Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Random Revolver thoughts and questions....



Just a quickie while on a break at work, but had a couple of thoughts regarding revolvers and was wondering if anyone knew the answer?

First off, why is it that Single Action revolvers invariably have the loading gate on the right side of the revolver frame, while Double Action revolvers have the entire cylinder swing out to the left side of the frame?

Secondly, are there, or have there ever been, single or double action revolvers with that loading action reversed?

Appreciate any help in getting this little niggling thought answered :)


Casey

12 comments:

Rev. Paul said...

Casey, Wikipedia states that "nearly all" single-action revolvers have copied the original Colt's design with the loading gate on the right side - but doesn't say why. No help at all.

I never thought about it, except to be grateful (I'm a lefty). Now I'm looking forward to hearing what others say.

Casey said...

Exactly, I don't know that I've ever thought about it either, I've just always accepted that single actions load from the right, while double actions load from the left.

For some reason today, something sparked that said ..."Hmm...why is that?"

We'll see if anyone out there knows....

Casey

YeOldFurt said...

Some people say it was because Sam Colt was left handed, though that never made much sense to me. I think it's because the cavalry used the left hand for the reins and revolver use. The left hand held the revolver while the right hand punched out the empties and inserted the fresh rounds. Note that the cap box and later the cartridge box was carried on the right side in front of the holstered pistol. When using the swing out cylinder, the pistol is held with the two middle fingers through the frame and the left palm is used to punch the extractor rod, meanwhile the right hand goes to the cartridge box to get the new rounds. There were several designs (mostly European) that reversed the placements but they didn't take favor here.
Hope this helps.
YeOldFurt

YeOldFurt said...

Something else that occurred to me was the fact that the cylinder "hand" is located on the left side of the hammer thus precluding placement of the loading gate on that side. The hand rotates the cylinder into alignment and was initially placed there on the old cap n ball pistols that Colt came out with, while actual capping was done on the right side of the recoil shield. Natural to place the loading gate on the right side and save engineering and labor.
YeOldFurt

Rev. Paul said...

YOF, those reasons make sense to me. Thank you.

Crucis said...

Some good info. I'd never thought much about it, but now, all "modern" design revolvers are for the right hand. I've never seen one with the cylinder latch on the right side of the frame.

When reloading, I use my right thumb to push the latch and force the cylinder open with my right fore-finger and to steady the cylinder while my left punches the extractor rod and inserts the speed loader.

I guess whichever method you practice is what works best.

Brigid said...

I don't have anything to add. I've added my third revolver to the collection and just love all of them.

Casey said...

I'm a fan of revolvers myself. I only own four of them at present, but when funding permits, I have a list :)

I just can't figure out why the cylinder swings out to the left on a DA revolver. It would seem more natural in the design progression to have it swing out to the right. At the time DAs came along, everyone and their cousin was either still using a single action, which loaded from the right, or a Top Break revolver, which allowed access to the entire cylinder at at once.

I just can't seem to make the leap they made when they switched it to the left. You've got all these people, already used to holding the revolver on it's side in the left hand while they load with the right, why not keep the revolver in the same position, and push the cylinder out to the right with the thumb of the left hand? You'd still use most of the same movements. Why do it a different way?

Guess I'll just have to go on wondering. Thanks for the input guys. If you ever stumble across the answer, remember me and drop me a line :)

Casey

wolfwalker said...

why not keep the revolver in the same position, and push the cylinder out to the right with the thumb of the left hand? You'd still use most of the same movements. Why do it a different way?

Um ... not-a-shooter I, but I know a little bit from watching various competitive-shooting videos. Why does the whole cylinder swing out on a DA revolver? The only reason I can think of is "to facilitate speedloading." Is it perhaps easier to speedload using the left hand to load, then just push the cylinder closed and you're ready to start shooting again?

Casey said...

The only reason I can think of is "to facilitate speedloading."


Well, you have to think back to when DA revolvers went from the top-break configuration to the swing out crane, and there just wasn't that much competitive shooting going on like you might see today. I don't know if it would even have been a consideration for the designers.

I guess I'm going to have to go back and figure out who designed the cylinder on a crane arm, and see if I can figure out what was going on then....


Casey

Ben said...

Their was a custom maker of single action revolvers in the 80's or 90's that placed the loading gate on the left side but can't remember the name of the company.

Evyl Robot said...

I'm not convinced that it's an advantage so much as an oddity, but there is the Charter Arms Southpaw with the cylinder release and crane reversed from the norm.

http://www.charterfirearms.com/community/PR_southpaw.html