NRA Bianchi Cup Production Division rules clarification

There has been some discussion of the Production Division rules for NRA’s Bianchi Cup at the Brian Enos Forums that I’ve been periphrially involved in.  A lot of it centers around the trigger pull weight, holsters, approved guns, etc.  I called Tom Hughes, NRA’s Action Pistol director yesterday to get some clarification on the rules.  So straight from the top, here is what we got from Tom.

The first question was “what do revolver shooters do about the trigger pull weight”?  There are a lot of factory wheelguns that have triggers in single action mode that break at less than the required 3.5 pounds.  My 627 Pro Series is right around 3, for example.  According to Tom, the accepted solution for right now is to have a gunsmith remove the single action notch from the hammer of your wheelgun, while leaving the hammer spur intact.  Production division excludes “visible external modifications”, so the internal change of removing the SA notch will allow your DA wheelgun to meet the requirements.  Tom admits that it’s an inelegant solution, but Production division is in it’s second year, so they are still working out the kinks in the rules while trying to avoid the pitfalls seen by other shooting sports.

The second question is “what about Performance Center guns” – i.e. are they eligible for Production Division?  The answer to this is “yes and no”.  Because the Performance Center guns are catalog items available to the wide public, some of them are eligible for Production Division; however because some of the PC guns are clearly designed as “competition only” guns, those would be ineligible.  The example Tom used was to look at the Performance Center 627 guns.  There are several models of 627 available in the Smith and Wesson Performance Center catalog.  This model is a vanilla 627.  It has a five inch barrel, standard iron sights, and no “competition only” touches.  This model would most likely be fine in Production Division.

Conversely, the 627-4 in .38 Super would not be eligible for Production division.  The big “no-go” on this gun are the “competition” touches; for example the weighted end cap that replaces the compensator, or the compensator itself.  Those items would land this gun in Metallic or Open division respectively.

Tom stressed to me that that the big thing to bear in mind when getting set up for Production division is that the division was designed to be a level playing field in terms of equipment.  The idea is to create a division where revolvers, Glocks, Berettas and Sigs can meet on level terms without the rules giving a specific advantage to any given shooter.

Looking down the road, NRA is committed to growing the Production Division.  There may be changes made in the future to make things more wheelgun friendly, but for now if you’re one of the few people shooting a revolver at this match, just understand that you’re going to need to get your gun worked on if the single action trigger is less than 3.5 pounds.

So here’s how your make your revolver eligible for Bianchi Cup’s Production Division in simple guideline format:

  • Check your trigger pull weight.  I suggest the RCBS Trigger pull scale, it’s about $35 from Cabelas and is accurate to within 0.25 lbs.
  • If your trigger is at or below 3.5 lbs, get in touch with a good gunsmith.
  • Remove the single action notch from the hammer (and have him do an action job while you’re at it to slick up the DA pull), but leave the hammer spur and all VISIBLE EXTERNAL PARTS intact.
  • Your gun is now ready to rock and roll in the Bianchi Cup Production Division.  Get yourself a good holster and some speedloader/moonclip holders and you’re off to the races!

Thanks to Tom Hughes at NRA for taking the time to talk to me and clarify these issues.  I’m a huge fan of Bianchi Cup – I shot it in Production Division for the first time last year and was immediately hooked.  There is something about a game where perfection is an achievable standard that really grabs me and makes me want to shoot it.


  1. I reiterate what I posted on benos, why do we need yet another set of equipment rules? The whole point of production divisions is that I can shoot a gun WITHOUT MODIFYING IT.

  2. Jeff, I agree to a certain extent, but I also better understand the “why” of it now. Revolver shooters are clearly a minority in the shooting community, and the intent behind Production division was to attract the much larger community of semi-auto Production guns.

    Tom mentioned that down the road they are looking at adding a sub-class to Production for “Production Revolver”, but right now us round-gun guys are living in a bottom feeding world.

  3. Why have a trigger pull rule in the first place? USPSA and IDPA do just fine without one.

    The ban of aftermarket adjustable sights is just moronic. That cuts out a ton of production guns from the other games.

    If the intent was solely to attract a large community of production shooters, simply say ‘bring any gun that’s legal for USPSA production’.

    This doesn’t really matter to me very much, since, a) my current production gun (stock M&P 9 pro) meets the rules, and b) there’s no NRA-AP activity in my area. I’d like to try it, but it’s not worth traveling to the Cup when there are so many IDPA/USPSA events to shoot.

    1. The trigger pull rule was intended to stay consisent with the other two divisions, Metallic and Open, both of which have trigger pull weights.

      Initially, NRA was told by manufacturers that their guns wouldn’t have triggers under 3.5lbs, even on revolvers. Obviously, the street is giving us contrary info.

  4. That might be another way to deal with the issue, and it could be pretty effectively enforced by RO’s since they should be watching the gun.

  5. Hell, the great majority of N frame 27s and 28s in the pinned & rececessed days featured a single action pull in the 2.5~3 lb. range.

    My ’28, having digested tens of thousands of rounds, has a clean, firm, creep-free pull of just at 2 lb. Breaks like a glass rod, and is not at all prone to unintentional firing. Um, that is as long as one remembers to not contact the trigger until the final sight alignment and half-breath.

    Still, I get better accuracy when shooting double action. And that’s without staging the action. But, the final bit of trigger movement after the staging point, even when pulling right through the staging, is a perfect 1/50th second to finalize that sight picture.

    I’d love to shoot this gun in production. I’d hate to defile it by chamfering the recessed charge holes.

    Oh, and I have three irreplaceable Safariland speedloaders for it. Anyone out there got some more of those for M-27/M-28 S&W’s???

    Sunk New Dawn
    Galveston, TX

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