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Old February 26, 2013, 03:13 PM   #1
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Shooting a Single Action Ruger

I have sold a pistol and am in the looking mode for a new one, really thinking about a Ruger Super Blackhawk in .44 Mag, since I have dies for the .44. I owned a couple of SA pistols in the past and for some reason I can't seem to shoot them worth a darn offhand. From a rest no problems, but off hand at a rabbit, squirrell, rogue tin can etc. can't hit with them. Is there some common failure I am causing, or just bad habit. I have learned with some semi-auto's and DA revolvers that no matter how hard I try I can't cheat on the follow through or trigger finger placement, if I am careful with both I shoot well, if not shots go wild. Is it more of a learned bad habit or just need to practice and "train" my mind and muscles to do it correctly.
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Old February 26, 2013, 03:27 PM   #2
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I owned a couple of SA pistols in the past and for some reason I can't seem to shoot them worth a darn offhand
Maybe the long hammer fall gives you more time to flinch!

I shoot SA pistols well, I think the better grips and shorter hammer falls of my M1911's, for example, aid in accuracy, but the difference is not night and day.

If you get a Super Blackhawk look for a version with a rounded trigger guard. The squared back, "Dragoon" trigger guard just rips the skin of my support hand.

But, if you can't hit it with a Super Blackhawk, it is not the pistol's fault. They are very accurate out of the box.

If I'm not shooting, I'm reloading.
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Old February 26, 2013, 03:35 PM   #3
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Pick up a Single Six and practice, practice, practice.
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Old February 26, 2013, 03:40 PM   #4
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one of them was a super single six, absolutely loved the look and feel, but couldn't hit well, before I got to the "I will learn to shoot it or die trying phase" I traded it for a 22/45 that I shot fine. I really do like the SA Rugers and think I should be able to beat whatever my problem is so I can have another one.
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Old February 26, 2013, 07:58 PM   #5
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Three things lead to accuracy problems with a SA revolver. The first is that due to the safety and half cock notches, the trigger pull has to be longer and often heavier than that of a DA revolver like the K-22.

The second is that the long hammer fall allows a lot of time for gun movement between hammer release and ignition.

The third is that hammers are usually heavy, allowing the gun to be jarred off aim when the hammer falls.

None of those are really inherent in a single action as such (S&W made the superbly accurate K-38 in a SA version), but most SA users want a traditional type SA, not an accurate target revolver that happens to be SA. So they get a "cowboy" type revolver, with all its inherent problems.

Jim K
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Old February 26, 2013, 08:51 PM   #6
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Old February 26, 2013, 09:27 PM   #7
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if I am careful with both I shoot well, if not shots go wild. Is it more of a learned bad habit or just need to practice and "train" my mind and muscles to do it correctly.
Seems to me you partially answered your own question: If trigger finger placement and followthrough matter with other guns, why should this gun be any less accommodating?

At any rate, compared to DA triggers, my biggest issue with SA triggers is a good case of accuracy-killing "chicken finger".

Chicken finger or not, mastering any trigger involves plenty of quality practice, in the form of dry- and live-fire.
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Old February 26, 2013, 09:28 PM   #8
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Pharm has the correct answer. Buy a single six and practice out your problems with .22lr ammo. That sound you hear is your wallet sighing in relief at the suggestion
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Old February 27, 2013, 09:13 AM   #9
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Look for target grips that allow proper hand/finger placement. You might have to get them custom made. Ruger SAs are inherently very accurate.
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Old February 27, 2013, 09:17 AM   #10
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Panfisher....As in all handgun shooting, dry firing is one of the keys to mastering single or double action shooting. It will show you how you're manipulating the trigger during each let-off, and done correctly, will show you any sight movement after the hammer begins its fall.

A good firm, CONSISTENT GRIP is also important, especially so with a SA's long hammer fall. Your hand placement must be the same for each shot in a string or your groups will open up. I shoot both auto's and revolvers and try to get a "firing grip" with my drawing hand while still in the holster...always the same, whether I'm going for speed or merely drawing and firing in a plinking session. My hand is always in exactly the same position on the stocks for each shot....

For SA's, again due to their long hammer fall, a two-handed grip will allow you better follow through and a steadier sight picture. Remember that with open sights, your concentration must be solely on the front sight. It must be clear and perfectly in focus to maintain sight alignment. If the target is not blurred, then you are not focusing on the front sight hard enough....Front sight, Front sight, Front sight, Front sight, that's what matters most.

Trigger control is another essential element....there are a cpl of schools of thought on it. One is that you only apply pressure to the trigger when your eyes tell you the sights are perfectly aligned and on target. The trouble with this method is that it induces flinching...and you end up pulling the shot when your brain says, "NOW...pull the trigger quickly...everything is perfect...NOW". That'll result in a jerked trigger, a flinch, and a wild shot.

Another method and one that I've used for 50 years, is that once you get sight alignment, you begin the trigger squeeze and keep right on squeezing till the shot breaks. During the trigger pull, focus entirely on the front sight, allowing your normal wobble area to do its thing. The shot will be the best you can deliver based on your wobble area. One way to see just what is possible with this method is to hold your gun, not attempting to shoot, in the firing position, and watch the wobble's a figure eight in shape...and assuming a good stance and a CONSISTENT GRIP, and of course an accurate gun/ammunition combination, it's what you can expect for group size. Your job is to allow the hammer to fall and to do nothing to interfere with that wobble area.

Your grip on the handgun's stocks must be consistent...every shot the same...and is especially critical with a SA. Use two hands if at all possible. For me, I grip the stocks as shown in the pic below. I apply most pressure fore and aft on the grip. My weak hand wraps around the strong hand as shown, and does the cocking chore between shots, without leaving position. This helps to maintain that CONSISTENT GRIP....I'm a "pinkie under" shooter. That means that I leave the pinkie finger under the grip while shooting. It does not help in gripping the gun. When I'm shooting one handed, it allows me to cock the hammer with my strong side thumb and still maintain a CONSISTENT GRIP. How strong a grip? I use one that is as hard as a very firm that you'd give an old friend after a long separation.... very firm, but not enough to cause him any pain. Firm, just short of what will induce muscle tremors in the sight picture.

To sum it all up: Maintain a consistent grip for each shot, every time...focus on the front sight alone, the target must be a blur or you're cheating...use one continuous trigger squeeze and allow your normal wobble area to give you a good, well delivered shot.

HTH's Rod

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Old February 27, 2013, 09:35 AM   #11
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The single action Ruger is a fine revolver. They are very accurate but as folks mentioned here, the long hammer fall gives them a somewhat slower lock time which makes follow though so important. I bought a new Ruger Super Blackhawk in 1973 and I still have it. Good luck with yours.
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Old February 27, 2013, 01:07 PM   #12
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Thanks to all who replied. Now I want another one even worse. Practice practice practice, and proper grip and form. Got it.
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Old February 27, 2013, 03:28 PM   #13
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As Rodfac states above- consistent grip. I found focusing on my "followthrough" made the most difference.
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Old February 27, 2013, 04:36 PM   #14
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I second the advice on finding proper grips that fit your hand, I have in the last couple months purchased two Rugers, a Single Six and a blackhawk in .327. They are both very accurate, but the SA frame and grip don't fit my hands all that well. When the feeding frenzy slows down I am going to gunshow to try some other grip styles. I have the same issue with my DA revolvers, can't use the S&W magna grips at all but the finger groove k frame targets fit me like the proverbial glove.

Many K and N Frames
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Old February 27, 2013, 06:33 PM   #15
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Not shooting a single action well is unAmerican Pilgrim!

Get some training from a friend, enemy or a real instructor. They shoot better offhand than most can shoot, and it your problem may be attitude or mental outlook, but I am sure with a little coaching you will do well!

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Old February 27, 2013, 06:49 PM   #16
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I was in the shoes of the original poster. I shot a double action revolver best. Never could do well with a single action revolver...until I got a Blackhawk and was determined to not give up on it until I'd fired at least 500 rounds through it.

It all came together at around round number 200-225.

Now, it is far and away the handgun I shoot best. And what I learned in firing the Blackhawk well transferred nicely to shooting semi-autos better.

Point is, learning to fire a single action revolver well is one of those things every American should go through.
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Old February 27, 2013, 06:55 PM   #17
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The only other thing I'd mention (I didn't see it above) is the pad (under the fingernail) of the trigger finger is what needs to be on the trigger. Trigger should not in the joint. This brings less muscles into play in your hand as well as a straight back pull. Has helped me in my shooting of SAs. Applies to semi, DA or SA shooters. YMMV. Add a consistent firm grip and lots of practice and you will get better! I've started shooting one hand now, as it is a bit more challenging ... with either hand. 99.9% of my shooting is with SA revolvers BTW.

Todd Jarret explains this in his video : About 3 minutes into the video.
A clinger. When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Single Action .45 Colt (Sometimes improperly referred to by its alias as the .45 'Long' Colt or .45LC). Don't leave home without it. Ok.... the .44Spec is growing on me ... but the .45 Colt is still king.
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