Question for you Cowboy Action Shooters

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    Tennessee Jed
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    Question for you Cowboy Action Shooters

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:29 pm

    For you cowboy action shooters, how important is it to have your handguns in the same caliber? Similarly, how important is it to have your rifle in the same caliber as your revolvers?

    I certainly understand the convenience factor of having them all in the same caliber. However, is it such an important item that one should put off shooting until one has them all in the same caliber?

    Starting to get a little burned out on IDPA, and am thinking about checking out a local SASS group. Thanks for your help.
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Question for you Cowboy Action Shooters

    Post by Cornmastah on Tue Jun 10, 2014 4:16 pm

    Ahhh, sometime I need to join my local sass group too... Never enough time in a day.
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    Re: Question for you Cowboy Action Shooters

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Tue Jun 10, 2014 4:28 pm

    Yeah, it sure looks like fun, and on a philosophical level, it should be about perfect for me. Plus, it would finally be a place where I can wear my cowboy hats without looking like a tourist. I will go visit the nearest club soon, but am curious about appropriate entry-level guns. I'm sure everyone there will have strong opinions.

    I see that all the time in IDPA. Everyone tells the newbies to get a Glock 17 or S&W M&P9, but if I had done that when I started, I would have been bored to tears in a month.

    I will definitely start with Ruger Blackhawks and a Stoeger Coach Gun. The only real question will be if the second Blackhawk will be in 45 Colt to match my current Blackhawk, or if I get a 44 Special Blackhawk (because I've always wanted a 44 Special Blackhawk).

    And then the rifle...holy frijoles!...talk about a lot of choices and a lot of money. I'm leaning towards a simple Rossi 92 to start and see how it goes.

    Thing is, I want that 44 Special Blackhawk and Rossi 92 regardless of whether I jump into the game or not. That's where I'm leaning, but if caliber similarities are a big asset, then I could be just fine with another 45 Colt Blackhawk and a 45 Colt Rossi.

    But I won't buy anything until I visit the club.
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Question for you Cowboy Action Shooters

    Post by Cornmastah on Tue Jun 10, 2014 5:43 pm

    Those little Rossi 92's are very underrated guns. There are a few things to look out for though, when you are buying a Rossi. Need to check out both the front and rear sights (make sure they are installed correctly and centered--I have seen many which are not). Make sure the action is somewhat smooth. Check the stocks and wood to make sure there are no undesirable gaps between the metal and wood. Most of the problems I have encountered with the Rossi 92's are fixable cosmetic issues. I have two stainless Rossi 92's in 45 colt and .357, but am tempted by another used, blued 45 colt 16" bbl I saw at the gun shop for $330. I had a marlin in .357, but it had to be sent back due to some functional issues. When I got it back, the action was really rough and didn't feed a lot of ammo correctly. I gave up on it and sold it. Under $800, I think the Rossi's are the only way to go.
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    Tennessee Jed
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    Re: Question for you Cowboy Action Shooters

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Tue Jun 10, 2014 7:13 pm

    Do you have a preference as between the 45 Colt and the 357?
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    Re: Question for you Cowboy Action Shooters

    Post by Cornmastah on Tue Jun 10, 2014 7:52 pm

    My preference goes to the .45 colt due to the size of both the barrel and the bullet. I like the shorty 16" barrel because it is so maneuverable and fast on target. I like the .45 colt bullet because it is big and can swing steel (dueling trees) easily even with light loads. I don't think I can use it for SASS though, because it only holds 9 rounds--I think you need 10 for SASS?. I bought the .357 for the purpose of someday using it for SASS, and it matches my stainless vaqueros quite well. I think I have an 18" barrel on my .357. I have always enjoyed shooting .45 colt whether in revolver or lever. You can load em stout like a .44 mag, or light, and with my current loads the brass lasts forever.
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    Charlie Foxtrot
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    Re: Question for you Cowboy Action Shooters

    Post by Charlie Foxtrot on Tue Jun 10, 2014 9:42 pm

    One of our ol' hands was asked what someone needed to start in SASS.

    "Pants."

    The pards will loan you just about everything else. It's the Cowboy Way.  

    I've seen the damnedest mismatch of cowboy arms on the range.  The shooter was safely having fun - and that's what counts. Most Cowfolk shoot a single caliber, just because of the easier logistics. However ideally, both pistols should be the same for consistent feel. Also, SASS shooters usually end up reloading with a progressive; and a single caliber makes things soooooo much easier.  

    The wifey and I shoot 38 Specials with a 125 gn FPTC lead boollet in front of Trailboss smokeless. Barely period correct, but definitely acceptable in the relaxed world of Cowboy Action Shooting. Roughly about half of the Cowboys shoot 38s; they make a lot of sense for recoil and economy.  .45LC will earn you plenty of style points, and it makes the next largest percentage of shooters. The rest shoot a dogs breakfast of .32s, .357s, .44s, 38-40s, .44-40s, .32-20s, black powder, Russians, Schofields, etc., etc.... Your .44 Specials are fine, as long as you shoot lead and keep the fps down so you don't frag the posse and bend the targets.  

    To be competitive, you'll need ten in the leaver. A gun plumber can often shorten the magazine spring and follower to allow that tenth round.    

    Get yer donkey to the local SASS club, ASAP. Best things you can bring are ears, eyes and a smile.  

    And pants.
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    Devereaux
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    Re: Question for you Cowboy Action Shooters

    Post by Devereaux on Wed Jun 11, 2014 12:54 pm

    I love that CF has so much knowledge - and a much better sense of humour than I. What he says is completely accurate.

    Think about shooting a match. Usually there are 5 stages, and each stage shoots 10 pistol and 10 rifle rounds, and usually 4-6 rounds of shotgun. There are from time to time stages that are pure shotgun, so you shoot more shotgun. That makes for about 100-120 rounds of cartridge and 30-50 rounds of shotgun. Per match.

    With that in mind, the logistics of carrying the variety of ammo that you consider is a bit more "daunting". One calibre is simply easier. BUT then some guys, especially in .38 Spl, shoot a different load for pistol and rifle. I have never for the life of me understood that. The targets aren't that hard to hit that you need a super accurate rifle. Or pistol for that matter.

    The other issue is the weight. Some people cast their own bullets, so shooting .38 Spl is a lot less weight use for the same number of bullets. And note that you HAVE to shoot only lead bullets. No jackets, no even copper plating (something I have not been able to understand either, as it would decrease the splatter from particularly the pistol targets.

    I have had CAS described as IPSC for old guys. The "competitive" guys run from section to section. The old guys (like me) walk. No sense getting too worked up in all this.

    Note that there is NO REQUIREMENT for 2 pistols, nor that they be the same calibre. You COULD shoot just one pistol, and I have always sort of wanted to shoot that. But if you shoot a classic SAA, reloading is slow. So a Schofield would be kind of the way to go. And you wouldn't be "competitive". But who cares! CAS is mostly because it's fun!
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    Re: Question for you Cowboy Action Shooters

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Wed Jun 11, 2014 1:46 pm

    Very interesting. Thank you gentlemen.

    I understand the 38 Special as a choice much better now. It makes a lot of sense with this info. One other quick question, how do CAS matches typically handle empty cases that hit the ground? Do they divvy them out amongst the shooters after the match? Do the shooters pick them up themselves afterwards?

    The reason I ask is, 45 Colt cases are tough to find, and don't even think about finding 44 Specials. However, it's not too hard to locate 38 Special cases if a lot get left behind at a match. So, if it's difficult to get your cases back after a match, going with 38 Special makes even more sense.
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    Re: Question for you Cowboy Action Shooters

    Post by Devereaux on Wed Jun 11, 2014 2:08 pm

    Generally around here where I shoot, after you shoot, you go to the table to unload and show clear. Since you are shooting a SAA, the cases in the pistols are still there. The rifle brass is usually policed up by other posse members and given back to you at the table. I generally have a bag (like the one Scotch once came in - cloth with draw strings) where I put my brass. You never get it ALL back, but you get most. One other situation where nickel helps as they are easier to see.
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Question for you Cowboy Action Shooters

    Post by Cornmastah on Wed Jun 11, 2014 2:48 pm

    Losing .45 colt brass makes me cry, losing .38 spl brass--not as much. Another good reason to compete with .38's.
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    Re: Question for you Cowboy Action Shooters

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Wed Jun 11, 2014 2:56 pm

    Oh yeah, in these dark, grim days of the Obama Ammo and Components Drought, losing 45 Colt or 44 Special brass would cause me a LOT of consternation. Looking more and more like 38 Special is really the way to go, at least for the rifle.

    Man, you guys sure do have a lot of wisdom and guidance. At the rate this is going, I'll likely have a 45 Colt Blackhawk, a 44 Special Blackhawk, a 38/357 rifle, and a 12 gauge Coach Gun. A "dog's breakfast" as CF put it, but I'm just the mongrel to do something like that. And if I fall in love with the sport, maybe start working towards 38/357 revolvers later.
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    Charlie Foxtrot
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    Re: Question for you Cowboy Action Shooters

    Post by Charlie Foxtrot on Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:09 pm

    Cornmastah wrote:Losing .45 colt brass makes me cry, losing .38 spl brass--not as much.  Another good reason to compete with .38's.

    One of our guys shoots .44-40 out of an original Winchester 1873. I had to give him one piece that had been flattened by the mule-footed TO.

    I hate it when Cowboys cry.
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    Charlie Foxtrot
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    Re: Question for you Cowboy Action Shooters

    Post by Charlie Foxtrot on Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:26 pm

    Tennessee Jed wrote:And if I fall in love with the sport, maybe start working towards 38/357 revolvers later.

    Very wise.

    SASS Wire Classifieds is a great place to find deals. Most of my clothing is used (looks more authentic), bought through the forum for a great price. They also will offer firearms, but of course, you must observe all laws.
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    Tennessee Jed
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    Re: Question for you Cowboy Action Shooters

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Thu Jun 12, 2014 1:51 pm

    Thanks CF and Dev.

    What are your thoughts about holsters? Would you get them new or used? Seems to me that used would likely mean worn-out, and a risky proposition, and that one would be better off starting with new holsters.

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    Re: Question for you Cowboy Action Shooters

    Post by Charlie Foxtrot on Thu Jun 12, 2014 4:09 pm

    Tennessee Jed wrote:What are your thoughts about holsters?  Would you get them new or used?  Seems to me that used would likely mean worn-out, and a risky proposition, and that one would be better off starting with new holsters.

    I started with a local custom holster maker. They've served me well and I still like them.  However -- I recently got my first Big-Boy holsters for SASS Wild Bunch (CAS with 1911s, kinda.) Wow - just Wow http://www.evilroy.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=13_14&products_id=143. The Mernickle holster system is an order of magnitude better than my customs. They look, fit, and function great, and significantly improve my game. They also cost like the devil.  

    If I was going to advise you -- and I'd never, never do that Wink -- I'd recommend going with the high end holsters from Mernickle, Kirkpatrick, Ted Blocker etc. on the buy once, cry once theory. Evil Roy has had very good deals on his Mernickle designs. I'm also hearing good things about Reddog holsters on eBay. You can sometimes find used holsters on the SASS Wire Classifieds: my wife did. She got an incredibly beautiful custom Mernickle rig for a great price. Ask about their age and the condition of the holster throat. The sellers should provide detail pictures of the rig.


    Last edited by Charlie Foxtrot on Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:19 am; edited 2 times in total
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Question for you Cowboy Action Shooters

    Post by Cornmastah on Thu Jun 12, 2014 4:38 pm

    Charlie Foxtrot wrote:
    ...They also cost like the devil.  
    .

    Oh geez... I never should have clicked on that link or looked at that site. Those are some nice looking rigs. One more way to drain the pennies...
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    Tennessee Jed
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    Re: Question for you Cowboy Action Shooters

    Post by Tennessee Jed on Wed Jun 18, 2014 11:32 am

    Man, that's for certain.

    Also, I have this "problem" with cowboy hats. I can't get enough. And some of those CAS hats that are historically correct are way too cool not to buy, but for the monster price tag.

    I can see where this is going. My compadres are spending money on AR's and associated doo-dads, and I'll be spending money on 19th century clothing and arms.

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