Switching to wheel guns this year

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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#61

Post by bobby » 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
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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#62

Post by 74novaman » Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:14 am

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.
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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#63

Post by 74novaman » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:07 am

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.
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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#64

Post by 74novaman » Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:25 pm



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

Guest appearance by my SBRd VZ61 :biggrinjester:
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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#65

Post by 74novaman » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:41 pm

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.

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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#66

Post by 74novaman » Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:52 pm

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.
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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#67

Post by 74novaman » Mon Aug 05, 2019 4:04 pm

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.
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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#68

Post by LDB415 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 4:27 pm

Why wadcutters rather than LRN?
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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#69

Post by 74novaman » Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:56 pm

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.
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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#70

Post by LDB415 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 3:07 pm

That makes sense. I didn't know there was a lot of difference in them.
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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#71

Post by 74novaman » Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:22 pm

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.
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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#72

Post by 74novaman » Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:55 am

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

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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#73

Post by LDB415 » 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?
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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#74

Post by 74novaman » Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:06 pm

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.
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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#75

Post by 74novaman » Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:50 pm

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.
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