I mentioned in a previous post that after acquiring my K-38 Masterpiece I was thinking about selling my Blackhawk. But on reflection, I decided to keep it since:
- It chambers .357 as well as .38 special cartridges
- It's probably the strongest .357 revolver ever made
- I could use it for handgun silhouette or hunting and the most important reason:
- I'd wanted one for a long time, and would probably regret it if I sold it.
After doing some research on various forums I learned that the Weaver mount was reliable and easy to mount, requiring no drilling and tapping. I found a Weaver mount on eBay at an attractive price (about half the new price) complete with rings.
Installation is a simple affair. First remove the height adjustment screw and tap out the pin that serves as a hinge for the rear sight. If you're careful, the spring won't jump out of your hand and you can put the sight parts away for safekeeping, should you ever sell the gun or decided to return it to iron sight use.
There's a clamp that slides over the barrel and attaches to the front of the mount, and a screw and spacers that attaches the rear of the rear of the mount. Put a dab of Loctite on the screws (blue in front, purple on the smaller rear screw), tighten both up snug, and you're done.
After first mounting a red dot sight on it I decided that a scope would be better for longer ranges. You can find handgun scopes with magnifications as high as 6x, but the highest power most shooters can reasonable handhold is 2x, so that's what I decided on. My first inclination was to get a Burris, as I've had excellent experiences with Burris scopes on airguns. But a number of reviewers of the Burris 2x scope reported problems with shifting reticles, so I kept looking. There were some good reviews of Nikons, Bushnells (Bushnell made the first scope designed for pistol use), and Leupolds, but the Leupolds were a bit over my budget and I couldn't find the Bushnell and Nikon scopes I was interested in at any of my usual suppliers.
Then I came across a number of Swift pistol scopes. Swift is not a well known brand even though it's been around for a while. It was one of the first quality Japanese scopes, and my local gun shop (the sorely missed Geake's Sporting Goods) were big fans of Swifts. I found a lot of positive reviews of Swifts, and no negative ones. One owner said his local dealer claimed they were "every bit as good as Leupolds." I found a 2x20 Swift for only $99.95 at Midway, crossed my fingers, and ordered it. (I see that Amazon now has the same scope in silver for $5 less.)
It arrived today, and my first impression was that this was a solidly made scope, constructed with thick wall tubing. This is not a scope that can easily be dented. I mounted it in the Weaver rings after first lining the upper ring section with a layer of electrical tape- something I always do. It's a good way to allow the rings to grip the tube solidly without tightening them so much that you run the risk of crushing the tube.
I haven't had the scoped gun to the range yet, and it's still too cold and wet to do any outdoor shooting. But I suspect this will be a very accurate long range setup, once I find a load it likes.
Update: Took it to the indoor range and tested the gun @ 50'with some mild .38 special loads (148gr DEWC over 3.5gr W231). The scope makes putting the shots in the 10 ring easy. We'll have to see how it does at 25-100 yards with some more realistic loads. I don't plan on shooting full-bore .357 loads for silhouette but I'll want to use something a bit stiffer than my indoor .38 loads.
Update II: I later shot it at 50 and 100 yards with commercial and reloaded .357 loads. It took a few shots and some helpful spotting to find the point of impact at 100 yards, but once I did, I was putting them all on target.