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Captain Bill Burt

Double or "97 and what reloading technique is best

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Hi shooters,

 

This subject may have been discussed to death (and probably has been) but I'm a noob and looking to learn so I hope you won't mind.

 

What do ya'll prefer, a double, or a pump? All I've got is a 1897 Winchester, but I would like to hear what experienced folks think.

 

Also, if you do use a pump what reloading technique do ya'll prefer, feeding from the bottom, or from the side as I've seen in some videos?

 

Finally what load do most folks use #4 or what?

 

I look forward to your comments. Thanks

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Hi shooters,

 

This subject may have been discussed to death (and probably has been) but I'm a noob and looking to learn so I hope you won't mind.

 

What do ya'll prefer, a double, or a pump? All I've got is a 1897 Winchester, but I would like to hear what experienced folks think.

 

It really comes down to preference, and what you're better with. If you've got a 97 already, start with that, and maybe try some doubles to see how you like them. I prefer the double, because I've got a lot more practice with it and I can shoot it a bit faster. But the 97 is fun to shoot every once in a while.

 

Also, if you do use a pump what reloading technique do ya'll prefer, feeding from the bottom, or from the side as I've seen in some videos?

 

Check out the "members only" section from the SASS home page. There's some videos from Longhunter with the different techniques explained. Most people load one at a time into the port, either over the top with the left hand, or into the side with the right hand.

 

Finally what load do most folks use #4 or what?

 

Some clubs have restrictions on shot size, so best to stick with 7 1/2 or smaller. I use #8 shot cause that's what a local caster sells at a good price.

 

I look forward to your comments. Thanks

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Wow, thanks Dirty Chris, I don't know how I missed that section but it does have lots of good stuff. I appreciate the tip. I'm off to view some videos.

 

I would still like to hear thoughts from other members though. Thanks

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Welcome Capt,

 

I shoot a 97, double and an 87.

 

I'm faster with the 97; loading thru the port with my right hand, I find it easier to shoot than a double.

On the 97; I have seen some fast shooters load over the top with the left, there's less wasted motion using the right hand.

I have also seen some shooters doing a very fast double load on a 97, lots of practice.

 

The double and 87; I pull two with my left hand to load, there's no a whole lot that can go wrong with a double.

Then you have the hammered double, takes some practice to make sure you get the hammers cocked every time.

 

87 takes a lot more practice to get real good with.

 

Best thing you can do is get some snap caps; make sure all live ammo is in a different room, try the different methods for your self and find the one that suits you best.

If you practice enough; you will have the muscle memory to not need to take your eyes off the target to load.

 

I like to use #8 shot; at the distaces we shoot, you don't need big shot to get the job done, 7 1/2 -9 works best.

#4 shot at the close targets we shoot; if the target is damaged or at the wrong angle, you will get it back and it still has a lot of energy.

 

Hope this helps.

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Guest diablo slim shootist

Capt, i shoot both a SXS and a 97 -a 97 can be very fast with a lot of

practice .I load over the top pulling 2 at a time from my belt .Some of

the fastest 97 shooters pull 4 at a time .that said most of the time i shoot

my SXS . one thing about the double not much can go wrong when shooting

one .When things go south with a 97 they go down hill fast .It is hard to keep

a 97 running perfect so most shooters have at least 2 ,so they have a back up.

Expect to need to practice more with your shot gun than any other gun its where

the biggest learning curve is! Good luck and welcome to the game.Diablo ;)

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Thanks Coal Car Kid,

 

That actually helps quite a bit. I just bought some bulk .45 LC, but was a little worried about the 12g as I'm about tapped out and thought I might need #4 or above. But since I've had an 870 around for a while I do have a lot of #6 and #8 laying around that I can use for the 97. I guess if you're doing a left hand load you keep the right hand on the grip and if you're doing a right hand you keep the left on the forearm, in both cases keeping the weapon at your shoulder?

 

Is there much difference in the shell carriers that are out there? Also, since I don't have a carrier any suggestions on holding the shells? I hate to just keep them in my pocket, but I may not have much choice for a while.

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Thanks for the info Slim, I appreciate it as well. I'm a little surprised that the shotgun would be the one that would require the most practice (not disagreeing, just surprised). I would have thought it would be the revolvers. I guess in part it depends on what your prior experience is? I've never fired a single action revolver, so I expect I will have a steep and long learning curve. Shotguns and rifles on the other hand have been a part of my life for a while, although not lever action rifles. The reload on the shotgun will be an issue I'm sure as I haven't ever had to try to do that fast.

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Guest diablo slim shootist

"The reload on the shotgun will be an issue I'm sure as I haven't ever had to try to do that fast."

Yep-but thats the fun part

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Is there much difference in the shell carriers that are out there? Also, since I don't have a carrier any suggestions on holding the shells? I hate to just keep them in my pocket, but I may not have much choice for a while.

 

Welcome.

 

Triple K has some leather belt slides for shotshells... as do most of the other makers. Varying designs, all generally work OK. Or you look at a whole shotshell belt, worn in addition to your gunbelt; some of the canvas belts with leather shell holders might be in your price range.

 

-Chris

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Thanks for the welcome Chris.

 

The holsters and belt I have on order are Triple K, so it's good to know I could get something to match at some point. From looking at the pics of the belt I expect the slide won't have much room so I may have to do as you said and get a whole shotshell belt.

 

Any thoughts on Triple K? I know they are probably not the top of the line type stuff but are they pretty decent entry level leather products?

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When I started out 15 years ago I carried my shells in my two pockets of my Horsefly cowboy shootin' shirts. The secret to this is to have a folded up bandana in each pocket. Then you stand the shells up with the base up between the inside fabric of the shirt and the bandana. When you go to the line pull the shells up where you can snatch them easier. A wide pocket will hold 5 and a regular pocket 4 giving you 8 or 10 shells available which is usually sufficient. That said, any cheap-o shotgun belt will be superior. Best yet is the Tupelo Flash bandolier.

 

I shot a double for the first several years. Then I began "acquiring" 97s and now have over a dozen originals and Chinchesters. I cannot draw 4, but for me the best way to load a 97 is to draw 2 at a time and load over the top from the left. The problem with the 97 is they are hard to keep working, they break down a lot. Which is probably one reason most folks are going back to the tried and true double these days, me included. I save the trombone guns for Wild Bunch Action Shooting these days.

 

And the 87 is a whole nuther biscuit. I have a coupla IAC Chinese repros and like to shoot them on occasion. When I do my part and the stars align just right, I can run one ok but if you have a train wreck with the 87 well it ain't pretty.

 

Hi brass #4s are a side match load for post cuts only. Stick with 7 and 1/2s, 8s, and 9s.

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I guess I better get used to saying thanks. I appreciate it Lone Dog. I'm glad I got on this forum, what a resource! I would love to have a double for the simplicity, but for now the 97 is all I have and I wouldn't have it if not for my father giving it to me so I'll have to try and keep it running.

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I have both a 97 and a Parker SxS. Personally, I am faster with the 97, but I am sure I could get faster with the double with some practice.

 

As far as reloading goes, I have personally found that it is a little quicker for me to have my shotgun shells loose in a pouch rather than in a belt in loops. I can just grab them quicker. (On this one, your milage will vary!) For reloading, I am a left handed shooter, and have gotten very good at pulling back the slide and just tossing a shell into the open port with my right hand. I do see a few right handed shooters do this, but not as many as those who go "over the top" with the left hand. Based on what I have seen, with a few phenomenal excpetions, going over the top is slower than using the right hand.

 

I normally load 1 at a time via the open port, I find loading 1, closeing the action and then sticking one in the mag to be slower. It also makes me remarkably nervous when I see others do this. You've got a cocked and loaded gun, and are stuffing the mag. It's just gives me the willies when I see it, or when I have to actually DO it, becuase the of the occasional shotgun popper target.

 

That being said, last year, I took my brother to his first ever SASS shoot. He loves pump guns, and he did the one the chamber one in the magazine style. He had never fired a 97 before in his life, and he was remarkably good at it. It all comes down to practice.

 

As as aside, there is occasionally talk of allowing 97, and I assume 87, shooters to stoke the magazines *on the clock.* I would support this idea, but if it is ever adopted, which I doubt, I really think that the 97's should be staged with the action closed on an empty chamber, but that's just me. If stokeing is ever allowed, I would do it, cuz it's just more fun to wrack the slide.'

 

Shot size... I use 7-1/2 shot, 1-1/8 ounces over a charge of Red Dot that was developed by my father over many years of trap shooting. It works very well for me, and unless my AIM is poor, it never fails to knock down a target.

 

Good luck, and welcome.

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I've been shooting Cowboy for a year now. I tried the 97 and the double and eventually purchased a used 97 from another club member. I was going to point you to Longhunter's "reloading the 1897 shotgun" video on the "members only" page but someone beat me to it. He demonstrates the different methods. I've only seen one 97 shooter load a shell into the magazine except when we are using popup targets. Most shooters here tend to load over the top with the left hand. If your hands are big enough and you have the right type of belt you can pull four (or more) shells at once. I'm not able to do that yet so I pull 'em in pairs.

 

I use a shotgun belt that rides higher than my gunbelt. There are different styles so I would try some out before I bought one. Just to get by I purchased a used Hunter brand shotshell belt on eBay. It looks OK but the shells sit too deeply in the loops. I plan to modify it so that I can get the shells out more quickly. I've noticed that the belts made with elastic fabric loops seem to be pretty fast. Some shotshell belts have pockets that hold pairs of shells. If I had a double I would probably go that route.

 

Most shooters have some experience with a shotgun but the way Cowboys shoot them (targets on the ground, gun staged empty and loaded on the clock) takes some extra practice. I think the shotgun part of the game is the area where I have the most room for improvement.

 

Have fun!

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For carrying shells; I have one of the canvas belts, I cut pieces of 3/4" dowel rods and upholster tacked them into the bottom to keep the shells riding high in the belt to make for an easier grab.

The upholster tacks were the fancy headed kind; making it both functional and cool looking at the same time.

If anybody does this modification to their shotgun belt; don't make the dowel rod pieces too long, you'll constantly have shells falling out. ;)

 

The belt gives you a lot of flexability; you can put two shells and leave a space between every group of 2 for a double,

you can just load it up with no spaces for a 97. Maybe not load it up completly, my belt holds 28.

 

The belt comes in real handy at my club; as the match director of a club that has only 4 bays, I set up an all shotgun stage in our trap area, that stage has seen 14 round courses of fire before. For stages over 10 rounds, I provide a place to stage shells.

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On some days I was faster with the 97 (pulling 4) but I'm much more consistent with a double.....especially over 10 stages. My personal opinion is the “best of the best” are faster with a 97 but very few can shoot them like that not fumble rounds AND not have some gun issues in a entire match. But when you get up against one that can you have you work cut out for you with that SXS. ON the other hand the SXS just works and offers you simplicity of the loading and reliability but IMO you do lose a little time with it comparing your best runs with each. Over a whole match I personally will do better with a double no doubt.

 

I like to load with the weak hand and handle the gun with the strong hand but it would be good to know how to load several ways……same with the 97 if you really want to milk your stage times. But the reality is your talking minimal time when compared to the total stage time. Since you have the 97 just go with it because as a “noob” you will have plenty of time to fine tune later but right now your time could be better spent learning the rest of the game…..there is probably a lot of easy time there for you to pick up.

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Lots of technique stuff on my web site at http://www.jspublications.net. Note, there is nothing for sale there.

 

As far as belts go, my current favorite is a leather belt with canvas loops made by Bob Mernicle. It ain't exactly cheap, but it is an absolutely outstanding belt.

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One of the best- 12 Mile Reb- loading over the top. He had a couple of runs smoother than this one, but this one was clean.

VIDEO LINK 12 MILE REB

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For carrying shells; I have one of the canvas belts, I cut pieces of 3/4" dowel rods and upholster tacked them into the bottom to keep the shells riding high in the belt to make for an easier grab.

The upholster tacks were the fancy headed kind; making it both functional and cool looking at the same time.

If anybody does this modification to their shotgun belt; don't make the dowel rod pieces too long, you'll constantly have shells falling out. :D

 

The belt gives you a lot of flexability; you can put two shells and leave a space between every group of 2 for a double,

you can just load it up with no spaces for a 97. Maybe not load it up completly, my belt holds 28.

 

The belt comes in real handy at my club; as the match director of a club that has only 4 bays, I set up an all shotgun stage in our trap area, that stage has seen 14 round courses of fire before. For stages over 10 rounds, I provide a place to stage shells.

 

That is a great idea Coal Car Kid, when I get a belt for the shells I may have to 'borrow' it. Thanks.

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Yeah Cowboy Junky I expect that with my level of experience there wil be lots of ways I'll be able to improve my times, but it seems like you're saying if you're really good (which I'm not) then the 97 gives you a slight edge and if you're not a double is the way to go. Have I got that right?

 

Hi Doc,

I haven't found much in CAS that is 'cheap' guess that goes with the territory. Thanks for the links, those and the Members Only videos have given me a lot to think about. I plan to practice as much as I can without actually firing the weapons (45 LC ain't cheap either) before I go to the range and start shooting. Kind of hard to wait, but I don't want to get to the range and start picking up bad habits. I would rather get the non firing part down a little better before I start shooting at $0.50+ per round. Thanks.

 

Thanks to you as well Brother King.

 

Now I'm off to take my two Vaqueros down and install my spring kits.

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I've got a old model Vaquero with a 5.5 inch barrel and a new model with a 4 5/8, I just put Wolff springs in both, not trigger springs (mayber later but for now the triggers seem light enough) just hammer springs, both 17 lbs. They are easier to cock now, but should I expect any problems with firing them? I'll be shooting Magtech 255 grain for now. Pretty standard from what I've seen. I was pleased that they swap out easily, and they are inexpensive so I can go back to the originals without much trouble if needed.

 

It will probably be a week or so before I can get to the range and actually fire them so I'm curious as to whether anyone has had any problems with that type of setup?

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Captain:

 

those 17# springs should serve you well and give you 100% ignition on your ammo.

 

As for the thought process of... 'if your really good, the 97 give you a slight edge'.....not exactly.

 

If your really good, your probably really good with a SxS, 97 and possibly the 87 as well.

 

And on a good day from some of the best (fastest), I would call it a toss-up.

 

 

I tried the SxS for my first couple years in SASS and just never could get it going for me. But then I tried the 97 and things picked up alittle. It seemed I could adapt to it alittle better.

 

Whatever you find that works well for you, practice. And practice ALOT.....ifn your wanting to be one of the best (fastest).

 

Good luck and safe travels.

 

 

..........Widder

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Thanks Widder,

 

I can see your point if someone is really good they're probably really good with a SS a 97 or an 87.

 

I'm glad to hear that I shouldn't have to worry about the new springs. I didn't think I would, but it's good to hear form experienced folks who've used them.

 

Now if I can just get to the range and get to shoot these bad boys......

 

Thank goodness Easyrider is willing to let me be his guest, some of the closer local ranges are pretty scary what with ADs, people pointing weapons in all directions except downrange and shooting semiautos held sideways. Of course they apologize later, but that doesn't do you much good when you've got a 9mm hole in your abdomen.

 

If I can shoot my first match clean I'll be happy no matter what the time is.

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Thanks Widder,

 

I can see your point if someone is really good they're probably really good with a SS a 97 or an 87.

 

I'm glad to hear that I shouldn't have to worry about the new springs. I didn't think I would, but it's good to hear form experienced folks who've used them.

 

Now if I can just get to the range and get to shoot these bad boys......

 

Thank goodness Easyrider is willing to let me be his guest, some of the closer local ranges are pretty scary what with ADs, people pointing weapons in all directions except downrange and shooting semiautos held sideways. Of course they apologize later, but that doesn't do you much good when you've got a 9mm hole in your abdomen.

 

If I can shoot my first match clean I'll be happy no matter what the time is.

 

 

If your shootin with EasyRider, I envy you.

 

Tell him Widder says 'Howdy'.

 

 

..........Widder

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Easyrider is a big part of what has impressed me about SASS. He's listed as the contact for the local SASS club: Doc Holiday's Immortals. When I contacted him about joining the club I didn't really know much about him other than he was the contact guy. He was very friendly and offered to help me with several things I haven't been able to acquire yet (gun cart, rifle and such). Now as I learn more about SASS and realize how successful he is in it I'm really impressed and greatful that he is so approachable by an everyday member like me. I can see why SASS is so popular, it's not just the shootin, it's the people. I'm hoping some of that skill will rub off.

 

When I get down to the Griffin Gun Club and get to practicing I'll pass along your howdy.

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Look at what your fellow shooters are using, they normally have the best equipment. Some people buy the cheapest thing they can find to get started, don't get in a hurry chances are you can borrow until you figure out what to buy.

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I was kind of thinking the same Nickel Bill. I'm a high school teacher, so I can't afford to buy cheap and then have to replace it with quality later, I need to be patient and make sure the stuff I get first will last.

 

I got the two Vaqueros which I feel pretty confident in, then my father set me up with the '97 Winchester which helped a lot. I ordered some Triple K stuff and some ammo, so now I plan to sit tight until I can get enough cash for a decent rifle, which is a whole other subject. Then of course the whole issue of reloading equipment, better boots, shotshell slides, memberships, an RV to take my clan to WR and EOT and on and on...whew I guess I better move back my planned retirement age a little.

 

I'm hoping to get a new Puma and get it slicked up a bit and then I'll have to stop for a while, at least if I want to stay married, lol.

 

That is actually my next question, for durabililty, competitiveness and price should I be looking at a Marlin, a Puma or what? And if it's a Puma, Brazilian or Italian?

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<snip>

 

That is actually my next question, for durabililty, competitiveness and price should I be looking at a Marlin, a Puma or what? And if it's a Puma, Brazilian or Italian?

 

Get the Marlin. It's much better suited to this game.

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Get the Marlin. It's much better suited to this game.

 

I had a feeling that would be the answer Doc. Of course 94 Marlins in 45 LC seem to be like hen's teeth (at least compared to Pumas) so I'll have to look hard and be patient.

 

I do think that all the information I'm getting is going to help alot in the long run, not only in terms of techniques, but getting the right stuff the first time around.

 

Thanks.

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There was a couple of Marlins on Craigslist in Atlanta. A .44mag and a .45 lc, if memory serves me correctly. I urge you NOT to buy any guns until you have shot a match and gotten a lot of feedback.

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Thanks for the tip Hal, do you mind if I ask why you make that suggestion? BTW, I added you as a friend since you're a member of DHI and I plan to join soon, I hope you don't mind?

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Don't mind at all. MANY folks jump in and buy a lot of stuff before they shoot, sometimes based on what they are familiar with or can afford or whatever. MANY folks think that they must have everything before they shoot a match. I'd rather see new folks show up with one pistol and a single shot shotgun than a bunch of guns that they paid full retail for at the salesmans suggestion. This is a VERY accommodating crowd. Myself and others would prob. let you shoot some different stuff to become familiar with different models , features and techniques. It can take a lot of money to get all of your guns and equipment, so I like to see folks buy wisely.

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A big reason to get to a shoot any try out different guns before you buy is because no one here on the wire can tell you what you'll like the best. We can give you an idea of what guns are good for this game and which are junk, but there's still choices to be made as to what feels best to you. You may run out and buy a Marlin, then later try someone's 73 and find you like it much better, or vice versa. You may prefer a longer barrel over a short carbine, etc. If you show up at a match and let people know you're trying to decide on a rifle, you'll get several handed to you to try out and you can get some hands on experience with them.

 

I'm one of those that got all their guns before I went to a match, and the only guns I'm still shooting of those are my Rugers. So I think ya done good there. Get the right rifle to start with and it'll save you money and frustration in the long run.

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As a relatively new shooter I would add my support to the suggestion that you attend some local matches before buying all of your hardware, leather, etc. I thought I wanted to buy an 1892 as my rifle. When I showed up at my first match, though, I noticed that several shooters were using '73s. I would not have chosen that model, after all, the '92 was the more advanced design, right. At my first match I was able to try a Henry, a Marlin, a '66, a '73 and a '92. There's nothing like trying the gun under actual match conditions to help you decide what works for you. I sure figured out why the '73 (reworked of course) is the choice of many of the top shooters. Keep in mind, too, that these choices are subjective. What I like and what you like may be different. Also, keep in mind that some SASS categories limit you to certain types of guns.

 

Another reason to attend matches before buying all your gear is that you might find that club members have (or know of) good used guns for sale.

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