The Results: Firelapping clearly improved the accuracy of this revolver as you can see from this table. The kit worked as-advertised (though to save time, I did have to buy the 280 grit compound which was not included) and produced excellent results. This process isn’t brain surgery, if you follow the instructions in Beartooth’s manual—you can do this at home.
Average Size (in inches) of 5-Round Groups at 25 Yards:
Our testing also seems to have confirmed the notion that jacketed bullets are less effected by thread choke than lead as the “before” groups with jacketed bullets were pretty good.
Anecdotally, I find this revolver to be more forgiving with any load since the firelapping. One of the more drastic “before & after” targets from our test tells the tale.
By the way, the cylinder is finished on the .45 Colt so once I get the time to finish with it I will post the results.
A few comments on firelapping:
I’ll say this was a project that I learned a great deal from, which is what Bullshooters is all about: we learn together. Here are a few tips that I figured out the hard way.
De-priming: You don’t re-size your fired cases before firelapping so how do you de-prime them? I ran the .44 Special brass through a .45 Colt die which de-capped them without affecting the case diameter. Another option is the remove the de-capping rod from your die and tap the primers out with a hammer.
Chamfering: Be sure to chamfer the inside of your cases to prevent lead from shaving off the bases of lapping bullets when they are loaded. If they lose diameter when they go into the case, they won’t be of sufficient diameter to properly fill the bore.
Powder: You want just enough velocity to get the bullet out of the bore, if you’re doing it right you can literally watch the bullet fly downrange. Starting loads of Trail Boss powder out of Hodgdon’s manual worked well for me.
Cleaning: Clean your bore after each string to be sure that you’re lapping bare steel and clean each chamber before reloading so that lapping compound does not score the inside of your cylinder. A chunk of “Chore Boy” wrapped around a bore brush does quick work on the lead while a cloth patch is all it takes to get the chambers clean.
For more tips on how to firelapp as efficiently as possible, read this.