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Old February 19, 2017, 03:54 AM   #1
Pond, James Pond
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Revolver reloads in IPSC matches. Need to streamline the motions with limitations.

I've moved to mostly shooting light .44 Mags/stouter .44Spl through my 4" Redhawk in IPSC. I reload with HKS speedloaders. And 90% of my IPSC shots are the Specials.

I am a minority as most here shoot semis and so matches are geared for them.

My problem is, mostly, that my reloads are awkward and slow, taking about 5-6 seconds. By comparison, my mag changes with my G19 or SP-01 were about 1.5-2 seconds.

Now I know practice makes perfect, and this is indeed something I need to do.
However, if I'm to practice, I should focus on practicing the best techniques.

Now the limitations.

I have neither access to lots of equipment so I make do with what I can get, but nor do I have the finances to replace broken/lost bits.

E.g.: one HKS 29M loader = $22. One brass case = $0.60

My setup is a belt with the holster at 3o'oclock, and two workmans' pouches. One at 4.30, and one at 10.30, over my left hip bone.

Ready speed-loaders sit in the pouch to the rear, at 4.30.
Now, the front pouch is probably the issue most on here will have a problem with but the costs above should explain why I have it:

All my spent cases and empty loaders end up in there, not on the floor.

Here is my method as clearly as I can explain it:

Step 1:
Right hand (I'm right handed): Press cylinder release and pass to left hand. Once done, right hand moves back to take a full loader.
Left hand: Thumb on ejector rod; index, middle and ring fingers through the frame pushing the crane and cylinder fully out of the frame.

Step 2:
Left hand: Tilt the gun so the muzzle points upwards at about 10 degrees off the vertical. The grip is sort of running along the line of my hand, wrist and forearm and the backstrap sort of hits my left hip bone. At that moment the thumb pushes the ejector firmly. Ejection is generally clean, but not always, with one case perhaps not dropping free: this is the one that is closest to the breech-face in the frame, where it catches.
Right hand: bringing the loader round to the front.

Step 3:
Left hand: This bit is a bit awkward: I then twist my left wrist outward as if applying at outward wrist-lock. Imagine that the backstrap-hip contact is hinged. This brings the barrel down to about 50 degrees off the horizontal and the cylinder mouths pointing up toward my face.
Right hand: now the right hand feeds the bullets and case mouths into the cylinder, then twist and release, and bullets drop in. As that happens I drop the loader into the pouch that is just under the gun.

Step 4:
Left hand: thumb pushes the cylinder closed and returns the gun to my right hand at which point I resume a two-hand grip.

The issues I see most are:
  • Clean ejections in Step 2 if a case fails to clear the breech face area.
  • Clean insertion of the bullets when still in the loader (there is a bit of to-and-fro slop in the loader's grip of the case heads).
  • Clean drop-in of the cartridges into the cylinder, requiring manual assistance with the right hand in Step 3.

I do those things so that my expensive and scarce supplies will not get needlessly damaged/lost, so I want to try and maintain that outcome.

However, if there are different ways you can think of that might help me avoid those recurrent issues, I'd like to hear them.

OK. I'm sitting comfortably with a protective cushion clasped against me... let the tirade begin!
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Old February 19, 2017, 08:11 AM   #2
Don P
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From what you are describing, the slow down is is retaining the brass and not working from belt held speed loaders. Both these factors are slowing you down. Now knowing your equipment issues all I can suggest is move you ammo in front of your holster instead of having to reach behind your holster, and practice with what you have to work with. By moving your ammo to the front of you movement time is reduced
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Old February 19, 2017, 08:15 AM   #3
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If you are enjoying what you are doing and accepting the results with understanding continue on. If you are not enjoying it and cannot or chose not to afford a more expensive method discontinue. It's no fun playing a financial game you don't actually want to play
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Old February 19, 2017, 08:32 AM   #4
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James go to you tube and watch Jerry miculek, no you won't ever be that fast, but the motions and the process is what you want to replicate.
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Old February 19, 2017, 08:40 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1stmar
go to you tube and watch Jerry miculek
I was a very active competitor with speed loader-fed revolvers, so I've done a few reloads. I'm heading out the door, but will post some thoughts later.

For now, though my advice is to forget Miculek vids. For one thing, he uses moons, not speed loaders, and important details are different. For another, Miculek vids are entertaining and inspiring, but not educational. He's in the business of improving his brand, not teaching you to shoot, despite what the vids appear to be. I'm a fan and I've watched many of his vids, but none of my skills came from Miculek vids.
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Old February 19, 2017, 09:27 AM   #6
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It's kind of odd but I reload revolvers two very different ways, that just work out better on the clock for me.

For speed loaders I use comp III that are long and spring loaded, and they ride on my left side (right handed). I open/eject as the revolver comes down and speed load with weak hand never changing strong hand grip.

With moon clips they are in front of the holster on strong side and I use weak hand to hold and strong hand to load.

Only reason I do them so differently is because the time it takes, so if you don't have a shot timer with a par time setting, now is the time to get one.

I say that as this is the part that requires the practice and where the speed comes from. I have found it faster to "throw" the rounds into the cylinder. If you are trying to "put" them in there, they seem to always hang up.

Not sure if that makes single to you now but once you have it down t will.

I'm not the fastest revolver shooter in the world but I did beat Jerry on 3 or 4 stages the year I shot a revolver at nationals with him, too bad there were 18 stages that year....
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Old February 19, 2017, 09:41 AM   #7
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I shot three gun matches for about ten years and used both revolvers and semi-autos. You will never be competitive with a revolver simply because of the added steps necessary to reload. That's no reflection on you, it's simply the result of economy of motion. When I did shoot with a revolver, it was a revolver built for this type of shooting (Bill Davis gun). As an engineer, I studied every step in the process of speed reloading the revolver and worked towards "fixing" the slow spots. Some examples of that are: changing hands on the gun to reload, lining up the bullets with the cylinder, locating the speed loader, the type of speed loader used, and having my hands in the best position to minimize my set up for the next shot. If you are on a tight budget, all you can do at this point is try to eliminate wasted motion in your process any way you can. You've already lost the equipment race (nothing wrong with that, but it is what it is). Speed loader carriers can be purchased pretty cheaply. If you can afford to enter shoots, pay for ammo, etc., you can buy a speed loader carrier. They really are not expensive for a basic one. Go through your reload procedure in slow motion and carefully watch for the areas that are slowing you down the most and work on those areas first. I'd guess that switching hands on the gun is one of the big ones and the next would be ejecting the spent shells and getting the next loader started. If you get as good as you can get doing this you'll end up behind the semi-auto guy who wants to win just as much as you do and works just as hard at it. The truth of the matter is that better equipment designed for the sport is what it takes just to get you on a level playing field. If you're having fun the way it is now, don't worry about it. After many years of competition shooting behind my I can assure you that in reflection, spending thousands of dollars on equipment (many thousands), in the end it simply didn't justify the wins....which were many. Just some food for thought. Good luck and shoot safe.
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Old February 19, 2017, 11:10 AM   #8
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If I'm not mistaken, MrBorland has competed with revolvers and has made a video or two. He probably has some good advice on how to reload for competition.
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Old February 19, 2017, 11:22 AM   #9
Jim Watson
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As Don said, retaining your brass and loaders is time consuming. I know a guy who does it and it really costs him time versus those of us who drop them.

If avoiding damage to your stuff is more important than a top score, there is not much to be done.
But not zero. Proper speedloader carriers conveniently located on the belt will help, even if you carry a dump pouch to collect the empties.
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Old February 19, 2017, 11:53 AM   #10
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You described the FBI reload. Couple of comments in no particular order:

1. I'd put both speed loaders on your right side, in front of the holster. If you need more than 2, I'd start lining them up in front of the 1st loader. That's not legal in IDPA, but it ought to be ok in IPSC.

2. I know your loaders and brass are valuable to you, but, as others have noted, you're losing a ton of time stashing everything. In all the many many reloads I've done in competition, I've never damaged one by stepping on it.

3. Sticky cases upon ejection: Dry fire practice with empty cases in the gun, and feel that ejector sharply bottom out. One of the potential pitfalls of the FBI reload is a wimpy ejection stroke. Consider even ejecting .44mag cases during your dry fire practice.

4. Sticky brass upon ejection #2: Get the muzzle as vertical as possible without breaking the 180. Likewise, get the muzzle as near vertically down as you can during the insertion of new rounds. Look (really look) at one of the charge holes as you bring the new rounds to the chamber mouths. You hand will go to where you're looking, but you need to be looking at where you need to be looking.

5. Sticky cases upon ejection #3: Your chambers need to be clean. Start the match with a clean gun. Use a clean powder in your reloaded ammo. Don't use lead bullets. Using Clays and plated bullets, I can easily go through an entire major match without having to clean the chambers between stages. f your ammo is dirty, find a way to quickly clean your chambers between stages.

6. Dry fire. This can't be overstated. It takes beau coup practice to get the fine movements all coordinated. Start slow so the movements are seamless, but start to push yourself. With your setup, you should be able to get under 3.5 seconds in dry fire. One tool I've found to be a big help is a metronome (you can find one on-line). When you use a timer, your mind is on beating the timer, making it more likely you'll practice sloppy reloads. In contrast, a metronome paces you through the process smoothly.

7. Dry fire #2: Make up some dummy rounds using the same bullets & cases as your match ammo. Mark them and keep them separate from your ammo for safety reasons, but this is much better than using snap caps.

8. During live-fire, remember that your reloads are only as good as the shot before and the shot after. A speedy reload doesn't do you any good if you're losing points because you rushed your reload.

9. Insertion of rounds with HKS speed loaders are a little tricky: You have to twist the knob to release the rounds, but the twisting motion also pushes the body of the loader against the case, making it tough to release the rounds. You have to give the loader a quick twist, then immediately get off it, so the rounds can drop.

10. After the rounds are inserted, let the speed loader fall, and raise the gun as you're simultaneously pushing the cylinder closed with the butt of your thumb and re-establishing your weak grip.
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Old February 19, 2017, 12:20 PM   #11
Pond, James Pond
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I'll look into speedloader holders. I'm sure they are affordable in the States, but over here not so much. In fact, it's the availability that is the even bigger problem.

Perhaps the speedloader outlet in Germany might sell some...

Otherwise, the points so far are sage: yes, I do enjoy the matches and I don't lament my poorer times so much that I feel the need to spend loads. If I want to get faster I'll just run my SP-01. When I do that I'm automatically middle of the field, which is not bad considering how little training I find the time for...

However, yes, I can and will try to streamline my movements. It's a bit hard to be objective about where improvements can be made but I'll have to give it a go.
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Old February 19, 2017, 01:27 PM   #12
T. O'Heir
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"...and watch Jerry Miculek..." Jerry uses the push type of speed loader. Safariland® Comp III's run $20 each, Stateside. Give you an idea of what they're worth. I think they are ITAR items too.
However, it also takes hours and hours of practice. Maker some DP rounds to practice with.(assuming you can get 'em at the top of the Baltic.) That'd be no powder or primer with your regular OAL etc.
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Old February 19, 2017, 02:35 PM   #13
Pond, James Pond
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Quote:
Maker some DP rounds to practice with.(assuming you can get 'em at the top of the Baltic.) That'd be no powder or primer with your regular OAL etc.
Got those already...

Quote:
hours and hours
This is what I lack!!
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Last edited by Pond, James Pond; February 19, 2017 at 02:40 PM.
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Old February 19, 2017, 05:09 PM   #14
MrBorland
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A few more thoughts...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pond, James Pond
Ejection is generally clean, but not always, with one case perhaps not dropping free: this is the one that is closest to the breech-face in the frame, where it catches.
The next time a round hangs up in dry fire practice, stop and look where it hangs up. If it's the grip, consider trimming that part of the grip back. Grips aren't immutable, after all (neither are cylinder releases, for that matter, and I've seen them beveled to clear rounds better).

BTW, chamfering the chamber mouths helps insertion of new rounds a bit, but the ejector star shouldn't be beveled. Or, at most, very slightly. Otherwise, the ejector can ride right over a case, in which case you've got a big problem while the clock's running.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pond, James Pond
Clean drop-in of the cartridges into the cylinder, requiring manual assistance with the right hand in Step 3.
Strategically trimming the grip would likely also give you more room for insertion of the rounds.

Also, round nose bullets are obviously optimal. Flat point, semiwadcutters and, (especially) wadcutters are a real time sink.

Finally, index the speed loaders the same way in the holder every time, and grab them the same way every time. Likewise, index the cylinder with your middle and ring fingers on a cylinder flute each time. The indexing of the loader and the cylinder helps pre-align the chambers and the rounds. You'll have to experiment a bit to find the optimal index.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Pond, James Pond
Quote:
hours and hours
This is what I lack!!
To get really proficient can take a lot of practice, but 10-15 quality dry fire minutes per night can make a big difference pretty quickly.
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Old February 19, 2017, 05:47 PM   #15
Pond, James Pond
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Great thoughts, there, Mr Borland!!

Thank you: I will certainly have a look at what is going on and where!
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Old February 19, 2017, 06:49 PM   #16
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shooting games cost money. if you aren't willing to spend the money to play, or can't get someone else to foot the bill, maybe you should find another thing to do.
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Old February 19, 2017, 07:42 PM   #17
MrBorland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1-DAB
if you aren't willing to spend the money to play, or can't get someone else to foot the bill, maybe you should find another thing to do.
Perhaps you missed the part where the OP wrote…

Quote:
yes, I do enjoy the matches and I don't lament my poorer times so much that I feel the need to spend loads.
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Old February 20, 2017, 12:07 AM   #18
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I would recommend learning to keep your gun in your right hand. Hit the extractor rod with your left, grab the quick loader push it into place and twist (mine all I have to do is push it in). Changing hands takes too much time.

Here is how I do it (without thinking about it):
I hit the button and twist the gun left and up.
At the same time I grab the speed loader with my left hand an jab the extractor pin as I get in place to push the speed loader home. I push it home and drop the speed loader on the ground where the brass is, move the cylinder home as I raise the gun back to eye level and start shooting. It takes what seems like forever to do but the clock tells me it takes between 50 and 75 seconds. After you practice letting go of your cases and speed loader you will find it takes much less time. If the rules or range master allows you can have a buddy pick up your stuff as you move away.

If you practice hanging on to your brass, you are likely to do the same thing when you are in a fire fight. One of the county cops was going through a course and stopped looking for the box that was always there to dump brass in. That is how he had always trained - you don't want to be that guy when the bad guy is coming at you.
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Old February 20, 2017, 05:17 AM   #19
Pond, James Pond
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Quote:
shooting games cost money. if you aren't willing to spend the money to play, or can't get someone else to foot the bill, maybe you should find another thing to do.
Please do come over here and shoot at Estonian prices, on Estonian salaries for a season, then you can be as condescending as you like...
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Old February 20, 2017, 07:36 AM   #20
jmorris
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Quote:
"...and watch Jerry Miculek..." Jerry uses the push type of speed loader.
Every match I have seen him shoot a revolver at he was using a moon clip fed revolver.

If you watch at 1:00 into this video you can see the "throw" method in action, I was talking about in post #6.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzHG-ibZaKM
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Old February 25, 2017, 05:16 AM   #21
Brit
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The reload method I taught, to Security, and Police (Because you could not risk a stumble in a fight.)

On firing last shot, place revolver in palm of left hand, right thumb opens cylinder, 4 left fingers and thumb holding cylinder, barrel vertical, slap ejector rod with right palm, guarantees rapid dump of empties, invert, speed load, close, come back to aim. Using left thumb to open and dump? No Sir, caused stuck empties!

While targets being scored (trust the RO) pick up your stuff.
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Old February 25, 2017, 05:22 AM   #22
Pond, James Pond
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Quote:
The reload method I taught, to Security, and Police (Because you could not risk a stumble in a fight.)

On firing last shot, place revolver in palm of left hand, right thumb opens cylinder, 4 left fingers and thumb holding cylinder, barrel vertical, slap ejector rod with right palm, guarantees rapid dump of empties, invert, speed load, close, come back to aim. Using left thumb to open and dump? No Sir, caused stuck empties!

While targets being scored (trust the RO) pick up your stuff.
I use the left thumb to eject, but not open. As for empties, sure I can do that, but the chances of cases getting stepped on or lost over time is way higher and eventually I will have to buy more.

I know that to be the case anyway, but I don't want to accelerate the process. And the noose is tightening on gun-related supplies in Europe so I want my straight-walled cases to last as long as possible.
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Old February 26, 2017, 04:58 AM   #23
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Hi James,

Just a note.

Many moons ago, I visited the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
Dropped down from Toronto Canada, giving my nice new Chevy Impala a spin, an Agent I had met at a IALEFI annual training conference had stated drop by, if I was ever in the area, sounded like an invitation to me!

Spent a couple of weeks on vacation, just me. Spent the best part of a day there, visited Hogans Alley, the huge Armory, even helped out in an exercise in that facility. Asked about the end of the day for the empty brass! 148g target loads, fired from S&W Mod 13, 4" Revolvers. On leaving I visited a big metal skid, half full of once fired brass!

Using big plastic bags, relived the nice chaps of the FBI of a trunk full of that once fired brass. On leaving, I stopped at the first Gas Station, availed myself of their Air Hose, to add air to my Air Shocks, to lift the drooping rear end!

Not sure what I declared at the Canadian Border, but I never got to the end of that (Gift!) my reloads 160g copper-washed lead hard ball bullets, chased by 3.5 grains of DuPont 700X. For my Security Students.

My Wife of 25 years mentioned the other day, Her many hours loading tubes of primers, to feed my Progressive Press, a Star machine, invented the same year I was born, 1935! That same Lady with her own Glock 42 .380!

Enjoy your Hobby whilst you can James.
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Old February 26, 2017, 10:18 AM   #24
Pond, James Pond
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Quote:
Enjoy your Hobby whilst you can James.
For as long as health, money, time and laws allow!!
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