If you still can't find the problem, you'll have to send it back to Smith.
  • Horse Plains DrifterHorse Plains Drifter Member Posts: 35,736 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by M1A762
    I would try some 124 gr. and 147 gr. ammo. The heavier bullets just might be more accurate. The S&W auto triggers take some getting used to, follow the basics and shoot a few hundred rounds and it just might come around.
    Yes, try this. I have a Ruger P85, and at 20 yards it groups 115 grainers at about 8"-10". I tried some 124 grainers, and it came right down to 4"-5"
  • Riomouse911Riomouse911 Member Posts: 3,469 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    As BTS wrote, the only true way to see what the gun is doing with that load is a mechanical rest (Ransom for example). This'll take the human element out of the equasion, and let you truly see if it's merely off the mark because of mis-aligned sights...a mechanical or bore issue, or it's just a gun that just hates the load you are shooting.

    Every gun I have likes some loads, loves others, and will usually hate one or two (when compared to the performance of the others.) None of my 9mm pistols really "hate" anything I have fed them, but every gun is different. Yours might just have that kinda personality.

    Based on older fixed-sight guns regularly coming from the factory sighted for a particular bullet weight/velocity combination, a change in the fired load often sends bullets to different points of impact. With your description of "a few inches low at 5 yards", I will not be suprised if your guns' fixed sights are set up for the heavier bullets as suggested. If I remember correctly, the slower-speed 147 gr bullet 9mm loads were all the rage at the time the 915 came out, so it might be regulated for that load. Using these heavier bullets (with the natural slower velocity) should pring the point of impact up a bit, possibly enough to cure what's ailing the gun.

    Good luck, and let us know what the results are.
  • charliemeyer007charliemeyer007 Member Posts: 7,348 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Some pistols don't shoot good. I have found that how you hold them influences point of aim/impact on fixed sight guns. If you shoot other pistols well then that pistol needs help professional or DIY.
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