What I’m about to say may shock you… To be honest, I shocked myself once I realized it…
Up until just a few months ago, I had never shot a revolver. After all of my years of shooting and training, it feels crazy to even write that! It’s not that I’ve intentionally avoided revolvers, I just grew up shooting semi-automatics and never strayed. I also realized that none of my shooting partners or family members own revolvers, so the organic opportunity to shoot one hadn’t presented itself.
I talk to my friends over at Smith & Wesson® pretty frequently and once they realized I had never shot or handled a revolver, we agreed it was time to change that; and that is where my journey into revolvers starts. Hopefully, my learning experience will ease any reservations you may have about taking the plunge into a new platform; it’s never too late to expand your training! After much consideration about what would be the right revolver for me, I ultimately landed on the Model 66 Combat Magnum®.
Why the Model 66?
Aside from the aesthetics catching my eye right away, for me, it came down to one word… versatility. I wanted to immerse myself into the new platform, meaning I wanted to be able to experience different shooting styles, techniques, calibers and so on. The Model 66 allows me to do just that. I can shoot .357 Magnum or .38 S&W Special, Single or Double Action, and it’s compact enough to carry if I decide to. And of course, it’s made in America.
While I Waited…
The waiting period for any firearm to get delivered to your FFL always seems like an eternity, even if it’s only a week or two. While I impatiently waited for my new shiny wheelgun to arrive, I spent a ton of time online reading about revolver basics and watching videos. I wound up getting quite side-tracked on Jerry Miculek’s YouTube page after originally heading there for revolver videos, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing! I also went to one of the larger gun shops in my area to handle a few revolvers for fun and acquaint myself. Even though I wasn’t able to find a Model 66 locally, it was still nice to get a hands-on feel of some others.
Expectation vs. Reality…
I’ll admit, I somewhat expected to go through a box of ammo and by the end of it, feel pretty confident given my firearms experience. I’m not too proud to admit, that was not the case. I decided to start in double action to mimic a semi-auto more closely, and my first six shots were all over the place. While I’m no competition shooter to begin with, this grouping was not what I’m used to... I switched over to single action for my next six rounds and it was a world of difference; nearly immediately I had a new respect for double action revolver shooters. With single action, I was able to get a decent grouping and was starting to see why people love shooting revolvers.
Range time... Lots of range time… So far, I’ve only put 120 rounds through the Combat Magnum, of either 158-grain Federal® American Eagle® .38 Special or 158-grain Federal American Eagle .357 Magnum. Not only do I plan to spend more time shooting it in general, but I’m also planning to test several different loads in hopes of finding the “sweet spot” of what I’m most comfortable with. From what I have experienced thus far, the simplicity of the revolver platform is already providing me a certain level of comfort.
As I get more dialed in with my single and double action, I’ll be back to share more updates on my revolver journey. My hope is that I can share my personal insights as they come up so you can have a leg up from what I’ve learned. Until next time, continue training and stay safe!
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