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Is it really six of a sure thing vs 16 rounds of maybe?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by The Real Hawkeye, Dec 19, 2006.

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  1. The Real Hawkeye

    The Real Hawkeye member

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    Yes, I know that revolvers are, generally speaking, more likely to go bang when you pull the trigger, but this of course depends a lot on which revolver we are comparing to which auto pistol. I have some auto pistols that have NEVER failed to go bang in many thousands of rounds, and I've had revolvers seize up on me during double action fire, and I mean total seize up, requiring a 'smith to get it going again, and that with both Colt and Smith & Wesson revolvers which were apparently in good shape at the time.

    That said, there is one phenomenon that stands out with double action revolvers that is the main subject I would like to discuss. It has to do almost exclusively with Colt DA revolvers under stressful rapid fire. It is the tendency of these to temporarily freeze up if you do not make certain to totally release the trigger before the next double action shot. If you come close, but do not release all the way forward, then prematurely start on your next DA pull, it will freeze. This is less likely to happen with a Smith & Wesson DA revolver because S&W DA revolver actions more forcefully guide your finger back to a full release position. Any thoughts on this Colt phenomenon?
     
  2. das028

    das028 Member

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    Yeah I dont understand why people automatically think that a revolver is more reliable then a pistol. There are lots of things that can go wrong with a revolver.
     
  3. rkh

    rkh member

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    The only time I've ever seen a wheel gun go down was when I observed a person attempting to fire full-power magum loads out of a featherweight gun. Several of his bullets jumped crimp and prevented the cylinder from rotating.

    Revolvers are pretty darned reliable.
     
  4. ZeSpectre

    ZeSpectre Member

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    I freely admit to a heavy revolver bias (though I do love my newer .40 semi autos).

    I won't deny that a revolver can have mechanical malfunctions and if they happen they can be far harder to resolve than a semi-auto. However if you put both types in the following situations a revolver shows some distinct advantages.

    1) Contact shooting.
    2) Put the gun in a pocket, point, fire. (basically another type of contact shooting).
    3) Odd hold angles (especially upside down).
    4) Recovery from a dud round is dead simple.

    I could probably think of a few more but you can see my general drift.

    Of course where a revolver falls down is capacity and ease of Concealability.
     
  5. ronto

    ronto Member

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    I just like a revolver because it can be fired from inside my winter coat pocket more than once and the chances I'll need 16 rounds are very, very remote.
     
  6. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    If either my Ruger P90, my Ruger P85, or even my Kel Tec P11 ever failed to fire and cycle properly, I'd be shocked. Frankly, I have more confidence in that Ruger P90 than any Smith and Wesson revolver, especially one with a lock. It has never failed, feeds anything, uber accurate, plenty powerful, hits to POA. It even feeds an empty case, I've done it just to see! It ain't no picky 1911, put it that way. It's fired probably 6-8K rounds over the years, anyway, maybe up in five figures, but I don't keep count. It's never had a bobble, never, nada. Yes, I would and do trust this auto chucker with my life. If it were a little easier to conceal in hot weather, I'd trust it more often. The one I do trust a lot is my P11 which I can say HAS reached a 10K round count without a single bobble, not even in the first 200 rounds.

    The only thing about autos is, you need to test 'em with an adequate amount of your carry ammo when you first obtain 'em. With a revolver, you just find what's accurate, no worries about feed reliability. I've had autos that weren't that reliable (1911, hint) with most ammo other than ball, but my P90 ain't one of 'em. Yeah, I'd carry a revolver for the reliability over one of the 1911s I've owned any day of the week, but not that P90. I think modern high end autos are just as reliable as any revolver, frankly, and probably high end 1911s though I can't afford to find out about Ed Browns and such. I don't think my house cost that much. :rolleyes:
     
  7. The Real Hawkeye

    The Real Hawkeye member

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    Funny you should mention Ed Brown. I've owned well over a dozen 1911s. Most were 100% reliable. One was not reliable at all till I sent it back to Springfield Armory, but when they fixed it it stayed fixed and has fired thousands of rounds perfectly since then. But then there's the Ed Brown. Wanted to move up in the world, and loved the Ed Browns I saw illustrated here and there. Ordered one from Ed, the Kobra Carry. Started out perfectly reliable, but by round 800 or so, the reliability started to deteriorate. Didn't matter how well cleaned or lubed. Sent it back. He sent it back to me claiming there was nothing wrong with it, so he said he did nothing to it. Took it to the range and, sure enough, it was shooting reliably again, just like when I first got it. This lasted about 500 rounds, and then it started choking again, regardless of how clean or well lubed it was. Now its spitting out brass in every random direction, including right at my face, and jams way too frequently to be trusted. I think it's a problem with the extractor. I might try buying a new one and replacing it myself, after tuning it according the manuals I have. But you are mistaken if you think spending big bucks on a 1911 is going to guarantee you a rock solid reliable gun. I had just the opposite experience. The cheapo 1911s have been more reliable for me than the "high end" ones.
     
  8. Just_a_dude_with_a_gun

    Just_a_dude_with_a_gun Member

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    I had a DA .357 revolver (was a smith or ruger, can't remember) lock up completely once. Trigger was stuck mid stroke, and the cylinder wouldn't turn, OR disengage from the frame. Only thing left to do was throw it.

    I've never had an auto malfunction that couldn't be solved in a couple
    seconds by racking the slide, and dropping the mag.
     
  9. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    Each pistol should be judged on its own merits. Revolvers have the ability to be loaded and stored for long periods of time. Autos are more likely to fail the longer they're in storage. A childhood friend of mine found his father's Colt 1911 in a drawer, flicked off the safety and pulled the trigger while aiming it at his brother. The first round went off missing the child, but it immediately jammed so tight that they had to leave it jammed. Of course the father later found it and was subsequently able to learn what happened.

    Springs under tension in magazines tend to fatigue, lubricant evaporates or gums, and it's easier to tell that a revolver is loaded, that's why I recommend revolvers for in-home duty.

    For day-to-day use, magazines can be rotated and the guns inspected frequently, so I tend to like them better for concealed carry. Still, under the stress of real combat, chances of jams increase because of muscle tremors in the wrist and so forth, which is why training is so necessary.

    For those who don't train reguarly, or who carry their guns on the trail, I also recommend revolvers. Just one more thing someone doesn't have to worry about. A good magnum is a bit more powerful for the outdoors, too, generally.
     
  10. BigG

    BigG Member

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    Maybe. The six of a sure thing revo comment goes back to the day when there were only S&W or Colt commonly available. Yes, there were H&R and Iver Johnson, and maybe Charter Arms, but their products were considered suspect by most knowledgeable users.

    The maybe is about if you are using 9mm FMJ. They are not much of a round unless you get a cranium shot.

    So, I guess it is Six of Maybe Vs 16 of Maybe.
     
  11. Majic

    Majic Member

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    This is just simply a matter of springs. Install a lighter rebound spring in a S&W and you can create the same situation known as outrunning your trigger. That's the main reason people advise aginst putting the lighter springs in a defensive revolver. It's just where the operator must know how to use that particular piece of machinery correctly.
     
  12. The Real Hawkeye

    The Real Hawkeye member

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    No, the "maybe" was about the claim that you could never be sure the gun wouldn't choke when you pulled the trigger.
     
  13. BurmKiller

    BurmKiller Member

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    One thing that is often overlooked, especially by people that have and shoot many guns is experience level. My wife is anti-mechanical and anti-technical. Teaching her to shoot was a challenge, to put it mildly. Teaching her to pull out a revolver and pull the trigger was far less painful then teaching her to chamber a round, clear a jam, reload a magazine, etc.

    I have had occasional problems with autoloaders, revolvers and even bolt action XP's. I also have many guns that I have never had an issue with. The trick is to know your gun, be comfortable with, practice with it often, try different types of ammo through it - including what you intend to use in carry situations. Most people I know unload those expensive personal protection rounds and load those cheap white box rounds at the range. Does that really tell you if there is a feed problem with those personal protection rounds? Keep your gun clean and lubed. Ever tried to fire a Glock that some brainchild cleaned with that instant spray cleaner stuff and didn't re-lube? Try it, quite amusing. Try not lubing the springs/slide on a Sig P232 and see how long it shoots. I love and carry one of these and would fully trust it, but it is a matter of knowing the gun and knowing how to care for it.

    If your personal confidence is in a revolver, then carry one. An autoloader? That is fine too. Just have enough trigger time to know the gun is reliable in the exact situations you may face - same ammo, same temperature ranges, etc. Also know how to correct any issues that come up. Do that, and it is really a matter of preference.
     
  14. The Real Hawkeye

    The Real Hawkeye member

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    Do me a favor and take a factory spring tensioned S&W DA revolver and factory spring tensioned Colt DA revolver and try out their DA pulls. You will notice a difference between the two. The Colt will be easy to start the pull, then near the end it builds up extra weight just before the break, then on the way back there is very little perceived spring tension pushing your finger back to reset position. With a Smith & Wesson, the tension feels about the same for the whole stroke, and then on release it starts off low tension, and the tension builds towards full release, so that by the time you are near full release to reset, you finger feels like it's being pushed hard back into full reset. With the Colt you have to be more conscious of returning to full reset. With the S&W, the trigger firmly guides you back to full reset, which makes it less prone to reset failure under rapid and stressful fire. Yes, training helps neutralized this difference, but that means the S&W requires less training to avoid this problem, and combat stress often throws a good bit of your training out the window.
     
  15. Majic

    Majic Member

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    Sorry buddy, but spring tension can't be constant in one direction and variable in the opposite direction. What you preceive in your feel and what's actually happening is not the same. You have left out the leverage of your finger. But that's really beside the point. You are dealing with 2 different designs. The Colt has a longer hammer fall and locktime. It requires a longer trigger reset than the S&W. It's no phenomenon just the design of the action. You have to let the trigger forward a few more mm to reset and the stock spring will allow it to reset. It's not a matter of feeling the trigger push your finger, but knowing how far to let the trigger go forward which is true for any make of handgun. That's what I meant by saying the operator must know how to correctly use that particular piece of machinery.
     
  16. The Real Hawkeye

    The Real Hawkeye member

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    If you read my post again, I believe you will see that I said "feels."
     
  17. tubeshooter

    tubeshooter Member

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    I don't have a problem with autos... and I have in fact had a revolver seize up on me before.


    That being said, I think if you have a given wheelgun and a given auto, and both have been proven equally reliable - and THEN you throw low-to-no maintenance in the mix - there's no question which gun will probably end up failing you first.
     
  18. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    It's not spring tension, it's leverage. Colts and Smiths do indeed behave as described in the post. Personally, I prefer the Colt, but that's just me.
     
  19. The Real Hawkeye

    The Real Hawkeye member

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    Thanks, Vern.

    Which? :confused:
     
  20. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I had two 1911s, a NIB Auto Ordinance and a used AMT Hardballer. When I did get 'em working, they wouldn't feed anything, but ball or a SWC 200 grain handload I still load that has a nice rounded ogive profile. On that load, I had to seat the bullet out as far as I could get it. It actually was head spacing on the rifling. Needed the OAL to function in the AMT, but seemed to be okay at the shorter length in the AO. I had BOTH these guns worked over. The AO out of the box wouldn't feed ball and ejection was irratic. I had a good smith I was using at the time (RIP, he died of cancer a while back) work it over and it fed ball after that, but no hollowpoints I tried. It was fine with my cast bullet. The AMT, when I got it, had a mis-fitted extractor and wouldn't eject. I think the guy must have broken the extractor and just bought a surplus one (it was blue, not stainless like the rest of the gun) and stuck it in without fitting. After the work it was fine on ball ammo. I guess they don't call those the "hardballer" for nothin', eh?

    That hardballer wasn't all that cheap in the mid 80s, MSRP over 600 bucks. The Auto Ordinance was a low end gun, though. I kept that AMT well greased, it had a rep for galling. Sold the AO and with the insurance I got from the AMT that was stolen, I got my P90 and never did the 1911 thing again. I swore off them and haven't ammended that vow yet. I do have another reason for not carrying a single action, though, and that's my affinity with revolvers and DAO pocket pistols. I think the KISS principle is a good thing in training with DA/DAO guns where the first shot at least is DA. I don't have to go switching between dis-similar manuals of arms, keeps the training simple. I will NOT give up my revolvers for no 1911. :D

    Don't know about you, but I clean my guns after EVERY range session. If I fire ONE shot through it, at the end of the day, it gets cleaned. I don't neglect my weapons. The autos are no harder and in some ways easier to clean than the revolvers.

    I have seen revolvers get sticky from all the goo build up on the cylinder and at the forcing cone, guys that wouldn't clean their weapons. I think the P90 could go a long time without failure, but I ain't willin' to try it. I know autos can gum up and give problems, theoretically.
     
  21. tubeshooter

    tubeshooter Member

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    The auto (notice I said probably). Before somebody chimes in with an anecdote indicating otherwise, there are exceptions to every rule.

    If I were a gambling man, I think I'd bet on the rule every time. YMMV and all that.


    Well, I don't. I was talking about low-to-no maintenance as far as wheelgun vs. auto reliability. What one individual does with his guns doesn't really factor into that. But it's good that you clean your guns so consistently.
     
  22. HammerBite

    HammerBite Member

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    What your finger feels is really happening.

    Try this experiment: Release the trigger very slowly while observing the action of the hammer as it is lifted by the rebound slide. At the point where the hammer ceases to rise any farther you will feel a definite increase in trigger tension and the trigger will probably kick forward to full reset. If you use a two-handed grip and both index fingers on the trigger you will be able to more fully control the trigger and stop it before it resets. At this point you can use trigger manipulation to alternate the hammer between the full-forward and rebounded positions and the difference in trigger tension will be very noticeable.

    What is happening (I think) is that after the rebound slide has slipped under the toe of the hammer it no longer has to fight the mainspring and can devote more of its energy to fighting your finger.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2006
  23. The Real Hawkeye

    The Real Hawkeye member

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    Thanks, Hammerbite, that explanation sounds consistent with the feel of the trigger of a S&W double action revolver. The Colt trigger, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have that firm "shove to full reset" feel. I prefer the S&W for this reason. Under stress it's better to have the gun's mechanism actually guide one firmly to the reset position than to have to depend almost entirely on the muscles of one's index finger to accomplish this.
     
  24. BigG

    BigG Member

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    I get it - you didn't want an answer. You just wanted to pontificate. :neener:
     
  25. DWARREN123

    DWARREN123 Member

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    It is more a question of what you feel comfortable with.
     
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