Nick F. owns a Smith & Wesson Model 460V big-bore revolver.
One day, Nick was shooting his revolver with a two-handed grip when disaster struck.
After pulling the trigger, a blast from the revolver came out the side of the gun, and Nick had his thumb near the cylinder gap.
His thumb was covered in blood, and he couldn’t tell how bad the injury was. Since Nick was full of adrenaline, he didn’t feel any pain.
Soon, his entire hand was covered in blood, and it was gushing all over.
That’s because Nick’s 460V revolver actually blew the thumb of his support hand off.
Nick had to visit a hand specialist to repair his injury. The surgeon had to wait a few days to see if the wound got infected before surgery to reconstruct the thumb.
There was nothing wrong with the revolver and Nick purchased it new. He had only put a few rounds through the gun before he blew his thumb off.
But the .460 is a powerful, high-pressure round. It was like a firecracker exploding right next to his thumb.
Now, I don’t personally know Nick or his level of firearm training.
But he made a costly mistake that occurs too often when shooting revolvers – he was unaware of the cylinder gap.
What is cylinder gap?:
Revolvers are called “revolvers” because of their design.
They have a round cylinder located at the breach that contains the firing chambers that hold the cartridges.
Because of this design, there is a small amount of space between the cylinder and the barrel.
This space is called the “cylinder gap.”
Most manufacturers make the space as small as possible, but there must be some space to allow the cylinder to rotate.
The gap can range from 4 to 7 thousandths of an inch (0.004-0.007).
The larger the pressure of the bullet, the more intense the escaping gasses are from the cylinder gap.
As the bullet travels from the cylinder to the barrel there will be gasses that escape to the sides of the revolver.
This can slightly reduce the velocity of the bullet coming out of the revolver, but it’s not typically noticeable.
Historically, some gun manufacturers have tried to create designs that deal with the gap issue.
One gunmaker designed a revolver where the gap was sealed when the revolver was cocked, which kept all the gasses behind the bullet, but this design didn’t catch on.
So, gas will escape from the cylinder gap in revolvers, which (as you’ve seen in Nick’s case) you need to be aware of to avoid injury.
Sometimes shooters want to move their hands forward on revolvers to compensate for the heavy weight of the firearm. This is very dangerous.
When shooting a revolver, you want to keep your hand and fingers behind the cylinder gap.
Even another person standing too close to a revolver could feel the effects of gas escaping the cylinder gap.
So, never put anything you want to keep in front of the cylinder gap.
The cylinder gap is something to always be aware of when shooting a revolver.
And as long as you’re safe with your grip, it shouldn’t stop you from owning and enjoying shooting a revolver.
In fact, a revolver could be a great backup home defense handgun.
Since revolvers hold much less ammo than most semi-auto handguns, I’d keep it as a backup.
There are a number of firearms, accessories, and gear that you should have when defending your family and property…
Along with a battle-tested plan for dealing with thugs who come looking for trouble.