The Short And Long Of It All –
A Look At Chiappa’s SAA 1873 10-Shot Revolvers
The Chiappa 1873 10-shot represents an effort to bring an affordable single-action plinker to the market. Using a cast zamak-alloy frame, they look and feel like the old .45 Colt Peacemakers without being as expensive to buy. Depending on the model they retail anywhere from just under to just over $200. These revolvers are available in the US and come with either a 4.75-, 5.5- or 7.5-inch barrel, the last with adjustable target sights.
The Chiappa’s short barreled (4.75-inch) revolver can be reliably used for point shooting, but aimed fire would require a bit of Kentucky windage.
To me, the main appeal was practicing with inexpensive rimfire ammunition and enjoying the light recoil – in style! To that end, I obtained a highly decorated belt and holster set from Old El Paso Saddlery to ensure I had the complete package. I also obtained belts and holsters from El Paso for the kids and adult shooters which looked great functioned flawlessly.
Single action revolver grips are usually fairly good fit for smaller hands, their triggers don’t require much reach, so I also planned to use them for teaching new shooters. To that end, I also got a more utilitarian set of holsters – one each long and short in left and right hand configuration – and adult and child size gun belts with cartridge loops. This way, a person can run the more precise long gun with the string hand and the lighter, shorter gun with the weak hand.
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The Chiappa 1873 10-shot revolver represents an effort to bring an affordable single-action plinker to the market. Using a cast zamak-alloy frame, they look and feel like the old .45 Colt Peacemaker without being as expensive to buy.
Single-action, gate-loading revolvers are among the most hardy repeating gun designs. Sequential ejection enables the use of imperfect ammunition and brings the full impact of the ejector to bear on one empty casing at a time, and since the ejector rod goes into the casing from the front, even rimless ammunition can be used. With the cylinder fixed in the frame, alignment with the barrel usually remains good, even after a steady diet of hot loads. With rimfire ammunition the guns should last for many generations. Single-action triggers are generally quite decent, but loading may be slower than with break-open or side-swinging cylinders. Recent models, like this pair of Chiappa SAA1873s, hold 10 rounds each, which should be sufficient for a fairly high rate of fire for a short time.
Single-action revolvers grips are usually a fairly good fit for smaller hands, and their triggers don’t require much reach, so the author plans to use them for teaching new shooters.
I headed to the range with high hopes and a brick of Federal 40-grain ammunition. The long-sight radius and crisp trigger should produce good practical accuracy, and the longer models with a 7.5-inch barrel should yield a very respectable velocity. Normally, the 40-grain CCI Velocitor manages about 1,250 feet per second and the 33-grain CCI Stinger zips out at 1,350 fps.
The shorter revolver with fixed sights was test fired first. I discovered that the substantial gap between the cylinder and the forcing cone caused a louder than expected report. Despite good balance and a decent trigger, the best groups I could get were well over 2 inches at a distance of 25 feet. The problem with these entirely acceptable groups was their location – 3 inches down and one to the left of the point of aim. With a groove in the top strap for the rear sight and a fixed blade for the front, there was not much that I could do to reconcile the point of aim with the point of impact. The front sight could be filed and repainted to raise the point of impact, but I wouldn’t try to bend the casting for fear of breaking it. This revolver can still be used for point shooting, but aimed fire might require a bit of Kentucky windage.
The longer model with the 7.5-inch barrel shot much better. A minute with a flat-blade screwdriver adjusted the target rear sight to correct zero. At 25 feet, all 10 rounds shot consistently and fit into a 1-inch circle. Success?
Unfortunately, two issues plagued this sample. First, it actually jammed during loading. To load, the hammer should be placed at half cock, which enables the cylinder to spin freely. Opening the loading gate exposes the chambers. Half way through this process the cylinder would stop rotating. To get it to rotate further, I had to put the revolver on full cock, carefully lower the hammer (sometimes on a live round) and only that would free up the cylinder for the completion of the loading procedure. The other problem was the amount of misalignment between the forcing cone and the chambers. This caused lead shavings during firing. Outdoors, this could have been overlooked given the excellent accuracy, but indoors I found small chunks of lead hitting the lane dividers, which bounced off into my face. Though not very fast by the time they reached me, these bits were annoying.
It’s possible that minor gunsmithing would resolve these issues, but the cost of that would quickly add up. My reluctant conclusion is that the budget single-action revolvers are hit and miss in terms of quality. ASJ
The 1873 with a 7.5-inch barrel comes with an easily adjustable target sight, and shot a 1-inch group on a 10-round test fire at 25 feet.
Gun sales nationwide has been on the downside lately. Self-defense however, is still a hot topic for many consumers.
Concealed carry firearms are still some of the most searched weapons on the Internet and hammerless revolvers are right up there near the top.
Some gun enthusiasts hate them and some love them for self-defense and the ease of use.
If personal protection and easy operation of the gun is what you’re into, having a revolver is a great option.
The small frame is ideal for concealed carry. They can be carried hidden in numerous ways on the body without any tell-tale sign.
Though popularity falls on the semi-automatic pistol side, the wheel gun does have its place.
The truth is having a gun is better than nothing in a real world life-or-death crisis.
A revolver in its simplest usage is just a simple point-and-shoot weapon with a very low failure rate.
It’s almost impossible to make one jam, and they come in a variety of size options.
Big gun manufacturers like Ruger, Smith & Wesson and Taurus make quality revolvers.
There are many options available such as chambering magnum rounds to adjustable trigger pulls.
So what is so special about a hammerless revolver?
Well, let’s check it out.
The Perfect Carry Gun
First thing is, the term hammerless does not mean there isn’t a hammer in the revolver. Instead, the hammer is just found inside the frame of the gun itself and inaccessible to the shooter.
This simple feature is what allows these double-action revolvers to be smoothly pulled out of a pocket or holster quickly.
No risk of snagging the hammer on a pocket, belt or coat.
The barrel length is also very small and snubby. This doesn’t mean these guns don’t pack a punch.
You can get hammerless revolvers in all your favorite calibers from .22 LR, to .38 Special, and all the way up to a .357 Magnum.
If you didn’t know, most pocket-carry guns aren’t meant to fire all day at the range.
Strictly designed for self-defense at close range.
Firing off a few quick shots is the goal. Firing at targets more than 10 yards down range is not practical for a close quarter encounter scenario.
Again, where the revolvers shine is the ease of use of these guns is what makes them such a choice for those who aren’t gun experts. Simply put in the ammo, point and then shoot. That’s all there is to it.
There are many hammerless revolvers out on the market today that can make you salivate.
The only way to really find one for yourself is to go to a gun store, hold them, fire them and find the one that you’re comfortable with.
The prices vary, but affordable at around a couple hundred bucks.
Currently, the big dogs in the market are the Ruger and the Smith & Wesson but if you shop around you may find whats right for you.
Another thing to consider is how you would want to carry it.
Is it going in your pocket? Look at the smaller options
If you’re holstering it and you want some power, then go with the .357 Magnum.
In the end It’s all a preference on how you want to handle it. Regardless of your decision, sometimes the ease of use and peace of mind they provide far outweighs the price it may take to get one.
What is the best revolvers for concealed carry?
Here’s the quick answer:
Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 38 Crimson Trace
Ruger LCR .22
Rock Island Armory M206 Spurless
In this modern day gun world the semi-auto pistols have a huge hold of the market for self-defense guns. But concealed carry revolvers can still hold their own for personal defense.
Revolvers can be a strong choice for concealed carry, as they’re reliable and easy to use.
Not everyone is a fan of a small semi-auto for concealed carry.
However, there is a large fan base of shooters that will only look to revolvers for concealed carry.
If you’re in this group and interested in carrying a revolver for CCW, read on of the pros and con and see our picks of good quality revolvers for personal defense. Pros
Here’s a few reasons why revolvers are reliable, its the feeding and magazines.
-You say there is no magazines on a revolver thats right.
Magazines in semi-auto pistols are the main cause of malfunction.
-Feeding works pretty good in semi-auto but when you’re plugging in hollow point rounds it does have its issues on magazines.
Revolvers don’t have any of these issues.
Lets talk about another feature that doesn’t go wrong, is the triggering.
-The execution of it is simply triggering the hammer and cylinder.
Pull the trigger hammer goes back, cylinder turns, hammer goes forward and bang. Pull the trigger again same operation over again without a hitch. Downside
-A revolver holds less rounds than a semi-auto pistol.
Most revolver wheel a 5 round vs a semi-auto holds 6+1 at a minimum.
-The width on most revolvers are a little thicker than a popular CCW Glock 33 Gen4.
So this brings us to the types of revolvers, which is two types: with a hammer and hammerless.
The hammerless is design for snag free ideal for CCW.
These hammerless are normally “double-action,” there isn’t any cocking for a lighter pull.
The following is our pick of revolvers that blends in well with the concealed carry, a few may not fit the category, it may be more of a cannon for bear intruders.
Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 38 Crimson Trace
Probably one of the two or three most popular revolvers for concealed carry, the Bodyguard just won’t let you down. The hammerless design won’t get stuck in your pocket and the five shot capacity of .38 special ammo is useful for personal defense at close range less than 20-25 yards.
Ruger LCR .22
Really… a .22? Yes. When it comes to those close quarter situations where you need a “Get Off Me” gun, any gun is better than no gun. The concealability of the LCR is second to none, and being able to produce one in a hurry can make a difference in life or death.
What you might lose in stopping power, you will gain in follow up shots. The LCR allows for an eight shot capacity of low recoil, highly accurate rounds and supplement with good defensive Mano Mano hand-to-hand moves.
May be the same concept as the FBI choosing to go with a lighter load like the 9mm for accuracy and rapid multiple shots.
Here’s a video from Lucky Gunner on this cool piece.
Who doesn’t want a small .357 revolver that can be used for CCW? Well, Taurus sure figured it out here. This small little pocket shooter only has a two-inch barrel. After that, it fires five rounds of either .38 special or .357. Regardless of your choice, it’s a good powerful punch.
Rock Island Armory M206 Spurless
the M206 Spurless, means it has an internal hammer. This particular model has a wood handle and a black finish, but you can also get ones with black polymer grips and a stainless finish.
The Rock Island Armory M206 Spurless is a cheap way to get into an internal hammer wheel gun and its plenty reliable like most revolvers for CCW.
This is a different kind of gun because its an awesome hand cannon.
This Taurus Judge caught our eyes because it’s a friggin beast. Also, its namesake says it all. The story is there were a number of judges who carry it into the courtroom just in case they need to lay down the final verdict on someone, or so the legend goes.
This choice is a bit bigger than the others on the list. This revolver is longer and heavier…but it can shoot .410 3” shotgun shells or .45 Long Colt rounds if you want a little more distance between you and your target.
Both rounds have some serious stopping power, not just for bad thugs but to stop bears as well.
This beast is not meant for any ankle holster but more so for the shoulder holster.
Best CCW Revolver?
In conclusion if you’re looking for just concealed carry purpose, look for the width and size.
If you’re looking for more power, look for the caliber of a mini-hand cannon.
If you’re not sure go for the lighter and shoot more than you’ll find what you like. Let us know which revolvers that you carry for CCW below.
If you’re into hunting smaller things and want to get a handgun for this, here are some things to consider.
Having the right handgun is a plus, don’t get stuck with the wrong one, you’ll just be wasting your time.
So here are some tips that can help you make the right choice.
What’s your Game?
So what are you hunting? If you’re going for bigger animals its going to require bigger bullets, which has power.
For that bigger game, you shouldn’t be dinking around with anything smaller than a .357 Magnum.
You obviously, don’t want to be using a .44 Magnum on a smaller animal, because you’re wasting all that meat by damaging it. Start with .22 LR if you’re going for squirrels or rabbits, and adjust accordingly to the game you’re after.
Revolver or semi-automatic?
Here’s a quick pros and con: Revolvers are simple in operation, and semi-automatics allow higher capacity and quicker rapid shots.
If you’re hunting big game, for the Glock lovers go with something in a G20 10mm or a lower-capacity .500 S&W Magnum revolver. (Revolvers has its play in this)
Bottom line is that it really comes down to preference.
You could even look into single-shot, bolt-action and lever-action handguns, but if you’re into this it will take some research. Ultimately, your handgun should fit you and your style of hunting.
How much accuracy do you need?
If you didn’t know having longer barrels means higher velocities and usually equates to better accuracy.
So the question is how much barrel do you want to carry around with you?
Most experienced folks carry one with 6-8 inches barrel.
Scope or no Scope?
Not sure if you’re going for the Han Solo blaster look, but pragmatically its not worth it.
Yes, some handguns have integral scope mounts you can attach a handgun scope to.
But just remember when you add a scope, you increase bulk and weight.
When you’re aiming it, your hand will be wobbling all over the place. Don’t care how good of a shot you are, having extra weight on the pistol is different.
If you really gotta have the scope, then use a cross stick (its a bipod) support for long-range shooting.
How much are you willing to Pay?
Its important to shop around and check those handgun reviews. Talk with seasoned handgun hunters on what they use.
Gun buying shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg.
What about the Recoil?
Remember Dirty Harry flashing his famous .44 Magnum?
Well everyone had to get one.
Manufacturers loved this as they were making money.
But the ones that were buying it had a hard time with the kick, this isn’t a little kick, its a huge kick.
Just stick to something that you can handle, don’t even think of trying a .500 S&W Magnum or a .460 S&W Magnum, these cannons will explode out of your hands.
Are revolvers ideal or out-dated for personal defense?
Not many gun enthusiasts debate this, they rather speak of comparison between 9mm vs .45 but its still worth a discussion.
Lucky Gunner asked that question a while back and figured we’d share this with you.
Semi Video Transcription:
“…the guys at the revolver roundup came across as being a lot more pro-revolver.
The prevailing sentiment…was that the revolver are kind of like the everyman gun. It should be the go-to firearm for the average civilian who wants something for personal protection and semi-autos are probably best reserved for more dedicated shooters.
These two perspectives might seem pretty incompatible on the surface, but I think there’s a lot of merit to both of them.
And that’s been one of the recurring themes of the Wheel Gun Wednesday series — this paradox of how revolvers can be seriously flawed but also maybe the ideal self-defense tool for most people.”
He is quick to point out, however, that the revolver is not without its flaws.
“It never ceases to amaze me just how many people are under the impression that revolvers are incapable of malfunctioning. You can just look at some of the comments on some of our other revolver videos and blog posts to see just how common that sentiment is.
The fact of the matter is that even though revolvers can be very reliable, they’re also prone to some pretty serious issues that don’t affect semi-autos. Just in the past year, had I’ve had plenty of revolvers malfunction on me and I’ve also seen people on the range have problems, too.
A frozen cylinder from debris under the extractor star or from out of spec primers.
An extractor rod backing itself out preventing the cylinder from opening.
Multiple light primer strikes.
A shooter being sprayed with bullet fragments from a revolver with severe timing issues.
A Smith and Wesson revolver with a broken cylinder release latch.
A Ruger GP100 that completely stopped working due to a broken cylinder latch.
And several instances of triggers spontaneously dragging or freezing up for undetermined reasons.
And I’m not even going to go through all the user-induced problems like short stroking the trigger or all the different ways you can fumble a reload.
Out of all those issues, only one — the light primer strikes — is easily fixed.”
Recap Downside to Revolvers
Low Ammo capacity
Malfunctions – takes longer time to fix
Revolvers can Break – Frozen Cylinder
Cylinder won’t open
Broken Cylinder Latch
Unexplained Trigger drag
The Good side
Most experts are saying that most people that only buy a gun they wind up sticking it in their drawer and never practice shooting it. Its probably perfect for them. For the more active gun enthusiasts, get a semi-auto. What do you all think?, Let us know below.
Sources: Lucky Gunner Ammo Youtube, Chris Baker, Reddit