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Single Shot Target historical ???

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by WestKentucky, Nov 25, 2019.

  1. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    Looking at some really cool vintage pistols we start seeing an odd trend in modern single shot target guns.

    Colt Camp Perry, 22lr DA revolver style frame with a flat “cylinder”

    S&W Single Shot Target, 22lr, DA revolver style frame with a flat “cylinder”

    Ruger Hawkeye Pistol, .256winmag, DA revolver style frame with a flat “cylinder”

    Later S&W Single Shot Straight Line pistol, totally different gun akin to the Colt twist barrel Derringer’s

    At the time that these pistols were made, they were novelty guns purposely built to achieve a higher level of accuracy than a typical revolver would allow, but S&W and Colt already had a standing history with single action revolvers and could easily have produced a single action revolver variant which would have been simpler and cheaper. Why not? Especially Colt who had tons of leftover parts that they were looking for something to turn them into. And I find it ironic that S&W were facing criticism of the single shot target hammer arc which led to the straight line model and they looked no further than a Colt product in the Moore derringer for inspiration and now its a highly collectible gun.
     
  2. Monac

    Monac Member

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    The only gun on your list that is modern is the Ruger Hawkeye. It was made as a single shot because the 256 Win Mag, being a bottlenecked cartridge could not be made to work in a revolver.

    The others were made for a type of target shooting that was popular at the time they were made. It specifically called for a single-shot pistol. It was easy for S&W (and H&R and Hopkins & Allen) to modify their top-break guns as single-shots. Colt had to do the "flat cylinder" thing to turn a swing-out cylinder gun into a single-shot. This type of shooting may have been dwindling in popularity in the 1930's, and it seems to have faded out after World War II.

    BTW, H&R did make a special single-action-only version of their Model 999 revolver as the Model 199. I think I have heard of special single-action S&W target revolvers, but it was so long ago, I may be mistaken.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2019
  3. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    Modern is a relative term. I intended that to distinguish it from the black powder target guns an era prior. Still, why not use the SAA frame? Or an earlier more easily adapted S&W frame? Was it just that era where the D (actually E) frame colts and the K frame Smith were newer and more relevant and therefore more desirable for this purpose? Surely it was not actually to allow for double action fire.
     
  4. Monac

    Monac Member

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    The Colt SAA frame seems massively oversized for a single-shot 22. On the other hand, even the Colt Official Police is much larger than than needed for that purpose but at least it's a 41 frame (and a pretty low-powered 41 at that) and not a 45 frame. The other guns mostly started out as 5-shot 38 S&W top-breaks. The Straight Line was designed specifically for the purpose, like the similar Stevens Model 10, and came out much the same size as a Colt Woodsman.

    I never thought about it before, but I suppose that when revolvers were new (say the 1830's to the 1860's) they were not as accurate as the single-shot pistols they were replacing. I think this would have been because of their more loose-jointed construction. The early black powder Colts lacked a top strap, which made them less rigid, and also gave them no good place to put the back sight. The S&W's have tip-up frames with the front and rear sights being separated by a hinge. So the idea of a single-shot conversion of a revolver for target shooting made some kind of sense.

    But by the time of the Camp Perry or Perfected Model single shots, this difference must have dwindled a lot. It would take an excellent shot to get more out of a Camp Perry than an Officers Model Target, IMO. That may be why that whole style of gun faded away - it had lost its reason for being. The Ruger Hawkeye was intended for hunting, as I understand it, not target shooting.

    Like I said, I am sorry if I am missing your point.
     
  5. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    Actually I think your right on point. The point of the hinges, sights, and otherwise looseness is one I had not considered. That does seem to dictate a rigid frame rather than a tipping frame for ultimate accuracy, thus negating the topbreaks. I still question why no SAA single shots were made, but the SAA lock time and geometry seems to be both larger (heavier) and slower than a DA revolver which means more moving mass which moves the pistol and the extended time means it moves it for a longer period of time. And still, old tech vs “modern” tech at that time would be a consideration as well. Maybe someday I will win the lottery and buy a specimen of each to tinker with.
     
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  6. drk1

    drk1 Member

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    Thanks for your interesting post! The single shot 22 pistols which you mention, particularly the S&W and the Camp Perrry Colt weren't really "novelty guns" in the sense of having been created just to be different. They were the product of a particular type of competition that was in fashion from the late 19th century to sometime during the depression, which prevented many folks from putting relatively large sums of money into hobbies such as single shot 22 pistol competitions. Some folks say the demise happened in the late 1930s or early 1940s due to changes in the official rules of the competition, but if you look at the production of the pistols like the S&W, they pretty much stopped during the depression. In addition to the examples that you mention there was the Stevens Model 10, which was a successor to all of the earlier single shot Stevens 22 such as the Model 41 (yes, the model numbers don't make much sense) and probably the most well known the H&R USRA Model 22 single shot, which was officially the Model 195. This last one identifies the competition as the United States Revolver Association which was founded in 1900. For a little more information on the H&R 195 and the USRA matches, check out http://www.ogca.com/usra_single_shot_pistols.htm. Thanks again for posting.

    PS. Since you're from "Western Kentucky" you might be interested in one of the other types of single shot competitions from the early 20th century. In one of the firearms publications of the time, there was a club at Pee Wee Valley near Louisville, which challenged other clubs to try single shot turkey shoots at 100 yards with a .38. Not quite 22s, but still emphasizing the accuracy of single shot pistol shooting. Many folks thought it was a joke, but they were serious and sometime in the 1990s a fellow wrote an article in Gun Digest of one of those type publications where he actually tried it and discovered it was possible... and not a joke. I had the citiation to the original publication but can find it. A little searching on line might find it if you're interested. Thanks again.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
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  7. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    That’s pretty cool info and I will try to dig up some info on the 38 turkey shoots. Sounds right up my alley and I’m excited to even read about it.


    Perhaps this is similar to or references what you mentioned.
    https://books.google.com/books?id=C...8 turkey shoot 100 yards pewee valley&f=false
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 10:11 PM
  8. kBob

    kBob Member

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    I believe you will find that most of those club shooters used revolvers. The single shot aspect was that each shooter got a single shot, no warm up or do overs. You showed up and took your "single shot" and that counted.

    Do keep in mind the more recent purpose built hunting single shots like the Thompson Center and Merrill. A host of other companies around the mid 1970's through 1980's jumped on that band wagon. I thought shooting a .30-30 WCF round in a one handed target stance was a hoot!!! And on one's hind feet one learned one could drop .30-30 OR .44mag bullets into a shoe box at 100 yards all day long. I liked the Merrill, but the TC had more options available including a working shot pistol and ammo design and the ability to use both centerfire and rimfire (.22 s,l,lr or Magnum) from the same frame.

    For a bit one of the Italian firms was even making a Remington Rolling Block target pistol in .357 Mag in a small pistol action purpose made for that.

    The Tingle Muzzle loader came out and was copied a lot in I believe the late 1960s. It used a grip frame a lot like a 1860 Colt with in line ignition and a single action trigger. Won all sorts of BP standing one handed matches

    -kBob
     
  9. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    A Tingle type gun is high on my list of things to aquire. A rolling block is also cool. I just like the history of the designs and essentially want to collect specimens of as many types as possible. I truthfully don’t care if they are vintage or reproduction, and each variety has its merits.
     
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