2023 Pat Rogers Memorial Revolver Roundup Debrief

I was very happy to attend the Pat Rogers Memorial Revolver Roundup for the first time this November. I’ve been wanting to go to this conference since I first heard of it, years ago, and was thrilled to finally get there!

Relax, you’re home

The Roundup is the perfect place for a RevolverGuy. Everyone there has a strong interest in revolvers, and understands their strengths, weaknesses, and applications. You won’t have to spend any time justifying your interest in the revolving pistol, because everyone “gets it” already. The instructors know how to run them and how to teach them, and the training programs are all built with the revolver in mind, so you won’t have to struggle to keep up with courses of fire built around the bottom-feeders, either. How refreshing!

The Roundup crowd is welcoming and friendly, and I felt right at home, right away. There was definitely a shared camaraderie among the participants, and I didn’t see a single person navigating the weekend solo. Even if you didn’t know anybody when you showed up, you left with a bunch of new friends by the time the weekend was over. All the attendees were eager to show off their gear and talk about our common interest in the round gun.

The Roundup is a great place for friends to gather and celebrate their mutual love of fine, revolving guns!

The Roundup’s instructor staff is strong, with many talented trainers and industry professionals leading the participants through the course of learning. You’ll recognize many of the names by virtue of their other work and accomplishments, but there’s a few “sleepers” in the mix too, who don’t normally teach open enrollment classes for the public, except at the Roundup.

Students shoot under the watchful eye of world-class instructor Wayne Dobbs, an original founder of the Roundup, along with Daryl Bolke.

The RevolverGuy Family

I was exceptionally pleased to meet so many RevolverGuy readers at the Roundup! It’s always wonderful to meet them in person and to hear their feedback about what we’re doing here. I’m always proud of our work, but it was especially gratifying to hear from so many people that appreciated what we were doing at RG. It seems we’re doing something right, because I didn’t hear any complaints (and I don’t think it’s because I was armed–Ha!).

I had several readers tell me that they made a purchase, modified their equipment, changed their training, adopted a new method, or changed a habit in accordance with our recommendations. That was great to hear, but it was also a reminder of the serious responsibility we bear as writers. Our readers are relying on us for important information and guidance—potentially life-saving information and guidance–and we cannot let them down. We will always endeavor to be worthy of the faith, trust, and confidence you folks place in us.


A note about the Roundup’s host is in order. When I first heard of the Roundup, it was being hosted in the Dallas, TX area, but for the last several years it’s been hosted at Gunsite Academy, in Arizona. Gunsite is the perfect place to host the Roundup, as it has the facilities, resources, and expert staff to make it a success. It’s hard to host a group of this size, but Gunsite has the classrooms, ranges, bathrooms, dining area, pro-shop, and on-site gunsmithy necessary to support the training.

Roundup participants get to shoot on Gunsite’s extensive array of specialty ranges. Image from Gunsite Academy, https://www.gunsite.com

I was super excited to attend my first Roundup because it would also be my first time to shoot at Gunsite. It’s a safe bet that most of you understand how important Gunsite is to our shooting culture and heritage, but for those who are new to the gun, Gunsite is considered to be the Alpha of shooting schools. Before the American Pistol Institute (later, Gunsite), there was really no formal shooting school that an armed citizen could attend to learn defensive handgunning. For that matter, there were very few places in military or law enforcement circles where a student could learn the pistol to such a depth.  Gunsite is really where it all began, and it will always be a special place because of the role it’s played in our industry and the development of our martial art, so I was especially excited to shoot on its ranges as part of the Roundup.

A Roundup student navigates the Donga, under the watchful eye of Gunsite Instructor Freddie Blish
Bad guys litter the Donga, waiting to ambush unsuspecting students.
Students learn to read the terrain and work the angles to engage bad guys in the Donga, with the assistance of expert Gunsite staff members.

The Gunsite ranges include not only traditional, “square ranges,” but also unique simulators like the “Funhouse” and “Donga” ranges, which teach students how to safely navigate indoor and outdoor environments, and deal with threats they encounter, therein. There are few gun schools with facilities like these, and a suitably-trained staff to lead you through them. You’ll find both at Gunsite, though, which is part of what makes it so special.

I should mention that Gunsite’s curriculum includes a revolver version of their famous 250 class. The next 250 Defensive Revolver Class is scheduled for August 2024, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more comprehensive, revolver-specific training program.


There was a wide mix of guns and gear present at the Roundup, ranging from the historical to the cutting edge. There’s not many places where you can see a RevolverGuy shooting Kimber’s new K6xs (standby for a RevolverGuy writeup on that one, soon) right next to another shooting a King Super Target, but the Roundup is one of them. On the heels of seeing my first Nighthawk Korth in the wild at my Defensive Revolver Class in October, I was surprised to see another one at the Roundup (wielded by a very good shooter, by the way), but I guess I shouldn’t have been. This is where all the Revolver Nuts hang out, you see. You’ll be in good company.

A sampling of some of the collector-grade guns that Roundup participants could examine. In the mix you’ll see a John “Buck” Buchanan Fitz from the 1920s (top), a Fitz’d Detective Special with stags (second from top), the only factory-original S&W Fitz Special ever made, built for Outdoor Life Editor Bob Nichols (second from bottom), and a King’s Super Police on a Detective Special from the early 1930s (bottom). You might see some of these guns at a collector’s show, but you won’t be able to handle them as an expert like Daryl Bolke points out the features that were designed to optimize these guns as the best fighting revolvers of the era. You’ll only get that experience at the Roundup!

I’d say 95% of the participants were shooting something that chambered .38 Special ammo, but there were a few .22s, .32s, .44s and .45s in the mix. I even saw one gent shooting a .41 Magnum Model 58, and it took all the restraint I had to not park myself behind him and stare like a kid in a candy store window. How cool is that?

Leather had a slight edge over plastic for holsters, and I saw plenty of rigs from RevolverGuy friend, and Roundup sponsor, Simply Rugged Holsters, including my own 240 holster for my Combat Magnum, and my Pocket Protector for my S&W 640 Centennial, which worked nicely for Dave Dolan’s Weapon Transitions/Back-Up Snub Deployment class.

Mike’s beloved Combat Magnum rode in a Simply Rugged 240 with border stamping all weekend. It was a useful and handsome setup. Part of the fun of the Roundup is getting to shoot those guns that hide in the back of your safe—this gun hasn’t been shot in a few years, even though it’s a favorite. It was really fun to exercise it again!

I was excited to meet the owner of Harry’s Holsters at the Roundup and see his excellent holsters in action. Those of you who read Kevin’s article can appreciate the great work they’re doing with Kydex, and I was impressed with what I saw in my brief exposure to them. My own Dale Fricke Archangel Kydex holster for the Centennial worked very well for one of the classes, and also served me well on the 1,600 mile round-trip drive to Gunsite. If you can wear a holster for 11 hours while seated in a car and not even notice it’s there, you’ve got a good rig.

The stalwart HKS speedloader was probably the most common round-body loader that I saw, but there were a number of 5-Star loaders as well. Curiously, I think I only saw one or two Safariland Comps outside of my own, but I’m sure they were present in good number, too. I saw a couple of the SpeedBeez loaders, but they didn’t seem quite as popular with the Roundup crowd. A large number of the round-body loaders were being carried in Simply Rugged Sidewinder pouches, and I had several readers tell me they purchased theirs after reading our review of the design. I really like mine.

These Sidewinder speedloader carriers were popular accessories at the Roundup.

The strip-style loaders were encountered even more frequently than the round-body loaders, by my measure, with the overwhelming majority being fished out of pockets. Roundup sponsor Tuff Products was selling lots of them to eager buyers.

Speaking of Roundup sponsors, The Wilderness was there, selling lots of their popular Renegade ankle holsters, just prior to the ankle carry class taught by Chuck Haggard. That’s a good rig, and you’ll hear more about it here in 2024 when I finally finish my piece on ankle carry that I’ve been pecking away at.

The Schedule

The schedule was packed full of activity, starting with a welcome barbecue on Friday evening for all the attendees, where I met lots of new friends. Things kicked off in earnest on Saturday morning and ran through Monday afternoon, with multiple morning and afternoon sessions each day:

As part of a process of continuous improvement, the Roundup team will probably adjust the schedule a bit for the 2024 Roundup, and you’ll likely see a smaller number of longer duration sessions, to simplify logistics and allow the instructors more time with the students. I think this potential change would promote even better training, and I’m happy to hear it’s being considered. Standby for more on that from the Roundup’s team.

Dirty guns!

I couldn’t help but notice that several shooters had their guns go down during the Roundup, as a result of maintenance-related issues. I personally know of three that gassed out, but there were probably several others I didn’t see.

One of the leading culprits was shooting lead ammunition without properly cleaning the gun. I know the .38 Special ammo market is really tough right now, and sometimes all you can find is soft lead ammo (round nose, semiwadcutter, wadcutter, etc.), so I understand why folks are shooting it, but there’s no getting around the fact that it’s dirty stuff, which creates a higher maintenance burden.

All-lead projectiles can be more affordable than jacketed ones, but can also leave a lot of fouling behind.

I saw a Taurus and a S&W that were both so badly leaded in the gas ring area, that the cylinder would no longer spin. Longtime revolver shooters know how dirty soft lead bullets can be, and are used to scrubbing and wiping the cylinder frequently to prevent these fouling-induced stoppages (look for the toothbrushes and rags sticking out of the pockets of guys with gray hair), but sometimes it can be hard to keep the gun clean enough when you’re doing lots of shooting in a class.1

Mike kept his guns running throughout the weekend by cleaning and lubricating them every night.

I was able to get the Taurus running again with a brief cleaning using a brush and some solvent, but the S&W suffered a double whammy when it was inappropriately “cleaned.” Its owner didn’t have access to his normal cleaning supplies, and resorted to using a borrowed, aerosolized bore cleaner that was liberally applied. Unfortunately, too much cleaner was used, and it got into the wrong places. The excess of solvent leaked into the action, bringing lots of lead goop with it. The sludgy combination completely “nuked” the innards, and it took a complete disassembly and cleaning to get the gun running again. It was a good lesson about the importance of having the right tools to keep your gun functioning properly, and one that the owner wanted me to share with you, as a warning.

I cleaned and lubricated my guns each night with the cleaning kit that I packed, and shot jacketed ammo that burned relatively clean, so I didn’t have any problems with mine, but watching some other folks go through these difficulties made me glad that I had a maintenance article already scheduled to run in the new year. You’ll probably see that one in February (it’s done, but we’ve got some other stuff to get to, first).

Making Holes

I saw some really talented shooters at the Roundup, and enjoyed watching them run the gun. I admired their skill and was pleased to have them as a role model, to learn from.

My own shooting was a little inconsistent, with some moments of great personal triumph (like boring out the 10-Ring of a B-8 on one exercise) and some moments where I wanted to crawl under a rock (like blowing some easy shots as Wayne Dobbs watched me crash and burn).

I shot this target with one hand at ten yards in Bryan Eastridge’s class. The low hit at 6 O’Clock was my first, after I purposely aimed at the bottom of the black to see where my sights were hitting at this distance with some new ammo. After I figured that out, I held center, on the X, for the other four. It looks like I milked a pair of shots off to the left side, into the 9-Ring. I obviously need to fix that grip! Consistency rules! Nobody banished me to the Island of Misfit RevolverGuys, though—the vast majority of the pressure you feel at the Roundup is self-induced. It’s a friendly crowd. Remember: They’re laughing with ya, not at ya!

However, the Roundup is one of those places where you can be challenged without undue pressure. All the instructors are interested in helping you to perform your best, and teach you the skills necessary to improve your game, but the learning environment is both relaxed and positive. You won’t get ridiculed for a mistake at the Roundup, and there’s room for shooters of every skill level, so don’t feel like you have to be an “expert” to attend. There are classes specifically tailored for entry-level shooters, and you couldn’t start your shooting journey with better instructors.

There’s plenty of challenging material for advanced shooters, as well, so don’t worry about being bored if you’re a Top Gun. The Roundup caters to every skill level.

Good times

Yet, while there’s plenty of good training to be had, I think the Roundup, at its core, is as much of a social event as a training event. You could spend the whole weekend there without firing a shot (not that you’d want to, but you could) and still walk away feeling like it was worth your time.

A Roundup student navigates the Funhouse . . .
. . . under the watchful eye of Gunsite instructor Lew Gosnell.

There’s something about hanging out with “your tribe” that’s really satisfying and invigorating, and if you’re reading this article, then you’re definitely part of the tribe that convenes at the Roundup.2 It took me longer than it should have to go to my first one, but now that I’ve been, I can’t wait to attend the next.

Gunsite CEO Ken Campbell is fond of asking shooters, “so, when are you coming to Gunsite?” Well, I’ve already registered for the 2024 Roundup, and now I’m trying to figure out how I can get to that 250 class I’ve wanted to attend for so many decades. Once you get a little taste of Gunsite, you’ll want to go back. Soon.

If you think you’d like to attend the Roundup, I’d encourage you to register early. The seats fill up fast, so don’t delay too long–it’s not too early to start making your plans.

I’ll see you there. Don’t forget to pack your cleaning kit!



  1. When the feds were still issuing revolvers, agents were trained to scrub and wipe their guns during training and qualification shoots, lest the guns stop working midstream—especially in those outfits that shot soft lead ammo like wadcutters and the 158 +P LSWCHP.  You can often get away with less cleaning if you’re shooting jacketed ammunition, but the pure lead stuff is pure murder on a gun, and will gum it up quick.  Those of you who shoot lots of rimfire ammo through revolvers know what I mean—is there any gun that gets filthy as quickly as a .22 revolver? Those outside-lubricated, soft lead bullets are really messy. Keep a rag and toothbrush handy when you’re shooting those;
  2. Another place for tribe members to hang out is Daryl and Bryan’s new Patreon page, American Fighting Revolver, which launched just before the Roundup.

Author: Mike

Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Mike Wood is a bonafide revolver nut, a certified law enforcement instructor in handgun, shotgun, patrol rifle, less-lethal, and diversionary device disciplines, and the author of Newhall Shooting: A Tactical Analysis, the definitive study of the infamous, 1970 California Highway Patrol shootout in Newhall, California. Mike wrote the "Tactical Analysis" column at Police1.com for 8 years, and enjoys teaching both armed citizens and law enforcement officers.

50 thoughts on “2023 Pat Rogers Memorial Revolver Roundup Debrief”

  1. It’s a wonder that some folks’ poorly maintained guns function at all, and in some cases they don’t. Not long ago, I saw a used Ruger Super Blackhawk for sale in a local gun store. The lead and powder buildup was so caked on that the cylinder wouldn’t rotate. (Why the gun store failed to clean the gun before putting it up for sale is another mystery.) That’s probably why the original owner sold or traded in the piece–too dumb or lazy to clean it and probably thought it was worn out.

      1. Actually I didn’t buy it; too many signs of neglect. It could have been fine once it was thoroughly cleaned but one of my cardinal rules is “don’t purchase abused equipment unless you’re 100% sure you can make it work–and get it cheaply.” Early days of getting burned taught me that hard lesson.

    1. It was great seeing you and so many ‘fellow travelers’ at the Roundup. It was my second time attending the event.

      Like you my shooting was somewhat inconsistent, ranging between excellent and ‘what the…’. I struggled with hard primers leading to light strikes on two different revolvers. Thanks to the on premise gunsmithy both guns were checked out and found within spec. I noted a number of other shooters throughout the weekend were sharing ammo complaints as well.

  2. I’m glad to hear about your experience! One benefit of being a (finally) free guy, is I picked my annual leave for next November. I look forward to seeing you there! Sounds like it pays to bring more than one gun to the party. I’ll try to bring something interesting.

  3. I’m sorry we didn’t cross paths at the Roundup, Mike! But obviously it was a busy weekend with a lot going on, and a lot of people in attendance this year (a record, I believe?). Still, the Roundup never felt too busy or ‘over booked’ at all – logistics were smooth and well-organized, and as you said, there was a relaxed atmosphere to the whole thing, at the same time there was a ton of good learning to be had.

    This was my first Roundup, and first time at Gunsite, as well, and I can only echo everything you said above – it is a top-notch facility, run by true professionals. I’m still processing everything I learned that weekend, and seriously considering returning next year. I don’t believe there is a better training opportunity for wheelguns happening anywhere in the country right now, with a better crew of experienced instructors. For any fan of the wheelgun, the Roundup is a ‘must attend’ opportunity.

    Btw, I ran my S&W Model 19 Carry Comp all weekend, with FMJ ammo from LAX. And while I brought cleaning supplies with me, and expected to be cleaning it each night, it ran so well that I decided to see how long I could go without cleaning it all. It never failed me once all weekend. I absolutely love that gun.

    1. Rats! I’m sorry we didn’t connect, Hammer. I’m sure we bumped elbows at some point and didn’t even realize it. Maybe I should wear a blaze orange t-shirt next year, ha! I hope to see you return and join me and Riley at the Roundup ‘24. Bring your 19 Carry Comp so I can give it a try—I always wanted to give one of those a spin.

      1. Haha…I like the orange t-shirt idea. Or maybe they’ll be some “Revolver Guy” t-shirts available by then? (wink, wink, nudge, nudge….). If I can make it next year I’ll definitely bring the 19 CC and you are more than welcome to give it a spin.

        Btw, I also wanted to mention that I learned at the Roundup that Daryl Bolke and Brian Eastridge have started a new Patreon page called “American Fighting Revolver” which is featuring a lot of historical info as well as modern revolver techniques, etc. It’s new, but there is already some good content on there, and it’s worth checking out.

  4. Great review-I’m yealous, but it’s still a long drive ( 1,700+ miles ) from Georgia. Classes that allow students to progress without judgmental comparisonisms are generally the most enjoyable. Shoot houses are great tools for adding stress of unknown targets in unexpected locations (kinda like on the street?) and honing the ability to eliminate, or at least reduce, blind spots along with perfecting rapid decision making skills (OODA loop anyone?).

    As for dirty gun syndrome; the smell of burnt powder and lead: Back shortly after the earth cooled, and our agency had transitioned from black to smokeless powder cartridge revolvers (don’t laugh, my first patrol car did not have air conditioning), I took to keeping a brass bristle ‘tooth’ brush and old t-shirt on me during training and qualifications. The academy used cast lead wadcutter ammo, and it would constipate a revolver rather quickly if you didn’t get it out of the way. Between strings, a quick swipe around the forcing cone, cylinder window, yoke and a wipe under the ratchet was good enough to keep things going. Back in barracks, the deco gear came out for a good equipment scrub down for the next day.

    Ideally, as was pointed out, using FMJ ammo is ideal, but not always available. Alternatively, reload with copper plated or the newer polymer coated bullets. Long ago Berry’s copper plated bullets found their way into my reloading inventory over straight cast lead. Now the polymer coated ones are my mainstay. They both do a great job at reducing fouling and make cleaning easier.

    1. It was probably nice when you didn’t have to carry that 1847 Walker on duty any longer, huh? 😁

      A brass toothbrush is what I used to rescue that Taurus—gotta keep one of those around, when shooting the rotators!

      I think those polymer coated bullets are neat. Less fouling, probably better velocities, less airborne lead. What’s not to like?

    2. I likewise attended the roundup for the third time ( the advantage of living under an hour from gunsite) and it gets better each time. I definitely enjoyed and gained great value from Darryl’s pocket carry class, and throughly enjoy hanging with. Like minded people.
      FYI gunsite hosts a nice scholarship charity match for he Stephanie Calams foundation in June. I elected to attend with a revolver this year, and did pretty well considering most of the competitors choose optic sighted autos to run. ( the match tends to conduct pretty revolver/auto neutral stages.

      Regarding gun cleaning/ maintenance- I rarely shoot anything but cast lead bullets in revolvers and haven’t experienced any issues at all for decades now. It doesn’t in my experience take much to keep them running, my typical cleaning routine being if it takes mor3 than five minutes, you are wasting time.
      I used 3 different guns through the weekend a 2” model 34 in .22 rimfire, a 442 and old combat masterpiece.

      1. Thanks Daniel, sorry I missed you there! I suspect your cast bullets are a little harder than the factory wadcutters and RNL? You’re right—it doesn’t take much care to keep them running, but if you don’t clean at all . . .

  5. I was there, Mike…my 5th one. Sorry I missed out on meeting you. Will be back in 2024, though. Great AAR, BTW.

    1. Yes! I hope we’ll connect at the next one, Mike. Make sure to stop me if you see me. Thanks for the kind words on the AAR, and be safe!

  6. Mike,
    Thanks for reviewing the PRMRR. I was registered to attend, but life happened and I had to cancel. The good news is that my registration and deposit have been transferred to 2024, so I am already signed up. I hope to be able to meet you there. Please wear the bright orange RG t-shirt!

    Having attended last year’s Revolver Roundup, I’m familiar with the Gunsite layout and many of the classes and Instructors you mentioned. It is everything you described!

    As a new shooter of 5 years, I was so excited and nervous to attend last year’s Roundup. At the end of all three days as I was driving back to my lodging, I was as giddy as can be! To me, the Roundup was like Disneyland. Seriously! Everyone was shooting revolvers. In my now 6 years of firearms classes, it was the very first revolver only classes I had ever taken. Everyone had to stop and reload after 5-6 shots. And the Instructors knew this. Wow.

    First time clearing a building with Lew Gosnell at my shoulder (blue gun). OMG! How exciting. I stuck around to do the live fire clearing of a different building, Lew once again at my shoulder but not as close. I wasn’t Speedy Gonzales, but I remembered Lee’s corrections and directions from the Fun House blue gun course. Live fire clearing you have to stop and reload as you go. End result of my first live fire clearing a building: I made my shots to each bad guy, didn’t shoot the guy drinking a soda, didn’t shoot any good guys, and my coup de gras with my last shot was the bad guy with a hostage.

    Lee had taught me in the Fun House that with a hostage you only get ONE shot, as opposed to three I took. Hey, I didn’t know. So there I was, bad guy with a hostage. I checked/reloaded my cylinder. Still behind cover. I slowly and carefully inched around the corner just enough to see, my grip was solid. I get one shot. I aimed for the head shot, pressed the trigger to the wall, and then took the shot. Left inside eye next to the nose. Bingo!

    Holy sh*t! I got every bad guy I was supposed to get. I just got off of Space Mountain!! I walked out of the building on air. I wanted to jump up and down and scream, ‘I did it! I did it!’ I restrained my self and walked very slowly and quietly back to where the other students were waiting their turn. I got into my car and just sat there. Cloud Nine. Yeah, I know if it was a timed event, I may have placed last. But I learned, and then I executed.

    Y’all should seriously consider registering for the 2024 Revolver Roundup.

    Mike, I am going to be there next year. I expect to see you in the orange RG t-shirt.


  7. Thanks, Mike.

    My wife and I love the Prescott area and revolvers. We will make the training part of a post-retirement trip to the West.

    She is the better shot, btw, in aimed fire with our GP100.

    1. There’s been some discussion about adding a class to focus on single action revolvers, but all of 2023’s activities were built around double action revolvers.

  8. I’m glad you enjoyed the event. It was certainly one of the most enjoyable conferences I’ve been too. As you wrote, there is a sense of camaraderie at the Round Up that is fairly rare. And where else do you get to see so many cool guns and cool carry rigs? Usually it’s the latest soulless wonder nine. I am not ashamed to say I coveted many of the guns!

    I think next year will be even better. Within a couple of hours of everyone leaving on Monday, all the instructors were throwing ideas around for how to make sure the 2024 edition tops all the prior ones.

    1. I enjoyed your two classes very much, Cecil! I think you’ll get a more suitable range to use, next year, which will allow you to execute your training plan and actually have us shooting from the Two. I look forward to learning more from you next year. Thanks for all you did to make it a success.

      1. Thank you. Yes, not having a suitable range and not knowing it until the start of class messed things up! Sunday’s blocks were smoother and flowed the way I wanted. I’m already sent to bring my own stands next year so no matter what, everyone is going to to shoot about 30 rounds from the #2, and about 40 rounds from the #3.

        I’m looking forward to training with you again next year.

  9. It was a pleasure to make your acquaintance Monday afternoon, Mike. Between the Roundup, Snub Noir, The Tactical Professor, and RevolverGuy my return to the world of wheelguns has been a rewarding journey. See you next year! Michaelb

    1. Likewise, Michael! I’m glad we got the opportunity! Welcome back to the revolver landscape. I’m glad we could be an enjoyable part of your reintroduction.

  10. I attended for the first time this year (newbie to both RR and Gunsite). It’s certainly worth doing at least once, even if you (like I) had to fly across the country for it. Sorry I didn’t connect the dots on who you were specifically Mike. As follow up to a long-ago comment here, I took my new SW M66-8 2.75″ and it ran perfectly the whole long weekend without cleaning, running FMJs. The revolver issues I saw appeared to be down to ammo selection, with non-consistent power level and/or soft lead reloads being a prime culprit. If one were to buy decent quality FMJs and then sight your wheel gun in at 10 yards, I’d think you’d be ready for the experience. That, and some light base layer long underwear…it gets cold out there in the morning and evening. Having to fly out with limited gear, I could almost write a how-to on essential equipment because I was missing some. Choose wisely.

    1. It’s definitely tough when you have to fly, Bill. No room for extras! Thanks for the update on your M66–I’m glad it ran so well for you. Looking forward to connecting if you come next year! In the meantime, I’m glad to see you in the comments.

  11. Thanks for writing such a detailed debrief, it has me itching to go to next years. Friends weddings come first (especially as a groomsman) but I’m hoping for a clear schedule for next year!

  12. Finally catching up on my reading. Sounds you had a great time Mike. It also sounds like there were quite a few RG readers there with you.
    It seem like there is a shooting school on every corner these days but there is only one Gunsite.
    Thank you for the great descriptive article.

  13. Well. First half paid. Mike, how much ammunition should I bring? I need to start stocking up now I think. More importantly, I might just print up some RG tees in orange…

    1. Awesome! Looking forward to shaking your hand!

      Ammo depends on which classes you sign up for, but I think I shot less than 150 rounds. Even if you had a busy weekend, I think 250 would be plenty.

      How about you other guys who went? Think 250 is good?

      Orange Tees—please, no! I was joking! We’ve been ducking the notion of merchandise (stickers, tees) for years for lots of reasons, mostly because we don’t want to run a business right now.

      Now that I’ve been once and know the lay of the land, I’ll figure out a way to get all us RevolverGuys together in one spot at the next one.

  14. Hey Mike,
    I’m glad you were able to go this year and thank you for the review. It sounds like the event is gaining momentum and that’s a beautiful thing! I really hope to attend next year. It’s very cool that you can be at a training where everybody “gets it” when it comes to revolvers and they are not the exception, but the rule. Because they rule!!! Sorry, I got fired up there. Being at Gunsite is just the icing on the revolving cupcake. I had the good fortune of attending a 556 Carbine class there in the mid nineties with my old job. That course did more to shape my agencies rifle program than anything I had experienced to that point. I look forward to walking that hallowed ground again. Rah!

  15. In 1984, while a New Agent at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA, we were issued the S&W 13-3 3″ revolver. The training ammunition was Remington 148 grain Match Wadcutter. On a typical 4-hour range block, we would fire 150-350 rounds. While the guns were cleaned after each range session, we were never instructed to wipe the guns down during the range sessions, including qualification. In my class of 40, I never once saw a revolver go down from firing residue. And my entire class qualified (the old 60-round, 60-yard start RQC).

    Issue service ammunition was Federal or Winchester 158 grain SWCHP +P. This was fired in combat courses, typically 50-150 rounds per session. Again, never saw a revolver go down due to firing residue, and the guns were not wiped down during the training session.

    After graduating and assigned to a field office, qualification was quarterly, consisting of generally 150-250 rounds fired, 80% 148 grain wadcutter and 20% 158 grain SWCHP +P. With generally 20-40 shooters on the line, I never saw a revolver go down due to firing residue, and once again, guns were not wiped down during the training session. Of course, they were cleaned immediately afterwards.

    A few years later, I became a firearms instructor for the FBI, and was so for the remaining 28 years of my career. For a 18 of those years, I assigned Principal Firearms Instructor and Rangemaster. Trained hundreds of agents with revolvers. While we transitioned to pistols during 1991-1995, revolvers still hung around for another 15 years with some diehards. During that entire time, never saw a revolver go down due to firing residue. And we never wiped guns down during the firing session.

    Maybe some other federal agency did the wipe down thing, but I never saw it done in the FBI. Also never saw a revolver go down due to firing residue, and we exclusively used soft swaged lead bullet factory-loaded ammunition. Only breakage or malfunctions I ever saw were the occasional hammer nose breaking off, or an ejector locator pin falling out.

    My only observation concerning revolver stoppages from firing residue would be a grossly inadequate cleaning and maintenance, non-factory modifications, or poorly chosen handloaded ammunition.

    1. Thank you Sir, for the excellent information! A friend who worked for another three-letter advised it was the standard protocol for their folks in the 80s, but apparently that was not the case across the board.

      I suspect the Bureau’s attention to proper cleaning and maintenance, including periodic armorer inspections, kept the problem at bay.

  16. I had a great time. Like others have said, even if you didn’t fire a shot, it is still a great experience. I spent all day in the seminars in the classroom on Monday and they were excellent. Ran my Model 66 F Comp with no issues. Winning an LCR in the raffle was a bonus…

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