Even after noting the advantages in triggering past empty charge holes rather that manually orienting the cylinder there is one method of unconsciously indexing loose rounds that is worth noting. This auto-indexing can be done in poor light and does not require you to take your eyes off the target. Refer back to the auto-pistol style reloading directions for right hand reloading up to the point that the tip of the right hand’s index finger is through the window of the frame and in contact with the cylinder:
1. Start with the snub in your right hand
2. Move your right thumb to the rear of the hammer spur.
3. Take your right hand’s index finger comes off the trigger and is repositioned flush and below the cylinder.
4. Move your left hand’s index finger flush and below the cylinder on the left side of the frame. Your left hand index finger should be in a mirror position to your right hand’s index finger.
5. Use your left hand’s thumb to make contact with the cylinder release.
6. Use your left hand’s thumb to operate the cylinder release. Press forward with Smith and Wesson, etc., push in with Ruger, Retract with Colt.
7. Use your right hand’s index finger to press up on and roll the cylinder up and out to the left of the window of the frame. Be sure to keep your left hand index finger extended and use it as a bumper as the cylinder comes out of the frame. Once the cylinder is out of the frame, make sure that the tip of your right hand’s index finger remains in constant contact with the cylinder. Keeping the tip of your finger through the window of the frame and in constant contact with the cylinder is the key to this skill.
8. Lower the snub. Make sure that the butt of the snub makes contact with your belt line and that the muzzle is pointed straight down. Note that if you move your right hand’s thumb from behind the hammer spur and onto the knuckle of the frame of the revolver, the muzzle will be more inclined to a consistent muzzle down orientation.
9. Use your left hand and load in a single round. Note that the charge hole most commonly loaded when you are not consciously trying to load a round into any particular charge hole will be at the 10 o’clock position. This is natural because within the common range of arm motion loading either in the 12 o’clock or 9 o’clock position is awkward A few practice runs and you will confirm this for yourself.
You are now looking to get the cylinder to rotate so that the round in the 10 o’clock position outside the frame ends up at the 1 o’clock position back in the frame. This is in fact going to be easy to do. Without removing your index finger’s contact with the cylinder rolls the cylinder up and over the finger until the cylinder physically forces your finger out of the way and out of the frame. Remember do not actively remove your index finger. Make sure that the cylinder rolls up and over the finger then forces the finger out of the frame. If you have done the exercise correctly the cylinder will roll the round into place at the 1 o’clock position. If you are shooting any counter-clockwise rotating revolver: Smith, Taurus, Ruger, Rossi, etc., then you now pull the trigger the snub will rotate the cylinder counter-clockwise and will deliver the live round under the falling hammer.
After many years of sharing this tip I have noted the less you consciously think about loading the single round in the correct charge-hole and if you deliberately roll the cylinder over the finger the sooner you will discover that the round will consistently end up at the correct index position.
Remember the ability to consciously index the cylinder so that the first pull of the trigger puts a live rounds under the hammer is useful but a much more important skill is training to pull the trigger as many times as you need until that live rounds ends up under the hammer.
This is a skill development exercise only. Though there is a version of this exercise for left hand reloading and for Colt revolvers (with their clock wise cylinder rotation) this exercise is best practiced with a snub in the right hand and with any make of revolver expect Colt.