Dan Wesson Revolver: What I have learned ( a little long)
So I've owned a Dan Wesson stainless snubby BB revolver for a few years, and have really enjoyed it. What I like most is the quality build, the realistic feel, and the honest heft of the gun. The DA trigger works pretty well for rapid fire, and if you're careful with your pull, it can even be used for target work. Short pull to advance the cylinder, pause then follow-thru squeeze to fire. SA works well too, but with a stiff authoritative trigger pull. I like the ease of loading the cartridges with BBs, just press them into a tin. I have shot Crosman, Daisy, and Avanti precision ground BBs, but have gotten best accuracy with Gamo lead round balls. The Avanti BBs mike between 4.40 and 4.41, while the Gamo roundballs mike between 4.50 and 4.51. There's probably a slight velocity penalty, but the increased accuracy is worth it. I doubt there is any delivered energy penalty. In fact, it might be a bonus on that metric. I don't actually know, because my little Combro chrony is a poor fit for this pistol.
When they came out with the rifled barrel pellet version, I got curious. I found a refurb at Pyramyd for a reasonable price, so I bought it, and put my BB version on the classifieds. Well, the pellet loading is EXTREMELY fussy. Each shell has an aluminum nose cone you unscrew and insert a pellet into, then screw it back onto the shell. I wasn't really up for hand reloading every six shots. Also, a couple of the nose cones were a little oversized, and wouldn't hold a pellet. The fact that they are rigid aluminum makes them extremely pellet fussy. Some pellets fall right thru, and some won't shoot at all, either staying in the cartridge, or worse, lodging in the barrel.
There was a brief time overlap before I had to ship out my BB version, so I tried the BB cartridges with lead balls in the rifled pistol. This is the PERFECT combination. Ease of loading, reliability, and increased accuracy. I immediately ordered some BB cartridges and Gamo rounds from Pyramyd. The pellet cartridges could be improved with a less rigid nose cone, but I don't see a clear solution to the tedious unscrewing, inserting and re-screwing the nose cones. With the BB cartridges, you just put a single layer of balls in a pellet tin lid, and press the cartridge down to seat the ball.
Based on my experience, I would say stick with the BB version for reliability reasons, or if you go with the rifled one, know that a) you will spend a lot of time finding pellets that work, AND a lot of time reloading cartridges, or b) you will need to buy BB cartridges and shoot round balls.
This may come across as a dis of these guns, but the fact is I really like them. I'm just sharing what I learned to get mine to shoot reliably. I'm really happy with what I have now: rifled barrel, a dozen easy-load BB cartridges, and a boatload of lead round balls. Tomorrow I will shoot a few into a bucket of water to recover them and look for rifling engagement, but early basement testing has shown better accuracy than the smooth bore. When I say accuracy, keep in mind I'm not the greatest handgun shooter, and its only a 2.5" barrel, so as they say, your mileage may vary.
interesting I have looked at these but the cartridge loading has put me off some and if they made a pellet version in 8 inch, the round ball idea would be a winner
but i'm a little heavy in 586 and 686 S&W's and even Gamo R-77's so my need is very low
but the 6 inch might be something to look at, would have never thought about using round ball
thanks for the info
So as promised, I took some shots into a bucket of water. 3 gallon bucket sitting on the floor, shooting straight down, from the waist. FUNNY result. All six shots actually bounced off the water! Not with a lot of energy, like a true ricochet, but still, it was kinda weird. They just kinda fell on the floor around the bucket. 6 shots and not a single round ball in the bottom of the bucket. I really wish I had one of those high-speed cameras to see how this happened. Something strange was going on at the surface of that bucket.
But anyway, I managed to find two of the fired lead round balls, and looking at them with my 10X loupe, they both showed six engraved rifling grooves, so the rifled barrel does what its supposed to do with .177 Gamo lead round balls shot from the BB cartridges.
New love! Repeated online chats with Pyramyd, and even an email exchange yielded no results. I was asking which rear-loading shells would work with my revolver, and they kept steering me to the screw-off nosecone shells, which you MUST avoid. I finally decided to call them, and they suggested trying the Blackopps pellet cartridges. So I bought 6. They fit and work perfectly. I can now try multiple pellets in my rifled snubby. Since they load from the rear, you don't even need to eject the shells to reload, just push the pellets into the back end of the shells. I am no longer limited to round balls in BB cartridges. They even work well with the overly long Skenco Poly Match lead-free pellets.