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The conjunction of a comment in a thread here on UCC and a recent poll on another forum I frequent prompted me to start this thread. We often see or hear the statement that a revolver is much more mechanically reliable than a pistol - about as reliable as a sledgehammer, in other words. Here's the results of a recent poll. There were 178 respondents. The question asked was: "Have you ever had a revolver fail?"

Smith & Wesson failed...............71.............39.89%
Ruger failed..............................29.............16.29%
Colt failed.................................19.............10.67%
Taurus failed.............................27.............15.17%
Other brand failed......................30.............16.85%
No failures.................................68.............38.20%

It's evident that the more product a company has in use, the greater potential for failure exists. What struck me was that of the 178 respondents to this poll (it was a multiple choice poll, so a respondent could report multiple failures by brand), there were a total of 176 revolvers that had failed in some manner. Reported were timing issues, cylinders that bound, transfer bar failure, broken firing pin, etc.

Based on your personal experience, have you noted more mechanical failures (exclude ammo-related failures) with revolvers or pistols and what were the failures you experienced?
 

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I don't own a revolver. but my dads has failed twice once it had to do with cylinder timing and had to be sent back to colt and the second was bad ammo i think a round backed out and was a pain to get the cylinder open or get it to turn. it is a colt python.
 

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I shoot a Taurus wheelgun chambered for .357 Magnum and a Ruger Super Blackhawk in .44 Magnum.

The Ruger has only ever had FTF's on bad ammo. The Taurus has had a few failures that were due to the ejector rod coming un-screwed. That was resolved with some blue loc-tite. Since then both weapons have been nearly flawless in their performance.
 

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The only failure I have ever seen with a revolver was last year with my friends Ruger Blackhawk .44 Magnum. It was an human error problem though. I shot it and there was a light pop and hardly any recoil. Nothing hit the dirt. I took everything out of the cylinder and looked down the pipe (not straight on). There was a stuck bullet about 1/2 inch from the end of the barrel. He had his son helping him reload and he thinks he missed filling one of the casings. No powder, just primer.

The problem is that many people don't maintain their guns but expect them to work when needed? I bet there are a million people that have had a handgun under the mattress for years with tons of lint and dirt throughout it?

IMHO I think a pistol will be as reliable as a revolver as long as it is kept clean and properly maintained. A pistol is a little more sensitive to inferior ammo that isn't quite to exact specs. A revolver probably has the advantage if the user neglects their guns. If you are a member of this forum you enjoy guns and maintain them properly and so either a pistol or revolver will be equally reliable. I like the timeless classiness of revolvers but my next handgun is going to be a high-end 1911 pistol of some type.
 

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I am a fan of autos rather than revolvers because both are quite reliable these days and autos have other advantages (larger mags, slimmer, etc.).

Having said that, though, I think the reason revolvers are "more" reliable is a failure only affects one round. Unless you have a wheel failure, you can just pull the trigger again to go to the next round. Each time the wheel turns you have an independent chance of success or failure.

With autos, the common problem is failure to eject or load properly. When this happens, you have to rack the slide, drop the mag, or do a number of different things. All of these require more work than just "pull the trigger again".

So while the survey may say that many revolvers have failed, most of those failure probably just affected the one shot. A simple trigger pull probably fixed most of them.

Another way to look at it is the two designs. In the autos, the bullets have to move through the magazine, up the feeder ramp, fire, then eject properly, and a new round has to go through the same motion -- all extremely quickly. With revolvers, the wheel simply turns a little. No bullet movement at all within the machinery of the gun.

This is all a non-issue with me because autos are plenty reliable for me. But I have to admit that of the two designs, the revolver is 1) simpler and less prone to errors, and 2) easier in recovery when (most) errors do occur.
 

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The above posts represent the typical reasons revolvers fail to fire. Bad ammo, well that's a given. Once in a while you will have the ejector rod come loose. Recoil likes to do that to anything threaded. For the most part if it doesn't fire there is something wrong with your gun or bad ammo.
Note: S&W doesn't like extra hot loads. Eventually something will give. Ruger on the other hand will eat any responsibly loaded ammo you feed it.
 

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I have 2 revolvers

An International Firearms .22 and a Taurus .357

Neither has ever had a mechanical failure to fire.

I have had some ammo problems with the .22

The good thing about a FTF with a revolver is Click Bang.

You can always pull the trigger again :wink:

Not so with a Pistol.

Tarzan
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The good thing about a FTF with a revolver is Click Bang.

You can always pull the trigger again
If it's an ammo-related failure, that's true. But if the failure is a transfer bar, broken firing pin or cylinder that won't rotate, there will be no Click Bang. I have to admit that the poll got me to thinking about the desirability of carrying a BUG.
 

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KISS (Keep it simple stupid) less can go wrong when there is less to go wrong. Never have a mechanical failure with an revolver but I have had some ammo issues.
 

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I've never had a failure with my revolver and that surprises me considering that the pistol is a junky RG Industries .22. The hammer has broken but only the tab that allows it to be pulled back and cocked. Still works as a double action type though.

ian
 

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Car Knocker said:
The good thing about a FTF with a revolver is Click Bang.

You can always pull the trigger again
If it's an ammo-related failure, that's true. But if the failure is a transfer bar, broken firing pin or cylinder that won't rotate, there will be no Click Bang. I have to admit that the poll got me to thinking about the desirability of carrying a BUG.
Since the ONLY failures I have had with my revolvers were ammo related I did not address mechanical failures. Mechanical failures are at least possible with all mechanical mechanisms. In light of this fact, I usually carry a .22 Auto as a BUG.

Tarzan
 

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If you have a failure w/ a revolver you can just pull the trigger again....

Said like you can't do that with a semi-auto....

Well, all my Sigs have DA/ SA triggers. If I have a FTF, restriking the round is an option. I don't train to do that, I train to tap and rack the pistol, but I could stand there hitting that primer until my trigger finger falls off if I want.

I have reloaded ammo w/ bad primers to re-strike them before, just for giggles.

If you have a failure w/ a revolver it's just that one round...

Maybe. If the bullet backs out of the crimp you are sunk - can't turn the cylinder, can you? W/ a semi auto you just have to tap rack, maybe swap mags.

Lastly - if the timing goes off, what's the fast fix for that?

I have no problem w/ revolvers. I don't currently have one in my carry mix, but it's not because of anything inherent w/ revolvers. The way I see it, revolvers and semi autos are both machines. Even good quality machines that are properly maintained are prone to failure from time to time.

Rather than wasting time on revolver vs. semi-auto I'd rather beat people over the head (verbally) for not carrying a backup to whatever their primary is.
 
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My experience has been once a revolver runs it always runs. That being said you have to make sure it runs when you first acquire it. I have a thing for revolvers and own over 20 of them. I have had many that didn't function when new and took some time to get them running flawlessly; but once done I have yet to have a problem that wasn't ammo related.
 

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Hunter said:
What's a R-E-V-O-L-V-E-R?
From wikipedia.com:
A revolver is a type of firearm.

Revolver may also refer to:

Revolver (album), a 1966 album by The Beatles
rEVOLVEr, a 2004 album by The Haunted
Revolver (film), a 2005 film by Guy Ritchie
Revolver (magazine), a publication about rock music
Revolver Comic (UK), a British comic published 1990-91
"Revolver" is a song by Rage Against the Machine
Revolver (TV series), a 1978 music series presented by Peter Cook
In finance, a revolving credit
Revolver (Band) is an Australian three piece post modern retro band.
 

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Now I am confused... what is a revolver :wink:
 

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xmirage2kx said:
Now I am confused... what is a revolver :wink:
I guess that makes two of us.

Tarzan
 
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