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Thread: Pistols V Revolvers

  1. #41
    Boolit Master




    Idaho45guy's Avatar
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    If you eschew the 100% increase in capacity of a semi-auto for self-defense because you are worried about not being able to find a $.10 piece of brass, then perhaps you should re-evaluate what is truly important.

    I like revolvers. Do I own any? Nope. I did the math. I have a couple of single-actions that are fun toys, but for the real world of self-defense, the semi-auto is king. I carry a firearm that is the same size as a J-frame, yet is capable of 2" groups at 25 yards and has 100% more capacity.

    Why on earth would I choose to carry an inferior weapon when defending my life or the lives of my loved ones? Nostalgia is fine until it gets you or your family killed.
    "Luck don't live out here. Wolves don't kill the unlucky deer; they kill the weak ones..." Jeremy Renner in Wind River

  2. #42
    Boolit Master
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    I like and cast for both. During the winter I favor revolvers because they retain the brass. My semi auto nines have had no functioning issues with powder coated cast boolits. Getting the accuracy is more work than with revolvers. I find revolvers more enjoyable to shoot. And revolvers are generally capable of much greater horsepower than semi autos so they are the first choice for hunting.
    Boolit Master? Boolit Straw Boss is more like it.

  3. #43
    Boolit Man
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    Personally, when I go to the range I shoot more than one 10 cent piece of brass.

    I also do not live in Mogadishu
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  4. #44
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Pistol = A Handgun with a chamber that is integral with the barrel.
    Revolver= A Handgun with a single barrel and a separate cylinder containing multiple chambers.

    A pistol may be a single shot, such as a flintlock pistol OR it may be semi-automatic pistol (self-loading) but the key is the chamber is integral with the barrel.

    A revolver may be a handgun but it is not a pistol.

  5. #45
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Idaho45guy View Post
    If you eschew the 100% increase in capacity of a semi-auto for self-defense because you are worried about not being able to find a $.10 piece of brass, then perhaps you should re-evaluate what is truly important.

    I like revolvers. Do I own any? Nope. I did the math. I have a couple of single-actions that are fun toys, but for the real world of self-defense, the semi-auto is king. I carry a firearm that is the same size as a J-frame, yet is capable of 2" groups at 25 yards and has 100% more capacity.

    Why on earth would I choose to carry an inferior weapon when defending my life or the lives of my loved ones? Nostalgia is fine until it gets you or your family killed.
    I can find no fault with any of the above with one minor exception.
    The process of selecting a revolver over a semi-auto pistol is not absolutely driven by nostalgia. It is entirely possible that a person could select a revolver over a pistol for reasons that have nothing to do with a nostalgic affinity for wheelguns.

    I don't think the selection of a revolver over a pistol would be the deciding difference between getting you or your family killed or not killed. I believe that a double action revolver is an adequate tool for self defense. And while there is no doubt that within a given size, a pistol will generally have a greater capacity that a similar revolver; I'm not certain that capacity is a critical criteria.

  6. #46
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have no trouble finding most of my 45 ACP brass. Maybe loose a couple out of a box of 50 hand loads. Back in the Obama years I did reload 9MM but with my large hands and fingers found this a tedious task and stoped. Saying that I love my 44 Ruger Bisley Flat Top and S&W 357 886-3. They would be the last I would give up but I still love P220 and M11A1 Sigs. I guess I can't decide.

  7. #47
    Boolit Master curioushooter's Avatar
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    To me pistols (auto-pistols) are almost useless. I recognize that they are the best handgun for killing the most people as effectively as possible. There is no doubt about that. The millitaries of the world concluded this a century ago. I have a CZ75 loaded with the best anti-personell ammo available. Practicing with it I consider a chore.

    When it comes to working handguns, revolvers win hands down for a number of reasons.

    First is the fact they are chambered in cartridges that are legal to hunt deer with in my state. Though cartridges like 10mm and 45 Super are indeed adequate ballistically and could be delivered with reasonable accuracy by a nicely tuned 1911 they do no meet Indiana's 1.16" case length requirement.

    Second reason why revolvers win is they can be downloaded and uploaded from basically mousefart to handcannon level and will work without messing with springs, etc. Granted your sights will probably need to be adjusted. I routinley carry combo loads in my model 19. I carry very low powered round ball loads that are great for nailing a rabbit when I cut wood in the winter and don't mess up meat. But the last three chambers I load with 158 XTPs pushed by 2400.

    Most good revolvers have very good adjustable sights.

    Revolvers' barrels are rigidly aligned with the sights and barrel.

    Revolvers generally have superior single action triggers and almost always have better double action triggers.

    Revolvers don't throw your brass everywhere.

    Full case support and generally cylindrical cases means basically indefinite case longevity. I have 44 special cases that are on their 20th loading with almost no stretch or appreciable wear. If I can locate a 9mm case in grass I consider it an accomplishment. And after you see a 9mm case come through a in a cow pie you really stop to think if auto pistols are such a great idea. Having to drag a tarp or brass catcher of some sort is a bore.

    Headspacing on rim is more reliable and consistent.

    Heavy roll crimping is more reliable and consistent and is just more rugged.

    Basically any bullet nose profile works in a revolver from wadcutter to round to SWCs to gaping hollowpoints.

    Revolvers don't have magazines to lose, break, get filthy. They don't become extremely awkward single shots if mag is lost or malfunctions.

    Revolvers have curves and look better, well except for some of those Rhinos.

    Since revolver handles don't need to accommodate a magazine of some sort they can be shaped however you like and customized to whatever you desire. Most auto pistols feel like you are holding a 2x4 to me, especially the highly-esteemed 1911.

  8. #48
    Boolit Master
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    Who was it that said "if you can't get it done with six you better run"? I live in a reasonably crime free area so I feel fine with my 5 shot model 60. When I travel I have a couple auto loaders and the 870 in the trunk. I have six revolvers and 4 autos.
    Boolit Master? Boolit Straw Boss is more like it.

  9. #49
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    To increase your round count with a revolver , all you have to do is carry 2 of them ... or three. I can rattle off all 5 from the cylinder in about two seconds, but then what do you do. The fight better be well and truly over by that time.
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  10. #50
    Boolit Grand Master


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    I own a few semi autos and carry one but revolvers just seem "right" in my hand and it doesn't matter the caliber or maker. Ruger single six, SW Combat Masterpiece? Just right and brings a smile to my face that any plastic fantastic never will. One is a tool, the other a work of art. The only exception to this is the 1911. That gun fits my hand like it was meant to be there.
    "War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. ... A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

    John Stuart Mill

  11. #51
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    curioushooter, you bring up valid points but at the risk of getting into a Ford v. Chevy debate; allow me to counter a few of those points.

    You stated: "...I recognize that they are the best handgun for killing the most people as effectively as possible. There is no doubt about that. The militaries of the world concluded this a century ago. .....". I think the motivation behind that switch had more motivation than just pure efficiency, Militaries view handguns as almost pure defensive tools. A personal weapon carried by someone whose job is something other than an infantry soldier (such as a: pilot, truck driver, clerk, artillery crewmember, etc.) It is generally a last ditch weapon. So the capacity may be a plus. As an officer's sidearm it is a symbol of rank and maybe if needed, a tool to maintain order.
    But a pistol has another advantage over a revolver and it is one that may seem counter intuitive - A pistol can take a tremendous amount of abuse and still function. While many regard a revolver as being more reliable than a semi-auto pistol, it doesn't take much to render a revolver inoperative. A bent crane, bent ejector rod, mud packed in the cylinder notches or dirt inside the action; will put a revolver completely out of action. A pistol may be rendered temporarily inoperative, it is often possible to correct the issue.

    The British and the Russians were some of the last major powers to abandon the revolver for military service. Most other militaries switched to pistols before WWII. I don't believe that switch was solely due to the efficiency of a pistol. There were other factors at play.

    Revolvers may have good adjustable sights but pistols can have excellent sights as well. Good sights are not a domain exclusive to revolvers.

    "Revolvers' barrels are rigidly aligned with the sights and barrel." - So are the sights on my Ruger MKII

    You speak about revolvers being capable of handling loads of varying power and I must agree with that 100%. The action of a revolver is powered entirely by the operator and not the cartridge (with the exception of the Webley-Fosbery ).

    As for the quality of the single action trigger mode, I don't think pistols are at a disadvantage in that department. Pistols are capable of excellent single action operation (when the design permits).

    Revolvers don't throw brass everywhere - You win that one hands down!

    I'm not sure I agree that head spacing on a rim is more consistent than head spacing on a case mouth. Nor do I agree that roll crimping is more reliable and consistent than a taper crimp.

    Fully supported chambers - I tend to lose casings fired from semi-auto pistols long before the casings are beyond their life expectancy. I do get a LOT of reloading cycles out of rimmed, straight-walled revolver cartridges but because semi-auto casings are more prone to loss; I'm not sure that's a fair comparison.

    Bullet nose profile - Revolvers win that one too. A revolver will shoot just about any bullet that can be safely loaded and fit in the cylinder.

    Revolvers don't have magazines to break, get lost or dirty. Well, yes but they also don't hold 15+ rounds and they tend to be a bit slower to reload. And while revolvers don't have magazines to get dirty, the gun will still get dirty. So I'm going to call the magazine issue a draw.

    And - "....Since revolver handles don't need to accommodate a magazine of some sort they can be shaped however you like and customized to whatever you desire....."
    While it is true that a revolver grip is just a grip - that is NOT an advantage at all.
    Because a pistol often combines the grip and the magazine well - the overall length of the gun can be reduced. A revolver has to have a grip and in front of that, a cylinder and then you get to the barrel. This arrangement adds considerable length to the overall gun. A pistol with the magazine in the grip and a 3" barrel will be considerably shorter than a revolver with a 3" barrel.

    Yes, the grips of a pistol must be designed around a magazine but it's not a horrible compromise.

    So there you have it.

    I think revolvers and pistols all have strengths and weaknesses.

  12. #52
    Boolit Master
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    If you compare barrel lengths. A semi-auto includes the chamber length with the barrel length. So a 4" barrel revolver is comparable in length to a ~5.5" semi-auto barrel (yes, I am aware the performance is different due to cyl/barrel gap).

    Sights not fixed to barrel. I have found that to not be an issue in accuracy in most cases (Olympic quality shooters can take issue with that). I've had at least three semi-autos (with slides and 'moving' barrels) that were as accurate or more so than some target quality revolvers. What I have found to be an issue in many cases is that very accurate semi-autos are more sensitive to dirt and grit getting in the mechanism, to the extent that some will not cycle properly when the wind is blowing dust around. OTOH, I would probably not pull my target revolver out of the box in such conditions either.

    If I need more than 5 or 6 rounds to finish the job I have let myself get into a situation way over my head.

  13. #53
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonp View Post
    I own a few semi autos and carry one but revolvers just seem "right" in my hand and it doesn't matter the caliber or maker. Ruger single six, SW Combat Masterpiece? Just right and brings a smile to my face that any plastic fantastic never will. One is a tool, the other a work of art. The only exception to this is the 1911. That gun fits my hand like it was meant to be there.
    I love the feel and balance of single action revolvers in my hand and how they point. Right up until I pull the trigger and the pain starts when the trigger guard bites my knuckles.

  14. #54
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I find handguns to be both useful tools and interesting examples of mechanical works of art. I appreciate the engineering that goes into both pistols and revolvers.

    I collect both pistols and revolvers and find strengths in both types.

    I'm not a big fan of single action revolvers. I don't dislike SA revolvers but they just don't do anything for me. To each his own, not passing judgement.

    I will say that my collecting habits slightly favor DA revolvers over semi-auto pistols but that has nothing to do with the performance of the guns themselves.

  15. #55
    Boolit Master

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    Thinking both are tools, pick the one that will do the best job. Locally, carry a J- frame with 2-3 speed loaders, going to town .45 ACP. Target shooting, always match 1911 although have a few K- frames that do very well.
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  16. #56
    Boolit Master curioushooter's Avatar
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    "Revolvers' barrels are rigidly aligned with the sights and barrel." - So are the sights on my Ruger MKII
    I am not talking about 22s here. Talking center-fire. While there are centerfire pistols that don't wiggle the sighs or barrel or both around with every shot, there aren't many, and none that are reasonably priced, sized, or available. Whereas I just bought a $500 Blackhawk that I full expect to be able to hit a paper dinner plate at 100 yards with using cast boolits that will arrive with sufficient power to perforate a deer. I know my $600 S&W can do it.

    Notice I NEVER said revolvers are more reliable. In my experience a good revolver and good steel autopistol of the same price are about equal in overall reliability. They just have different troubles. Autos have most of their problems with their mechanism not working right, jams, magazine problems of various kinds, springs not being right, things not going into battery. Revolvers have problems like bound up cylinders, bent ejector rods, and and broken parts (particularly with brands other than S&W and Ruger). Anything mechanical will break down and/or deliver substandard performance if you don't maintain and use it properly.
    Last edited by curioushooter; 10-18-2020 at 07:02 PM.

  17. #57
    Boolit Man
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    I suppose I just dislike the conceit (which is almost always NOT based on experience ) of "DOUBLE THE AMMO OR YOU DIE" arguments.

    I've had a LOT more tap rack squeeze moments than I have cylinder jams. and if you are REALLY that worried about the Ultimate Combat Performance in your Super Combat Life (sorry, i'm being snarky) - then if you have to tap and rack, you just died. end of story. ammo capacity no longer matters.

    But that logic is SO FLAWED it's unbelievable- completely unrealistic. Which is how I feel about people who tell me I'm "killing myself" or "cheating myself" by having 6 (or 8, or 5) rounds in a cylnder instead of 12 (or 6, or 17) in a magazine.

    yes. 6. in a magazine. I realize that super combat operator NEVER carries a small concealable pistol because he's going into some less permissive environment- and always carries a glock 17. With 3 extra magazines.

    Still being snarky? yeah, but also not. My local DA is a great guy, but he does, in fact, carry a glock 21 with three spare mags. Everywhere. More power to him. But he also doesn't tell me I'm suicidal for owning a sp101. (and he likes my P32, in fact)

    I do carry a BUG. that is my primary reload strategy. I also carry a 365 quite often. and my reload strategy is STILL a backup gun. I've got this farm and outdoors thing. I don't sit at a keyboard all day. I can't actually trust open top competition range magazine carriers- I have snaps. My holsters have snaps, too. (I must be super duper extra suicidal since I don't have the quick draw holster, right? snark. so much snark) - and yes, i practice transitions.

    I STILL get more use out of revolvers- and I use my guns for more than dropping mags on rubber mats at the range.

    - Oh, hey- Petrol & Powder - I hear you on the SA thing. I find that I've come to enjoy single action revolvers as trail guns (noting that I rarely if ever carry just that) . Generally high accuracy, good triggers, and most often much less cost for a given caliber. a .32H&R ruger single action is every bit of a $900 S&W, for less than half the price (for a given single action shot on a small game animal)
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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check