Arthritic wheel gun guy.....please help


February 17, 2011, 06:30 PM
I'm totally right handed. I mean very, very right handed. Unfortunately as I'm getting older I've developed arthritis in my wrist and thumb and shooting just ain't what it used to be. I'm sure the many thousands of .44 mag and .357's rounds sent downrange over the years haven't really helped.:) I've made the below adjustments and would like any advice from the fellow members. I don't want to feel undergunned in case a self defense situation does arise.

I'm shooting .38+P 158gr. LSWCHP in both my snubbie SP101 and snubbie S&W 66. The extra weight on these guns seems to soften the recoil to a reasonable level, especially the Ruger. Just can't go .357 anymore

In my Detective Specials I still shoot standard pressure .38 158gr. LSWCHP, but am thinking about going down to 148gr. full wadcutters as they admittedly do feel alot better. I'm sort of worried about this in a self defense situation.

And finally can someone reccomend to me a soft shooting .45LC factory load that won't leave me short on the protection end. I have several that I shoot for fun (Vaquero and USFA Rodeos) but they do double duty on my 4 wheeler and truck around the farm. Reloading for these is not an option.

Many thanks in advance

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Loyalist Dave
February 17, 2011, 07:07 PM
Hornady, Black Hills, Magtech, and Ultramax all make factory ammo in .45 Colt, that is 250 grain lead bullet with velocities from 725 - 760 from a 4 and 3/4 inch barrel revolver. Ultramax also advertises a 200 grain lead round for the .45 Colt at 650 fps, which might be the bottom end for a SD round with your arthritis. Ten-X sells a 165 grain Cowboy load in .45 Colt at 565 fps..., which is super light (imho). The slowest factory rounds prior to CAS were 850 fps, so the CAS rounds aren't too light. I think vs. a human SD situation with your needs, 750 fps would work ok. The Ten-X brand ammo with the 200 gr bullet at 650 I'd think would be as low as I would go. I wonder what muzzle velocity 20 grains of 3Fg gave a .451 round ball out of a 8" barrel from a Colt 1860 Army? Wikipedia says 550-1000 fps (but you never know with them), and those revolvers successfully defended lots of folks with a much lighter bullet than the .45 Colt.

I hope this helps.


February 17, 2011, 11:11 PM
For the .38's, I have been plinking with 125 gr. LSWC's; they might be good defense rounds with less recoil. You might find that changiing the grips to something bigger and softer might help with your hands hurting. Hogue makes Monogrips for all the guns you mentioned.

February 18, 2011, 12:32 AM
think about finding a 22 rimfire in "same" frame
SP101s were made, but hard to find
k-frames not hard to find, though not cheap
find same/similar grips to go with

not saying as a replacement for, but as a complement to, you know
gun prices can be quickly offset by difference in ammo price... easy on your wallet and easy on your hand
provided you still followup with some centerfire practice, live fire practice is still live fire practice, even with a rimfire

February 18, 2011, 01:00 AM
Look for anything marked "cowboy load."

Lone Star
February 18, 2011, 11:09 AM
I think the lead SWC-HP .38 ammo will serve well, if you can't handle .357 now. I'm unaware of any that isn't Plus P, but recoil isn't a big factor, except maybe with Buffalo Bore's enhanced version, which I haven't seen. It gives higher performance, but even the regular version has a good track record on people. The higher velocity form might well be the ideal combat ammo for K-frame .357's.

The basic Winchester or Remington .45 Colt load has killed a lot of men and some animals over the years, and I think Federal may still load their 225 grain SWC-HP in .45 Colt.

Lone Star

Standing Wolf
February 18, 2011, 01:07 PM
It may be worth your while to take a couple aspirin before you leave for the range.

Hondo 60
February 18, 2011, 09:07 PM
Have you ever thought of reloading your own?
I picked up this hobby about 18 months ago & just absolutely love it.

I get to tailor my ammo to me & my gun.
It's not difficult to learn, in fact it's pretty easy, I mean I did it! :D

February 18, 2011, 09:18 PM
lastditch: Have you considered going to the soft Pachmayr compac grips on those wheelguns ? I have done this for decades with K Frames. Covering the backstrap with neoprene, unless this interferes with concealment ?

February 19, 2011, 01:17 AM
lastditch, you should read this article on "Wicked Wadcutters?" ( Personally, I wouldn't want to face any round that comes out of a gun!

February 19, 2011, 01:52 AM
I'm coping with the same circumstances and as well probably the result of many full house magnum 44s and .357s. I find the 110 gr. G.D. in 38 +P to be very nice to shoot from my Model 66-5 snub nose. I load a good charge of H110 or 296, but not up at the top of the spectrum. I am getting plenty of velocity ( 1050 fps ) to take care of self defense business without the harsh recoil. I also load the 125s but they start to get uncomfotable pretty quick.

February 19, 2011, 10:53 AM
I also have arthritis.I find grips make all the difference....when I carry my bulldog .44 spl. I have little combat grips, but if I am going to the range for an extended sesion, I switch to big hand filling grips.Always practice w/ your carry grips too, but don't over do it.

February 19, 2011, 06:08 PM
I would go with the wad cutter or standard Remington, Winchester, Federal
158 SWC

February 19, 2011, 07:00 PM
I too have arthritis amoung other complications in my hands/wrists and had to eventually give up the .357 revolver. I bought a pistol and with a little bit of a relearning curve, I can shoot it without dreading the next shot. That may not work for some, but the pistol is lighter than my old Ruger Security Six 6" or the S&W 19-2. You might try a polymer for weight reduction. Just a thought, it works for me. (I didn't like the idea of giving up on revolvers, but...)


451 Detonics
February 20, 2011, 10:39 AM
On the up side if you do have to fire in self defense you will likely not even register the recoil, even from +p loads till after the situation is over.

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