Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Accuracy: Revolver vs Semi-Auto

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by KJS, Jun 11, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. KJS

    KJS Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2009
    Messages:
    381
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Are revolvers inherently less accurate than semi-autos?

    With a revolver there will always be a tiny bit of play where the cylinder can turn clockwise or counter-clockwise, making it impossible to line it up absolutely perfect with the barrel. A semi-auto never has this issue as the chamber is the end of the barrel.

    Conversely, are there other factors that make revolvers more accurate than auto-loaders?

    I ask this purely as a theoretical question of curiosity. I sure can't shoot accurately enough to tell and suspect very few gun owners can. I'm sure for all practical purposes it doesn't matter with accuracy limited by the shooter and not the equipment.
     
  2. RugerMcMarlin

    RugerMcMarlin Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2011
    Messages:
    979
    Nuunooo,

    Regarding play on cylinders in battery, I would refer to the threads on Pythons. It seems to be a fairly commonly held belief there is none.

    I try real hard not to make assumptions about other peoples limitations. It kind of revs me up when they do it to me. And I hate double standards.
     
  3. Prosser

    Prosser Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,451
    I've got revolvers that will shoot one hole at 50 yards, maybe better. Don't know about 100, but, the bigger revolvers tend to shoot VERY well at long range.

    For a litmus test, call Freedom Arms, and ask them how accurate their revolvers are, then, see if you can find an auto that can stay with them.

    Counterpoint: Any custom gunsmith that is any good can get a 1911 to drive tacks...
     
  4. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2006
    Messages:
    22,091
    Location:
    Northeast PA, USA
    IMO revolvers are as accurate or more accurate than semi-autos. Many shooters feel semi-autos are more accurate because the trigger is easier to "master" compared to revolvers. If you put in enough time revolvers are great. You just need to practice with the heavier trigger associated with a revolver. Shooting SA will help if you want to do tests.

    I agree with the above reference to Freedom Arms revolvers. They line bore their cylinders so they are extremely accurate. (and costly too lol)
     
  5. kozak6

    kozak6 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Messages:
    949
    Location:
    Arizona
    Semi-Autos have different potential issues, though.

    With the exception of direct blowback pistols and a couple others, most automatic pistols have a barrel that rides inside a slide that rides on a frame.

    Any misalignment and play between these parts can also contribute to inaccuracy.

    The revolver also has the advantage of having the sights mounted on a fixed barrel and frame.

    I think that semi autos and revolvers vary so much that unless you are talking about individual models, you can't really make a blanket statement relating their potential accuracies.
     
  6. RugerMcMarlin

    RugerMcMarlin Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2011
    Messages:
    979
    On a 1911, before the slide moves, Elvis has left the building, the bullet is on it's way.
    So it is my opinion the sights on a 1911, are about as solid, in battery, as sights on a revolver.
     
  7. Sport45

    Sport45 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2004
    Messages:
    2,783
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    This is probably true for a match-built 1911. But if there's any play in the barrel to bushing or bushing to slide fit I'd give a revolver the edge for repeatability.
     
  8. Pete D.

    Pete D. Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2010
    Messages:
    2,118
    Inherently

    Inherently? I am unsure. My gut reaction is to say semi-auto but I really don't know.
    What I do know is that in Bullseye match competition, where a premium is placed on precision/accuracy, the semi-auto rules the roost. It is rare that one sees a revolver on the line. It is also true that much higher scores have been and continue to be shot with semi-autos than with revolvers. Even in Distinguished competitions, shooters who really know their stuff, revolvers scores are lower than those for semis.
    Now....is that difference because of inherent accuracy or because a semi-auto is easier to shoot accurately, especially in sustained fire stages?
    Pete
     
  9. RugerMcMarlin

    RugerMcMarlin Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2011
    Messages:
    979
    I dont know. On some of the other threads, we have gone pages on where have all the Pythons/Model 27s gone. Why can't we get them to build a quality revolver, etc. Is the non use of revolvers because of an assumed inaccuracy, or because of lack of revolvers of equal quality to the target grade semi autos? chicken or egg?
     
  10. psyshack

    psyshack Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Messages:
    563
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    My CZ-52 is deadly accurate at 100 yards. Clays don't stand a chance off hand on the 100 yard berm. It's barrel is black and it's like a laser with surplus, retail or reloads. As are several others that friends own.

    My 4" 686+ is almost as good as the CZ-52 in SA with very tightly reloaded .357 ammo. I look forward to purchasing a 6" 686+ and reaching out there as good as the 52 does.

    My Sigma 9VE is also very accurate. It has the over all best bore I've ever seen on a production pistol. It shoots out just below the 686+. It is fun to pull it out at the range if the Sigma bashers are around and shut them up.

    My M&P .45 FS is a tack driver out to the 50 yard mark at POA. After 50 yards one has to start holding her high. Nature of the beast.

    At 25 yards everything I own will kill a man at near rapid fire levels. The 686+ at 25 yards is a tad tighter than the Sigma in this picture but not much.

    [​IMG]

    If I bump fire the 52 I can hold the mag +1 on the plate.

    First range trip with the M&P. I have gotten better with it and have removed the left to lower left pattern.

    [​IMG]

    Remove the CZ-52 from the equation and I can't hardly tell the difference in my little collection.
     
  11. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    22,311
    Back when I was a kid reading about guns bigger and better than my Crossman and Marlin, it was commonly said that the typical revolver was more accurate than a typical auto.
    I think that still applies at the service weapon level, like a S&W 686 vs a Colt 1991A1 or Beretta M92.

    When gunsmiths started accurizing autos, the target shooters changed over not because the guns were more accurate but because they were accurate enough and were self cocking so you did not have to disturb your firing grip every shot.

    Nowadays it is pretty much a wash in accuracy, a GOOD handgun will shoot nearly to the capability of the ammo. What differs is the price. A good gunsmith like Frank Glenn will accurize your 1911 or your S&W and they will both shoot about the same. But he charges $1800 for a Bullseye 1911 and $750 for a PPC K frame (on your basic gun.)
     
  12. MtnSpur

    MtnSpur Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Messages:
    405
    Location:
    West Texas
    It's the hand that rocks the cradle, not the cradle itself....
     
  13. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2006
    Messages:
    14,740
    Location:
    West Tennessee
    I'm a little surprised the posts are so split. It's obvious that some are going by a seat of the pants "feel" and have never benchrested a handgun at all. Revolvers will always tend to shoot more accurately than service autos. As I said in theother thread, a good revolver will shoot preferred loads into 1" - 1.5" at 25yds. You'll never find a service auto in the same price range that will shoot that well. 3" to 4" is the norm for service autos. It takes a real good one, usually an accurized 1911 to break 2".
     
  14. LTR shooter

    LTR shooter Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2008
    Messages:
    454
    I think you answered your own question. Firing one handed in timed fire - 5 shots in 20 seconds - or rapid 5 shots in tens seconds , an accurized 1911 has an absolute definite advantage over thumbcocking a revolver for each shot.

    I spent a good sum of money to have my Springfield Armory 1911 accurized by Clark Custom Guns. It was wonderfully accurate afterwards but no more so than my out of the box Smith 686 or 629.

    A SIG P220 was the most accurate out of the box centerfire semi-auto I ever owned and did not need any tuning for excellent accuracy.
     
  15. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2005
    Messages:
    14,370
    Location:
    Elbert County, CO
    Neither design is inherently more accurate; It's all about quality. Revolvers can deform the bullets as they enter the forcing cone, and autoloaders can have slop in the barrel-slide lock-up, meaning that the sights will not align the same for every shot.

    But a good quality revolver that is tight will not damage the bullet, and a tight autoloader will have cosistent barrel/sight alignment.

    Desert Eagle. Optical sights are fixed to the barrel. Incredibly accurate handguns; With my 6" .50, I had no trouble pulling off consistent 2.5"-3" 100 yard 5 shot groups from sandbags using a 1.5-4x Burris. I'm sure the gun's mechanical accuracy is even better than what I could shoot it.
     
  16. Smith357

    Smith357 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    Messages:
    1,024
    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    I have yet to find a $400 center fire semi automatic that can shoot as accurately as my sub $400 .38 caliber revolvers. I have seen and shot many $1000+ custom autoloaders that can shoot with my bone stock $400 guns. I'm not saying they are not out there I just have not shot any yet. Rimfires are an other story, and then there are no semi's or wheelguns comes close to a Contender or Remington XP

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Pete D.

    Pete D. Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2010
    Messages:
    2,118
    PSY: Please don't take this inquiry the wrong way. I don't doubt that you are a good shot. I am trying to understand what other people mean when they speak and write about accuracy. I frequently read about shooters who mention that they have great success with clays at 100 yards. It makes me wonder.
    You wrote:
    That would be mighty fine shooting indeed. A clay bird is, what?....four inches wide. To hit a four inch target shooting off hand at 100 yards is, as I said, mighty fine shooting.
    Here's the part that makes me write this post; Every one of your targets shot at 25 and 50 yards is larger in MOA than that clay is at 100 yards. Four inches at 100 translates to one inch at 25 yards (all of your 25 yard targets are at least twice that size) and to two inches at 50 yards (all of your 50 yard targets are in the four and five inch range). They are consistent with each other.
    Those targets are all good shooting and worth showing but at 100 yards you'd be getting groups that are eight or more inches wide, an area four times larger than a clay. So what does "don't stand a chance" mean? I understand that you'd hit the clay some of the time. For me, "don't stand a chance" would mean that I can hit the clay at every shot.
    I apologize for this bit of hijhack and for the inquiry but this kind of stuff has always made me want to ask. Now I have.
    Pete
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2011
  18. psyshack

    psyshack Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Messages:
    563
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Pete D.

    The targets posted are rapid fire for the most part. 100 yard clay hits are slow fire off hand.

    Rapid fire at the berm at 100 yards is a dust cloud. :)
     
  19. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Messages:
    59,082
    Location:
    Eastern KS
    It is rare you see a combat grade semi-auto either.

    The guns that win Bullseye matches are for the most part, hand fitted match grade pistols.

    A box stock S&W revolver will out shoot a box stock combat grade auto just about every time.

    rc
     
  20. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Messages:
    6,346
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    There are SOOOO many variables.

    Yes the sights are firmly attached to the barrel of a revolver.

    Yes the trigger pull (dbl action) can be longer

    So much depends on the gun itself and the trigger.

    In a ransom rest the revolver has an edge (a good revolver)

    In the real world...
     
  21. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Messages:
    59,082
    Location:
    Eastern KS
    AH!
    But it is also shorter and lighter and breaking a glass-rod crisp in SA.

    For out of the box absolutely great triggers, a modern combat grade auto pistol doesn't even come close to the old S&W & Colt revolver SA triggers for target or long range accuracy.

    1911 match grade guns can be made as good, but they ain't no Glock either.

    rc
     
  22. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,234
    Location:
    MINNESOTA
    It's not about that, it's about the slide, barrel and frame not retuning to the exact same position before the next shot.
    Of course a well tuned 1911 can be near perfect in that department.

    I shot my Freedom Arms model 97 (small frame) .357 today with a Reflex sight from a rest and was getting 2" groups at 50 yards with LSWC-HP handloads. Jacketed XTP's will do even better. Never had an auto that could do that well.
     
  23. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Messages:
    18,692
    Location:
    northern california
    This is an interesting discussion. I didn't realize that the subject was still under discussion as I thought we answered it back in the 80s. My understanding has always been that handgun accuracy started with the single shot, went through revolvers and ended with the semi-auto.

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=597486

    It has been my experience that service grade revolvers have always been much more inherently accurate than a service grade semi-auto. They can be made just as accurate, it just cost a lot more to take a semi-auto to that level.

    PPC shooters used to say that shooting an auto was like taking a revolver's cylinder out of the frame, throwing it in dirt and putting it back together between shots.

    A couple of factors in the semi-auto replacing the revolver in major competitions was more flexibility in shaping the grip to fix the users hand and the ability to maintain the shooting grip between shots in anything other than slow fire.
     
  24. RugerMcMarlin

    RugerMcMarlin Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2011
    Messages:
    979
    PeteD, My 14 year old daughter shoots 4" blue rock off the hundred yard berm, with her Ruger single six, and H&R Sportsman. She shoots the 6" gong with her Uncles BEARCAT. @100yds. 22s! I've watched guys pack up their stuff and go home after a little of that.

    If Psy says he can do it I believe him. that CZ-52s a rifle anyway. check the balistics on that little number.

    While I'm at it I had a Canadian Inglis , that shot under 2" at 25yds , allday. To who ever was blowing about the official accuracy of autos.


    There is a picture of a "Perfect 10" on post # 16!
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011
  25. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Messages:
    7,578
    Location:
    Alabama
    I agree. You have to spend almost double to get a centerfire semi auto to shoot as well as a revolver in the same caliber.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page