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Snub nosed learning curve?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Dr_Kaufman, Nov 19, 2006.

  1. Dr_Kaufman

    Dr_Kaufman Member

    how long did it take you to learn how to shoot your 2" revolver reasonably well? Also, what were your circumstances when you started shooting it (i.e. had experience with longer barrel revos, came over from semi autos, new to shooting, etc.)?
  2. huntershooter

    huntershooter Well-Known Member

    A "J" frame revolver is extremely difficult to shoot well, particularly double action-as would be the case in a SD scenario. It is an "experts" gun. I am baffled at how gun shop sales people frequently recommend this type revolver for "your wife". As a rule, the J frames have crap double action triggers, coupled with a 2" or shorter barrel, are bears to shoot accurately and rapidly. I've shot a lot of rds. competitively-thru 1911's-and consider myslf adequate with a J frame to 15-20 yds. I dry fire a lot and shoot several cyl.'s each trip to the range.
  3. Preacherman

    Preacherman Well-Known Member

    +1 huntershooter!

    The snubby is perhaps the most difficult handgun to learn to shoot well, for a novice. Miniscule sights, short sight radius, a tiny grip, and (in the Airweight and lighter versions) recoil out of all proportion to its size (using decent defensive ammo) are real handicaps.

    I'm pretty good with my snubbies, but I already knew how to shoot well before I started using a snubby. I always recommend learning on a full-size gun first, then moving to the more difficult weapon. When I'm teaching my disabled and handicapped students, they always start with a K-frame S&W revolver. If you can shoot this well, you can handle almost anything else. (Start someone on a 1911 and they'll have a terrible time mastering a K-frame! :D )

    Another tip: if you plan to shoot a snubby extensively, get a .22LR version for training. I have a S&W 317 as a 'training gun' for my 442 and 642. Same size, grips, etc. (and even lighter weight), but I can put 500 rounds through it all day, every day, without being bothered by cost or recoil. The training translates directly across to my Airweights, too, due to the similarity of the guns.
  4. Surefire

    Surefire Well-Known Member

    I never had any problems hitting the black the first time I tried my 2.25" barrel SP 101. Having said this, it definitely helped to be an experienced shooter. I think that people that are learning shooting for the first time would definitely have issues learning with a snub.
  5. Ultraman

    Ultraman Well-Known Member

    Dry Fire, Dry Fire, Dry Fire.

    Get a Snubby .22 LR and Practice, Practice, Practice.
    Remember the purpose of a snub nose revolver is for close & personal action so don't stress yourself out trying to get sub 2" groups at 25 yards. ;)

    SP101 in .22LR
  6. dbarale

    dbarale Well-Known Member

    My wife asked me how accurate she had to be with her M60 LS before she could carry it.
    I figured she was ready when she became able to hit consistently a 4" plate at 10yds shooting pretty fast.
    I think it's about as good as most people will ever get with a 2" J frame, I also feel it's adequate for self-defense.
  7. baker

    baker Well-Known Member

    Mine was my first handgun. I didn't know it was supposed to be difficult, i just kept shooting 'till I felt I had become reasonably proficient.:)
  8. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    How accurate do you have to be with a snub-nosed revolver?

    Accurate enough to hit a man-sized object at distances of up to five yards. That's what they're for.

    That said™, I've never owned a snubby that wasn't amazingly accurate. The accuracy "problems" have nothing to do with the barrels and everything to do with mediocre fixed sights and puny stocks.
  9. benelli12

    benelli12 Well-Known Member

    I haven't heard of J-frames because I havent read any information on them, what snubbies are not J-frames.(brands)
  10. gezzer

    gezzer Well-Known Member

    J frames are Smith & Wesson, all others are not.
  11. Jkwas

    Jkwas Well-Known Member

    My first handgun was my Taurus 605 snub. It just shot dead accurate right from the get-go. Dry firing helps a lot. Finding the right ammunition makes a big difference. Some ammo just doesn't shoot straight out of a short barrel.
    I don't practice more than 20 ft out. If I'm further than that, I'm running the 100yd dash! :neener:
  12. Kor

    Kor Well-Known Member

    Well, my first snubby was a Ruger SP101 that I bought in 1994 - I had owned 2 .40S&W autos previously, and I bought the SP101 because I wanted a good snubby for CCW.

    I attribute my present proficiency with and affinity for snub-nosed revolvers to the excellent design and manufacture of that first Ruger, and to the "honeymoon period" I went through with it. For about 3-4 months, I was handling the gun for at least 30 minutes a day, and dry-firing it at least 100 times every single day. Not out of any conscious desire to become a master wheelgunner or anything, simply because I was in love with the gun and couldn't resist fondling it. I supplemented this where I could, with 50-100 rounds of live-fire a month when I could afford it(at the time, my only regular income was Army Reserve weekend drill pay). Between hundreds of practice draws and thousands of flash-sight-pictures and dry-fires, I finally got to be pretty good with that SP101.

    Alas, that first Ruger had to be sold at a time when I needed cash, but I have kept the flame(and my skills) alive with my 3 Centennials(1 640-1, 1 642 and 1 442). Now, I can usually shoot a low-90th-percentile score with my EDC 642 or 442 on a POST qualification, and I've been able to astonish one of my shooting buddies by going 5-for-5 rapid-fire on a steel torso target at 25 yds with the same 642 and some old carry ammo I was burning up at the time.
  13. pedaldude

    pedaldude Well-Known Member

    My 642 is ridiculously accurate, the trigger is awful and the cylinder lockup aint great either but it outshoots my 4" security six all the time, at 10' 15' and if I'm feeling lucky 30' I can take the center out of a target if I concentrate, much harder than my single action CZ97 but just as accurate.

    the gun didn't point as well for me as I would have liked but I have gotten used to it and just don't hold it as high as my others which works well since it doesn't have to come as far out of my pocket.

    I just hold the thing as tight as I can and dry firing is a good thing with the snub as trigger pull is important on any gun but when you look at the sights when you yank the trigger it goes real far off,

    I can shoot 12 gauge high brass all day, love shooting hot magnum loads out of my Ruger and I can't believe I'm saying it but the little snub is quite the hand full shooting +P and if you aren't holding really tight it'll take the skin off the web of your hand after enough cylinders full. I have no desire now for a 10oz .357 or even one as light as my 642 since I'm in no rush to develop a flinch.

    The 642 trigger while real rough when I got it has smoothed up noticeably after lots of dry firing and it stacks a bit so you can take up all the slack and cock the hammer and then line up the shot and take out the bullseye at a distance if you haven't developed a smooth enough DA trigger pull yet, since you aren't gonna be shooting SA in one. Although it would be cool if someone figured out a way to convert the stupid lock into some kind of cocking mechanism, absolutely useless and excessive, but it would be funny.

    I would say that it isn't alot harder to shoot a snub, but that it is easier to learn bad habits and get frustrated.
  14. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    The word “snubby” covers a lot of ground, and some are a lot easier to shoot then others. A K-frame Smith & Wesson (especially one with the old long-action) or a Colt Detective Special are much easier to master then a J-frame S&W.

    So of course the J-frames are the most popular of all. What can be done? Well first of all ditch those little 2 finger-grooved boot grips that come on them and buy replacements that actually give you something to hold on to. Then get a set of snap-caps and dry fire all you can. This not only smoothes the action, but also builds up the wrist and finger muscles that are needed. If you are shooting at eye level, concentrate on keeping a sight picture at the end of the trigger stroke.

    The basic rules of marksmanship still apply. You just have to work harder to employ them.

    Last but not least, if it won’t interfere with your mode of carry, consider that a 3 inch barrel will do everything a 2 inch or less will, but do it better. I carry snubbies when nothing else will do.
  15. Deanimator

    Deanimator Well-Known Member

    ...and a failure to practice sufficiently. Revolvers with short barrels require a certain amount of skill to employ effectively. That skill isn't acquired by throwing it in a drawer and forgetting about it.
  16. Jkwas

    Jkwas Well-Known Member

    +1 to lots of practice. After about 1000 rnds or so it'll be second nature.
    Seriously, get good snap caps, put a dime on top of the barrel and work on that trigger squeeze. Also, you may find changing grips will give you a better natural "point". Put enough time into it and it'll all come together.
  17. Dr_Kaufman

    Dr_Kaufman Member

    follow up question:

    would it be easier to learn on an external hammer version, so you can practice sa/da?
  18. redneckrepairs

    redneckrepairs Well-Known Member

    IMHO single action has NO use on a defensive revolver . You may howeaver want to give your snubby to a good gunsmith and have the action slicked up a bit .. Do be shure and tell him its a defensive / carry gun tho so he wont lighten the pull to the point that you have mis fires .
  19. c_yeager

    c_yeager Well-Known Member

    A snubby (sp101) was the first gun I owned myself. I had learned how to shoot with my father, but he didnt go to the range very often, so I didnt have a lot of skills built up. Based on advice from some friends I resisted the temptation to fire single action and stuck exclusively with double action shooting, I am glad that I did. It was frustrating and took a long time to get decent but once I did shooting all other weapons became remarkably easy. Starting off with the hardest weapon to master can be frustrating at first, but I think its pretty rewarding in the long run, besides there arent many people who can shoot snubbies these days and it can be fun to let some loudmouth shoot yours and then show him how it's done.
  20. Ichiro

    Ichiro Well-Known Member

    +1. If you can develop decent trigger control with a DA snubby, every other gun should be a breeze.

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