Review: Pachmayr Revolver Speedloaders

blue aluminum Pachmayr speed loader with bullets loaded profile

Revolvers remain an important part of the handgun market. The niche for revolvers is stronger than ever, given the recent introductions of new revolvers and accessories. Among the most interesting accessories are revolver speedloaders. Many regard speedloaders as a necessity for personal defense, as much so as keeping a spare magazine for the-self loading handgun. You should too! Speedloaders typically carry a gunload of cartridges—usually five, six, or seven cartridges depending on the model—and have a means of keeping the cartridges steady and releasing the cartridges into the revolver cylinder as part of the design.

blue aluminum Pachmayr speed loader with bullets loaded profile
The Pachmayr speed loader features machined flats.

Recently, Lyman Products introduced the Pachmayr Competition Aluminum Speedloader. The goal was to provide a fast loading durable and lightweight speedloader for competition use. It is built to provide competitors and wheelgun lovers with a fast-acting, durable reloading tool to get them back into action. The speedloader offers a convenient means of carrying a spare gun load or two on the person. They are indispensible for use in handgun competition.

Pachmayr’s aluminum Speedloader is set apart from the competition, because the speedloader is machined in a polygonal shape that makes for a relatively small footprint. The device is of aluminum construction and weights about two ounces unloaded. Tests have shown the body is durable when dropped, as it will be many times in training and competition.

Lyman claims the aluminum speedloader will stand up to use better than the common polymer-frame speedloader. It is probably right per my short-term testing. The device is attractive with a hard-anodized blue finish on the product. The knurled aluminum release knob provides enhanced texturing for a solid grip and confident operation.

The revolver speedloader is loaded by unlocking the speedloader with a twist of the knob. The cartridges are loaded in place and the speedloader locked on the cartridges. To release cartridges secured inside the loader, simply twist the knob and allow the rounds to fall into an open cylinder. There is an O-ring that helps secure the base of the cartridges and prevent rattling when the speedloader is worn.

holding the Pachmayr speedloader by the knurled knob
Do not hold the speed loader by the knurled knob when loading.

I obtained an example for the six-shot K frame Smith and Wesson .38 Special revolver. I used the Winchester 158-grain RNL loading, the classic .38 Special practice load, for evaluation. I used an ‘as-new’ 1970s Military and Police .38 with four-inch barrel and a well worn four-inch barrel Combat Masterpiece. The Combat Masterpiece is supplied with Pachmayr grips. I wished to be certain the new design cleared larger custom grips when attempting a speed load. It did.

I began speed loads by firing the revolver empty then transferring the handgun to the weak hand. I actuated the cylinder release as I did so. The weak hand fingers thread through the frame. The weak side thumb hits the cartridge ejector rod and the spent cases are released. Be certain the muzzle remains pointing upward at this time.

After the cartridges fly free. reorient the muzzle toward the ground. The speedloader is drawn with the strong hand, and the speedloader is moved to the revolver cylinder. As you do so, do not balance the speedloader by the knob but keep your fingers forward to the tip of the cartridges. Guide the cartridges into the cylinder in this fashion and load the cylinder.

Pachmayr speedloader being loaded into a revolver
The flat sides of the Pachmayr speed loader helped clear the oversize grips.

As the speedloader is pressed home, twist the knob of the speedloader to release the cartridges, give it a shake and allow the speedloader to fall free. Close the revolver cylinder, and you are good to go. This all takes less time to accomplish than it takes to read it. In time, you will become very fast—if you practice this maneuver often.

Using the Lyman speedloader in this manner, the revolver’s ammunition supply may be quickly replenished. I also evaluated the speedloader with Winchester Silvertip 125-grain +P ammunition. Bullets with an open tip sometimes hang on the edge of the revolver cylinder, and for this reason custom/competition grade revolvers often feature chamfered chamber mouths.

As long as the proper technique is used, keeping the fingers aligned along the nose of the bullet and leading them into the cylinders, speed and smoothness were excellent. The new Pachmayr speed loader is a great speed loader well worth its modest price (MSRP is $19.98) and an indispensable tool for revolver shooters.

Do you have a wheelgun tip to share? what do you think of Pachmayr’s new speedloader? Share your answers in the comment section.

About the Author:

Wilburn Roberts

When Wilburn Roberts was a young peace officer, he adopted his present pen name at the suggestion of his chief, as some of the brass was leery of what he might write. This was also adopted out of respect for families of both victims and criminals. The pen name is the same and the man remains an outspoken proponent of using enough gun for the job.

He has been on the hit list of a well-known hate group, traveled in a dozen countries and written on many subjects, including investigating hate crimes and adopting the patrol carbine. He graduated second in his class with a degree in Police Science. It took him 20 years to work himself from Lieutenant to Sergeant and he calls it as he sees it.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (2)

  1. I’m a novice at this, so bare with me on this.
    Is there a speed loader available for a 357 round and a 22 caliber round?

  2. I carry a S&W Model 36 5 shot j-frame. I am a retired police officer and have shot and carried revolvers my entire career. My go to speed loader is the S.L.Variant. I bought the pachmayrr speed loader because of its reduced size. The pachmayr fit close to my larger rubber grips on my Model 36. When I inserted the cartridges with the speed loader I could only get the tips of my fingers on the knurled knob and was unable to twist the knob to release the cartridges. I returned to pachmayrs for a refund. I think the 0 ring held the cartridges in too tight to easily twist the knob for release. Also on the 5 shot version the knurled knob is too small and fits too tight to the grips. Might work better on the standard Model 36 wooden grips.

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