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Light load for bowling pins - worth a try?

306 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Norm Lee
230gr lead over 7.7 AA#5. Functions in the gun, light kick. For factory 230 my gun has been fine with an 18# spring; but this load forced me back to the (stock) 16.5 for reliability.

I have been shooting factory 230gr win whitebox in the pins; was hoping that the lighter recoil might let me get my speed up (and keep composure at the indoor range for longer before the flinch sets in).

I've seen a guy with a 357 sig, and another with a Glock 40 cleaning off pins quite nicely . Am I giving up that much "punch" vs. pins with a 230gr starter load? Am I increasing the chance of unwanted richochet (sp)?

The only place I have to experiment on pins is (under pressure) at the event. Is it such a bad idea that it isn't even worth a try, or dangerous, or worth it?

BTW - there was a guy there last weak who claimed he was shooting VERY light loads (when I asked him why he was swapping out mag springs from a stash of about 50) - the guy did well, was INCREDIBLY fast and seemed to be laying the pins down nicely.

any thoughts appreciated.

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I would strongly recommend against light loads against pins unless you feel like ducking the bullets coming back at you. Our research showed us that the slower the round the more likely that they will glance off the pin itself and come back towards us. I know several people who have lost blood and friends even a witnessed a guy lose a testicle due to bounce back from I beleive a hardball type round going too slow. The big guys that are successful shooting pins( which I am not one of) say you need a powerfactor of 195 or higher. Most of us run a 210 powerfactor. It is the balance between power/recoil and speed. Feel free to down load your rounds to experiement, and you will have faster splits with perfect shots, but at a match you need enough power to take the pin with a marginal hit, hence the 210 powerfactor. Pins are a blast, let me know if any of this helps you out.
Having said all this, I guess I dont know what kind of table you are using, tiered or flat, and how far back the pins are from the back of the table. Standard set is 4ft from the back of the table. Now obviously if the pins are farther back you can get away with the lighter loads. Doug

front sight is good, front sight is good!

[This message has been edited by pingun.45 (edited 11-19-2001).]

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480 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Fair enough. Our pins are closer to the edge than that, so the power is probably not needed for that. The pins are at 24 feet; but probably only about 2 feet away from the end.

However, given the safety aspect, looks like I'll be switching in the OTHER direction - to the Fed American Eagle (real heavy factory stuff) - which is the only 45 I have left on hand.

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1,331 Posts
Pingun45 is right. Even factory hardball is kinda marginal on pins, at least in high-end competition. The 210 PF is right on as a minimum... OK, you can get by with a little less. I go to just over 215, myself. Wide-open hollow points or flat-nosed, Keith-style wadcutters will give you and edge over FMJ. I use the National Bullet 215 copperized SWC in .45, at about 1,020 FPS, using Blue Dot. Not gonna give you the exact load since it varies between lots of Blue Dot, but if this load interests you, I'd say start with 9 grains and work your way up. I prefer WW cases for this load.

I've seen plenty of people, and myself, get whacked with bounce-backs. Never, ever, shoot or be around pinshooting without great eye protection, with side coverage. If you have to wear the nerdiest-looking safety glasses ever made, well, it beats a white cane. I don't even like to stand near when I'm not shooting, and I either face the action or away from it, I never give the pins a "side view" of me, where a bounceback could come in the side.

Bouncebacks aren't the wierdest things to happen in pinshooting. Once I saw a pin go up on its edge, and do a slow, perfectly stable roll forward while the shooter was finishing up the table-- it lazily made its way to the front of the table and tumbled off just as he hit the last pin. Another time, at an indoor range with a nice smooth floor, I was watching the action and saw what I thought must be a drunken cockroach weaving its way toward me from in front of one of the tables. It went left, right, back again, always more or less in my direction. I walked forward to meet it and see what the heck it was. Turned out to be a .45 FMJ, spinning like a top on its nose! Just as I got to it, it ran out of gas and went unstable, and spun out. I still laugh when I think about it!

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159 Posts
Hey Battler:
Gotta love shooting them pins!
You've got some good advice from some guys who have BTDT. Bounce back is an issue and a safety concern. That surlyn (or ever what you call it) coating is a tough mother.

For that reason we pretty much insist that our shooters keep muzzle velocity above 800 fps. That seems to do the trick.

So if you are looking for an edge, (and that's all I ever ask for) you could try a lighter bullet weight, just keep the velocity up. ( We did find on the other end that at velocities much above 1400 fps, we saw evidence of shoot through, where not enough momentum got dumped )

I even used a 9 for a couple of years.


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