View Full Version : Techniques for shooting snub nose revolvers-DA

April 30, 2006, 11:10 AM
Hello everyone

In another post, I've said that I now recieved my Taurus M85 back from the factory, and it works!

So I shot it yesterday, a lot, and it is shooting very high. I'm talking like four inches high at five yards. I'm perfect with single action, but shooting double action which is how i want to practice is just much higher. I know some of this is the extreme trigger pull (must be like eight pounds).

Besides working on my trigger pull, what other techniques has anyone found helpful using DA on a snub nose to improve acuracy. I'm looking for anything here, so any suggestions are welcome. Thanks.

April 30, 2006, 11:30 AM
What weight bullets were you using? Sometimes switching to a lighter or heavier grain bullet will shift the POI to POA. Regards 18DAI.

Blackwater OPS
April 30, 2006, 02:50 PM
If you are shooting that close in I would use a technique where you actually pull the trigger with your middle finger and "point" at the target with your index finger. It sounds strange but if you practice and can pull it off you can actually shoot from the hip(or pocket) with decent accuracy. Hope that helps.

May 1, 2006, 08:16 AM
Good suggestions so far, this is what i'm looking for. Thanks.

May 2, 2006, 12:17 AM
You should practice until you can stage your DA shots - that is, pull until just before the hammer drops, make sure you still have a good sight picture, then squeeze. If you practice, it happens by second nature, and quite quickly.

A smooth trigger action helps.

James K
May 3, 2006, 06:11 PM
Using the index finger as a "pointer" alongside the frame sounds OK until those powder burns from the barrel-cylinder gap cut into your finger.

The trick to accurate DA shooting is the same as for any other shooting - keep the sights lined up and squeeze the trigger. A couple of things help. Use the left rear of the frame or the upper left grip as a finger stop. With the middle of your index finger on the trigger, as you squeeze the tip of the finger comes into contact with the frame/grip just about the time the hammer is set to release. Using that contact as a control while applying pressure helps a lot.

Another common problem with a small gun or powerful cartridges is that you need a good tight grip. Sometimes, those super rubber grips help, sometimes they don't. But any thing, gun or grip, that cuts or abrades your hand has to go. Pain will make you flinch and accuracy will go to heck. (A while back, a poster said that the gun shops in his area were full of used super light .357 revolvers, along with a box of 47 rounds of ammo. I doubt he was exaggerating much.) Practice with light "wadcutter" loads helps.

How good can you get DA? Well, I have kept all shots in a silhouette at 100 yards shooting standing, two hand hold, with a Model 36 3" barrel square butt, factory stocks. Two inches at 7 yards, one hand, is common for some people I have trained, using 2-3" barrel revolvers.


May 4, 2006, 10:01 AM
Going out this weekend again, and will let you all know. Some of the suggestions ring true, especially the grip. It's a small gun, so my pinky is in the wind.

I also noticed that the hollow points were more accurate than ball ammo. Is this normal? Thanks again everyone

May 5, 2006, 11:57 AM
Hey Jim:
I had forgotten all about the index finger alongside the frame thing.
I just picked up a .38 snubby. Have to try it.
I used that grip decades ago and it did work.


May 5, 2006, 12:29 PM
I shot it yesterday, a lot, and it is shooting very high. I'm talking like four inches high at five yards.

Considering the sights on that Taurus, I'd say that's damn good shooting.

That gun is a backup/belly gun. Its purpose is to shoot at close range and is not meant to be used for precision target shooting.

If any correction is needed it's probably a much tighter grip. Imagine shooting close range at someone who is trying to kill you.

Pay little attention to those who tell you what a great 'snubbie' shot they are at 100 yards or 50 yards or 20 yards.

That Taurus is a belly gun. Learn to point shoot!!

May 5, 2006, 12:30 PM
1. Empty revovler, leave ammo upstairs.
2. Go to basement, set up target on suitable back stop.
3. Confirm the gun is empty and ammo is NOT present.
4. Dry Fire

Repeat daily.

Seriously, dry firing is a great way to smooth out your pull on that little DA revolver. Maintain sight alignment through the pull and drop.

I am against "staging" the trigger. This is an older technique that is, as far as I am concerned, even more dicey than cocking the hammer on a SA/DA revolver. You are better off practicing to get a smooth pull through from begining to end with no staging or hessitation.

I had the trigger of my S&W Mdl 60 polished smooth, action smoothed out and threw on some Hogue Bantam rubber grips. It helped me gain proficiency much quicker.

Bill DeShivs
May 6, 2006, 12:55 AM
Snub guns are as accurate as the longer barreled versions. They are just harder to shoot accurately. And yes, you can be very accurate with a 2" barrel.
Try this:
Make sure the gun is EMPTY.
Find a small object to aim at, keeping the direction safe.
Lay a quarter on the to strap of the gun. Dry fire doing this until you can keep the sights on the target, without moving, and without the quarter falling off. When this is accomplished, you should be able to shoot fairly well.
Don't use your middle finger for the trigger unless you really don't need the tip of your index finger!
Make sure the action of your gun is properly lubricated. Having a good gunsmith perform an "action job" might be a good idea.
Dry fire practice whenever you can, and shoot as often as you can. If you do your part, 25 yard shooting should be no problem.

May 8, 2006, 06:52 PM
I would use snap caps also.
Do not use the middle finger. If you hold the gun correctly even with the index finger gripping the trigger the base is still pointing along the line of the barrel. Removing your index finger and using the middle takes one of the strongest fingers supporting the gun away from supporting it and leaves two of the weakest fingers supporting the gun.
Bad idea!
ANother trick is to load the gun, or have some one elso load the gun with several empty chambers and hand the gun to you to fire. If you load it just spin the cylinder and dont look when you close it. Then you dont know when the gun will fire or not and when you pull the trigger on an empty gun it will show you a lot of the things you do right and those things you do wrong.
I shoot a Turaus 445 in 44 sp and at 5 yards quick fireing it will hold 5 inch groups and they hit slightly high.

May 9, 2006, 03:09 PM
I found that, like you single action was great but the long hard trigger pull of double action is what was ruining my aim. I cured that with MUCH dry fire, concentrating on keeping the front sight immobile.

May 10, 2006, 05:56 PM
Thanks again everyone. I tried to dry fire, and took it out for a third time. Much better now. I also have found that a firm grip, and my body's weight pushing slightly forward and down improves it significantly.

Just a side note, I fired winchester silver hollow points, +p , unbelievable! So accurate!

June 2, 2006, 08:05 PM
At the range, dry fire until you feel like you're being consistent about it, and then add some live rounds. I know that sometimes I dry fire well and then jump back into all of my bad habits when I have live ammo. Sometimes I load three of my chambers live and the first three with spent cases. The first three pulls are for technique practice, and the last three are live. That's helped me solidify better habits. Another idea is to mix them randomly so that you don't know when it's going to fire or not.

Any dry firing exercises should be done in a way so as to make a clear line between "dry firing" mode and otherwise. Plenty of experienced and otherwise responsible gun owners have put holes in things by doing dry firing exercises too casually and then "going for one more shot" as they are putting their now loaded gun away or the like. We all say it'll never happen to us, but it only takes a momentary lapse of judgement. Make a specific place and ritual for dry firing practice, and don't do it outside of that.

June 2, 2006, 08:34 PM
Lay a quarter on the to strap of the gun. Dry fire doing this until you can keep the sights on the target, without moving, and without the quarter falling off. When this is accomplished, you should be able to shoot fairly well.

This brings back painful memories of Parris Island, SC!!!! Only our PMI made us use a penny.

June 2, 2006, 08:59 PM
firm grip, smooth DA trigger pull, and practice, practice, practice. Dry fire is good, but range time is better. As others have mentioned, the snubbie is for close in work.

June 3, 2006, 07:01 AM
Lay a quarter on the to strap of the gun. Dry fire doing this until you can keep the sights on the target, without moving, and without the quarter falling off. When this is accomplished, you should be able to shoot fairly well.

they do the same thing at the VA DOC academy here. it sounds kinda silly but it does help trigger control

Ohio Annie
June 6, 2006, 11:20 AM
I dry fired like mad until I could empty the cylinder of my model 85 into the eyebox of a police silhouette target in 5 seconds at 15 feet, using those Fiocchi 158 gr. FMJ cartridges (ow!).

Before I got to that point I also used those 148 gr. wadcutters which are loaded with not so much powder. You can buy commercial reloads from some places too. I have shot about 3000 rounds with my 85. It is my carry gun.

Dry firing is the best cure for just about any shooting problem.

It also helps to have a pistol instructor who can watch and help.

June 6, 2006, 07:43 PM
Read "The Snubby Revolver" By Ed Lovette. Good book.

June 6, 2006, 10:51 PM
"You are better off practicing to get a smooth pull through from begining to end with no staging or hessitation"


After working on "staging" firing several hundred rounds, I began to doubt its practical value...if ever I had to use my 342pd in close quarters, in a flash. Perhaps even from within a pocket. I know lots of folks believe staging best in DA revolvers. I just think differently.

June 18, 2006, 01:30 PM
I have a M85 also. Instead of a quarter, I use an empty shell casing and snap caps. It helps and you can use this for any gun when trying to improve trigger control.


June 18, 2006, 02:55 PM
When my eyesight started failing, I went to point-shooting with my 640. I found it helpful to think about "pushing" the barrel straight toward the target as I pulled the trigger. I'm not sure I actually moved the gun forward, but I thought "push". I had no problem hitting center-of-mass at 5-7 yards.

I now use Crimson Trace lasergrips.

classic dx
June 21, 2006, 09:40 PM
Maybe this is just common knowledge and goes w/o saying but just in case it isn't: One common part of a lot of handgun shooters' grip procedures is to push outward slightly w/ the gun hand while pulling inwardly w/ the support hand. This creates a more rigid, steadier platform in which the handgun is held. I've had a lot of luck keeping the sights on target through the course of the long DA trigger squeeze using this method. That, and an 11 lb. Wolff trigger rebound spring has made my S&W 640-1 (DA only) much, much easier to fire accurately while still going "bang" every time. (750 rounds so far.)

Good luck with your progress!

June 22, 2006, 09:16 PM
locate a club that has a bowling pin shoot just for club members.
Here you will learn to shoot the snubnose quickly and accurately.
Determine what ammo for carry/defense and reload an equivilent load for practice.
The other shooter will likely offer suggestion listen and act on them.

Suggest for standard load the Hornady 140gr XTP load.
have fun it will be frustrating at first but enjoyable when a pin goes slowly backwards off the table.

June 23, 2006, 08:43 AM
Thanks for all the help everyone. Pushing the gun out helped significantly. It took some practice, but i even like to shoot the gun now. :)

big jon
June 23, 2006, 09:46 AM
shoot and shoot and did i say shoot it? thats the best cure for most shooting related problems, i picked up a m36 on wednesday yesterday i put 500 rounds thru it and iam walking out the house right now with another 500 pluss some +p loads iam going to compair the speeds with the chronograph,
best of luck

June 23, 2006, 05:16 PM
a fellow who regularly puts 9" paper plates up at 100 yards and hits them with his 2" (and my 2") barrelled Taurus (his Smith) .38 spcl snubbies. They can be accurate. I've hit the target at that range too (hammerless DAO revolver), but I prefer ranges no farther then 15 yards.

Practice, Practice, Practice, and more practice...I can shoot a perfect qualifying score with it; I couldn't two years ago...