The Virtues of the Revolver

Discussion in 'Revolver Handguns' started by gunzilla, Aug 28, 2011.

  1. gunzilla

    gunzilla New Member

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    http://grabagun.com/blog/

    When I open my gun safe my eyes fall upon several categories of guns and their various subcategories, somewhat in the same way that we breakdown vehicles into two broad groups: trucks (and their sub groups) and passenger vehicles (and their sub groups). A major handgun category that I would like to comment on is the revolver. A group that I believe has a lot to offer but has been overlooked by new and younger shooters due to the popularity of the Wonder Nines and their ilk.

    One of the great virtues of the revolver is that it is consistently reliable. Well maybe no gun is consistently reliable; after all it’s a mechanical device and therefore subject to malfunction. But for me the revolver comes as close to being one hundred percent reliable one hundred percent of the time. It is a weapon that can not only be counted upon to fire when asked to, but also extremely simple to operate and therefore does not require a complicated manual of arms to master.

    Should you ever need to use your revolver to protect yourself and/or your family, you’ll want SIMPLE to OPERATE to be synonymous with AIM and squeeze. A revolver has no safeties to disengage, no slides to rack, no magazines to insert (and then feel obligated to “tap the heel” to ensure that it is properly seated), and most importantly there are no magazines to lose. No magazine. No gun.

    You also do not have to concern your self with a plethora of causes on why your semi-auto failed to fire, especially if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. If your revolver doesn’t fire, pull the trigger again. Hearing a click when you want to hear a bang can be a deafening sound of the wrong kind. Without stovepipes to fret about and with no “what-to-do-now” procedures to memorize, you have freed yourself for more important matters to ponder…like surviving. A revolver can even be fired from inside your COAT pocket, with the emphasis being on COAT pocket and not pant pocket. It can even be fired when flush up against your adversary’s body—something a semi-auto can’t do, at least not more than once. Remember that with a revolver you need only to Draw, Aim, Fire (hear bang) and re-holster.

    Another important virtue of the revolver is that it is NOT ammo sensitive like many semi-autos can be. If you can shove the proper cartridge into the revolver’s cylinder you’re good-to-go. A revolver will shoot snake loads, target loads, and full power defense loads with equal aplomb. Most semi-autos (if not all) are somewhat ammo sensitive. I know from practical experience that my .22 semi-auto is very ammo sensitive. Fortunately what it likes to digest can be bought at Wal-Mart. And what it doesn’t like to digest I run through my revolver. Don’t you just love it when there is an easy fix close at hand?

    A very important plus for the revolver is that it can be kept loaded indefinitely. There are no springs to stress like there is in a magazine. Yes, I know that magazines can be kept fully depressed for years without any ill effect. But I don’t know anyone who feels comfortable doing it. I know I don’t. It must be the fear of having your magazine fatigued at the wrong time. No fear of that happening with a magazine-less revolver.

    If you need to check your revolver to see if it is loaded, just open the cylinder or look in the cylinder gap for brass cartridge rims. You also have the added bonus in knowing that after you’ve check the cylinder for ammo, there isn’t a round hiding in the breech. This type of error can be easily made with a semi-auto with serious consequences.

    You can customize the grips on a revolver a whole lot easier than on a semi-auto. You can go from small J-frame style grips to large target grips in every material known to mankind…or just make your own grips if you think you need another hobby.

    Do you reload? If you do then you won’t have to look far to find your brass because they are all in your cylinder just waiting to be plucked out. It doesn’t get much easier than that, does it?

    Yes, it does. Especially if you think it’s important to clean your gun after every shooting session. It’s an axiom of mine that ‘A clean gun is a happy gun. And a happy gun owner is one that has an easy gun to clean.’ Revolvers are easy to clean because there are no parts to disassemble so there are no parts to loose or springs to spring away as can happen with semi-autos. So with little free time to spare these days, having an easy gun to clean is welcomed. This is a win-win situation for gun and gun owner. What more can you ask of any gun?

    I’m sure there are many of you saying that I purposely overlooked a major flaw in the revolver: namely its inability to hold more than six rounds while the wonder nines can hold up to 18 rounds. Balderdash I say. Watch for my future comments on why I don’t feel under gunned while carrying my six-shoot Colt Detective Special as well as my views concerning the virtues of the semi-auto pistol.


    http://grabagun.com/blog/
     
  2. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    in my experience when a revolver jams (and they do jam) it usually takes a gunsmith to unstick em safely. jams usually involve very slightly out of spec cases or overlong bullets or debris in the action. semi auto generally just racking the slide back in business.

    with semis normally you dont wait till the last second to load it. same with revolvers. lose the speedoader your not getting a fast reload. many semi autos have no external safeties that get in the way of grab and go while offering superior triggers to the long stiff da pull that really gets in the way of accurate shots under stress.

    revolvers have to rotate the cylinder to fire. semis do not. get pocket lint debris or fabric caught in the cylinder your not getting any shots off. a revolver is the last thing i would rely on to go boom from a pocket. with a semi it will go boom AT LEAST once

    if a round is out of spec it wont fit in a revolver anymore than it will in a semi auto. none of my defensive semis are the least bi sensitive. in fact both my colt 1911s can cycle empty fired cases

    revolvers have springs are very sensitive ti cylinder timing issues. dont have that worry of wondering how "off" the cylinder timing is and fretting about the next shot blowing the top strap off.

    sprins dont fatigue frome staying compressed. im using magazines in my 1911s that were issued and used in combat on guadalcanal korea and vietnam... got em when the army was tossing em to replace with m9 mags. courtesy of the 25th infantry dumpsters. still function perfectly 70 years later.

    no such thing as an unloaded gun. many semis come with loaded chamber indicators

    wide variety of grips for most guns especially 1911s glocks and sigs

    granted its easier prolly one thing ill give ya lol

    i find my colt python harder to clean as i have to be super careful not to ding the muzzle since revolvers cant be cleaned from chamber. cleaning the cylinders is not fun as its easy to forget where ya were in the order. since the revolver barfs hot gasses and molten bullet material all over itself cleaning the exterior can be a real challenge. semis are far far easier to detail strip for a good cleaning and inspection. take a revolver apart and you can ruin the delicate watch like timing causing your wheel gun to kaboom from out of time lockup if not put together right.

    i think you overlooked more than capacity ;)
     

  3. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

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    I've had probably two dozen or so mechanical malfunctions in about 2500 rounds with my Raging Bull (two I've had to fix myself with careful filing, and one that required the gun to go back to the factory), while I never had a single one with my PT92. Revolvers are, in my observation and experience, far more sensitive to both wear and debris, not to mention abuse and neglect. At this point, if I had to take one handgun to the end of the earth, the only way I'd choose a revolver over a quality auto would be if the Revo was handcuffed to my wrist.

    And this is coming from someone whose primary defensive weapon is a .44mag Revolver, and usually is a lone voice in support of revolvers over autos :p .

    Yes, revolvers do have a few advantages, which you listed. For a reloader, there are fantastic possibilities. I could drive a 180gr bullet to 2000fps, or lob it out at 600fps, and the gun would fire all six shots just the same. If someone is unwilling to familiarize themselves with their firearm, a revolver does indeed have a simpler manual of arms and gives less to go wrong in an emergency. Finally, generally speaking, revolvers are typically capable of greater power and more accuracy than autos, save for the Desert Eagles I suppose.

    But I don't think any revolver could come anywhere close to making it through the Glock Torture Test:

    Glock 21 Torture Test - Theprepared.com


    And honestly if I could have done it all over again, I'd have bought a Glock 20 and added a 6" Longslide, instead of getting my .44mag Raging Bull.
     
  4. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    My preference and EDC is an autoloader but my heart is taken by a S&W Wheel Gun!
     
  5. dallascj

    dallascj New Member

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    I don't really think about one style being 'better'. I have semi-autos and revolvers, but I prefer revolvers.
     
  6. OC357

    OC357 New Member

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    Magnum revolvers are my passion.

    OC
     
  7. northhike

    northhike New Member

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    The age old debate rages on. ;). For both revolvers and semi-autos the reliability and quality of guns has increased quite a bit. It's really a matter of preference now. Arguments can be made for both sides. I prefer to own both and enjoy both for their design. My gun of choice for carry is a sp101 in 357. I like the gun...it's a tank...and I am a fan of the 357 round and also like that I can fling some .38's out of it as well. To each his own....but the reality is that most of us will never need the gun for self defense...and that's good.
     
  8. hiwall

    hiwall Active Member

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    No matter how many autos that I own or shoot, or double action revolvers, nothing can match the feeling you get when you hold a single action revolver.
     
  9. jismail

    jismail Member

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    I always fall back on the thought of who may be potentialy using this weapon in a HD situation, and since the least trained person in my household is my wife, she is the one I want to ensure can easily manage the weapon and have the best chance of success should she ever need to use it. For that reason, the HD weapon by our bedside is a S&W .357 because in a full panic mode, she will most likely forget all the instructions that go with preping an auto for firing, and will instead be more likely to just 'point and squeeze', and if that is all she remembers to do, with the revolver, it's enough.....
     
  10. Trez

    Trez Well-Known Member

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    Nothing will ever replace my Medusa!! :p
     
  11. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    Im along the same lines of thinking except my wife doesnt likerevolvers. She does like semi autos without safeties so has decided to get a xdm. She shoots autos very well as i spend time training her.

    She has a very difficult timeloading a revolver. With an auto its simple for her to shove a mag in and rack the slide or thumb the release. She seems to get that better than trying to line up a speedloader and twist or put shells in one at a time. Unloading empty shells is somethimg she tlstruggles with also. Its so frustrating for her she refuses to even touch my colt python anymore even if i load it for her.

    It all comes down to training. Revolvers seem easy but they arent any more simple or difficult than a semi auto. Just different.
     
  12. orangello

    orangello New Member

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    You gotta admit, they are true to their name; part of them revolves.
     
  13. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    very well said! as i own many semi-auto pistols, i still like the revolver just because of the many fine points you have made about them. my down and dirty go to pistol is a 4" taurus 44magnum tracker. love shooting it, and love to reload for it. very informative about the fine vitues of the revolver for the younger generations who have really only been exposed to the semi-auto pistols, and us older ones who have forgotten them and gotten caught up in all the hype of the new pistols on the market.
     
  14. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

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    Ain't that the truth! I've done the repetition of reloading my revolver at least 1000 times in the last couple months, and I'm still not as fast as I could be reloading an auto :p (and this doesn't take into account that an auto can hold like 2-3x as much ammo :p ).
     
  15. CubDriver_451

    CubDriver_451 New Member

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    Kinda surprised that nobody mentioned this (or possibly I missed it, if it was mentioned) but when it comes to the combination of power in a truly packable platform, the revolver easily wins. This is not to say that there are not rapid shooters that are chambered in powerful magnum class cartridges, but they are few and typically very large. The smallest that readily comes to mind is the L.A.R. Grizzly, chambered in .45 Win. Mag. Not exactly a small gun, and certainly not more powerful than some of the big bore revolvers.

    The caveat to this point is that to get into this class of revolvers is mostly a custom built endeavor. As examples, take a look at what cartridges like the .475 and .500 Linebaugh are capable of from custom built five shooters. 400-440 grain bullets approaching 1400fps. These are truly packable powerhouses!

    Even the ancient .45 Colt, in a modern revolver of robust construction turns in impressive numbers. A 4 5/8" barreled Ruger Blackhawk can launch a 335gr hardcast bullet to velocities excedding 1000fps. This from a package that tips the scales at a little over 40 ounces.

    Another benefit is the flexibilty, particularly in the big bores, that revolvers offer. I have a BFR with a 5 1/4" barrel, chambered in .475 Linebaugh that is a great example. A modest load pushes a 420gr bullet to about 800fps. This is very easy on the shooter. So much so, that my 12 year old niece has a ball with this gun. Using the same bullet, I can up the velocity to well over 1300fps for those times when I may need to tumble a charging T-rex.

    I am not aware of any powerful auto loaders that can approach the flexibility of loading that a revolver can, or that can match the power levels possible in a similar sized package.

    JW
     
  16. OC357

    OC357 New Member

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    My Uncle issued me a 1911 and it was easy to use and a sweet shooter. I have owned several autoloaders and had fun with them but went back to the magnums as I guess I am just an old revolver guy at heart.

    What I like about the .357 and .44 magnums is their versitility. You want full-house loads use .357 or .44 magnum ammo. You want to down-load, use .38 or .38+p or .44 etc, so you have choices right out of the box. Maybe slower to speed load and less capacity but I never had a problem putting all 6 on target.

    Just the opinion of an old revolver guy.

    OC
     
  17. Lindenwood

    Lindenwood New Member

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    Oh, I'm right there with you on the versatility of the cartridges. The ability to have power and accuracy not matched by any auto besides a Desert Eagle was the main reason I got my Raging Bull. I don't load with magnum powders, but I know if I wanted, I could hunt varmints with 180gr bullets coming out at 2000fps, or take on a charging bare with a 300gr bullet at 1300-1400fps. Then I can turn around and load 200gr bullets at 700fps for a *****cat load from my 4lb gun (that is still probably about as effective as a .38sp :p ).

    But, even still, a 10mm auto could do a lot of what revolvers can. A 180gr hardcast at 1400fps (obviously a max loading) is nothing to sneeze at for anything under 500lbs, but a simple change of the recoil spring and a 155gr bullet can be pushed out at a leisurely 850fps for light plinking.
     
  18. magnumman

    magnumman New Member

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    If I could get a .357 magnum in semi auto with a 2 inch barrel, I hight consider carrying it. Until then, I will take my 5 shot revolver (or 8 if you want to try to get into my house) over your 18+ rounds of 9mm in your bull**** plastic glock. end of story
     
  19. orangello

    orangello New Member

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  20. CubDriver_451

    CubDriver_451 New Member

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    Lindenwood,

    I'm not arguing that there are not potent and versatile auto pistol cartridges out there. 10mm is an excellent example. I am a huge fan of the 10 and own three of them (6" S&W 610, Colt Delta Elite and my favorite, a custom built STI polymer frame with a commander length slide). However, the 10mm still falls well short of the performance envelope of many traditional revolver cartridges. The 10mm with maximum loads is nipping pretty close at the heels of a .41 mag. With 210gr bullets, and can cerainly be loaded down for small game and plinking. But, the disparity on the top end is where it gets left in the dust by any of the larger revolver cartridges, which can still be loaded down to very mild loads suitable for the same endeavors. This is not bashing the 10mm (or any other cartridge for that matter); it is simply recognizing the limits of the cartridge across its entire performance envelope.

    One of the reasons I am such a fan of the 10mm is exactly what you have already discussed. It is a very capable and versatile cartridge, and can be had in a platform that is easy to carry. A fine cartridge in every respect. Even with all of it's attributes though, it still won't do every thing that a 41mag will and falls well short of any of the larger calibers, both in power and overall performance envelope.

    To equal the performance of the big bore revolvers from an auto pistol, one pretty much has to step up in size to the point that packability starts to suffer. I have and still do own a wide variety of both revolvers and bottom feeders. I enjoy them all, but they all have their shortcomings. Any of them, used within their performance envelope, serves the shooter well if he does his part. My personal preference for many applications is a sturdy single action revolver in a big bore caliber. I feel this gives me the broadest range of utility, but it would not be my first choice for such endeavors as concealed carry. For that, it's my STI commander in 10mm!

    JW