Arthritis and pistol shooting


December 7, 2010, 01:22 PM
Arthritis and pistol shooting

As I am getting older now, my arthritis is getting worse and my gripping is getting to be a chore. I have changed grips on my K frame model 10 to both Pachmyer and Sile thumb rest, the Sile seems to help more but I cannot use speed loaders with them and they do not fit a holster well either. They seem to help a lil with the pain but after shooting 300 rounds, my knuckle and finger joints hurt.

Anyone else have this problem and what do you do about it?

I do rub my knuckles and finger joints with aspercream before and after, but it only minimally helps.

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December 7, 2010, 01:37 PM
I'm a big fan of Aleve!
Gets me going in the morning!

Seriously, you might want to try a pair of gel padded shooting gloves.

They help a lot with hard kicking Magnums, so should make a real difference with your K-38.


December 7, 2010, 01:38 PM
Shooting a couple hundred rounds will just aggravate your joints.
Save the large round count days for competion.

December 7, 2010, 02:00 PM
Agreed - shoot 50 rounds, see how you feel...don't keep shooting until it hurts - that's adding to the injury condition

Shoot light loads, like W/C's with the most comfortable grips you can find

December 7, 2010, 02:08 PM
I concur you are overdoing the round count in one range session.

Shooting 300 rounds in one session is going to hurt your hands no matter what.

And truth be known, it isn't doing your shooting skill any good either.

One box of 50 rounds, while making every shot a good one, will improve your skill level much more then blasting away mass quantities of ammo after your concentration, nerves and muscles are already shot.


December 7, 2010, 02:11 PM
I would say get really nice molded grips shoot the wadcutters and just shoot 100-150 rounds tops.

December 7, 2010, 03:11 PM
They seem to help a lil with the pain but after shooting 300 rounds, my knuckle and finger joints hurt.
How often do you hit the range?

deputy tom
December 7, 2010, 03:20 PM
I suffer from arthritis also and as a result I shoot more .22 rimfire than ever before.tom.:cool:

December 7, 2010, 04:12 PM
Gloves are a good idea, I will try some of those gel gloves. Someone told me to heat the gel gloves in a nuke for 15 seconds and they said that really loosens up the joints, I will try that as well.

Sad to say I cannot take aleve, too powerful and will whack my kidneys even further. that dang Tylenol only goes so far. I am on 3 times a week x 4 hours dialysis as it is.

I shoot once every 2 weeks, usually on a Sunday in the morning for 2-3 hours. For wht it takes to get me out of the house (a small village due to my other health issues, worse than legally blind, kidney failure, diabetes and a heart condition) and to the range, shooting 50 rounds just does not seem worth it. I think I will try 150 rounds this Sunday and see what happens.

I have been praticing for the next years CAS (cowboy action shooting). I did ok this year but I truly want to do better.

I use a 38 pistol and a 38 rifle rather than the 44's or 45's. It is hard enough shooting as a blind guy LOL. I am one wrecked up old dude, add to all the health issues, I have wounds from 1991 D-Storm that aggrevate the whole matter. Most of my issues today are stemming from those wounds. The arthritis is the one really bothering me though. I am just slower moving and slower shooting than most of the shooters there.

I really think they should have an "OLD FRUMPED UP GUY CAS."

I do shoot a .22lr a lot and that seems to be easy, especially the lever action 9422. The pistol is a S&W 1950's 22lr revolver, action exacly as the 38 K frame I shoot. Those just will not knock down or "Clank" the metal targets enough to suit the CAS needs.

December 7, 2010, 04:27 PM
Shoot 50 rounds, take a break, shoot some .22, take a break, shoot 50 rounds more, eat some lunch, shoot some more .22

December 7, 2010, 06:38 PM
I'm getting back into shooting after a long time off. I have arthritis in my hands too. I have more trouble after the range, cleaning the guns then shooting. I guess a lifetime of using small tools has worn out my joints.
Getting the barrel bushing back on a 1911 with a spring rail takes forever.:scrutiny:

December 7, 2010, 07:56 PM
My Kel-tec P3-AT is about the only weapon that bothers me.
I wear Sears mechanic gloves--gets the job done.
I still reload a lot of military once fired-reworking the cartridges bothers me if I do too
many without taking a break.
I get cramps in my fingers---time to quit !!!!!!!!!
I used to laugh when my old man said " It's a bitch to get old"
I'm not laughing anymore !!!!!!!!!! :eek::eek::eek:

December 7, 2010, 09:46 PM
After shooting the 38, sometimes my fingers cannot pick up the .22lr, but I will try that out, switching back and forth.

Cleaning the pistol is a snap for me. I use a ultrasonic cleaner (I bought one used at a Dental/Medical used supply place for $60) with Kroil as the wet medium. They come out looking brand new and the lead if any literally falls/jumps off and is caught in the filter basket. Just take the grips off and dunk the gun in and turn on the US and about 1/2 hour later, take it out and let it hang \ drip dry and it is done, just wipe down and mop the bore/chambers with some rust preventor.

The rifle, I give my son that chore as one of his paid chores for the week LOL.

I went to the gun shop tonight and picked up RCBS shell holders, gel gloves, primers, bullets, powder (trail boss, HP38 and universal) and a few other incidentals. We will see how it goes this Sunday with the pain. I am loading up some light loads tomorrow of 148gr LSWC - 3.6gr of Universal. Hope that eases the pain a lil.

December 11, 2010, 12:23 PM
I've had to get rid of my semi's except for the tip up Beretta since I can no longer work the slide. A .357 Trooper I bought recently has a very smooth action and I have no trouble with it. (.38's only)

December 11, 2010, 06:11 PM
I shoot a lot of .22 in similar platform to my "main" shooter. Started when I wanted to improve my shooting skills, continued when ammo prices got silly, and continue to this day even though I now reload.

If I'm shooting a CF revolver I start with my S&W M18. 50-75 rounds at a relaxed pace gets me warmed up without damaging my hands, wrists or wallet.

If I'm shooting a CF semi-auto pistol, it's a Ruger MKII. Hardest part is forcing myself to slow down, breathe and focus on trigger control.

Then 50 rounds of the CF of the day...

Yeah, the fingerless gel-pad bicycle gloves are available at W-M for about $10, and work pretty well. I bought them for the j-frame Magnum S&W 340, and have only used them occasionally since I got rid of that nasty little fire-breather...mostly for my LCP, where they're kind of overkill.

December 11, 2010, 11:06 PM
I recommend that you have your doctor write you a prescription for Voltaren gel. It's a non steroidal anti inflammatory cream that you rub on your hands just before you head to the range. Also, take 10 milligrams of ibuprofen per kilgram of body weight just before you leave for the range.

My wife is an orthopedic surgical PA and she turned me on to Voltaren.

December 12, 2010, 01:12 AM
I've got a similar problem as the OP. Two kinds of arthritis. Both suck. I take Aleve daily and some other meds for control of the rheumatism but I still have stiffness and pain in my hands.

I don't shoot polymer guns. I tend to shoot heavy pistols to absorb the recoil better. I don't lock down my thumbs anymore, despite having been taught that way. I used thumbs forward Leatham-Enos grip. I let the muzzle flip up and settle right back down. Less trauma to the hands.

I do more dry-firing than range shooting. At the range, I use FMJ of relatively low loads. I've had a few people look at and adjust my grip so that my thumb joint is not absorbing trauma. It adds up. I shoot about 100 rounds each trip, maybe twice a week. If my hands are complaining too much that day, I don't go.

I do suffer quite a bit after intensive training weekends but actually the back pain overrides the hand pain. If I ever have to, I'll change over to a .22LR. Also, I use a padded bike glove from time to time. It is padded in just the right spots.

December 12, 2010, 11:25 AM
I'm another old fart with arthritis almost everywhere these days. I also have tendonitis in a couple of fingers along with "trigger finger" of one digit and swelling in a couple of finger joints. I'm on an arthritis med but I can't say it does much. Ibuprofen helps with joint pain everywhere else but the fingers just don't seem to get much benefit from pills.

I hesitate to recommend it since you're obviously a revolver man but, in my experience, revolvers cause more painful symptoms than autoloaders. I have Pachmayr grips on all my revolvers and I now only shoot .38's in my .357 Magnums at the range. But autoloaders have lower bore axes and absorb a good deal of the recoil in their operation. Shooting hot .45's and 9mm's in an auto is less of an ordeal for me than target load .38's. Contrary to what FriedRice said, I find my Glocks and plastic Ruger autoloaders absorb the recoil much better than my SIG or 1911. I guess it just shows everyone has differing responses to the same circumstances.

Good luck. If you find anything that cures the problem, let us know.

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