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Old September 3, 2013, 05:13 PM   #1
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Why a single action

I see a lot of guys going out and buying single action revolvers for hunting and I don't know why they don't get a double action. I can understand them saying they prefer the feel of a SA over a DA but its not like a double action is a big clunky piece of steel. What are yalls thoughts on the matter?
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Old September 3, 2013, 05:28 PM   #2
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Why a single-action rather than double-action.

There are several reasons. They may prefer the "cowboyness" (nostalgia), of the single action. They may have no intention us using the double-action feature for hunting anyway. They may just come to the conclusion that they are not going to put the time and effort into learning double-action shooting, so they may as well just get a single-action.
It makes more sense to me to get a single-action to shoot single action than it is to buy a double-action and then to shoot it in single-action mode, inasmuch as the grip frame of a single action, not having the double-action hump, is better suited for single-action shooting.
I sure some will post even more reasons to get and use a single action for hunting.
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Old September 3, 2013, 05:30 PM   #3
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Why a single action

Because why would you want a longer, heavier trigger pull on a gun that will only be used for precision shots? It is just unnecessary.

If it is going to be a backup gun or for hunting dangerous game then yes, I would get a DA gun. If it is for whitetail hunting or the like? SA for sure.
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Old September 3, 2013, 05:52 PM   #4
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Many carry single actions for wilderness defense as well. Some even use them for personal defense. It's all about what works for YOU. And, 99% of the time a hunter is going to be firing single action anyway. Also single actions can be inherently more strong vs. double action guns, as the cylinder is fixed and very well supported in the frame. This eliminates many weak points that can go wrong in a double action gun such as the crane, cylinder latch, etc.
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Old September 3, 2013, 05:53 PM   #5
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My take: Hunting revolvers are typically chambered for relatively powerful & heavily recoiling cartridges (e.g. .44mag and up), and SA guns such as those made by Ruger and Freedom Arms are renowned for their strength. Also, the grip of a SA revolver is such that that heavy recoil rolls the gun up in your hand, moreso than, say a S&W DA/SA revo would.
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Old September 3, 2013, 05:57 PM   #6
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The strength and weight of some single actions, like Freedom Arms, makes them an easy choice for hunting....reliable, very precise and accurate, solid lockup ....and in calibers like .454 Casull, .475 Linebaugh or .500 Wyoming Express....the extra weight is a plus..../ and with Freedom Arms - you can virtually pick any barrel length you want.

....and there is just something special about the feel and look ...of a good single action revolver !!
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Old September 3, 2013, 06:01 PM   #7
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Another small yet not-so-small consideration... loaded properly (i.e. hammer on empty chamber where applicable) the single action is arguably a little safer and less prone to AD/ND than a double action.

Maybe not by a lot - but still. I just got into SA rather recently, and it's one of the things I like about them.
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Old September 3, 2013, 06:27 PM   #8
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Single actions in the form of Rugers offer simple, very very very simple lockworks.

Greater durability in knockaround situations; no worry to speak of having the
cylinder knocked out of alignment. No sprung cylinder cranes, no bent cylinder ejection pins.

Powerful cartridges are more easily handled in a SA with its plow handle design.

To put it more succinctly, DA revolvers are more fragile than SAs.
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Old September 3, 2013, 06:48 PM   #9
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The real reason if most guys will really be honest. They never grew up and want to look like their cowboy heroes. Not that there is anything really wrong with that. I don't currently own a SA, but have in the past, and I like them for historical reasons.

Many early DA designs were more fragile, but that is not much of a concern today. A Ruger Redhawk is every bit as tough as the Blackhawk. I prefer the DA guns grip especially in harder kicking guns, but some will disagree. Most DA guns today have much better trigger pulls in SA, and much faster lock times which means better accuracy.

When I decide to get another SA it will be one of the New model Vaquero's that more closely follows the Colt SAA design. They won't handle the hotter loads, but are much better looking and balanced to me. If I'm buying a hunting revolver it would be the Redhawk.
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Old September 3, 2013, 09:00 PM   #10
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On the other hand, one could ask "why double action"? And I don't say that to start an argument.

I've pretty much shot SA in revolvers for 50 years. The majority of it being BP single actions. I don't shoot competition but mainly for fun. I just prefer to shoot a wheel gun that I can cock and have a decent trigger pull on without having to have a long pull, anticipate the breaking point and still try to keep the piece aimed. For hunting, I would imagine that those who hunt with SA are trying for a "one shot kill" and the SA allows them to know the trigger pull, aim accurately and not have to worry about the muzzle moving while pulling a long pull trigger back, having the cylinder rotate and such which can throw the aim off easier. At least that's how I look at it.

I have a Ruger New Vaquero in .357 that I love shooting. In fact, while I carry a LCR that's DA for my usual CCW, I'm just a better shot with a SA.

I really admire those that shoot well in DA. I have a Colt Army Special and a S & W M & P Target that I've been attempting to learn how to shoot DA, but to be honest, I can shoot them much better in SA. And, I much prefer "vintage" revolvers over new ones. I have a Python and while it's nice, I'd much rather shoot my New Vaquero or my 1910 Colt AS. Go figure . . . different strokes for different folks? At the same time, one could ask "why revolvers and not semi-autos?" I think a lot of it has to do with what you were brought up on as well.
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Old September 3, 2013, 09:20 PM   #11
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Why not simply say that some prefer one kind and some prefer another rather than waste a lot of time trying to "prove" that one's preference is superior?

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Old September 3, 2013, 10:00 PM   #12
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I'm the opposite. I've always had DA's because I don't like the feel of the SA's, but at the last gunshow I held a Bisley for the first time. Settled right down in my palm like they were old friends. Top of my want list now.
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Old September 3, 2013, 11:11 PM   #13
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I used to be a big SA fan. Over the years the DA revolvers have started to win out. I realized I shoot them better and I no longer worry about the DA revo's theoretical 'weak spot' - the swing out cylinder.
I think my GP100 is plenty rugged.
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Old September 4, 2013, 08:21 AM   #14
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Reading the posts, I see some seemingly legitimate reasons for choosing the single actions over the doubles, ie., "like the looks". And then some questionable statements, that is, comparing the single action trigger pull to the double-actions, double-action trigger pull. To those guys, I say: You do know that you can actually cock the hammer on a double-action and shoot it as a single action, don't you?
I like them both. And as much as I prefer to shoot double-actions in only double-action mode (and have removed the hammer-spurs on all my possible defensive double-actions), I have to admit that a S&W double action's single action pull (sensitivity), right out of the box, is outstanding.
As to the statement that single-actions (with five beans in the wheel) are less prone to AD and ND discharges, I say, horse feathers. There is no difference. It is the do-dah handling the gun (not the design) that causes such.
Before someone gets nuts and says something about "arguing/bickering", this is a discussion...I am discussing. Feel free to disagree, I am listening.

Last edited by dahermit; September 4, 2013 at 08:27 AM.
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Old September 4, 2013, 08:50 AM   #15
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I use both double-action and single-actions for hunting. Or perhaps I should amend that. I don't hunt much with a handgun in my old age, but I find myself out in the woods and the fields doing farm work every day. Sometimes the nature of my work won't allow me to have a rifle or a shotgun in reach, and I often supplement my diet with tasty morsels that I wouldn't have had if I didn't carry a handgun. Even older guns like the fixed sighted single action Colts or earlier model double actions seem to work about as well for me now as target guns in the close range shooting I usually do.

I was stunned the other day to see that on paper at thirty yards I shot as tight a group with a hundred and eleven year old single-action Colt as I did with a modern 686 Smith. Either type works if you're steady and can see the sights or fails if your hands shake and your eyes blur.

No matter what the work is like or how tough it may go, something is saved that is good on a day when you can carry either kind of revolver on your hip.
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Old September 4, 2013, 09:02 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by jmr40
The real reason if most guys will really be honest. They never grew up and want to look like their cowboy heroes

It's very important that the bears and deers and critters be suitably impressed by your "cowboyness" before you shoot 'em.

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Old September 4, 2013, 09:08 AM   #17
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SA ... What I like ... what I shoot and what I foresee ever needing.... and I have been shooting now for 30 years.... I see no need for a DA for what I do (target, woods carry, hip shooting, plinking, { and if I hunted } ) .... and, subjectively, the SA looks soooo much better than than a S&W revolver (night and day difference) . That was easy wasn't it? That said I do have a Bulldog .44Spec for CC, but only because of the nice small form factor. Had a SRH for awhile but sold it as it never found it's way into the field often enough. Oh, and as for accuracy .... well, that comes down to the shooter as all revolvers, DA or SA, can be inherently very accurate. I do like mine.... Personal preference.
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Last edited by rclark; September 4, 2013 at 11:05 AM.
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Old September 4, 2013, 09:10 AM   #18
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James K has it right. In the gun game there is no 'why' or 'need'. There is only what we want as free Americans.
I like the single actions for appearance and the way they hold. I guess nostalgia also.
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Old September 4, 2013, 11:34 AM   #19
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Many of us ....have both DA and SA revolvers ...( or at least I do ).... 3 different S&W mod 29's and 629's in .44 mag / about a dozen different S&W models in .357 mag ...mod 19's, 27's, etc...--- and some single action a Freedom Arms that I had made in .357 mag .......

and it isn't so much - just picking one for hunting, if I wanted to hunt with one - its whatever I feel like / because I shoot them all pretty well out to 50 yds or so in single action when I have a good rest ( I can't see well out to 100 yds anymore with open sights ) --- but over the years, I've killed a couple dozen whitetail within 50 yds ( with rifles) but could have easily done it with a .44 mag - or maybe a .357 mag ..with the right bullets.

So it kind of depends on what you like, what kind of terrain you'll be in, etc.../ and carrying a double action over a single action is no big fact guns like Freedom Arms, are a lot heavier than most double actions with the same barrel length...and it just comes down to making sure you have a good holster that is custom fit to the gun - so its easy to carry.

But everyone should shoot and hunt with whatever they want ...and what the game laws in your state allow !
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Old September 4, 2013, 11:41 AM   #20
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The frame of a Single Action is inherantly stronger than that of a double action revolver, there being no cut out for the crane nor side plate. Moot point, to be sure, but true, none the less.

One very nice advantiage is the single case extraction makes sticky empty cases easier to eject than if done all at one time.

I've had plenty of experience with both and just lean to the Single Action.

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Old September 4, 2013, 12:09 PM   #21
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Why a Single Action?

^^^^^ This Guy Above Me ^^^^

I've been thinking about a range/fun revolver to compliment my carry SP101. All those darn nice SA pictures that evil man posts, has me wanting one badly now, lol
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Old September 4, 2013, 12:57 PM   #22
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FWIW, I select my CF hunting revolvers by the chambering & intended use, rather than action type - since I typically fire whatever in SA mode @ game, anyway.
(I usually handgun hunt from a stand @ bowhunting distances - YMMV)

While I started hunting with SA revolvers 45 years ago, I soon changed over to DA revolvers (S&W M29, Ruger SRH), which IMO have a decidedly lighter hammer fall in SA mode than a SA-only revolver (less disruption to aim led to better accuracy).

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Old September 4, 2013, 02:06 PM   #23
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Because I like 'em.

I have more double action revolvers than single action, but the occasions I am outdoors (private property) and can open carry, a single action just feels right. Call it cool factor, cowboy wannabe, whatever. Makes no difference to me. While I could carry around my Highway Patrolman or 1911, in my mind woods gun=single action in .45 Colt. YMMV. No real concrete or quantifiable reasoning behind it, just my preference. For me.

So there.
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Old September 4, 2013, 02:33 PM   #24
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I have a DA Super Redhawk in .44 Mag that I've never fired in DA mode, as: a) it has a scope and b) it's a .44 Mag and in the time it takes to get it back on target through the scope, I can cock it again.

I would of been just as well served with an SA Blackhawk, but preferred the grips of the Super Redhawk.

It's just personal preference. 99% of the time, when you're choosing between a SA or DA revolver, it's going to be for hunting or plinking, not self-defense, where the DA would be more useful.
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Old September 5, 2013, 12:09 AM   #25
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The last revolver I picked up was a single action simply because I got a good deal on it. I bought it to use as a hunting sidearm and possibly to hunt deer with. Action type wasn't really important to me.

If I were going to use a revolver for self defense I would probably go with a DA, faster to shoot and faster to reload.
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