Do Revolvers Jam?

The notion that revolvers don’t jam is a common misconception that pervades gun culture.

This is based on the perception that because a revolver is mechanically operated and driven, it can tolerate more neglect than a rifle or alternative semi-automatic weapon.

Do Revolvers Jam

Revolvers are viewed as simplistic in comparison. However, the issue with saying that they do not jam is that it is untrue.

A pistol ‘jam’ is typically associated with a blockage that occurs in two ways. The first of these occurs when the gun has failed to complete its usual cycle due to a primer strike.

The solution to these jams is to fire the trigger again, which feeds into the fallacy that a revolver doesn’t jam. 

The most common issue that causes revolvers to jam is unburned gunpowder.

This can be tricky to resolve, as a mere flake of this powder that has become jammed under the extractor can render your revolver unable to shoot.

The resolution to this is to take a fine brush like a toothbrush and brush under the extractor. 

Another issue that can occur is that parts can break down or lose screws.

Therefore, revolvers may not jam as frequently as semi-automatic weapons, but they are far more likely to be rendered with irreparable damage when broken.

This is why it is important to clean your revolver consistently, as the idea that they are indestructible is a lie.

They may be more tolerant in regard to neglect, but they will be nearly impossible to fix when neglected for a long period of time. 

Therefore, the key difference between semi-automatic pistols and revolvers is that the vast majority of jams in semi-automatic weapons can be resolved without too much hassle.

Issues That Can Occur With A Revolver

There are a variety of issues that can affect a revolver’s ability to fire. These include the following: 

1. The bullets in the non-firing chamber can dislodge from their shell casing, which inherently causes them to come into contact with the forcing cone and lock the cylinder.

To clean this type of jam, you will need a hard instrument like a hammer or mallet so that you can hit the bullet back into place. This isn’t an easy task to carry out during a moment of heightened intensity like a self-defence scenario. 

2. An incorrectly crimped bullet can also cause issues. These can occur when shooting a load of higher velocity with a lighter revolver. You should try to closely and thoroughly inspect your ammunition in order to reveal any flaws in the crimp that can inadvertently impact your firearm.

The manual that came alongside your revolver will also warn you about the specific types of ammunition that you should avoid using in a lightweight weapon. 

3. Smith & Wesson revolvers contain ejector rods that can sometimes become dislodged and unscrewed, inherently jamming the weapon’s cylinder. Therefore, it is important to ascertain the looseness of these ejector rods prior to discharging your weapon. 

4. The ejector rod can also become distorted and inherently impact the cylinder’s ability to close. This usually occurs whenever a firearm has been dropped or if the revolver has been neglected or mishandled when closing the cylinder.

5. A moon clip that has become distorted can also prevent the cylinder from moving correctly. This moon clip may also stop you from opening up the cylinder itself in order to remove the clip.

These clips should be malleable in order to place the rounds into the clip, however, this also means that they can become easily damaged and lose alignment.

6. The teeth contained on the cylinder star can inherently cause the cylinder to inappropriately rotate and wear itself down over time. A worn cylinder can cause issues regarding its rotatory function.

Therefore, you should ensure that you are carefully inspecting these parts, hiring an expert like a gunsmith. 

Do Revolvers Jam (1)


To conclude, the idea that revolvers don’t jam is a myth.

This myth stems from the fact that these weapons are mechanically operated and thus, are easier to neglect than their semi-automatic counterparts.

In spite of this common misconception, it is imperative that you are cleaning your weapon regularly in order to avoid the build-up of unburnt powder and other issues that may cause your revolver to become irreparably damaged. 

Revolvers are great weapons for self-defense and recreational activities, and they should be maintained with the same vigilance as a semi-automatic pistol.

Many people ruin their weapon entirely by neglecting it over a long period of time, and it is therefore harder to discharge in their moment of crisis.

You should also ensure that you are choosing the appropriate ammunition for a lightweight revolver, as choosing ammunition like incorrectly crimped bullets can destroy your weapon entirely.

You should also be careful when loading your weapon, as the clips can become easily damaged due to their malleability. 

Whilst it is important to firmly place your bullets in the correct place, you should also exercise caution about using too much force that can easily damage the inside of your weapon.

If you are unsure about anything that has been outlined in this article, then you should consult with a weapons expert prior to purchasing or attempting to fix a pre-existing revolver.

However, one thing to be certain of, is the fact that a revolver can jam just as easily as a semi-automatic rifle, and you shouldn’t purchase a revolver on the basis that it is easier to fire or with the assumption that it doesn’t require as much maintenance as another weapon. 

Matthew Osborn

Matt is an entrepreneur who has created and successfully exited multiple companies and brands. Now, he dedicates his time to Legionary, where he produces content on guns, family, and freedom.

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