I procured about 2 months ago a new BFR in 357, the 6 shooter released about 6 mo ago. I am a fan of the BFR, I just liquidated a Dan Wesson Pistol Pack (1980's) in such confidence that the 357 BFR would shoot as well as the other BFRs I own and bettre than Danny Boy did with a tensioned barrel system and a tight set gap and lightened trigger. My DW's have been the tightest shooting handguns I have ever touched, hopefully until now.
Then, I bought a second one (funding has been good lately) and received it Saturday, 7.5 inch in 357. So I have twins. Since the second one is on the kitchen table, I decided to measure the throat(s) and bore/groove to see if it would be like my 30-30 or like my 44M (5 shot frame, not the new 6). I have been itching to shoot the first 357 but time is never on my side. I collect more than I shoot by an order of magnitude.
The 30-30 has perfect throat/bore/groove dimensions that would make any cast bullet shooter happy.
The 44 mag, I have procured a 432 throater from PTG with custom pilots to cure its ails. Throats severley mismatched and too small. One is good enough, 4 are a crap shoot way undersized. Well they would be ok if the barrel wasnt Fubared and OVERSIZE. Nonetheless, its always a crapshoot on a revolver, when can you truly rely on finding perfect throat/bore/groove that suits CB's? You can't unless you drop the coin for an FA.
Ruger set a standard of ruining the ratio making it a matter of fact, and then you horse around with dimensions to make things right or your shoot 25000 rounds to fix the forcing cone.... right?? Or dump money into a sows ear to make a silk purse. I respect the BH and its GREAT but it has some permanent unresolved issues with assembly that all owners have to deal with at some point. I dont like problems designed into systems.... I prefer things to be right from the factory, a car, a piano, a piece of furniture, a GUN???!!!
Smiths are good from the factory, or were..... but weak (ish), no offense. Pricey too, have funny locks now and shake loose in severe duty use.
I have yet to ream the 44 cylinder on the BFR but I did shoot it once to verify the compromised measurements and its good/reasonable accuracy and room for improvement with throating.
Maybe tomorrow Ill fix it, snow days all week forcast so no work for the week. Its a 30 minute job.
But........ MRI has built at least one masterpiece recently, I am hoping for the twins to both measure excellently. I will slug the #1 I received and see if it measures similarly.
Here we go:
Groove on barrel, .3555 and I mean dead nuts .3555, all grooves with no bind at the forcing cone (or a swolen spot in barrel either!) It took taps from the mallet to move it through the barrel, No tight/loose spots. Just a smooth traverse to the forcing cone. No tighting at cone exit either, it slipped into my hands didnt drop out. It sat there perfectly held in the forcing cove waiting for me to remove it from the frame window with my fingers. Impressive!
Throat (measured only one, and thats enough for me): .3570 dead nuts.
I can deal with mismatched throats as long as they are LARGE enough.
I am in shock! This is the first time in my life I need to ensure I didnt sell off an unused .357 lyman H&I die to size/lube. Ill should have one...... I would only ever use that die for 9mm work. Its TOO SMALL for anything I have ever owned and that is quite a few revolvers!
Its a 9mm barrel stock, not a .357/358 handgun barrel stock. I could not be happier. I suppose this lends some credence to Winchester using 9mm groove barrels for the 350 legend (aside from their proprietary crap and their financials). That was upsetting as the cast bullet shooter is so accustomed to the use of .358 or better as cast stock to load, usually nearing .360 to get a good fit- doesnt play t all in the 350 Legend.
I guess its not so bad to have to size a .358+ to .3575-.3570. Cant run as cast on most molds but I conventional lube almost exclusively and a sizer gets employed anyway.
I will not be fussing with finding fat enough molds or customs. Just cast ANYTHING in any 35 cal pistol mold and it will drop with nearly any alloy soft or hard or HT, above .3570. All of my pet 35 cal molds up to 210 gr will be dimensioned correct for reduction to .357
That is just a WOW for me.
I have owned FA, Ruger, Smith, Colt, still own IHMSA Seville, 1970-80 Smiths and BFRs now in 3 cartridges. I like the FA, it walks on water but is offensive to shoot in the hand although dimesnioned perfectly. Ruger: cheap, sloppy, needs refinement and dimensioned poorly. Smith dimensions beautiful but not as robust as an SA for stout service. Colt: dimensions perfect but collectible and unworthy of severe duty. Seville....well Sig is dead and thats that, I cant afford or find any more-- Absolute Perfection but also a crown jewel.
That leaves the BFR, a poor mans Freedom Arms, now with perfect dimensions (almost all the time), build strength at FA standards, better than Ruger fitment and in SA. Almost a Seville..... almost.... not quite an FA but not as painful either.
This is the most excited about a revolver I have been in over a decade. If your on the fence about a solid workhorse revolver for stout cast bullet service, Id think twice about just going after the Ruger NMBH..... Its more expensive but out of the box it speaks quality, refinement, heavy duty service and precision in assembly and machining-- not to mention accuracy!! Bank vault PLUS tight at lockup and cylinder spins for a year on the base pin if you give it a whirl.
I wish Ruger would correct the dimensions issue, its the sole reason I don't own Ruger revolvers anymore.