Newbie Question

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jack

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 13, 2015
Messages
247
Location
SW MO
I have never owned a single action revolver. Can a person actually "fan" one for rapid fire like they show in the old Westerns? If it can be done, am I correct in "presuming" it would not be good for the firearm to do it?

jack .... :)
 

Bob Wright

Hawkeye
Joined
Jun 24, 2004
Messages
6,474
Location
Memphis, TN USA
Yes. A stock Single Action revolver will suffer, especially if practiced over a long period of time. So also will the heel of your hand. This is especially agravitated (Damage to the heel of your hand) if you try this with a Blackhawk. That rear sight is hard on skin!

Be aware though, that there are guns especially set up for fanning, and this is done in competition. Requires special parts adapted to fanning.

But for run-of-the-mill shooting, avoid the practice.

Bob Wright
 

Carry_Up

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 22, 2007
Messages
374
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Short answer: don't do it. If you admire single action guns and want to own and shoot one, learn all you can about them. Keep the gun in good working order and learn to spot problems before they become safety issues.

I disagree that some guns are set up for fanning. Certain gunsmiths think they can produce such a gun, but in fact they are just delaying the inevitable. Inevitably those guns will be ruined by fanning just like unmodified guns. I have nothing against CAS, but some people have unreasonable expectations.

From a safety standpoint, fanning is very dangerous. You cannot reliably aim and shoot when a) you are not using your trigger finger and b) you are not using the sights. From a mechanical standpoint, a revolver just is not up to the task for any length of time. The parts that are ruined by fanning cannot be ordered from the factory and are not easy to replace even if you have the part.

I'll go one step further. It is very unlikely that any serious old West gunfighter would ever fan his single action even at close range. Metallurgy of the 1860's could not produce a firearm that could be abused in this way. Therefore I personally believe that fanning is a fabrication of the movie industry, along with unlimited shots from a 6 shooter without reloading, and firing a black powder .45 Colt firearm without recoil and without a trace of gunsmoke. There I said it.

That about sums it up in my opinion.
-CU
 

Bob Wright

Hawkeye
Joined
Jun 24, 2004
Messages
6,474
Location
Memphis, TN USA
Some guns have been set up for fanning in quick-draw competition, as I said. The hammer spur is a flat beaver tail set high above the frame for easy access. the cylinder is surface case hardened to minimize stretching the bolt slots, and the hand and bolt are special alloys to withstand the impact fanning produces. I believe one of our own on this forum has a gun, or two, set up similar as I describe. True, accuracy is out the window, but they do have to be close enough to bust a balloon with the blank cartridge. It's their game, and if they want to expend the money to set up a gun for their sport, more power to them.

Bob Wright
 

Hondo44

Hawkeye
Joined
Apr 3, 2009
Messages
7,776
Location
People's Republik of California
jack said:
I have never owned a single action revolver. Can a person actually "fan" one for rapid fire like they show in the old Westerns? If it can be done, am I correct in "presuming" it would not be good for the firearm to do it?

jack .... :)

Hi Jack,

Fanning guns we see in westerns are specially prepared, have beefed up parts like bolt stops and hammer 'over travel' stops, use lighter springs so the guns don't beat themselves to death, but also require maintenance. Fanning a single action new out of the box is not fun or easy with the factory springs. But with a professionally prepared single action, and lots 'a practice, a good gun handler can fan off three shots with just three fingers faster than a 1911 Auto AND hit reasonably distanced targets!

Watch Bob Munden who held several world records, built guns professionally but passed away just a few years ago:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsU5AMxvlKg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQo2Or1PuEI

What I will say firmly is do not fan or fast draw by drawing from a holster shooting live ammo!! I can't tell you how many have shot themselves or someone else doing that.

Speaking in a realistic and objective context, fanning is like driving a car with the accelerator to the floor every time you drive. How long will your car last? And like your car, that you can "put the pedal to the metal" once in awhile w/o hurting it, you can fan a premium brand gun in good condition ONCE IN AWHILE w/o having it fall apart or immediately breakdown. But again, not recommended just like racing around in a car is not recommended!

And just like race cars are built for racing there are guns specifically built for fanning and quickdraw. Yes they are expensive and yes they are durable, but will never have a long lifetime. They do last for years of competition but will need rebuilding from time to time.

Just like many advances in automotive improvements and longevity are learned from race cars, there are things we learn from 'race' guns that we can do to everyday single actions or any guns that will improve their longevity.

Single actions, when properly tuned with properly fitted parts, will properly function with lighter springs than the stiff factory springs, ease the wear w/o misfires, and be more ergonomic and enjoyable to shoot. But it's a personal choice as well. Some like stiffer springs.

I hope that helps provide a better overall understanding rather than "Big Brother" just telling you "Don't do it."
 

jack

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 13, 2015
Messages
247
Location
SW MO
Thanks for all the replies ... good info. Never planned to do any "fanning" .... just curious .... I'll leave that stuff to "Clint" :mrgreen: I'm all about control and safety when it comes to shooting. And, yup .... When I was in the Army (many, many, years ago), we had a fella in our unit shoot himself in the leg while fast drawing a single six(I think?). Fortunately for him, it was a 22 cal. :)
 

jbntx

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jan 30, 2012
Messages
199
Location
Texas
I guess you guys don't watch many TV westerns. The average cowboy can fan a revolver and hit a tin can eight times in a row. It's done all the time.
 
Joined
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Webster, MD.
jbntx said:
I guess you guys don't watch many TV westerns. The average cowboy can fan a revolver and hit a tin can eight times in a row. It's done all the time.
If they tried that with a Bearcat I know a good reconstruction surgeon they could go to. The heal of my hand hurts just thinking about fanning it. :shock: :D
 
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