Handgunner Helper

Wheelgun Diaries

They say every gun has a story. A reader submission series from American Handgunner, Wheelgun Diaries seeks to tell some of those stories through the words of revolver owners.

The following stories were shared by email with permission to publish.

Handgunner Helper

I got this .45 Colt Ruger Vaquero to serve as a lighter, more discrete knockabout companion to my Freedom Arms .454 Casull. I wanted to standardize on one caliber and be able to use .45 ammo in both. Initially, I was disappointed in accuracy, but I was also comparing it to a Freedom Arms.

Unsatisfied, I started working to get the most out of it I could. I tried different handloads and in the process developed a 250gr. “cowboy” load and a hot “Ruger only” 300gr. load that would shoot to the same point of aim. I was pretty happy with myself, especially since the cowboy loads shot to the same point of aim as my .454 loads in the Freedom Arms. I now had light and heavy loads for both guns without touching their sights!

In trying to further improve accuracy, I noticed my grip was not consistent, as sometimes my little finger would be above or below the revolver’s “beak.” So, I ground an indexing notch on the beak. But, having started altering the gun, I also caught “the bug” in the process. In search of more suggestions, I went to the best resource for handguns available, American Handgunner.

Having had cylinder pins come lose in my Ruger Super Blackhawk, I installed a secure Belt Mtn Cylinder pin, and just in case of a lost ejector rod, fingernail notches. I have also had bullets jump the crimp and tie up the cylinder on other magnums, so I installed a free spin pawl. This also eliminated the issue of going past the chamber when loading. And part of the process of installation involves setting the timing to perfection.

On advice from Handgunner articles, I got a Mernickle holster for concealed carry and a Tom Threepersons rig from El Paso Saddlery for open carry. I even converted a Walmart discount CD case into a “Bible”/gun case which also fits my Ruger American and attracts no attention at worship.

Finally, I re-crowned the muzzle, and following the advice of Handgunner one more time, carefully resized the chamber throats. Almost immediately, I was shooting 1-3/4” groups and at last, my perfect packin’ pistol was done!

David Smith

Old Guy With Revolver

Though I’ve since moved on to 1911s and semi-auto pistols, this Smith & Wesson Model 65 LadySmith was my constant companion for many years. We still go out on the occasional “date night,” and I don’t have a single qualm about only having six .357 loads before I have to go for the Model 12.

A couple of years ago, I took an advanced class with some experienced shooters, including a few local police and one old coot (me). I shot most of it with a Smith & Wesson M&P, but the instructor let me try the old girl against the kids with GLOCKS on one drill. I have to admit, Ol’ Gaston makes a very efficient bullet hose, but my heart was gladdened when one young reserve deputy said his main takeaway was “Don’t mess with the old guy with the revolver.”

Terry Wacasey

This Old Colt

I bought this 4″ Colt Official Police .38 Special on a whim many years ago. It was reasonably priced, looked to have honest wear on it and I was into collecting double-action Colts at that time. The serial number dates its production back to 1939.

Since then, it’s served as my house gun. It’s secreted where none but the most serious search would find it, yet it’s readily accessible to me with a couple of Dade Speed Loaders nearby, just in case. I take it to the range a couple of times a year and run a few rounds through it, but it gets wiped down a couple of times a month and always gets a full cleaning after trips to the range.

As long as there is breath in my body, it will have a home with me. After I’m gone, my heirs can choose to keep or dispose of it, but until then will, it will continue to protect those I love.

Mark Parker

Submit Your Wheelgun Diaries

Do you have a wheelgun story to tell? Send us a photo and your story by email and you could see it published here and featured in our weekly Wheelgun Wednesday newsletter.

Send to: [email protected]