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Celt

From a potential new SASS Member

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I'll start by saying I am not a SASS member, or even a cowboy action shooter. I'm one of those folk who is considering taking it up. I plan to attend the nearest local shoot at the end of this month to check it out. I don't own any SASS type guns - the closest would be a .357 Blackhawk, and a muzzle loader side by side shotgun. So I would be looking at investing in two single action pistols, a leather double rig, a lever action rifle, a shotgun, a gun cart, and all the smaller things that would be needed.

 

Right now, despite all the problems with ammunition and reloading component supply, is a great time for the shooting sports overall. Sporting Clays, IDPA and the other action pistol variants, 3-gun events, the interest in long range rifle shooting, etc. are all growing. It does however create a lot of competition for attracting time and dollars from gun enthusiasts. There are three places to shoot sporting clays and three places to shoot IDPA all within aproximately 30 minutes of me (I live near Wichita, Kansas). There is also one Cowboy Action group. I lay this out to give you an idea of my perspective.

 

I may indeed try cowboy action, it sure seems like it could be fun. The things I'll consider will be the price to get started, the likelihood the sport is stable and growing to justify the expense, the overall value to me of the guns involved (i.e., what would I use them for beyond the sport involved), and how much I just plain like being involved in it. In finding out what I can about SASS cowboy action, here are the concerns I would have:

 

The battery of guns and accessories required is extensive. It is also specialized, so other than SASS events, it's not likely to be used for much in general. Contrast that with, for example, sporting clays (one gun required, that could also be used for skeet and hunting) or IDPA (one gun and can also be a good general carry gun). From what I have been able to glean, SASS shooting may have peaked in popularity. Articles often call it one of the "fastest growing shooting sports", though no actual numbers were given to back that claim. From what I have read now, SASS membership has either stagnated or declined significantly. If I'm wrong about that, please correct me.

 

From just one person's view, it might be worth considering making it easier to enter cowboy action. I'm sure I'm not the first person to suggest adding a new class which would involve a single gun and and holster rig. I like the historical aspect of cowboy action, and it's certainly more realistic in terms of what a 19th century shooter would typically have been using. Some people might enjoy sticking with that, but knowing gun people in general, many would probably add more hardware over time, if they like the experience.

 

I have no vested interest in the controversy SASS seems to be going through with the profit vs. non-profit issue, the degree of member input into SASS and financial transparency, the cost of leasing the "Founder's Ranch" facilities, and dropping mailing a newsletter to the membership. I can tell you that paying dues into an organization for me is about value. I don't mean just direct benefits to me, but also how effective the organization is in promoting it's goals such as growth of the sport, how "customer centered" it is, and how wisely they use the money I send them.

 

My thoughts on cowboy action in general and SASS might not be valued as I'm not active in it yet, but on the other hand, I figured I'd share them anyway, since potential member's views might be helpful in getting more people involved. I'm looking forward to going to the match this month, it should be interesting.

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Celt, as you will find out very soon, it is not just about the guns, it is about the PEOPLE. Cowboys\cowgirls are some of the best I have ever met. And, from a ladies viewpoint, many of the other shooting sports are no where near as happy to have ladies and kids shooting with them as are Cowboys. You will probably be offered guns, leather, etc. until you can get all you need. (I know that here, at our So. Nev clubs that is true). Have fun!

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Howdy,

I have been a member since 1989 ish, my number is 36,337. Last I saw- about two weeks ago, a new members number came in at 100,029 I believe.

At any matches I have attended, when new pards are showing up to- see whats it all about- many of the CAS people shooting wander over and say HI!

And within minutes- some one always says- well instead of watching any more- I'll give you the six shooters,rifle and shot gun- as well as the ammo, and you can shoot fer free! :D That's a lot of what you see happen in CAS.

 

As as far as not using the guns in another sport- well I have seen and done it myself- shoot steel challenge, with the six shooters- now that's and accuary sport.

 

Please stop by a local match- I bet you someone will offer their arms up to you, and say- Now there is no reason to shoot!

Enjoy,

 

Maxed Out

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The cost thing comes now and then on here.

Some local clubs offer a category like that. One pistol.

So you might check with the local clubs and see if they offer anything like that.

 

As for adding it to the main SASS category's. Don't look for it. New hobby's cost. That's a fact.

And in the long run. Getting started is SASS is cheap compared to many others.

 

Your .357 Blackhawk is a great gun for SASS. So you already got a start on it.

 

But don't buy anything else until you visit a match or 2-3.

 

And don't worry about all the talk on here. Most all that goes away at the range.

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Celt,

 

Welcome to the wonderful world of cowboy shooting

 

First, the SASS Wire is not SASS--it's been a long winter and some folks need to complain about 'things'

 

Best thing I could recommend is go to a match--and see what's it all about. We often completely outfit new folks and let them shoot the match with borrowed guns. I've seen several folks try to be the one to loan the firearms. Not unusual for a number of cowboys to make offers.

 

See if the club has a website and log on (register if that's what it takes) and start asking questions. Don't be afraid to ask about borrowing stuff. At least at the beginning. They may have a mentor program that will pair you with an experienced shooter--take advantage of that if offered.

 

Ask to try different style shotguns, rifles and such. Pistols: Colts or clones or Rugers or black powder. Marlins or Winchesters or Rossi rifles. Cross draw or two strong side holsters. 45 Colt, 38 Sp or 44-40? They may have a practice day which would be perfect for this activity.

There's a world of stuff to learn and I find it fun to gather knowledge every day.

 

Our 3 types of firearms just add to the excitement. Not like IDPA or USPSA where you shoot one revolver/pistol month in and out.

 

You can find used firearms, again many clubs will have members who are selling their back-ups to fund new purchases. Nothing wrong with this method to get into the hobby/sport/obsession.

 

Right now don't look at costs and reloading and equipment and clothing and such. Just show up a few times and see what it's all about. I've seen grins appear on visitors and first time shooters that lasted all the way home and into the next day. You can't explain this, you have to be there for it to happen.

 

As Skye said above it's the fellow cowboys that make this hands and feet above the other shooting groups. If the truth be known we're all just playing like we're 8 years old playing cowboys and Indians.

 

If you were closer I would be glad to let you shoot with us. Heck, come on down to Houston and we'll have a go anyway.

 

Cheyenne

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I shot at a few matches before becoming a SASS member and before discovering the SASS wire. I will say that it is advisable to take what you see here with a tiny bit of salt. Not that what goes on here isn't important, but it isn't necessarily representative of everyone. There is some good info here, but the general population seems to be supportive, positive, and optimistic. Unlike what it would sometimes appear is the case here.

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I have been a member since 1989 ish, my number is 36,337.

That's not possible.

 

FC

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Don't buy anything yet.

Go show interest and help will be offered.

Now don't be bashful.

If someone offers you their guns to try...the response is, "Thank you very much, I would like to give it a try."

You can offer to pay fo the ammunition used but 4 out 5 times it will be rejected.

They say something like , "when you can, help some one else."

------------

Said above, try all the different guns you can.

They are not all the same and they do not all feel right when you shoot them.

 

The SASS Wire is not SASS in general.

The SASS wire seems to be filled with the annual stir crazies from lack of shooting over the winter.

AND those who just like cause trouble for fun.

Nothing wrong with it, you just got to figure out who's who when trying to figure out truth from fiction.

Remembering this is a Fantasy sport.

 

I refer to SASS as a Social Gathering with a little bit of shooting tossed in.

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Thanks for the feedback guys - and gal :) , I'll let you know how it goes.

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Celt,

 

I've been a member for a year now and I'm happy as a pig in a mud puddle. C'mon in - the water's fine!

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Celt,

 

Been at this for almost 3 months. I LOVE IT. I like shooting but I really got into this because of the "Cowboy Way" that makes this so much different than my other hobbies.

 

I currently shoot with 3 clubs and besides playing with guns I get to socialize with like minded folks. The other shooting sports I have participated in really lacked in the camaraderie arena. All three groups i shoot with socialize after the match with a pot luck lunch or getting together at a local restaurant for a meal and good conversation.

 

In no other sport will your "competitors" freely give you pointers to make you a better shooter. These tips and pointers could even make you a better shooter than they are.

 

If one of your firearms has a failure your fellow shooters will go out of their way to keep you in the match. Either by getting you the parts and/or gunsmithing assistance you need to repair your firearm or loaning you one of their guns to finish a match.

 

Unlike most other shooting sports SASS is not just about the competition. You don't have to finish first in your category to have fun. Heck you will meet a lot of shooters that are only in competition with themselves. For some it is more important to shoot a clean match, even if that means they are far from the fastest shooter.

 

Others are in it to be the fastest in their category and or fastest overall that day. You will even meet folks who are more interested in authenticity in their firearms and regalia. Style points are more important than overall match time for a lot of participants. Some do it for the love of old west history. In no other shooting sport will you find such a diverse set of reasons for participating in a common sport as you will find SASS and Cowboy Action Shooting in general.

 

Oh and don't forget the Wild Bunch shooters. Different guns and regalia but still the same great people.

 

You spoke of what else our chosen firearms could be used for. The lever action rifles we use in the larger pistol calibers are more than adequate for hunting game up to and including whitetail deer. Shoot Cody Dixon with a big bore rifle and the possibilities outside of SASS are endless. If you don't go too radical with the length of the shotgun barrels on a SXS it can still be used for other shotgun shooting sports or bird hunting, Same goes for an 1897 style shotgun. Single action pistols are still good hunting weapons if you so desire and can be used in other shooting sports where fast reloads are not required.

 

You will find that over time your handling of the firearms used in SASS becomes so second nature that they can be good choices for home defense.

 

I used to ride motorcycles a lot. (10K + miles a year) and so far SASS is WAY less expensive than the up front costs for my first bike and yes it was used. My calculated yearly expenses will be inline with what I spent annually riding my Harleys. Same goes for my other love fishing, Up front costs were far above what they are for getting into SASS.

 

True you can spend a lot of cash getting into this sport but if you are patient, ask around, and choose wisely CAS doesn't have to be all that expensive all at once and until you can locate all of the necessary guns, there will be a fellow shooter willing to loan you what you need.

 

Both of my single action pistols cost less than what I would have paid for a decent large frame semi-auto with a couple of extra magazines.

 

 

Let us know how it goes but I am sure after your first match you will be hooked and become yet another convert to the Cowboy Way of life.

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Howdy and Welcome!

 

When I found this game 5 years ago I was looking for a shooting sport, after my first visit to a match I looked no further.

 

Hang on and enjoy the ride!

 

Grizz

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I used to shoot sporting clays, 15,000 to 18,000 clays a year... ...more money is in that shotgun than in the money that I have in my main match revolvers-replicas of 1851 Navy Richards Mason Open Top Conversion pistols; Stoeger sxs; '94 Marlin CBC .38 Special rifle.

 

...all that to say, the money spent is about the same regardless of the sport...

 

 

Like has been said before in this thread, it is the pards that make the difference and the Cowboy way that goes along with it...

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Our club has always catered to new shooters by having 2&3 gun classifications.

Just show up to any club and they will loan you what you dont have... ;)

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When I first moved to central Florida I joined a gun club and I started shooting trap and was starting to get pretty good, then I saw a episode of Cowboy's and saw cowboy action shooting, they had it at my gun club and I checked it out, bought my gear and never shot trap again that was like 6 years ago.

 

AO

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Welcome to the very best game and people in the world.I found SASS when I was 68 and wish I would have found it when all my parts work better.I have had more fun in the last 3 years than I had in all my other hobbies put together.Go to some shoot and look and ask lot of things.Welcome.

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Celt, the other shooting activities you mentioned are worth a try. I shot 3-gun for years and really enjoyed it. I still shoot modern action pistol events. It's fun to shoot a semi-auto on the move without trying to remember some weird target order. Still CAS is my primary competition these days. At major matches we have long range events and clays events where we shoot our cowboy guns. Get good at these and you can do well at these side matches. I just shot cowboy black powder trap at Winter Range for the first time and loved it. If I shot a round of trap using black powder at my local trap club I would be invited to leave. BTW, if you have trouble getting ammo for CAS right now, just shoot clay sports for awhile. Shotgun shells are very available and the skills you pick up will be used in CAS. We have throwers that toss clays or soda cans in the air. Those who are handy with a shotgun hit the flyers with ease. Others curse the flyers.

 

SASS is a still sanctioning big competitions that draw hundreds of shooters. Some of these competitions sell out months in advance. This year there will be regional, state and an international competition (EOT) where hundreds of us gather for a great time. SASS is not about to expire despite what you read from the malcontents who inhabit this Wire. It is reorganizing and its range used for the international competition is facing legal challenges from neighbors but many ranges face the same challenges and survive.

 

Your primary CAS experience will come from the local club even if you start shooting other CAS matches as my wife and I do. If the club is friendly and welcoming and runs safe and interesting matches then join and have fun. It the club is seriously lacking in some aspect of its operation then pass by CAS for now. Don't worry about SASS's operations and other matches. The local club will be the focus of your cowboy shooting.

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Howdy Celt,

I also reside in the Wichita area and can possibly be of some local help to you. I see you are about to become involved (I am a member) in CTAGA - Chisholm Trail Rowdies, the local Wichita antique gun club so I am sure you are aware of what the club has to offer. It is a small club but has a very nice cowboy town range where you can get all the live fire practice anyone could need once you are a member. As of now, CTAGA has one monthly match on the last weekend of each month and is free of charge for all...members and non members. Also, within 1-3 hours travel time, there are 8-10 additional clubs that hold monthly matches and many host one or two annual (2-3 day) matches. Within that same travel time, you could also attend some larger matches such as Land Run, Kansas State match, and Oklahoma State match. Add a couple more hours to the travel time and you can attend Comin At Cha at the Bar 3 Ranch in northern Texas.....one of the nations largest regional championship events. Since there are so many places for cowboys to shoot in your location, the number of competitors at a given match may not be stellar (a couple draw good numbers at their monthly events) but they all host matches and there are plenty of places to shoot. It is relatively easy to shoot every weekend with a short drive if your heart desires.

 

With that, I'm sure that everyone in your local CAS community would love to have you come out to a match and give it a whirl. In fact, I will be shooting at the Hutchinson based club hosted by the Sand Hill Regulators this coming Saturday. Come on out and say howdy & have a look, feel, try. All you will need is hearing and eye protection but I'm sure that those items will be available to you should you not have them handy. See the links below......Since Google Maps recently screwed the pooch (You can thank the pimple faced google designer) with regards to dropping pins, and detailed directions as well as alternate paths, etc. I just provided a link to the area of the range that the match will be held.....you can obtain directions from there. Based on their Winter Schedule, the match will begin at 10:00am.

 

Feel free to PM me for my phone number if you have any questions.

 

Hope to see you soon,

Monco

 

Central Kansas Gun Club/Sand Hill Regulators

Link to Google Maps Range Location

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Check out the clubs near you; go watch a match and talk to the folks. Don't spend money until you are sure.

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Celt, I started shooting in July and everything said above is true. I love guns, of course not more than my wife, haha, but it is the people and life relationships. Shot winter range this yr and you would have a blast at that. As someone else said "Come on in."

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I'll start by saying I am not a SASS member, or even a cowboy action shooter. I'm one of those folk who is considering taking it up. I plan to attend the nearest local shoot at the end of this month to check it out. I don't own any SASS type guns - the closest would be a .357 Blackhawk, and a muzzle loader side by side shotgun. So I would be looking at investing in two single action pistols, a leather double rig, a lever action rifle, a shotgun, a gun cart, and all the smaller things that would be needed.

 

Right now, despite all the problems with ammunition and reloading component supply, is a great time for the shooting sports overall. Sporting Clays, IDPA and the other action pistol variants, 3-gun events, the interest in long range rifle shooting, etc. are all growing. It does however create a lot of competition for attracting time and dollars from gun enthusiasts. There are three places to shoot sporting clays and three places to shoot IDPA all within aproximately 30 minutes of me (I live near Wichita, Kansas). There is also one Cowboy Action group. I lay this out to give you an idea of my perspective.

 

I may indeed try cowboy action, it sure seems like it could be fun. The things I'll consider will be the price to get started, the likelihood the sport is stable and growing to justify the expense, the overall value to me of the guns involved (i.e., what would I use them for beyond the sport involved), and how much I just plain like being involved in it. In finding out what I can about SASS cowboy action, here are the concerns I would have:

 

The battery of guns and accessories required is extensive. It is also specialized, so other than SASS events, it's not likely to be used for much in general. Contrast that with, for example, sporting clays (one gun required, that could also be used for skeet and hunting) or IDPA (one gun and can also be a good general carry gun). From what I have been able to glean, SASS shooting may have peaked in popularity. Articles often call it one of the "fastest growing shooting sports", though no actual numbers were given to back that claim. From what I have read now, SASS membership has either stagnated or declined significantly. If I'm wrong about that, please correct me.

 

From just one person's view, it might be worth considering making it easier to enter cowboy action. I'm sure I'm not the first person to suggest adding a new class which would involve a single gun and and holster rig. I like the historical aspect of cowboy action, and it's certainly more realistic in terms of what a 19th century shooter would typically have been using. Some people might enjoy sticking with that, but knowing gun people in general, many would probably add more hardware over time, if they like the experience.

 

I have no vested interest in the controversy SASS seems to be going through with the profit vs. non-profit issue, the degree of member input into SASS and financial transparency, the cost of leasing the "Founder's Ranch" facilities, and dropping mailing a newsletter to the membership. I can tell you that paying dues into an organization for me is about value. I don't mean just direct benefits to me, but also how effective the organization is in promoting it's goals such as growth of the sport, how "customer centered" it is, and how wisely they use the money I send them.

 

My thoughts on cowboy action in general and SASS might not be valued as I'm not active in it yet, but on the other hand, I figured I'd share them anyway, since potential member's views might be helpful in getting more people involved. I'm looking forward to going to the match this month, it should be interesting.

Having coached a lot of new shooters, I see your concerns all the time. Your Blackhawk will allow you to shoot in many categories. No one set of pistols is legal in all categories. So an additonal 357 Blackhawk could be purchased used. There are several on the web that can be purchased for about $300. I just bought two 100% used 3 screw last year of production 1971 Blackhawks for $450 each, but these were premium guns that looked unfired. I purchased a double barrel Stoeger very slighly used (it had been fired but had zero marks or wear on it) for my wife about 3 months ago for $300. A rifle is a bit more expensive. I have seen two very good 357 Marlins with excellent gunsmithing sold locally in last two months for $800 each sold at shoots (one sold by a friend), you may find one a bit cheaper. Medium to good quality leather can be purchased if you look around. I purchased a new shotgun belt and holster belt for my wife a month ago at half price ($75 each) from Kirkpatrick leather (one of the best leather producers IMHO). There were sale items. All that is left are the more expensive part of the leather, the holsters. I would expect to pay $100 each for new but I have seen many holsters on tables at shoots for as low a $25 each for good quality ones, but used.

 

Edit: This equipment is good enough to win you a state, Regional, national or world championship of your category in SASS. The pistols might need a spring kit. The shotgun may need a bit of work, but there are tons of directions and videos on how to get a Stoeger ready for competition. The rifles I identified already had action jobs.

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I just started this year after trying to get into it for a very long time. I have less money in my entire CAS arsenal (including belt and holsters) than I do in my 3-Gun AR. My two revolvers (I bought used) cost less than either of my IDPA pistols. I suggest if you're looking to start, know what works for you prior to buying, and buy used. If you really get into CAS, drop some serious coin then, not when you're starting.

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Until you attend a shoot-It's all SWAG on your part.

Talk'n & do'n are 2 different things. Do'n is what counts.

LG

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Celt,

 

I'm in SASS for a little over a year, with no regrets on initial cost outlay. It's one great shooting sport. Jump in both feet, and don't look back.

 

Regards

CBO

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No one set of pistols is legal in all categories.

Really :blink:

What can't I use my .44 OMVs in cartridge class, categories?

Not talk'n "Frontiersman".

 

LG

 

Edited for clarity.....LG

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I own a pair of these too. They are not legal in Frontiersman.

OK-MY bad-should have said cartridge classes.

LG

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OK-MY bad-should have said cartridge classes.

LG

OK-MY bad-should have said cartridge classes.

LG

Is a cartridge class a part of some school?

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Is a cartridge class a part of some school?

:lol: Yeah-Elementary ;):P

Dang this site is SLO :angry: Timed out twice :rolleyes:

LG

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Helpful reponses, now I really will have to try to get to that shoot this month. Thanks, Monco, for the local information.

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Welcome Celt! Hope you will visit some of our Missouri clubs and get acquainted.

 

The firearm requirements can be confusing, so your best reference is the Handbook which can be found on the SASS home Page.

 

http://www.sassnet.com/Downloads/SASSHandbookVers19-2014.pdf

 

I hate to disagree with those who have posted, but I believe .36 caliber (or larger) fixed sight percussion revolvers are legal in ALL presently recognized SASS categories, including B Western, Classic Cowboy, and Frontier Cartridge. Percussion guns appeal to some and not others...you will know it if you get bitten by the Black Powder bug. Percussion revolvers usually are not seen outside Frontiersman Category, but their use in any category is allowed.

 

Just trying to clear up a technicality.

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This is a good thread, and a good reminder that prospective new members read what is posted on the Wire.

 

I think the OP asked some good questions. The responses to him were positive and helpful.

 

It reminds me of a conversation with a prospective new shooter at a local match (I shoot as a guest at that club). He was asking about a "Tenderfoot" category described on the club's website for new folks who didn't have all of the hardware. Immediately someone in earshot offered to lend the fellow anything he might lack so that he could fully participate. There was also a first time shooter at the match who had just purchased a pair of cap and ball revolvers. He was also shooting a rifle, shotgun, and black powder ammo loaned by another member of my club-the "lender" was not even at the match!

 

It is the PEOPLE who make this a great shooting sport. You just have to experience it to appreciate it.

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