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Revolver for classes

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by westernrover, Jun 15, 2019.

  1. westernrover

    westernrover Member

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    I've been wanting to go to classes outside my local area like Gunsite and Thunder Ranch as well as others. I was hoping to be there now, but my new S&W 686 was striking light and spitting. I sent it in months ago and it's still at S&W. So far they replaced the barrel, trigger, extractor and more. I asked them after they fix the problems to also cut the cylinder for moon clips. I will either need a lot of speedloaders or moon clips for classes and I figure moon clips will make picking up my brass a lot easier.

    I received a sales quote for a Master Revolver Action Package. This includes some of the things I asked for, but it's not clear that it includes a moon clip cylinder. So I called them and asked. The person I talked to didn't really know and transferred me to the voicemail of someone who would know. I haven't had a callback.

    So it's been about three months since I sent it in and I still don't know if I'll have a revolver for classes. I could have TK cut the cylinder once I get the gun back, but that will take even longer. I could also just buy a new gun that already has the features like a Model 627, 327 or a Super GP100. I'd have to sell the 686 to avoid that option costing too much, and I don't know what problems the new gun might have. I haven't bought one yet that didn't have some issues. I've bought 4 new S&W that all had problems. One new Ruger, but the Ruger's problems were purely cosmetic. At the moment I've got that single-action and a J frame that are functional, but not suitable for most classes.

    I'd have to order the 627 or S-GP100, but a local shop has a 327 TRR8. I could put an RMR on it and a flashlight and look really tactical. I haven't checked it out if it has any issues because I never thought I'd be interested in that. Actually, I think the red dot might be useful for my aging eyes but I suppose it would fit on any of the options.
     
  2. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    That isn't a good sign. Their turnaround time is usually fairly quick.

    If you're planning on using moonclips, be sure to factor in the number and equipment you'll need to reload them between relays...as an estimate, I'd guess 40-50 to last through to lunch. Or you could plan on buying a BMT mooner

    The Master Revolver Action Package doesn't usually include cutting the cylinder for moon clips
     
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  3. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    With all that being wrong with that revolver you would think S&W would just replace it to show face. I'm guessing the old days really are gone, even at S&W. :uhoh:
     
  4. Pat Riot

    Pat Riot Member

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  5. Telekinesis

    Telekinesis Member

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    Unless you are 100% dedicated to the revolver, I would do the majority of the class with a semi auto and rotate the revolver in occasionally. Reloading the revolver at speed is definitely a skill that you should learn in the class, but once you understand the technique I would err to the side of the semi auto for a few reasons.

    First, if you carry a semi auto, there are malfunctions that only apply to that type of action that you won't see in your revolver. Most classes spend time covering this so if you only have a revolver the learning opportunity will be lost. Second, once you get past the reloading and malfunction part of these classes, they usually move on to some tactics. Using a semi auto for this portion (and rotating in the revolver occasionally) allows you to devote more attention to learning the tactics that the instructors are teaching.

    Another couple of thoughts - you'll need a lot of speed loaders or moon clips - a standard relay is probably based around 3 mags of 15 rounds (think a Glock 19 type of gun or similar that I bet most people will be using) which means 8 six-round speed loaders or moon clips (or 7 if you have a seven-round cylinder) that you'll need each time you go up in order to have a similar amount of ammo.

    Also most fighting oriented classes will have you drop your empty mags (or moon clips) and despite everyone being careful things do get stepped on. Most moon clips will probably get bent if they are stepped on with ammo (or empties) in them which could hurt them enough that they would bind in the revolver. Probably not the end of the world in a training class, but I would be pretty frustrated if I bought a bunch of new moon clips for a class and left with a handful that wouldn't work.

    If you plan on carrying a revolver it's definitely important to train with it, these are just some things to keep in mind.

    One final point, once you get the revolver back, make sure it's reliable before you take it to class. Nothing would be worse than making that investment in time and money to go to a class and then have your gun stop working. It's probably a good policy to bring a second gun to these type of things just in case.
     
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  6. george29

    george29 Member

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    I took a level 3 security class 6 months ago, glad I didn't try it with a six shooter, I wouldn't have passed the qualification. The strings are too fast for a six shooter and this was a class based on police qualification.
    I love revolvers but for SD/HD I'm back to SA.
     
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  7. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    I'm curious how fast the strings were
     
  8. mcb

    mcb Member

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    Couple random rambling thoughts from someone that loves to run moonclip fed revolvers like he stole them and embarrassed the bottom feeders whenever possible.

    If I was sending a firearm out for repair and/or custom work I would have established exactly what they were doing, how much it would cost, and approximately how long it would take, well before the firearm left my possession. YMMV

    I have zero knowledge of OP's skills so take this next paragraph with that in mind. My own experience is I'm a B-class USPSA Revolver shooter having competed with a revolver (USPSA & IDPA) since 2007 including a trip to the 2014 Revolver National Match) I have not done a class like Front Sight or Thunder Ranch but I suspect they expect a certain level of gun handling proficiency with your chosen handgun before attending these more advanced classes. If you have never run a revolver under the pressure of a clock/class it is not a skill you pick up in a few minutes. You need to spend some serious time to become proficient with the double-action trigger (there will be very little opportunity for single action usage in such a setting) and fast reloads take a serious amount of repetition to become proficient and second nature. It is a bit more complicated and requires more finesse than a magazine fed reloads.

    Everything with a revolver take a bit more time to become proficient with than a semi-auto will for nearly all shooters in this setting.

    Even if your revolver comes back super-tuned-up and ready to roll you still have work to do to find a combination of moonclips and cases/ammo that like each other. Rimmed revolver cartridges and moonclips are finicky bed fellows and 38/357 are the most notorious of the bunch. It will take time and tinkering to get them working right.

    Do you have the gear to carry your revolver and enough reloads to make it through the courses of fire required in the class? This again is not super common gear anymore. The revolver has fallen out of favor for these applications and thus the gear for this application for a revolver is becoming harder to find.

    I would pick your class out and make sure that they allow revolvers and that you think you can actually keep up with the class using a revolver. Everyone thinks the revolver is not obsolete and can keep up with the semi-auto until they try it in a class like this or at a USPSA/IDPA match and run headlong into the limitations of the noble round gun. More power to you if you can but you need to go prepared or your going to be frustrated and not get the most out of the class.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
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  9. Dave T

    Dave T Member

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    My recommendation would be to find a school that offers revolver specific classes. That way you aren't trying to keep up but rather learning the same things as the other students in the class, at about the same pace.

    YMMV,
    Dave
     
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  10. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    Gunsite offers a revolver specific course. I’d be surprised if Thunder Ranch did not.

    If it were me, a pair of 4”, 45 ACP revolvers would go with me to the classes. Maybe the 22-4 Thunder Ranch Model.

    Kevin
     
  11. mcb

    mcb Member

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    I have mixed feeling on revolver specific self-defense classes. On one hand if it's a beginners class and you are new to revolvers that would be a good way to to learn good methods and get proficient with the hardware. On the other hand if your looking for training for real world applications (of which I though Gunsite, Thunder Ranch etc were focus on, more so than how to manipulate particular firearms) you better be able to do what needs independent of your weapon choices because when the shooting starts going two ways you will no longer get any special allowance for your choice of equipment.
     
  12. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    There is a lot of truth to the above.

    Gunsite and Thunder Ranch are Gunfighting schools rather than Shooting schools (Front Sight is an example of the latter)...you'd get a lot more out of a class at either of the former if you arrived with some competency and familiarity with your chosen platform. It isn't that you need to be able to perform a sub-2 second reload, but you shouldn't be taking 5 seconds either; you don't need to have accurate .20 splits, but your accurate splits should be closer to .25sec than .33sec (that is 4 shots per sec as opposed to 3)
     
  13. george29

    george29 Member

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    It was measured at times in seconds. Some drills were Tap & Rack, others were tactical reloads reholstering a half empty magazine to be used half full in the next string. There were a few others iirc.
    I was using a G19X with 3 seventeen round mags and I was at times falling behind. Only center mass hits count and in a timed drill only the amount of holes counted, nobody cared if you fumbled or were slow or you never fired the weapon before, just like in real life.
    50 yards, 25 yards, 7 yards and point blank without aiming but instinctive shooting with weak hand and strong arm in a reflective position.
    Training was by retired APD (Albuquerque) and County Sherriff's. Qualification was for state approved Level III Security.
    I think I qualified in the low to mid 90% due to a center mass miss and a few strings where my weapon and mags were empty (clock still ticking). Tactical reload of 4-5 rounds (in a 17 round magazine) and getting back to work.
    They weren't playing around and 100 rounds goes really fast under stress. Qualification was based on 1 point per hit, 100 rounds in total.
    Imagine 6 for sure in today's scenario of dealing with a serious SD situation and thinking "the experts say that statistically the gunfight is over in 1.3 bullets so my 6 shooter with maybe a reload should be fine."
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
  14. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    I expected it to be in seconds. I just shot at a local match over the weekend that was 8 shots on two targets at 7 yards. The targets were each partially behind a non-threat (No Shoot) target and you had to engage each target with 2 shots to the body and 2 to the head...but you started with only 3 rounds loaded in your gun; so everyone had to reload. The guy who won the stage, shooting a Glock 34, did it in 9.02 seconds; I did it in 9.93 seconds shooting my 4" 686....this included reaction to a buzzer and draw time.

    Tap & Rack is real easy with a revolver, we just pull the trigger again

    A Tac Reload is dumping the rounds into your hand and then into a pocket...partially fill a empty speedloader afterwards. Moonclips are even easier...eject into hand, drop into pocket, grab from pocket and reload later.

    50 yards and 25 yards is where a revolver really comes into it's own. The DA trigger stroke helps steady the sights on target and avoids the temptation to jerk the trigger
     
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  15. mcb

    mcb Member

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    Does anyone still teach tac/retention reloads? Even IDPA pretty much dropped that silliness.
     
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  16. george29

    george29 Member

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    I love my revolvers, don't get me wrong, but I've had cylinder jam more than once, fouling, burnt powder under the star ejector, crane misalignment, crane screw coming undone and locking in place, timing, high primer, unfired bullets came loose from crimp locking the cylinder. I've even had a case bulge that locked up the gun.
    I really like revolvers but FTF and FTE in SA's are usually quick and easy to fix whilst a revolver cylinder, once locked up is useless in a gunfight.
    On duty, I carried 1911 and BHP and they too experienced failures but not as dramatic as my revolver failures.
    I now carry a Beretta because of it's reliability (no FTE because the barrel is exposed).
    In all my years of service I've never actually met someone who was out of the fight or had to retreat due to a jam in a semi.
    So I respectfully disagree that Tap and Rack with a revolver will always be as simple as just pull the trigger.
    Having said that, if you can shoot and load a revolver as fast as a SA, you're definitely in a different class.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
  17. george29

    george29 Member

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    Certain units still teach both, my range instructor let's the individual decide. Me? I'm clumsy and dropped both mags and then reloaded the wrong one. RWR worked better for me.
     
  18. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    My first issue gun was a M-15, which the department later upgraded to a M-13. My personal duty gun, when I was required to carry a revolver was a tuned 4" Python.

    I have to admit that I've never experienced the cylinder jamming from fouling, certainly not with the factory ammo that we qualified with and carried. Crane misalignment seems like it would be a matter of abuse, crane screw coming undone would be a matter of regularly checking the screws. I did that at the start of each week, along with checking tightness of the ejector rod. I learned to check for high primers in the box from shooting PPC...that's also when you find reversed primers.

    The only jams I've every experienced with a revolver were due to shooting reloaded ammo, getting a squib, and having the bullet lodge between the cylinder and the barrel. The easy solution to that is applying enough crimp to prevent the bullet from moving when there is only a primer present.

    Tap & Rack is performed when there is a 1) Failure to Feed, 2) Failure to Eject, or 3) Failure to Fire. It is performed when you press the trigger and don't get a bang.

    With a revolver 1) and 2) are moot points. If you press the trigger, the hammer falls, and you don't get a bang...I'm pretty sure the accepted first response is to pull the trigger again

    Not really....some folks aren't really that fast inserting magazines. The fastest revolver reload I've ever seen was 1.47secs using moonclips...but he was left handed...I'm nothing close to that fast

    Reloading with a speedloader can be very fast if performed smoothly. I hardly give up anything to 1911 shooters with their single stack magazines. The disadvantage of reloading a revolver is that you are reloading fewer rounds each time. I could keep up with a G34, on the stage a mention above, because we were both required to reload and round capacity didn't play a role
     
  19. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    They still teach it at Gunsite, but that's because they are still 1911-centric. All the local LE departments have gone away from teaching it.

    The only time I see it anymore is in IDPA competition where it is used to approach longer strings of fire with a full magazine
     
  20. mcb

    mcb Member

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    I have to say that it's sort of disconcerting that anyone is still teaching it IMHO.

    WRT IDPA the changes in the 2017 IDPS rule-book I don't believe a stage can required a reload with retention (tactical reload) on the clock anymore. A competitor is allowed to execute a retention reload if they choose to but its can no longer be required by the stage.

    From a real world practical situation I can't think of anytime that someone would do a retention reload under pressure. Sure you might do one when the bullets have stopped flying but the idea of doing one when time is critical is silly and not grounded in any sort of reality.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
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  21. george29

    george29 Member

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    Luckily, all these problems presented themselves at the range. Sometimes it was a new gun problem and sometimes it was the desert atmosphere I live in. My S&W 65 ejector tends to allow spent casings to fall under the ejector if I don't point upwards whilst ejecting, a common problem with many DA revolvers. Reloading a magazine into the gun doesn't require this. In my early days I never had to fire my revolver in SD so it was always a non-issue and I was ignorant of the delicacies of the mechanics of a revolver. I have had to use my BHP in an incident and even though I only carried 10 in a 13 round mag I didn't need to do a tac reload as it was over after 3 rounds.
    Today, I just voice my opinion of things that I experienced and being basically crippled with arthritis I no longer have a strong opinion. I just go with what works for me now not having to run into the fray anymore.
    My 65 and 640 still perform as HD, the 340 is my BUG, and even though I'm a 1911 guy I sold them all and went with a Beretta which for me was like being Chevy guy but realizing Ford is better (which it's not) but not owning either (Jeep, Dodge, Honda).
    All I'm saying is really, yes, a revolver is more reliable until it jams, once jammed, it's usually out of the fight. A SA jams more often (maybe) but that doesn't put it out of the fight (usually).
    My research on the issue, (I have loads of time) is that revolvers have way more possibilities of jamming than a SA because there are more moving parts that are delicate in nature and something as small as a speck of sand can cause a malfunction which in a gunfight isn't a good thing. A revolver has a few advantages that a SA doesn't which is why my BUG is a revolver. But in a gunfight, I want the advantages of a SA. I think that I read once (long ago, could have been Skeeter or one of other old timers) that many old west lawmen switched to SA when they could.
    If John Taffin is a member, maybe he could chime in. I would love to hear his opinion today. We've lost way too many old timers who were actually working that era (really miss those old timers, and I'm pushing 60, jeez) and my opinion is just that. But I do love revolvers.
     
  22. george29

    george29 Member

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    20190626_104712.jpg

    BTW, just running out to check on my friend living off grid in the desert about 10 minutes from me.
    Not taking the Beretta ;)
     
  23. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    I carry a revolver. Why? Because for nearly 5 decades I have owned, used, competed with and depended upon revolvers. I have tried self loaders but never got as proficient as with the wheel gun. Problems with the self loader require thought not reaction.

    Fortunately for the schools, there are fewer and fewer like me. Fortunately for me, I am proficient with the revolver.

    Kevin
     
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  24. D.B. Cooper

    D.B. Cooper Member

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    I'l chime in. I have shot my revolver (44 Spl in a 4.2" Ruger Redhawk) in two classes now. (Intermdiate Handgun and Advanced Handgun) I didn't travel to Gunsite, but the instructors have, and that probably influenced the courses I took.

    Here is my take on my experience.

    First of all, yes, you're going to need a LOT of speedloaders. I have 20 of the HKS type. If you're shooting a 38/357, I would suggest the Safariland Comp style. Faster/easier etc. I agree with the comment that stuff gets dropped and left behind and moon clips can get stepped on. If you want to run clips, bring spares. I had everything loaded up the night before. We fired around 75 rounds before we'd break to reload mags. I always had loaded speedloaders left over when I gathered up and reloaded my empty speedloaders.

    Second, you do need some skill an proficiency-especially with reloads. I'm running about an 8 sec reload and it's too slow. We did some multiple target drills where the instructor wold call it which of several targets to engage. I did fine for the first 6 targets, then I always missed a couple as a I reloaded. I never tried to "make up" targets I hadn't fired at.

    Third, be prepared to adapt your styles of shooting for odd scenarios. For example, I learned that I can't do a Massad Ayoob stress-fire reload while lying on my side behind a car tire. I can't get the ammo high enough and the gun at a downward angle to load the ammo. I also learned that a truly weak-handed reload for me causes the brass to fall back under the ejector star. Etc etc etc.

    Fourth, and this is probably the single most important piece you should take away from this: You will fire in excess of 350 rounds in a single day. Your revolver will need to be cleaned or it will start to lock up. When they break for lunch, go clean your forcing cone, cylinder face, ejector and star, and recoil plate. Also clean your chambers. (Mine were so dirty that, afterward, I noticed that magnum cartridges wouldn't go all the way in.) I didn't do that, and by the time I got to about 350 rounds, my gun was locking up so bad it wouldn't turn, wouldn't open, and I had strike the right side of the cylinder with the palm of my hand to get it to open.

    Speaking of which, someone commented on the idea that you will miss out on learning autoloader-specific training on clearing malfunctions. True, but if that's important to you, just being an autoloader with you and use it for that portion. Really, that portion is so short and so simple, all you need do is watch, learn, and the try it at home.

    Lastly, I would definitely bring a back up gun and ammo. But I would say that regardless of what primary gun I chose.
     
  25. D.B. Cooper

    D.B. Cooper Member

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    Gunsite offers one revolver specific course per year. I've never seen or heard of a Thunder Ranch revolver course. (Doesn't mean it doesn't exist.)

    Massad Ayoob and Grant Cunningham are both traveling around the country giving classes at various gun ranges/clubs.
     
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