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by 74novaman
Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:13 am
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 75
Views: 4183

Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

Want to watch someone default to their level of training instead of rise to the occasion?



Shot IDPA last weekend with the Model 10. I've been doing weak hand reloads for a couple of reasons this year. 1) didn't initially feel confident/comfortable doing the switch hand reload while running and gunning. 2) I've always carried my semi auto reloads left side only 3) I'm fairly ambidextrous and didn't feel like I suffered much speed wise using left instead of right.

But IDPA lets you carry reloads forward of the hip IF they're carried on the strong side with a revolver, so I decided to try shooting this match using the switch hand reload instead. Spent all weeks dry fire practice (15-20 min a day) drilling the switch hand reload. And I still wound up fishing in my left hand pocket for reloads, using my left hand and right hand interchangeably....

When I wasn't screwing it up, the switch hand reload worked well. When I wasn't screwing it up, the weak hand reload I've been doing this year also worked well.

In the future, I'm going to stick with weak hand reloads. It carries over from how I carry semi auto reloads, and I'm dexterous enough to make it (sort of) work. If I couldn't make my left hand work, or if I only shot revolvers there's nothing inherently bad or wrong about the switch hand reload. It just messes with my head since I don't shoot anything else that way, and I'd like to keep everything semi familiar between pistols/revolvers. On the plus side, I'm fairly confident in my ability to make a revolver reload work out (eventually), no matter where I'm carrying the reload, what hand I use or what stupid things I do while trying to reload it now....

It was a long weekend so I also got in a second match. Not strictly revolver related, other than the fact this match had 10 and 11 shot arrays and so I ditched what I'd usually use for any 8 shot array match (my 627) and dusted off the Shadow 2. Other than one steel challenge match a few weeks ago, and a couple of drills with it the day before the match, I haven't shot semi auto pistol this year. You can absolutely tell that on the reloads, but I think the sight picture/trigger control work I've been doing with wheel guns continues to pay off with semi autos as well. Probably won't shoot a semi auto again until the end of the year, but it's good to know the skills haven't totally degraded...(other than my continued inability to run a plate rack without outrunning my sights).

by 74novaman
Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:50 pm
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 75
Views: 4183

Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

Was moving some gopro footage over to a backup drive, and thought it'd be fun to find some footage from the last couple years of shooting steel challenge with non stupid guns to compare to the J frame shoot.



The J frame is slower, even before reloads ruin everything. I think that's a combination of knowing I don't have any ammo on board for a make up shot, and small sights, short sight radius, longer trigger, etc.

What's really interesting though, is this video of me shooting my Shadow 2 a year ago, and two weeks ago on a similar stage. This match was the first time I've shot a semi auto since December.

My times were similar to a year ago. I also had only 1 miss 2 weeks ago...compared to 10 misses last year with the same gun on a slightly easier version of Five to Go (two big plates instead of one).



I think it's safe to say my year of shooting wheel guns is translating into benefits for my semi auto shooting as well.
by 74novaman
Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:06 pm
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 75
Views: 4183

Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

LDB415 wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:57 am
Do you think your opinion re: speed loaders would change any if it were based on carrying one with typical carry ammo in place of wadcutters?
To clarify, I only feel that way for wadcutters specifically with a j frame at matches. In general, moonclips>comp3 speedloaders>all other speed loaders> speed strip/loose rounds/no reload

When I carry the J frame, I carry a reload with a speed loader.

But dirty cylinders and wadcutters are a bad combo at matches, especially if you’re going to be banging on and throwing around the speed loader.
by 74novaman
Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:55 am
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 75
Views: 4183

Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

Last steel challenge match of the year was last week.

Shot my 642 in it. 5 shots, 5 targets. Don't screw up.

Steel challenge is all about accuracy at speed. But with a 5 shot J frame, the margin for error is gone. So, how fast can you go and still be sure you're going to hit the target? That's the lesson I've been able to work on using the J frame. Last week I shot the 642 as well, and learned a couple important things:

1) apex spring kit doesn't play nicely with Fiocci primers. Only thing more frustrating than shooting steel challenge with a J frame is having multiple failures to fire and forcing reloads you may not have otherwise needed.
2) wadcutters out of a speed loader aren't worth it. Any error in alignment and it all binds up. Also, speed loaders don't like hard use. Had one of mine fall apart during the match.

So to fix those issues, I tested and used some federal wadcutters instead. They did better in testing, with no failures to fire. Of course, I did have one failure to fire during the match. I also switched over from speed loaders to speed strips, the most ironically named object in the firearms universe.

It was easier to feed wadcutters out of speed strips, even though I don't really have much practice using them. It also created a situation once where I missed the stop plate, reloaded only 2 rounds, missed twice more, and had to do another reload to finish the run. That's what I get for being cocky.

I highly recommend anyone who carries a "little gun" to shoot something like steel challenge with it occasionally. I didn't learn anything we didn't all already know, but it did hammer home a few important things about J frames:

1) if you're going to carry one, be a damn good shot with those 5 rounds, because reloads in any form flat out suck
2) Having more margin for error in the form of more ammo, better sights, etc is always nice.
3) a J frame still beats the hell out of nothing, but I could use more practice with it to make those 5 rounds count.
4) shooting is fun. Even shooting where you artificially handicap yourself and make the match way, way harder than it should be

by 74novaman
Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:22 pm
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 75
Views: 4183

Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

LDB415 wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 3:07 pm
That makes sense. I didn't know there was a lot of difference in them.
Going off of advertised velocities (which usually are....optimistic but work for comparison's sake here), a 148 gr wadcutter from Fiocchi has a muzzle velocity of 750 fps, while an AE 158 gr lead round nose has a velocity of 770 fps.

That's a 30 joule difference in muzzle energy, which is noticeable, especially when shooting an airweight J frame.

158 gr 38 is downright pleasant to shoot in my 2.75" & 4" K frames, my L frame, my N frame....anything more than wadcutters means the practice session is over after about 50 rounds with the J frame.
by 74novaman
Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:56 pm
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 75
Views: 4183

Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

LDB415 wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 4:27 pm
Why wadcutters rather than LRN?
Shooting a lot of normal 158 gr .38 loads out of a J frame in rapid succession isn't a lot of fun. Wadcutters are more pleasant to shoot.

Just easier when I'm going to be shooting it a lot in a short time period. If I can work on my sight picture/trigger pull by shooting it a lot without developing a flinch from getting smacked in the hand repeatedly, I'm all for it.
by 74novaman
Mon Aug 05, 2019 4:04 pm
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 75
Views: 4183

Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

Well, steel challenge with a J frame was...not fun. But a great learning experience.

I'm having a little trouble with some of my videos, but here's one stage at least.



I decided now was also a good time to test if my wheel gun shooting had helped my semi auto shooting. One of my main issues with how I was shooting semi autos before this year was too many misses.

On this stage at least, I only had one miss on 5 runs with the Shadow 2. I'd say my accuracy has improved. If I can get the video fixed on the other stages, I'll see how they were. I didn't miss a ton with it, that much I remember. This was the first time since December I have shot a semi auto for anything other than function testing. Haven't been dry firing them, shooting them, anything.

When the 642 was running well, it was only a couple seconds slower than my S2. Given the difference in trigger pull, length of sight radius, quality of sights, etc.....that's not too shabby.

I was suffering some misfires with the fiocchi red box 148 gr wadcutters. I'm trying a different wadcutter next time out and hoping for a little better reliability. Wadcutters also mean my reloads were hot garbage. It's easier to get hollowpoint or LRN lined up and loaded, but flat faced wadcutters are a real PITA to get lined up for me in that gun with speed loaders. Using wadcutters may be the one time speed strips are a better idea than speed loaders. Maybe I'll shoot the next match with them instead.

If I can, I'll be shooting our last steel match of the season in two weeks with both the 642 again and the 66.
by 74novaman
Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:52 pm
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 75
Views: 4183

Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

Dropped spring kits into the 642 and model 66.

Model 66 trigger is realllllly nice now.

Image

Also tried to improve the dismal silver on silver on silver sights on the 642 with a sharpie and some nail polish.

Image

I'll be shooting at least the J frame and maybe the 66 as well in steel challenge this week.
by 74novaman
Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:41 pm
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 75
Views: 4183

Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

Another week, more steel challenge. The summer is winding down, so I have to stop shooting the 8 shot N frame and start working my way down to the J frame.

Shot the 66 this week as an intermediate step...and I was completely disorganized and not prepared. Could only find 5 of my Comp3s, forgot to throw my comp3 belt holders in the bag so I had to reload from the table or a pocket.

Also, I shot like crap. I've been really busy, and honestly didn't realize how much of the summer has already gone by. So I haven't been dry firing or practicing with the 66 much. It shows. Only 5 clean runs, and 5 that required a reload. If I'd been shooting the J frame, it would have been a wonderful day of reloading practice, because I would have needed to reload at least 10 times. The only solace I have is that 4 out of the 5 clean runs were on the last stage, so maybe my shooting with the 66 is improving.

I'll be out of town next week, but one more week of shooting the 66 and then its J frame at steel challenge time.



I also shot my vz 61 SBR again this week. It went better this time, and I smoked my wheel gun times. Amazing what a stock (even one designed for a midget) can do for a mans accuracy potential.

by 74novaman
Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:25 pm
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 75
Views: 4183

Re: Switching to wheel guns this year



Video from steel match two weeks ago. Been busy, I’ll try to post thoughts later.

Guest appearance by my SBRd VZ61 :biggrinjester:
by 74novaman
Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:07 am
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 75
Views: 4183

Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

I did some pseudo science after listening to a Primary and Secondary podcast on Snubbies this week.

One of the guests was very anti thumbs forward grips on revolvers. I'm a fan of shooting even wheel guns thumbs forward. Well, I went out to the range to "prove him wrong". Instead, I got a mixed bag of results.

The TL;DR of the test is that I had faster split times with a traditional crossed thumbs revolver grip when shooting a J frame. However, my splits were faster with the K, L and N frames when I used a thumbs forward grip. I was shooting my standard competition load (factory 158 gr LRN) for the test. I'd like to repeat the J frame portion of the test with 148 gr wadcutters and see if the results are any different, but instead of proving myself right....I learned something. Even better.

Here's a copy from the P&S website where I posted my results and talked about the podcast epsiode, so some of it is a little off topic for this thread, but it's easier to just copy/paste:

Enjoyed this episode, since I'm spending a year shooting mostly wheel guns. I also signed up for the Pat Rogers Memorial wheel gun class in Dallas this October, and I'm looking forward to that.

As a disclaimer: I'm not a cop, not a high speed guy, not even a world class shooter. I'm not trying to say I'm an expert or even know what the heck I'm doing. But the comments about how you shouldn't use a thumbs forward grip on wheel guns jumped out at me. I'm a younger guy who came up shooting semi autos. I started shooting wheel guns in competitions this year with a traditional revolver crossed thumbs grip, before transitioning to shooting thumbs forward because I thought it was giving me better control of the gun during follow up and faster splits.

So I set out to test my "feelings" vs the comments of Darryl Bolke in favor of the traditional revolver grip. What I found surprised me, and I thought it was worth sharing to see what others thought or whether my experience was unique on this front.

Test set up: 4 wheel guns. 642 J frame, a 2.75" Model 66 K frame, a 586 L frame, and a 4" 627 N frame. All in 38/357. I shot Federal 158 gr LRN through all guns for this test. Target was standard USPSA cardboard at 10 yards. Test consisted of a 5 shot string, aiming for center A zone with each gun twice back to back. Once with a traditional grip, once with a thumbs forward grip. A zone at 10 yards was picked for consistency. Goal with each gun was nothing but good A zone hits, so I worked to get a decent sight picture on the center of the A zone between each trigger pull. I know humans as a rule are inconsistent, but I hoped this would help regulate my speed a little and provide some consistency for the tests.

I'll be honest. Despite Darryl having a lot more revolver experience than me, I thought I was going to "prove him wrong", because after shooting K and N frames in competition with both grips, I was pretty sure a thumbs forward grip was superior. So I started the test by shooting the 642 with a traditional grip, then thumbs forward. Traditional was faster. I was ready to quit the test, admit that his experience vastly outweighs my subjective feeling while shooting, and concede I don't know what I'm doing.

Then I moved on to the 627, the gun I've been shooting the most in competition this year, and got the exact opposite result: I was shooting faster splits with a thumbs forward grip. Interesting....so I kept the test going. 586 and 66....same result. Faster with a thumbs forward grip.

So after these results, I went back to the 642 one more time. I had started the test first thing at the range with it, maybe I just wasn't warmed up, excuses, excuses. My splits were substantially faster with both grips than they were the first time, so warming up a bit did improve my J frame shooting. But the result was the same the first time I shot the 642: A traditional revolver grip gave me faster splits than a thumbs forward grip.

Here's a chart of my split times with each gun, the averages, etc:

Image

I recognize that those are not blistering split times. Keep in mind that I was going for a consistent sight picture between every shot to keep the test "fair" across all 4 guns. I can average ~.25 splits with revolvers on things like a Bill drill, but this was about accuracy at speed, not pushing speed to the limits of accuracy.

What I think I learned is that if you have enough frame on the gun to get a good thumbs forward grip on it, just like with a semi auto...more meat on frame>less meat on frame. (Disclaimer: I have short thumbs. Even on a J frame, I can get a thumbs forward grip without putting my thumb in front of the cylinder. People have different sized hands. This may or may not be the case for you). The J frame was different for a couple of reasons I think. 1)So little space to grip. It's just hard to get a good two hand grip on such a small gun. 2) 158s make the J frame jump a lot more than even the K frame does with the same load. My left hand thumb would slip off the frame under recoil repeatedly. I've been shooting mostly 148 gr wadcutters in my J frame before this test, but I wanted to keep ammo consistent across all guns. I don't have nearly as much trouble keeping my grip on the gun shooting 148s, and I'd love to repeat the test with wadcutters at some point in the future to see if the lower recoiling wadcutters make a difference for my J frame splits with the different grips.

The TL;DR: summary for all this is Darryl was spot on for J frames for me. Since the episode was all about Snubbies, despite my initial disagreement with his premise based on shooting larger wheel guns, he is right. If you're shooting a snubby, a traditional revolver grip produced faster splits than trying to use a modern thumbs forward grip for me. However, I found the opposite to be true with K, L and N frame guns. I'm wondering if you've got enough frame and grip to get your mitts on, if thumbs forward is faster for everyone...even with wheel guns. All I can say for sure is that seems to be the case for me, at the moment.

Looking forward to meeting folks and learning more about shooting wheel guns in Dallas in October.
by 74novaman
Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:14 am
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 75
Views: 4183

Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

bobby wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:49 pm
I do miss my Victory Model and I did shoot it a lot. Bad move selling it. here is me a long time ago …



so have a blast
Unfortunately I still can’t shoot the 627 in idpa. I’ve got an old model 10 I have shot in idpa this year, and I’ll try it with the new 66 at some point.
by 74novaman
Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:57 pm
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 75
Views: 4183

Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

So about that steel challenge match two weeks ago....the one where I had only 7 clean runs, with most of my bad runs (6 of the 9, to be exact) requiring 7 or more shots to clear the stage....

This look a little better to anyone else?

Image

15 runs, 11 clean. The 4 runs that weren't clean only required a single make up shot. Part of the goal of shooting revolvers this year was to make better hits. I'm finally doing that.

I wonder if the 4 days a week, 15 minutes worth of dry fire practice I did between match 1 and 2 had anything to do with it.....who knew that putting in actual work on dry fire paid off, right?

Heck, I might be able to skip the 7 shot L frame I was planning on shooting next and go straight to the 6 shot K frames...(let's not get cocky, I'll shoot the L frame first).

I was slightly tempted to shoot my vz 61 in the PCC division instead and skip the whole revolver schtick this week.....but we had too many shooters for me to shoot two guns and still finish before sundown, so I decided to be responsible and keep working on my revolver shooting. *grumble grumble*

Image

Heres the video of the match.



Looking forward to finally having some improvement to share again instead of "hey, didn't practice, sucked at a match, who knew?" on endless repeat.
by 74novaman
Sat May 25, 2019 10:39 am
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 75
Views: 4183

Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

Confession time.

There was one more reason I decided to shoot wheel guns this year besides those listed in the original post. Because I can't make good hits with my J frame.

It's been that way since I inherited it from my grandfather. In the past I always chalked it up to a heavy trigger, crappy sights, and not being an experienced wheel gun shooter. So I preferred carrying something else (even my LCP) to a J frame I knew I couldn't shoot well.

Fast forward a few years, and I decide it's time to master how to shoot it. And since I'm struggling with trigger control/follow through in competitions anyway, the idea of shooting wheel guns for a year was born.

After a couple months of shooting the 627, Model 10, 586, 66....I went back to working a bit on shooting the J frame back in March. You'll notice I haven't put up any video of me doing that yet, and haven't talked much about my J frame experience.

It's because I still wasn't making good hits with it.

Back in December, I started this whole year off by sending the J frame off to a local smith I know to improve the trigger, and he did. So when I started shooting it again in March, I did so KNOWING that I am more than capable of making good hits with a revolver DA trigger, based on my experiences with my 627 and Model 10. Years ago before I had taken any classes, before I shot any competitions, before I even thought about things like dry fire practice, it was easy to attribute my inability to make hits with this gun to just being a bad shooter. But that excuse doesn't fly any more. So what gives? I thought maybe I was just a recoil wimp, and ordered some wadcutters.

And I still wasn't hitting worth a damn with the J frame, even with easy to shoot wadcutters.

So I've spent the last couple of months starting range sessions (admittedly, there have been far too few of them) by shooting the J frame with a different type of ammo every trip. 158 gr LRN, 130 gr JHP, 148 gr wadcutters. Every range trip, I have gotten the same results, no matter the load.

Image

Just to verify, this past weekend I went to the range with my J frame and a bunch of different ammo and experimented. Holding the front post flush against the left side of the rear notch, and aiming at the intersection of the C/D zones on the left shoulder of the target, I was finally able to get consistent center A zone hits with my J frame with every single type of ammo.

Image

I now suspect my 637 came out of the factory with a misaligned front sight/barrel. I've contacted S&W and will be sending the gun back.

In the meantime, given that I've had very good luck with my new production 66 and 627....I decided to be dumb, throw good money after bad, and order another J frame.

So this Performance Center 642 will be replacing the 637 for now. Hopefully it shoots POA/POI and I can shoot some steel challenge with it this summer.

Image

It is both a relief to discover I wasn't (all of) the problem, and disturbing to know there were times I was foolish enough to carry and trust my life to a gun that did not hit even remotely POA/POI...and I wasn't a good enough shooter to know that the gun was at fault, not me.

I wonder how many more people are out there still doing the same thing my idiotic self did.
by 74novaman
Thu May 23, 2019 1:21 pm
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 75
Views: 4183

Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

LDB415 wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 12:34 pm
It sounds like an interesting experiment. Having just read earlier today about an attack by 10-11 reportedly Somali males at a train station in MN. the lack of capacity before reloading of a revolver is a larger concern. Everything is a compromise of course but I think I'm moving back toward a minimum of 10+1 capacity G48 or similar if not a G19.
I hear you. This isn't a "revolvers are the superior choice" thread. If I lived in an area where was more likely to encounter large groups of thugs like that in public, I wouldn't be doing this. I'm certainly not recommending anyone else ditch their modern semis and return to the dark ages with me.

But I'm a married guy with a young kid. I don't go out much in "interesting" places, I don't go out late, etc. Most likely scenario for me to encounter a violent group in would be a home invasion, and I haven't switched away from an AR for home defense for that.

What is a concern for me is making sure that I make accurate hits if I ever had to defend myself or my family in public. As I said in the first post, competition is outstanding for so many aspects of defensive gun use and everyone should be shooting it...but as I've been shooting things like USPSA/IDPA/Steel Challenge these last couple years I've noticed that I seem to have overemphasized speed over accuracy. Not a knock on those competitions, strictly a personal failing of mine.

Switching to wheel guns this year is my way of using hardware to fix a software problem and refocus on making accurate hits, especially when under pressure, and to work on my trigger control a little more than I had to shooting my slicked up CZs. I'd gotten spoiled with really good triggers before this year.

As for worse case scenarios, I can still shoot a vice Prez drill with my M66 in under 9 seconds if I had to, so big crowds don't scare me too much. :biggrinjester:

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