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Revolver Revival - Why buy a revolver?

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Old November 4th, 2013, 09:02 PM   #916
 
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Revolver Revival! At a sale a big box store, a buyer was trying to explain to the sales guy that he wanted a revolver for defense. Sales guy kept pushing autos: PF9s, Kahrs, Glocks, ect. Buyer was asking about power, reliability, hunting, storage at the ready... Every consideration of the buyer pointed to the wheelgun. Eventually, he went to the LGS down the street for a revolver. The big box store lost a sale to the small LGS, who helped the guy by listening.

Indeed. Defence of home... revolver. Defense of camp... revolver. Hunting bigger game... revolver. Trail... revolver. Back yard... revolver. Inthe cold... revolver. When one shot has to count...revolver.
At least most of the time.



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Old November 5th, 2013, 04:16 AM   #917
 
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After taking a two day defensive revolver course with a dedicated revolver instructor, I no longer believe the revolver to be more reliable. The worst malfunction is brass under the star since fixing it can damage the ejector rod, though dropping the gun and breaking the sear is not good either Overall, reliability seems to be about the same. Capacity definitely is an issue in some situations and reloading is a seven step procedure that requires both hands. The problem set just changes and revolver shooters should be forthcoming regarding the challenges of the platform.

There are many trade offs one makes when going to a revolver and much of this thread seems to gloss over those shortcomings. I would rather confront them by going to a class and spending lots of time working through those issues. Many of these issues do not appear during a relaxed range session; they occur when the shooter is pushing for speed. On a two way range, speed is important.

Loading devices are very problematic. My Safariland Comp II loaders worked great with my GP100 with Hogues, but bound up on my other GP100 with standard Ruger grips. This small change added uncertainty to my reloading procedure. Even the difference between HKS and Safariland release methods is a problem. The gravity fed HKS loader had more cartridge feed failures, though the bound up Comp II had the same problem. The real problem is the shooter has to look down at the gun to remediate the loading when his eyes need to be scanning downrange.

Some of this can be mitigated with technique, properly relieved grips and so forth. We learned Ayoob's reload technique because it utilizes gross motor movement. It enhances reliable reloads by placing the butt of the grip against the stomach or chest of the shooter. This places the cylinder in a more vertical position. Properly relieved grips are essential to prevent speed loader binding. Cartridges do not flow into the chambers smoothly and one or two may not be flush when the shooter closes the cylinder.

Moonclips have their own problems. The thickness of the clip matters for speed reloads. It must fit tightly in the groove of the cartridge or it will flop around. The movement of the cartridges will reduce the flow into the chambers. Eight round moonclips can make reloads painfully slow. Bent clips will prevent the cylinder from turning properly. It is essential that the shooter use the correct tools when loading and unloading clips. I use the Moonclip Tool from mooncliptool.com, though TK Custom offers it too. Moonclips must be protected when carried; a good bump can bend them. Keep them in a kydex protector for maximum reliability.

Shooting the revolver at speed requires some close attention to trigger pull and trigger reset. My particular problem was a failure to manage the reset properly. My finger was outrunning the reset on one GP100. It has a reduced weight trigger reset spring from Wolfe (8 pounds). I do not recommend this spring at all; use the factory spring because your next shot depends upon a smooth return. The result was I slapped the trigger on every subsequent shot. Once I learned to maintain contact, even at the lower speed provided by the eight pound spring, my group size shrank to two to four inches at seven yards.

Concealing the revolver and reloading devices can also be difficult to do. I do not like snub nosed revolvers at all; I find them nearly impossible to work at speed. The shortest barrel I will use is three inches, but I have decided a four inch barrel is better for me. Guns with five inch barrels are optimal for my shooting, but somewhat difficult to carry. Pancake holsters with lots of forward cant assist me in reducing printing, but the gun is not close enough to my body. I prefer inside-the-pants holsters. I have several kydex IWB holsters and have a Milt Sparks Versa Max 2 coming in for my GP100. Hiding speed loaders and moonclips is difficult. The best solution I have found is the Safariland #371 split belt holder. This is why I use Comp II loaders (COMP I for 44 caliber) over moonclips. I have not found a good moonclip belt carry method that is concealable.

Always carry at least one full reload on your belt. The location should be consistent with your loading technique. For me, being left handed, the optimal position is in front of the holster. For right handed shooters, the reload should be on the right side. I watched students fish around in their gear for a reload; a six second reload is not acceptable. Watch the video (the proper reload starts at 2:50 or so).

I know this sounds like a negative post, but it's not. The techniques in running a revolver for self-defense are very different from those of a semi-automatic. A properly trained instructor is essential since most semi-auto instructors will miss the details necessary for proper revolver shooting technique. Keep this in mind when seeking training.



Last edited by tomrkba; November 5th, 2013 at 04:31 AM.
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Old November 5th, 2013, 04:30 AM   #918
 
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I didn't read all 63 pages to see if someone had said this, but one huge advantage of a revolver is I don't have to go looking for my brass!

I'll bet I spend as much time looking for brass as I do shooting. Notice too, you almost never find .41 or .44 mag at a range. Some folks shoot .357 and leave it, but never .41 or .44.

Any day I leave the range with more brass than I brought is a god day!
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Old November 5th, 2013, 05:36 AM   #919
 
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Thanks for the post TOMRKBA!
I am from Virginia! Good to hear from someone in the state of presidents! Vote conservative there today!

Your comments are not a revelation. The auto has some advantages, among them firepower. However, it is extremely rare to need more than a few. In a military or Law Enforcement situation, the auto makes good sense. However, it takes much more training and awareness under stress to operate reliably.

Yes there are some ways a revolver can fail. Yes the star can get screwed up. I don't worry about that these days. I seldom carry a Taurus or Rossi. With a quality revolver the shooter has much more reliability under stress. Yes there are reliable autos, but the shooter needs to operate at a much higher rate of proficiency.

I don't these things mean one or the other should be discarded, but the revolver should not be viewed as obsolete or less of an option. In fact, in the defense of home, hunting and on the trail they are hard to beat.
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Old November 5th, 2013, 05:50 AM   #920
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McD View Post
Thanks for the post TOMRKBA!
I am from Virginia! Good to hear from someone in the state of presidents! Vote conservative there today!

Your comments are not a revelation. The auto has some advantages, among them firepower. However, it is extremely rare to need more than a few. In a military or Law Enforcement situation, the auto makes good sense. However, it takes much more training and awareness under stress to operate reliably.

Yes there are some ways a revolver can fail. Yes the star can get screwed up. I don't worry about that these days. I seldom carry a Taurus or Rossi. With a quality revolver the shooter has much more reliability under stress. Yes there are reliable autos, but the shooter needs to operate at a much higher rate of proficiency.

I don't these things mean one or the other should be discarded, but the revolver should not be viewed as obsolete or less of an option. In fact, in the defense of home, hunting and on the trail they are hard to beat.
Of course not, but that is not the perception. But, and this is a really big "but", semi-autos are easier to learn to shoot at speed. The striker fired triggers taken that advantage a step ahead as a compromise between the single action trigger and the heavy double action/single action triggers. I prefer the striker fired trigger to the single action trigger because it is longer, can be heavier and lacks the external safeties. Revolvers take longer to learn to shoot fast and accurately in double action. I am not talking about rec fire at the range; I'm talking about speed shooting for competition and defense.

BTW, very few people other than aficionados will pay to attend a two day defensive revolver course. I really like them. The course had a "Why revolvers?" section that was a revolver lovefest. It was annoying because it didn't really come off as an honest assessment of the pros and cons of the revolver. When they asked me why I like revolvers, I said: "I really like the clickety-clickety of the action during shooting and how they look. It makes no sense. If I were to choose revolvers for one practical factor only, it would be summed up with the word "MAGNUM"."

The instructor's S&W 686 had two pieces of brass under the star. The cause was not the quality of the gun, but rather the shorter 38 Special case jumping under the long ejector rod meant for 357 Magnum.

Last edited by tomrkba; November 5th, 2013 at 05:59 AM.
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Old November 5th, 2013, 07:03 AM   #921
 
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Wink

Why buy a revolver?
Because they are fun & get the job done? 'Cause you like them? That's reason enough for me.
For a number of years I was mandated carry an auto.
Since I've retired I'm rediscovering what fun revolvers are particularly SAs which I learned to shoot a handgun with. That & you can get one more powerful than an auto in a portable package!
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Old November 5th, 2013, 09:09 AM   #922
 
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Tomrkba - agreed ... magnum power is a revolver win. That has been diminished with better bullet engineering and the world of 40 S&W and the 10mm (my oldest son's fave).
However, there is something to magnum power.

There is also something to a defense firearm that is available to adults who do not have the experience to make an auto easy to bring into action. My wife would not be able to operate an auto with confidence. She can shoot them well, but in a situation she would be certain to bring the simpler revolver into action without concerns about safeties, stovepipes, FTFs mags and racking the slide etc. So she prefers smaller revolvers. She has a 4" revolver now and I should get her a smaller SP101 or an LCR... She does not need to engage a large scale shoot out, just enough to protect herself from an assh*le aggressor or an invader.

AND, a revolver can sit for decades and still be used without issue. Ayoob says they work better, statistically, when exposed to lint and fuzz from clothing, purse etc...

I carry a GP100 and a SR9c as well (just so you know I am not a closed minded wheel gun snob).

How are the colors in Virginia? How is that Gubernatorial election going today?
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Old November 5th, 2013, 10:12 AM   #923
 
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How are the colors in Virginia? How is that Gubernatorial election going today?
Dunno at this point. I'll go vote later...not that it will matter in this county. MacIdiot is going to win this county, even if he gets only one vote and Cuchinelli gets 1 million.

Quote:
AND, a revolver can sit for decades and still be used without issue.
But the ammo cannot. Ammo goes bad over time and I would not trust 20 year old ammo for defense (range use...fine). At that point, there is the possibility of a dud in the cylinder. Worse, it could be a squib load and that will take your gun out of action. So, it's an unrealistic "advantage"--it's one of those "revolver lovefest" arguments that needs to go away.

Tom Givens recommends every six months based upon his experience teaching. I rotate my carry ammo every year and I have never had a dud round after a year of carry. The temperature fluctuations will be narrower in a heated and air conditioned dwelling, but there is no reason not to test your gun annually. Shoot all twenty or fifty rounds in the box, clean the gun, buy a new box and put it away with dry chambers and breech face.

Also neglecting a revolver for that long almost guarantees that rust will develop.

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Old November 5th, 2013, 11:52 AM   #924
 
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I shot as a kid, then didn't for 30 years. I started by wanting something very light to carry while mountain biking, so I got a KelTec .32 auto. Its accuracy stuck,but it was light. Then I had a a cougar and a bear encounter, and decided a .32 was a little small. So I got a 3" barrel S&W scandium/titanium revolver (based on .357 firepower in a very light package). Then I started shooting my shotgun, then got a few rifles. I hated shooting the S&W with .357 (it stung) so I thought I'd get a heavier revolver--a 6" Blackhawk. What a revelation. Accurate in my poor shooting hands at 25 yards. That lit a revolver love. Since then (and a GP100 and SP101 later) I also have a few autos, which are great, but I really enjoy my revolvers more. Don't quite understand it.
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Old November 5th, 2013, 12:10 PM   #925
 
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but I really enjoy my revolvers more. Don't quite understand it.
I'm telling you, it's the clickety-clickBANG!
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Old November 5th, 2013, 12:24 PM   #926
 
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For me, I specifically wanted a 44 magnum and am so far not willing to spend $1500+ on a Desert Eagle, though I would love one if dollars overtake $ense one day. And, after finding a used New Model SBH Bisley 7.5", it was all over for me. In fact, I had forgot just how f'n cool a SA revolver is until I started looking at them again. I love the "clickety-click" sound as one poster put it, love the looks of them, love the history of 'em. This particular gun is no way a CCW and it was never intended to be. For that I have my Glock 23C or S&W Bodyguard.
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Old November 6th, 2013, 07:20 AM   #927
 
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I like the advantage of dumping brass into your hand too. Realise though this isn't a good tatical practice for a fight.

A really nice thing about America is, at least not yet, we don't have to choose one or the other. We can mix & match according to our needs, likes, & desires. I like that part!!!!!!!
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Old November 6th, 2013, 07:52 AM   #928
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The GP100 seems to handle everything well and I like more than I thought I would. Paired with the Marlin 1894 it seems like a good SHTF, alien invasion, end of the age package. Maybe a bit retro for the AR crowd, but I am not the AR sort really. Like 'em, just don't do much with 'em.
This comment mirrors my feelings. I think ARs are great, but just not for me. I am on the hunt for a nice Marlin 1894 to add to my collection.

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Old November 6th, 2013, 11:13 AM   #929
 
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This comment mirrors my feelings. I think ARs are great, but just not for me. I am on the hunt for a nice Marlin 1894 to add to my collection.
I'd like to have one of those in .357 Magnum.
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Old November 6th, 2013, 04:30 PM   #930
 
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I like the advantage of dumping brass into your hand too. Realise though this isn't a good tatical practice for a fight.
I fired 500 rounds and did a speed reload for every cylinder. Guess where my brass ended up? Every piece landed in the dirt at my feet. If the range had been indoors with concrete, it would have been just as bad as with a semi-auto. But, it wasn't and brass pick up was simple.

Frankly, I really like the GP100. I prefer it to S&W revolvers. Don't get me wrong: I like my S&W N-Frames, but the Ruger has all the features I want except chamfered charge holes. It's just easier to deal with. It also shoots very accurately at speed so long as I maintain contact with the trigger while it resets.
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