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Old February 18, 2001, 02:43 AM   #1
Jim March
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THE REVOLVER CHECKOUT - 10 year anniversary update.

Folks,

At 12 pages worth of PDF file, the "revolver checkout" is a major update. There's pictures. There's side-notes on everything from special needs for black powder, reloading tool compatibility, make and model-specific data, and at the end a one-page outline of what kind of recoil and ammo performance you should expect with various weight classes of 38Spl and 357 guns.

There's special notes scattered throughout on various gun types, everything from the Colt Walker to breakopens to aluminum-frame snubbies.

There's...a lot . Page 12 is a one-page re-hash of the whole checkout procedure as quick bullet points to take with you to a gun show, gun shop, post-apocalyptic back alley or whatever . Despite this "short form" I recommend reading the whole thing once, to get the various theories and advanced notes down before going shopping.

It's too big for a TFL attachment so I have it at google docs where it can be viewed without a PDF reader if needed:

http://tinyurl.com/revocheck

NOTE: you can download it locally - look for the "file" menu, top-left corner area below the color google logo. This is also where you can print it cleanly.

And yes, I promise, there'll be an update in 2021 . With any luck, there'll be a special section on magazine-fed gas-eject single action revolvers that I got rich off of inventing .

(Or not.)

A quick moment: if you’ve found this guide useful, please consider chipping in $20 or less – not for me, but to fund a really important election-related lawsuit in Arizona that has national implications. See also:
https://www.wepay.com/donate/AZCARE – THANKS!

For reference, the old Revolver Checkout thread can be found here.
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Old May 21, 2011, 04:35 PM   #2
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thousands of people are gonna appreciate this....thanks for all your hard work!
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Old May 21, 2011, 05:04 PM   #3
Jim March
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I've had one bit of private feedback on my stance re: Taurus and Rossi.

First revolver I ever owned was a Pre-Taurus-buyout Rossi. Sold it within the first 200 rounds after it broke two firing pins in a row.

Taurus...well, sorry, but the number of complaints (and the types of complaints) speak for themselves. About a year ago I ran into one that was so weirdly malformed it took me several hours of examination to spot it, yet the defect was serious enough that Taurus scrapped the frame - and this was the second time the gun was in their hands. A good gunsmith friend of mine who examined it also missed the issue. (This is the 605 I got free from somebody who sent it back to Taurus and it came back to them unrepaired.)

Look, a lot of times somebody fairly new to guns will have a budget of, say, $350. They need a basic defense gun. The choice comes down to a new Taurus or Rossi, or a used S&W or Ruger. I firmly believe the latter is the right way to go, esp. if you have "the checkout" to run through, which is certainly an option if you're reading this . That was the boat I was in when I bought my first really good revo and it's really the target audience for this document.

Nothing is going to change my mind on that point.
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Old May 21, 2011, 05:11 PM   #4
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Thanks Jim.

I especially like the 1 page version at the end. To anyone who has read this before, it is all that is needed.
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Old May 22, 2011, 02:22 PM   #5
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Thanks for the work on all this! A very valuable guide to all.
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Old May 22, 2011, 06:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
A gun can work sometimes with a surprisingly “fugly” star but...it’s a sign it’s been shot at a high rate of fire a lot, or the metallurgy was crap, or it was badly machined (the last two issues infamous to Taurus, sad to say).
Every Taurus star I've ever seen has looked that way. I suspect it's less of a problem with the 5 shot snubs with a relatively coarse (5 point swastika) star, than with the higher round count cylinders.

No specific comments on Charter Arms? I seem to recall you commenting sometime in the past about frame problems with some of the .44 Special Bulldogs.
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Old May 22, 2011, 07:16 PM   #7
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Believe me, I thought about it.

Problem is, I don't know enough about the 44s and I don't know enough about the differences between the "first company" issue (early 1980s on back I think?) and the most recent company.

Regarding the 44s, I know a bit about the ballistics issues but not about any strength differences between first-run and current-run.

Soo...rather than put out bad info, I held off.
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Old May 24, 2011, 01:07 AM   #8
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Good work on the 10 year anniversary update.
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Old May 24, 2011, 06:13 AM   #9
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Do you think we could give credit to Skeeter Skelton, who first published the checkout back in the 70s? His checkout is almost identical and did come first.

The only electronic copy I could find (I have it in one of his books at home): http://darkcanyon.net/Complete_HowTo...d_Handguns.htm

Chris

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Old May 24, 2011, 12:58 PM   #10
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I'll be damned.

Guys, literally, I've never seen that before. Seriously. I'm not surprised by it's existence, but...huh. Mine is more detailed, esp. the 2011 version, but I also wasn't writing for the space limitations in a magazine.
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Old May 25, 2011, 09:32 AM   #11
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I don't know...there are some similarities between Jim's work and Skeeter's work (because they are both talking about how to check out a revolver), but I don't see the two documents as matching so closely that Skeeter would get credited in Jim's "Revolver Checkout." Skeeter makes no mention of putting the gun in full lock-up, for example (hammer dropped while trigger still held back), which has been of inestimable help to me when looking at used revolvers for sale. Overall, since Jim has developed his own material, and especially because he never even saw Skeeter's work beforehand, he would be under no legal or moral obligation to mention its existence. Skeeter did a nice, concise job of covering the topic, but what Jim has given us is the kind of gun knowledge that can be passed on to our children.
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Old May 25, 2011, 03:25 PM   #12
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Well I'm absolutely glad Skeeter's work is now linked in this thread - and remember, this is the main "official" discussion thread linked to from within the PDF file.

If you compare Skeeter's methods to mine, you'll see that in some cases we get to the same place with different tricks. Fr'instance, the "flashlight trick" was not mentioned by Skeeter. There's two possible reasons for that: one, he didn't have flashlights near as good as what we have - small bright LEDs and personal "tactical grade" lights powered by CR123 lithium batteries, and two a lot more of the guns of his day had recessed chambers (the "pinned and recessed" S&Ws, etc.) which block a lot of light.

The "full lockup" thing happened because the original test gun was a late 1970s-era Charter Arms Undercover. And putting the gun into "full lockup" absolutely affected the cylinder play because like a Colt Python, that old Charter was designed as a "tight lockup" gun. But even on Rugers and S&Ws, I've seen enough difference between normal and 'full lockup" states to matter sometimes. So I went ahead and said "do it every time". For one thing, you never know if a gunsmith will have tuned up a Ruger, S&W or even a Taurus enough to make the lockup state matter.

You'll also note that Skeeter went on to discuss "bottom-feeders", although in much more limited fashion.

So...yeah, basically I think I can make a pretty good defense that I never plagarized Skeeter, in the 2001 or 2011 versions.
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Old May 25, 2011, 09:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Seriously. I'm not surprised by it's existence, but...huh
It's possible to arrive at many of the same conclusions independently. I was using variations on a few of Jim's tricks years before I saw his article.
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Old May 27, 2011, 02:37 PM   #14
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Thanks again, Jim. This has proven invaluable to me.
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Old December 11, 2011, 04:35 PM   #15
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Thanks Jim. I looked at a revolver today after giving your article a good 2 or 3 reads. I felt I knew what I was looking for! Previously I would have only looked to see if it was 'clean'. Thank you so much.
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Old December 11, 2011, 09:53 PM   #16
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Thanks Jim.

Your original revolver checkout article has always been a useful tool in buying used revolvers. Whenever I am interested in a used revolver I begin by asking the sales clerk "do you know how to check out a revolver?" and then showing them how. You receive the credit.

Best purchase was a S&W Model 15 Combat Masterpiece that suffered a botched trigger job and was unsafe. Your checkout revealed the problem that resulted in buying the Smith for next to nothing. A replacement trigger and hammer group returned the Smith to like new operation. Similar situation with a S&W 629.
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Old December 11, 2011, 09:56 PM   #17
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Tuzo: yeah, that's sometimes how it works out. Knowing what you're getting into is always worth it.

*Usually* it comes down to a binary decision: do I want this thing or not? But, not always!
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Old January 7, 2012, 10:55 PM   #18
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Thanks for your work Jim.
& don't worry, I know I didn't think you plagiarized SS.
(and if a 4th grade flunk-out like me can figure that out, I'm sure the smart ones will too)
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Old January 11, 2012, 10:51 AM   #19
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Thank you!

Thank you Sir! Looking for my second revolver and I’ll be studying this at work, and taking the one page version with me!
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Old January 29, 2012, 07:53 PM   #20
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Great Article
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Old March 2, 2012, 01:42 AM   #21
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Read through this, thanks for all the work and information.

One thing happened to me at a gunshow in December, I bought a nice-looking Smith .357 Magnum and it turns out I CAN'T eject the magnum cases after firing--not without extreme measures anyway. It's been cleaned multiple times, including with a chamber brush attached to a drill, by a gunsmith even. It looks like the chamber dimensions might be off.

How can you tell if a revolver will eject properly, when checking it out at a show? I did not spot that advice in your guide but admit I may have missed it.

Closer inspection after learning of my new problem, I noticed a bunch of scratch marks on the rear of the cylinder. Obviously previous owners were PRYING cases out. Damn. But is there any other clue to this issue?
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Old March 2, 2012, 01:04 PM   #22
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Wait...how does it check out otherwise? What's causing the issue here?
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Old March 2, 2012, 10:11 PM   #23
Mosin44az
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It checks out fine otherwise as far as i can tell.

It even ejects .38 cases easily, now that it has been thoroughly cleaned by my gunsmith.

It STILL will not eject .357 mag cases after firing. The first cylinder fired, you can push them out using the ejector rod with some effort. The SECOND cylinder fired, I can no longer push out the cases in the normal fashion, using my palm only, and have to use a hard object to push or strike against the end of the ejector rod to force out the casings. Yes I know to be careful with what material I have to use for that .

The .357 mag cases stick HARD, even after repeated cleaning by the gunsmith including use of a brass chamberbrush and drill. As stated earlier, I have now noticed scratch marks on the rear of the cylinder indicating previous owner(s) probably were prying cases out.

So it appears to me at this point there COULD be a dimensional problem with the chamber holes, although it could just be more extreme cleaning/polishing of the cylinder is required.

No other revolver I've ever owned, including several Tauruses, has been so problematic. None in fact, has had this problem at all, so it was a shock to pick up a nice-looking classic revolver and have it with a major functioning issue.

So I was wondering if there was a good way to quickly tell in the future if there is a problem with the cylinder chambers, as I did not spot that as part of your checklist ( though I could have missed it). I will DEFINITELY look for scratches on the back of the cylinder from now on!

Thanks for any help or advice on this.
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Old March 3, 2012, 10:13 PM   #24
Jim March
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Hmmmm.

Until I know what the cause is, and we really don't yet, I don't know how to check for this.

It's an extremely unusual situation!
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Old March 5, 2012, 02:00 AM   #25
Mosin44az
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Yes, fortunately, but still aggravating. Only time it's happened to me. I believe I have isolated it to two of the 6 chambers. Perhaps they need more polishing is all.

Can't think of any way to tell before shooting if this will be a problem, though. Is there a cylinder chamber gauge?
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