Should I even be worried? revolver


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xtralogic
April 22, 2009, 03:39 AM
I keep reading more about revolvers failing and it being unfix able on the spot....i know that things happen and guns are tools and any tool can break...what do you think about ruger revolver reliability vs xd.....both seem to have great things said about them....are some autos(sig..xd..glock) just as reliable as revolvers...or the odds as far as going bang gonna always be the the revolver....sometimes i think i am gonna only be a revolver guy(talking when only using for self defense) then i think i am just being to worried....but why gamble...is a safe bet getting a revolver and getting to the point i can put all 5..6..rounds in a area the size of playing card...:fire:

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Dr. Fresh
April 22, 2009, 03:47 AM
Carry both. I would.

nalioth
April 22, 2009, 03:49 AM
Any mechanical device can fail.

You should be prepared with a backup plan.

This may include another gun (as the first respondent mentions).

It may include pepper spray.

It may include a weekly visit to your local dojo.


If you are prepared for your weapons to fail, you should survive most anything.

General Geoff
April 22, 2009, 04:04 AM
The major difference in reliability between revolvers and semiautomatics is that semiautomatics rely on very consistent ammunition/powder charges in order to cycle the action. Revolvers instead rely on complex lockwork and the increased effort of manual cocking or a heavy trigger pull to cycle the action.

So basically it comes down to how much you trust your ammo.

Mr. Bojangles
April 22, 2009, 09:45 AM
Regardless of whether it is a revolver or a semiautomatic pistol, buy a quality firearm. Don't waste time or money on even mid-grade firearms. If your life ever depends on it you will be glad you spent the extra money.

Old Fuff
April 22, 2009, 12:19 PM
Over a period well exceeding a half-century I have seen far more disabled pistols then revolvers. More often then not the causes were:

1. Poor quality ammunition.
2. Bad magazines.
3. Stupid tampering with the lockwork.
4. Over-tight fitting for a serious weapon.

In current revolvers most problems can be traced to a lack of quality control and inspection during the manufacturing process. Since I am elderly, a lot of my personal handguns are too. I have revolvers that have gone through thousands of rounds with no malfunctions whatsoever. I can't say that about all of the pistols, but to be fair - jams were infrequent, and usually associated with less then perfect reloads.

Hawk
April 22, 2009, 12:34 PM
I've had more issues with revolvers than autoloaders but honesty would compel me to note that this says more about the used market than it does about the platform.

In your case with a presumably NIB Ruger you won't have filed strain screws, bent flat springs or wire-cutter molested coil springs. You'll also be largely exempt from unscrewing extractor rods and the general loosening of screws.

Light strikes are the bane of (typically used) revolvers - in my worst case I couldn't get six rounds to light in 18 tries - double action, single action, didn't matter. This would not be fun in a social context.

I carry a semi and practice malf drills. Were I to carry a revolver I would thread lock the strain screw (if applicable), keep it scrupulously clean (crud under the ejector star is a no-no) and avoid "sweetening" the trigger - I would also avoid buying from anyone that had done so.

IMHO, obsessing over the platform is counter productive and leads to acid reflux and hives. Handguns are compromises that launch pellets and your choice will tell us much about how you personally weigh the various compromised elements but little about the platform.

They all have their own little issues - it's better to learn to address those issues than to engage in internet debate with the intent of convincing yourself or others that the issues don't exist.

Mindset, skillset, toolset - in that order.*


*unattributed 'cause I don't know who said it first.

Thaddeus Jones
April 22, 2009, 12:59 PM
No, I don't think you should be worried. Consider where you read the problems ;).

If you are concerned about your carry revolver, using the Jim March revolver check out sticky here, or have a competent gunsmith examine it.

I've carried a revolver for going on 40 years, and never had a problem that prevented one from going bang. I am meticulous in the care and cleaning of my revolvers, and only use pre lock S&W revolvers, or Rugers, for carry. The only current production revolvers I would purchase for carry would be Rugers. The GP100 and SP101 are excellent. I prefer 1980 - 1999 pre lock S&W's. My current favorite being a 3" model 66.

Most of my revolvers were purchased used, LNIB. I check them out at the shop, and if I find a problem, I don't purchase. I then fire 200 or more rounds through them. In my experience that is sufficient to uncover any problems that may exist. I only use factory ammunition as well. Maybe I'm just lucky ;)

Many things you read on the internet, or hear in gunshops, are entertaining or troubling, but not necessarily true. Read and research, and if possible try out handguns you are considering before you purchase. Many pitfalls may be avoided in this manner. Good luck!

Duke of Doubt
April 22, 2009, 01:24 PM
If my Smith Model 29-3 .44 magnum ever failed, I'd be so shocked the badguy wouldn't have to shoot me; my heart would have stopped beating and I would have fainted dead away.

The only revolver I have which I wouldn't entirely trust for HD is an ancient Colt Officer's Model Target, built in 1911 and rather worn. Cylinder doesn't QUITE latch up tight one or two times out of six without a little nudge, and she's a little loosy-goosy. Hammer can sort of lock up once in a blue moon if she isn't locked up right. I need to fix her. Other than that, all my revolvers, no matter how old and how worn-looking, function flawlessly no matter what wierd load I run through them. Shotshells, wadcutters, magnums, LRN, ball, they love it all. Can't say the same about some autoloaders I have owned.

Steve C
April 22, 2009, 01:26 PM
Revolvers are very reliable but when they have a failure there's generally no quick fix that you can do in a few seconds to make it fire. Semi auto's have relatively many more failures due to the interdependence of ammo, magazines and shooter handling BUT when you get a jam you can usually clear it and make the gun fire in a few seconds.

Like with any mechanical device the better its maintained the better reliability it has. Keeping the pistol or revolver clean and well lubricated is the first step. Understand the workings of the device and what causes most failures and they can be avoided.

publiuss
April 22, 2009, 01:33 PM
Ain't nothing on earth more reliable than a Ruger revolver.

Gunfighter123
April 22, 2009, 01:40 PM
Simply put , the odds are a revolver is more reliable.

As others have said --- more to go wrong with a semi-auto due to mags,springs, and ammo.

After shooting tens of thousands of rounds thru revolvers --- about the ONLY things that have gone wrong were high primers {my reloads} binding up the cyld. and had 2 or 3 times where the extractor rod worked loose due to recoil and "freezeing" up the revolver.

That being said --- my number 1 pick for a SD handgun is a semi-auto.

psyopspec
April 22, 2009, 06:28 PM
When I first started carrying, I thought I would be a semi-auto only guy in my gun collecting and CCW carrying. I've since learned the benefits of wheelguns, and fallen in love with what a finely tuned SA .45 Colt or .357 feels like in the hand.

For carry, I still stick with semi-autos primarily because of familiarity and capacity, but I do have a 5 shot J Frame which is sometimes carried as a back up or becomes the primary when a larger gun is not practical. I would be comfortable with either, but whatever you choose, research the purchase for quality, train with your defensive firearm, and do some QC of your own by putting some rounds down range.

Dr. Fresh
April 22, 2009, 06:32 PM
Regardless of whether it is a revolver or a semiautomatic pistol, buy a quality firearm. Don't waste time or money on even mid-grade firearms. If your life ever depends on it you will be glad you spent the extra money.

Define mid-grade. There are plenty of expensive jamo-matics out there, and tons of less expensive 100% reliable pistols.

Duke of Doubt
April 22, 2009, 07:09 PM
Dr. Fresh: "Define mid-grade."

I'd define "mid-grade" as something like a Ruger, a nice Charter Arms, or for autoloaders a Springfield XD or one of the imported Colt clones. Not a fine piece of craftsmanship, not anything beautiful or impeccably machined; a few shorcuts taken in fitting parts and finishing, but a decent design competently executed at a low price. As compared to Smiths and Colts on the high end, or Taurus and RG on the low end.

hemiram
April 22, 2009, 07:10 PM
Some people will spend huge amounts of $$$ on expensive guns, and be disapointed (To put it mildly) when they aren't as reliable as the "junk" gun someone else has. I had a friend who bought expensive 1911's like popcorn, and the vast majority of them aren't as relaible as the "junk" guns I have, like my EAA Witness .45, or even worse, my Astra A-100. Both of which are about as reliable as a semiauto could be. Are they as accurate? Nope, but they are accurate enough, and they WORK.

Duke of Doubt
April 22, 2009, 07:16 PM
hemiram: "Some people will spend huge amounts of $$$ on expensive guns, and be disapointed (To put it mildly) when they aren't as reliable as the "junk" gun someone else has."

And once in awhile a Ford Festiva would last 200,000 miles and a Mercedes 190E would conk out at 150,000. But that is the exception, and saying that it sometimes happens doesn't put the Festiva on the same level as the 190E. Now, if you were to say, "I've personally owned a Colt and it fell apart in my hands one day at the range, but I've put 10,000 rounds through my RG and it still looks and functions great," I'd be more impressed.

Carl Levitian
April 22, 2009, 07:23 PM
[Should I even be worried? revolver

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I keep reading more about revolvers failing and it being unfix able on the spot....i know that things happen and guns are tools and any tool can break...what do you think about ruger revolver reliability vs xd.....both seem to have great things said about them....are some autos(sig..xd..glock) just as reliable as revolvers...or the odds as far as going bang gonna always be the the revolver....sometimes i think i am gonna only be a revolver guy(talking when only using for self defense) then i think i am just being to worried....but why gamble...is a safe bet getting a revolver and getting to the point i can put all 5..6..rounds in a area the size of playing card...
Attached Thumbnails]



You're worrying for nothing.

I bought a new Smith and Wesson model 60 in 1970.

I bought a new Smith and Wesson model 64 in 1972.

I bought a new Smith and Wesson model 18 in 1973.

I have put tens of thousands of rounds through those guns, and still shoot them. In all the years I've had them, I have not had a single malfunction of any kind. They have been cleaned, well maintained, and periodicly inspected for wear on the ratchet and cylinder hand, and other parts.

Find me an auto pistol that has been shot for over 30 years and never had a malfunction.

Dr. Fresh
April 23, 2009, 12:17 AM
I'd define "mid-grade" as something like a Ruger, a nice Charter Arms, or for autoloaders a Springfield XD or one of the imported Colt clones. Not a fine piece of craftsmanship, not anything beautiful or impeccably machined; a few shorcuts taken in fitting parts and finishing, but a decent design competently executed at a low price. As compared to Smiths and Colts on the high end, or Taurus and RG on the low end.

If your definition is the same as Bojangles's then mid-grade firearms sound perfect for the OP.

colorado_handgunner
April 24, 2009, 01:20 AM
Based on my experience with the XD (own one) and the torture tests I've seen, I say you can't go wrong with it. Name me a revolver that can go 20,000 rounds, through ice, mud, sand, and water and come out still shooting just as well as when you started. The XD can.

sgt127
April 24, 2009, 01:40 AM
Most autos fail during the feeding or ejection cycle. Since on a revovler, those are done by hand, prior to shooting and after you are done, those malfunctions cannot occur with a revolver while you are shooting it. Can other things go wrong, yes. Can parts break? Yes. Can you stick an auto in a bad guys gut and push it out of battery? Possibly. Can you limp wrist a revolver? No. For the average person to person deadly force problem, the revolver may have an advantage. If you decide to shoot your way out of a bank takeover robbery against 3-4 armed gunman, you may be undergunned with a revolver. At that time, you may be undergunned with an AR at that point....

Arcticfox
April 24, 2009, 02:15 AM
If my Smith Model 29-3 .44 magnum ever failed, I'd be so shocked the badguy wouldn't have to shoot me;

LMAO!

loop
April 24, 2009, 07:08 AM
This my 50th year of shooting. In that time I've seen many malfunctions with many firearms.

I trust a well-tuned, quality auto as much as I trust a revolver.

I've seen autos fail more often than revolvers, but revolvers tend to be what I would categorize as catastrophic failures. In other words, they cannot be fixed on the spot. Autos tend to simply jam and are able to be cleared quickly and easily. That is not to say autos are immune to catastrophic failures.

I prefer autos for carry guns, but all mine are carefully tuned and maintained. I think revolvers are more prone to failure in some cases because the owners are overly confident and do not maintain them well.

I shoot IDPA twice a month. So far this year I've seen four or five autos become unserviceable during a match and two revolvers. If you shoot enough with enough people you will see a lot of failures.

I'll throw this out. Of the guns that were not unserviceable during a match this year both revolvers were Smith & Wessons. All of the autos except one were Springfields. The other auto to fail was a Glock. Guns are machines - machines break.

BhmBill
April 24, 2009, 07:13 AM
Based on my experience with the XD (own one) and the torture tests I've seen, I say you can't go wrong with it. Name me a revolver that can go 20,000 rounds, through ice, mud, sand, and water and come out still shooting just as well as when you started. The XD can.

No parts had to be replaced?

What did the "torture tests" entail?

Deanimator
April 24, 2009, 09:56 AM
I carry revolvers and semi-autos interchangeably. Properly configured and cared for, either will more than adequately allow you to defend your life.

Vern Humphrey
April 24, 2009, 04:13 PM
John Farnham has pointed out that the primary cause of stoppages in actual gunfights -- for either revolvers or automatics -- is running out of ammunition.

That being the case, the most reliable gun would be the one that holds the most ammunition, and can quickly be reloaded, A quality automatic, with quality ammo and quality magazines has the edge here.

xtralogic
April 25, 2009, 01:10 AM
thanks everyone this has helped me in many ways with many thoughts :D

Revolver Ocelot
April 25, 2009, 11:24 AM
though a revolver can be harder to fix yourself should it fail I have found they are significantly less likely to fail then a semi auto

CorpITGuy
April 27, 2009, 04:40 PM
I believe in managing risk. If someone wants to kill me, they're going to snipe me and I'll never see it coming. For those of us who know that the great LEOs out there can't protect us all the time, it's tough to know that we also cannot protect ourselves 100% of the time. I'm happy with my revolver. There's a slight chance it'll fail, but a relatively HUGE chance that I'll be shot before ever pulling it out, or die in a car wreck, or die in a plane crash, or... (well, you get the point).

Just my two cents.

gmh1013
April 27, 2009, 05:42 PM
I have some fine Auto's ...SIG"S
Colts and one Smith BUT
I carry a revolver.
Only problem I ever had with one is bad round ...not the revolvers fault.
The only low end revolver I have is a .38 Rossi which has never had problem but i would not trust my life with it.
The one I do trust my life is my Ruger Sp101
I think you could drop it from a jet at
30000 ft and it would still fire.
The only production revolvers that look like they are well made are Ruger...IMHO

HippieMagic
April 27, 2009, 05:58 PM
lol if the definition of "mid-grade" is a Glock or XD I find it very hard to say there is a flaw staying in the middle of the road for carry... I have never personally seen or experienced a failure in a glock or xd handgun and while I really dislike the XD it isn't because of it malfunctioning. I have never seen a revolver that malfunctioned either... I mean I wouldn't trust my life on a low end semi OR revolver... I personally think if you spend over $500 the gun should normally go bang...

Reliability has nothing to do with cost anyway... The ONLY price tag on a gun that means squat to me is the price you spent in ammo before your gun failed to go bang... now if we discuss those numbers the actual "worth" of handguns might suddenly DRASTICALLY change.

Virginian
April 27, 2009, 10:00 PM
Out of maybe 25 revolvers, I have had one malfunction in an unmodified revolver. If you cock it single action slowly, my Grandaddy's Colt Police Positive would not lock up before pulling the trigger. Worn hand. I called Colt and the guy told me what to do.
In about 45 semiautos, I only ever had one (1), repeat one, that never malfunctioned with anything I ever fed it, a Sig P230 .380 I bought for my ex-wife to carry. She didn't like it an appropriated my Smith 65. These were not junk semi autos. Included Beretta, Colt, S&W, Walther, Sig, and Taurus in 45, 9mm, 10mm, and .380. Most worked okay with FMJ, but I did not want to shoot FMJ for self defense. After gunsmithing, polished ramp, etc., most would function okay with one specific ammo. I gave up on semis.

savit260
April 27, 2009, 10:37 PM
Parts breaking (catastrophic failure) can happen to either a Revolver or Auto loader.

This happening in either platform will put your gun out of commision.

Stove pipes
Failure to feed
Failure to eject
Boogered up magazines
not fully in battery
Limp wristing.

are all things that can and do happen with Autoloaders that just aren't going to happen with a revolver.

So.... IMO the chances of parts breaking and putting the weapon out of service are equaly likely for either platform. So there you have a draw. I've seen more Autoloaders with broken ejectors (out of commision) than I've ever seen revolvers broken to the point of being inoperable.

Seems to me that the odds of failure are heavier with the auto.

hemiram
May 11, 2009, 01:02 AM
Duke- When I said "junk" guns, I was talking about midlevel guns like DW/SA/S&W etc, like those, not RG's/Jennings, etc. I have a friend who has way more money than he knows what to do with, and he was buying high end 1911's like some folks buy ice cream cones, and many of them had problems my "junk" guns just didn't have. I would take a revolver over any semiauto, if I wanted to be as sure as was possible in this universe.

Eb1
May 11, 2009, 01:12 AM
I carry a Revolver, but I have to tell you that my Springfield XD9 Service has thousands of round through it, and it is reliable. I cannot remember every having a failure. Be it cheap ammo, handloads, or premium defense. The XD is my night stand gun.

Now my carry is a 32 H&R Magnum Taurus. It is light. I forget I have it most of the time, and that is why I carry it. If I had to carry the 9mm, I probably would not carry a gun. I trust my XD more, but out of the 150 rounds or so from the Taurus 731UL. I have never had a failure.

jbech123
May 11, 2009, 09:29 PM
I'd define "mid-grade" as something like a Ruger... As compared to Smiths and Colts on the high end
Now that is funny. I know guys that do the cowboy mounted shooting, and they say the $1200 Colts are constantly breaking, Rugers are far and away more reliable in their rough and tumble environment.
Also, I wonder why place like cor-bon, etc...have high pressure "ruger only" loads, but not Smith only or colt only?
I'm not saying a nice new colt SAA or nice smith aren't great and would not work well, but for reliability and toughness, rugers are known for being "overbuilt".

PhrankKastle
May 11, 2009, 11:44 PM
In my experiences I would agree that Ruger is mid-grade to a Smith or Colt in price and aestethics.
But in function and reliability I'd put it as an equal to either and in durability I'd put it ahead of the other 2.
Now I think all 3 are excellent firearms (if you can find a Colt nowadays anyway). But if I want to play around with the absolute top end of any caliber ballistically I'll do that with my Rugers.

Stainz
May 12, 2009, 08:21 AM
I never have seen a Glock jam, except in competition - and only after the owners had 'improved' them. My G21, sold nearly eleven years ago, was 100% reliable - and way too big to CC. Basic 1911s are quite dependable - until you make a 'race gun' from it's basic parts. I've see too many older KelTec pocket .32/.380s jam or just go click. Oddly, I've never seen a Seecamp not work (I got one for my wife... gonna miss her!).

I have never seen a 442, 637, 638, or 642 fail to fire - repeatedly discharging their chambers until empty. Same with my 296. I carry either a 642 or 296. Now, don't get me wrong - my 'fun' plinker revolvers have had ftfs (Light springs and non-Federal primers.) - and I even had two fouled reloads poof a bullet into the forcing cone, jamming two different revolvers (WD40 overspray by the reloading press - big no-no!). My 'carry' revolvers remain box-stock and tote commercial ammo for CCW status.

Proper maintenance in a decent handgun will continue it's dependable function. Diligence in ammo-making helps, too. I hate to admit it, as I am revolver-only these days, but there are evil-bottom-feeders that are just as dependable as revolvers. Still, I'll stick with revolvers. I have had a commercial round ftf - another pull of the trigger presented a live round that functioned perfectly - harder to do that in a hurry with a rude-case-tosser. That bad round had a defective primer - it happens. I doubt commercial loaders spritz tools with WD40 near their reloading equipment, so that fault is unlikely.

Stainz

ojibweindian
May 12, 2009, 09:30 AM
Generally, when a semi-auto chokes, clearing it and getting back into the game only takes a second or so. Pretty much a tap-rack-bang and you're back in business.

I've had a few revolvers, and there was a significant number of fewer malfunctions. As a matter of fact, only three over a 10 year period. However, those three malfs, two improper crimps and a shell case underneath the ejector, put an end to each day's activities at the range with the revolver. Were I in a gunfight when any one of those three stoppages occurred, it would've been a bad day to be me.

KBintheSLC
May 12, 2009, 12:49 PM
I no longer believe that there is a difference in the reliability of revolvers vs autos. A quality auto will generally be totally reliable, and a lousy revolver will be about as predictable as a roulette wheel. That being said, if you get a quality specimen from a good manufacturer, which has proven itself to you on the range, either gun type should do.

I like them both... an auto as a primary, and a snubbie as a backup.

nitetrane98
May 12, 2009, 01:30 PM
Reading this thread kind of made me realize that the debate is truly a matter of odds and percentages.

My LE career spanned the time from 1980-2000. When I started almost everybody carried a wheelgun. When I retired literally everybody carried a semi auto.
I can think back on all of the qualifying sessions with 20-30 officers on the line firing. We used turning targets and everybody had to be ready at the same time. Invariably, somebody would have a stoppage of some sort whether revolver or semi. I can remember that usually if a revolver went down the guy would have to borrow another gun to finish unless it was something llike a extractor rod loose or such. It used to take us just a couple of hours to Q during the revolver era. It was a half day affair by the time I retired.
Department policy in the old days specified Colt, S&W or Ruger, .38spl or larger as acceptable guns.
But mainly my point is, you can put one person out on the line with a good gun and he might be able to fire for days without a stoppage. You put 30 folks out there and something will go wrong.
Final thought. It was almost always the same guys with the malfs. And ALWAYS one particular female holding up the drill. I think she just liked the attention.

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