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Thread: Wheelgun Challenge I

  1. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Cypress, TX
    I am thinking about taking on this challenge. I am a revolver guy at heart but I have been shooting semiautos almost exclusively since 2007. Once word came down that IDPA had cancelled Nationals this year I decided to break out my S&W Model 64 I picked up a few years ago and give the wheelgun a workout. I ordered a JMCK iwb holster for it back in March. I received the holster a couple of weeks ago. Tuesday is my birthday so I have scheduled an appointment to have some work done on it. It will have a front sight dovetail cut into it, the cylinders will be polished and chamfered, and the revolver will get a bead blast finish to bring it back to a like new finish. Hopefully it will be a quick turn around. Once I get it back and test self defense ammo in it I will exclusively use this revolver for the next year or so. I still need to figure out how I want to carry my reloads.

    Sent from my Pixel 4 XL using Tapatalk

  2. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    WV USA
    I shot in ye olde IPSC with a Security Six then went thru the Academy in 1983 with a 1911 when almost everyone else was carrying a wheelgun. Got a deal on a 4” M-29 and carried that because I was in Texas. I went to my second department in 1987 and everyone on patrol carried a 4” 686 except HQ guys who got 2 3/4” 66s. Unfortunately all our “L” framed guns had been recalled so I got issued a 2 3/4” K framed gun as a patrol guy until they got everything sorted out.

    I still carry a revolver when I feel nostalgic. Looking forward to installments documenting your year of avoiding getting “kilt in da streetz” with only a revolver.

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Oukaapie View Post
    Hi Bruce, could you share how you came to decide on that particular revolver and barrel length?
    Oukaapie:

    Here is a bit of my reasoning behind picking the Ruger Match Champion.

    First, I have a history with Ruger revolvers. During my teens, revolvers were pretty much what serious folks carried. Folks that I respected were hard core revolver users. Bill Jordan, Elmer Keith, Skeeter Skelton all favored revolvers for serious purposes. So I went through a series of revolvers until I settled on Ruger's. I had a S&W Model 19 that experienced significant cylinder rotation stiffness/issues so I sold it. I next landed on a Colt Python. It was a gorgeous gun (4 inch with blued finish). I couldn't find stocks that fit my hand. The double action pull stacked noticeably and made good double action work harder to accomplish. I was told that my Python would need an action job which was nearly equal the cost of the gun. My Python had significant cylinder extraction issues. Almost any magnum load, handload or factory load stuck in the charge holes. I sent the Python back to the factory. Despite Hartford's assurances that everything was fixed, I still experienced issues with that gun. My next choice was a Ruger Security Six. I had great luck with the Ruger. It was roughly the same size as the Model 19, it functioned well and it fit me. After market stocks were easily obtainable, as was leather. I grew up in Pennsylvania. The State Troopers used Ruger's and their guns had a good reputation. I shot that gun a bunch. For a long while, it was my only defensive handgun. It held up well. When I find something that works for me, I tend to be pretty brand loyal.

    Second, I believe that the Match Champion ("MC") is the gun Ruger should have made when they replaced the Security Six series funs. Don't get me wrong, the GP100, of which the MC is a variant, is a great gun, but it is almost too heavy and big. The MC is really a modernized Security Six. There are a series of enhancements that Ruger designed into the MC that really make it a better carry gun than most realize. For example, the grip stub accommodates a wide variety of grips/socks. The triggers are factory tuned on MC guns. The front of the cylinder is beveled/chamfered to allow easy re-holstering. The charge holes are chamfered which greatly speeds up reloading. Sights are a cut above other Ruger offerings. Lastly, all of the strength enhancing engineering changes Ruger made in the GP100 series are present, but in a more svelte package.

    Third, in shooting my MC, I found it to be very accurate. That is a big plus in my book.

    Fourth, I haven't experienced any issues with my MC. It is my hard use revolver. In fact, when I teach revolver classes, it is the gun I use.

    Fifth, Ruger actions get better with use.

    Sixth, I went with the 4.2 inch barrel because I am a big believer in carrying full size guns. Small guns are harder to manipulate for me generally. I view any defensive shooting as a precision shooting event. A full size gun allows me to solve that problem with the least amount of difficulty. Some folks get wrapped around the axle about carrying big guns. I carried a Glock 21 for 15 years when I was an agent. The Ruger is way easier to carry than my Glock 21. Additionally, I knew I would carry magnum ammunition. The 4.2 inch barrel gives better ballistics over smaller barrels.

    Seventh, there is an intangible quality about my MC that resonates with me. I have seen it with other platforms. You can pick up two of the same model guns, one made right after the other, and often times you find one "feels" better than the other. In my martial arts training, I have used a number of bokken (training swords). They all function the same, but the one I selected as my own has a quality or feel about it that sets it apart.

    I hope that clarifies things a bit.

    Bruce
    Bruce Cartwright
    Owner & chief instructor-SAC Tactical
    E-mail: "info@saconsco.com"
    Website: "https://saconsco.com"

  4. #14
    Thanks Bruce, excellent detail.

  5. #15
    Site Supporter
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Central Virginia
    Excellent article.
    I intend to go all revolvers for daily carry after my retirement which may be very soon.
    Looking forward to the next installment.

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Cartwright View Post
    ...I view any defensive shooting as a precision shooting event...
    I'll be stealing that line for future use.

  7. #17

    Same feelings here

    Must be a retired LE thing. Pulled the pin in ‘16 and my G17 has cobwebs in it. My several varieties of S&W wheel guns get 97% of my attention these days. Bruce, you are gifted writer with a solid foundation in revolvers. Keep your knowledge flowing to the masses.

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by SCCY Marshal View Post
    I'll be stealing that line for future use.
    SCCY Marshal:
    Steal away with my blessing.
    Bruce
    Bruce Cartwright
    Owner & chief instructor-SAC Tactical
    E-mail: "info@saconsco.com"
    Website: "https://saconsco.com"

  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Inspector71 View Post
    Must be a retired LE thing. Pulled the pin in ‘16 and my G17 has cobwebs in it. My several varieties of S&W wheel guns get 97% of my attention these days. Bruce, you are gifted writer with a solid foundation in revolvers. Keep your knowledge flowing to the masses.
    Inspector 71:

    I think part of my motivation was a new found freedom once I retired. I could carry whatever I wanted since I was no longer subject to Bureau rules. Hence I started carrying guns I liked as opposed what was required. I mostly carry S&W M&Ps in 9mm, but wheelguns and 1911s get carried a bit. It is sort of liberating not to have to carry a company gun. Thank you for the compliment. I appreciate it.

    Bruce
    Bruce Cartwright
    Owner & chief instructor-SAC Tactical
    E-mail: "info@saconsco.com"
    Website: "https://saconsco.com"

  10. #20
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Location
    McKinney Texas
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Cartwright View Post
    Folks:

    After I retired, I had the opportunity to carry a full sized revolver as my primary defensive handgun. I wrote a series of short articles do document my experiences (they are being published on my website as well). Since there is a bunch of interest in using revolvers, I asked Dagga Boy is he would be okay with me turning these articles into posts here in the Revolver Sub forum. He gave me the green light, so here goes. There are currently 5 articles and I will post them from time to time. Thanks to Dagga Boy for the opportunity to do this.

    Wheelgun Challenge I

    In 2017 I spent a glorious fall day in Idaho shooting revolvers with several good friends and one of my mentors. While all of the attendees recognized the utility of carrying a modern “plastic fantastic”, we also remember the days when a revolver was the iron to carry. My mentor mentioned that revolver shooting was becoming a lost art. During my time as an FBI Special Agent I witnessed the transition from revolvers to soulless plastic pistols and had to agree. My interest in revolvers had been reignited about 2 to 3 years prior to this specific shoot. I have haunted many old gun shops for prime specimens of the breed. Once you could find all manner of used, but good condition, revolvers, holsters, speed loaders, and stocks, now those items where conspicuously absent. During one of our breaks, one of my friends mentioned that he wanted to get better at running a revolver. Then he threw down the gauntlet: He challenged me to carry a revolver as my primary defensive handgun for a year-365 days. He would do the same. I’m retired and can carry what I want. That said, I have carried 1911s and plastic pistols for close to 30 years. I broke in on revolvers, but they have not been my main carry guns since the mid-1980s. Well you can’t really say no to something like that, so I accepted.

    Caveat Up Front: By mutual agreement, my friend and I ended our experiment after six months. We pretty much proved our points to ourselves.

    What follows are a series of brief articles about my experiences running a wheelgun for an extended period.

    First though, here are the specifics about my hardware: I love Smith and Wesson revolvers but decided to carry a Ruger GP-100 Match Champion in .357 Magnum. Ruger’s are built like anvils and can withstand stupid amounts of abuse and shooting. If someone hands you a five-gallon bucket of full power .357 ammunition and challenges you to shoot all of it, the Ruger can withstand it. The Match Champion has been refitted with a set of factory Ruger compact stocks. They tend to be much more concealable and fit my hand very well. They remind me of Pachmayr Compac stocks of yesteryear. I am apparently the only person that does not like fiber optic sights. As a result, I removed the plastic fiber optic tube from the Match Champion’s front sight and repainted it in blaze orange. I zeroed the gun for Federal 357 Magnum 125 grain jacketed hollow point ammunition.

    I carried the Match Champion in a Slate Creek Tactical (http://www.sctactical.com/) Inside the Waist Band kydex holster (Caveat: The owner of Slate Creek Tactical is a dear friend). I have traditionally used leather holsters for my serious carry rigs. That said, Slate Creek Tactical of Hayden Idaho makes superb holsters. I have used Slate Creek Tactical holsters for other platforms and have been very impressed with their products. In light of, my success using Slate Creek Tactical’s gear, it made sense to use one of their holsters for my revolver. I have been delighted with the holster and how well it works. Give Slate Creek Tactical a hard look for serious kydex.

    I started with HKS speed loaders and then I shifted towards Safariland Comp IIs. Once I saw how well the Safariland Comp IIIs worked, I obtained several and have been carrying one or more of them. I carried the Comp IIIs in coat, vest, and pants pockets. Likewise, I carried a pair of Bianchi Speed Strips filled with my carry ammo.

    Ammunition was Federal 125 grain jacketed hollow point. Yeah-I know this doesn’t pass FBI ammunition protocols, but it is what I had on hand. Besides, lots of coppers put bunches of bad guys in graves using this round.

    I started the Wheelgun Challenge officially on 18-October-2017. More to follow.

    Attachment 54460
    Bruce

    Awesome. I am a GP100 fan as well. I have several and have been thinking of adding the Match Champion to my little collection.

    Can you post a close up picture of your front sight change?

    I can only think of one change to your revolver. Consider a Bowen Rough Country rear sight. Put that on, zero for your load of choice and lock it in.

    Great posts btw.

    Houston

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