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  • johnspears6

Individualism, Zen, and the Revolver.

Discipline is worthwhile for its own sake. Self-development through a regular practice of something provides benefit, regardless if there’s some deep purpose or understanding behind that pursuit. Creating health while unifying body and mind—there are many means for self-improvement. Yoga, martial arts, exercise, meditation. Just do it.

A lifetime of practice in many different disciplines has only served to reinforce my conviction that marksmanship makes for a better person in no less substantial a way than any other form of self-discipline.

Choose the carbine, or the semi-auto pistol, or the precision rifle, or whatever. Take your pick. The hierarchy of difficulty in attaining and maintaining firearms skills is pistol>precision rifle>carbine. Pistol skills deteriorate rapidly when not practiced, but regular pistol practice spills over to the maintenance of proficiencies with carbines and precision rifles.

As a medium of self-development, I believe in the revolver. I've seeded that idea in altered sci-fi form in some of the Dark Operator books, just for fun. I'll try to make it fun here, but I'm writing this because of a not-fun inspiration I'll talk about at the end. If I stray into the technical it’s for purposes of explanation as to the “why” of the revolver, so if that’s not your thing, cool. Start reading again wherever you stop seeing numbers in the text.

Let’s define some parameters. For my purposes, distances of 50 and 100 yards are where the greatest self-development occurs and for that work, targets are steel of IPSC and reduced C zone sizes. Standing off hand is the position at 50 and often 100 yards. Side-lying prone or seated on the ground with back supported against a tree or 4-wheeler are marvelous ways to do work at 100 yards and far beyond. Those positions as well as the preparatory shot sequence I learned as a teenager by reading Elmer Keith’s book Sixguns have never been improved upon by me.

Not all pistols are up to the task, just like any old rifle isn’t capable of 1000 yard precision.

The single best factory revolver I’ve ever purchased has been my Smith and Wesson Performance Center 627. Every one of the eight cylinders has the same .3575” diameter mouth as measured by pin gauge, a proper forcing cone, a wonderful gold bead front sight, and a fantastic single and double action trigger. I’ve spent more on custom wheelguns that have not been better than this one’s been straight out of the box. With at least 158 grain bullets it hits the steel with enough authority at 100 yards to make a spotter unnecessary.

Which brings us to why revolvers—especially large bores—are the preferred medium for this kind of training.

Pistols and revolvers of more sedate chamberings and lighter bullets just don’t have a lot of umph on steel at 100 yards and beyond. Most 9mm chamberings (my guns have fully supported chambers so running 147 grain bullets at 9 Major pressures is a thing for me) leave faint marks on the paint and have weak impacts to the ear, especially when the wind is fuzzing my earpro.

A favorite 32-20 revolver by Hamilton Bowen is a smoke show that shoots flat as a banjo string, but for the same reasons as the 9mm, gives disappointing results to the eye and ear on steel.

No such ambiguity exists with the bigger bores, so I prefer them for the task. But, dang it, age and arthritis being what they are, I’ve gotten to the point that my 45 Colts pushing 330 grain bullets nearly 1400 fps have become unpleasant to shoot in the quantities I prefer.

My answer was to have Bowen build me one of his Nimrod revolvers on a medium frame .44 flattop Ruger Bisley. I had Turnbull do the case colors and give it some engraving—just enough to denote it as a best-grade gun. It took a couple of years for the project to return to me and it’s become a daily companion.

With 255 gr Keith bullets or my favorite 280 grain LBTs at moderate velocities of 1000 fps, well, I put some pics up of the 50 yard groups on steel and paper. (The paper were shot prone, just to be clear.) Beauty is as beauty does, as I hope you agree by the pictures.

It's truly amazing what a good revolver can do and how even with aging eyes there’s still the perfect day that allows me to shoot nearly to my own potential and that of the gun.

Which brings me back to the start of this dialogue.

This is a form of practice that reflects the inner state like a mirror. The steel doesn’t ring on its own. It’s impossible to succeed by accident. It’s a barometer that never lies. One must be “all there.” And if I’m not, the task then becomes discipling my mind and body to return to a state that will make the steel ring.

That, by any other name, is Zen. A practice for achieving clarity and unifying mind and body to become a better person.

I have time for the range when I finish this (though today it’ll be positional precision rifle practice.) Afterwards I’ll work out and thanks to time on the range, I’ll be better prepared to absorb the benefits of that effort. Eventually I’ll return to my family and when I do, I’ll “be there” with a stronger connection of mind and body.

Hence, Zen and the revolver.

The individualism part of this post’s title?

That was inspired by the governor of New Mexico utilizing emergency powers to solve a public health crisis by infringing on the rights of the law-abiding. She ordered a ban on the carry of guns as a solution to the many shootings in one of her state’s crime-ridden counties. “Less guns means less violence,” was her rationale, despite the conundrum that criminals don’t obey laws.

Her justification? “No right is absolute,” she said.

Which begs the question; if constitutional rights aren’t absolute, then why not imprison fentanyl distributors and violent criminals without trial. Seems more expedient to me.

And as ridiculous.

It’s all a logical fallacy in the extreme, not to mention unconstitutional.

The elected sheriffs and even the AG of New Mexico have stood up to her—after significant delay. The lawsuits are numerous. If her order goes to a judicial ruling, it may set precedence that will prevent other governors or petty municipal dictators from trying the same. In any event, the New Mexico legislature should impeach her. No one who’s taken an oath of office in America should remain in position after demonstrating such statist tendencies.

Whether you’re a gun person or not, don’t surrender rights because you don’t desire to exercise them or because by your judgement, they have no value. Because eventually that thing you hold dear as a means of exercising your individuality and liberty will make its way onto the list of what they can capriciously take from you as a non-solution to a problem of their own making.

Nietzsche had some things right. One of them was that a politician divides mankind into two classes; tools and enemies. Which is why we have a constitution that places limits not on the individual, but on the government.

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23 thg 9, 2023

That pistola is amazing. Great article! You hit the nail on the head with the, "Don't give up your rights," thing. Get after it. Stay after it.

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