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Old July 22, 2013, 10:01 PM   #1
IrvJr
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Join Date: June 2, 2004
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which holster for gun "twirling?"

Hey All

I was watching some online videos of Howard Darby and Joey Dillon and would like to try some gun twirling.

I'm going to order a replica or solid rubber Colt SAA style prop to do the twirling. however, i was wondering what style of holster/rig would be good. I was looking at the Bob Mernickle website and was thinking of ordering some type of Hollywood western style drop leg holster.

Or, should i get a SASS approved or Cowboy Fast Draw Association approved holster in case i want to try these events later on?

Would a drop leg style make it easier to draw / holster the gun for twirling style tricks?

Any suggestions? I'm just looking to do this for fun... Sort of like juggling, only with a replica, non-firing gun.

Thanks in advance.
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Old July 23, 2013, 07:14 AM   #2
bedbugbilly
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I may be wrong on this . . . chalk it up to age . . . but I think Bill Akins had a video posted on this forum at one time showing him doing fast draw, twirling, etc. If I'm wrong, I apologize and maybe Bill will chime in.

I'm certainly no expert on twirling but I would think you would want to use an actual '60 Army (if that is what you'll be using if you compete, etc.) in order to learn how to do it to have the correct weight, balance, etc. that you wouldn't get with a rubber of cast aluminum replica?

I'm sure there is a lot of "dropping" that goes on when you're learning - possibly standing and twirling over a bed or while standing on several layers of blanket to cushion if you drop it?
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Old July 23, 2013, 09:39 AM   #3
Bill Akins
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What kind of holster you want for spinning and twirling, depends on the type of draw (from the holster) you want to use. I have a video on YouTube at this link....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfKza...bVQ0tMcgLqcncg

....where I am demonstrating a special draw I developed from "The road agent spin", also known as "The Curly Bill spin".

But that draw is angled and butt first. Since I made the video, I have found out it isn't legal for SASS because it violates their 70 degree angle rule that dictates the position of the revolver in their matches, this would be even without my actual twirling, but covers just the type of draw I use.

I also can draw and twirl normally from a straight hang holster and can twirl the gun back into the holster that way. But I don't have any video of me doing that yet.

If you plan to draw and twirl from a straight hang holster, I would suggest you get a drop leg version. It is easier to spin/twirl the gun back into the holster on a drop hang than it is to spin/twirl it back into a higher up waist holster.

I would also suggest getting a cheap beater holster first to learn and practice on. Because when you first start, you will ding up and even tear the top of the holster with sharp edges of the hammer, front sight, etc, before you get proficient enough later on to MOSTLY avoid damaging the holster. So you can use the cheapo practice holster for learning, and then later perhaps get a better one once you are proficient at twirling the gun back into the holster.

I agree with bedbugbilly that you should use a gun that is the same weight and balance as the real one. Yes you can use a dummy gun, and I have an 1873 peacemaker dummy gun I have tried using for that, but it doesn't have the same weight and balance as the real one has. For my special draw I use Pietta 1860's.

I have years of experience and started practicing in the early '80's using a .44 Griswold & Gunnison (Reb copy of 1851 but with half round barrel). Here's the only pic I have of me with that 1851 style G&G. I was auditioning for a stage production of "Oklahoma" in the early 1980's and had a friend of mine take this pic of me with my revolver and pocket watch ("High Noon" style Lol) to put in my promo packet for the audition.

I won the audition and got the part of "Cord Elam" the sheriff, at the Lakeland Dinner Theater. When I went for the audition, I twirled my revolver and ended my twirls with me fanning a full charge blank round (newspaper wad) safely off towards the theater lights way up high in the very high theater ceiling, totally freaking out the director Lol.

But he was somewhat impressed and gave me the part and wound up laughing about it. Guess he liked my spunk. Couldn't get away with that today in these politically correct times. No doubt I'd be arrested today pulling an audition stunt like that without any warning. But that was then.


I later cut the barrel and rammer down a little bit and relocated the rammer catch and front sight to give the revolver better balance. This G&G was the revolver I first used in the early 1980's to teach myself the butt forward road agent spin draw,...drawing backwards butt forward directly from the holster as you saw in my video.

I have found that barrel length and barrel weight affects twirling using my butt first draw. The inertia of a longer barrel weight, can aid that draw from the holster utilizing my modified "road agent spin" draw and or twirl. The balance, weight and barrel length of my 1860's Pietta Colts is perfect for the type of draw and twirls I do using my butt forward "flip spin"/"road agent" type of draw.

However, if you are using straight hang holsters, butt rearward, (most often used and seen type of draw and twirl) and do not need the inertia of a long heavy barrel to aid you in flipping your butt forward revolver from your holster, then you don't need a long nor heavy barrel. For instance, if you are spinning and twirling 1873 peacemakers, then a shorter length barrel that gives you an equal overall balance is better than being barrel heavy.
A drop leg holster for this type of draw and twirl is best because it is easier to draw as well as twirl the revolver right into the holster using a drop hang holster.

I am totally self taught, and a lot of what you learn can only be learned by you feeling the balance of your guns, and finding which barrel length and weight is best for the balance the gun needs for you to adequately twirl it.

When you are practicing, you need to do so over an old couch or bed because YOU WILL drop the revolver when you practice, and you will drop it a lot until you become more proficient. I can do several different types of spins and twirls and draws, and although I'm not an expert in the style of some who do this for a living by giving exhibitions, I am in my humble opinion, pretty good. But....even I still sometimes practice over a bed or couch especially if I am practicing my sideways spin with my finger pointing downward and my hand and arm has to travel down a foot or so with the gun as I twirl it once sideways before I straighten the gun up to twirl it normally.

My hand and arm has to travel downward at the same speed that the revolver would drop when I twirl it sideways like that. I can get one sideways spin doing that before I have to straighten the revolver up with my finger as I am still twirling it. But you have to be very quick doing that or you will drop the revolver. Hence the need to practice that over the bed or couch. Same bed and couch advice for when I am flipping the revolvers into the air and catching them by the handle as I do "The border shuffle" used when using two revolvers and for switching the revolvers from the weak hand to the strong hand for almost uninterrupted firing and better accuracy using the strong hand.

You WILL drop them A LOT at first practicing that trick, sometimes I still do but not very often. Your flipping into the air and catch has to be timed dead on. You first flip your supposedly empty right hand revolver spinning into the air, while it is in the air, you change your left (weak) hand revolver to your right hand, and then catch the in the air revolver by it's grip in your left hand, holster the gun in your left holster and continue firing what WAS the gun in your left hand, now with your right hand. That's a tricky one to master. Even when you think you've mastered it, you can still drop it by your timing being off just a leetle bit.

I can twirl as long as I want in one direction, then reverse direction and twirl as long as I want the other way. I can twirl sideways with finger down. I can draw regularly and twirl the gun back into the holster regularly and I can do my special "road agent spin" draw directly from the holster, and also reverse the revolver so the gun is backwards on my finger and twirl it that way too and do "The border shuffle" flip into the air.

It takes a lot of practice but is a lot of fun and builds up your arm strength as well as your finger strength. It's kind of like when I learned to use nunchucks studying the moves of Bruce Lee using them. I can still sling them very well. Same thing when I learned to fence with foil and epee. It's all about balance, timing (VERY important) and learned muscle memory that can only come from doing it repeatedly.

After you have become fairly proficient in twirling for awhile, you learn the timing of how to twirl the revolver right into the holster. It takes a combination of timing that you base on the feel of the twirl, as well as a slight raising of your hand and then quickly going downward to twirl the gun right into your holster. It is a bit hard to explain in text, I could show you if we were in person. But even then, until you get the feel of twirling and find your timing (which takes a LOT of practice), you will miss twirling it correctly into the holster. I can do it fairly regularly. Like maybe 8 times out of ten. But even with all my practice, even I sometimes miss my timing and smack the holster with the gun rather than twirling it neatly into the holster. Hence my advice to use a cheapo holster for practice when you begin. I STILL use cheapo holsters and I've been doing it a long time. Believe me they get beat up from missed spins into the holster.

I've come to the conclusion that the type of holster I want is one that has somewhat of a funnel type of mouth. So many times I have barely missed spinning the gun directly into the holster, only because of the very small window of space that my barrel has to perfectly spin into. If I had holsters with a mouth that stuck out a bit further away from my side in just a leetle bit more of a funnel type of style (hard to adequately describe this), it would aid my twirling directly into the holsters. Also I need to design them with a thin sheet of steel between the layers of leather so they will hold their mouth shape and not deform from repeated hits from missed spins into them.
Also I need to design holsters that won't move around on the belt but will stay very rigid and very stationary so they won't move to throw off my draw and reholstering. (Hope you guys can visualize what I'm trying to describe, it misses something doing this in text).

Good luck and feel free to message me anytime you'd like advice or tips I have learned. If you'd like, just let me know, and I'd be happy to PM you my phone too in case you'd like to call. I believe I can explain it a little better vocally than I can textually. Of course being together in person would be optimal, but we do what we can do.



.
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"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".

Last edited by Bill Akins; July 24, 2013 at 07:21 PM.
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Old July 23, 2013, 10:14 AM   #4
Hawg
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Nice video Bill.
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Old July 23, 2013, 10:56 AM   #5
Herr Walther
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That's pretty slick.
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Old July 23, 2013, 11:48 PM   #6
Bill Akins
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Thanks Hawg and Herr.

Irv, you might want to re-read my last post. I added a lot of things to it for you. Also if you'd like to discuss tips on twirling, even while you have the gun in hand and are actually doing it, just message me and let me know to PM you my phone so you could call and I can actually talk you through some things as you are attempting to twirl over the bed or couch. I had no one to teach me and I think if I had, I might have progressed faster.



.
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"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".
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Old July 24, 2013, 12:48 AM   #7
DoubleDeuce 1
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Great video! It would be nice if there was some slow motion showing the draw and twirl, especially reversing the revolver and placement of the fingers. Is there any alteration to the trigger?
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Old July 24, 2013, 12:58 AM   #8
Bill Akins
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No alteration to the trigger. Stock Pietta Tradition's 1860's.

One day soon I'll try to get my wife to video me twirling my (newest acquisition) Uberti 1858 Remington, my S&W model 1917 N frame's my S&W model 1905 K frames, and my Uberti 1873's and show me twirling them forward and backwards, sideways, flipping them in the air and catching them while doing "The border shuffle" and also twirling them right into my holsters. When I do, I'll post it at this site. Y'all might get a kick out of that.



.
__________________
"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".

Last edited by Bill Akins; July 24, 2013 at 01:08 AM.
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Old July 24, 2013, 08:03 PM   #9
IrvJr
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Hey all

thanks for the replies and tips.

although the 1860 looks like a nice and better balanced gun, I'll probably stick with the 1873 style since I also own a nice Ruger New Vaquero and some Italian SAA clones.

I will look in to getting some lower cost (maybe used if I can find some) holsters to start off.

Thanks for the link too for your video Mr. Akins!
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Old July 26, 2013, 11:10 AM   #10
Bill Akins
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You're welcome on the video Irv. But I hope I didn't say anything to lead you to misunderstand. I did not mean the 1860 is necessarily a better balanced revolver than a 4&5/8th's inch barrel 1873 peacemaker. It isn't if you are just going to twirl it like is most regularly done.

The advantage of the 1860 is that it IS barrel heavy, so that inertia of the heavy barrel actually aids me in my "Curly Bill spin" drawing it out of the holster butt forward like I do. Kind of like a steam locomotive wheel has a heavy weight on one side so its inertia helps carry it over to the next revolution.

Same principle and need with the special draw I do with the 1860's. Now a little bit of barrel heaviness weight I think also aids in regular twirling too, but you don't need anywhere near as much barrel weight for normal twirling unless you are doing that special draw I do.

I have found that unless the revolver has heavy barrel weight, it is difficult to do my "Curly Bill spin" draw from the holster. I have a real hard time doing it with my 4&5/8th's Uberti cattleman. Just not enough barrel weight inertia to help "sling" the gun into a revolution from the holster like I need.

Although the film was speeded up for the sequence, when Josey Wales spun his Walkers around (Curly Bill style) to shoot the bandit in the general store, the heavy weight of the Walker's barrel would actually aid him in doing that type of spin. So a heavy barrel has its place for some applications, but a heavy barrel is not necessarily more balanced for all aspects of twirling. Yes a Walker is aided by its heavy barrel in doing the "Curly Bill spin", but it is also a real bear just to twirl normally, because of that very heavy barrel. I can twirl it, but it's a slow "lop, lop, lop" ungainly beast to twirl and feels very lopsided as you twirl it. Heavy beast too and somewhat painful on the finger.



.
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"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".

Last edited by Bill Akins; July 26, 2013 at 11:26 AM.
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Old July 26, 2013, 05:05 PM   #11
Bill Akins
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Oh Irv, I forgot to mention, you WILL get some scratches, cuts, and gouges on your hands when you practice twirling. Just yesterday I was twirling and missed my timing and got a cut (actually a gouged out small chunk of flesh) on the top of the base of my right thumb from the sharp rear edge of the hammer. Then just a little while later, I was practicing the "border shuffle" where I toss the gun up in the air in a single and double somersault and then catch it by the grip handle. And I missed my timing one time out of five or six and got another cut (gouged out small chunk of flesh) on the bottom of the base of the same thumb, again, from the hammer. I just tear off the small hanging chunk and go on, or if it hurts too bad to twirl, I let it heal first.

Sometimes I re-gouge out the same spot twirling before it is completely healed. That gets painful and sometime I have to lay off practice for a while til it heals. So whether you are a very good twirler, an average twirler, or just a beginner. You WILL get cuts on your hands.

Gloves would help, but gloves can be bulky and you won't get the same feel with the gun. But I might start using them myself since I'm kinda tired of getting gouged out frequently, and perhaps I'll just cut out the trigger finger on the glove then it might work okay. Don't know though, never used them in twirling. But logic dictates they would armor somewhat against cuts.

It usually is the same area that gets cut over and over again. So just be prepared for it.

It just goes with practicing the skill. Just wanted to give you and anyone else interested in learning a head's up of what to expect. It WILL happen so just expect it.

Here's the pics of my right hand from last night.







.
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"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".

Last edited by Bill Akins; July 26, 2013 at 05:23 PM.
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