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Thursday, October 16, 2014

It's a Disease, I Tell You!



I mentioned that I'm signed up for BUG Nationals in a few weeks, right?  As if that didn't involve enough personal insanity, about a month ago, I realized that there might be "stage guns" at this match - where you have to shoot whatever gun is provided at the stage - not necessarily your own gun that you are used to. I had a moment of panic when I realized that one of those stage guns could be a revolver. I know ZERO about revolvers! I was thinking that you might even have to hold it differently to fire one. EEk!

To stave off my panic, I contacted a friend and fellow IDPA-er, who offered to give me a tutorial on his revolvers. Whew - THANK YOU!!!  Turns out that there are "seasoned" (I won't say "older" LOL) retired law enforcement guys out there who basically cut their handgun teeth on revolvers. I had hit the jackpot and didn't even know it!

I learned a ton of new information in the span of less than 2 hours. For instance, did you know that the direction the cylinder rotates depends on the manufacturer? Who knew?  It's not standard. That would be important to know for things like loading up with one empty chamber. What one does with the "release" button also varies by manufacturer.  Do I push it forward? Press on it? lift it up? Pull it back? Also not standard. Geez, I'm glad I asked. And YOU DO have to hold your thumbs a little differently to keep them away from the rotating cylinder, or from overhanging the front of it and getting in the way of the side blast. Also VERY GLAD I asked. I like my thumbs, and would like to keep them LOL!

This part shouldn't matter for the BUG match, since BUG reloads are off the clock, but I was also shown briefly how to do reloads with different speedloaders. Wow, that's a whole other set of motor skills right there! Strong hand reload with gun in weak hand is completely backwards from what I'm used to with semi auto pistols. The speed loaders didn't work the same way as each other either. One required a twist, and the other required a push. Much as I like my thumbs, I felt like I had grown ten of them that day LOL. More than one round met the dirt at my feet that morning while I fumbled around.

But, I at least learned the basics, and got a feel for the double action trigger and single action trigger, and managed to keep my shots within a reasonable diameter for a first time with the platform. I picked some brains about types of revolvers and learned what terms like "J-frame", "K-frame", and "L-Frame" meant. I also did a little brain picking and research about what kinds of revolvers might be good ones to learn on. 

I was intrigued - can you tell? LOL. Not that I had a concrete plan or anything. On the contrary, my reasonable budget-brain kept reminding me how much I had just spent on my daughter's Homecoming dress, and how much her senior portraits were going to be, and how much I had just spent on ammo, and how much the travel and hotels for Lady 3-Gun and BUG Nationals were going to be. I was NOT shopping. I was just learning new information -- honest.

And that was the gawd's honest truth ... right up until Tuesday. LOL

Tuesday was my day off. I had gone innocently enough, down to my local gun shop to pick up a couple extra magazines, and as usual there was a bit of a wait, because the owner was there by himself. As I waited, I wandered around and glanced into the glass cases. 

There, reclining sedately  in the "Used" case, was a revolver labeled - Smith & Wesson 686 SSR Pro. It called to me softly in its loneliness. "I'm what you were looking for", it whispered. I peered into the case, my nose nearly leaving a print on the glass. Hmmmm...

So after I lost my filter on the know-it-all guy in line ( as I confessed on Facebook) I asked the owner if I could check out that used revolver over there. Now remember, I know virtually nothing about revolvers, only the little bit I gleaned from brain-picking smarter people than myself. Thanks to the tutorial I had been given, I at least knew how to open the cylinder without looking like an idiot. The gun was in really good shape, and didn't look like it had a lot of wear ( as determined by a few strategic texts back and forth LOL) My good sense prevailed however, and I walked out of the store with only the purchases I had come for. After all, I told myself, I SHOULD have been practicing shotgun reloads with Lady 3 Gun coming up - not looking at revolvers.

But then I went to lunch. As I ate my bagel sandwich, I did some Googling on my phone. The Google gods told  me more about the model 686 Pro, gave me product reviews, and what prices would be like "new". Holy cow, that was a really good price for a lightly used version of that model. I kinda wished I hadn't looked that up - LOL. 

I pondered, and I hemmed and hawed a bit ... and ended up back at the gun shop after lunch.
My prize even came with the original case - though I'll have to contact S&W to see if they can email me an owner's manual. I got a box of .38 special and a box of .357 to try out, and the shop owner even threw in a speed loader for free. I tried to tell myself that it wasn't an impulse buy - that it was a great gun to learn on, which would still be good enough that I could try shooting SSR in a match if I wanted to try that,  and I was never going to find such a gun again at such a price. But it was still an impulse buy. It was a WISE impulse buy, but an impulse buy nonetheless. LOL


I got the new baby home and proceeded almost immediately to the range to try it out. I'm impatient like that. I dragged out a target and stand leftover from the Halloween-themed IDPA match last weekend, and set about putting some rounds downrange out of my new ( to me) revolver. The first 24 rounds all made it into the -0 ring at ten yards. I didn't think that was too bad considering it was a set of unfamiliar sights and an unfamiliar trigger pull. I'm told that revolvers are more accurate at distance than semi-autos, so next time I'll get a little more adventurous distance-wise, but for a first foray, I was happy. The wind picked up, and Frank the target was having trouble staying upright, so I quit at a half box of ammo.... for now.....





I didn't get to try out any .357 that afternoon, as the shop guy accidentally grabbed the wrong box, and I didn't know any better. Turns out the .357Sig I was given is not the same as .357Magnum. I opened that box and pulled out rounds that had "shoulders" like a rifle round. I knew they didn't look right and they didn't fit the chambers either. That's another "Who knew? " for my list. I'm always learning something. I guess it's kinda like 9mm Luger is not the same as 9mm Makarov, which is not the same as 9mm Short. It's enough to make a newbie's head spin. But, that's fodder for another blog post another day.

So, it looks like I've got more gear to shop for - speed loaders, holster, the "holders" for the speed loaders.... Like I "need" an excuse to shop. LOL - it's a good thing I'm going to SHOT Show in a few months!

I kinda felt a little guilty that I got "another" gun to learn on, when I haven't even mastered the guns I already have. I told a friend that I might need an "intervention" - and that maybe I had GADD - gun attention deficit disorder - since I couldn't seem to stay focused on one platform. He just laughed and assured me that even if that were so, "It was a good disease to have" :-)

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