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Capt. Wild Willy McDonald

Rifles/Calibers for Long Range Rifle Side Matches

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I'm brand new to CAS having recently shot my fourth match at The Siege. I realized that I missed out on a few fun side matches as I was focused on preparing for the main match.

 

Going forward I'd be interested in shooting Long Range rifle matches (in addition to WB). I have a solid background in NRA High Power Competition (I.e., shooting .223 or .308 at 200, 300 and 600 yards in various positions with open sights). I'd be interested in either the Lever Action or Single Shot categories. I'd be rolling my own as well.

 

- What distances (noticed it was only 100 yards at The Siege)

- For lever and single shot, what are the most popular calibers?

- For lever and single shot, what are the most popular (and BEST) rifle makes/models?

- How are the shots made - offhand?

 

In addition, if you feel compelled to type a little more, how are the matches run and scored?

 

The only rifle I have that may qualify (in lever) is a 20" Winchester 94 (US made) in 30-30. However, if the distances typically exceed 200 yards, I think I'd be at a disadvantage ballistically speaking.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

CWWM

 

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I think most shot 45-70 at our annual long range match.

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Several guns and calibers will work, even your 30-30 out to 200 yards.

 

I once used a 66 in 38 Sp. at 225 yards and cleaned the long range event.

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From Page 18 of the shooters handbook:


Blackpowder categories can be added to any or all of the basic categories at the option of the

match director. Each category competes within itself.

BASIC RULES FOR THE LONG RANGE COMPETITIONS

• Front barrel sights may vary from simple blades to period hooded wind gauge designs using

interchangeable sight inserts and having a spirit level mounted integral with the sight or

sight base.

• Rear sights must either be open iron sights mounted on the barrel or original style tang or

stock wrist mounted peep sights. Long range rear barrel mounted sights of the flip-up

ladder type may use a peephole drilled through the sliding sight leaf. An example of this is

the various ladder type sights used on the Springfield trapdoors.

• Bolt or receiver mounted sights are not allowed.

• “Rifle Caliber” competition rifles must use traditional, period, rimmed cartridges. No

cartridge chambered for use in any SASS approved main match revolver or rifle may be

used in the “Rifle Caliber” competition, except the .56-50. Thus, .30-30 (.30 WCF), .38-55

Marlin & Ballard, .43 Spanish, or .45-70 Government cartridges are legal, while a .375

Winchester, .444 Marlin, .32-20, or .44-40 are not legal. Shotguns using slugs are not

allowed.

• Any propellant powder may be used (with the exception smokeless powder is not allowed in

the Buffalo Single Shot competition).

• Regardless of category or caliber, bullets used in long range and precision rifle matches

must be made of pure lead or lead alloy having a plain base, gas checked, or paper patched

configuration.

• Range finders, or any other devices for calculating distances or sight adjustments are not

allowed. Their use constitutes a side match disqualification.

Lever Action Rifles used in long-range matches, whether revolver or rifle calibers, must be

originals or replicas of rifles manufactured during the period from approximately 1860 until

1899. Lever or slide action, tubular feed, exposed hammer rifles or carbines are allowed,

providing they are in safe working condition.

Single Shot and Buffalo Single Shot firearms must be originals or replicas of single shot rifles

manufactured during the period from approximately 1860 until 1899. All rifles MUST have

exposed hammers. The caliber and cartridge rules for the “Rifle Caliber” firearms noted above

under basic rules also apply to Single Shot and Buffalo Single Shot rifles with the exception

Buffalo Single Shot rifles must be .375" bore size or larger.

Buffalo Single Shot competition has further restrictions requiring original or replica rifles to be a

design of US manufacture. Spring-loaded ejectors are also prohibited, except for Springfield

Trapdoor Rifles.

The Optical Category firearms must meet the above restrictions with the following optical rules:

• No length or power limitation on the scope.

• Scope tube body to be ¾" or less in diameter and any ocular or objective lenses and

adjusting or assembly rings to be less than 1" in diameter.

• No internal scope adjustments for windage or elevation.

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I have a Marlin 1895 in 45-70. Lots of fun to shoot, and easy to reload. I prefer a 330 grn bullet with Unique powder.

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Guest Hoss Carpenter, SASS Life 7843

Hey Capt W Willy, Join the fun. Not every local club has a Long Range side match, but many do. Two of our Clubs (where I shoot) in East Tennessee have long range shooting. We shoot PISTOL calibers at a 100 yard target (White Buffalo) and Rifle Calibers at the 200 Yard (White Buffalo). The 30-30 is used at 200 yards and can easily do the job; in fact I shot at a Club in Cortez ,CO that we had to shoot the 30-30 at 300 yards! after "WALKING" the first few rounds in, most folks did ok with it.

 

Out West and a few places back East may have anywhere from 200 to 800 yards, or more. Here the 45-70s, 45-90s, etc, really excel. Another caliber that works well with long range and is a some what easier workout for your shoulder, is the 38-55. I went to a match in Farmington, NM a few years back and they had a White Buffalo at 800 yards. I almost could not even see it with my old eyes, but I enjoyed some really crack shots from all over the West, consistantly make it clange.

 

Any how I am sure you will get a lot of good advice on what you want to shoot, but hold on to the Winchester 30-30!

 

Cheers, Hoss

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What SASS calls 'long-range' and what really IS long range, is not the same.

For SASS LR, a .38-55 or .40-65 would be ideal.

OLG

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I also forgot to mention that my local club did a "Quigly" shoot as well. Three bucks to enter, winner gets half the pot, and you get three shots shooting off hand. Only one guy hit it all three times. That was a really cool to see. I would have entered, but I didn't have a quigly rifle....yet. Maybe next year.

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What you'll discover is that SASS long range side matches are more like speed big caliber rifle. No separation between smokeless and black powder. Most are 10 shots with the most hits in the shortest amount of time wins. Most are 50 to 150 yards East coast and get longer as you move West. Our Range in Nevada is 700 yards and this summer we will be 1,000 yd's.

 

Funny how people think their rifles can shoot beyond some imaginary 100 to 200 yard mark. We shoot pistol caliber to 300 yd's, and lever action big bore to 400Yd's. Good tang sights, laying prone, and shooting sticks get you there.

 

Practice offhand shooting and speed acquiring your target. Know your rifle and load.

Ike

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I appreciate all of the help. This encourages me to take my Win 94 30-30 to range and do some load testing out to 200, maybe 300 yards and see what results I get.

 

Would I be able to mount a "tang" sight on the stock or am I restricted to the stock open sights?

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One thing that has not been pointed out is thatat major matches, there is usually a long range single shot side match and TWO long range lever action sides. There will usually be one for pistol caliber(any main match legal lever gun) and one for rifle caliber guns.

 

My favorite for the first of these two lever classes is the 32-20..

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What you'll discover is that SASS long range side matches are more like speed big caliber rifle. No separation between smokeless and black powder. Most are 10 shots with the most hits in the shortest amount of time wins. Most are 50 to 150 yards East coast and get longer as you move West. Our Range in Nevada is 700 yards and this summer we will be 1,000 yd's.

 

Funny how people think their rifles can shoot beyond some imaginary 100 to 200 yard mark. We shoot pistol caliber to 300 yd's, and lever action big bore to 400Yd's. Good tang sights, laying prone, and shooting sticks get you there.

 

Practice offhand shooting and speed acquiring your target. Know your rifle and load.

Ike

700 and 1000 yards? Man I want to go to that match. When is it? Maybe I'll have to take a little trip out East

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...I used to have a single highwall and a lever action in .45-70... ...got tired of the recoil... ...and now have a Winchester lever gun in .38-55 and a Uberti highwall in .38-55...

 

...as for distances, most are shot at 100, 200, and 300 yards... ...there is, once in a great while, a match to 600 yards...

 

...just make sure that your tang sight will stretch to the distance that you want to shoot without holdover...

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I appreciate all of the help. This encourages me to take my Win 94 30-30 to range and do some load testing out to 200, maybe 300 yards and see what results I get.

 

Would I be able to mount a "tang" sight on the stock or am I restricted to the stock open sights?

Why would you attach a sight to the stock? Tang sights need to be mounted to the metal tang of the rifle. Tang sights are legal for both main match and side match rifles. (Ref SHB pg 6 and 18.)

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Why would you attach a sight to the stock? Tang sights need to be mounted to the metal tang of the rifle. Tang sights are legal for both main match and side match rifles. (Ref SHB pg 6 and 18.)

 

OK.... I meant the tang...

 

Thanks for correcting.

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Howdy Capn,

I was surprised how well a 38 would shoot at 100 yards.

Just regular match load ammo.

Ive had thoughts about getting a long barrel 30-30.

And try before you buy.

Best

CR

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One of the best choices for the rifle cal side matches is the reasonably priced Win 94 commemorative rifles. Some prefer the 38-40 cal. But, the 30-30's will shoot flatter allowing for less sighting variables.

 

This is a 26" octagon barrel Canadian Commemorative in 30-30 with a tang and globe sight added.

The long sight radius makes for easier off hand shooting if needed.

 

 

DSCN1277_zpsa9d82e76.jpg

 

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Side matches vary from match to match range to range. Most offer speed pistol, rifle and shotgun and if they offer so called long rang rifle they fall into smokeless lever pistol and rifle calibers seperate categories, iirc smokeless single shot rifle , bp pistol and rifle lever cats, bp single shot rifle and what they call buffalo which is a large caliber bp cat, and then some have if the range allows for it traditional scopes but most ranges are limited to how far the can shoot very few have what you might call a true long range side match. Also there are derringer and pocket pistol side matches if the club have enough interests and support to host them. I've seen gimmick type side matches like the Texas star, and one or two other ones. Several host shotgun type side matches like skeet, trap and cowboy clays, EOT has a five stand side match, comin at cha had one where they loaded up different guns along a long Boardwalk with different donated loads and you shoot around a hundred rounds per try on it and hits and time was the deciding factor. I can't remember any others that I've seen in my decade of shooting sass.

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Unless you are trying to knock something down, and are just clanging steel.....nothing beats the 38-55 for accuracy, ease of reloading, low recoil and quick follow-up shots.

 

Been there...done that!

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Most are 10 shots with the most hits in the shortest amount of time wins.

The way long range matches are shot is not standardized. Some clubs do it against the clock, some do not. Shooters position is not standardizes, nor are the ranges. It's all pretty much up to what can be done at the local club, and the discretion of the match director.

 

 

For SASS LR, a .38-55 or .40-65 would be ideal.

I strongly suggest you stick to cartridges that you can easily find components for. Such as 45-70, 38-55, and 30-30. Forget the esoteric stuff unless you can find components.

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I and my wife and daughter can easily hit a propane cylinder at 400 yds with the 30 30 and at 900 yds with the 3855. the rest is just practice. If I had a taller sight the Marlin 30 30 would make 400. Crossed sticks and a comfy stool help immensely .

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Do the tang sights have to be "period correct"? If so, where can I find them.

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I use an 1873 Trapdoor Carbine for single shot and a 20" Winchester 86 with octogon barrel for lever action. Both are in .45-70.

 

I word of "warning." Even with "trapdoor safe loads" the .45-70 can kick like a mule in both those guns. I started out with an 1884 Trapdoor rifle, and the load I was using was just fine. But, after a couple of shots, that rifle gets heavy and hard to hold steady when shooting off hand. This is why I got the carbine. Well that same load that was okay in the rifle was a very sharp kicker in the carbine. (And in the '86 when I tried it in them.) Long story short, I switched to Trail Boss behind the same .405 grain bullet, and now recoil is not at all painful anymore. So keep that in mind as you are considering what you want to do.

 

Before I got the 86, I was using a 94 in .30-30. But, given the way the local range that did the long range stuff did it at 350+ yards, my .30-30's was only getting between half to 3/4 of the way to the targets. Which may have explained why I was the only shooter trying to use a .30-30. So, depending on how long the long range side matches are, that may dictate what caliber/gun you want to use. As Driftwood said, there is no standardization.

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I might be wrong on this, holler at me if I is..................

 

Just a reminder, that jacketed bullets are a no-no. ( I'm not talking paper patch /jacket)

Gas checks are O.K.

 

Knarley

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Gang,

 

Would either or both of these tang mounted sights be "legal" to install on a Winchester 94?

 

I ask because these look a little more modern than the circa late 1800's.

 

 

http://www.brownells.com/rifle-parts/sights/rear-sights/no-2-tang-sight-prod7961.aspx

 

 

http://www.brownells.com/rifle-parts/sights/rear-sights/tang-sights-prod31771.aspx

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For plainsman I prefer 38-55

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Gang,

 

Would either or both of these tang mounted sights be "legal" to install on a Winchester 94?

 

I ask because these look a little more modern than the circa late 1800's.

 

 

http://www.brownells.com/rifle-parts/sights/rear-sights/no-2-tang-sight-prod7961.aspx

 

 

http://www.brownells.com/rifle-parts/sights/rear-sights/tang-sights-prod31771.aspx

Yes, either of those are period correct and legal. I prefer the Marbles sight as it has an adjustment for windage, where the Lyman's does not.

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What was the thinking behind the hammer requirement for rifles? Hammerless shotguns are ok..

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Yes, either of those are period correct and legal. I prefer the Marbles sight as it has an adjustment for windage, where the Lyman's does not.

Most excellent! Thanks Dutch!

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I shoot in the northwest, and one club has thousand yard range for the single shot. The last annual I went to was 700. Most are 500 and less. If I hade to pick two cartridges to do it all, i'd keep my 4590 hiwall, and 3855 mod 94 win. Have an accurate 3030, but the 3855 runs from it in crosswinds. The 4570 with a heavy bullet will shoot really well for side matches. I prefer a 535 postell, and 3f black. The 4590 is more forgiving. Not sure a guy would need a 90 over a 70 for most clubs, but a 90 will handle any sidematch distances. Hate having time used as a score factor. Rather see a shootoff between the top 2 or 3 guys.

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I shoot in the northwest, and one club has thousand yard range for the single shot. The last annual I went to was 700. Most are 500 and less. If I hade to pick two cartridges to do it all, i'd keep my 4590 hiwall, and 3855 mod 94 win. Have an accurate 3030, but the 3855 runs from it in crosswinds. The 4570 with a heavy bullet will shoot really well for side matches. I prefer a 535 postell, and 3f black. The 4590 is more forgiving. Not sure a guy would need a 90 over a 70 for most clubs, but a 90 will handle any sidematch distances. Hate having time used as a score factor. Rather see a shootoff between the top 2 or 3 guys.

The 38-55 seems to be an interesting cartridge. With bullet is best? Not many choices in pure lead out there.

 

Thanks

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Using the Montana precision swaging 255 gas check. It's soft, 20 to 1 lubed with spg. Is it the best? I don't know. It'll reliably shoot between 3, and 3.5 inch groups at 200 yards though. We tried it at 300, on a 14 inch plate, and it played with it. Using triple 7, 2fg. I called mts, and have about 10 boxes of the 255 gr bullets now. Your 3030 is a good side match gun, a lot of folks run them. Its windy out here most of the time, so I prefer the 3855. Especially beyond 200 yards.

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What was the thinking behind the hammer requirement for rifles? Hammerless shotguns are ok..

 

The only logical answer to this question is to make sure that the Savage 99 is dissallowed. That's the only if the era hammerless repeating lever gun that didn't have one.

 

It's the same logic for requiring a tubular magazine, to make sure the Winchester 95 can't be used.

 

You could also say that requiring it to be a lever gun make sure the US Krag and even the Mauser 98 don't get used.

 

I agree with that last one, for what it's worth.

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Yeah my father has a .300 Savage rifle and a 30-40 Krag so I'm out for both reasons. I don't mind the Krag, but that Savage is a dream to shoot.

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