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New to USPSA revolver—tips and resources for a newcomer?


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I've always been fascinated by revolvers, and decided 2020 would be the year to get into competition with one. I picked up one of the Ruger Super GP100s this spring (in .38, because I can't bring myself to shoot a revolver in boring old 9mm even if it is probably a slightly better option), and between dry fire practice and a few matches now that we've opened back up around here, I'm pleased with my choices.

 

My question now is, where do I go from here? It seems like there's a lot less spilled ink on the subject of revolver competition in the modern day, and my Google-fu is insufficient to find that which was spilled in the past. It's a lot less beginner-friendly than, say, Carry Optics was, because there's a lot more easily-findable material now on semi-autos than on revolvers.

 

I guess I know of a few areas right now where I can improve, both on technique and equipment.

 

1. Double-action shooting. I feel like I'm improving here, but blindly. Are there any good treatments (books, videos) of double-action revolver technique? Are there multiple schools of grip/trigger pull I should be considering before I pick one to practice exclusively? I've put in a 10lb Wolff spring, and plan on doing some action polishing this weekend. Are there any other modifications I should be considering? Are the Hogue big butt grips any good?

2. Reloads. Of the two I've tried (gun in strong hand, sweep ejector with weak hand, reload with weak hand; Miculek-style gun in weak hand, thumb on ejector, reload with strong hand), I like the Miculek style better. Are there other options?

3. Hand loads. I have a decently easy-to-reload round presently, with a roll crimp into a Berry's 158gr round nose. A pulled bullet shows a crease in the plating, but not a cut. Is that acceptable, or do I need a lighter crimp? Is it worth getting some case trimming tools and making my .38 Special brass shorter already, or should I go for .38 Short Colt? Can Lee case trimming tools be modified to trim .38 Special under-size?

4. Moon clips and brass. I have a bunch of SpeedBeez moon clips and PPU brass right now. The loaded bullets wiggle an awful lot in the moon clips. Is a tighter fit better? Is there such a thing as 'too tight' before the brass doesn't fit the moon clips at all?

 

Finally, are there things I should be working on that I'm missing?

 

I apologize for the wall of questions. I've been a bit of a division hopper in the past, but I find myself really enjoying revolver, and if I'm planning on sticking with it in the longer run, I figure it's smartest to seek the wisdom of those who have been doing it for longer than a few months.

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Im new to revo in 2020 also, so at the risk of the blind leading the blind I’d suggest looking into 38 short colt. That is basically a rimmed 9mm case. I find I’m able to get these loaded into the gun quicker and easier than 38 specials.

The whole reason I got a 627 instead of a 929 what the versatility of shooting 38 special, 357 mag or 38 short colt.

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Hey I'm a newbie too. I've got both a 627 and a 929. I probably should have just started with the 929.

 

I've found TK moon clips with a BMT mooner is the way to go. Other than that, I got nothing.

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I’m more of an ICORE shooter than USPSA revolver but there’s so much overlap that I can chime in on all your questions. I’ll answer per your numbers.

 

1. Watch videos of actual ICORE matches and note how guys are gripping their revolvers. Thumbs forward still works. Rest your weak hand thumb against the frame below the cylinder. Depending on the length of your fingers this will put your thumb ahead of the cylinder gap. As long as your thumb stays below the cylinder, you’ll be fine. Experiment with lots of grips to find one that fits your hands best. Web of strong hand should be so high that the hammer barely touches the webbing of your hand when cocked. On the Rugers, shimming the hammer and cylinder, stoning the hammer stop will allow you to install the lightest springs and still get good ignition. Polishing internals helps too. Chamfer your charge holes. Dry fire a ton.

 

2. I prefer the weak hand reload. I tried strong hand for a year but found that i was faster with weak hand and not breaking the grip of my strong hand made me lots faster. I’m in the majority, but there are some who still prefer strong hand reloads.

 

3. Best thing you can do is buy some 38 short colt brass from starline and run them. I prefer the moonclips from TK Custom. 38 short colts make for waaay faster reloads. And you never have to deal with the brass not quite ejecting, which happens often with 38 special brass. Most guys use Bayou Bullets 160 gr roundnose. It’s a pointy style of bullet that drops into the charge holes very fast and without hangups. There’s tons of 38 short colt data here on the forum. Lee makes dies that work great. Use a 9mm taper crimp die to crimp. Use federal small pistol primers. They give the best ignition with light springs.

 

4. You want them pretty tight. Especially with 38 special where you have a long case. A little wobble with those long cases can make for lots of wobble out at the end of the round, which will result in hangups when you are reloading. TK Custom makes moonclips of varying thickness so you can get the right fit and least amount of wobble with your brand of brass.

 

 

Have fun with revolver. One of my favorite parts of revolver is you really have to get creative with your stage planning to avoid standing reloads. And there’s no make up shots usually. So you have to plan for no makeup shots. It makes you focus on accuracy and trigger control, which is also fun. My skills with a semiauto improved tenfold when i started shooting revolver because revolver makes you focus on all the basics of handgun shooting and do them perfectly. There’s no fudge factor. At my local matches I’ve gotten to the point that i occasionally beat all the semi autos. The wide eyes when a revolver beats a semiauto is really rewarding. Good luck!

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, radny97 said:

Chamfer your charge holes.

 

Is this as straightforward as 'fire up the dremel', or is it more involved than that?

 

1 hour ago, radny97 said:

I prefer the weak hand reload. I tried strong hand for a year but found that i was faster with weak hand and not breaking the grip of my strong hand made me lots faster. I’m in the majority, but there are some who still prefer strong hand reloads.

 

I like the idea of not breaking my grip, but I need a bigger cylinder release or longer thumbs for that, I think—I have to break my grip anyway, or hit the release with my weak hand.

 

1 hour ago, radny97 said:

One of my favorite parts of revolver is you really have to get creative with your stage planning to avoid standing reloads. And there’s no make up shots usually. So you have to plan for no makeup shots. It makes you focus on accuracy and trigger control, which is also fun. My skills with a semiauto improved tenfold when i started shooting revolver because revolver makes you focus on all the basics of handgun shooting and do them perfectly.

 

These are all reasons why I'm liking it so much, too—although my creative stage planning still needs work. So far I mostly spend my walkthrough time counting.

 

Thanks for the other tips, too, especially the ones on grip (coming from semiauto divisions, I like thumbs forward) and reloading .38 Short Colt. I figured I'd want to move to a shorter cartridge eventually, but it looks like I'm moving my plans up.

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Don’t let your dremel touch it. You need an experienced gunsmith with a correctly set up drill press to chamfer the charge holes. You have to do both the ejector star and the cylinder at the same time. It has to be at the correct angle. Got too far and you’ll ruin your star.

There are lots of aftermarket extended cylinder releases for Smiths. Not sure if the same is true for Rugers.

Happy to share any pointers to make the entry into revolver easier.

 

 

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I'd send it to Dave Olhasso to work on.  He's working on a few GP's at the moment and did help design it.  You will save a ton of time and frustration and having the gun as good as it can be allows you to spend more time working on your skills.

 

https://www.olhasso.com/

 

Brass and moonclips need to be snug, not too tight or too loose.

 

There are many styles to the reload and the grip, you'll have to find which works.  I've also switched reload styles 1 year in  so don't be afraid to try new methods.

 

9mm might be boring but it's cheaper, flexible and easier to find.  For a utilitarian competition gun it needs to be cheap to shoot.

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I found Jerry's DVD useful when I was getting started.

https://miculek.com/product/jerry-miculeks-ultimate-advanced-revolver-dvd/

It's a little dated as he was still using a bit of a weaver stance, but everything else still applies.

I still use full length 38 special brass. The short stuff does lower the disaster factor on a poor reload, but it's not really the limiting factor on your speed. Short Colt will not take a second off your reload, only practice will.

Heavy round nose bullets load easier. I've shot Berry's in the past with a light roll crimp like you describe. I prefer roll crimps, and I'm currently using a 158 grain round nose from S&S casting because it has a crimp groove.

--
Pat Jones
Firestone CO
USPSA #A79592

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9 hours ago, Fishbreath said:

 

Is this as straightforward as 'fire up the dremel', or is it more involved than that?

 

 

I like the idea of not breaking my grip, but I need a bigger cylinder release or longer thumbs for that, I think—I have to break my grip anyway, or hit the release with my weak hand.

 

 

These are all reasons why I'm liking it so much, too—although my creative stage planning still needs work. So far I mostly spend my walkthrough time counting.

 

Thanks for the other tips, too, especially the ones on grip (coming from semiauto divisions, I like thumbs forward) and reloading .38 Short Colt. I figured I'd want to move to a shorter cartridge eventually, but it looks like I'm moving my plans up.

Chamfering the cylinder,

yes is the actual answer, I have done several with a cheep counter sync from Home Depot and a hand drill, and finished with a dremmel and polishing bob. yes you can mess up a cylinder if your not careful, the cutters from Brownells make a nicer cut but its not about pretty its about getting the rounds in the gun. If you send it to a smith (my actual recommendation if your not brave and willing to break stuff) send it to one of the competition revo smiths (TK, Olhasso, MoJo for example) if you drop it off at your local gun plumber his chamfer will likely be more of a break the sharp edge and most likely will tell you a real chamfer is too deep and dangerous or some other line of poop.

 

Loading,

I load weak hand and actuate the release with my weak hand thumb, it goes something like this, Break shot, trigger finger moves to side of cylinder and presses it open at the same time weak thumb moves to press the cylinder release, weak hand hits ejector as gun is moving to muzzle down near belt to be ready to get the reload, weak hand grabs moon and drops it onto the cylinder, as soon as moon starts to drop into the cylinder gun begins to move back to target while weak hand closes cylinder and regains grip.  notice I said drop moon onto cylinder, thats intentional, I have found either the moon or the cylinder needs to be able to rotate freely in order for the rounds to go in easily, as my index finger is still on the side on the cylinder I drop the moon so it can align itself. 

All that said try both strong and weak hand reloading, strong hand is faster but weak hand is easier to do while moving in some directions.

 

Grip,

do some doubles drills or bill drills and see what works for you, try more finger and less finger on the trigger, experiment and let the target and timer decide what works for you.

 

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, radny97 said:

Don’t let your dremel touch it. You need an experienced gunsmith with a correctly set up drill press to chamfer the charge holes. You have to do both the ejector star and the cylinder at the same time. It has to be at the correct angle. Got too far and you’ll ruin your star.

There are lots of aftermarket extended cylinder releases for Smiths. Not sure if the same is true for Rugers.

Happy to share any pointers to make the entry into revolver easier.

 

 

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It’s not hard to chamfer by hand with a dremel. 
 

Don’t touch the ejector. 

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Hogue grips are a personal thing. I have some on a 929, I prefer an old fashioned cheap black rubber grip on the Super GP100 and am tempted to sell the BB.

 

Last month I bought a set of stones for my drill - about $11.00 at the local hardware store, took one of the stones out to the grinder in the garage and shaped it to give a shallow angle cut for my 10mm GP100, and chamfered by hand. I was more cautious than a revolver smith would be and may one day have the chamfer made deeper, but it made a very nice improvement. 

 

Moon clips and action work beyond spring and polish,  David Olhasso was kind enough to share this advice for a 9mm Super GP100 (he cut my hammer for me and did some other work not related to this topic so I did not feel guilty about bugging him with a question).

 

"I personally prefer TK .040 moons. I use RP brass and special TK moons cut to hold the RP brass properly. If I wasn't using RP brass, I would be using Winchester.
 
The issue is, depending on your Crane length and b/c gap, you may not be able to use .040 without some modifications. I suggest getting.035 and .040 samples and determine which is best, or just resign yourself to using .040 and cut back the crane and barrel if necessary."
 
I assume by that he wants things tight. I know Winchester in 9mm with 0.040 clips almost seems like an interference fit when you are loading/unloading the clips.  
 
A question not asked:
1. What is a reasonable expectation for trigger pull weight when a GP 100 is tuned correctly, and used with deep seated federal primers, and brass/clips are proper? 
 
Disclaimer, I'm just a beginner as well. 
 
Side question: If a person is set up for reloading 9mm on a 1050 does anyone know what must be changed to go to 38 short colt? 

 

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Side question: If a person is set up for reloading 9mm on a 1050 does anyone know what must be changed to go to 38 short colt?   

 

 

Lee makes 38 Short colt dies. You can also use a 38 special resize/decap die and 9mm dies for powder through, bell, seat and taper crimp. Use 38 special shell holder.

 

 

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1 hour ago, radny97 said:

 

 

Lee makes 38 Short colt dies. You can also use a 38 special resize/decap die and 9mm dies for powder through, bell, seat and taper crimp. Use 38 special shell holder.

 

 

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Thank you!

OP, sorry for the diversion.

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I've reloaded 38 short on my 1050 and havent had many issues with it.

 

Station 1  38 special size die

Station 2  Expander F (9mm)  it doesnt do much, but the D 38 size expander doesnt contact the short case

Station 3  Priming!

Station 4   Dillon universal pistol die

Station 5   Bullet feeder

Station 6   9mm bullet seating die  (dillon)

Station 7   9mm taper crimp die (dillon)

 

I've used the short colt dies from lee and they work great, but the 9mm seating and crimping worked just as well and seemed to run smoother in my press

 

I've switched to my 929 almost exclusively, but was playing with 38 mid colts for awhile (same setup as above) and was very happy with those.

 

I've been shooting USPSA for 3 years now and revolver 'almost' exclusively for 2 of those years.   Everyone has their own tricks and things that work well for them.   Try them!  but don't re-invent the wheel(gun) if you don't need to.  I've spent hours and hours, chopping up 38 special brass to every possible length to try some hair-brained idea I've had to make myself faster or better.  I've tried so many different guns, calibers, rigs, moonclips, case sizes, case brands, projectile weights, powders, praying to the god of wheelguns, and grips (huge problem for me). 

 

Nothing beats spending some time on the range, becoming comfortable with your gun, how it points, how the recoil feels.  take a set amount of time,  make a shopping list as you say above, and start there.  the recipes we all use (for the most part) are on these forums.  then go shoot!  accuracy is your first step,  speed is your second.  keep walking forward alternating the two and just enjoy it.   This is a game, have fun.

 

And welcome to shooting revolver.   we may not be the fastest division, but we certainly are the nicest (and have the best looking guns)

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41 minutes ago, Sanzo said:

I've reloaded 38 short on my 1050 and havent had many issues with it.

 

Station 1  38 special size die

Station 2  Expander F (9mm)  it doesnt do much, but the D 38 size expander doesnt contact the short case

Station 3  Priming!

Station 4   Dillon universal pistol die

Station 5   Bullet feeder

Station 6   9mm bullet seating die  (dillon)

Station 7   9mm taper crimp die (dillon)

 

I've used the short colt dies from lee and they work great, but the 9mm seating and crimping worked just as well and seemed to run smoother in my press

 

I've switched to my 929 almost exclusively, but was playing with 38 mid colts for awhile (same setup as above) and was very happy with those.

 

I've been shooting USPSA for 3 years now and revolver 'almost' exclusively for 2 of those years.   Everyone has their own tricks and things that work well for them.   Try them!  but don't re-invent the wheel(gun) if you don't need to.  I've spent hours and hours, chopping up 38 special brass to every possible length to try some hair-brained idea I've had to make myself faster or better.  I've tried so many different guns, calibers, rigs, moonclips, case sizes, case brands, projectile weights, powders, praying to the god of wheelguns, and grips (huge problem for me). 

 

Nothing beats spending some time on the range, becoming comfortable with your gun, how it points, how the recoil feels.  take a set amount of time,  make a shopping list as you say above, and start there.  the recipes we all use (for the most part) are on these forums.  then go shoot!  accuracy is your first step,  speed is your second.  keep walking forward alternating the two and just enjoy it.   This is a game, have fun.

 

And welcome to shooting revolver.   we may not be the fastest division, but we certainly are the nicest (and have the best looking guns)

Same for me with the exception of a MBF Powder Drop for 9mm.  I also use Hornady One Shot Case Lube, helps with the "popping" on resizing.

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15 hours ago, Sanzo said:

And welcome to shooting revolver.   we may not be the fastest division, but we certainly are the nicest (and have the best looking guns)

 

I knew about the pretty guns already, but I'm getting a good sense for the other part too.

 

I inherited a bunch of Alliant Bullseye from my dad, and see a few 158gr 9mm loads using Bullseye to start from for .38 Short Colt. (Bullseye does leak a tiny bit in my Lee drum measure, but I can live with that.) I don't think I'm going to have time before the Battle for the North Coast—I've got a little vacation in the middle there—but hopefully by the fall, I'll at least have a short load of my own.

 

Until then, more dry fire, more match practice, more reloads running around my basement!

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On 7/18/2020 at 9:51 AM, Fishbreath said:

 

I knew about the pretty guns already, but I'm getting a good sense for the other part too.

 

I inherited a bunch of Alliant Bullseye from my dad, and see a few 158gr 9mm loads using Bullseye to start from for .38 Short Colt. (Bullseye does leak a tiny bit in my Lee drum measure, but I can live with that.) I don't think I'm going to have time before the Battle for the North Coast—I've got a little vacation in the middle there—but hopefully by the fall, I'll at least have a short load of my own.

 

Until then, more dry fire, more match practice, more reloads running around my basement!

Be sure to chronograph, it usually takes about 10% more powder to equal velocity of 9mm loads.

For instance 2.8 claydot with a 356 145 coated RN bullet (same bullet) gives 890 f/s in 9mm and 730 f/s in a 38 short colt.

2.8 claydot gives me 800 f/s with a 358 160 coated RN in a 38 short colt at 1.180 oal and a taper crimp of .370 out of a 5" 627 PC.

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6 hours ago, pskys2 said:

Be sure to chronograph, it usually takes about 10% more powder to equal velocity of 9mm loads.

For instance 2.8 claydot with a 356 145 coated RN bullet (same bullet) gives 890 f/s in 9mm and 730 f/s in a 38 short colt.

2.8 claydot gives me 800 f/s with a 358 160 coated RN in a 38 short colt at 1.180 oal and a taper crimp of .370 out of a 5" 627 PC.

 

Thanks, that's a good thing to know. I found a few places saying 3.0gr of Bullseye is a good starting point behind a 158gr bullet in 9mm, and 3.5gr listed as a maximum load. Even the starting load gets to 860ish FPS, so hopefully I won't need to go too much beyond that.

 

I should probably invest in my own chronograph sometime, instead of dragging my buddy along to the range each time I have a new load to test.

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15 hours ago, Fishbreath said:

 

Thanks, that's a good thing to know. I found a few places saying 3.0gr of Bullseye is a good starting point behind a 158gr bullet in 9mm, and 3.5gr listed as a maximum load. Even the starting load gets to 860ish FPS, so hopefully I won't need to go too much beyond that.

 

I should probably invest in my own chronograph sometime, instead of dragging my buddy along to the range each time I have a new load to test.

For what they are useful for they are cheap.  I've had best luck with a CED Millemium II, it has been the least sensitive to light conditions and robust.  A buddy even shot one of the sensor housings and it still worked, didn't hit the eyes.  I've had mine for around 15 years and have been through 2 sets of eyes due to constant use of rolling and unrolling the cords.  They are cheap to replace.  CED is also pretty good to work with.

I would recommend loading the .357" 158 grain plated bullet to 1.180" overall length, I like to taper crimp to .370" (just use a 9mm taper crimp die), Federal 100 primers (match if that's what you can find).  You will want at least 820 f/s on your reloads.  Personally I like a Coated 150 to 160 grain RN bullet with Clays or ClayDot.  It's cleaner than Bullseye and the bullet is way cheaper than plated, and I've had a lot less issues with the coated bullets.  The coated bullets also have given me as good, or better, accuracy.

As for reloading the revolver, I always suggest to new shooters this:  Lay the Revolver on a table, a moon clip next to it, then don't think about it just pick up the revolver and load it.  That is the method to use to start.  After you are used to doing it on the clock without fumbling then you can experiment with other forms.

Moon Clips, contact Dave Hearth on this forum (HearthCo) and spend the money to get good, tight moon clips.  Other options are TK, but they are a bit more expensive.

DA shooting a Revolver get your grip as high as you can, pretty much use the same thumb forward type grip as with a semi-auto and place your first joint of your trigger finger as close as possible to the strong side of the trigger without shifting your grip to that side.   Then dry fire until you have blisters!  Always focusing on seeing the FS not moving as you stroke the trigger.  The more you do it, the less it will jump.

I am one of the few who is not overly fond of the Big Butts, especially for the money.  I'd rather have the regular hogue rubber grips.  Though right now I'm using a Hogue Checkered Wood Grip and really like it.  To make matters more strange it's an older square butt frame grip I'm using on a newer round butt grip, works fine though.

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A lot of great technical advice above, so not much to add on technical side. Figure out what type of reload works *for you* and practice it, figure out whether the length of 38 special cases is a factor, then get to the important part - the actual shooting. 

 

When shooting a revolver, you cannot cheat with the grip or sloppy trigger pull. You *have to* keep the sights on the target throughout the pull, from the moment you acquire the sight picture, until you fire the shot. After you fire the shot (and this is important), you move the same as you would with a semi-auto - as fast as you can without overshooting the next target if it's a transition, as fast as your legs will carry you if it's to the next position. When you arrive at a position, you have to be ready to shoot, the same as with a semi-auto.

 

One important part of technique that will help you get faster is to "work the trigger all the time." As the gun goes up in recoil, you're pulling the trigger as the sight is coming down and are ready to release the sear almost as fast as with a semi auto. It's comparable to taking the slack out on a plastic gun during recoil. Similarly, you can perform quite a bit of trigger pull while the gun is settling on a target while you're getting into new position, so that the settling of the sights and release of the sear coincide. Just make sure you work on the timing so you don't end up stacking the trigger. It is a straight pull-through.

 

Some stack the trigger on hard targets, some pull through, it will depend on how hard the target is *to you*. I've seen Miculek video where he shoots a 1,000 yards (I believe) and he stacks the trigger for that shot. Any other shot he just works the trigger. 

 

If you want a single piece of advice for revolver, it's to treat it like any other gun as far as the game is concerned. Think of it just as a different trigger, different reload and different capacity. Everything in between is the same no matter what division you shoot. 

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A quick pointer on technique - I put my support thumb on the frame behind the cylinder and use it as a thumb rest, with my dominant thumb loosely on top of my support hand.

 

It looks like thumbs forward on an open gun. I don't claim it has any magic properties or that it's the best grip, it's something that's most natural and comfortable *for me* since both my limited and my open guns use thumb rests and I'm used to them. Also, I use Hogue big butt on some and Nills with pinkie shelf on others. In both cases I like the positive contact of my support pinkie on the grip itself - my muzzle barely moves, but then it's a long and heavy barrel shooting a wimpy round anyways... Since you are just starting, it's yet another option to try. 

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I grip my gun like that too.  I’m on my 3rd Hogue grip that now fits perfectly.  I took MWP’s advice on holding the gun as high as possible which really requires a new dao hammer.  The bottom 2 fingers on my support hand press up against the butt of the grip-which I had Pat Hogue make out of rubber.   It’s a very short grip spacing 

 

Someone told me I grip the gun weird but it works.  It’s very similar to my 2012 with thumb rest.

 

just never buy/try a grip without it being on the gun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 7/15/2020 at 7:19 PM, Fishbreath said:

1. Double-action shooting. I feel like I'm improving here, but blindly. Are there any good treatments (books, videos) of double-action revolver technique? Are there multiple schools of grip/trigger pull I should be considering before I pick one to practice exclusively? I've put in a 10lb Wolff spring, and plan on doing some action polishing this weekend. Are there any other modifications I should be considering? Are the Hogue big butt grips any good?

2. Reloads. Of the two I've tried (gun in strong hand, sweep ejector with weak hand, reload with weak hand; Miculek-style gun in weak hand, thumb on ejector, reload with strong hand), I like the Miculek style better. Are there other options?

3. Hand loads. I have a decently easy-to-reload round presently, with a roll crimp into a Berry's 158gr round nose. A pulled bullet shows a crease in the plating, but not a cut. Is that acceptable, or do I need a lighter crimp? Is it worth getting some case trimming tools and making my .38 Special brass shorter already, or should I go for .38 Short Colt? Can Lee case trimming tools be modified to trim .38 Special under-size?

4. Moon clips and brass. I have a bunch of SpeedBeez moon clips and PPU brass right now. The loaded bullets wiggle an awful lot in the moon clips. Is a tighter fit better? Is there such a thing as 'too tight' before the brass doesn't fit the moon clips at all?

 

I think most of these have been sufficiently answered but, if there's one thing I enjoy, it's offering my unqualified opinion. So here we go!

 

  1. People have given a lot of good resources on this. I found that I saw the most improvement by reading over some techniques, and then dry-firing against a white wall while watching how the sight moves. Find the most comfortable and repeatable trigger pull and practice that. Don't chase the sight, but know how it moves at different pull speeds (I "kentucky windage" up slightly when I'm running it really fast). Grips are one of those things that are easy to mess with until the end of time. Get used to shooting the gun with whatever you have and you will probably "feel" what you'd want to change, and then you can find grips to match (try as many as you can get your hands on, literally). I just changed my N-Frame grips to put some more meat across the webbing of my hand because it makes it feel closer to my other revolvers; let's see if I still like it in three months though, lol. 
  2. There isn't a better reload. Go with what feels more natural to you and practice the crap out of it. I only recently switched to the strong hand reload; it's still a hair slower at the moment, but it significantly reduces the chance of a horrendously botched reload. Especially when running.
  3. Light marring in the plating is fine. The main thing is testing the load for accuracy; if it groups well, you're not over-crimping. If you decide to pursue .38 Short Colt, it's better to do it right and buy dedicated Starline .38 SC brass. It has the proper cartridge wall thickness all the way through and you'll get very consistent moonclip fit with all-matching brass. 
  4. Tight without being rock-solid is best. A little give will help the rounds drop in when your reload isn't 100%, but too loose can let the rounds pivot away from the charge holes.
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