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The six-shot revolver is synonymous with American history, the old west was settled by Americans armed with rifles and a revolver on their hip, countless movies extolled the virtues of the handgun and the skills of the gun fighters of old. But the days of the venerable six-shooter appear to be over, surpassed by the eight-shot revolver in the realm of practical pistol shooting.

The 2015 Revolver Nationals was the second that recognized the 8-shot Minor revolver and the squad roster told the tale, of the 102 people that competed only thirteen were still shooting the 6-shot Major revolver. I asked match winner David Olhasso for his thoughts;
“To be very honest, I was initially completely against the idea of 8 shot minor guns.”, David said. “However, once the decision was made by the USPSA board and I was able to use my ICORE 8-shot gun in USPSA, I quickly determined that it made shooting USPSA much more fun.  One outcome that I did predict is that once the eight shot guns were allowed the six shot guns would become useless. So yes, the 8-shot gun has killed off the old six-shooters.”

Ladies Champion, Annette Aysen shared the same opinion;

“When USPSA announced allowing the 8 shot minor, I was excited as everyone else. Once giving it a lot of thought unless all matches would be set up as 6 shot friendly, the major caliber 45 would not survive. I believe in encouraging shooters to compete with the equipment they have, keeping expenses down. The numbers here for this match is what I had feared.”, said Annette.
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Annette found herself with some significant competition at this match, Randi Rogers and Joanna Lenczewska joined Aysen and Mara Wanderer. Julie Golob was unable to make the match due to an injury and Jessie Duff had hoped to compete with her Taurus Revolver but it was not yet match ready. The Taurus in question has porting and it requires some gun-smithing to remove that part of the barrel so it is legal for this division, if all goes well next year could see a significant battle between the top ladies.

Both Randi and Joanna were faster than Annette but with that Minor scoring, accuracy is critical, both Randi and Joanne suffered from five misses apiece and too many punishing ‘D’ zone hits. Annette on the other hand was far more accurate, avoiding the ‘D’ zone completely and only a single miss led her to a clear victory.

“Normally I am not squadded with the competition so I try to shoot my own game. As the match progressed, I was well aware that they both had faster times. I prefer the A zone hits, so that is what I have to do. In all honesty I knew I had lost the match to one of them. Now that the minor caliber is in play, the points have a whole new meaning. Had one Miss for the match, plus A’s, kept me on a steady match.”
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Aysen shoots a S&W 627 8-shot Performance Center with custom Big Butt Hogue grip, a CR Speed holster and a Speed-E-Rack which is her husband Elliot's product.

Twenty-four points separated Annette Aysen from second place finisher Randi Rogers, Joanna Lenczewska finished third just eight points behind, clearly it was a much closer race than the ladies Single Stack match, and 2016 may be even tighter.
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In the Men’s Super Squad, Rob Leatham was hoping to repeat his victory from the preceding year, but standing in his way was an impressive line-up. Josh Lentz, Dave Olhasso, Michael Poggie and Nils Jonasson, though Nils would struggle throughout the day due to some swollen fingers from the Single Stack match.

There were only a few changes to the stages, most of them alterations on the start position and location, it was soon apparent that the stages designers had tried to balance the challenge between the six and eight shot revolvers, this was confirmed with the number of expended moon-clips that still contained two live rounds, but with so few shooting Major it seemed a wasted effort.

Many of the revolver shooters had competed in the Single Stack Nationals and I asked David if this helped or hindered preparation for the Revolver contest;
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“Shooting essentially the same match in single stack does make the stage breakdown with revolver a bit easier. I don't necessarily think that shooting the single stack match helps or hurts my performance in the revolver match though. I do know that the conditions I shot the Single stack match under on Friday made the mild weather on Sunday for the revolver match that much sweeter.” - David Olhasso.

The Super Squad began their match on Stage one, and like the Single Stack the first win went to the younger competitor as Michael Poggie took the lead here and the next stage before faltering on Stages 3 and 4. After that the stage winners were spread over an additional seven competitors. It seemed that no-one was running away with the match, instead it was a slow and steady separation as Leatham, Olhasso, Josh Lentz and Michael Poggie began to pull away from the pack.
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Rich Wolfe took his only stage win on the standards which consisted of three targets that turned for eight seconds, the outer two targets adorned with diagonal hard-cover. There were three strings, the first of which at 35 yards required 2 shots per target, reload and a second 2 shots per target, few competitors were able to get off all twelve shots in the allotted time. The next two strings were both at 15 yards and required two shots per target first strong-hand then weak-hand, eight seconds was enough time to get twelve solid hits as long as the competitor was patient and used all the available time.

Wolfe would suffer through a re-shoot on the all-steel stage that followed, the competitor started on bed with the loaded gun on a downrange shelf. Rich zipped through the stage with a time that was several seconds faster than anyone else on the squad, it was suspected that the timer did not pick up his last few shots. Rich accepted this and took a reshoot, but his second run went horribly for him as he finished nearly eleven seconds back from stage winner David Olhasso.
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As they entered the final stage of the match, it was David Olhasso who was leading but like Nils he almost lost it, dropping over sixteen points on Stage winner Josh Lentz, but his lead was enough that he was able to weather that slow run and still emerge with his first Nationals title. Over the course of the match Rob Leatham had almost the same time as Olhasso, but David’s accuracy won it for him. As it was with Annette Aysen the match went to the most accurate, Minor calibre revolvers may be easier to shoot fast but the price is paid in lost points if the competitor strays too far from the center of the target;

“When practicing this spring, I made a conscious effort to focus much more on accuracy and to shoot only at the speed at which I could be sure my shots were accurate.”, David said. “Except for some horrible trigger freeze on stage 4 on which I missed a head shot and an unnecessary extra shot on the last stage of the match, I was able to follow my game plan. In fact, the only D's for my match were on the standards stage.”

Dave shot a S&W 627 Performance Center with a 6.5" barrel from a model 27, Titanium cylinder, Hogue Wood Grips, Hogue cylinder release, Bowen Classic rear sight and an Apex tactical hammer in a Blade-Tech holster.