Any room for improvement in revolvers?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Flechette, Jan 17, 2014.

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

    Flechette Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Messages:
    479
    Contemporary revolvers seem to have stopped evolving and are now nearly all double-action and side loading. Are there any design improvements that can be made?

    For example, the old Dardick revolver tried to implement a magazine of sorts, making the revolver a high-capacity gun.

    I'd like to see a modern break open design (and I *do* think a break open can be made durable since shotguns are made that way). Perhaps a break open with an auto-eject so you do not need to use your hand to press an ejector rod. This would mean that you could keep your shooting hand on the grip during reloading.

    One could even have cylinders (if made cheap enough) that eject and a new, loaded cylinder inserted onto the gun making it effectively a 6 round magazine.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. RealGun

    RealGun Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2004
    Messages:
    8,509
    Location:
    Upstate SC
    All I can think of are quality issues and the need for a return of the 5 shot, medium frame, .44 Special in a 3" carry gun.

    I don't see why every gun should need a trip to the gunsmith to have proper cylinder and throat dimensions and an optimal trigger. Why should every NIB be a work in progress?

    I also think any revolver of the larger calibers should have the grip close out the area behind the trigger guard, where fingers and knuckles get beat up. There again I have to buy a grip just to get the basic, shootable gun.
     
  3. Mooseman

    Mooseman Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    Messages:
    904
    Location:
    Just outside of Philadelphia
    Certainly room for innovation/improvement although I'm not sure if there's a big drive for it. Semi-autos are definitely more popular these days. I'm not saying they're better, just more popular. There is innovation out there the Chiappa comes to mind with firing from the bottom of the cylinder as well as the polymer framed revolvers.
     
  4. 2zulu1

    2zulu1 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,128
    Location:
    Arizona
    I don't believe Chiappa's design is a step in the right direction.

    There's certainly been excellent upgrades in recent years, like the M327 TRR8 that was specifically designed for LE and is being used by lead penetrators on door entry teams.

    ScandiumSmiths010.jpg

    ScandiumSmiths009.jpg

    This scandium N-frame weighs in at 35ozs, top shroud is drilled/tapped for red dot mounting and the bottom of the shroud is drill/tapped for for laser light mounting. Reloading is accomplished by 8 round moonclips.

    There are interesting articles to read by searching the M327 TRR8. :)
     
  5. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Messages:
    14,526
    Location:
    Georgia
    I think Ruger may have created an opening with their plastic framed guns. Not a huge fan of THAT gun. But it could lead to more innovation down the road.
     
  6. beag_nut

    beag_nut Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2011
    Messages:
    1,190
    Location:
    Seymour, CT
    A top-break in .357 mag would DEFINITELY be welcomed here.
     
  7. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Messages:
    20,229
    Location:
    Deep in the Ozarks
    Shotguns operate at very low breech pressures -- something around a third of a .357s breech pressure.
     
  8. MrBorland

    MrBorland Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Messages:
    5,015
    Location:
    NC
    The basic hand ejector DA/Sa revolver design may be old, but it's a tough one to improve upon. You're seeing better metallurgy, lighter guns, and/or more capacity, but the overall design of the gun generally remains the same because it's basically a good design.

    Where we are seeing evolution are revolver techniques and accessories. Better sights, better tuning, speedloaders, full moon clips, kydex holsters & holders, optic, better ammo, etc, make it possible for people and their revolvers to do some things that Keith, Jordan, Bryce & McGivern never imagined.
     
  9. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Messages:
    5,040
    Location:
    Land of the Pilgrims
    Howdy

    You are not going to see a Top Break revolver produced in any high pressure cartridges like the 357 Mag. Probably the most powerful Top Break ever was the Webley, firing the various 455 Webley cartridges. A large, low velocity bullet, weighing around 265 grains and moving 600 to 700 fps. It was an effective manstopper, but it only developed about 13,000 psi, which puts it on a par with 45 Colt at about 14,000 psi, if memory serves.

    The Webley was a big, massive gun. The latching system of the Webley was massive, compared for instance to the Schofield latching system. A friend cannibalized some Webley parts and installed them on a ASM Schofield, the ones that were notorious for coming unlatched.

    But we are talking 35,000 psi for 357 Mag. You just are not going to see a Top Break chambered for that. You will notice that all of the current Top Breaks manufactured in Italy are chambered for relatively low pressure cartridges like 45 Colt, 44-40, and 44 Russian, and 38 Special. That is about all a Top Break is capable of, even with modern steels. There is a reason that all the revolver companies stopped making Top Breaks and started making solid frame revolvers at the turn of the Century. A solid frame revolver is simply stronger.

    Regarding shotguns, yes, O/U shotguns pivot open, but the design is nothing like a Top Break revolver. Plus a shotgun is a much more massive mechanism, and shot gun pressures are relatively low, in the vicinity of 10,000 - 12,000 psi.



    ++1! The reason side opening revolvers still rule the roost is because they are so good. Developed over 100 years ago and still going strong.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
  10. Mango88

    Mango88 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2011
    Messages:
    152
    Location:
    League City, TX
    I would like to see something along the line of the old Dan Wesson Pistol Pak marketed. It should have multiple barrel lengths and contours available, an interchangeable grip system that allows a choice of round butt grips and square butt grips, and a wide selection of sights that interchange easily. This would allow you to configure your revolver from a snub nose to a Bunt Line Special or anything in between in just a few moments. It would be a bit expensive to buy all the options up front but cheaper than buying several revolvers for different purposes.
     
  11. jeffmack

    jeffmack Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    142
    Instead of a cylinder, think of a circular magazine, sort of like the old Tommy guns or Johnson rifles, but removable. After the magazine is empty, take it out and pop in a new one. The "revolving" happens inside a circular can.

    You might even be able to have a wind up spring in the magazine; as you load you tighten the spring. Then, allow the rotating of the cartridge spring to interact on the hammer spring, so that the trigger doesn't have to pull the double action hammer back. Rather, the trigger feels more like a Glock trigger.

    The Dan Wesson interchangeable barrels need a revival, too.
     
  12. oss117

    oss117 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
    Messages:
    155
    There's a lot of room for innovation in revolvers. The cylinder and cartridge cases could be combined into a single unit that is ejected out the side of the revolver and replaced. Ignition of the primer/powder could be done electrically vs. with a hammer and firing pin. The cylinder could be rotated with gears instead of a hand/pawl. Such a design should make it possible to lower the bore axis to the point that it's in line with your arm instead of above it. Smaller high velocity rounds similar to the FN 5.7 could be mimicked in the cylinder/cartridge module allowing for higher capacity and less recoil.

    Maybe the semi-auto design with a slide that moves back and forth over the top of the shooters hand isn't the ultimate way of the future in hand held projectile weapons.
     
  13. Flechette

    Flechette Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Messages:
    479
    Technically, *breech pressure* has nothing to do with the latch integrity. It is the *stress* through the latch mechanism that limits the design.

    A 12 gauge shotgun may have less breech pressure than a .357 but it has a lot more *stress* to be distributed through the latch mechanism. Shotgun designers have come up with beefier designs and they work.


    This is a problem that can be solved by good design.
     
  14. Flechette

    Flechette Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Messages:
    479
    OSS117:

    "Ignition of the primer/powder could be done electrically vs. with a hammer and firing pin. The cylinder could be rotated with gears instead of a hand/pawl."

    That would be interesting. We now have small, compact cordless drills that could provide technology for a gear driven, electrically activated revolver.

    Cordless drills are reliable and fairly complex. I wonder if someone could create a design that has more rounds stored elsewhere in the gun and feeds it into the cylinder/chamber, a la Gatling Gun.
     
  15. TennJed

    TennJed Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2010
    Messages:
    3,454
    I agree
     
  16. hovercat

    hovercat Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2012
    Messages:
    300
    Location:
    Texas
    Factory speedloaders. Thinking along the lines of those cap pistols that had a circle of yellow caps held together with a ring. No good for recessed chambers.
    A solid ring of brass with the case heads manufactured into it in 1 piece. Only feasible with high dollar SD rounds, but what a fast reload that would be.

    Or perhaps belt fed. Probably just as likely to happen.
     
  17. oss117

    oss117 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
    Messages:
    155
    Maybe some of these ideas are what Colt should be thinking about should they decide to get back into the revolver game. Sam Colt pretty much invented them in the first place (or at least made them commercially successful.) It would be fitting if they were to come out with a revolutionary redesign instead of re-creating the basic Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector.

    I'm warming up to the idea of a cylinder that's kicked out the side of the revolver when the shooter presses a release mechanism. Slap a full cylinder into place and keep on shooting. No need to mess with a speed loader or releasing a slide.
     
  18. LafayetteLA

    LafayetteLA Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2009
    Messages:
    48
    You just described moonclips and yes, they are fast
     
  19. Piraticalbob

    Piraticalbob Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Messages:
    480
    Location:
    Matthews, NC
    Frankly I'd be quite happy with a top-break in stainless steel, sized the same as a J-frame S&W and chambered in those cartridges traditional to the style: .32 S&W Long and .38 S&W. The .32, especially, could be marketed as a low-recoil handgun for those who can't handle hard-kicking small revolvers.
     
  20. bainter1212

    bainter1212 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2012
    Messages:
    1,175
    I would also like to see a newly designed top-break, preferrably one that is very quick to unlatch and kicks out the spent casings automatically and forcefully upon opening.
    I never have mastered quick reloading of a swing out cylinder.
     
  21. hAkron

    hAkron Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Messages:
    2,033
    Location:
    Akron, Ohio
    A few things that could be done to improve revolvers (in no particular order)

    Two piece, user replaceable barrel. Tensioned at the frame and muzzle end for improved accuracy, and versatility (user can swap barrel length in minutes).

    Put the cylinder release latch forward of the cylinder for better crane/yoke lockup.

    An adjustable ball detent at the rear of the cylinder to deal with any end shake.

    Manufacture internals in such a way that they need no fitting and parts can be easily swapped between guns, or replaced.

    A post shaped small grip frame to allow a verity of grip sizes and lengths.

    Use hex head cap screws on everything so you only need one (two or three at MOST) Allen wrenches to take the whole gun apart.

    Or you could just buy a Dan Wesson :)
     
  22. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Messages:
    5,040
    Location:
    Land of the Pilgrims
    OK, I'm curious.

    Why the fascination with Top Breaks?

    I must add that I have quite a few of them, all antique Smith & Wessons, plus one old Iver Johnson.



    New Model Number Three, 44 Russian caliber

    myNewModelNumberThree04_zps40e8194f.jpg



    2nd Model Russian, 44 Russian caliber

    Russian02.jpg



    Double Action 44s, Target Model and Standard, 44 Russian caliber

    Two44DAs02_zpsa8d18ab5.jpg



    1st Model Schofield, 45 Schofield caliber

    schofieldandholster02_zps77dd6ba9.jpg



    38 Safety Hammerless, 3rd Model, 38 S&W caliber

    38SafetyHammerless3rdModel.jpg



    38 Double Action, 3rd Model, 38 S&W caliber

    38DA3rdModel02.jpg



    32 Safety Hammerless, 2nd Model 32 S&W caliber

    32safetyhammerless2ndmodel.jpg



    Iver Johnson Safety Hammerless, 38 S&W caliber

    IverJohnsonHammerless02.jpg


    So much for showing off. But I do have a little bit of experience owning and shooting Top Breaks. I collect them because they are very cool and I love old guns. But allow me to clear up a couple of fallacies about the old Top Breaks.


    Automatic ejection

    Yes, it is a feature of all of these guns. When you break them open, the ejector star on all of them rises up automatically and then pops back down again. That is part of the design. However the shells do not automatically eject. To get them to pop out you have to snap the barrel open rapidly and tilt the gun a bit to the side to impart some direction for the empties to go. If you don't do either of these things the ejector pops down again and the empties fall back down into the chambers. Or, what often happens is an empty manages to fall back down into a chamber and then the ejector pops down on top of it, jamming the rim under the ejector. This then involves much gnashing of teeth to coax the ejector back up while pulling up on the jammed empty. Usually the empty will not fall out easily because the stroke of the ejector is just short enough that an empty under the ejector will not clear. It needs to be coaxed out from under the ejector, which often results in cursing and broken fingernails.


    Easy to open

    First off, forget everything you read about how easy it is to open a Schofield. You know, operating the latch with your right hand and brushing the barrel open against your thigh while riding at full gallop. Then somehow reloading, using both hands, while still at full gallop. Forget all that, it is baloney. ALL Top Breaks require two hands to open them, including the Schofield. The only difference is with the Schofield you pull the latch back with your right thumb, while with all the others you grasp the latch with your left hand and pull it up, at the same time rotating the barrel down with the heel of your hand.


    Strength

    I have already addressed that point, no Top Break of any kind is going to be as strong as a solid frame revolver. Period.

    Believe me folks, a Hand Ejector (modern swing out cylinder) is much easier to operate than a Top Break, particularly a S&W, because they are so well designed from an ergonomic standpoint. You simply push the side latch forward with your right thumb while supporting the gun with your left hand. You pop the cylinder out with the fingers of your left hand and pop the ejector rod down with your thumb while pointing the muzzle skyward. The empties all fall out. Easy Peasy, takes about two seconds. Then you reload however you like to reload, either separate cartridges or using a speed loader.

    Don't get me wrong, I love old Top Breaks, that is why I have so many. But my familiarity with them has demonstrated to me why the side eject Hand Ejectors are such a better design. Don't get me started on how many Hand Ejectors I have.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014
  23. tomrkba

    tomrkba Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Messages:
    2,181
    First, add on basic improvements from the factory, such as:

    1) Good sights with a night sight option.
    2) Chamfer the charge holes on every gun.
    3) Improve the trigger pull on all guns. There is no excuse for a very heavy J-Frame ttigger or terrible SP101 trigger pull.
    4) Make the front and rear sight removeable on all guns. No more terrible channels or solid steel front sights.
    5) Provide grip options, not just cheesy Hogue rubber grips that fit only a few people well.
    6) Provide different sights if the market is lacking.
    7) Cut cylinders for moon clips if moonclips are available for that caliber and include a few with the gun.


    and finally....

    STOP MAKING THE CUSTOMER BE THE BETA TESTER!

    Two piece barrels are interesting, but they need to be made more reliable. MIM parts need to have a longer service life. Stop integrating storage devices into the gun. A rubber covered Master Lock through the cylinder window works great.

    On rear sight channels:

    If the company insists upon including them, then improve them! A stainless rear sight channel in the sun does not work well. Add on a colored metal fixture that can be changed. Have a gold bead, white line and night sight option.

    Better yet, just mill a slot that accepts a 1911 rear sight. The front could use 1911 sights too.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014
  24. MrBorland

    MrBorland Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Messages:
    5,015
    Location:
    NC
    Neither S&W, Ruger, nor DW have a lock on the perfect revolver, though a revolver that incorporates the best of each would be a knock-out revolver, IMO.

    From S&W, I'd take:
    - The forged frame
    - The mainspring design and the basic lockwork.
    - The cylinder release latch
    - The K-/L-frame grip frame
    - I would not incorporate the single yoke screw design that holds the entire cylinder assembly to the gun.
    - I would not use an ejector rod that turns with the cylinder and/or locks up at the front of the rod.

    From the Ruger GP100, I'd take:
    - an ejector rod that doesn't turn or lockup at the front
    - front frame lockup/cylinder release
    - interchangeable front sight
    - cylinder retention system (i.e., no yoke screw)

    From the DW, I'd take:
    - 2-piece barrel design that allows the shooter to easily switch barrels.
    - I would not incorporate the forward cylinder release of the DW - much slower than the S&W or Ruger design.



    I'd also engineer a cylinder gap/endshake adjuster. Finally (and ideally), I'd install a barrel blank, then line bore the cylinder to create the chambers, then mill the cylinder stop slots while the cylinder's in perfect alignment.
     
  25. torqem

    torqem member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Messages:
    565
    revolvers, especially DA revolvers, are a smaller % of the handgun market every year. Barring laws vs autopistols, that trend will continue unabated, now that we have autos that gobble up all the jhp ammo designs available. your perfect alignment revolver would cost $1500,. and not 1 owner in 1000 would ever be able to shoot well enough to tell the difference. So it's not going to happen. Regardless of how nicely the alignment starts out as being, the revolver design makes for high rates of wear on small, sensitive-alignment parts. Even just dryfiiring it wears on the cylinder alignment. It's been an obsolete design for at least 30 years now,and in many ways, for 100 years.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice