I went shooting yesterday, and had a good couple of hours with the handguns. I learned a couple of things, some of which I don't yet understand:
This is the Aguila 38spl ammo thrown from the 686+ at 13 yards, standing unsupported. Group 1 is about 1.5", or about 5.37 MOA (I think). I'm still a novice with handguns, but I'm pleased with that grouping. Each of these groups is 7 shots, so there are a couple double-holes in there (although Group 2 is suspicious; I don't think any of those are double-holes). This is the only target I kept, and was the last one I shot, because I was hanging them on top of one another.
- Ammo does make a difference in accuracy, and it can be significant. 115 grain FMJ steel case by WPA is less accurate than 115 grain FMJ brass case by Winchester. Dunno if it was the casing, or what, but I put 50 rounds of the WPA and around 50 rounds of the Winchester downrange (alternating), and I was consistently more accurate with the Winchester.
- 38 Special 130 grain FMJ Ammo by Aguila does not fire about 75% of the time in the S&W 686+ when fired double-action, but fire 100% of the time single-action. Of the three brands of ammunition I've shot in the 686, this is the only brand with which I've had this problem.
- .357 kicks hella more than 38 special. No surprise there, but I found loading 3x 38spl and 3x .357 really interesting for the comparison.
- My hand actually starts to hurt after a couple of clips of +P 9mm in the Boberg XR9-L. I don't have this problem with non-+P 9mm. So, yeah, for self-defense the +P may be great stuff, but it's no fun for target practice (for me, at least).
- Despite the Boberg XR9-L having a barrel actually 0.2" longer than my 686+ (4.2" vs 4"), I am far more accurate with 38spl ammo in the 686, fired single action. Again, I don't know why, but my money is on the trigger pull. I'll need to try the 686 in double action for comparison, but all I had was that Aguila ammo.