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pipegold 05-29-2013 01:22 PM

accidental firing of gun
Hi, I'm writing a novel. There is a scene where I need a gun (revolver) to go off accidentally, resulting in someone else (who is held hostage) in being shot and killed. I've got a couple of unsatisfactory ways that this could happen, so wanted to try and get some inspiration from people who really know guns (I don't - I wish I did, but I'm a Brit and we've been mostly disarmed, tragically). So a couple of questions...
How difficult is it to actually pull the trigger on a (circa 1940/1950) revolver? Does it take some effort or is it only slight pressure that could easily be accidentally effected to result in firing?
Has anyone accidentally fired a gun, or know someone else who had - how did that come about?
Thanks for your help folks.

trip286 05-29-2013 01:33 PM

The trigger pull on a double action revolver (meaning that pulling the trigger pulls the hammer to the rear and releases it) is pretty stout. That's why you don't hear of many negligent discharges with them.

However, if someone were to cock the hammer first, such as to intimidate someone (seen in movies all the time), the trigger pull is greatly reduced. My old revolver had approximately a 1.5 pound trigger pull in single action. This is considered a "hair trigger", or close to it, by many. I only adjusted it that light in an attempt to get the double action trigger pull as low as possible.

pipegold 05-29-2013 01:40 PM

Thanks, trip286, that's very interesting - and helpful

rifleman77 05-29-2013 02:10 PM

I actually have had this happen a long time ago I accidentally fired a .357 trying to manually decock the hammer and it slipped off my thumb at the range.

thdrduck 05-29-2013 02:34 PM

Wouldn't some of the older revolvers go off if the hammer was resting on a live round and was bumped or dropped?

trip286 05-29-2013 02:41 PM


Originally Posted by thdrduck (Post 1261281)
Wouldn't some of the older revolvers go off if the hammer was resting on a live round and was bumped or dropped?

Yes. Takes a pretty sharp rap to set it off, but not implausible at all.

c3shooter 05-29-2013 02:42 PM

Agree that attempting to lower the hammer manually (and being a big enough doofus to still be pointing the gun at someone) CAN- with some gun designs- result in an unintended discharge- if the hammer slips, and you are holding down the trigger.

As Trip described, a single action revolver (such as the Colt single Action Army) has a fairly light trigger pull WHEN IT IS COCKED. When it is NOT cocked, pulling the trigger does nothing.

A double action revolver (such as the Smith & Wesson Liberty Models we loaned to Britain in WW 2) has a fairly stiff long trigger pull when not cocked. However, once cocked, the trigger moves only a short distance to fire, and the pull is MUCH lighter.

There have been unintended discharges when one attempts to reholster a gun and having your finger on the trigger- holster pushes finger, finger pushes trigger, BANG.

It is also possible to get an UB (unintended Bang) by grabbing the barrel of a gun being held by someone else, and pulling it toward yourself. If cocked, you are pulling the trigger against the finger on it.

c3shooter 05-29-2013 02:44 PM

And yes, the original Colt Single Action was made to be carried hammer down on an EMPTY chamber. Blow to hammer=Bang. Same for the older Ruger Singles- have been reworked due to lawyers.

pipegold 05-29-2013 03:10 PM

Thanks for all this, everyone. I've tried to find something on this S&W 'Liberty' model loaned to Britain in WW2, I can't find anything on it. It would be a good contender for me, timewise, as the gun belonged to the shooter's Brit father which he could have 'appropriated' from/after WW2. I can only find 'N-frame' loaned during WW1. Got any links on the one that was loaned during WW2? Cheers.

pipegold 05-29-2013 03:16 PM

C3Shooter, did you mean the Victory M10 model?

If you did, can you clarify... If I had all safety off, and finger off the trigger, but pulled back the hammer to cock, and it slipped - could it discharge from the hammer hitting?

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