Handgun Radio 116 - Modifying Your Revolver For Competition

Hello and welcome to Handgun Radio! I’m your host Ryan Michad from the wild woods of Central Maine, and this is your home for all the news, information and discussion in the handgunning world.This week, I’m joined by Matt Hoffman to discuss the internal and external modifications that you can do yourself or have done by a gunsmith to tailor your wheelgun for competition shooting!

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Week in Review:

Ryan: - Got the chance to check out a Detonics Pocket 9 today. A Family friend said he had a 9mm but didn’t know what it was. Really neat pistol! Pictures and video up on the Handgun Radio Facebook.

Matt:  Its been busy few months. We have been getting our Icore matches going again and shot a few matches big matches. Picked up a couple of Smiths, a 617 full target and 21 Thunder Ranch Special new in box. The new in box part will not last long though.

Main Topic: Modifying your Revolver for Competition

The competition world is generally dominated by autoloading pistols these days. The ease of reloading the autoloader with a magazine filled with cartridges makes it a good stepping stone for those wanting to get into competition shooting. However, the revolver still has its place in competition. The use of moonclips, speedloaders and the 7 and 8 shot guns have brought the revolvers almost even with some people shooting autoloaders. The extra challenge and skill needed to run a wheelgun in competition can be fun and exciting for people who may have grown a bit bored with standard competition and want to diversify their activities, or with people like me and Matt who just love tricked out, cool looking revolvers. Matt has been shooting competition with wheelguns for quite some time now, and we have discussed what gear you would want for competition in previous episodes; but we never really discussed how you might modify your revolver for competition. I thought it would be a good discussion to talk about what modifications you would make both internally and externally to your revolver in order to get it competition ready.

I’ve been exploring this topic for about 3 years now. I’m getting closer to figuring it now

Truth be told, you can go to the safe and pull out that old model 10 or 686 of your grandpa owned and with a few accessories shoot an idpa match. Most people will probably get more enjoyment with a few mods though.

 It's probably better to break it up into some different categories depending on what you intend to do. Most all of them are applicable to later mods.

 We will start off with the basic smooth and tune. I recommend this for most any revolver competition or not. It consists of polishing the rebound block, double action sear and trigger. Most smiths will get the DA pull to about 9-9.5lbs and smooth as silk. With a smooth action the often feel lighter than that.

  You might also consider chamfering the cylinder. A tool is used to put a bevel on the cylinder where your cartridges enter. Makes it like a funnel to guide the rounds in.

  Bobbing the hammer is another mod that could be a plus here. Lightens the hammer and if it's still a self defense gun will smooth the draw and maybe keep a gungho lawyer from saying you went SA.

   On the newer Smiths with the frame mounted firing pins I always check the length of the firing pin. Older guns had .495 length pin but the newer guns have .485 or shorter. I guess the 14lb+ pulls and short pins make them lawyer proof. I replace every short pin with an Apex Tactical firing pin. Longer pins are available from Power Custom and Cylinder and Slide as well.

  These mods are all fairly affordable, possibly user installed, easier to shoot but most importantly reliable with any quality ammo. Perfect for competition like IDPA but still can be used for self defense.

  The next level things get a bit more labor intensive and expensive.

 You can have your forcing cone trued up. This will make it completely flat and polishes the throat so every round leaves the cylinder into the rifling perfect and repeatable. Once that is done you may choose to recrown the barrel so every bullet leaves the exact same way. Somewhat pricey but may squeeze out the last bit of accuracy to raise four x count.

  These next mods are competition only. Here you will see the smooth actions but also much lower DA/SA pull weight. These guns will most likely be purpose built for a particular sport. You may see different barrels,optics and odd calibers.

  The action job will build on the smooth and tune and go beyond by polishing the inside of the frame to remove tooling marks,etc. The trigger and hammer will be shimmed so the pull is straight back with no loading. The trigger face is often polished and contoured. The hammers are bobbed and skeletonised or replaced with an apex hammer. This speeds up the hammer to aid in ignition with the lower pull weights.

  Speaking of pull weights, here you will see 4.5-6 lbs of da pull. No more off the shelf ammo. Deep set Federal primers are a must at these reduced weights. Some people actually crush them a bit.

  Titanium cylinders show here alot. The lower weight reduces the rotational mass to lower the pull and make an easier stop.

   Swapped barrels are pretty common. Lightened for speed and heavy bull for staying on target and accuracy. Ports and comps are common.

  Sights are more specialised often here too. Red dots, fiber optic and the large Aristocate sights with the large range are used alot.

SHOPS: Mojo Custom Guns www.mojocustomguns.com

               Paul Francis at BossHoss Revolver Works on Facebook

               Apex Tactical www.apextactical.com

Wrap-Up:

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  • Matt where can people find you? Matt Hoffman on facebook

HGR 094 - Revolvers, Autos & Reloading!

Hello and welcome to Handgun Radio! I’m your host Ryan Michad from the wilds of Central Maine, and this is your home for all the news, information and discussion in the handgunning world. This week, Matt & I discuss his new handgun acquisitions, and what its like to reload for competition!

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We are going to skip the week in review because the episode is pretty much!

Main Topic: Revolvers, Autos & Reloading!

Matt! What did you think of the Steyr Handgun!?

Ryan’s Videos From This Past Weekend:

.44 Magnum One-Shot Ruger Redhawk

Sig-Sauer P226 Range Time

Rock Island Armory 1911 .45 ACP Range Trip

Matt’s Latest Firearms Acqusitions:

629-6 3” Trail Boss, unfluted cylinder, Hogue and Ahrends wood grips and lanyard

64-3 4” k frame

15-4 4” combat masterpiece. beautiful gun unfortunately wrong box but for $350 cant complain.

Reloading for Competition:

Reloading is almost a necessary evil when it comes to getting alot of practice in for competition shooting. Matt does more competition than me so he does reload as well, and I reload mainly for fun and practice ammunition.

Why reload for competition?

What factors do you need to consider when reloading for competition?

What are some of your favorite powders for competition loads? I prefer Trail Boss for my practice/fun loads.

What types of bullets should we consider for reloading? Interesting characteristics?

Wrap-Up:

Until next week, have fun & SAFE SHOOTING!!

HGR 047 - Randy Lee of Apex Tactical Specialties

This week, we have a very special guest: Randy Lee from Apex Tactical Specialties here with us to discuss what Apex does and how they can take your competition or defensive handgun to the next level.

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Week in Review:

Ryan:

- Got a chance to head out to the range today to shoot many different guns. We did video on six rifles and five handguns. There is a link to a video overview of the guns you will see posted on the Ryan Michad/Handgun Radio YouTube channel in the coming month (s) so be sure to go check that out!

Randy:

  • Working on new products.

Main Topic: Randy Lee of Apex Tactical Specialties

-How did you get started shooting? First guns?

-What got you into the world that is now Apex Tactical Specialties?

-Apex is known for its superb competition upgrades to S&W Revolvers and now M&P autos. Does Apex offer specific tuning packages based upon the customer's needs? (i.e. defense vs. competition)

-How much can be done to tweak a revolver or auto by simply putting in a drop-in part, and how much just requires the work of a good gunsmith?

-What makes a good replacement part? (or drop-in part)

-We have spoken on the show a lot about what makes a defensive revolver or auto difficult to shoot, but what makes revolvers & autos difficult to shoot in competition?

-If you could see one change made to modern production handguns (both revolvers and automatics) what would you do?

-If you could design the Randy Lee Special Revolver and Auto, what would they look like? Caliber?

Wrap-Up:

  • Dont forget to shop Brownells using our affiliate link, www.handgunradio.com/brownells
  • Be sure to go like Handgun Radio on facebook and share it with your friends! You miss out on good posts like Mark’s “Anyone that loves this show, and is in MPLS Minnesota area, contact me and I will either pay for or set you up with some free range time.” Be sure to go check it out!
  • Leave us a review on iTunes!
  • Listen to all the great shows on the Firearms Radio Network! Fat2FitHQ!
  • Be sure to visit the Firearms Insider for review and SHOT Show 2014 coverage! Also, if you are interested in writing reviews for the Firearms Insider, please email TJ at tj@firearmsradio.tv
  • Check out Apex Tactical Specialties!
  • Until next week, have fun and SAFE SHOOTING!!!