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Why single action?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by UltimateReloader, Feb 27, 2010.

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  1. UltimateReloader

    UltimateReloader Member

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    OK all- I wanted to discuss reasons why people buy/like/shoot single action revolvers. I've shot a couple, and have never warmed up to them for a couple reasons- mostly loading/unloading, the ergonomics do not work for me, and I prefer SA/DA for carry reasons.

    Off the top of my head, I can think of a couple specific reasons that people would buy a single action revolver:
    1. Wild west nostalgia
    2. Specific cowboy action type events and shooting fun

    Are there other practical reasons? I'm not saying the two above don't warrant purchasing one, just interested to know more about the single action mystique.
     
  2. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    Just for the simplicity and elegance of it. It's the kind of gun Jesus would have carried.

    A single action Army in .45 Colt or .357 Magnum (especially one with a transfer bar or other means of safely carrying all 6 chambers loaded) is a *lot* of firepower in a small robust package.
     
  3. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    You're right in that for carry purposes, DA makes a lot more sense.
    For hunting purposes however, I like the SA. There are less moving parts, which means less to go wrong. It's simple and reliable. Not saying DAs aren't reliable, it's just I feel SAs are a bit more durable.

    And yes, wild west nostalgia may have a bit to do with my preference to them as well.
     
  4. DammitBoy

    DammitBoy Member

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    They point and shoot better.

    They look better.

    They were good enough for John Wayne.
     
  5. Pilot

    Pilot Member

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    I just shoot a SAA better than other revolvers similar to what Dammitboy said.
     
  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I just like old Colt 4 3/4" SAA's.
    Nostalga, history, craftsmanship, beauty, collector value, etc.

    All rolled up in the lightest serious caliber big-bore handgun you can carry all day and not know it's on your belt until you need it.

    Yes, I know about the titanium unobtainium fly-weight DA guns being made now in .44 Magelnum.
    (More power then needed to kill anything needing killing in the part of the world I stomp around in. And unlike the Colt SAA, most unpleasent to shoot.)

    rc
     
  7. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Member

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    Well...I would submit that if someone needs their DA revolver in a very, precise shooting moment he will probably thumb-cock the gun and take that precision shot in SA mode, anyway.

    Some like the way the single-action recoils upward, instead of more of a rearward thrust of the DA gun.

    Some just like old-school.

    Or to borrow from Mike Rowe: "Why not a single action?"

    Q
     
  8. shotgunjoel

    shotgunjoel Member

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    Yeah, because that's what was required for the film. Did he use one outside of movies?
     
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Yes, he did, as well as almost every other type of gun.

    John Wayne was a NRA life member, NRA spokesman, & gun collector, among his other fine traits.

    rc
     
  10. Confederate

    Confederate Member

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    That's a great question, and there's no great answer, unfortunately. My guess is that much of it has to do with childhood nostalgia. I had cowboy guns when I was a kid and there's must something familiar with the size and shape of the guns.

    When I was going to school in Utah, I sold a very nice telescope I had (a spotting scope, actually). I then used the money to buy my first -- and still favorite -- revolver, a Ruger Security-Six. It was $169. I'd never heard of Ruger before and had only shot a handgun once...at night and in a quarry. All I saw, alas, was a muzzle blast, but it was fun, even if the gun was a Llama 9mm.

    But reality soon hit me like a brick bat. The Ruger was just too expensive to shoot. So I went back to the store and told the pawn shop owner that I needed something cheap to shoot and that I didn't have a whole lot of money for the gun. He sold me a brand new RG single action .22LR cowboy gun that reminded me a lot of my childhood toy (and it was almost the same weight!)

    Snap4.gif

    My RG Single Action.

    Sure, the gun had fixed sights. Sure it had an aluminum frame. And yes, I had to tighten the plastic grips every time I cleaned the gun.

    It cost me $65 and I loved it. I'd throw it in the trunk with a few boxes of .22LR ammo and I got to where I could hit almost anything with it. I eventually sold it to buy a Ruger Standard Auto for $92 and have missed my RG ever since. So much so that I bought a Ruger Single-Six when I couldn't stand it any longer.

    Much nicer gun with wood grips, beautiful fit and finish. It's heavier than my RG and is a pain to load and unload, yet it's one of my funnest guns to shoot. How could you NOT like it? There's nothing like getting it out of the safe on a wet, windy day and watching a Howard Hawks film. And it's fun and cheap to shoot.

    I love it.

    RugerSingle-Six_5.gif

    Rugers_MkII_SS_3-1.gif

    .
     
  11. JohnWS

    JohnWS Member

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    The first revolver I had was a Smith 686 , 6in. barrel , single and double action. I found right off shooting it single action the trigger pull was far lighter and I could hit the target far more often. Soon after the manual cocking became almost automatic. After a few years of Cowboy Shooting it is almost impossible for me to shoot my Smith or any other revolver double action. Speaking for myself I would rather hit the target the first time , I guess it is all what you are used to.
     
  12. BullRunBear

    BullRunBear Member

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    I like the historical aspects of single actions. There's nostalgia. My first guns were a set of Roy Rogers cap pistols when I was five years old. :)

    On the practical side, they point more naturally for me and are more comfortable, especially with heavy loads. And I really enjoy the slower, more deliberate pace of the single action. But then most of my shooting is with muzzle loaders and CB revolvers.

    This doesn't keep me from appreciating my Model 10, K-38, K-22, .357 Redhawk, or Model 29. ;)

    Jeff
     
  13. cottonmouth

    cottonmouth Member

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    For us reloaders who have Blackhawks and like the hot loads is another reason. They'll take loads that'll make a S&W run and hide!

    J.B.
     
  14. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    And I don't think I'd want to clean a double-action after shooting blackpowder :eek:
     
  15. The Filthy Spitoon

    The Filthy Spitoon Member

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    I hear they are faster to draw and to get on target with for the first shot. Don't know about that, but they sure are comfortable in the hand, roll with recoil, and are "long and lean", making magnum DA revolvers feel clunky and unbalanced in comparison.

    I did an experiment with my Blackhawk and S&W 625. I wanted to see how quickly I could dry-fire the guns six times. In the best of all worlds, involving no recoil whatsoever, and aiming at a pillow 5 feet away.

    At least with me thumb-cocking the SA for every shot, it is a dramatically slower rate of fire than double action on my 625. I would not want to fade down another with a DA sixgun or a semi-auto handgun, as even a neophyte could kill me 3 times over before I got off 2 or 3 shots.

    I love shooting my SA's, but keep in mind that they are more popular today because of 1950's westerns and Rugers - Colt couldn't sell any after WWII, and I believe suspended production for a time due to lack of interest in the guns. I think people thought like Jeff Cooper, who said the SA revolver was second-rate for target shooting and third-rate for defense.
     
  16. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Watch a Cowboy Action match some time if you think a SA can't be fired fast.

    And dumping a lot of rounds down range in a gun fight does not equal winning the gun fight. Spray & Pray = Shoot fast = Miss fast.

    rc
     
  17. Gunfighter123

    Gunfighter123 Member

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    Thats like asking "Why do ya like Redheads/Blondes/Etc."

    I agree and can shoot my SAs less then 1/10 a second slower then my S&W 610 or S&W 625 ---- EASY to empty { 5 rds.} out of a SA in less then 2.5 sec. --- check out this vid;

    http://www.spencerhoglund.com/files/DeucePistols249.wmv

    And Note that was for TEN Rds. thru Two revolvers in less then 3 seconds !!!!

    EDIT --- And ALL 10 HITS !!!!
     
  18. Surefire

    Surefire Member

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    SA IMO usually wins in pointability and balance

    To me, the Bisley style grip gets me right on target and fits my hand great.

    The classic SAA grip doesn't fit me as well, but it still points better and balances great compared to many DA.

    With this said, for most applications I prefer DA.
     
  19. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Generally speaking, people like single actions because they are so "shootable." They are also widely available in cartridges like .45 Colt, .44-40 and so on, which aren't that often seen in double actions. For me, the ideal centerfire hunting and woods revolver is a Ruger Blackhawk in .45 Colt.
     
  20. UltimateReloader

    UltimateReloader Member

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    This is a great discussion guys. It makes more sense to me now!
     
  21. jcowan

    jcowan Member

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    After owning and shooting guns for over 25 years, I bought my first Black powder gun, now I get it.Now I want a Blackhawk in 357. And besides it reminds me of my Fanner 50.
     
  22. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    My first revolver was a black powder .44 Remington replica.

    To me, single action is the default. I have DAO, DA/SA, and SA revolvers now, and I like them all.

    If you're going to shoot full-house .44 Magnum (or heavier) loads at relatively long distances, a heavy single action will be a good deal more comfortable than a modern DA revolver. I have both, and I shoot both, but when I run out of ammo with the DA, I'm usually glad. When I run out of ammo with the SA, I'm thinking, "Man, that's all?":)

    My carry wheelguns (town or trail) are all modern Smiths. One day, I may hunt with my long-barrel Super Blackhawk, but I don't live in a state where I can get a booklet full of doe tags, so I've backed off on the handgun-hunting bug I thought I had.:) But I like shooting single actions for the same reason as I like shooting over/under shotguns: they balance well, they point well, and they're a pleasure to shoot, in ways that other guns aren't.
     
  23. BK

    BK Member

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    Every revolver I grew up shooting was a single action Ruger of one type or another. All I own is single action. I think I've shot a Taurus M80, but I forget. I have shot a 642, and it was appauling compared to the Blackhawks that day. IOW, I haven't really had much trigger time with DA revolvers, so I can't offer much here. I know they work well, are accurate and fun. There is really only a fraction of a reason to get a DA revolver in my mind. I know not everyone would agree. I need to do more DA shooting I guess.
     
  24. The Filthy Spitoon

    The Filthy Spitoon Member

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    Silly me, I was firing the weapons one-handed.

    Got any videos on how quickly you can fire duelist?

    Would you still take an SA over a DA one handed? Is that really a good idea for us non-CAS folk?
     
  25. 461

    461 Member

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    I imagine there is a type of gun for every shooter. I've had every action type available and just kind of settled into the single action as the one that suits me. I find I go through a lot less ammo and tend to make every shot count, it just slows me down and lets me enjoy the shooting more. Now I know there is some amazing speed shooters with single actions, but I'm sure not one of them, I just like taking my time and letting the world wait.
     
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