Finding Your Best Chamber

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In order for any double- or single-action revolver to deliver all of its rounds into a tight group, each chamber within the cylinder must rotate and lock into perfect alignment with the barrel. That doesn’t always happen, and it’s not uncommon for one or more slightly misaligned chambers to throw flyers away from the main group.

The goal of this exercise is to find the best sequence of chambers so that your first two or three shots are the ones that will group tightest. For a big-game hunting handgun, this is really all you need, because if you haven’t done your job with the first two shots, it’s unlikely you’ll accomplish much with the remaining four.

PICK A HOLE Use a felt-tip pen to put an index mark on your cylinder. (The marker comes off with normal cleaning.) The first chamber after the mark will be chamber No. 1.

RECORD THE SHOT Fire a round and record the number and exact position of each shot on a duplicate target at your bench. Repeat this process several times using clean targets.

FIND THE PATTERN Your targets will show some chambers grouping tighter than others. Locate two or more chambers that group tight in sequence to determine which chamber you want to shoot first.

MARK THE CYLINDER Have a gunsmith stamp a permanent mark on the cylinder so you can easily identify your best sequence of chambers and always have them be first up.

WHAT RANGE? With a scoped handgun, pattern your revolver at 100 yards. If you’re shooting iron sights, shorten the range to 50.

ISOLATE THE TRIGGER FINGER Be certain that the pad of your trigger finger is pulling straight back on the trigger and not coming in contact with the trigger guard or revolver frame.

BARREL UP Brace the handgun so that the chin of the frame in front of the trigger guard, and not the barrel, rests on the bag.


• Get your arms flat. Stretch your arms out in front of you flat on the bench to minimize wobble.

• Shoot single-action. Your best groups will come if you shoot your revolver single-action.

• Be consistent. Keep the mechanics of your shooting form the same from shot to shot, including grip pressure and hand position.