What makes a "modern" revolver?


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Skribs
September 30, 2011, 11:18 AM
I was reading a few other threads, where the concept of a "modern revolver" came up. I'm not a big revolver guy (although I am looking to get a couple), but what are some of the modern advancements for revolvers?

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Sam1911
September 30, 2011, 11:52 AM
That kind of depends on your definition of "modern," and your definition of "advancement."

The most modern (or modernist, maybe?) advancement I can think of are the Mateba and Chiappa Rhino method of firing the bottom chamber of the cylinder to put the recoil impulse down into your hand more directly. Not exactly cutting edge modern as the Mateba was designed in 1997, and not exactly taking the world by storm, either, calling into question whether this is an advancement or just a historic cul-de-sac.

The next I can think of is the rise of polymer frame parts like the Ruger LCR and new S&W Bodyguard series use. Those are pretty popular, and seem to offer real advantages in weight-vs.-cost ratios and somewhat in recoil management, too.

There are folks in the world (even shooters!) who feel that the new practice of adding lock-out mechanisms to revolvers is an advancement of note.

The concept of building revolvers to handle traditional shotgun shells is sort of new, going back to the Thunder 5 in the early 90s. Now, that seems to be an "advancement" in the same way that having a leg amputated would be "a good weight loss plan." :rolleyes: Still...sales popularity might be believed to be a kind of measure of the value of an advancement.

CraigC
September 30, 2011, 11:53 AM
...

bergmen
September 30, 2011, 12:10 PM
There are hammer block and transfer bar safety mechanisms that are pervasive in "modern" revolvers also. Dropping a loaded revolver from 12 feet onto concrete won't result in an inadvertant firing like they could before these devices were included.

The old Colt Single Action Army (and others of this type) could fire if the hammer was impacted sufficiently over a loaded chamber. This is why it is advisable to carry with an empty chamber under the lowered hammer.

Dan

Thaddeus Jones
September 30, 2011, 12:43 PM
Modern revolver - A revolver made of cheap materials by cost saving measures, equipped with idiotic devices that have no business on a defensive firearm.

Advancements?......none.....well.......the MSRP.

rich642z
September 30, 2011, 02:19 PM
Talking about something that should not be on a defensive firearm,,,,,,, like S&W's,the ils lock or Hillary hole for short. You should see that spring on it,,,,,,,very weak and breakable.

aHFo3
September 30, 2011, 02:59 PM
Modern vs Antique is separated by the year 1899, right?

Tallinar
September 30, 2011, 03:00 PM
Tough to say, really. First thing that would come to mind would be any revolver that makes use of any sort of hammer block, frame-mounted firing pin, or a transfer bar. But boy, that really doesn't narrow the field down.

I want to hear Craig's definition. :)

CraigC
September 30, 2011, 03:11 PM
Modern revolver - A revolver made of cheap materials by cost saving measures, equipped with idiotic devices that have no business on a defensive firearm.

Advancements?......none.....well.......the MSRP.
I think that pretty much sums it up, by what most shooters would refer to as a "modern" revolver.

To me a "modern" revolver takes advantage of advanced metallurgy, newer chamberings, newer finishes, proper grips and the best sights. Not necessarily features others would call "modern" on other guns considered to be of "modern" design. Whatever that means. All of which probably looks like the same ole stuff to shooters of other "modern" guns. So to me, the new 8-shot .22LR SP is a modern revolver. The 7-shot GP-100 .327 is modern. The 12-shot USFA 12/22 is modern. Just as a custom K-frame or Single Six in .327 is "modern". As is a custom five-shot .475 or anything that Freedom Arms produces. None of this stuff was available 50yrs ago. Or even 30.

IMHO, these are indeed the good ole days, not necessarily because of internal locks, MIM parts, two piece barrels and picatinny rails. What we do have is a plethora of factory .44Spl's from Ruger and that alone is enough for us to celebrate! Not to mention all the wonderful single actions from USFA, Colt and Uberti. There are enough older S&W's to keep us all happy.

See!
http://photos.imageevent.com/newfrontier45/sixgunsiii/large/IMG_8747b.jpg

F-111 John
September 30, 2011, 03:16 PM
I've always taken a "modern revolver" to mean a revolver that is built to withstand the pressures of "modern ammunition," as opposed to revolvers that were built to only withstand the pressures of black power ammunition.

rcmodel
September 30, 2011, 03:21 PM
When I think of modern revolver.
I think of anything made by any major manufacture after the end of WWII.

All incorporate "modern" safety features & metallurgy.

All revolvers made prior to WWII are not necessarily viewed by me as antique, but they were not all made to "modern" safety & strength standards.

rc

Loosedhorse
September 30, 2011, 09:43 PM
Swing-out cylinder (as opposed to break-top, loading gate, or Merwin-Hubert rotating barrel) defines modern revolver.

Owen Sparks
September 30, 2011, 11:44 PM
Good quality revolvers are at the height of that technology sort of like a modern shovel is at the height of its technology. Not much room for improvement.

Rexster
October 1, 2011, 12:36 PM
"Modern" is a relative term. Much depends upon context. I remember when the GP100 was introduced. This was in the day when revolvers were the overwhelming favorite for defensive use in the USA, for private citizens and LEOs. Traditional-minded folded tended to HATE the looks of the GP100, and most of them were quick to add that the Security/Speed/Service Six were an ugly bunch, too.

I am not sure how today's young folks see the GP100, but I doubt "modern" comes to mind.

An older, traditional design can be seen as modern. USFA uses CNC production methods and modern steels to make some very traditional-looking sixguns. Unlike some later re-designs that make the clockwork safe to carry with six rounds in the cylinder, however, the USFA Single Actions must be carried in the old way to be safe. The single action sixguns with such things as transfer bars vary in just how modern they are; Freedom Arms is an example of a very modern revolver, in spite of a single-action lock-work.

In addtion to such dates as 1898/1899, I have seen post-WW II used as a determining
factor for revolver modernity. From a 21st-Century perspective, I suppose either of those days will work.

I apologize for my pre-caffeine rambling.

rcmodel
October 1, 2011, 01:49 PM
Swing-out cylinder defines modern revolver.
The Colt New Navy Double Action Self-Cocking Revolver came out in 1889.

It had a swing-out cylinder, but I sure would not call it a modern revolver in any respect.

rc

CraigC
October 1, 2011, 02:17 PM
And other than strength it does not really have any advantage over break-tops.

Rexster
October 1, 2011, 02:20 PM
Looking at the mid-to-late 1950's, I think the point could be made that modern revolvers started, in quantity, then. The S&W Combat Magnum, the Colt Python, the .44 Mag cartridge, and such things were introduced during this time period. Revolvers had a different look about them prior to this period. The S&W Registered Magnum is certainly as modern as the mid-1950s revolvers, though very few were made before WW2, and not until the mid-1950s did S&W start making high volumes of handguns for private citizens again. The Python s now considered an old classic, but writings from the time of its intro indicate that it was very modern, and of course subsequent history shows the Python's influence, most obviously in heavy lugged barrels.

BCRider
October 1, 2011, 02:46 PM
A "modern" feature that is still too seldom seen is the use of full or half moon clips that use short rimless cartridges to achieve faster reloads. While this wonderous development originally occured with the Colt and S&W revolvers issued in The Great War the use of moon clips and the short and thus easy to load semi auto ammo seems to remain something of an oddity in the wheelgun world. Those that shoot the .45acp and .40S&W/10mm revolvers know of this joy.

CraigC
October 1, 2011, 03:30 PM
It's a joy to swap one loaded moonclip for another. Loading and unloading cartridges in the moonclips is another matter entirely. In the few times I've done it with Dad's S&W, I would never, ever buy a revolver that 'had' to be shot with moonclips. I'll take a rim every single time.

rcmodel
October 1, 2011, 03:37 PM
When you get seriously serious about moon clips, you get mooner & demooner tools to do the job.

It is relatively painless when you have the right tools & a few dozen extra moon clips.

And there is also the Rimz plastic clips that you can easily reload without tools.

rc

Strykervet
October 1, 2011, 04:01 PM
I can't believe it hasn't been mentioned yet:

A rail system, duh!!!!

Seriously, not a lot has been done to revovlers over the last fifty years or more, just some tweaking here and there really, a lot of cosmetic changes. If you crack an old one open and a similar new one, they are basically the same inside.

Awhile back there was the Matba auto-revolver. It looked pretty cool to me, and I think they were made well, but it flopped. Too bad, they came with changeable barrels in .357 and .44.

If anything, I'd say what makes a new revolver is the use of cheaper parts and a lock that nobody wants. And now, the addition of plastic, which is where I absolutely draw the line with revolvers.

The titanium and scandium revolvers could be considered "new". It was only recently that titanium could be used for a cylinder and a .357 snub be made 12oz. But still, inside, it is the same hammerless revolver they've made for years. So materials is a big one, but materials has defined the changes in pistols and rifles alike, particularly aluminum and plastics.

blindhari
October 1, 2011, 04:14 PM
After thinking awhile there seems to be a break point for the term modern revolver. Black powder ends, smokeless powder begins. A weapon can be proofed for black powder or smokeless/black powder combo. Every state has black powder seasons set aside for low proofed black powder weapons only. Regular seasons can generally be hunted with black or smokeless powder. a modern revolver can use smokeless powder, everything else is garnish on the word modern. There are all kinds of military decorations, but in the Army there is one that must be there for the others to count. An individual who is entitled to a combat infantry badge has been under fire, everything else is garnish.
At Ft Lee we had an NCO with a Meadol of Honor who would point to the Combat infantry Badge and say it was the only one that counted. Smokeless modern---Black powder archaic

blindhari

MrBorland
October 1, 2011, 06:02 PM
It's tempting to think the "modern" revolver evolution ended with the development of smokeless powder & the hand ejector DA revolver, but IMO, it's continued well past that.

Off the top of my head, I can think of: stainless guns, lightweight metallurgy (aluminum, titanium & scandium), improved sights (interchangeable, fiber optic, etc), 8-shot capacity, light, smooth but reliable actions, frame-mounted firing pins, improved aftermarket parts (e.g. barrels, hammers, springs & firing pins), optics (holo, red dot, etc) and the ability to mount them, tactical rails, as well as numerous accessories for speedy reloading (full* moon clips, CompIIIs & Jetloaders, and their holders) and modern kydex holsters for quicker presentation.

And despite the much-maligned introduction of MIM parts and The Lock, modern CNC manufacturing, when done right, produces guns that are every bit the shooter (maybe better) as their predecessors, without having to be hand-fitted.

These developments may not be for everyone, but in competition, one can really get an appreciation for what a well-tuned "modern" wheelgun can do in the hands of a competent revolver shooter.


A "modern" feature that is still too seldom seen is the use of full or half moon clips that use short rimless cartridges to achieve faster reloads. While this wonderous development originally occured with the Colt and S&W revolvers issued in The Great War...

*AFAIK, it was the half-moon clip that was developed during WWI. The full moon clip came much later - I'll have to look up the date - but IIRC, it was in the 60s or so, and by a local tinkerer who brazed 2 halves together. They worked so well, they caught on quickly, and today, it's hard to even find half moons.

savit260
October 1, 2011, 08:55 PM
I think of anything made by any major manufacture after the end of WWII.

All incorporate "modern" safety features & metallurgy.


That's my definition right there.

BullfrogKen
October 1, 2011, 11:13 PM
Sights that you can actually see and use are among my list of features.


Ever see some of those old front sights, not much more than the width of a brass shim?

788Ham
October 2, 2011, 12:18 AM
rc,
Son, that is one beautiful shooter! You've got some very nice firearms Lad!

CraigC
October 2, 2011, 11:36 AM
Son, that is one beautiful shooter! You've got some very nice firearms Lad!
I'll assume you mean me, since I was the only one that posted a pic. Thanks! :)


Ever see some of those old front sights, not much more than the width of a brass shim?
Early handgun sights were abysmal. Even the blackpowder frame SAA's were tiny. The worst I've seen is on the S&W #3 Russian. "Modern" squared-off sights are a vast improvement. I'll never buy another pinched frame Colt or replica.

Taffnevy
October 2, 2011, 04:16 PM
An internal lock.:banghead:

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