Is a 4" DA revolver more accurate than most semis of similar caliber?


December 30, 2002, 05:58 PM
I was shooting my older SWm10-5 .38 special DA revolver today, and was astonished how accurate it was compared with my 9x17 and 9x18 blowback, and my 9x19 locked breech autos (in slow fire, hand held shooting at 10 paces).

Is is my imagination; or is there something valid in my observation?

I'm not trying to promote an arguement, just wondering if anyone had an opinion on the subject.

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December 30, 2002, 06:04 PM

There are so many variables to your experience I think it'd be impossible to be objective: If the timing's off on a wheelgun, even all-but-imperceptably, accuracy (of course) isn't going to materialize.

My good semi-autos shoot marginally better than my .357mag; but the .357mag beats my older semis hands-down. If I were to try and be objective, I'd say that it was dependent on the manufacturing precision in either - that, and wear.


December 30, 2002, 06:20 PM
With everything being equal,(top notch 357 Revolver vs top notch 45 semi-auto) I have always found the revolver to be inherently more accurate. Aren't most bullseye shoots won by revolvers? Seems like I read that somewhere.

From personal experience shooting steel plates, if I didnt have a mental lapse, I was always slightly better with my 686 than with my 1911.

December 30, 2002, 06:29 PM
It is hard to beat the revolver (a good one) for out of the box handgun accuracy. Not talking TC Contenders or XP100's here! A good 38/357 Smith , Ruger , Dan Wesson or Colt revovler will allow the shooter to hit the 10 ring either 25 yd slowfire or 50 yard slowfire with regularity if the shooter does their part. Don't know of very many out of the box semi-auto centerfire pistols that can do that. The 100 yard ram in NRA silhouette is not too difficult with many a stock revolver - much more difficult with something like a Glock pistol. I have scoped some of my own revolvers to test accuracy and have have fired more than a few one hole groups at 25 yards - sub one inch. For out of the box precision I'll take a revolver any day over an out of the box semi auto centerfire!

December 30, 2002, 06:38 PM
Over the years the Dan Wessons were always considered superior for accuracy. The Wesson design is a great deal like the old S&W 'triple lock' revolver. The only down side is where the cylinder latch is located, it demands both hands be used to open the cylinder.

December 30, 2002, 08:41 PM
Ammunition is another huge factor that has not been mentioned yet. Without good ammo NONE of them will shoot well at all. Find the best load available for all of them and try it again. The most accurate repeating handgun I have ever owned was a 4" GP100, but I have seen bullseye 1911s that were at least as accurate at 50 yards.

December 30, 2002, 09:19 PM
My old beat up police trade in 686 is more accurate then my Hi-Power and my Sig. No mater who's hands the guns are in. That why my 686 is in the night stand

Eric Bryant
December 30, 2002, 10:09 PM
My GP100 will group with all six holes touching each other at 25 yards. I can't shoot it that will (but a friend can), so I'd have to say that it's accurate enough for the user.

Given the simplicity of a revolver (and typically high build quality), I don't think it should be surprising that they're typically more accurate out-of-the-box.

December 30, 2002, 10:58 PM
I hate to admit it being (mostly) a revolver type, but I shoot either my S&W M52-2 or Colt National Match MkIII 5 or 6 points better on average in a 900 point bullseye type match than I can any of my 38 Special (or 357) revolvers: S&W K38, reworked S&W Super Police, S&W (registered) Magnum, Colt OMT, Colt OMS, Colt OMM, Colt Shooting Master, and 2 Pythons, 1 in 38 Spl & 1 in 357). The old Super Police is probably the most accurate 38 Special revolver I own, at least when shooting bullseye style.

For pure accuracy the 32 S&W long may have a slight edge, at least indoors. Both a Colt OMT and a S&W M16-4 are almost astonishingly accurate.

For big bores, its hard to beat the 44 Special in a good revolver, but if you run across some 44 Russian brass, try loading a relatively light wadcutter over a mild charge of Bullseye- I think you'll be pleased.


December 30, 2002, 11:12 PM
Wow bfoster you came to same conclusions as me, just about. Yes I think .32S&w in a Pardini or Hammereli or something is probably a little better paper puncher indoors.:)

Jim March
December 31, 2002, 12:08 AM
A Freedom Arms 454 revolver can usually kick the pants off of anything this side of a single-shot or a big-bucks Hammerli or whatever. Out of the box 1.5 inches at 100 yards with good ammo is common.

In a revolver, the sights never move in relation to the barrel. In a Single Action revolver, the cylinder doesn't shift at all on it's crane.

Neal Bloom
December 31, 2002, 12:15 AM
I have always been more accurate with a revolver than with a semi-auto. The only semi-auto that I own that comes close to the accuracy of my revolvers is the SIG P220. I am sure others could take my semi-autos and shoot them a hell of a lot better than me.

December 31, 2002, 08:11 AM
I believe with the M-10, being of the era of "the good smith triggers" do remember those dont you? :rolleyes:
and how they shoot compared to the mechanics of even a good s/auto in s/ simply easier to shoot accurately.........

The only thing you have to do to the smith once its cocked and aimed is send your trigger finger a telepathic message like this........."oooohhhhhhhmmmmmm" or breath heavily..does the same thing....

Thirties...good shooting my friend....thanks for the pic!

Shoot well, Eric

January 1, 2003, 02:09 AM
Thirties, it's all in the barrel. Any handgun with a fixed, non-moving barrel (e.g. a revolver or one of the few gas-operated semi-auto's) is inherently more accurate than one with a moving barrel, that is cammed down out of place for the ejection cycle and cammed back up into lock-up when the new round is inserted. Moving barrel = looser tolerances (by necessity) = lower accuracy. Of course, a finely-tuned semi-auto can produce almost miraculous accuracy, but this comes at the cost of much custom work and money spent! A Les Baer match-grade 1911 pistol will probably outshoot any or all mass-production revolvers... (No, the Freedom Arms is NOT a mass-production revolver! :D )

Jim March
January 1, 2003, 06:07 AM
You can get a basic model Freedom Arms that doesn't cost any more than a Les Baer, and the FA will outshoot it.

I don't give a damn about "classification", to me what matters is price/performance. And in terms of power level they can handle, and accuracy, the wheelguns dominate.

Example: for $650 - $700 I can get a Ruger SuperRedHawk in 454, that will generally shoot 4" to 6" groups at 100 yards. Show me a slidegun that can do that, at that kind of power level, at anything remotely close to the price. Ain't gonna happen.

Show me a slidegun that'll do 44Mag power levels at any price this side of a grand. Out of the question. With wheelguns, there's a bunch to choose from at $500 or less.

Hell, there's nothing in slideguns that equals the price/performance of a 6" barrel Ruger GP100, for $350 if you shop around. Load very hot ammo, and only the 10mm can keep up but look at both your gun and ammo costs at that point, and you're at $600+ for the gun alone, and you'll be lucky to stay even in accuracy. And then you've got to feed it nothing but 10mm, while the GP is happily plinking with 38Spl reloads at $8 a box.

I could go on and on and on.

January 1, 2003, 08:43 AM
Out of the box the KGP-141 was probably the most accurate hand gun I had. Now that I have a KKM barrel in my G21, it is the most accurate handgun in my safe. It's almost amazing.

January 1, 2003, 08:16 PM
I've seen some guys who regularly shoot one hole groups at twice my best regular distance. So I know it can be done, and I figure I need to learn some things. I really appreciate it when one of them helps me.

That said, as a rule, I am usually more accurate with revolvers. The exception that clearly stands out is the Coonan 5" pistol.

For the money, it is hard to beat a powerful revolver.

January 1, 2003, 08:54 PM
I've always thought my revolvers were more accurate than my autos. This has always been the case with my 6" and 7 1/2" revolvers and with my .357s/.38s of any barrel length. But I found out that my Kimber 1911A1 out-shoots the 4" Model 625 I had. Ended up selling the 625.

January 1, 2003, 10:20 PM
For most people, no.

That's why LEAs swictched to semi auto's.

Easier training
better accuracy for most
Higher capacity

But I do love my SW 625, 610 and Redhawks.

January 2, 2003, 01:13 AM
I remember reading an article on how revolvers tend to be a little more accurate generally speaking since there is less of a mechanism when it fires compared to a semi-auto. Does seem to make sense, and personally I tend to be a tad bit more accuate with a revolver, but it really comes down to the shooter.

January 2, 2003, 12:17 PM
"Dirty Harry" answerwed this one.:D

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