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Old May 13, 2008, 01:13 PM   #1
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Fanning bad?

I recently posted over in The Revolver Forum that I rented a range gun, a Uberti .45 LC "cowboy" six gun, SAO. I'd never fired one of these and wanted to do so.

I wanted to have some fun with it, so I fanned a couple of full cylinders. Yes, it WAS aimed downrange and I DID actually hit the target with all 12 shots.

When I mentioned that in my post, I got jumped by several others telling me how damaging to the gun it was. Only one poster quoted a website and that was from a guy trying to sell his "fluff and buff" fanning action job.

When I asked for facts and data, all I got was rhetoric.

I'm an engineer and I need facts, not opinions and heresay. Is fanning damaging to the gun, and if so, HOW? Can anyone give me a website or firsthand information on this? Occasional fanning is certainly a lot of fun, but I sure don't want to damage a weapon.
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Old May 13, 2008, 01:24 PM   #2
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Check Bob Munden

I don't have the website here at the office. Do a Google search for Bob Munden and check out his webpage. I think there is something in there about fanning.

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Old May 13, 2008, 02:26 PM   #3
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Its hard on the paw that indexes the cylinder ..could break the tip off it .
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Old May 13, 2008, 02:36 PM   #4
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Bob Munden's revolvers are HIGHLY modified to accomodate his trick shots...

I strongly suggest against fanning your gun unless you want to immediately ruin it and void whatever warranty you may have

Save fanning revolvers for the movies !!
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Old May 13, 2008, 04:32 PM   #5
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You will find bob munden on the sass site.
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Old May 13, 2008, 05:44 PM   #6
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And, if you want a more detailed explanation of exactly what Munden does to modify the hammer & build up other areas in his fanner packages, you can call him. He gets a little more crotchety every year (he's not the only one), but one Sunday afternoon a while back we spent a good half hour on the phone talking about Colts & what he does to them.
You calling his work "Fluff & Buff" is about as close to reality as me saying a monkey could do your job.

Munden has been a recognized professional quickdraw and exhibition shooter for well over 40 years. He does several types of Colt, Ruger, and Colt clone work, running from a minor tuneup to a full race rebuild that involves welding, re-fitting, and changing to more modern springwork, all to either prolong the life of a "standard" revolver or to ramp up the old design for longer & harder uses.
I've seen him perform in person & on TV several times, believe me- he does not use an un-modified revolver. Even then, his guns still need rebuilding periodically with all that work done.

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Old May 13, 2008, 05:53 PM   #7
Jim Watson
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Fanning is hard on the machinery. You are striking the hammer which loads the hand very suddenly and delivers sharp impact to the cylinder bolt. Breakage of both parts and their springs is usual. Peening of the cylinder notches is accelerated and wear on the ratchet is faster because of the inertial loading.

The fanning syle of competitive fast draw is known for requiring the shooter to keep three guns, one to shoot, one spare on hand, and one in the shop being rebuilt. Even the much sturdier Rugers have to be beefed up and periodically overhauled for such rough treatment.
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Old May 13, 2008, 05:57 PM   #8
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Bob Munden's revolvers are HIGHLY modified to accomodate his trick shots...
Yes they are. My dealer currently has two revolvers that he had modified and used. They are like butter.
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Old May 13, 2008, 06:09 PM   #9
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'Fanning' necessarily involves higher loads on the frame and especially the action components than simply cocking the hammer with your thumb. When 'fanning' the hammer you drive the hammer rearward at a relatively high acceleration rate, which of course means a high force from your hand; the hammer reaches it's rear limit at a high velocity, and thus decelerates very quickly (meaning high shock load) and then is immediately driven forward by the mainspring (this force is normal). During this high acceleration/deceleration cycle the internal action parts are likewise accelerated, driven to their limits, decelerated and then accelerated again, likewise being subjected to unusually high shock loads just as the hammer. Finally, the frame must react those loads, so it, too, sees unusually high shock loads.

None of these loads approach limit loads, so yield stresses are not encountered. However, low cycle fatigue becomes an issue. The gun is thus 'worn out' prematurely.
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Old May 13, 2008, 06:13 PM   #10
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It'll prolly take a few hundred rounds to notice any damage but to fix it will take a new cylinder, bolt, and hand at the least. First off you're jamming the hand into the cylinder notches much harder than they were intended. Next you're forcing the bolt to stop a cylinder that's revolving much faster than it was intended. What WILL happen is the hand will wear itself out at an accelerated pace along with the cylinder notches resulting in the cylinder getting out of time and with worn notches a new hand won't fix it. Also the bolt lock notches will get worn/wallowed from the bolt forcing the cylinder to stop and the bolt also will get worn if it doesn't break first. The end result will be a gun that's out of time and sloppy. Not to mention if YOU screw up and you try to fan a second shot without firing off the first one and the hammer is still cocked. The firing pin will rip a hunk out of your hand and it has happened.
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Old May 13, 2008, 08:42 PM   #11
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Although I have never performed a faning action on any of my or God Forbid my grandfathers revolvers, I've seen over the years what damages this type of GUN PLAY will do to a fine Colt or Colt clone, Hawg Haggen has it just right.

It'll prolly take a few hundred rounds to notice any damage
I've seen a Colt clone go through maybe 300 rounds before it was too slopy to bring the cylinder into proper alignment to battery.

What WILL happen is the hand will wear itself out at an accelerated pace along with the cylinder notches resulting in the cylinder getting out of time and with worn notches a new hand won't fix it.
Exactly what happened to the 2 Colt clones that I've seen.

I've been taught from when I was 6 that when you have one of these weapons in your hand you bring the hammer into full cock & you point/aim with the intent of making this shot count because you may not get a second.
I've heard of some who could hit his target using the fanning technique but I've yet to witness any one that could hit the intended target from 20 feet away with 5-6 shots so this should also be a good reason not to perform this type of shooting because hits are rare & to my knowledge even though shooting is a fun activity there is mostly a purpose of proficiency &/or score.
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Old June 1, 2008, 10:42 AM   #12
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I've never and will never "fan" my USFA Rodeo or any other gun. Suffice it to say that if its that hard on SA revolvers the gunfighters of the old West I would think never did it. Sounds like a Hollywood invention and one better left to the prop guys.
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Old June 1, 2008, 11:27 AM   #13
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Suffice it to say that if its that hard on SA revolvers the gunfighters of the old West I would think never did it.
I can't say none of them ever did it. I've heard stories of some of them tying triggers back or removing them altogether but I've seen no real proof they even did that. Even if they did I'd be more prone to believe they slip gunned instead of fanning.
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Old June 1, 2008, 12:51 PM   #14
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I doubt the "gunfighters of the Olde West" gave much of a damn about their guns, and the remains of those guns tend to prove that. The genuine Old West guns I have seen were beat to death, without finish, parts broken, etc. To those people a gun was a tool.

To those who don't quite get that idea, let me ask if you own a spade or a pick, and if so when did you last clean it, oil it and coddle it? It's a tool, right? You finish digging the hole where your wife wants to put in a tree and then toss the tools in the corner of the garage until next time.

Did the old timers fan their guns? There are some guns in museums with the triggers tied back with rawhide, but they have the hammer altered for slip hammering, another story entirely. I have little doubt that guns were fanned in a tight corner, but "spray and pray", or "cover fire" is not a good idea with a six-shot revolver that takes half an aeon to reload.

If one really wants a revolver to put out bullets rapidly and accurately, the answer lies not with fanning a Colt SAA but with buying an S&W 627.

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Old June 2, 2008, 07:20 AM   #15
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People weren't jumping you, they were setting you straight.

For the record, its also a bad idea to flip the cylinder opan and slam it shut with a flick of the wrist on a double acton revolver like Bogey on the late, late show. And its a bad idea to lock the slide back on an autoloader and to trip the slide latch letting it slam forward on an empty chamber.

Hollywood actors do this silly stuff all the time and they don't care becuase its a gun the studio rented from somebody else, and they generall don't know any better.

As for why its a bad idea to fan a sixgun, let me refer you to Elmer Keiths' book "Sixguns". In one chapter Keith has directions for how to alter the internal parts of a SAA colt so it can be fanned without breaking the bolt and all the springs.
Basically some of the internal parts "drag" over each other, but they can be relieved so that the dragging is eliminated. The gun really is designed to be cocked slowly. When you fan the gun, it increases the pressure as these parts contact each other, leading to breakage.
Keith notes that when the new Ruger came out , with it's coil springs, Bill Ruger displayed it at an NRA trade show for a week, with a machine that constantly cocked and fired the gun showing it was not damaged, and he noted that the unmodified Colt with it's flat mainsprings would never have withstood that.
Bob Munden goes even further when it comes to modifying a SAA for rapid fire. He also cuts the locking bolt notched deeper on the cylinder to prevent them from burring and modifies the bolt face itself.

Movies are not real life.They are misinformation. If you ever drop a DA revolver on the sidewalk like Dirty Harry did, don't be surprised if the cylinder gets busted open, breaking the latch and bending the ejector rod, making the gun a fancy paperweight.

The original Charles Askins had an interesting book about handguns that came out in the 1930s. He pointed out the reason the old SAA was so popular on the frontier was because even though it was fragile, it was easy to repair, or make it fire when broken.
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