Marlin Firearms Forum banner

Advice on shooting a DA revolver

1682 Views 17 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  ceetee
I am used to shooting a single action revolver and I am having trouble shooting my double action revolver. It was definitly shooting to the left several inches and I sent the gun back to the manufacturer for adjustment. They sent me the target used to test the gun and I am confident the gun is functioning fine. I am nearly 100% positive that my trouble now is my shooting form. I am shooting everywhere around the bullseye but in the bullseye, I am shooting at 25 feet and my targets have a 5 1/2" circle with a 2" bull. Even shooting in single action style my groups are all over the page. I have tried several types of ammo with speer gold dot and some hard cast lead that I loaded myself being the most accurate. What is the correct way to hold and shoot a 2.5" revolver. I am open to suggestions. Papajohn please feel free to voice your opinion. :) Thanks. Dan

PS this is a Charter Arms 44 special
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
IIRC, the only Charter Arms I have shot had a particularly stiff D/A trigger.

How long is your barrel?

First off, move the target closer...start at 5-7 yards. The key is to maintain your sight alignment/sight picture, while pulling the trigger to the rear. Many people have a tendency to pull the trigger straight for most of the pull, then for the rest of the trip rearward, push the trigger away from their palm (therefore the whole gun). If you are right-handed the bullets will drop some and move left (down and right for left-handed shooters).

The shorter the barrel, the more pronounced the effect. The further away the target, the more pronounced the effect.

A tip that helped me with D/A shooting: use the first part of the trigger squeeze to smoothly rotate the cylinder, then continue through until your hammer drops...all while keeping your sight picture.

The BBL is 2.5" long. Yes the Charter has a very heavy and gritty trigger pull, Is it recommended to take the gun apart and polish things up a bit?
Yes...but Charters come apart different than anything else I've seen. There are a few tricks to disassembly and reassembly.

Give me a day to look it up and I'll post it for you.

With my SP-101 I always practice shooting DA. On this revolver I can pull the trigger until I feel a small click...thats the cylinder locking into place, then I hold that position until I get my sight picture, from there it's like shooting single action. Some folks wrap their trigger finger around the trigger so that when squeezing the trigger, the tip of the finger feels the back of the trigger guard just before the trigger releases. The idea is to know when the trigger is about to break. Try different methods until you find whats best for you and your gun.
...and look at how you are holding the pistol itself. I'm actually going through the opposite, I'm having to re-learn to shoot a SA vs a DA revolver. Much, I found, has to do with how you are positioning the pistol in your hand and how far you have your trigger finger wrapped into the trigger.

Another thing I may suggest... is maybe start with a DA .22lr revolver. I know, back to the basics and all. When I first learned to shoot centerfire pistol, I started with, of all things, a .41 Magnum. It took me years to overcome the bad habits I developed from shooting something that big to start with.
Coonhound and C98, great advice!

Also, for D/A shooting, you get a bit more strength placing your trigger finger on the trigger at the first joint rather than halfway on the pad. Strong grip helps.

Some describe a good D/A pull as "rolling-on" the trigger. Smoothly squeeze the trigger through the cylinder's rotation, then you have a short bit to go take up to get the hammer to fall.

A quick, rapid, jerky pull is harder on your pawl/hand and cylinder stop too. One of the purported issues with the Ruger Redhawks in .357 is the tiny cylinder stop halting all that mass on rapid fire. The same sized cylinder in .44 mag has a lot less moving weight for that cylinder stop to lock. "Rolling-on" allows a nice, smooth rotation (on any double-action revolver) and indexing the chamber, without excessive wear.

IMO, most D/As are fired single-action at the range, at paper (as are most guns of any type...fired at paper). With novice to intermediate students we have, it usually has to be suggested to them to try shooting D/A on d/a revolvers, as they automatically cock the hammer for each shot. We really need to get some DAO guns. "But it's for the business, Honey! Honestly!" ;D

D/As require a bit more training and practice, but the effort is worth it! Especially with a cool big-bore snub-nose revolver like that Charter!

See less See more
Sir, You need to realize DAO mode should be exclusively for CQB less than five yards and leave it at that. I shoot a S&W DAO because they have the best triggers. The only way to get her tammed down is to hold one hand on the trigger gaurd holding the weapon steady and the trigger finger doing its job seperatley. I hope this figure helps but you may never correct the problem with said weapon or yourself. Five yards or less body hits should be your first goal. Goodluck. :)

Hammerless DAO's like my 13.3 oz "always carry" S&W M&P 342 with XS night sight are not for gunfights but are the absolute fastest, reliable, and most effective weapon within their range limitation for personal close range self defense.

See less See more
Lots of good advice already given, I'll just add one more tip. I try to shoot revolvers two-handed as much as possible, and in DA fire, I'll modify my grip a tad if the trigger is on the stiff side. Instead of using a regular cup-and-saucer hold, or an interlaced finger grip, try extending the forefinger of your support hand along the left side of the frame, and brace the gun at the front of the triggerguard bow. That will counter the tendancy to push the gun to the left as you fire. If you're pressing the trigger sideways as you pull it, you'll feel the added pressure with your left forefinger. Counteract it with steady pressure to the right, and it should help you keep the barrel from wandering to the left.

Hope this helps. 8)
I'll add one more tip. I don't know if your weapon is hammerless but I've found the shape of the hammerless S&W backstrap to lend itself to better DAO shooting and controlling recoil.
I've been having similar problems shooting my snubby .38spl (Colt DS 2"). I was all over the place until I got a basic bench rest. Firing SA using the rest, I got good 2"-ish groups at 5 yards, but consistently high and left.

I cured the "high" problem by changing from 158gr to 125gr ammunition. It seems to like 125gr Speer GoldDots JHP and Lawman FMJ best, with Fiocchi 125gr SJSP working well enough for practice.

Unfortunately, I'm still consistently a bit to the left, in both SA and DA. Looks like I need to apply some of the advice provided above, and practice, practice, practice!
I've taught a few people recently to shoot (not just DA or SA, but pistols in general) and I show them how they must separate their trigger finger ('divorce it' if you will) from the rest of their hand. What is the purpose of hand? hold the pistol. You shouldn't have to put the death grip on the pistol to hold it, and once the hand is in place, holding the pistol, it's job is done. Now it's time for the trigger finger... and the trigger finger alone... to do it's job, pulling smoothly through the action to fire the pistol.

The problem I see (and I KNOW this was my problem when I started handgun shooting) was at The Moment of Truth... just before the hammer drops and the magic happens... new shooters tend to pull the trigger with their entire hand (all 4 fingers.) I learned to get past this by a fair amount of dry firing (both revolvers and autos) and learning to isolate my trigger finger from the rest of my hand. Once you get used to the occurance, the surprise and newness of the pistol firing and the recoil, you can get on with the business at hand... but it does require repetition and a familiarity with your weapon.
See less See more
Thanks for the input gentlemen, I will definitly be trying these out to see if I can get my shots grouping better. This forum is an awesome avenue for a wealth of information. Thanks again and I will keep you posted. Dan
Well I managed to find time between raking the gravel in my yard left over from plowing snow this past winter and watching the Cincinnati Reds season opener to shoot my Charter a few rounds this evening. I took the advice to heart and was shooting DA style at about 10-12 feet and used 3 different bullet configurations. My groupings were what I was expecting, but not perfectly what I expected. There was no wind this evening and my best group was about 1 inch left of bull and 1 inch high in about a 2 inch group. This was with laser cast 240 grain swc bullets. I need to get some more speer gold dots to try them, the factory hornady xtp 180 grain ammo was left of bull and high just like the laser cast but had about a 3 to 3 1/2 inch group. I gripped the gun a little higher on the grip and support hand finger on front of trigger guard with slow deliberate shots. I shot 25 rounds and have a sore blister on my grip hand between first 2 I was pleased with my shooting today. Thanks for the help, I know if I have any more problems I can ask here and get great advice. Dan
See less See more
What C-98 said is real good advice. BTW, I have a friend who separated his trigger finger from his hand with a 12 ga. shotgun while crossing a fence. Never found it.
coonhound said:
What C-98 said is real good advice. BTW, I have a friend who separated his trigger finger from his hand with a 12 ga. shotgun while crossing a fence. Never found it.
Well... I didn't mean to take it to the extreme! ::)
Go to Select the Pro Tips button on the top menu. Then select Pro Tips With Jerry Miculek. The first season tips for revolver grip and trigger control got my wife very happy with her S&W 642LS. You'll notice everyone else in that section uses a semi-auto. It's hard to find better tips than those from Jerry.
Here's my own two cents on an old topic... sorry I didn't see it sooner. First - I have to disagree with the posters that said you should be able to know or feel exactly when the trigger is going to break. Anticipating the trigger break is one of the biggest causes of inaccurate shooting. You develop a flinch and always end up pushing your shots off target. Here's a good way to see if you're flinching: Do some "ball and dummy" drills. Load one chamber, and skip one. Then load another and skip two. (This is for a five-shot revolver - for a six-shot revolver, you would load one, skip one, load two, and skip two.) Now close the cylinder without looking at the position of the live cylinders. The purpose of this drill is so that you never know if the next round up is going to be a live round, or an empty chamber. When your gun goes "click" on an empty, and you see whether or not you've pushed it off center, you'll know for sure if you're flinching or not.

Second, I have to disagree with the poster that said double-action shooting should only be practiced at distances of 5 yards or so. You'll find that with practice, accurate double-action shooting can be performed at any distance, although when the yardage gets out towards 50, it becomes a heckuva lot harder. I can tell you that I've qualified (with a perfect score) on a police pistol qualifications course using a ragged old shot-to-heck Model 19 shooting double-action, but the farthest shots on that course of fire were 25 yards.

Third - everything plays a part. Stance, grip, sight alignment, breathing, trigger squeeze, and follow-through. All the basics of shooting become that much more important when the trigger pull is long and stiff. Watching the Jerry Miculek tips is good advice. Jerry is a master at revolver shooting. If it seems that you're still having trouble, don't hesitate to seek out a professional and pay for a lesson or two. Or just find someone more experienced than you are and ask them to watch you and critique your stance and grip, etc. Above all else, have fun with it! 'Cause when you get right down to it, no matter what you're shooting, shooting stuff is fun!
See less See more
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.