Major vs. Minor Scoring in USPSA Revolver Division

The promised post on Major/Minor scoring in the USPSA Revolver division is here!  I’ve talked in the past about how I think it would be cool if USPSA allowed revolvers shooting minor to have 7 or 8 rounds, making the 686+ and the 627 viable USPSA Competition options.  However, as that doesn’t look very likely for now, I did want to look at the possible advantages to  scoring minor in USPSA revolver division.

For those not familiar with the Major/Minor scoring, USPSA targets are divided in to 4 zones, each worth a certain number of points.  Guns scoring Major meet a power factor of 165 (bullet weight x velocity/1000) and guns scoring Minor are in between 125 and 165.  The four USPSA zones are A, B, C, and D, with the following point breakdowns.

  • A Zone: 5 points for Major and Minor
  • B & C: 4 points for Major, 3 points for Minor
  • D: 2 points for Major, 1 point for Minor

The reason the points are important is because USPSA score is calculated in what’s called a hit factor, which is really just points per second.  So for example, if you have a stage worth 120 points, and you shoot 118 points in 12 seconds, your hit factor would be  9.833.  The person with the highest hit factor “wins” the stage and thus wins all the stage points for that stage.  So if you have the highest hit factor on a stage worth 120 points, you are awarded 120 Stage Points.  Stage points are allocated to other shooters based on what percentage their hit factor is of yours.  Clear as mud, right?

Now, we get on to the Major/Minor scoring factor in revolver division.  Basically everyone in revo division shoots a 625, with a couple of outliers running 610s.  You will even occasionally see a 686 in .38 Super loaded up to Major, but those are rare.  What you very rarely see are guys running .38 Specials loaded to make minor power factor.  Now as a general rule, I don’t believe in trying to reinvent the wheel when it comes to established wisdom, but I’ve found that when shooting a 686 that makes Minor, my splits are faster and I have fewer points down (in IDPA) than I do when shooting my 625 in .45 ACP that makes Major.  Of course, that in and of itself isn’t a reason to switch over; and in fact if you can handle the recoil of the .45 ACP (or .40) in a revolver, then you should in fact probably shoot major and go for the extra points.

But shooting minor isn’t that bad.  Unlike Limited or Open Division, where it simply doesn’t make sense to shoot Minor, everyone in revo is going comparatively slow.  It’s extremely important to shoot good hits, because reloading for a make up shot is never going to be worth the time it takes to perform the reload.  With a Limited or Open gun, if your last shot on a stage is bad, you can fire 3 or 4 more without incurring too severe of a time penalty.  With a revolver, my last shot on a stage is quite often the last shot in my gun; I don’t have the luxury of reloading.

Which brings us to the concept of shooting minor.  Assuming all other factors such as draw and reload times are equal, could shooting with a revolver actually be an advantage?  You have to shoot your “A zone” hits as fast as the major PF guys, and your C hits must be done in 3/4ths the time of a shooter making major to not get behind on the curve.  Because revolver is so focused on shooting good points, this could be one division where you might see a “minor revolution”.

17 comments for “Major vs. Minor Scoring in USPSA Revolver Division

  1. Greg B
    September 23, 2010 at 07:31

    Important aspect you might have left out caleb,, the reason most folks run 45acp, in the revo rather than .40 is because it helps with the reload. Larger diameter bullet, means larger margin of error when throwing in your moon clips. I don’t think you will ever see a 38 special, running at the same speeds as a 45acp, simply because the reloads would be such a PITA. YMMV.

    • September 23, 2010 at 08:24

      Greg, I intentionally left that out of the discussion. Since I wanted to look only at the potential benefits of shooting minor, I had to remove “reloads” from the equation. However, .38 Short Colt in moonclips is just as fast as .45 ACP. In fact, really good match grade moonclips with the right brass will hold .38 Special so rigidly that it can be reloaded just as quickly.

  2. Jeff
    September 23, 2010 at 07:53

    The reason they don’t allow 8 shot minor revolvers is everyone would have to buy one to be competitive. Thanks to 1.2.1.2 and 1.2.1.3, going from 6 to 8 shots is HUGE, far larger than going from 8 to 10 in single stack.

    I don’t think going to minor without a capacity advantage is worth it, but I don’t shoot revolver.

  3. Homer
    September 23, 2010 at 09:23

    Caleb – I just moved to .38 Short Colt so I can use my 627 in ICORE. Might you be able to recommend brand and source for those “magic” moonclips that hold .38 Special brass so tightly?

  4. Greg B
    September 23, 2010 at 10:11

    Caleb, I don’t buy that 38 will ever be as fast as .45 ACP. Even with stiff solid moon clips you are still going to be at a disadvantage. Obviously the users ability is going to have more to do with the reload then your equipment. A well placed moon clip, whether 38 or .45 will go in equally quick, but margin for error with the .45 is much greater. It’d be like shooting lim-10 with a single stack gun (which I do ;-) ).
    I always appreciate your articles and you offer a ton of insight I don’t get from other sources, but on this topic we will have to agree to disagree.

  5. September 23, 2010 at 12:53

    I wish USPSA would just have a retro-revo division. I’ve said it before, but I keep coming back to this. I think IDPA really got it right with the whole SSR vs ESR division.

    It’d be so simple to score it all minor, no moonclips, .38′s, .44′s with speed loaders…

    • September 23, 2010 at 12:56

      I’d shoot that division. If they really wanted it to take off, they’d set the power factor at 100 so factory .38 Special could make it.

  6. Jeff
    September 23, 2010 at 13:00

    And you’d shoot it by yourself most likely. USPSA doesn’t need more divisions.

    Get the one revolver division over 5% of match attendance before thinking about another one.

  7. Jeff
    September 23, 2010 at 13:01

    I would support adding it as a category though.

  8. September 24, 2010 at 07:13

    And you’d shoot it by yourself most likely. USPSA doesn’t need more divisions.
    Get the one revolver division over 5% of match attendance before thinking about another one.

    You said this last time too…

    I can appreciate adding more complexity to an already semi-arcane division/classification system, but the reality is that USPSA losses revo shooters to IDPA and/or ICORE, which is why there are so few revo shooters in USPSA to begin with…

    In our USPSA club, we’ve got ~1 revo shooter. In our IDPA club we’ve got ~4-5 SSR and ESR shooters of 17 total. That’s almost 25%.

    In regards to 100 PF ammo:
    What are you, some kinda GAMER?
    :)

    (I actually think that is a good idea!)

  9. September 24, 2010 at 09:48

    Yeah, the power floor for SSR needs to be lowered – if you look at the PF of most factory .38 ammo, it’s usually hovering around 110-115; lowering the SSR power floor to 100 would allow people to actually compete with factory .38 Special ammo.

    Jeff, I actually think that USPSA’s problem with revo shooters is more of a cultural issue than anything. I am actually writing a post about it now.

  10. Jeff
    September 24, 2010 at 09:58

    Supposedly IDPA was investigating the PF of a bunch of factory 38 in order to set a sane power floor for SSR. This was supposedly going on along with the recent rules update. We’ll see if anything comes of it.

    I think the main part of USPSA’s problem with revo shooters is that shooting 32 round field courses with a 6 shot gun just isn’t that much fun unless you’re a masochist.

  11. September 24, 2010 at 10:00

    Jeff, that’s pretty much it, but it goes deeper than that.

  12. Mike
    September 26, 2010 at 13:18

    I’d say it’s largely that you can compete in SSR with a gun you already own. Few buy a moon clip revolver except for competion.

    I can show up to my first IDPA match with the ruger I use as my bedside gun, two speedloaders and a cheap holder for them and have a grand time.

    To even get started in USPSA with that same gun I’ll need 6 speedloaders and some ridiculous contraption to put them in. And I’ll be even more incredibly slower than everyone else.

    Essentially, to even play ( I understand that truly competing will always need special gear) requires so much junk, and tour score at the end will be so much more about how you handle that junk than how you shoot… It’s just not appealing, and I really like shooting revolver idpa.

  13. Richard
    September 27, 2010 at 11:05

    Maybe I’m crazy, but I shoot my old K-38 in USPSA with speed loaders (I can’t stand the idea of bastardizing that fine old revolver). I’m slow, but the youngsters seem fascinated with my shooting. Since I’m usually the only rev shooter at our local match, I compare my point totals with the other divisions. It is all about me doing better each time and having fun. I spent years as a cop shooting revolvers and I love it. For me 32 round stages are just another challenge. Being one of the older shooters and having a high point total is a kick.

    • September 27, 2010 at 11:06

      I know some guys that when they shoot revo they don’t really care about the time and just try to shoot the stage with as many points as possible. Which is actually pretty cool.

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