Lasers and red dots and pistols – oh my! Part II

Monday, September 7, 2009

The S&W pistol, shown here with red dot mounted, is very solidly built.

Except for the grips, the Smith & Wesson 6-inch revolver is entirely made of metal, detailed so that it looks and feels like its powder burning counterpart, and it weighs nearly three-quarters of a pound more than the Crosman 3576 revolver.

To get the S&W ready for shooting, you remove the right side panel on the pistol grip, which reveals the receptacle for the CO2 cartridge. Pull the lever at the base of pistol grip, insert a CO2 cartridge into its receptacle, turn the knurled brass wheel until it makes contact with the bottom of the cartridge, then return the lever at the base of the pistol grip to its original position. That pierces the cartridge.

Press the release below the hammer forward, and the magazine swings out to the left.

To access the magazine on the S&W, press the release (located on the left side of the frame, just below the hammer) forward, and the 10-shot magazine will swing out to the left. You can then load the magazine in place or remove it for loading.

The S&W is equipped with an adjustable rear sight and a blade front sight that work well. In fact, the S&W comes standard with three front sight blades of different widths that can be interchanged to suit your taste. To make sighting easier, though, I mounted a Walther Top Point II Red Dot sight. This required taking the rear sight off the revolver and mounting an optional weaver rail. An 11 mm rail is also available, but since the red dot had weaver mounts, the choice was obvious.

When you look through the red dot sight, it appears that a red dot has been projected on the target, but that is just a trick of the eye. The image of the red dot is only visible when you look through the sight, and the dot is not visible to others. The Walther red dot has 11 brightness settings, and it works well on any target whether in bright sunlight or not. Once you get it sighted in, target acquisition is very fast: swing the gun up, look through the sight, and where the dot appears, that is where the pellet will hit if you are shooting from your sight-in distance.

The combo is a lot of fun to shoot, and it looks very, very professional.

These pellets improved penetration with both the S&W and Crosman revolvers.

When I got both combos sighted in, I experimented with shooting a paper targets and then at a spaghetti sauce can. At seven yards, using Daisy MaxSpeed wadcutter pellets, neither CO2 revolver would punch a hole through the can, although they would dent it. But with RWS HyperMax non-lead pointed pellets, I found either gun would easily punch a hole through the can. That tells me that these revolvers have the potential for defending the bird feeder at short range.

Certainly either one of these combos – the S&W with red dot or the Crosman 3576 with laser – will deliver hours of fun for backyard shooting and practice. Heck, on one of the forums, I read of one fellow competing in air pistol silhouette with his Crosman revolver and doing surprisingly well.

Recently, a ham radio friend asked for a recommendation for a repeater air pistol. I suggested the S&W. He called a couple of weeks later to say he was well pleased with it, but he had a problem: when his brother-in-law came visiting, he couldn’t get the S&W away from him!

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott

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