Our Guide To Understanding Action Shooting Revolver Divisions

posted on February 17, 2022

Revolvers are not as popular in action shooting as they once were, but all competition organizations have divisions for them. There are still plenty of wheelgunners out there, and it’s not hard to take one revolver and shoot in different organizations.

Moon clip
Eight-shot moon clip-fed guns are allowed in all organizations, but some divisions will have restrictions on the number of rounds than can be loaded into them.

The International Confederation of Revolver Enthusiasts (ICORE) is a revolver-only organization. There are no gun weight or barrel length restrictions. The minimum caliber is .32 Mag., but regardless of the caliber, a Power Factor (PF) of 120 is required. Center-fire guns are divided into four divisions.

ICORE Open division has no maximum gun capacity, allows optical sights, compensators and ported barrels, and may be reloaded with any device. Limited division is Open division with iron sights, but with no comps or ported barrels. Limited Six is the same as Limited, but restricted to guns with only a six-round cylinder. Classic division is just that—a classic six-shot iron-sighted revolver that is not loaded with moon clips. In addition to these, Match Directors are allowed to incorporate .22 Long Rifle revolvers, but they must be scored separately.

As for the Steel Challenge Shooting Association (SCSA), it is a seamless fit for almost any ICORE revolver. SCSA center-fire revolvers require a minimum caliber of 9 mm or .38 Spl., but there is no PF. Up to eight-shot guns are allowed, as is moon clip reloading and there are no barrel length or weight restrictions. Two divisions exist: Optical Sighted Revolver (OSR) is a mirror image of ICORE Open. Iron Sighted Revolver (ISR) is a perfect match for ICORE Limited, or Limited Six or Classic, although six-shot revolvers are not as competitive as the eight-shot guns.

.357 Mag. revolver
A basic six-shot .357 Mag. revolver, fed by speedloaders, can find a home in all organizations by just changing the PF of the load, although the shorter-barreled gun would be required in IDPA.

In addition, .22 LR revolvers are welcome, eligible for SCSA classification and not scored separately. Iron-sighted revolvers shoot in Rimfire Pistol Iron (RFPI) division, while optically-sighted .22 LR revolvers compete in Rimfire Pistol Open (RFPO) division. There are no ammunition capacity, barrel length or gun weight restrictions.

USPSA has no maximum barrel length, gun weight or cylinder capacity restrictions. Optical sights, compensators and barrel ports are prohibited, but moon clips are authorized. Two divisions exist, and the minimum caliber is 9 mm or .38 Spl. for both. USPSA Minor requires a 125 PF and allows up to eight rounds to be fired before a mandatory reload is required. USPSA Major has a 165 PF, and while it allows seven- and eight-shot guns, only six rounds may be fired before a mandatory reload. Given that the majority of .38 Spl. revolvers used in competition are chambered for .357 Mag. and can easily launch a 158-grain bullet at 1,075 f.p.s. for a 169.8 PF, there’s no reason an ICORE Classic or Limited Six gun can’t shoot in Major, where it would be more competitive than in eight-shot Minor.

Revolver with optic
Optically-sighted revolvers are allowed in ICORE and SCSA, but not in other organizations.

Gun restrictions are much tighter in IDPA. The maximum barrel length allowed is 4.25 inches. And, while six-, seven- and eight-shot guns can compete, only six rounds may be loaded. Within those restrictions two divisions exist. Stock Revolver requires a rimmed cartridge with a minimum caliber of .38 Spl., a 105 PF, a maximum empty gun weight of 43 ounces and may not be loaded with moon clips. Enhanced Revolver requires .357 Mag. at a minimum, 155 PF, allows the use of moon clips and there’s a maximum 50-ounce gun weight.

The 4.25-inch barrel length will prevent many ICORE, SCSA and USPSA guns from competing in IDPA. But the IDPA guns can easily transition to those organizations. Both IDPA divisions are legal in SCSA and in USPSA, in both Minor and Major, depending upon the load used. Stock Revolver is a seamless fit into ICORE Classic division, while Enhanced Revolver fits easily into ICORE Limited Six.

It’s not hard to take one gun to multiple matches with nothing more than a change in the load.


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