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Derringers - how do you shoot one?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Rival, Jan 6, 2003.

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  1. Rival

    Rival Member

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    I saw a couple of modern Derringers online. The construction is over-under with two barrels. There seems to be only one trigger and only one hammer. How do you select the barrel from which to shoot?
     
  2. Cal4D4

    Cal4D4 Member

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    If it's the American Derringer Corp, they autoswitch by internal mechanism which moves a surface on the hammer from rfiring pin to firing pin. I got one, but not a real fan, more of a collection piece than a user.
     
  3. Al Thompson

    Al Thompson Moderator Emeritus

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    SP - :D

    I fired one in .38 Special - once. That was enough for me.
     
  4. Mr Jody Hudson

    Mr Jody Hudson Member

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    I love my .38 two shot semi-auto Intratec plastic derringer. It is small, light, flat, and I can shoot it two or three times in a row, with full power loads... between healings!

    I don't care for the hammer types as a rule but carried one in .410 with two shots for years as a snake gun; it was good out to about 15 feet or so... I HATE poisonous snakes! I know they are no big deal but I have no experience or understanding of them -- so when I was working out in the 'Glades areas of Florida I was REALLY out of my element and in thiers!!! Later I changed over to a .357 revolver with a couple of snake shot first then bullets.

    In my opinion with all the wonderful, small, light, accurate and far higher capacity pocket pistols available now -- there is little need for derringers other than CUTE or for collectors and display in nice glass front boxes screwed to the wall. Perhaps with a sign "In case of emergency break glass". :rolleyes:
     
  5. Rickstir

    Rickstir Member

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    I have a Reck 2 barrell .22 handed down from my father. Accurate out to about 10 feet, after that.....I know not where....
    Keep it bundled up in the gun safe.
     
  6. Hemicuda

    Hemicuda member

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    Usually I shoot mine by sighting through the sights, using the "pumpkin on a post" sight picture, then I squeeze the trigger with my trigger finger until it goes off...

    what are you asking? does anyone fire theirs with their toes?
     
  7. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    I dislocated my thumb with a .44 deringer some years ago.

    Never again, thank you.
     
  8. Trisha

    Trisha Member

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    (sympathetic smile for the big, tough macho guys...)

    Thumb-cocking the hammer for the second shot is easy, really!

    I'm delighted to see you all being so honest, 'cause your reactions of ooooow! are the usual when I work with my Model 1 (.45lc/.410ga).

    We love it - and it's been a popular goodie with many of my girlfriends... On any given range day, we go through 20-30 rounds between two of us.

    Marvelous intimidation factor!

    :scrutiny:

    :what:

    Trisha
     
  9. dairycreek

    dairycreek Member

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    I owned an American Derringer once..........

    for all of three shots. It was a .357/38 over and under and I must say it was really pretty. I fired one round of .357 and two rounds of .38 special and promptly sold it. Most unpleasant gun I ever shot despite its beauty. Good shooting:)
     
  10. Nick96

    Nick96 Member

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    The real appeal (and purpose for the original design) was a very, very small and light handgun that would chamber a round of significant diameter. Black powder .44, .36 and .32 calibers were no problem to shoot comfortably. The maximum in a modern caliber would probably be a .32, maybe a non +P .38. Anything more would be for extream emergency and extream close range. No point in practicing with them. The sights are useless - these are point and shoot weapons for less than 10' use. In my experience though, they are easy to handle, cock and fire (those of the original "Derringer" design). But not as safe to carry as modern arms since the hammer generally rests on one of the two loaded cylinders (like the old Colt SAA revolvers). Simple and reliable design.

    They are "old technology" though - and really best suited as collector, display or curiosity pieces. For really small and light CCW duty - the modern .22, .25 and .32 autoloaders are much better choices.
     
  11. Big_R

    Big_R Member

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    I actually have two derringers, both made by Davis. I bought the .22 as a novelty ($70.00) and it shoots fairly well all things considered. I can hit a 6" pie plate out to about 7 yards with both barrels. The barrels are not even close to being regulated and the top barrel shoots a bit to the right. The bottom barrel is right on.

    About a year ago, I bought the .38. This gun is no fun. No accuracy, painful to shoot, but it looks neat sitting in the case by the .22. I think American Derringer made one in .44 mag. I'm not even that crazy.

    Ryan
     
  12. foghornl

    foghornl Member

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    Clamp in a vise, tie string to trigger, swivel vise around to intended target.........:neener:
     
  13. MrAcheson

    MrAcheson Member

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    If you buy one, buy a Bond. Davis derringers are crap if you actually intend to shoot it. I know people over at the SASS Wire that use them for fishing weights because you really get what you pay for. American derringers are nicer and weigh about the same, but are more expensive than Davis. Bond guns are a little larger and about the same cost as Americans, but have modern safeties like rebounding hammers and stouter construction. Want to shoot a different caliber? Change barrels on it with just an allen wrench. Want a trigger guard? They make a model with that and you can remove it if you want to look cowboy. Have problems? Let them know, this is especially good if your trigger pull is untenable.
     
  14. Trisha

    Trisha Member

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    No real disagreement there - but I'll keep supporting American Derringer because it's woman-owned and operated.

    :D

    No surprise there, huh?

    Trisha
     
  15. Gordon

    Gordon Member

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    I have two; a remington 3rd edition O/U nickle with gutta percha grips in excellent condition and nice and tight. I bought 6 boxes of Navy arms copper .41shorts about 1978 and have 3 left, they are hot! They go 550fps and nice kerpow. I like the original Remingtons but they have to be handled like a baby when opening. Dont think they wont kill you! They go thru a 2X4 ( the thin way) and thats gotta hurt. Second gun is a Maverick Derringer in .357 ; a big beefy but traditional piece made in Italy in early 70s by Uberti , Elmer Keith reccomended them! I use it for a second gun on my SASS comboy rig.I shoot .38 wadcutters and have filed the sights so it prints nicely at 10 yds!I used to have a derringer collection with all the weird ones, knuckle dusters and Palm pistols ect. Butterfield&Butterfield sold them in 89!:D
     
  16. GeorgeH

    GeorgeH Member

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    I own an American Derringer Corp Model 1 in 357 mag. I love mine. I don't shoot many 357 full loads, but rather 38's. More accurate than I expected. I find mine fun to shoot, but I'm a fairly big guy and maybe that has something to do with it.

    Bought it as a fun gun, but I have carried it for defense, as a deep hideaway.
     
  17. vulcan

    vulcan Member

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    I had a Davis in .32 auto & a High Standards .22 mag. The davis sucked bad, It got real loose after 200 rds. I wished I hung on to the High standard though. I liked the DA & its nicely put together. I believe the DA High standards design is still sold by another company.
     
  18. JMLV

    JMLV Member

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    I currently own a davis in 38 special

    Other than the horrible trigger - which you really can't do much about the trick to shooting this gun is to use lighter bullet weights. I tried both 148 grain wadcutter loads and 158 rn std ammo. Way too much recoil(and I don't have any trouble with std 44 magnum loads in my 29) and pain. I finually found a couple of boxes of 38 short colt ammo at a local shop. remington as a matter of fact. these used 125 gr rn lead at an extremely low volicity. the result was a controlable and not overly painful load to shoot in this gun. As its intended use was and is only for the occosional side match at cowboy action matches this was a final solution. For its intended purpose it works but I would never spend the money for a american or bond as they have the same basic problems - harsh painful recoil. why spend what I couls use to buy other useful guns for a showpiece(mine is chromes with black grips quite shiny) for my cowboy belt. the davis is plenty enough for this and will hold up well enough to 2 - 4 rounds every six months or so it gets.
     
  19. Scott13

    Scott13 Member

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    I shot a 357 derringer for about 2 rounds once . I must say those things really are pretty brutal due to their weight . I couldnt imagine shooting a 44 mag out of one of them :eek: i know a guy who has one and he said it feels like being hit with a baseball bat , to your hand .
     
  20. jtrent001@triad.rr.com

    jtrent001@triad.rr.com Member

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    I have read several comments concerning derringers in this forum ranging from they are not safe to carry because of the firing pin resting on a cartridge to them not being very effective.

    I own a Bond Arms .45 Colt/ .410 shotshell derringer. It has a patented hammer system which "bounces back" and rests off of the next cartridge after being fired. It also has a cross bolt safety. This derringer is very safe to carry and is lethal for self defense. I have owned another brand of derringer and in my opinion, this derringer is a must have for concealed carry. Bond offers many different holster options. I have the driving holster which keeps the weapon out of your way on your belt when driving and sitting.

    You need to check out this company!

    Jim Trent
    Madison, N.C.
     
  21. Coyote3855

    Coyote3855 Member

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    Bond is the derringer of choice for SASS side matches, first rate quality. The national champions in the Derringer division have use Bonds for maybe the last 8 or 9 out of 10 years. I have an American in .38 Special. It has the same safety features that jtrent mentions on the Bond. However, for those to be reliable on the American (can't say about Bond), the very heavy hammer spring and trigger pull cannot be altered. I modified my American for cowboy competion by lightening the hammer spring. Now any pressure on the hammer will allow the crossbolt safety to retract as it does when you cock the hammer. This leaves the derringer in condition to fire a barrel if dropped on the hammer. I do not find the .38 with moderate loads unpleasant to fire. For CCW, I prefer about any other option, including my KelTec 3AT, Kahr P9, Ruger Speed Six, Springfield Chamption 1911. I might carry it if my other choice was my NA .22 LR pocket revolver.
     
  22. KevininPa

    KevininPa Member

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    I have the Bond Arms Snakeslayer

    It shoots .45 Colt/ .410 2 3/4 or 3 inchers. The SS has the extended grip for the pinky, makes a world of difference in shooting. Tried the standard grips on it and my point-shooting went to crap. It's more accurate than what people expect with the Colts. It easily hits MOT (minute of torso) at 7 to 10 yards. Just gotta practice. I usually have the bottom barrel ready to go first with a 3" buckshot load, followed by a .45 in the top. It's in this mode as anti-carjacking insurance. For dogwalking the lower barrel has a #9 shot and #4 in the upper. I live rural so I'm more apt to have a problem with a copperhead or rabid possum than a person. Kick isn't bad with the extended, thicker grip plus the heavier weight of the construction. I love mine!
     
  23. PawDaddy

    PawDaddy Member

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    I have two Davis Derringers. One is a .38 and the other a .32acp. I also have a Davis auto in .32acp.

    The little auto has never missed a beat, but I haven't shot it all that much.

    I really like the small derringer in 32. It pockets well and I can get it into action pretty fast. It is not what I would want in a gunfight, though.

    The .38 is not bad to shoot, but the trigger is very hard to pull.

    A friend that has one told me to pull down on the trigger as you are pulling back. It works, but in a stressed situation one may forget.
     
  24. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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    Ancient thread. Back from 2003, when derringers were first invented.

    For the original question, those things automatically switch barrels between shots. I'd recommend keeping it so the bottom barrel fires first, since then you get less muzzle flip for the follow-up shot.
     
  25. telomerase

    telomerase Member

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    Place it on a berm at a safe distance to avoid ricochet, wear good eye protection, and preferably use cast bullets (again to avoid ricochet).

    But it's really not necessary to shoot them, they can be recycled into pencil holders or scrapped for the precious, precious zinc.

    (Hey, Congress thinks zinc is precious, they just ordered the Treasury to make cents out of steel [although the steel will actually cost more]).

    And that's why you should never expect a government department to make cents. :cuss:
     
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