View Full Version : Wheelers, Rollers--how I love 'em!

Deputy Al
04-12-2005, 02:58 PM
I am a true admirer of revolvers, and despite nearly 20 years of use of autopistols as service sidearms I still consider the revolver to be my "default setting" when it comes to an all-purpose shooting tool for short range hunting and close-quarters defense against predators--2 or 4 legged.

I have a pretty wide range of both autopistol and revolver calibers to choose from in the safe--22 LR through 45 Colt, with many stops in between those extremes. This occurred due to a pretty lively hobby interest in this field, and after 30-some years of shooting sidearms of all kinds--22 of these years as a police rangemaster--I have developed some opinions about what works and what doesn't--and there's lots more of the former than the latter.

One of those questions that makes its way to boards like this is "If you could only choose/own one handgun, what caliber and platform would it be?" I will immediately divide my response--two answers--by asking a question.....does the gun owner reload, or not?

If the shooter is also a reloader, my recommendation would be the 44 Magnum in a 4"-5" double action platform. The 44 Magnum in full-house loadings is a bit much for a lot of handgunners, but with load intensity control being exercised at the loading bench the rigors of adapting one's skills to the big bore revolver can be mollified greatly. The caliber has a wide range of bullet types available, lends itself readily to a wide range of powders, and is intrinsically VERY accurate. The caliber does fine work in the hunting fields, and is adaptable to defensive work through either 44 Special load usage or down-loaded Magnums.

If our shooter is not a reloader, I shift my thoughts to the 357 Magnum in 4"-5" barrelled double action flavor. This caliber has by far the widest availability of load types of any handgun caliber--from wadcutter target rounds to high-end hunting loads. A lot more folks can handle full-house 357 loads than they can the 44 caliber offerings of that intensity, and with judicious shot selection large game can be taken with this caliber.

As far as I'm concerned, the 357 Magnum has no peer as felon repellant--after adoption of the autopistol in 1987 in 9mm and 45 ACP, a few years later we brought on the 40 S&W and 357 Magnum. Since that time, I have always had a 4" 357 "on paper" along with my 45's. If I had to limit myself to one caliber for self-defense, it would be the 357 without a second thought. The effectiveness of the caliber out-weighs the tactical advantages offered by the autopistol platform, in my view. Had my agency offered the 357 option at the same time they expanded options to the autopistol, I would likely have changed only ammunition rather than platform type. I like it that much.

04-14-2005, 06:05 PM
Deputy Al,
I can’t argue with anything you said. When I was a young man someone let me shoot a pencil barreled S&W M-10. I’ve liked revolvers in general and S&W’s in particular ever since.

Come to think of it, I shot my first cast boolit in a revolver. There have been many more since….

04-15-2005, 03:45 PM
Deputy Al: Can't argue with you on any thoughts here. You and I may be old school, but when it comes to that admitted question of one gun, you have hit the proverbial nail on the head with your comments..and I agree 100%. The revolver platform covers a lot of areas for sure, and the 2 calibers mentioned are definitely at the top of the list for shootability and utility. My carry gun and general utility short gun is a S&W 586 4", which has digested a tremendous amount of all kinds of loads...including my own cast boolits. Too bad most gun companies didn't go one step further and make the 45 Colt available in as many variations, is my only caveat. And there are no secrets to reloading all the above as well.

04-28-2005, 04:08 AM
I have a pair of Rugers in stainless, a Super Blackhawk 5.5 and a 6.5 inch Super Single Six and I can not think of a more perfectly matched pair of guns anywhere.

For hunting or just pinking at the range, something about the feel of a six-gun feels so right. Load, shoot, pull out the empty cases and reload, there is a rhythm to the things that dropping/reloading a magazine can not touch.

There are more expensive guns and more historic guns, but I doubt there are better made or more reliable guns to be had anywhere.

And though I am very fond of my G30 for daily cc, I would rather be able to carry that big ol' .44 as my every day gun...in a perfect world :grin: .


05-02-2005, 04:39 AM
..............I admit to never having had much use for a pistol. I bought a Ruger BH 357 with a 4-5/8" bbl to carry when we went riding. Never did any intelligent cast bullet reloading, just threw together so book stuff and was rewarded with indifferent accuracy. Plus I never paid attention to any shooting technique.

Over the years in addition to that Ruger, my grandfather gave me a another BH in 30 M1, then I aquired a Ruger MkII 678 target 22RF, Witness 38 Super, Vaquero in polished stainless 7.5" bbl 45 Colt, a K38 Smith and most recently a Victory model Smith in 38 S&W.

What opened my eyes to pistol shooting (personally) was the K38. Certainly over the years many friends had pistols that were capable of some pretty astounding shooting. I was disassociated from that as it was them and not me. My main forte' had always been rifles, and pistols were things of limited utility.

So anyway I for some reason get the urge for a nice centerfire target pistol and the word was to get a K38. As it happened I ended up buying one, a M14-4 from a good friend a week before he passed away very suddenly. So I throw some stuff together and get stuff like this:


Maybe this peestol shooting thing ain't so shabby a deal after all? One thing about a very accurate pistol is that it will reward your efforts to assemble good ammo and good shooting practices. Previos shooting with the semi auto Witness in 38 Super had shown it to be a very accurate pistol also. Yet chasing around empty brass was a PITA.

More recently the Victory model Smith has provided some nicely accurate shooting too. All that took was modifying the alloy to fit the pressures of the loads. Going to pure lead boolits made the thing sit up and bark. That was satisfying after several hundred rounds of wasted components with too hard bullets and too light loads.


Bass Ackward
05-04-2005, 08:58 PM
If the shooter is also a reloader, my recommendation would be the 44 Magnum in a 4"-5" double action platform.

If I had to limit myself to one caliber for self-defense, it would be the 357 without a second thought.


From these two sorta conflicting statements, I see that you have a disease called nondecisionitis.

My perscription is that you NOT limit yourself to one gun. Bite your tongue and bury the idea. And in fact, I encourage you to expand your horizons to avoid potential heath hazzards involved with the stress stemming from tough decisions. Buy more. If you have them all over the place, then carring one is not a problem.

I have a 7 1/2" Redhawk in the delivery system. If it specs out properly, I will shoot it. Passing those two tests, the barrel get's bopped, re-threaded, forcing cone re-cut, recrowned, cylinder faced, and reheadspaced to .003 for a nice 4 1/2" look.

Can't figure why Ruger won't at least try and compete with S&W. But I want a tougher toy to play with.

Deputy Al
05-10-2005, 01:15 PM

Oh, I have a few handguns to choose from--no problem with the recommended prescription! The only "side effect" is the response from She Who Must Be Obeyed when a new toy lands--she has taken to appropriating them once in a while. She fell in love with a Colt Officer's Model Target I found a few years ago, and I haven't seen it much since then. Now she wants a damn Glock for some perverse reason......that's just revolver money getting wasted on a dishwasher-safe bottom-feeding stuttergun. Call me a throwback.

MT Gianni
05-18-2005, 12:45 AM
Bass, I bought a 5 1/2" Redhawk used last year with the intention of doing the same thing. I could see tool marks on the edge of the barrel throat ramp. It turned out to be the most accurate handgun that I own so I have left it as is. I hope yours does the same. Gianni.

05-27-2005, 10:49 PM
I think wheelers are alright too!
S Wheeler

12-10-2005, 05:00 PM
Wheel guns rule as far as I'm concerned...see my family...all are aged veterans since WW-1 to WW-2 on the Brazilian.


12-11-2005, 08:45 AM
For wheel guns, I'm thinking about putting up for consignment,my Thompson
Contender, and quite possibly, my Auto Ordnance M1911A1 45.
See my post on "Single Shot" thread.
With the money, turning it into a 45 Colt clone.This one, would have to be a
4 5/8" to 5" barrel.Just maybe one with a 45 ACP cylinder.
I do have quite a bunch of 45 ACP,loaded and brass. At least the 45 ACP loads won't go to waste.
Think I'm done with the M1911A1. Although I still like it, just unreliable.
Sure would hate to find this out with a wild dog,or coyote attack.
Hunting revolvers are Ruger 44 mag RedHawk, and a F.A. Model 83 Field Grade 454 Casull.
Don't remember if I told about my score with SDSO (San Diego (County)
Sheriff's Office) in the early 70's. In short, a possible 300.
My score was a 297. Rangemaster was an ex-Green Beret. He told me about
the scoring.
What did I do it with ? An S+W Model 28, 4" 357 mag. On top of this, a couple of rangemasters said my sights were off ! I don't think so. Mine were
set up for me.So, how could I get a 297 out of a possible 300 ? Se la vie.
Seems like my favorites are the revolvers.
And, you know what ? With this new/used 45 Colt copy,just HAVE to get a
western leather rig kit from Tandy Leather in Sacramento.
Another excuse,huh ?
An excuse, to have more excuses ! AAHH, the fun of revolvers and reloading !
And, one more time "What do you need another gun for ?" Is what my G/F will ask.Probably shake her head....again. Got her "city blinders" on.
We are having more fun than the law allows !
Maybe next year, an Armi Sharps 45-70,ladder rear,32-34" barrel.New or used.
Or if the price is right (sure NOT the game show !) for a Pedersoli 45-70.
Might hop on over to the Italian Cowboy Shooters site.
See y'all later.

12-13-2005, 08:23 PM
I'm with you, over the years I have carried Glock 36, a couple 1911s and a Ruger auto...but I always come back to the wheel gun....6 fer sure is better than 10 on a prayer!

Besides...a plastic gun ain't got no soul!

However, if I could only have one gun {Shudder---the thought gives me bad dreams!}, it would be my S&W .45 Colt Mnt Gun.

For normal warm weather I carry my Ruger SP-101 with a 3 1/4 " bbl, it has been moon clip adapted for more positive extraction and faster reloads (plus I can use the same moon clips for my S&W airweight). For comfortable/cool weather carry I have a 686-4 "Plus" (7 shot) that has also been moon clip adapted, then I had the bbl cut to 3 3/4 inches (just cuz it makes it unique) and a gold bead front sight added...it is a wonderful carry gun.

For Cold weather though (with heavy clothing), I'm always worried about that .357 expanding, so for CC I use a S&W 625 (.45 ACP) 4 inch. After all, I might have to worry about my .357 expanding, but I never worry about a .45 shrinking!

If I'm out riding, snow shoeing, trapping or cross country skiing (cuz it seems to be winter here more than anything else) then I carry my SW Mnt Gun in .45 Colt....I like John Tappins evaluations of it. Lots of penetration and hit without the high pressure of the .44 mag.

Don't get me wrong...I like the .44 mag, but if I'm out trapping, (especially on snow shoes)and cross one of our many growing wolf packs, I'd rather throw a .454 cast slug instead of a .429.

Maybe I'm compensating for something? :shock:

Anyways...thats the word from the Frozen Northwoods!

This is a great forum..I've been on the Cast Boolits for a while, but just found this place.

Glad to be here! [smilie=p:

12-14-2005, 04:55 AM
Cayoot !!
Welcome to the board !!
Kick back, have some coffee or a brew. OOPS !. I'm not in "True West Magazine" forums !
Since it's cold out there, have some coffee.
The 45 Colt, what it sort of lacks in power,it makes bigger holes.The 45 sure ain't no
pipsqueek,by any means.
I hope to shortly, get my chronograph to find out what speed those high pressure Colts'
that I've been reloading,are going.
Here's what I have done: (45 Colt) re-cut deeper to accept rifle primers.250 gr hard cast,
and a healthy dose of H-110 powder. Shot fine. No pressure signs. Also used N-110, the
powder from Finland.Since no load info for the N-110 powder in 45 Colt,used the info from
45 WIN Mag. As the case capacities are roughly the same.Went to about mid-range on the loads. These too, shot fine. The 45 WinMags are kinda-sorta similar to the 44 magnum.
Yep, had to to my homework for a lot of this stuff. It is not easy.
A few weeks ago, I re-cut 400, 45 Colt cases.
For the 454 Casull, been using 250 gr,same bullet as in the 45 Colt.Loading sheet from
Freedom Arms, 35.0 gr of H-110 powder. Loading sheet is for the 260 gr. Will get these chrono'd.See what the results are.OH YEAH ! Gotta see how those 45-70 loads do,too !
Will almost bet, that the recoil should be milder.These, are black powder.
The real stuff.
My next batch that I buy next year, will not be modified.
Chompin at the bit for that new/used 45 Colt copy.Barrel will be shorter. My Model 83 F.A.
is 6". The Ruger RedHawk is 7 1/2". My huntin guns.
Gotta go.
Enjoy the board.:wink:

12-14-2005, 07:50 PM
Richard beat me to it Welcome to the guide Cayoot

12-14-2005, 07:52 PM
I trust my life and that of my children to revolvers. The only thing that will jam one is not crimping your loads. My take is that even if a .357 slug doesn't expand due to it's hollow point getting clogged up with winter clothing, drilling one through someone's chest will still likely stop them in their tracks anyway. Load 158 or 180gr flat points if it worries you, they'll expand at .357 velocities just fine.8-) Not to imply that the .44 or .45 won't do the job, the .357 is just easier to handle and quicker on followup shots.

12-14-2005, 07:59 PM
Thanks Guys!

I can see that this is my kind of place, just like the Cast Boolits forum is. Now I have 2 places to hang out!

Besides...I still love wheel guns above all. Only brass puker I have is an old Hi-Standard Sport King .22lr that was handed down by my father. That's the only one I plan on owning!:p

12-14-2005, 08:42 PM
Got to have a 9mm just to shoot that $4 ammo. There good for girls to, got one for sis when we go shooting. She don't like shooting the 45. She's very good with the 38

12-14-2005, 09:07 PM
My wife has a bad case of carpul tunnel combined with other hand problems. She cannot hold a gun with much recoil or weight and she cannot work the slide on any auto we've tried (even my .22lr).

So I decided :idea: that the best hand gun for her was a S&W airweight (.38 spl) loaded with 158 gr SWC. I have fiddled with the loadings (letting her test the recoil of each load) until she settled on a boolit moving at 700 to 750 fps. It is still a .38 and being a 158 gr SWC I have faith that the boolit will reach vital organs. It doenst have much recoil ( a bit more than a .32) but it still make .38 holes. She practices double taps so she still puts 3/4 inch worth of hole in her target...more air in, more blood out. :cool:

I think she is as well armed as I can make her, and I believe that it will be good enough if she is ever unfortunate enough to need to use it.

I could never taylor a load like this for her if she carried a brass puker!

12-15-2005, 03:14 AM
I like the 158HP's (both cast and jacketed), too, in my S&W mod 36 (actually it was made before they started numbering the models or lettering the frame sizes - older than I am, but being steel, it doesn't know that!). ;) But, the 125's will generate less recoil, if you can find a load that will shoot to point of aim for the fixed sights. It sounds like your sweetie can handle the snubbie without problems, though! I'm very partial to Alliant's Unique with 158JHP's for both .38spec (5.0gr) and .357mag (8.2gr). Still testing 125's in .38spec, but as my shop is unheated I will probably not be doing too much loading until things warm up a bit come spring. :roll: My .357mags (S&W's - m19, 27,686) all like 9.0gr Unique with the 125's though.

12-15-2005, 07:05 PM
Hi versifier,
Don't know if anyone welcomed you or not.
So, WELCOME to the board ! If someone has, then re-welcome !
Got to finish up on the computer.Sometimes, being a computer tech, can pull your hair out.
Have to find some more audio software. This thing has to work !
See ya.

12-16-2005, 01:55 PM
I love revolvers esp single actions I do own one dble action that's a 686 smith. Ireckon their great cause their just like a Irish virgin .....Pure & simple ! The Late (But great) Mr Elmer Keith once said of Semi Autos as being Contraptions ! (though he was most proficent in their use ) They're reliable ,Not fussy about what you feed em & Fun to use with min of Fuss!