Switching to wheel guns this year

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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#46

Post by 74novaman » Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:10 am

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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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#47

Post by 74novaman » Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:55 am

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.
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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#48

Post by 74novaman » Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:58 am



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.
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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#49

Post by Mike S » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:12 pm

Wow! Very nice videos (on top of some really good shooting, especially under all the conditions you outlined), & great for being able to AAR yourself.

I'd offer a minor suggestion. Following your reloads, try to re-aquire a solid grip (consistency is key to good shooting). I noticed you were slaying the steel plates quite nicely up until a relaod, then after at least two reloads you experienced a couple misses (at 00:40 it looks like you readjusted the gun in your hands, & at 04:55 you missed the bottom plate a couple times after having hit it consistently at a greater distance).

I'm not familiar with the style of reloading your using, but after Googling it I see it is popular with competition shooting, especially when using the drop in thingies.

Regarding the grey thumb, I often shoot my .38 & .357 with the same thumb-forward grip as used with a semi-auto (muscle memory, plus is a bit more stable). I usually shoot jacketed ammo, so my thumb only gets a light grey soot mark, nowhere near the extent you have in the photo. Are you using lead (non-jacketed) ammo? For what it's worth, the only drawback I've encountered using this grip with my revolvers is when wearing gloves; the cylinders of mine rotate counter-clockwise, so the glove material will occasionally get sucked into the gap between the cylinder & frame and kinda bind up. (And of course, if using anything larger than a .357 I wouldn't recommend the thumb forward technique. And, before anyone mentions it 'Yes, I have seen the Myth Busters episode where they use a .454 Casul and it obliterated the 'simulated' thumb (aka chicken drummette)'.)

But, those are just little things to consider. I'm enjoying watching your adventures with wheel guns this year!

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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#50

Post by 74novaman » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:29 pm

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.
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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#51

Post by 74novaman » Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:23 pm

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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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#52

Post by 74novaman » Wed May 01, 2019 3:18 pm

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.
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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#53

Post by The Annoyed Man » Wed May 01, 2019 4:54 pm

A. What are those speedloaders?

B. Your revolver is poo-tinky and needs baf real bad! :lol:
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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#54

Post by 74novaman » Wed May 01, 2019 7:39 pm

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.
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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#55

Post by 74novaman » Sat May 18, 2019 8:29 pm

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.

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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#56

Post by 74novaman » Thu May 23, 2019 7:35 am

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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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#57

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

#58

Post by 74novaman » Thu May 23, 2019 1:21 pm

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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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#59

Post by 74novaman » Sat May 25, 2019 10:39 am

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.

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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.

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.
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Re: Switching to wheel guns this year

#60

Post by 74novaman » Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:57 pm

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.
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