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Garadex 02-24-2013 07:00 PM

Totally random question about reloading a revolver
So I've wondered why do SA revolvers have a loading gate on the right side while DA revolvers have cylinders that swing out to the left? :confused:

danf_fl 02-24-2013 07:35 PM

Ammo is manipulated by the right hand in both instances.

Sniper03 02-24-2013 07:59 PM


I think the reason is simply due to a progression in design over the years. They Revolvers started out with Black Powder Cap and Ball Pistols Like the Navy Officers Model and the 44 New Army styles. Later they became center fire but the basic design in the pistol stayed the same except for centerfire and metallic cartridges which improved the loading time and certainly was less mess. Then came some of the Break Down Revolvers once again speeding up the loading process. Then the swing out cylinders which accessories were made to even speed up reloading evem more like Speed Loaders and Strips. Then we have went from the cylinders for the biggest part to semi-auto pistols faster reloads and now more ammo capacity. The same occurred with military long guns for example. From Flint Locks to Percussion Caps, to Trap Doors and then for example the Winchester Repeating Rifles and Yelllow Boys simply a continual design progression and assumed improvement. So I guess I would have to say it was only due to style, the time period and demand for wanted improvement. Of course if you get a chance Google Jerry Miculek where he shoots a cylinder revolver you will be amazed! Recently he took a semi-auto AR Rifle and competed against a full auto AK and you can not tell the difference in the last shot when both weapons fired the same amount of rounds.
But I do still love the old single action Army Revolvers and wished I had one! I have only had Rugers that were similar in design!

FrontierTCB 02-25-2013 01:07 PM

Evolution !

JTJ 02-25-2013 02:07 PM

Most people are right handed and the firearms were designed around their needs. Lefties usually have to make do. The cylinder swings to the left because the latch is on the left. The loading gate is on the right because most shooters were right handed. Charter Arms makes a left handed revolver and the cylinder swings to the right.

Bob Wright 02-25-2013 04:09 PM

Hold a modern Colt or Smith & Wesson double action in your right hand, sort of in a shooting grip. Now activate the cylinder latch with yore thumb. What happens?


Now cradle the gun with your left hand and push the cylinder out with your fingers until you wrap your left thumb around it. You can either hold the cylinder stationary with your thumb, or (as I do) rotate it as you load fresh cartridges, loading the topmost chamber with each round.

That's just the way God intended.

Bob Wright

Bob Wright 02-25-2013 04:20 PM

Most revolvers have features incorporated into them dating back to their use by cavalry troopers, when reolading a revolver in the thick of battle while mounted on an unruly horse was expected. (This premise, incidentally, was among the objections raised when considering the adoption of the M1911 pistol.)

The S&W Schofield revolver is a classic example. The trooper held the reins in his left hand, the revolver in his right. He could pull back the barrel latch with his thumb and press the barrel against his thigh to break it open. He then transferred the open revolver to his left hand, still maintaining a grip on the reins. Now he could use his right hand to load cartridges into the cylinder and close the revolver.

Loading a single action Colt was somewhat the same, hold gun and reins in left hand, poke cartridges into the gun with your right hand.

Bob Wright

Garadex 02-26-2013 04:13 AM

Thank you for the clarification everyone, I just noticed it and it was bothering me.

JimRau 02-26-2013 04:02 PM


Originally Posted by Garadex (Post 1152142)
So I've wondered why do SA revolvers have a loading gate on the right side while DA revolvers have cylinders that swing out to the left? :confused:

Because Sam Colt was left handed!:)
Strange, but true!

Bob Wright 02-26-2013 07:14 PM


Originally Posted by JimRau (Post 1155108)
Because Sam Colt was left handed!:)
Strange, but true!

Strange, but not true. Urban myth.

Bob Wright

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