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Forgotten revolver tips and tricks.

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Thaddeus Jones, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. murf

    murf Member

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    another benefit of dry-fire is safety. coopers four rules apply here and should be practiced religiously, especially rule number one. THE GUN IS ALWAYS LOADED ALL THE TIME.

    check the weapon first, every time you handle it, and make sure it is unloaded. pop the cylinder out on a da revolver, open the loading gate and spin the cylinder on an sa, lock the slide back and remove the magazine on an automatic, open the breach on a single shot. get in the habit and you won't have to think about it. get in the habit and you will always know you have a loaded or unloaded weapon. may save your tv from an nd, or may save your life knowing your weapon is fully loaded.

    oh, that rule about the gun always being loaded is for the shooters benefit. the gun doesn't care if it is loaded, or not. treat it as if loaded and you will not point it at the wrong thing and you will keep your finger off the trigger. and you will always check and make sure it is unloaded before you dry-fire.

    murf
     
  2. sgt127

    sgt127 Member

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    I can shoot a revolver very fast. I can hose rounds out of a 1911 a little bit faster. But, if I'm trying for AIMED shots, they are about the same.

    The trick is as soon as the gun fires, and, you are recovering from the recoil and realigning the sights, you are already loading up the trigger so that as soon as the sights settle in again, the draw stroke completes and, the gun fires the next round.

    That dwell time, while the front sight is off the target anyway, is not wasted. With practice, its very simple to get the timing down. Just like a good draw stroke, theres no wasted time or energy. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.
     
  3. wiringlunatic

    wiringlunatic Member

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    I have used spent shells as snap caps before, especially on a rimfire I was working on. Is that a safer alternative to true dryfiring? I realize that checking whether it is loaded or not becomes more complicated when the "snap caps" look the same as real shells, but other than that is it ok? If so, I can get started on these practice drills right away. Besides, snap caps may be sold out just 'cause they LOOK like bullets :neener:

    Also, are the spent shells ok for the rimfires or will it still damage them after a few shots when the shell gets mashed?

    One other question for you wheelgunner experts: my wife has an H&R topbreak in .32 S&W with a 1 1/4" barrel, a nearly microscopic grip, and a very hard DAO trigger. Is it possible to shoot this straight, or will the hard trigger forever condemn it to belly gun status?
     
  4. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    With both center and rim fire, fired cases don't work for long. The better snap caps (available at www.brownels.com) have red colored heads for easy identification, and a spring supported plunger in place of a primer. They are moderately expensive, but worth it in the long run. You still might break or batter a firing pin, but it isn't likely.

    I suspect that from your description you have a later model I-J revolver with a coil mainspring. If you remove the stocks you should notice that the spring is held at the bottom by a plate held at the front and back. They're 3 slots so that the plate can be moved up and down, increasing or decreasing the mainspring tension. Other then that you can't do much. Tinkering with the spring will reduce reliability.
     
  5. wiringlunatic

    wiringlunatic Member

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    If by I-J you mean Iver Johnson, I don't think so. I've been told it's a 1914-1915 "bicycle" variant H&R vest pocket revolver. whether it has a coil mainspring or not I can't say -- I've never had the grips off. I guess my real question is -- is it possible to get accuracy with practice with a very stiff trigger or not? I'm sure the trigger could be made some better (adjusting/cutting the mainspring, smoothing the sear, etc) but I'd rather not put much time or money into a gun that isn't worth very much and risk damaging whatever antique value it has. Is there anyone out there who can achieve reasonable accuracy with a very short barrelled DAO with a very stiff trigger?
     
  6. wiringlunatic

    wiringlunatic Member

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    Hello? Does anyone have an answer for me? There's some real revolver experts on here and I was hoping someone could tell me if accuracy is possible with this gun. Will training and practice overcome the gun's deficits?
     
  7. tomrkba

    tomrkba Member

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    You are going to have to shoot and dry fire that gun extensively. I do not know if your gun is robust enough to withstand thousands of rounds and dry fires. Besides, something will eventually break and you may not be able to find parts. I think it would be better to shoot it occasionally and use an S&W Model 442 or 642. If you insist upon using it, then acquire a full set of springs and small parts before starting. But, it would be much better to buy a gun from Ruger or S&W.

    Google for videos:

    The Bump Drill
    The Wall Drill
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2013
  8. chriske

    chriske Member

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    "Reasonable accuracy", "very short barrel" & "very stiff trigger" are somewhat subjective of course, but while I don't consider myself by any means a great shot, I usually can manage 3 inch 5-shot groups with my S&W 640 (2" barrel, DAO) at 15 meters.
    Admittedly, the trigger pull, albeit "coil spring activated" is pretty nice.
     
  9. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

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    I wrote out a reply earlier this morning - just before my computer crashed. :fire:

    Anyhow, I can't speak specifically to your H&R, but snub-nosed revolvers aren't generally inherently inaccurate; they're just harder to shoot well, so training and practice will likely help a lot. A good action job by a good gunsmith can make quite a difference, too, as would grip mods. At this point, though, it might be worth considering something else entirely.

    As others note, though, "accuracy" is subjective. A snub-nosed revolver was designed for up-close work, so if you're able to consistently put your rounds into the CoM at 5-10 yards, you and your H&R are accurate enough, IMO.
     
  10. Thaddeus Jones

    Thaddeus Jones Member

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    Shooting snub revolvers accurately is simple. It just isn't easy. ;)
     
  11. tomrkba

    tomrkba Member

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    It requires lots and lots of proper practice, both live and dry fire. A tuned trigger really helps.
     
  12. Ohio Deputy

    Ohio Deputy Member

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    There is something very comforting about having a magnum revolver in your holster and it seems to be very uncomfortable to those who are on the other side of the fence.
     
  13. chrisb507

    chrisb507 Member

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    For rimfire dry fire, most places aren't sold out of #4 drywall anchors, which work quite well for .22 lr. I'm not 100% sure how they'd work in an auto, but can vouch for them in a revolver...
     
  14. sgt127

    sgt127 Member

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    Froma realistic standpoint, no. The gun you described was designed and marketed as a close up, personal defense gun a long time ago. It has an exceptionally short sight radius and, by your own description, a horrible trigger. It will do what it was made to do at a price point that made it available to almost anyone who needed a pocket gun.

    My Jetta TDI does a dandy job of getting me from point A to point B everyday. It has an engine and four wheels. However, I have no desire to run it up against a Formula 1 car, that also has an engine and four wheels, at the track. Different tools, different jobs. Enjoy it for what it is, theres alot of history in the old break tops.
     
  15. wiringlunatic

    wiringlunatic Member

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    Thanks for the info guys. Just to clarify, I have no intention of this being my primary carry gun, that duty goes to my Taurus .38 which can and always will shoot better than me. I was just curious, as a gun that hits nothing is not much fun, but a gun that can hit consistently if and only if the shooter is good enough is a fun challenge. I'd have trouble finding enough ammo for it to practice much as it is only made in limited runs and even finding cases to reload may be tough. Like I said, mainly a theoretical question, though it could have application to a future carry gun. For the record, it is a 1 1/4" barrel and about 20lb (maybe more) trigger pull. Fun toy, but needs to have that become its full-time job description, (my wife carries it now) Keep the tips coming guys. Hope I didn't distract from the main topic too much!
     
  16. orionengnr

    orionengnr Member

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    Very entertaining and informative thread.

    First handgun I ever fired was my dad's 1911, back when I was a little shaver. First handgun I ever bought was a 1911.

    I always thought revolvers looked like the cap guns I played with as a kid.

    Finally bought one about age 22--it was a POS Rossi, and it turned me off revolvers for another 25+ years. I finally bought an old S&W M66 about 9 years ago, and since then I have owned probably 25 S&W revolvers (mostly one or two at a time). Still have the M66, though, and a couple N-frames.

    There is something very elemental and satisfying about a good revolver--much like a radial aircraft engine. :)

    This thread is making me want to dig out the M66 and take it to the range. For some reason I am also considering buying a j-frame again after several years' absence. :)

    Great job, gentlemen.
     
  17. tomrkba

    tomrkba Member

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    I find this so hard to convey to so many people. They simply do not believe it. Even worse, there are those who spurn training because they believe they may disagree with the instructor on some tactical point. It really is amazing.

    One tip that may be helpful:

    Grant Cunningham in The Gun Digest Book of the Revolver spends quite a bit of time going over trigger control. Try sliding your finger across the face of the trigger as you pull back. I found also that a slight tightening of the fingers as you pull back. I simultaneously tighten the inside of my thumb against the frame. I am careful not to disturb the sights and cause the round to strike off target.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2013
  18. Baldman

    Baldman Member

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    Hey Guys, likely a stupid question but I've seen the posts relating to dry firing using snap caps. I have never used them but like then idea of a little more pratice time without the expense or travel to the range.

    I have a Colt Cobra and have never dry fired it out of concern for the firing pin, if I use snap caps will it reduce the risk of damage to it or is dry firing just a no no for this model?

    Thanks
     
  19. kBob

    kBob Member

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    Just a quick note or two.

    First great to see this thread and thanks to all you current and former LEOs for your service and sharing tips.

    I saw a comment on practicing with wax loads. THe poster meantioned cases modified for shotgun primers......Geroge Nonte recommended using whatever pistol primer you had on hand and simply opening up the flash hole on a set of cases then marking said cases for use only with the wax bullets. I did as Nonte suggested and drill out to the size flash hole he recommended ( don't remember at the moment, sorry) and notched the rim of some .38 SPL cases and used this to practice presentation with a single shot or multiples. Keep in mind that shooting wax especially in multiple shots is not like shooting lead bullets in that there is no recoil to speak of.

    At one point when I had room mates that were interested in revolvers for home defense I pre pared a multi layered old blanket and card board affair as a back stop and they fired wax bullets in their bedrooms at a card board tombstone from their defensive positions while trying to operate a phone or flash light. This allowed them to do the full drill from alert to arm to query and light and begin 911 call (phone unplugged but in hand) to assess threat and Identify target and firing.

    Later it was pointed out to me that the lead in the primers might be an issue if done much, but I figured a few popped primers (like five or so) once I a while was no more threat than the ancient paint in that place.

    I also preferred handloaded dummy rounds for practice on reloads with or without strips or speed loaders. This because the weights were right and they handled differently than snap caps I tried.

    Speaking of obsolete out dated and not all that smart to begin with.....I used to keep five round in a 35 mm film canister in my glove box for a cheap reload. I found that while ejecting with the fram I the left hand and handling the canister with the right that one could count on three to four rounds dropping into the charge holes if one alighned the canister with the cylinder while the barrel was up and rotated the gun muzzle away from you while twisting the canister slightly. As has been pointed out some rounds in the cylinder beat no rounds in the cylinder when you need them right now and it took no longer than loading single rounds from my old plastic ammo wallet.

    Say no one has meantioned those old things...ammo wallets. I used a six round for concealed carry in the way back and an eighteen round for tossing in the glove box for plinking or whatever. WIth the eighteen I had various loads available from my carry rounds of the time to Speer shot capsule type shot loads, some barely clear the barrel wadcutters, and a pair of wax loads and at one point some of what were supposed to be flares. ( never tried them until years later and then out over the Gulf where no trace was seen)

    Having muddied the waters I now make my exit.

    -kBob
     
  20. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Snap caps will work fine in your Colt Cobra and any other Colt center-fire/hand ejector revolver, and dry firing will tend to burnish contact points within the lockwork and make the action smoother.

    What breaks firing pins is when there is nothing in the chamber to absorb the hammer's blow and the firing pin takes the impact. Colt used to carefully fit the firing pin so that the hammer face would hit the frame and the firing pin wouldn't. But as time went by and labor costs increased this kind of hand fitting went by the boards except on more expensive target guns, and later still (sometimes) on the Python.
     
  21. JFrame

    JFrame Member

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    Possibly the best THR thread EVER... JC_doubleup.gif

    Along with all the invaluable tips, insights, and recommendations, I very much appreciate the friendly tone.

    I agree with others that this thread should be a "Sticky."


    .
     
  22. Baldman

    Baldman Member

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    Thanks Old Fuff, looks like I'll be getting snap caps this weekend.
     
  23. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    GREAT Thread...

    Just wanted to thank all the knowledgeable contributors to this thread! THANK YOU!

    And, believe it or not some of the mentioned Double Action Trigger Drills have been helping me with my Sig autoloaders! :cool:
     
  24. repawn

    repawn Member

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    Thank you all for this excellent thread. I have recently purchased a revolver and have started to train with it. I would like to hear more about proper grip - I hold high with a thumb down grip and have been trying different things with my off hand. I still often get a slight twitch to the right - not all the time but too often for me. For dry fire I marked up some cases - loaded a 168 rn and used a leather punch to make "primers" - that seems to work well.
     
  25. Thaddeus Jones

    Thaddeus Jones Member

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    Over the years I've noticed that those who shoot revolvers well, shoot all types of handguns well.

    Mastering a revolvers DA trigger pull will help you control.............just about anything else. :)
     

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