Wednesday, May 11, 2016

On Indexing

Jerry The Greek makes a comment on yesterday's post.
I've seen movies where the cowboy makes a reload and then SPINS his cylinder, and it is so exquisitely timed that the cylinder is perfectly indexed.
He admits it's pure Hollywood, and it looks cool, but we all know it doesn't work like that.  However, with the old-style Colt actions, it is important to index the revolver so that the hammer-mounted firing pin is down on an empty chamber.

However, spinning the cylinder might have had a purpose.  I'm sure that the old-timers had the same problems with ammo that we have.  Poorly made ammo, especially high primers can tie up a revolver in a nanosecond.  So, if you've got sketchy ammo, it might be a good idea to spin the cylinder completely around to make sure that the cylinder is free.  So, there is that. I've had cylinders tie up.  Maybe there is an historical precedent for spinning a cylinder, other than the cinema cool factor.

Of course, we all known the proper way to load a single-action revolver is load one - skip one - load four, then fully cock the hammer and let it down gently on the empty chamber.  That's been the standard for carry since Colt introduced his revolver.  It works just as well with Rugers, or any of the hybrid revolvers that blend the Colt style and the Ruger style.  In many of those revolvers, it's safe to carry six chambers loaded, but the standard has always been to carry five in a single-action

Our game is a single-shot game.  We're allowed one shot at an illuminated target.  Many shooters load five anyway, but early on, I had problems with the ammo.  Our game uses special brass, cut to allow a shotgun primer to propel a wax bullet.  Manipulating the six gun is primary, and we don't have time for a locked up cylinder.  When your opponent is drawing and firing in the half-second range, dealing with a high primer slows down your time.  With our ammo, a high primer will show up on a fired cartridge.

Many competitors unload the fired cartridge after every shot, re-index and wait for the next light.  For myself, I've begun only loading one cartridge at a time.  Some have counseled me to load two shots.  In the event that I slip-cock on the draw and my opponent misses, I still have one cartridge for a recovery shot, because I get one shot per light.  I haven't gotten into that habit.  If I slip-cock, that's my fault.

1 comment:

Murphy's Law said...

I confess to loading the occasional round with a primer seated just high enough to bind the action on a revolver. Now I know to check for that at the bench, but I still have a lot of older loads made before I realized it was a problem. Doesn't happen often, but when it does...