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How Accurate Should One Be With a Snubby?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Joshua M. Smith, Sep 3, 2007.

  1. Joshua M. Smith

    Joshua M. Smith Well-Known Member


    I was doing draw and shoot speed drills yesterday with my Rossi M68.

    The targets were simple 8.5x11" sheets of paper on an old tomato stick.

    I noticed a couple problems.

    Before I go further, I know the revolver's accurate. In SA slow fire, I can make a can dance around at 25yds.

    At speed though, it's different.

    I was shooting 5-7yds. The drill was to walk away from the target, turn and draw from the pocket, and fire. I would fire between waist and chest level.

    Hits were 4/5 with my left hand (dominant hand) and 3/5 with my right hand. Both eyes were open. I had to work a bit harder with my right hand, but this is to be expected.

    The real eye opener was when I used my two handed aimed hold. I did no better than when I did the point shooting with my dominant hand!

    I think I need some remedial practice, perhaps with wadcutters.

    Also, the sights are not what I'm used to - I would consider them vestigial at best. Same as on earlier S&W J-frames. I keep wanting to raise the muzzle so I can see the front blade.





    is there any other snubby shooting tricks? How fast should one be able to shoot one of these things with 158gr standard pressure practice loads, and are there any new grip methods for revolvers out there? I use the "thumbs curled down on the grip, overlapping" hold for revolvers and I have always found that to be a hindrance to my shooting. I much prefer thumbs pointing forward.

    I bought this with the idea that it would be a "bad breath backup" handgun, and that's still its main mission. But I'd like to improve to one hole at 5-7yds with aimed fire. I'm sure I can improve my point shooting and indexed fire with a bit more practice (I've not been doing enough of it).

    Tips, tricks, etc. are welcome. And, what kind of groups should I be "shooting for?"


    Josh <><
  2. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    I own and carry a S&W M683 and I understand what you're saying. When I first shot my snub nose I was lucky to hit the paper at 7 yards. The short barrel is a little unforgiving when we don't do our job. You must remember, shooting a SD handgun isn't like shooting a Bullseye match. You are reporting hitting between the stomach and chest while doing SD drills. The whole point is to hit SOM in a SD situation and you are already doing that. The DA trigger on a revolver is a lot heavier than what you would find on a pistol. Time will teach you to shoot it better. Just keep up what you are doing and you should improve. BTW, I keep my thumbs over each other pointed forward when shooting a revolver, even a snub nose revolver.

    I found shooting the revolver with snap-caps helped me a lot. I was able to see what I was doing wrong (pulling to the left) and correct it. The added benefit is a smoother trigger after 500 pulls or so.

    Good luck shooting the snub nose well but I think you are already on your way. Below is a photo of a target I shot, 5 rounds two handed from 10 yards:

  3. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Well-Known Member

    Here is what I would recommend:

    Start out at 3 yards, shooting at a 9" paper plate. If you can put all the rounds rapid fire on the plate, move back to 5 yards and repeat. When you are 100% at that distance, move back to 7 yards. Try some at 15 and 25 yards, but concentrate on 7 to 10.

    Next range trip, do it all over.
  4. GRB

    GRB member

    Post a pic of the gun, or describe the grips. I have found one of the first things to do with a snnub nose revolver is to get rid of tiny grips in exchage for something like Pachmeyrs that fill your hand better. Then lots of practice at ranges from 1 yard to 25 yards. Then walking, turning and shooting after you first have the basics down. Revolvers are a whole nother animal from semi-autos, and snub nose revolvers a whole nother animal than larger revolvers.

    All the best,
    Glenn B
  5. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Double action shooting with a revolver has become a lost art in this age of autoloaders. I would suggest that you go to www.amazon.com and look for two books to start with

    No Second Place Winner by Bill Jordan.

    Fast & Fancy Revolver Shooting by Ed. McGivern

    Both may be out of print, but are available as used copies. Note that original editions of the McGivern book are collector's items that command very high prices. However reprints have everything you need and cost far less.

    The suggestion to use larger stocks would be a good one, unless as it appears, you are using pocket carry. Then the size of the stocks would be obviously limited.

    You can find additional information by using this forum's search feature and using the term "point shooting."

    My last suggestion is to get a flashlight with a beam focus and push-button switch. In a darkened, but not dark room pick out an object, concentrate on it, then pull up the flashlight to shooting level while hitting the button. See if the beam hits anywhere near the object.

    A revolver with a Crimson Trace laser sight works even better for this drill, and is an excellent aid in low-light situations or other circumstances where you can't use your regular sights.
  6. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

    I would think that the answer would be "As accurate as is necessary to meet the goals of why you are using a Snubby."
    If you are carrying it for SD then you need to be able to hit COM at 7 to 15 yds. If you carry it to protect yourself from rabid squirrels, then you need to practice a little more.:D
    If you just want to "target" shoot, then. maybe, a different gun would be in order.
  7. glassman

    glassman Well-Known Member

    I read this here a while ago and it stuck with me. Thanks to whoever said it.

    "Be able to put five rounds in a five inch circle from five yards in five seconds."
  8. mballai

    mballai Well-Known Member

    I would say you need to at least hit that piece of paper consistently at 7 yards.
    Ideally, you can do this point shooting, but for now work on making it happen with your sights.

    I'd do some remedial work with a 4-inch revolver and just work on managing a smooth DA trigger pull. Pull straight back on the trigger with no hesitation. One smooth roll. It sounds like you are pulling off target a bit.

    You're doing well. Just keep at it.
  9. Princi

    Princi Well-Known Member

    Size matters?

    I was always in favor of longer barrels. My high school math teacher, an ole Dutchman, always used to say: "always scale - does the results make sense". Following that logic, I concluded that rifles are more accurate than revolvers, and therefore long barrel revolvers must be more accurate than short barrel revolvers.

    Then I shot a friends snubby - a Colt. I thought it was 5 rounds, so I shot the first 5 rounds into a ragged hole at 7 yards. I went to hand it back to him and he said: "there is one more round". Dang, that one missed the hole.

    That experience changed by thoughts about short barrel revolvers. I now carry a S&W Airlite in an Uncle Mike's pocket holster.

    However, there is something to be said for a long sight radius with longer barrels.
  10. Jeff Timm

    Jeff Timm Well-Known Member

    Glassman recalled, "I read this here a while ago and it stuck with me. Thanks to whoever said it.

    "Be able to put five rounds in a five inch circle from five yards in five seconds.""

    The way I recalled it, it was the "standard controllability test." Via Mel Tappan out of Jeff Cooper.

    25 yards, 10" Circle (paper plates work well too) 5 shots in 5 seconds from the leather.

    For short body pistols I'd use that standard at 7 yards.

    Who is out of practice. Sigh.
  11. Glockafella

    Glockafella member

    here in missouri

    You should be able to put 40 out of 50 rds into the dark portion of a B-27 target at 21 feet...at the minimum.

    In all reality you should be hitting paper plates at 10 yards without a problem.

    people have different definitions of "combat accurate" but that is mine.
  12. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    The Old Fuff (and maybe some others) posted that, and the issue was controlability and combat accuracy.

    If you are under attack at that distance, survival may depend on instantly disabling the attacker in the shortest possible time, and if necessary being able to make quick but accurate repeat shots. Hits anywhere on the popular center-of-mass area may not do it, because even if a hit would be eventually mortal, it is not necessarily instantly disabling. No hit is unquestionably disabling, but one in the central nervous system is most likely to be, and that is the reason for the 5-inch standard.

    Because no single hit may do what’s needed, quick, additional shots should follow, but if they are not accurately placed they may also fail. Again it is not a question about what is lethal, but rather what is instantly disabling.

    Today many considerate it necessary to carry the most powerful cartridges in the smallest and lightest gun. In particular ultra-light snub nosed revolvers chambered in .357 Magnum being the worst example. For most users this unquestionably delivers power, but at the critical expense of accuracy and speed.

    Hence the drill, which shouldn’t be especially difficult with the right combination of handgun and cartridge.

    But if you try it you may discover otherwise.

    So, did the Old Fuff dream all of this up on his own. I’d like to say so, but no. I first learned of it during a conversation with (I think) Col. Rex Applegate – who was in a position to know.
  13. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Well-Known Member

    Run toward the target as you are firing.

    Your hit count will improve.

    Oh wait. Maybe they won't let you do that "at the range."
    That's kinda why range-practice isn't perfect practice.

    standing next to each other, unharmed. Amazing as it seems,
    none of the Fourth Man's shots appear to have hit anybody.
    Jules and Vincent exchange looks like, "Are we hit?" They're
    as confused at the shooter.

    That **** wasn't luck. That ****was somethin' else.

    Vincent prepares to leave.

    Yeah, maybe.

    That was...divine intervention.
    You know what divine intervention is?

    Yeah, I think so. That means God came down from Heaven and stopped the bullets.

    Yeah, man, that's what is means.
    That's exactly what it means! God came down from Heaven and stopped the bullets.

    I think we should be going now.
  14. Deanimator

    Deanimator Well-Known Member


    Shooting a D/A revolver, even a very expensive one, is an acquired skill, ESPECIALLY if you're used to shooting an M1911 or similar semi-auto.

    Practice a LOT, especially dry firing.

    The hardest part is developing a smooth trigger squeeze whch doesn't move the sights. If you have or know somebody with a .22lr D/A revolver, you might want to start with that. That way you can shoot enough to learn the general technique without spending $500. to do it.
  15. glassman

    glassman Well-Known Member

    Thanks Old Fuff

    Thanks for that "rule of fives" posting. It is something that made perfect sense when I read it and has been my drill since then. I practice it with a 642 every time I go to the range (almost every week) and am happy to report that I am now successful each time. You gave me inspiration which has led to confidence. Thanks again.
  16. glockman19

    glockman19 Well-Known Member

    You should be able to group them within the plam of your hand. If you are aiming center mass and can get a group of 3-4" you're doing fine. place your hand anywhere on your chest and see the damege. even if you're off by teh length of your fingers tour shots will be lethal.
  17. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    It's just a matter of learning the basics and practicing. You have the right idea to drill as close to SD conditions as you can. That means not giving yourself time to readjust stance or arm position. I make a point of putting myself out of proper stance and concentrate on bringing the revolver up and commencing fire the second it's on target. After a few thousand rounds it's second nature.

    I don't put much faith in dry firing. I'm sure it's useful for competition level shooting, but I find the only quality practice I get is at the range with the same hotness of ammo I use for self defense. With a magnum snub in particular, learning to roll and time yourself with the kick is a critical skill. You're actually training little muscles in the process.

    With some older snubs, such as my DS or a Model 36, I've found that positioning my little finger of all things has a huge impact in accuracy. By getting my finger in the right place, it lines the revolver's sights up perfectly so everything is good to go when I'm up on target. I'm sure they designed it with just such a method in mind, but before discovering it at the range I had never heard of it.
  18. RichardB

    RichardB Well-Known Member

    How accurate? Put 5 bullets on the silhouette at 7 yards rapid fire, ideally with 2 or 3 in the center
  19. 351 WINCHESTER

    351 WINCHESTER Well-Known Member

    I think most j frames could benefit greatly from a good action job or a lot of dry firing (especially the concealed hammer ones). That can make a huge difference in being able to shoot better.
  20. Joshua M. Smith

    Joshua M. Smith Well-Known Member

    Thanks all,

    I learned to shoot on a Taurus PT92. I eventually tuned and tweaked it and now I can make it shoot five shot groups under 2" at 25yds. On a good day it will shoot sub-1", three shot groups at the same distance.

    I'm thinking maybe I just got spoiled, though the practice ammo I've been using just became suspect today.

    Grips are Pachmayers for those who asked.

    Josh <><

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