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Plainsman Rifle eligibility


Harvey Mushman

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I've been moving slowly towards the Dark Side and will shoot a couple matches under the Dark influence in January and I am greatly looking forward to them!

 

I've also become interested in the Plainsman side-category. I have found a ~1899-1900 Winchester Low Wall in great shape, originally chambered in 25-20, but re-bored for some obscure reason to 357.

 

The SASS rulebook for Plainsman states: "Must use a SASS–legal single-shot rifle firing a traditional blackpowder rifle or revolver caliber cartridge (e.g., not a .30-30)".

 

I read this to say that the 357 would NOT be legal as it was not an original black powder rifle or revolver cartridge (but otherwise SASS legal in both rifle/pistol). Normally I'd stay with that, but this rifle is in great shape for a great price (great price obviously due to the chambering - if it still was a 25-20 it would be close to tripple the price!!).

 

Thus, my question: is the 357 legal (loaded with BP or sub), or not for Plainsman rifle?

 

Thanks in advance for your wisdom, shared! :D

 

Harvey

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Howdy Harvey,

For the purposes of "by the book" technical legality, the rifle should safely chamber & fire either .38 Long Colt or .38 Special...both of which are "traditional blackpowder" revolver cartridges.

(although I doubt anyone would challenge the .357 cartridge as having any competitive advantage)

Although it was introduced thirteen years into the smokeless powder era, the .38 Special was originally loaded with black powder, but was offered with smokeless loads within a year of its introduction.(1899)
Wikipedia reference source - 2005 "American Handgunner" article by Clint Smith
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Thanks very much Pale Wolf - you are up late in your rounds of the "Wahr" tonight! :D

 

I'm a little bit of a purist, and now you've made my decision harder (or maybe easier, as I think more about it). The rifle IS a really neat original/historical piece, I just wish it had not been re-bored. Then again, I probably could not afford it had it been kept in the original 25-20 Cal.

 

I'll sleep on it tonight, keeping in mind that a man cannot have too many old firearms (that can still be fired).......and that it looks like I could reasonably use it in Plainsman with 38 Colt or Special.

 

Thanks again,

Harvey

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Thanks very much Pale Wolf - you are up late in your rounds of the "Wahr" tonight! :D

You're most welcome! Just happened to drop by to see what was cookin' (or burnin') this evening.

 

I'm a little bit of a purist, and now you've made my decision harder. The rifle IS a really neat original/historical piece, I just wish it had not be re-bored. Then again, I probably could not afford it had it been kept in the original 25-20 Cal.

Definitely worth some serious style points!

 

I'll sleep on it tonight, keeping in mind that a man cannot have too many old firearms (that can still be fired).......

So true! One of my customers dropped off an original 1875 Remington for repair & appraisal (needed a bolt/trigger spring)...he 'encouraged' me to try it out at a monthly match...just got to get .44-40 dies to load up some ammo! :ph34r:

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I'm certainly no expert and a relative newbie to the Plainsman events but most shooters I see use guns that fire 45-70 cartridges. One of the most popular is the Handi rifle with an ejector even though it seems to be a point of contention with many.

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That looks to me like a 35/25 long. Should be legal.

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Most folks run 45-70 because the cartridges are easier to handle and load on the clock. They can be down loaded to reduce recoil and be easier on the closer targets.

 

Two Dot

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Contentious how? The original top break action with automatic ejector has been around since the late 1800's and certainly fits the historically correct billing. The Handi Rifles made today are nowhere near as pretty as the originals woodwise (most I've seen probably came off the same tree they used to make railroad ties) but u-gly is certainly not a disqualifier!

 

Auto ejectors are allowed. 'Nuff said on that.

 

45-70 is a very common caliber although I know quite a few that use 38-55 or even a pistol caliber rifle. Most of us that shoot a 45-70 download them quite a bit; 250-350gr bullets under a reduced charge so we don't hammer the target plates to confetti!

 

I'm certainly no expert and a relative newbie to the Plainsman events but most shooters I see use guns that fire 45-70 cartridges. One of the most popular is the Handi rifle with an ejector even though it seems to be a point of contention with many.
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I seem to recall one of our local shooters had a handi rifle in 357Maxx, loaded with BP he called it a 38-25 kind of like we call the 38Spec the 38-20. That low wall in 357 with a biglube Snakebite bullet would be a real corker, shoot it and have a ball. I'd love to find one of the NEF rifles they made in 45LC which would also be a joy.

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why not a front stuffer, can't get any plainsier than that.

 

Howdy Cpt,

Have you ever shot a Plainsman sidematch? (or read the rules in the SHB?)...it is a TIMED event...using a muzzle loading rifle would severely handicap a shooter (besides not being allowed in first place) :FlagAm:

 

SIDE MATCHES

THE PLAINSMAN

This event requires two .36 caliber or larger Frontiersman Category style percussion revolvers, shot Duelist style.

• Must use a SASS–legal single-shot rifle firing a traditional blackpowder rifle or revolver caliber cartridge (e.g., not a .30-30). The rifle may have spring actuated ejectors if they are standard for that rifle.

• Must use a side by side, with or without exposed hammers or lever action shotgun.

• Must use blackpowder in all loads (rifle, revolver, and shotgun).

SHB p.17
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Pale Wolf - Thanks for the quick response.

No, yes and yes it would take longer.

The reason for the first no is lack of a suitable fire arm

 

Was thinking of getting a buffalo classic, but that is not legal without blowing about 1/2 the cost of the rifle on different sights.

May wait until I have saved up for a sharps, but that would not run with an ejector equipped handi rifle.

 

Perhaps a ML sub category would work. If every one in the sub cat shot one there would be no disadvantage.

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Thanks for the tip.

 

The research I have done all talked about putting on the $200 or so smith sight that is unavailable, but when I called the guy in Tempe that makes em was told he could fix me up. The other alternatives were to put a Tang Sight on the tang either with modifications to the tang or using bushings. Again a costly option that one could screw up.

 

So it is as simple as replacing the Peep with a V insert - cool

Would the stock sight and new insert allow enough elevation to shoot to 300 yds?

 

Being basically cheap do not want a plainsman rifle and separate rifle for long range for now.

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I have no idea who actually composed the Plainsman rules... but I have long maintained the rifle eligibility requirements to be the cleverest, most inclusive bit of rule making ever!

 

By specifying that the rifle must FIRE an appropriate cartridge (rather than being chambered for it) the way was opened for owners of all the handi rifles in 44 mag and 357 (and obviously other rifles too based on this thread) to join in... SHOOTING the shorter (legal) rounds...

 

Bravo! well done!

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Since this thread mentions Plainsman. Am I the only one that's noticed fewer Plainsman shooters at bigger matches, last one I shot there were only two of us. It used to be alot of fun with the hawk throwing, bows and arrows, knife throwing, etc. Then it was just about shooting. Now seems like many of the former Plainsman are shooting WB. Perhaps its dying.

 

 

LL'

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Since this thread mentions Plainsman. Am I the only one that's noticed fewer Plainsman shooters at bigger matches, last one I shot there were only two of us. It used to be alot of fun with the hawk throwing, bows and arrows, knife throwing, etc. Then it was just about shooting. Now seems like many of the former Plainsman are shooting WB. Perhaps its dying.

LL'

 

Howdy LL,

I guess that depends on where you're shooting. The 2010 Oregon State match had 32 Plainsman sidematch entries.

:unsure:

PWB

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OK Harvey, You got ur answer.

NNow get into the store and buy that thing before i do!

WR

 

Dammit Red, You got it right, but!..... Unfortunately, when I came in this afternoon to purchase it, Shannon informed me that a C&R holder had been in 2 hours prior, buying it and leaving with it, and leaving me high and dry!!!! Well, Ya snooze and ya lose!!!!!! :unsure:

 

Fortunately I already have an original 45-70 single shot 73 Trapdoor (made in 1889) for Plainsman, but I was really looking for justification (an "excuse" - to my better half) to buy an original, historic Low Wall to add to my collection. I am very slowly working to have one of each of the original, historic single shots "of the day". Missed this one, even tho it had been re-chambered. For some reason I really like the Low and High Walls.....don't have either yet.

 

I hear you were off having fun in Sin City???

 

Cheers,

Harvey

 

PS, That 1894 Marlin 25-20 original was still in the shop today - just to tempt you if you win in LV!

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It seems there has always been a difference of opinion as to what is andwhat should be allowed in the plainsman event.This is what we at the Pine Mt Posse of Bend Oregon have done to try to include everyone interested. We have three categories.

 

Open, exactly as the SASS rule book reads.

 

Traditional , Double barrel shotgun with exposed hammers only, Pistols , no Ruger Old Army, Rifle , no handi rifles

 

Sod Buster May use any SASS legal shotgun . any 6 shot cap and ball pistol, any Sass legal main match rifle (must single

load). You may shoot this category only one year.

 

Ladies Same Categories, same rules with the exception pistols may be shot TWO HANDED.

 

We hope this includes everyone interested in the Plainsman Event and offends no one.

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Great. Let's breaak a weak category into several sub-categories so that 3 people can shoot in each instead of 12-15 in one. Sounds like a plan. :D

 

Plainsman is suffering in a lot of places. At the upcoming Winter Range if you shoot Wild Bunch, a 2 day, 12 stage match, then you have a choice of shooting a warm up match or Plainsman. (Since the warm up match was full when I entered, I might be "able" to shoot Plainsman.) Even so you will already have shot 6 stages before shooting Plainsman. At other matches you can shoot Wild Bunch or Plainsman, not both.

 

But, let's assume nothing conflicts. In my humble opinion about 30-40% of Plainsman Match Directors don't "get it." Sometimes I'll get to a match with 200 yard targets (no, express sights won't work for a .45-70 at 200 yards. Most Plainsman rifles have express or close range sights. It's not meant to be a long range match. Long range sights get in the way most of the time.) At one match the entire field rebelled and refused to shoot unless the targets were moved into visible range. The official who showed up refused, for "safety reasons" to move the targets inside 50 yards. Yeah, our 25 gr. BP/250 gr, bullet .45/70 loads were sure dangerous at 20 yard targets. My question as to where he had shot Plainsman matches was answered by a blank stare. At another match the first stage rifle targets were all at ±200 yards. The match director was shooting it. He switched barrels on his Handi-rifle to one with long range sights that he had zeroed on those targets the day before. He was the only one to hit the 200 yard targets. Then he switched to the short, express-sighted barrel for the other stages. (He still didn't win.) Plainsman match directors should be active Plainsman competitors, but they probably shouldn't shoot their own match.

 

At the risk of getting flamed (not the first time), :wub: I'll paraphrase what one of the founders of the Plainsman match told me. It's not meant to be a long range match. It's not meant to be a tomahawk throw. It's an ACTION SHOOTING match. Think normal SASS stage shot with single shot rifles and percussion pistols. :unsure: Put the rifle targets into the 15-30 yard range. If the shooters need to raise a ladder sight or use a tang long range sight, you've missed the point. If each stage includes 10 rifle targets at 50 yards, as one Winter Range did, you've missed the point. If your rifle targets are clay birds (on stands) at 50 yards, ;) you've missed the point. If you just take a few regular stages and tweak them a little, you've got it. It'll be easier for you, as few if any targets need to be moved or set up, and a larger number of shooters will enter and enjoy it.

 

And as for contentiousness, ALL of the weapons are a source of contention. Some object to Handi-Rifles with ejectors, which dominate the category. Some object to Ruger Old Armies. Some want hammer doubles and no '87s. Suffice it to say that any removal of eligible weapons will further weaken an already weak category. These same people swear that they're only out for fun, and the people using those weapons are gamers. If you don't like Handi-Rifles and Ruger Old Armies, and you're not a gamer, meaning you don't care who wins, then shoot what you want and quit worrying what others are shooting.

 

Allie, you can shoot 2 handed in any Plainsman match I put on. ;)

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Contentious how? The original top break action with automatic ejector has been around since the late 1800's and certainly fits the historically correct billing. The Handi Rifles made today are nowhere near as pretty as the originals woodwise (most I've seen probably came off the same tree they used to make railroad ties) but u-gly is certainly not a disqualifier!

 

 

Contentious how? Contentious like this: I agree that that the handi rifle is ugly, but as the handy rifle is not a copy of any 19th century gun, to what "original" rifle do you refer (or compare)? In fact, friends and neighbors, the handy rifle is a shining example of what is wrong with SASS. Its a piece of purely modern equipment wrapped in pseudo history by people looking for a competitive edge. As such, It, and its ejector, should be banned from use in the plainsman class.

 

How is that for controversy? :D

 

As for the low wall, I am more of a rifle cal guy, but you could probably shoot it in plainsman without trouble, at least in local matches. You might get some complaints at a big match.

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Thanks for the tip.

 

The research I have done all talked about putting on the $200 or so smith sight that is unavailable, but when I called the guy in Tempe that makes em was told he could fix me up. The other alternatives were to put a Tang Sight on the tang either with modifications to the tang or using bushings. Again a costly option that one could screw up.

 

So it is as simple as replacing the Peep with a V insert - cool

Would the stock sight and new insert allow enough elevation to shoot to 300 yds?

 

Being basically cheap do not want a plainsman rifle and separate rifle for long range for now.

If'n ya look around you should be able to find a Buffington for a reasonable price... or the very similar Krag rear sight.

 

I had one of these century-plus old sights mounted on my Buff Classic, just forward of the chamber... and it provides TONS of windage and elevation adjustment - and looks downright cool, too! :unsure: And added a globe front sight. All affordable and quite accurate. :D

 

Lots of folks do it, but I just didn't care for screwing a "tang-less" sight to the stock.

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Great. Let's breaak a weak category into several sub-categories so that 3 people can shoot in each instead of 12-15 in one. Sounds like a plan. :D

 

Plainsman is suffering in a lot of places. At the upcoming Winter Range if you shoot Wild Bunch, a 2 day, 12 stage match, then you have a choice of shooting a warm up match or Plainsman. (Since the warm up match was full when I entered, I might be "able" to shoot Plainsman.) Even so you will already have shot 6 stages before shooting Plainsman. At other matches you can shoot Wild Bunch or Plainsman, not both.

 

But, let's assume nothing conflicts. In my humble opinion about 30-40% of Plainsman Match Directors don't "get it." Sometimes I'll get to a match with 200 yard targets (no, express sights won't work for a .45-70 at 200 yards. Most Plainsman rifles have express or close range sights. It's not meant to be a long range match. Long range sights get in the way most of the time.) At one match the entire field rebelled and refused to shoot unless the targets were moved into visible range. The official who showed up refused, for "safety reasons" to move the targets inside 50 yards. Yeah, our 25 gr. BP/250 gr, bullet .45/70 loads were sure dangerous at 20 yard targets. My question as to where he had shot Plainsman matches was answered by a blank stare. At another match the first stage rifle targets were all at ±200 yards. The match director was shooting it. He switched barrels on his Handi-rifle to one with long range sights that he had zeroed on those targets the day before. He was the only one to hit the 200 yard targets. Then he switched to the short, express-sighted barrel for the other stages. (He still didn't win.) Plainsman match directors should be active Plainsman competitors, but they probably shouldn't shoot their own match.

 

At the risk of getting flamed (not the first time), :wub: I'll paraphrase what one of the founders of the Plainsman match told me. It's not meant to be a long range match. It's not meant to be a tomahawk throw. It's an ACTION SHOOTING match. Think normal SASS stage shot with single shot rifles and percussion pistols. :unsure: Put the rifle targets into the 15-30 yard range. If the shooters need to raise a ladder sight or use a tang long range sight, you've missed the point. If each stage includes 10 rifle targets at 50 yards, as one Winter Range did, you've missed the point. If your rifle targets are clay birds (on stands) at 50 yards, ;) you've missed the point. If you just take a few regular stages and tweak them a little, you've got it. It'll be easier for you, as few if any targets need to be moved or set up, and a larger number of shooters will enter and enjoy it.

 

And as for contentiousness, ALL of the weapons are a source of contention. Some object to Handi-Rifles with ejectors, which dominate the category. Some object to Ruger Old Armies. Some want hammer doubles and no '87s. Suffice it to say that any removal of eligible weapons will further weaken an already weak category. These same people swear that they're only out for fun, and the people using those weapons are gamers. If you don't like Handi-Rifles and Ruger Old Armies, and you're not a gamer, meaning you don't care who wins, then shoot what you want and quit worrying what others are shooting.

 

Allie, you can shoot 2 handed in any Plainsman match I put on. ;)

 

 

You may well be right, however, I think this is the result of a lack of focus at the time plainsman was designed. When it came out, a lot of folks (including my self) were happy to have a stage where they could shoot their big single shots and cap and balls as main match guns. However, because SASS allowed the handi rifle and dinky calibers, it became quickly clear that this was not the case and a lot of people stopped shooting it. Over time, plainsman raced so quickly to the bottom that now the loads are so wimpy that, according to your own statements, people can't hit SASS size rifle targets at more than 25 yards (at one match I actually had a competitor tell me that his rifle would not shoot 50 yards!). Leaving aside what that says about the loads, its a real comment on the marksmanship of the average SASS shooter if more than 25 yards is "too hard to hit."

 

Anyway, if SASS had actually made plainsman a place to shoot cap and ball revolvers and big single shots, it would have had a stronger identity and attracted a strong cadre of shooters. As it is, its kind of a sad, schizophrenic class of little interest and less point. Too bad.

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Some of you are missing the point. By making several categories we should be able to include almost anyone. that would like to shoot black powder. There is a place for handi rifles and a place for the more traditional rifles and pistols. Most women have hands small enough that it makes it difficult to shoot cap and ball pistols. and that is why more women don't shoot plainsman event.

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You may well be right, however, I think this is the result of a lack of focus at the time plainsman was designed. When it came out, a lot of folks (including my self) were happy to have a stage where they could shoot their big single shots and cap and balls as main match guns. However, because SASS allowed the handi rifle and dinky calibers, it became quickly clear that this was not the case and a lot of people stopped shooting it. Over time, plainsman raced so quickly to the bottom that now the loads are so wimpy that, according to your own statements, people can't hit SASS size rifle targets at more than 25 yards (at one match I actually had a competitor tell me that his rifle would not shoot 50 yards!). Leaving aside what that says about the loads, its a real comment on the marksmanship of the average SASS shooter if more than 25 yards is "too hard to hit."

Anyway, if SASS had actually made plainsman a place to shoot cap and ball revolvers and big single shots, it would have had a stronger identity and attracted a strong cadre of shooters. As it is, its kind of a sad, schizophrenic class of little interest and less point. Too bad.

I believe that it's following would have been initially smaller... but would have been more loyal to the category. It's very "inclusiveness" allowed far too many folks to test the waters and decide it wasn't for them... therefore a surge, then rapid decline. Seldom have I seen where someone wouldn't have allowed an interested party to borrow their rifle.

Some of you are missing the point. By making several categories we should be able to include almost anyone. that would like to shoot black powder. There is a place for handi rifles and a place for the more traditional rifles and pistols. Most women have hands small enough that it makes it difficult to shoot cap and ball pistols. and that is why more women don't shoot plainsman event.

Not... if new categories are not in the offing from the membership, (as shown in recent voting at the TG Congress), then adding same to a side event would also likely be counter-productive.

 

Cap't Baylor is correct in that taking a small, diminishing side event and dividing it further would likely be the death-knell for the entire event. Like other Match Director's since... what is offered in the way of categories and side events is always predicated on anticipated participation.

 

One thing we all must face, is that "change" is what we WILL experience... nothing is static. Simply ADDING categories is not the answer... changing them to meet what our customers want is what will ensure our shooters' continued interest and future growth.

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Over time, plainsman raced so quickly to the bottom that now the loads are so wimpy that, according to your own statements, people can't hit SASS size rifle targets at more than 25 yards (at one match I actually had a competitor tell me that his rifle would not shoot 50 yards!). Leaving aside what that says about the loads, its a real comment on the marksmanship of the average SASS shooter if more than 25 yards is "too hard to hit."

Hmm, maybe my eyes are even worse than I thought. I can't find anywhere that I said that. It's not that people can't hit SASS size rifle targets at more than 25 yards, it's that 200 yard or small 50 yard targets are no fun in an action match.

 

On the other hand, most SASS shooters have voted with their wallets. It's a statistical fact that clubs that have matches with big, close targets and simple scenarios are growing, and those that have "cowboy long range action" matches and memory contests are shrinking. I'm sure there are exceptions, but I haven't found any. What's true for main matches is true for Plainsman. There is a small, but vocal contingent that wants long range targets. They are not enough to support a long range Plainsman category.

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So maybe Plainsman side matches have outlived their appeal. If Capt. Baylor is correct in his definition of Plainsman, what distinguishes it with Frontiersman main match category? Or the old Black Powder category of a decade or more ago? If Plainsman is to survive maybe it SHOULD be something different than just a shortened main match. It should be different, which might include rifle target distances greater than 15-30 yards. And not "cowboy long range" either. Frankly, I don't see any joy in shooting my Remington Rolling Block .45-70 at an 18 x 18 target 15 yards away. Nor do I see any joy in shooting same rifle IN A SPEED EVENT at a 200-yard target.

 

Steeldust Dan

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