Ruger LCR Revolver Review (38 Spl +P)
Part 4 - Range Test
January 13, 2012

Ruger LCR Review

For range testing the Ruger LCR Revolver, I decided to first shoot from a bench at 7 yards to gather some potential accuracy data.  I say potential because bench shooting minimizes most of the motion of the handgun as you pull the trigger so that your groups are typically significantly tighter.  This bench accuracy is an indication of what you can strive for as you practice shooting more realistic defense positions.  Also, 7 yards is probably on the high end of the shooting distance someone may shoot in a real defense situation.

 

For my range tests, I selected several different types of ammunition that range from some of my own reloads to some hollow point +P ammunition as shown below.

Figure 1
Ruger LCR Review

I started out my range testing shooting some of my 38 Special reloads to save a little money and get a feel for shooting the Ruger LCR.  I shot two full cylinders (10 rounds) at the same target. Except for two strays and some obvious trigger control issues (vertical string), 8 of the 10 rounds grouped 2.08" at my point of aim.  Since the LCR has fixed sights, I was pleased to see that my standard sight picture (top of the front and rear sighs in line and on the center of the target) worked perfectly for this revolver.

Figure 2
10 Shots at 7 Yards from a bench shooting reloads
Ruger LCR Review

Next I shot 10 rounds of Federal Gold Medal Match 147gr LWC.  Again, these rounds grouped at the center of the target and 8 out of 10 rounds grouped 2.25".  I wouldn't consider this 1.875" barrel length double action revolver a target handgun, but shooting this match ammo gave me another data point on accuracy and an opportunity to put some more rounds down range.

Figure 3
10 Shots at 7 Yards from a bench shooting Federal Gold Medal Match 147gr LWC
Ruger LCR Review

When I switched to shooting the Winchester 130gr FMJ, I could tell that the revolver got a little more "snappy" with the increase in recoil.  This round had about 40% more energy than the previous two types of ammunition, yet I wouldn't consider the recoil too much to handle for most people.  The rounds seemed to group a little lower than the previous types of ammunition which is probably due to the increase in velocity.

Figure 4
10 Shots at 7 Yards from a bench shooting Winchester 130 gr FMJ
Ruger LCR Review

For the last part of my accuracy range testing I shot some Remington 110gr +P Semi-Jacketed Hollow Points which would represent using self defense ammunition.  This 10 shot group measured 2.05" and had the most shift (about 2") below my point of aim.  Although there was a clear shift in pint of impact, 2 inches low at 21 feet is not a show stopper.

Figure 5
10 Shots at 7 Yards from a bench shooting Remington 110gr Semi-Jacketed HP +P
Ruger LCR Review

The table below summarizes this portion of my range tests.  Although I chose to shoot at 7 yards only, I feel the accuracy of the Ruger LCR is more than sufficient for longer distances.

Range Test Data for the Ruger LCR 38 Special +P Revolver
Ammunition Avg
Velocity*
(ft/sec)
Std. Dev.
Velocity
(ft/sec)
Energy
(ft-lbs)
10-shot**
Group Size
(in)
8-Shot***
Group Size
(in)
Reloads 158gr LSWC 3.3gr Bullseye 656 43 151.0 3.18 2.08
Federal Gold Medal Match 147gr LWC 681 16 152.6 2.79 2.25
Winchester 130gr FMJ 775 15 213.3 2.41 1.56
Remington 110gr SJKTD-HP +P 924 18 208.6 2.05 1.82
* - Velocity measured 10 feet from muzzle
** - 10 shots fired from bench at 7 yards
*** - Best 8 shots to remove stray shots

For the last portion of my range tests, I chose to shoot off hand at my Arntzen IPSC Steel Plate Target and from varying distances.  I shot a combination of my reloads and the Winchester 130gr ammunition.  Overall I was pleased with my ability to get multiple shots grouped into the torso at longer ranges (about 25 yards) and consistent head shots as I moved closer towards the target.  Throughout all my range tests, the Ruger LCR was 100% reliable, which you would expect from a revolver.

 

Thoughts

The Ruger LCR 38 Special +P Revolver proved to be an accurate revolver and would be a great light weight carry weapon for self defense.  For any double action only revolver, you need to spend some time at the range to get a feel for the longer double action trigger pull so that you can keep your shots on target.  Practice, practice, practice is important for shooting any handgun and the LCR is no different.

For more detailed photos and commentary, make sure you check out the other parts of this review and feel free to leave comments on my Reader's Comments page.  The following links are provided to help you see other parts of this review. 


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