Originally Posted by CoolHandXDM
This is a good idea, and I probably should do this. My question is, since I usually am at the range by myself, will this work since I'd be loading my own mags and could probably guess when a snap cap would be coming up?
This is a great idea for all the reasons listed, clearing misfires to observing your trigger control issues. Just load a cap or two in different orders in a few different magazines (1st mag, cap at 3rd and 9th rnd, mag #2, 5th and 11th, mag#3 . . . . - - - by the time you've loaded a random magazine into your pistol, you won't know when the cap will be chambered. Works for me.
To piggy back on Agalindo's comment about muzzle flash - - - try loading a couple 165's followed by a couple 180's, and pay attention to the felt recoil and noise level of the two different rounds - notice anything different? Likely there's a difference, and as he alluded, you're subconsciously noticing it and then anticipating it, which is affecting your shots.
You mentioned your groupings were better centered
with the heavier rounds - this is very likely because you were able to execute better trigger control for some reason. I bet you experienced what I did firing some 180 grn rounds . . .
You asked about cheaper ammo
- I bought some 180 grain Tula ammo a while back to give them a try in my XDm 40 4.5", mostly because they were heavier, I was curious to see what they would do, I'd read mixed reviews of them, and best of all they were about $4 per 100 cheaper than the 165 grn FMJFN WWB at my local Walmart. They (Tulas) do have significantly
less felt recoil, and are significantly
quieter. Based on that, you'd think I would shoot them better. (It may be why you shot your 180s better.) I surely can shoot them longer and with less effort and fatigue than the snappier, faster, louder 165 WWBs, and I do like that. But in my gun and in a supported stance at 15 yards or off my rest at 25 yards, the Tulas are not as consistent as the WWB's and result in a looser group with more fliers. So nope, I don't actually hit
with them better. But to be fair to the Tulas, I can hit with them good enough for what I want to do with them. And I can enjoy shooting more of them at a time because of the reduced felt recoil.
The pros - - 10% cheaper than WWB; much easier on the felt recoil and sound; shoots decent enough groups for fun range plinking; every round went bang, punched a hole thru paper
, or knocked over a steel plate; and less packaging waste (go green).
A few cons - - the round is a much dirtier round, 100 Tulas crapped up things more than 500 WWBs (but that just means a lil extra cleaning, no big deal IMO); the steel brass isn't as conducive to reloading (or trading in to reload); the bimetal jacketing - steel/copper - isn't allowed at some indoor ranges (no prob for me, I live in the country and shoot on my own range); I had 3 FTFeeds from one 50 round box of Tulas.
Bottom line - if you don't mind a little extra cleaning, you're doing shorter range shooting without a need for high precision, and you want to get some practice on your clearing drills, buy some Tulas and save some money and your joints!
I do like the WWBs, they may not be top end, but they do just fine in my gun, and I can get very satisfactory groups centered on the bull with them.
Well . . . . . . Most days!
Good luck to you, welcome to the forum and keep working on your trigger control and dryfiring!