Revolvers vs. Semi-Autos Part 3

Revolvers vs. Semi-Autos Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

A history of arms at your fingertips

By Dennis Adler

History at your fingertips; CO2 powered semi-auto and revolver designs span more than a century of gun making with historic examples such as the Webley MK VI, American classics like the Colt Python, and semi-autos like the Colt 1911 and its U.S. military successor the Beretta M9 (92 FS, 92A1). These and other great CO2 models are all a part of the ongoing debate of revolvers vs. semi-autos in which you can have a voice. Write a comment and vote your preference.

Groundbreaking decisions are hard to make, especially when the subject being discussed has been debated for more than a century and no definitive conclusion has been reached. If revolvers were as antiquated as they should be, given that the fundamental design has barely changed in over 180 years, with the exception of advancing from loose powder cap and ball and percussion cap ignition to self-contained metallic cartridges and double action triggers (which are themselves more than 160 years old), then they would have long been discontinued by armsmakers. But no, revolvers have evolved and some have even reached a form of equivalence to modern semiautomatics by utilizing polymer frames and separate fire control housings. Revolvers have as much of a role in self defense, hunting, sport and competition shooting today as they did in the 19th century. The debate continues. read more


Colt Python pellet shell swap out

Colt Python pellet shell swap out

Dynamic principles collide

By Dennis Adler

It is one of history’s most desirable .357 magnum revolvers, the Colt Python, and with the Umarex CO2 version this legendary revolver becomes vastly more affordable to own and nearly as much fun to shoot as the .357 magnum model. As designed by Umarex and Colt, the Python CO2 model comes with six front loading BB cartridges and a speed loader.

My recent tests of rear-loading pellet-firing shells in smoothbore barreled revolvers like the Remington Model 1875 and Schofield has raised an interesting question. What prevents you from using pellet firing shells in other smoothbore BB shell revolvers? Firing lead pellets down smoothbore steel barrels only leaves behind a little leading that is easily cleaned and does no harm (as opposed to steel BBs down a rifled barrel). A 4.5mm lead pellet weighs 7.0 gr. (unless you use a lighter weight alloy pellet) compared to the average steel BB which is around 5.1 gr. Worst case scenario you lose a little velocity, but, if the cartridge-loading smoothbore BB gun uses front-loading cartridges, and you change that dynamic to rear-loading pellet shells, (which have proven to produce higher velocities) you could get some surprising results. For the pellet shell swap out I have examined a number of smoothbore BB revolvers for compatibility and there are almost none (with the notable exception of Umarex Colt Peacemakers but since Umarex makes both smoothbore and rifled barrel models, its kind of a moot point). The one smoothbore revolver that really needs this swap out is the Umarex Colt Python, an extremely good gun to shoot but lacking in decent velocity for a revolver (compared to a blowback action semi-auto). read more


Best double action CO2 revolver triggers

Hammering down accuracy

Best double action CO2 revolver triggers Part 2

Doubling on air

by Dennis Adler

The candidates for best double action trigger from top to bottom, Webley MKVI, Umarex Colt Python, ASG Dan Wesson 2-1.2 inch barrel model, Dan Wesson Model 715 6-inch model, and Umarex S&W 327 TRR8.

Here again are the candidates for best double action trigger. From top to bottom, the Webley MKVI, Umarex Colt Python, ASG Dan Wesson 2-1/2 inch barrel model, Dan Wesson Model 715 6-inch and Umarex S&W 327 TRR8. They all have excellent features but only one has “the best” trigger for double action firing.

The one thing that New York armsmaker Eben T. Starr did with his 1858 double action pistol design, was engineer a trigger (or trigger lifter in this case) to “stage” the trigger for the final pull-through. What I mean by that is the trigger pull rotated the cylinder into battery and cocked the hammer but left a little additional pull before the trigger lifter struck the hammer release. This allowed a soldier to take better aim before firing. This same step in the trigger pull was repeated by Colt’s in their 1877 and 1878 double action designs, and has been used to great effect by S&W in their revolvers, which stage the hammers with relative ease. Most shooters pull straight through on double action, as it should be in combat, but for greater accuracy, or a studied and practiced pause before dropping the hammer, this aspect of double action revolvers has become a trait of the best guns and best triggers. It is also so with the best double action CO2 revolvers. read more


Best double action CO2 revolver triggers

Hammering down accuracy

Best double action CO2 revolver triggers Part 1 

By Dennis Adler

A sweep through double action history from the c.1858 Starr carried by Union Soldiers during the Civil War, to the famous .45 Colt Model 1878 double action single action, the S&W Triple Lock with swing out cylinder, and a modern S&E Performance Center 8-shot .357 Magnum (the basis for the 327 TRR8).

A sweep through double action history from the c.1858 Starr carried by Union Soldiers during the Civil War, to the famous .45 Colt Model 1878 double action/single action, the S&W Triple Lock with swing out cylinder, and a modern S&W Performance Center 8-shot .357 Magnum (the basis for the 327 TRR8).

Trigger control is one of the essential skills in target, competition and self defense shooting. With cartridge-firing revolvers and semiautomatic pistols trigger design and ease of operation is often one of the selling points. The fundamentals of trigger design, both in operation and levels of resistance, (stacking, travel, over travel, and reset), as well as quality, apply equally to air pistols that are based on actual handguns. Semi-autos are much easier to match for design, function, and resistance to cartridge-firing models, as evidenced by airguns like the S&W M&P40, Beretta 92A1, Sig Sauer P226 X-Five, and Tanfoglio Witness Gold Custom. When it comes to double action revolvers it is almost the same, but not exactly. The demands placed upon the trigger in a DA/SA airgun are not equal to those of a cartridge-firing model. There is less mass (a lighter weight alloy cylinder), a lighter hammer spring, and of course, the hammer itself is light weight alloy construction, not steel. The double action function on some CO2 revolvers can feel sloppy and trigger pull can vary from heavy, with excessive stacking on some, to light, smooth actions that run like a tuned revolver (from the S&W Performance Center, as an example). This is evident in a handful of CO2-powered, BB or pellet cartridge loading revolvers. read more


Colt Python

The Umarex Colt Python Part 2

Putting the legendary DA/SA six-gun to the test

By Dennis Adler

The Umarex Colt Pythons are offered in two finishes, a deep flat blue black and nickel (chrome). The Python CO2 airguns rekindle a romance with the Colt double action/single action revolvers that were discontinued for the last time in 2006 with the Python Elite. Previous Python models were discontinued after 1996.

The Umarex Colt Pythons are offered in two finishes, a deep flat blue black and nickel (chrome). The Python CO2 airguns rekindle a romance with the Colt double action/single action revolvers that were discontinued for the last time in 2006 with the Python Elite. Previous Python models were discontinued after 1996. 

The moment you pick up the Colt Python airgun you have a sense of authenticity in their weight, balance, and very familiar operation. The guns even fit existing Colt Python holsters like the Galco thumb break belt holster shown. With a very modest suggested retail the Pythons are available in a deep matte blued black or nickel (actually chrome) finish with authentic wood grained or black checkered plastic grips. read more


Colt Python

The Umarex Colt Python Part 1

A different kind of Snake Gun

By Dennis Adler

A legendary Colt revolver returns with the .177 caliber Python. The Colt authorized Umarex wheelgun is a near perfect copy of the fabled .357 magnum revolver introduced in 1955.

A legendary Colt revolver returns with the .177 caliber Python. The Colt authorized Umarex wheelgun is a near perfect copy of the fabled .357 magnum revolver introduced in 1955.

Collectors call them “snake guns,” Pythons, Diamondbacks, Cobras, Anacondas, King Cobras, etc. Colt once had an entire lineup of famous double action revolvers named after snakes, and each and every one, in its own right, has become collectible, some more than others. At the top of the order was the Colt Python. Back in the 1950s and well into the late 20th Century, revolvers were king among law enforcement sidearms, and one of the most popular was the Colt Python .357 magnum revolver. read more