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Autos vs Revolvers. A different take.

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by sgt127, Apr 5, 2022.

  1. Pat Riot

    Pat Riot Member

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    I disagree. In my experience quality revolvers are far less troublesome than semiautos.
     
  2. WrongHanded

    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    This is the major problem I have with my Ruger Redhawk. It's not an issue with SA revolvers though. But I know your pain.
     
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  3. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    I do have revolvers and semiautos in the same calibers. I shoot them together often.

    32's - I can shoot 32acp out of some of my 32 magnum revolvers. Neither the revolvers nor the autos have much recoil to speak of.

    9mm - I can shoot 9mm out of my SP101 or my Blackhawk. The small autos can be somewhat snappy. The SP101 is a little sharper than a 38 special, but NBD. The Blackhawk and full-sized 9mm service pistols are pleasant to shoot.

    45acp - I can shoot 45acp out of my Charter Arms Pitbull, my Blackhawk, or my Model 625 N-frame. The Blackhawk and the N-frame are fun to shoot. Full-sized 45acp service pistols are fun to shoot. The Pitbull is a bit snappy, but not too bad. My small 45 auto seems to have a bit more felt recoil for me.

    (Hint: In case you haven't tried it, 45acp is an extremely fun caliber for revolvers as well as automatics. In a revolver t feels like 44 special or 45 colt, but is much cheaper and easier to find. My N-frame and a 1911 and a bunch of 45acp go to the range with me more often than not.)

    Overall I would say that in my limited experience a revolver that fits my hand well seems to have about the same felt recoil, or maybe even a little less, compared to a semiautomatic pistol that is roughly the same size and weight and is firing identical ammunition.

    It's all subjective. I'm a revolver guy, my hands are a certain shape and size, I grip my handguns a certain way, I purchase handguns with certain grip shapes, etc. Autos are doubtless easier for some people, just not for me.
     
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  4. trackskippy

    trackskippy Member

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    I dont know that one is more or less troublesome than the other, but I do know that when the revolvers have troubles, its usually a DRT situation when it occurs, while the autos, barring some catastrophic failure, are usually quickly back in action with a quick TRB.

    There are also more things that can cause problems with the revolvers, and they are often silly stupid, but if you aren't aware of them, and know to preventatively address them, and/or dont stay on top of things, they can still be major issues. Like an ejector rod backing out, crap under the extractor, side plate screw that holds the cylinder on falls out, bullets jumping crimps, etc. Things that are easily addressed, but still seem to happen a lot even so, and usually with some confusion when they do happen.

    The autos just seem to have less problems to be prone to, and are less bothered by them when they do occur. And that goes as far as parts breakages. Ive had revolvers break parts internally, and the gun was locked up tight and done until disassembled just to get it open. Ive had autos break parts, and still function with the parts broken (rails, trigger return springs, etc).
     
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  5. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

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    Ergonomics are important and in some cases I believe that the auto does have this advantage. A 1911A1 Grip frame for me is as good as it gets, flat mainspring not so much. But I feel your pain figuratively and literally. I do think there is some damage and sensitivity that takes place over the years for regular shooters. The thumb is used more with a revolver than a semi. I have more of a fist grip as compared to the 1911 where you thumb is placed to keep it out of play.

    The grip on that 1917 was never made with any sort of comfort in mind. The older target stocks that Bullseye shooters used with revolvers generally had a prominent thumb rest. But, I have Hoque wood stocks on my 629 3” and can shoot several hundred .44 Specials in a session without Ill effect. That was not the case with factory stocks which drew blood in that same spot you highlighted.

    Ultimately though any athlete knows that if it hurts it’s a good time to stop. Not worth permanent damage. Edit: sometimes I wonder because my right hand absolutely hates any shooting in the cold anymore. It could be worse, I could have stayed playing soccer and have two knee replacements. Getting old bites!
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2022
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  6. mcb

    mcb Member

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    With respect to the OP focus the revolver in theory should have the advantage here. Yes it gives up the semi-auto action that spreads out the recoil impulse but since the grips on a revolver are easily changed the OP should be able to find a grip that alleviates his hand pain. There are a huge array of grips for revolvers on the market, you can even go to the point of buying grip blanks and shaping your own grips. I am a fan of rubber grips for both the cushioning and non-slips aspects of the material but good wood grips that fit your hand well will mitigate recoil almost as much as rubber. There are lots of other materials you can use for both style and texture. If I revolver hurts you hands in most case that can be eliminated or at least reduced by changing grips.

    As for reliability, with modern handguns of reputable brands the reliability is so high its is no longer a primary consideration for me when picking out a handgun. I have several handguns (both semi-autos and revolvers) that have in excess of 20,000 rds though them when I was shooting lots of USPSA and IDPA competition and I don't have to take my second mitten off to count the number of times any of them have become non-functional do to parts breaking/wearing. Buy good handguns and maintain them properly and most of them will be more than reliable enough.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2022
  7. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    Like you I have medium sized hands. My Model 19 has always been rather unpleasant to shoot even with 38 special loads. It bites the web between my thumb and trigger finger with the 38 loads and is really painful with 357. This one thing has kept me from enjoying a really nice revolver. I went through three sets of wood grips that I customized and then tried Hogue's rubber grips and none really helped. Last year I started looking closely at grips in an effort to make this gun comfortable. I finally decided that Pachmayr Presentation rubber grips were thicker around the top part of the grip than any of my previous grips and tried a pair. Although I haven't shot it as a 357 yet it is now comfortable with 38 special.

    I have owned a Dan Wesson 15-2 VH 8 a little longer than the Smith and it has never hurt my hand a bit even with full house 357 loads. Of course it's a heavier gun which helps but it's grip is thick enough at the top to stop the web bite.

    As to semi-auto pistols nothing beats the 1911 with a straight main spring housing for me.
     
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  8. CraigC

    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    If the issue is recoil, there are several factors at play here. First, you have to compare similar cartridges. You can't say, a 9mm auto is more comfortable to shoot than a .44Mag revolver, therefore autos are more comfortable to shoot. They have to have similar bullet weights and velocities or it's playground discussion. The .357SIG is an extremely rare example of a service auto cartridge that yields comparable performance to a magnum revolver cartridge. Here I'm sure you'll find the reciprocating slide eats up some of that recoil. Grips that don't fit on a little K-frame don't offer much help in that regard. For me, using cartridges comparable to those found in service autos, I can shoot either all day long. Revolver or auto, I don't think I ever quit shooting a .22, .38Spl, 9mm, .44Spl, standard pressure .45Colt or .45ACP because I was tired or in pain. I quit because I ran out of ammo or it got dark. If I'm sore, it's from loading magazines. Not something that happens with revolvers, even if I'm putting a 500rd bulk pack through a Single Six in an afternoon.

    Move up to the .41Mag, .44Mag and above and there either aren't any valid comparisons or those autos available in comparable cartridges are so heavy that a valid comparison isn't possible. I will say this, a 4lb Desert Eagle is no easier to shoot than a Super Redhawk. Not that I notice anyway.

    One of which is the fact that revolvers offer far more options for fine tuning the way the grips fit the gun and your hand. All of my revolvers wear grips that fit, me and the gun. With most autos, to find what fits, you're shopping for different guns, not different grips.

    As far as reliability, I don't really see much of a difference. Some 'guns' are more temperamental than others. I think most arguments against revolvers seem to come from those who prefer autos.


    I don't think a K-frame with poorly fitting grips makes for a proper comparison. Rubber cushioning is a poor crutch. What is needed is recoil distribution, not cushy materials. I can put ten times as many rounds downrange without pain with properly fitting wood grips than anything rubber.

    I will say this, given a choice, I'd rather put 500rds of .44Spl through an N-frame with custom grips or a good single action than a 1911 or any other .45ACP.

    IMG_3199b.jpg
     
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  9. Pat Riot

    Pat Riot Member

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    What’s DRT and TRB?
     
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  10. trackskippy

    trackskippy Member

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    DRT - Dead Right There

    TRB - Tap, Rack, Bang
     
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  11. halfmoonclip

    halfmoonclip Member

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    We are thoro'ly spoiled, with an indoor range and unlimited access.
    No one feels the need to shoot a couple hundred rounds on a range run.
    Moon
     
  12. Targa

    Targa Member

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    Auto’s certainly eat up a lot of the recoil and that is why I carry a subcompact semi auto vs a snub nose revolver. I can enjoyably and accurately shoot a 365, Hellcat, CM9 etc…vs. a 642 for example which I found uncomfortable, tiring and for me I could hit everything but what I was actually aiming for at around 10 yards.
    Now, for range fun give me anything K frame or larger and that is a love affair that semi-autos need not apply…:D
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2022
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  13. JoeHenry

    JoeHenry Member

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    I shot NRA action pistol for over ten years and used a 6” barrel Smith & Wesson 686. The piece had barricade wings and a red dot. Shooting 38+p the 686 was a real pussycat. With practice every week and matches once a month, that old Smith took one hell of a beating, but never failed to go bang.
    I have more semi autos than revolvers. A Browning HP in 9MM is (to me) a pretty soft shooter. And a 1911 in 45ACP does have recoil but it is a slower push and doesn’t seem punishing or snappy.
    I think, the more you shoot, the less your conscious of deference in felt recoil.
     
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  14. AzShooter1

    AzShooter1 Member

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    I prefer revolvers with rubber grips. The Pachmyers are the best to reduce pain in my hands but I also like the Hogue rubber grips.

    For years I shot competitions with my 627s with major caliber loads and no troubles. Later I switched to shooting .38s and 38 short colts in it and had no recoil to think of.

    My 625 was uncomfortable with wood grips and factory .45 ammo. JM grips just don't fit my hands and hurt. My competition load for Steel Challenge Matches was 3.4 grains of Bullseye with a 230 RNL bullet. It was so light I could watch the bullets on their way to the target.
     
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  15. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Pretty much, I put rubber grips on my revolvers chambered in cartridges larger than 357 Magnum. These larger pistol the recoil beats my shooting hand up.

    7Rexwvh.jpg

    uTG9yWv.jpg

    It took time to find a grip that worked for me with my S&W 44 Magnum.

    4oiCm5W.jpg

    P7Jna9T.jpg

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    I have fat stubby fingers, and for some reason, the large magnums have larger grips. I believe grip size is sized for appearance, not for human ergonometrics.

    case in point, snubbies. This grip is an aftermarket Hogue, and the pistol looks asymmetric with these Hogue grips.

    nQ5kk1P.jpg


    these are factory grips, better than the old style, but small. And look proportional to the pistol

    vqWLtfE.jpg

    old style S&W grips, skinny, hard, uncomfortable.

    pxy3AKZ.jpg

    The rubber Hogue grips I installed are more comfortable than the factory, the factory are slightly more concealable. But I don't think that is the reason they are so small, I think it due to innate human esthetics for symmetry and proportionality.

    And, unsophisticated buyers will purchase the chrome/nickle shiny pistol over the dark pistol. People like shiny things.
     
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  16. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    Same on grips. I love the look of beautiful wooden revolver grips. Sometimes they fit my hands just right,

    But I usually end up with ugly black Pachmayar or Hogue type grips. It's not so much recoil reduction, they just happen to fit my hands very well.

    Okay, on the 44 magnums it's recoil reduction, too. :)

    All of these are aftermarket grips. All of them help me shoot the revolver better. The SP101 and LCR in particular were very difficult for me to shoot with the factory grips.





     
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  17. fjblair

    fjblair Member

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    I don't particularly like shooting any magnum revolver more than a few times.
     
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  18. Paul7

    Paul7 Member

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    Agreed, my last two new Colt 1911s both had to go back to the factory twice, one still isn't right.

    I was surprised when shooting my son's Glock 10mm short barrel, it kicked much less than I thought it would. Darn near cut down a 5" tree with a mag full. I'm sure a comparable round in a revolver would hurt much more.
     
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  19. mcb

    mcb Member

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    I shoot a heap of hot 10mm Auto in a revolver and find it quiet pleasant. 180 gr @1300 fps and 200gr @ 1250 fps Campared to 44 mag in an identical size revolver 10mm Auto is pretty tame.

    Recoil is also something you build up a tolerance too. I remember when I first got into USPSA competition and my hands would be shaking and fatigued before I finished 150rds of 40S&W. After a few months of competing every weekend and shooting a practice session most mid weeks I got to where I could shoot 500+ rds without major fatigue it pain issues.
     
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  20. Meeks36

    Meeks36 Member

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    I lean towards revolvers. Semis are great. So are wheel guns. Both have different recoil. Admittedly I haven’t shot a revolver in a auto caliber. Besides 22. So kinda hard for to to say. Looking for a decent 9mm revolver tho. Maybe even a 10mm priced decently. Like a tank of gas for my truck. Not my whole truck.
     
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  21. d'zaster

    d'zaster Member

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    It's a great question the OP is asking. I'm more of a semiauto guy but I'm slightly steadier aiming the revolvers, especially the heavier full lug 686, 629 etc models. Need to do some fresh side by side comparisons!
     
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  22. SteadyD

    SteadyD Member

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    I’ve done various mods to rubber grips to find the sweet spot that doesn’t get my thumb joint. The grips on an N Frame look so bad I’m too ashamed to photograph, but they are comfortable.
     
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  23. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    Yup, I am pretty much done w9ith 44 Mag. Getting harder to shoot any centerfire for me.
     
  24. The Glockodile

    The Glockodile Member

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    Hm.

    Volumewise, do you guys shoot as much through your revolvers as you do your semiautos?

    It’s like, I have several Glocks with around 5,000 rounds each, and one pet .44 Magnum revolver that has around 3,000 or so factory rounds through it...
     
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  25. Merle1

    Merle1 Member

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    Have you ever tried a padded shooting glove? I found them to be very useful when shooting heavy loads while competing in IHMSA matches.
     
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