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Double Action or Single?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Flynt, Jul 14, 2008.

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  1. Flynt

    Flynt Member

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    I'm beginning to shop for my first revolver. (I've always owned autos until now.) Got a 30-30 hog rifle, so now I'd like a backup gun on my hip --either .357 or .44 mag. Is a single action suitable for this purpose. I assume DA's were developed because they're faster and can be carried with the hammer down. Does that mean I'd be fumbling around with a SA? Thanks, guys.
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Fumbling around? No, not at all.

    Hammer down?
    You carry any revolver with the hammer down.
    New Model Rugers are perfectly safe with all six rounds. Older Colt SAA's and clones should only be loaded with 5 and the hammer resting on an empty chamber.

    Some consider the Ruger SA Blackhawk & Bisley the best hunting handguns made, because they handle heavy hunting loads as well or better then anything else. And it is impossible to wear one out.

    As far as speed, there is no gun any faster from a holster for the first shot then a SA.

    And learning to shoot DA with any degree of accuracy is a long process for most folks.

    rcmodel
     
  3. Thernlund

    Thernlund Member

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    For defensive purposes, the SA will likely require that you practice with it more. You certainly won't carry it cocked, so practice in thumb cocking on the fly will be key (not that DA is exactly point-and-shoot mind you).

    Honestly, unless you have a taste for the cowboy/history thing, I'd just go DA.


    -T.
     
  4. TAB

    TAB Member

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    Something else to think about, a DA can be shot in both SA and DA, where as a SA can only be shot SA.

    For hunting hogs I would get a DA.
     
  5. dagger dog

    dagger dog Member

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    If you really think about it , using the gun for hunting you'll most likley try to take a single action timed shot at what ever your hunting. In most hog hunting scenarios you'll be stalking the hog having seen him first, so that will be the single action thing with the hammer pulled back and wanting the accuracy of that SA shot. BUT if that hog decides to turn and give you a rush, you just might want the peace of mind that quick back up shot the DA can give.

    So I'd say the DA is the way to go,especially if you want to use it for defence, against wild hogs or other vermin!
     
  6. Ifishsum

    Ifishsum Member

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    I have both and prefer SA guns for the most part. I so rarely shoot double action anyway that I'm almost 100% sure that under stress I'm still going to cock the hammer because that what my thumb is trained to do. Muscle memory is a powerful thing. I usually cock the hammer without even thinking about it, as I'm lining up the next shot.

    Whenever I shoot my CCW gun (Taurus 85UL) I force myself to shoot it DA only, just so that it will feel natural at least for that particular gun.
     
  7. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    It doesn't really matter.

    Random thoughts on the matter, FWIW... Tyros are probably faster with the first shot from holstered with DA. More experienced users will post about the same times with either. Subsequent shots are usually faster with DA, but that time difference becomes smaller and smaller when caliber starts going up. When we get to heavy recoiling calibers like the .44, most folks are about as fast SA as DA.

    A lot of folks find certain single action grips more comfortable than DA grips with heavy recoil. A lot of folks claim that the Ruger Bisley grip has no peer for controlling guns of .44 Magnum and up. I am one of them.

    For defense against two legged critters the DA is the way to go, IMO, especially with the .357 Magnum. The faster follow up shots make sense, as does speed in reloading. For hunting all your shots are liable to be from single action, so DA capability becomes kind of moot, and the "load one at a time" routine is no big deal, unless you are attacked by hoards of irate ground squirrels.

    Single actions have a reputation for being tougher and more reliable in the field, but Ruger DAs put lie to the notion. You'd be hard-pressed to break or wear out a Ruger regardless of action type. Smith & Wesson DAs are tougher than they are given credit for, though. Unless you are shooting many thousands of .44s through your M29 -- or using the ultra heavy loads from Buffalo Bore et al. -- the Smith will do a fine job. Colts and Colt copies are the weakest of the bunch, Freedom Arms revolvers excepted, of course -- but are still adequate for small boar and deer, in .45 Colt and .44 Special. If you really want horsepower, then a Ruger in .44, .480, or -- if you handload -- .45 Colt is the ticket.

    Short version: don't worry about it. Head down to the gunshop and handle a bunch of guns in DA and SA. Pick the one that feels best to you. If you want a super tough gun buy a Ruger. If you want pretty and functional get a Smith. If you want a classic, buy a Colt or Colt clone, and if you're made of money, get a Freedom Arms.

    HTH!
     
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    "Faster DA follow-up shots" only count if you are able to hit anything with fast DA follow-up shots.

    Most beginning handgunners, operating DA, under pressure, simply cannot!

    rcmodel
     
  9. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    True enough. I always try to assume competence, or at least the potential thereof, when offering advice. If the OP is incompetent and plans on staying that way, I'd recommend a slingshot and adult supervision. ;)
     
  10. RickH

    RickH Member

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    At the range I have noticed that people that shoot .44 mags usually shoot SA, even if their revolver is DA. Even with .357, excluding short barreled versions, most shots are fired SA. It all comes down to personal preference, but SA is usually a little cheaper. DA costs a little more but gives you the option of either.
     
  11. Harve Curry

    Harve Curry Member

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    DA & SA have entirely different grip/frame so you should shoot both and see what you like. An indoor range where you can rent and try different guns. SAA style have always had a large following partly because of the comfortable grip. 4" to 5" barrel would be my choice unless your tall.
     
  12. rainbowbob

    rainbowbob Member

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    Give that man a cigar!
     
  13. Zip7

    Zip7 Member

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    Do you hunt hogs with dogs? I would be more comfortable with a SA such as a ruger blackhawk.

    Most people around here hunt hogs with dogs, and that can be a frenzied situation - lots of running or riding through the brush, need to wait for the dogs to get out of the way before shooting... I would want to have a gun I'm more familiar with, and for me, that means SA.
     
  14. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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    As a backup gun in the woods, it is really a toss up as to which is better. I prefer double action revolver, but not because I shoot them faster than a single action, but because I find them safer. You can check very quickly if they are loaded and you can unload them just as quickly. They are also faster to load. Did I give you enough reasons?

    As far as single actions go, I have a Ruger Blackhawk in 41 mag that I like. It's fairly light and would make/does make a good side arm for the woods. They are also cheaper than most double actions.
     
  15. foghornl

    foghornl Member

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    Ever been to a "Cowboy Action" Shoot?

    Those folks running the old "Thumb-Buster" SA revolvers are pretty darn FAST and accurate, too.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2008
  16. Goblin

    Goblin Member

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    I like DA for it's ease of re-loading,but for accuracy I always shoot it SA using the off-hand thumbing technique even during my competition days. You can become very fast that way.:)
     
  17. mbt2001

    mbt2001 Member

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    If you get a .357, I would recommend getting a 6" barrel, as the velocity drop off between 4" and 6" affects the .357 as a hunting round.
     
  18. Frizzman

    Frizzman Member

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    For hog hunting and two legged goblin protection, you might also consider something like a Glock 21 in 10mm. That is a pretty effective combination of power, speed, accuracy and simplicity. I know this is the revolver section and I like revolvers more than most pistols.

    If I was going to have only one revolver for hunting and defense, I would get a double action in .357 or better with a 4" barrel and made in stainless steel. You should learn to shoot double action. I also see people at the ranges thumb cocking DA revolvers and know they need to learn to shoot double action first. If you need it for more than just playing at the range or longer distance and deliberate hunting shots, you REALLY need how to take advantage of the DA revolver's major advantages over the SA...speed in getting off accurate shots, particularly at closer ranges with nasty creatures.

    I do like my SA's but for serious use that may mean the difference between some stress and a trip to the ER or morgue, I would pick the DA and spend the time to learn to use it DA...Just my humble opinion...
     
  19. c.r.a.

    c.r.a. Member

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    Flynt,
    both DA and SA revolvers are suitable for hunting (given that both are in an adequate caliber). I own both DA an SA revolvers and tend to shoot both single action "mode". I don't think you are giving up/gaining much with one over the other in a hunting situation. As stated above, muscle memory (for which ever you choose) will take over. In my humble opinion, the choice should come down to wich feels better to you. I will say that in my opinion the "plow handle" design of most SA tends to reduce felt recoil.

    In most cases, you can get both DA and SA revolvers in the same calibers with similar length barrels. As far as weight (which i'd be concerned about for a carry/backup gun) DA and SA are pretty similar. example: In .44 mag a 4" ss redhawk-- ~47oz, 4 5/8" ss Super Blackhawk--- ~45oz. In .357 mag, a 4" GP100-- ~40oz, a 4 5/8" ss blackhawk 46oz (well i didn't realize this till putting these numbers together, but you'd save 1/2 of a lb with the DA).

    From your post you already have a 30/30, i'm going to assume it's a lever action and probably with a relatively short barrel. that right there is probably one of the best rifles for follow up shots. most are relatively short and the lever action allows for quick follow up shots in case an animal charges you. and another one of MY opinions, is that for a first revolver, i'd go with the .357, maybe not the best in the world for hogs, but it's easier on the wallet for practice and even shooting mags you can shoot till you run out of ammo at the range. the .44 may wear on you a little during extended shooting and the 44 is more expensive to shoot, whether it be 44 special or 44 mag.

    c.r.a.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2008
  20. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    There is NO PLACE IN THIS WORLD for DA in the field. NEVER EVER fire a gun DA at an animal. That's why God gave you SA, so you could PLACE the shot. DA is for self defense close up and personal, not for accuracy at range.

    I'm one of those people and I'll add one more advantage, a lighter, more carryable POWERFUL package than a super-redhawk or X frame or Raging Bull type handgun. It's rugged, tough, reliable, and a compact, accurate package on the hip. You're talking back up for hogs, you don't want a 7" X frame hanging off your neck on a sling. You could go with an N frame like a 29 or Mountain Gun in a Smith or you could go with a 686 if in .357 and that'd be fine. But, you won't use DA in the field and the Blackhawk is a stronger, tougher gun. I carry a .45 Colt Blackhawk in 4 5/8" or a .357 with a 6.5" barrel when I wanna handgun things with iron sights and traditional revolver. That's my choice. I don't often carry a "back up" in the stand, but have used one to blood trail a wounded hog. It's not a bad idea to have one cause hogs go straight for the thickest stuff if wounded by a poor shot. You can't easily maneuver a rifle in some of that thick stuff. But, it ain't like I think there's such a NEED for a handgun unless I'm just handgun hunting. I used to ALWAYS carry a handgun when chasing hogs with dogs. Never used it, was for a just in case thing. Dogs held the hog down while you stuck 'em with a knife. Hog's are known to get loose from the dogs and cause problems doing this. That .45 Colt with heavy 300 grain loads is comforting in such a situation and, frankly, I can shoot just as fast if not faster with it than a DA shooting DA. And, that Blackhawk rides light on the hip when you're chasing dogs through rice fields at night. Of course, I use 'em a lot. The biggest advantage for HUNTING with a DA revolver is often they have better SA triggers than an SA gun. But, I've not found my Blackhawks to have even close to any bad trigger. They're crisp and light.
     
  21. Goblin

    Goblin Member

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    "For hog hunting and two legged goblin protection..."

    HEY!!!!
     
  22. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Practice cocking a SA during the presentation. Keep your damn finger out of the trigger guard until ready to fire, as you should always do with all firearms.

    Honestly, in general, Single Actions just feel...I dunno, right. I sadly sold my Blackhawk 4 5/8" recently. I can always use my 9x23mm should I need, and I haven't really been able to hunt since late '03. :eek:

    John
     
  23. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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    I agree with this. One or two well placed shots are better than a gun load of double action blasting away at an animal. The only time I shoot double action is at the range and that is either for fun or shooting targets at rather close distances.

    As a backup while hunting, a 4" (ish) revolver such as a Smith or Colt is hard to beat in an appropriate caliber for handiness and easy of carry and draw. The short barreled Ruger Blackhawks are pretty handy.

    I prefer a 6" (-ish) barrel for hunting. The 5.5" Ruger Redhawks are good and about as short as I would go unless the gun is strictly for shots of opportunity versus the primary gun.
     
  24. rainbowbob

    rainbowbob Member

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    :confused:

    I'll remember that if I'm ever attacked by a bear or big cat. Taking the time to get those accurate SA shots with a large animal in my face should make all the difference.
     
  25. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    You let the animal get that close, he's gonna stuff that handgun where the sun don't shine. If a cat's on your back and you can plug it in his ear and pull one off DA, yeah. But, you could just as easily....well, I could....cock an SA gun and do the same thing. I'm actually faster with my first shot on the draw with a SA gun, just draws faster for me and the hammer seems to cock itself out of the holster. This comes with practice, but the gun also points better for me and comes to my eyes just as quickly as any of my DA guns.

    If a bear or cat (not likely) is gonna pounce on you at close range and you've practiced SA, you're going to revert to your practice and you'll be faster with it. I've had to put down a charging, wounded hog, but I have never been pounced on by cat OR bear. I'm not sure what the odd are of that ever happening, probably 1/1000th that of being struck by lightening, maybe? If it ever happened, I'd be just as efficient with my .45 Colt blackhawk, I'm quite sure, probably quicker because I will have a shorter trigger pull to work with and my blackhawk points more naturally. That hog, subject of the OP, started at me from about 20 yards and dropped dead at about 10 which is where I put the SA fired shot from my DA .357 magnum through his scull. I don't know that I could have got that shot placement in that short of time shooting DA and I'm a good DA shooter. The shakes started later when the adrenalin started wearing off.

    BTW, we don't have a lot of mountain lions around here and no bears, so I don't spend a lot of time worrying about that sort of thing. I do hog hunt, though.
     
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