Can a revolver hold up to the same rate of fire as a semi-auto?


July 29, 2003, 05:25 PM
I know this kind of stuff doesn't really happen in the real world, but from a hypothetical standpoint...............................

I wouldn't think twice about putting 100rds threw my Beretta 92FS in quick succession but I wonder if a 38 Special revolver would bind with that rate of fire?

Is the cylinder on a revolver more susceptable to heat than a semi-auto?

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Mike Irwin
July 29, 2003, 05:39 PM
I've done it more than once with no problems other than burning fingers on the cylinder as I push it out to reload.

July 29, 2003, 06:16 PM
Not only that, but it'll cycle faster, too. Hombre, you've got to get Ed McGivern's book!

Marko Kloos
July 29, 2003, 06:42 PM
A revolver is actually quicker to reload than a semi-auto once you run out of loaded mags for the pistol and have to work from ammo boxes or loose ammo. Unless you have a bunch of pre-loaded mags for the auto, you can run 100 rounds quicker through a wheelgun.

I've shot 100 rounds at a stretch through my K-frame without any heat issues.

July 29, 2003, 10:01 PM
I just wondered that since the gap between the cylinder and the barrel is so small (did the test with a credit card) that a hot gun might expand and potentially be a problem.

July 29, 2003, 11:54 PM
Sodapop, that would make it a hot credit card, right? :p

July 30, 2003, 12:03 AM
About a month ago I had a few days off. I spent a few hours in the evening and loaded 1500 rounds of .38 Special.
The next day I went out and put over 400 rounds through my Model 66 in informal competition with my shooting buddy.
The day after that I went out and put another 400+ rounds through my Model 10 skinny barrel 4".
No problem at all. Man were they dirty when I was cleaning them. Filthy.

I have fired over 500 rounds of moderate to heavy .357 lead loads out of my GP100 without cleaning it. The last 50 started to get tough.

I have a Model 27 that starts to get rough after maybe 50 rounds.

Jim March
July 30, 2003, 01:31 AM
IF the revolver has a fairly tight gap, you'll get a benefit in terms of velocity on each shot, but at the price of not being able to run more than "x" number of rounds through without wiping the cylinder face and back of the barrel.

My 38snubbie has a .002" gap, and can go about 40 rounds (depending on ammo cleanliness) before needing the wipe. I consider this more than acceptable; the advantage is knowing I'll get every last drop of ammo performance and when dealing with 38 in a 2" barrel, you need all you can get. Other people might call this a "flaw" and want the gap bigger, but NOT me.

So it all depends on the gap, the caliber and the particular ammo.

July 30, 2003, 03:18 AM
If it is a battle wheelgun and not overly tight to start with.

July 30, 2003, 06:21 AM
Can a revolver have the same rate of fire as a semi-auto? Yes, in fact Jerry Mickulek (sp?) makes revolvers sound like full auto handguns! The difference is in sustained rate of fire. Most revolvers fire 5 to 8 rounds before needing to be reloaded. A high capacity 9mm can fire 21 rounds with an extended length magazine before needing a reload.

July 30, 2003, 11:33 AM
As far as emptying the gun as fast as possible, not counting reloading, I'd guess it would be a tie.

I've seen films of McGivern and man that was fast, including his "insta-reloads".

I also watched Bob Munden empty a 1911 a couple of times with 10 round mags on American Shooter so fast it sounded like a full auto. I'm pretty sure he was using a "bump" technique but it was very impressive and I wish I could tdo that to rattle the local range officer.

Don P.

July 30, 2003, 08:45 PM
Don, if you're serious, check out Andy Stanford's book Surgical Speed Shooting for pointers. Frankly, Ed McGivern's book (Fast and Fancy Speed Shooting) might be worth picking up, too. You can get pretty fast.

It's gonna cost you a lot for ammo, though! :)

July 30, 2003, 11:07 PM
Watched the "History of Smith & Wesson" on the History Channel and they showed Jerry Miculek shooting the 8 eight shot Performance Center 627 - 8 shots in one second! I recorded it and had to watch his speed shooting several times! Also showed him firing six shots - eject , reload and fire 6 more shots in 2.99 seconds - I think using a 625 45ACP revolver for that record.

Dave Markowitz
August 1, 2003, 05:48 PM
I have no problems shooting an extended string with my S&W Model 15, doing double action rapid fire. It has such a smooth action I can shoot it as fast as my Browning High Power, and more accurately. The Model 15's cylinder has never bound up.

Guy B. Meredith
August 1, 2003, 06:29 PM
So Jerry would have to fire/reload/fire for 30 seconds to check out the 100 rounds question.

Actually with any of my revolvers a few hundred rounds always seem to go way too quickly. Bucket's always nearly empty once I'm on the firing line. I tend to get painfully toasted fingers from the forcing cone when using the two hand shuffle reload after about 30 rounds and have gone to doing single hand reloads. Even then the cylinder gets toasty warm after about 100 rounds.

No binding problems on a 4" M66 (highest velocity for given load????), 6" 686+ or 627. Course I don't shoot as fast as Jerry so there is some cool down time.

August 1, 2003, 09:08 PM
I watched that Tale of the Gun, History of S&W episode last night. That was either this month or last months NRA tape.
I watched that part with Jerry 4-5 times.

I am sure this is pretty common knowlege, but Ed McGivern said in his book that early on in his exhibition shooting career, he found that he could fire faster than an autoloader could cycle, so he went to a revolver.

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