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by 74novaman
Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:07 am
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 62
Views: 2887

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:

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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: 62
Views: 2887

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: 62
Views: 2887

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?

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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*

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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: 62
Views: 2887

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.

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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.

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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.

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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: 62
Views: 2887

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:
by 74novaman
Thu May 23, 2019 7:35 am
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 62
Views: 2887

Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

Adding some science to this year's steel challenge season.

I'll also be adding in the average time per stage, and keeping track of my fastest runs per stage with each gun. This way I'll be able to tell what stages and what guns I had the most clean runs with, fastest average times, etc. Getting some actual numbers on some standardized match stages should be helpful for comparing (for example), the 4" Model 10 with crappy old sights vs the new 2.75" 66 with actual sights.

If I can make it out often enough, I'm hoping to shoot steel challenge this year with every revolver. And if I get that done, I might dust off the semi autos and shoot the last match of the year with the Shadow 2, just to see if the old "if you can shoot a wheel gun you can shoot anything well" adage is true or just old claptrap.

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by 74novaman
Sat May 18, 2019 8:29 pm
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 62
Views: 2887

Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

Shot a steel challenge match on Thursday night (5/16).

It was my first trip to the range since 5/1. Haven't been keeping up with my dry fire either.

I knew that was a bad sign, so I'm not shooting steel challenge with the J frame just yet. Going to get back into a practice routine and slowly easy down in size/capacity as I knock the rust off. So I started with the 8 shot gun. The good news is I only had to reload in the middle of a run once. Image

Finished 5th out of 11 centerfire pistol shooters. Got smoked (as always) by most of the PCC/22 crowd. It was a good turn out, lots of families out with wives and kiddos shooting. Part of the reason I love steel challenge, seeing so many families out shooting it together. My son turns one this June, so we have a few more years before we can join in on that.

Had a few clean runs, but lots of mental mistakes/sloppy shots. I sound like a broken record at this point, don't I? Don't practice, put in a mediocre match performance. Shouldn't surprise anyone at this point, myself included. We don't rise above the challenge, we perform at exactly the level we are prepared to perform at. I'm missing next weeks match due to other commitments, so the goal is lots of dry fire and at least one range trip between now and the next match. I'll be shooting the 627 again to see what a couple weeks of actual practice/preparation can do for me. Then I'll start going down and use the 7 shot L frame, then the 6 shot K frame...and finally try to end the year shooting steel challenge as a no fail drill with a 5 shot J frame.

Video note: edited down the first stage because we were dealing with some timer issues. No need to show all that on video. First steel match of the season, always have some teething problems.

by 74novaman
Wed May 01, 2019 7:39 pm
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 62
Views: 2887

Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

The Annoyed Man wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 4:54 pm
A. What are those speedloaders?
Safariland Comp 3s.

Unlike comp2s, hks, and most speedloaders, they aren’t twist to release.

Line it up, push into cylinder and the rounds pop free. It’s an innovative (but slightly bulky) design.

But it’s fast. Not moonclip fast, but close.
by 74novaman
Wed May 01, 2019 3:18 pm
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 62
Views: 2887

Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

Half marathon done! Less running, more range time coming up for the rest of the year.

I knocked 26 minutes off my time from my last half marathon, so the training time was worth it...and this was a much more challenging course than my last one too. But now that it is over, getting a little more range time again.

Did some work on Vice Presidente today using the 66 and my comp 3s.

Slowest times were in the 13s with some horrendously fumbled reloads. Took some knocking off of the cobwebs, but got down to sub 10 reliably, and broke into the high 8s once or twice.

Switching from my IWB leather holster on the hip at 3 o clock IDPA style to my kydex AIWB holster at 1 o clock was worth about .3 seconds from the beep to first shot, as a random observation.

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Also, the VZ61 is a stupid fun little gun. It's getting SBRd ASAP.
by 74novaman
Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:23 pm
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 62
Views: 2887

Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

On another forum, someone asked if I’d read “no second place winner”. I haven’t, and this is definitely the year to read all the old wheel gun stuff.

I ordered it and six guns by Elmer Keith.

“Hell I was there” is apparently out of print so if anyone knows of a copy for sale for less than $80, let me know.

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by 74novaman
Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:29 pm
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 62
Views: 2887

Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

Mike S wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:12 pm
Are you using lead (non-jacketed) ammo?
Yep, 158 gr Federal lead round nose.

It's some dirty stuff.

ETA: Yeah, if you want to start a real knock down drag out, ask for opinions about how to reload a revolver, because there's a few different ways to do it. I'm working on changing from using a finger on the ejector rod to a palm strike with the left hand. Unfortunately, my dry fire practice lately has been working on nothing but strong and weak hand only dry fire, so when I reloaded under the stress of a timer, I defaulted back to my old bad habit of using a finger to hit the rod. Because I haven't worked on presentations either, my draws were much slower than I want too.

I'll be working on my reloads in dry fire for the next few weeks trying to build some better habits.
by 74novaman
Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:58 am
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 62
Views: 2887

Re: Switching to wheel guns this year



So, let's break it down, starting with the bull excuses first. My 9 month old has had a cold, and so did my wife and I. He's not sleeping well, so neither are we. She wasn't particularly happy with my decision to try and shoot a match with all of us in that condition, so that was on my mind. A cold front blew in and rained on us right after the match started. I didn't have my jacket in the car, so I spent the morning standing outside in a t shirt, wet with a wind chill of about 40. My hands felt really slow. Reloads were hard, and it was frankly hard to even get my head into the match thanks to the cold and the unhappy wife at home. I also have been busy running preparing for a half marathon at the end of April, and haven't been shooting much. I wouldn't have shot the match at all, if my dad wasn't in town. I wanted to get him out to a match and let him try it out (his first one).

So, cold, tired, wet, mind elsewhere, and haven't been practicing. Great condition to shoot a match.

But then again, all of those things could be true for actually having to defend yourself, so also actually pretty great conditions to test yourself in a match.

If it was a test, I'd say I scored about a 60. I had some decent stages, but I also had some miserable stages. Worst of all, my worst stage was the very first stage I shot. My "cold bore" performance was really awful.

First stage: If this was baseball, I think we could call it 4 errors? Dropped the hammer on an empty cylinder twice, missed the rod once during a reload, didn't close cylinder fully after another reload. And 9 misses on top of that, so an almost 25% miss rate with the shots taken.

The rest of the stages were a mix of good and bad, but I'm really disappointed with just how bad my first stage was. That's pretty indicative (IMO) of not being prepared either mentally or physically. Just one more thing to work on, on top of all the other stuff.
by 74novaman
Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:55 am
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 62
Views: 2887

Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

So before I beat myself up criticizing all the things I did wrong in the full match video, a couple positives I took away from that stage I posted yesterday.

1) I'm not prepping the trigger as much. I staged the hell out of the trigger in my first revolver match of the year (IDPA with the M10) in February. I'm getting more comfortable with the DA pull. Less hesitation, more solid trigger pulling. Happy about that.

2) Because this was a stage with 8 shot arrays and an 8 shot revolver, I was shooting slower trying to make sure I didn't miss. After I missed, I failed quickly. No head shake or grunt after a miss(a bad habit I used to have), just picked up speed and made 5 more good hits at a faster pace, then had a pretty decent reload and a quick last shot. I'm pleased with my recovery from the missed shot, and to know that I can push the pace a little more than I am currently and still make good hits. It's a confidence issue more than anything at this point, since I haven't been practicing much.

Full match video next, with lots more failing.
by 74novaman
Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:10 am
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 62
Views: 2887

Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

Been a while. Sick kid, training for a half marathon. Lots of other stuff to occupy me.

I'll write a longer post with a full match video (hopefully later today), but in the meantime here is one stage.

Static steel with a series of three 8 shot arrays, with an 8 shot revolver. Perfect no fail drill. Well, I failed.

Missed one shot and had to do an entire reload for one make up shot.



A good gardener has what's called a green thumb. A bad revolver shooter?

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by 74novaman
Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:14 pm
Forum: General Gun, Shooting & Equipment Discussion
Topic: Switching to wheel guns this year
Replies: 62
Views: 2887

Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

I hope no one is bored enough to actually watch this. I hesitated to even post it, for several reasons.

1) It's just drills, not fun match video, and drills are boring to shoot, much less watch someone else shoot.
2) I cut it down and even sped up a few parts, and it's still 15 minutes long.
3) I haven't shot a match, practice, or even much dry fire in the last month. It shows. This is not "look at how awesome I am" video. This is "watch how much practice matters, kids, because if you don't practice you'll shoot this badly!" type video.

But I wanted to document where I'm starting from, and put numbers on drills so I could measure improvement or lack thereof.



5 second drill was shot several times, and I can clear 7 and 10 yards consistently with the 627. I failed both times at the 15 yard mark, once on the strong hand only portion, once with a two hand shot from the draw.

Reload drill was incredibly sloppy. I got to experience a new revolver shooting error I haven't committed before: not closing the cylinder fully on the reload. My fastest clean run was 12.89 seconds to draw, shoot 8, reload, shoot another 8. Slow.

500 point aggregate was an interesting one. On video, I mistakenly read a 238 as a 235 and deduct 3 points from my score in error. I also managed to miss a double in the 7 zone, and since I had two other shots off target completely assumed my missing shot was also a miss until I got home and was bringing targets into the house. Here's the double that looked like a single to me on the range, so my actual score on the 500 point aggregate was a 417. Not great, but better than the 407 I thought I had shot yesterday.

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Dry fire emphasis for the week: strong hand and weak hand only shooting. My mediocre one hand shooting kills my 500 point drill score and my chances of moving 5 second standards back to 20 yards. There are lots of things I need to improve on and my reloads were really bad this week too, but I'm going to work on the one handed dry fire for this week, and probably focus heavily on reloads next week.

Another thing I need to do better is take the opportunities during drills like this to practice my reloads. Yeah, the 10 shot strings on the 500 point drill aren't timed. No, I don't need to work on a fast reload during the 5 second drill. But I saw a lot of wasted opportunities to do so while watching this video. Given how limited my practice time has been lately, why on earth am I not taking every opportunity while at the range to work on something? Because I'm not a smart man, that's why. Goal for next range session where I'm shooting a lot of drills: take the opportunities given to work on ancillary skills.

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