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Thread: Accurizing revolvers?

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Default Accurizing revolvers?

    What general methods will accurize a revolver? I've heard mention of closing the gap between cylinder/cone can help. Do companies make custom barrels for revolvers? I know a good barrel has helped folks with rifles improve accuracy. The amount of play in the cylinder too......... (from left right) and the play in the cylinder from the cylinder rod......what else helps? Does beveling the sharp edges of the cone help?

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    Most modern quality revolvers are quite accurate right out of the box with jacketed bullets. Usually more accurate than the shooter. If it's an older worn gun, then the worn places have to be fixed. If it's a cheaper gun, there could be cyl alignment/timimg problems or built in looseness that are difficult to fix. If you are going to use cast bullets, bullet fit and throat sizes have to be right. What revolver are you wanting to accurize and how does it shoot now? Cast or jacketed bullets? You can get custom barrels but it's not normally necessary. What kind of accuracy are you looking for?

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    Back when I was shooting Bullseye, one of the guns I used was a S&W M-19 6" with target sights. One of the first things I did when I got it was fire a 5-shot group out of each chamber and numbered the chambers. It was accepted knowledge that the biggest things affecting accuracy were a bad barrel and a badly aligned chamber. I've never done this but there are some pistolsmiths who will do through the bore reaming. This is supposed to match up the bore and chamber near perfectly. This is done with a new, and I assume, undersize cylinder.

    Try shooting your revolver one chamber-one group at a time. You might be suprised.
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    Most people ignore the single biggest item to help one shoot a handgun accurately, an exceptional trigger.

    Once you have that taken care of, then you can look at possible dimensional problems with the gun. In the case of Ruger, some of their revolvers came out with undersize chamber throats, which squeze down the bullet smaller than bore size and kill accuracy, the 45 colts seemed to be the worst in this regard. Throats should be 1 to 1 1/2 thou over bore size, so in the case of a 45 colt 0.452-0.4525. The other classic ruger problem is the barrel getting constricted where it threads into the frame, most commonly in the single actions. Ross Seyfried has an excellent article discussing that while he reviewed a pair of 44 special flattops, well worth googling. Also the ruger factory SA base pins tend to be a few though undersize, so replace with a base moutain.

    Barrel/cylinder gap robs velocity, but I've yet to see it effect accuracy. But if you're having a custom barrel fit and the cylinder/frame fit is tightened up, might as well request a minimal gap, say 1 and 1/2 to 2 thousands.

    Then it comes down to load work and lots of practice.
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    I did my own trigger work but had the cylinders reamed on my 45 LC Blackhawk to 0.453 and my groups at 25 yds went from 8" to about 3" and I think I can do better than that. ...worth doing on the Rugers anyway and worth checking on others. Slug the barrel and find out where you are starting before you ream. Also, I seldom need to use the ejector rod now...the empties just fall out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    What general methods will accurize a revolver? I've heard mention of closing the gap between cylinder/cone can help. Do companies make custom barrels for revolvers? I know a good barrel has helped folks with rifles improve accuracy. The amount of play in the cylinder too......... (from left right) and the play in the cylinder from the cylinder rod......what else helps? Does beveling the sharp edges of the cone help?
    Without question the best thing I've ever done for revolver accuracy is to ream the throat for a gentler entry angle of the bullet into the bore. I initially did it to cut down on leading, but it danged near cut group size in half with cast bullets in that first revolver. More testing showed that it reduced group size with jacketed bullets too. A few more throat reaming tests convinced me it's pretty consistent. I may be in a rut, but now I ream new revolvers before firing a shot out of them, I'm that convinced of the benefits.

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    You might find tight spots in the bore like where it screws into the frame that need to be relieved. Throats smaller then groove to groove need fixed. Trigger jobs help if there is a lot of creep.
    Any decent gun from Ruger, S&W, BFR or Colt will have good cylinder alignment. Some of the worst are line bored with zero cylinder play.
    99.9% of the time, nothing needs to be done and money can be wasted looking for accuracy that comes from the loading bench.

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    Definately keep the micrometer, pin gauges and feeler gauges away from the gun unless it isn't shooting accurately. I wished I'd never bothered to check the dimensions on my 480 SRH. With .478" throats and 0.005" barrel/cylinder gap one would think it would be a problem gun. It is 50 fps down on my buddies SRH that is .476" at the throats and has a tighter barrel/cylinder gap.

    But my "sloppy" gun has never made me want for accuracy. I firmly believe if I were up to the task it would put 5 shots into 1" at 100 yds.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

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    My friends new Ruger Hunter did 1/2" over and over at 50 yards from the bench.
    Shoot the new gun first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Without question the best thing I've ever done for revolver accuracy is to ream the throat for a gentler entry angle of the bullet into the bore. I initially did it to cut down on leading, but it danged near cut group size in half with cast bullets in that first revolver. More testing showed that it reduced group size with jacketed bullets too. A few more throat reaming tests convinced me it's pretty consistent. I may be in a rut, but now I ream new revolvers before firing a shot out of them, I'm that convinced of the benefits.
    Thanks a bunch for this post! I did this to my 22 magnum revolver and group size literally shrunk in half. The cone on my pistol was SHARP and it used to shave little shards of copper off the bullets. I took a cone shaped dremel stone, inserted it into the cone and "chamfered" the sharp edges off. No more little shavings and was probably the best thing I could have done.

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    From my experience I'd check it first IF it is a Ruger revolver esp. a Redhawk. I shot my Redhawk first and then discovered the cylinder gap was very uneven - the back of the barrel wasn't squarely cut. If I'd known that before I fired it I would have taken it back to the store and demanded a new gun or a refund. I'll certainly be more carefull IF I ever buy another Ruger revolver and take some feeler gages with me to the store and very carefully check the whole gun over for bad barrel installation and machining etc.


    Quote Originally Posted by bfrshooter View Post
    My friends new Ruger Hunter did 1/2" over and over at 50 yards from the bench.
    Shoot the new gun first.
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