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Donfons99

45 LC or 357 for new shooter?

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I am looking at getting into Action Shooting and am looking for suggestions for best caliber... 45 LC vs. .357?...I own a 45 LC Vaquero but before I pick up a second want to make sure 357 is not better (although I love my 45). Also any suggestions for a rifle and shot gun...

 

All advise appreciated!!!

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Welcome, depends on your class! if you want to shoot Classic Cowboy you need .40 cal. or better, if you don't think you will, or are like me and just need excuses to buy more guns then It doesn't matter. With .357 you can load .38 special for lower recoil, with .45 you can reload .45 schofield for lighter recoil. Are you going to reload your own ammo? if not .38 special will be a lot cheaper to buy factory. Since you already have a .45 it would be cheaper to buy a match than 2 new revolvers, I would buy a 12 gauge side by side Stoger unless you want to shoot Wildbunch then get a 97, don't think you can go wrong with a 73 rifle or carbine, the smart thing is to keep your calibers the same or close, that way you just have to adjust the powder. I shoot 200 grn. lead in both pistol and rifle, loaded with the same powder, just change brass, .45 colt for rifle and .45 schofield for pistols.

Rafe

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The main cost in the sport will be ammo. 38 Special is quite a bit cheaper both to buy or reload. So it not take long to make up the difference from buying an extra pistol.

 

But if you like the 45 Colt and have some extra $, go for it.

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If your comfortable with the added recoil of the 45 Colt, stick with it. After all, it is a cartridge that was introduced in the Colt SAA in 1873.

 

There is another cartridge case that can be fired in the 45 Colt. That's the Cowboy 45 Special.

 

Cowboy45Special_zps6b8a5118.jpg

 

The C45S case is the same length and volume as the 45ACP but with a 45 Colt rim.

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Are you going to want light recoil.

 

If yes, then .357 using 38 cartridges..

 

If no or don't care, then are you going to reload?

 

If yes then either caliber.

 

If no. Then if money is of no concern buy what John Wayne would use, 45 otherwise 357.

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Thanks for the advise, I went to a range last month and watched the Hernando-County-Regulators-399 (Florida), and loved it. I am interested in Cowboy Action Shooting. At this time I am not looking at reloading to begin with, I did get a great deal on 1000 rounds of Magtech 45 colt cowboy loads so I can decide as I use them up...

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Howdy; Look at the categories and figure what is for you. You may need a large 45 for some or just a 38 for others.

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Thanks for the advise, I went to a range last month and watched the Hernando-County-Regulators-399 (Florida), and loved it. I am interested in Cowboy Action Shooting. At this time I am not looking at reloading to begin with, I did get a great deal on 1000 rounds of Magtech 45 colt cowboy loads so I can decide as I use them up...

 

I'd say go back this month and talk to them. They will be more than happy to answer all your questions. Even the ones you didn't think to ask.

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Since you already have one 45 and ammo it may be best to match it up with another 45. You can always trade that set for a pair of 357's. The Ruger Vaquero and New Vaquero in my opinion are the best revolvers for our game bar none.

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I shoot .45's. Bought a lot of them in the last 10 years. Love them all.

 

But if I had to do it all over again, I would have started with .38's.

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I don't want to discourage you at all, but the guns you start with will probably not be the only guns you will use in this sport.

 

I started with .45s, went to .357/.38s, then started using percussion revolvers. Still have all of them, and use all of them on occasion.

 

Spend some more time with the cowboys near you and ask to shoot their guns, if not for a whole match, then a few test rounds after the match. You will find most cowboys and cowgirls eager to let you try their firearms. You will probably find some of them have guns for sale.

 

Then buy good stuff. Nothing is more frustrating than fighting equipment problems during a match.

 

Welcome to the madness!! :D

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For a beginner, .38 special guns are NEVER wrong. More of them shot than anything else. For most guns, that would be one chambered in .357, but just shoot much cheaper .38 spl ammo.

 

For the 1 in 32 folks who decide they are Classic Cowboy, then you can get the big bore toys later, perhaps even by selling off the .38 spl guns.

 

Good luck, GJ

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For me, the question didn't even enter my mind. I've been shooting 45 Colt since before I could shave.

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Howdy,

When I started I had a variety of guns calibers etc.

Getting set up with 38 special is a pretty good place to start.

The 45 lovin crowd thinks that was the caliber of the old west.

Could be, I warnt there and my grandpa is dead and gone so I cant ask him.

He was there, right there in the middle of it all.

He was a peddler and traveled with a carnival. I used pieces of his tent

to cover my MG when I was drafted. My sister has the box his tent was stored in her living room.

And they really used 44 W. C. F. Which is/was a terrifical cartridge.

I finally did buy an old clapped out sorry 44 carbine.

Its now so smooth butter wishes it was that smooth.

Best

CR

was I any hep? I don't really care much if any....

hey ally mo, hows tricks?

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What category you want to shoot in???

 

How much do you have to spend??

 

I went with .357 because of cost. Pure and simple.

What you save on bullets pays for the primers.

They are just cheaper to shoot. That means I can shoot more.

 

But if you want to shoot in C Cowboy. Stick with the .45.s

Other than that. I see no need to shoot anything other than .38's

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Save money on cowboy action shooting? What's that? :unsure:

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Save money on cowboy action shooting? What's that? :unsure:

 

 

Save money on part of shooting.

To spend on another part.

Which means MORE shooting. :)

 

Bullets are cheaper.

Brass is cheaper and easier to find.

Primers are cheaper,

Less powder so save money there.

 

DANG. After 2K I have already saved enough to pay the entry into a annual.

Figure for the year.

I saved enough to more than pay my entry into EOT. :o:)

 

Yep. That's why I went with .357 guns and shoot 38's :D

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Now don't get me wrong.

 

Some people enjoy shooting bigger caliber.

And if they do. Then that is what they should shoot.

 

But see so many that are shooting bigger caliber. Then look to a bullet

as small as they can get. And the CS brass.

Then I have to wonder. WHY are they even trying to bother with a .45

When they are trying there best to shoot a .38 load out of it. :wacko:

Unless you are shooting in Classic.

They should just go ahead and shoot .38's :huh:

 

But then if you want a rifle to shoot WB with as well as cowboy. Then it makes sense to me.

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Those little pieces of lead are expensive. I paid $460 for my last order of 10,000 125 grn 38sp. I believe I would be paying closer to $700-$750 for 45lc. Figure an extra penny per round for powder and your looking at $400 or so extra per 10k loaded, and you haven't paid the extra for brass. I buy once fired for about 8-10 cents per round, last time I looked once fired .45lc was going for about .20-.30 or more if you're patient and look for deals. I estimate I lose about 5-10 pieces of brass a match for a total of 250-500 lost per year. That price differential will cost you about $100 or so. So for me shooting 45lc would cost at least $500 extra every year. Maybe some .45 shooters can chip in and give you better numbers.

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I started off shooting cap guns in 44 because I already had one and it was cheaper to start like that but then got 38 spcl cartridge guns.........My wife shoots 38 spcl. I am a darksider so needed to get a rifle in 44-40. Got me a 66 in 44-40...fell into a deal on some Vaqueros in 44-40. Now have a pair of pistols to match my rifle,which simplifies my life as far as reloading for me. But I probably now need a 73 in 38 spcl to go with my other pistols. My reloading bench has a press dedicated to load 38 spcl and one for 44-40. There is no right or wrong the larger caliber will cost more to shoot as others have mentioned but if 45 feels more traditional to you that's the way to go.

Save the brass from the ammo you already have...you will be amazed how quickly you will go through 1000 rounds. Just ask lots of questions and try different pistols til you find what you are comfortable with.

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Yep 1,000 rounds is a drop in the bucket to an active cowboy shooter. I try to keep a minimum of 5,000 loaded and components for 20,000 more.

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Cast my own bullets - some from lead I reclaim from my bullet traps.

Primers are only marginally higher. Often not more than getting a good buy.

For sure use more powder - maybe 25% more. (C45S are more efficient at burning powder than 45 Colt)

Brass is reloaded many times and if cared for will last nearly forever at cowboy loads pressure. The initial cost spread out over many reloading times waters the price per shot cost difference.

 

The cost difference is not enough for me to want to shoot a 38. Now if had to buy factory ammo then that would be a different story.

 

If you're wanting to save money, why not skip past the 38 and go to a 32 - shoot 32 S&W Short? Save again in reloading costs.

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You can buy PAIR OF UBERTI 1873 Cattleman in .357/.38 for the cost of one new Vaquero.

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As mentioned above by a couple good Wire Pards, no matter what you start with, you'll probably add more guns to your Cowboy shooting world.

 

I started with Vaqueros in .45

about 2 years later, bought some Vaqueros in .357 and shot .38 specials for a couple more years.

 

NOW, for the past 3 years, I've been using Vaq in .45 again with the Cowboy 45 Special cases.

 

Mixed in between the caliber swaps, I also tried different barrel lengths.

 

And I've gone from a 20 gauge SxS, to a 12 gauge SxS, and then to a 97.

 

Rifles have been .45 Colt, .38/.357, and now, my main match rifle for the past couple years is the .32 H&R Marlin Cowboy.

 

Basically what I'm saying is that before its all said and done, you will probably try out alot of different firearms, whether you buy them or borrow them from a Pard.

 

Its all fun so relax and enjoy. And WELCOME to the Wire and CAS.

 

 

..........Widder

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Don already has one 45. Is there any reason he couldn't mix and add a 38? It would still keep him out of Classic Cowboy but is there anything in the rules that say the caliber of both guns have to match? That way he can decide and go one way or the other.

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There's nothing in the rules, but it can get confusing at the reloading table. Not as confusing as say 45 colt pistols and 44-40 rifle like I'm running. You just have to be on you toes us all. The other thing is shooting different caliber pistols can be confusing, as they will shoot differently. We did a josey wales stage once with six pistols. I had to borrow two and they were in 357. I missed 6 out of 10 with them.

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I had the same problem when I started CAS, 45 or 38. I already had the 45s from mounted. The decesion came down to ammo cost, I don't reload yet and 45 ammo is twice the price of 38s. I can buy 1000 38s on line for $288.00 or about $14.00 a box of 50 (no shipping or has mat if I buy 1000) so I picked up a used pair of Ruger 38s and a used 1873 in 38 at a shoot and that's what I shoot. I use my 45s as backup CAS guns and shoot the black powder blanks for mounted with them. Ammo cost was my deciding factor. If and when I start reloading I can shoot either one and I have a lot of brass.

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Other guns... probably the least expensive to start with would be a Marlin 1894 standard carbine or one of the Winchester 92 clones. The Marlin Cowboy will run a couple hundred more or a lot more depending on specific model and chambering. Top of the list is the 73 clones and others.

 

At our club the Winchester 73 clone makes up maybe half to population. Marlin is well represented and then 92's, 66's, Lightning, and Spencer.

 

In double barrel shotguns the Stoeger coachgun is a popular entery level. Baikal is maybe a little more and also popular. If you happen onto a sound used Savage/Stevens/Fox double, they work also. The 97 pump - Winchester or clone price depends on quality.

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Also, although many especially on the wire like 45's, the 45's are much harder to get ride of than the 38/357's.

 

You will see quite a few folks trying to sell or trade their 45's to get 38's.

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If you shoot two matches a month thats around 2,900 rounds with no practice. Do the math on the delta between 38 and 45. Not many commercial reloaders bother with 45 Colt. All of them mass produce 38's. If you get to know one they will load to your specs.

Ike

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The good news is there is no wrong answer. If you want to shoot CC or WB go 45. If you want to shoot CAS and save some money go 38/357. If you decide to go 38 you can sell or trade your 45 for about what you have in it, or keep it for backup.

 

As others have said. Get to some matches and ask questions including leather gear. Many cowboys have made their own to save some money and turned it into a side job/hobby.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Smoke

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You wouldn't know it by my times... but CAS is a speed game. I started w/45s and still shoot 'em. BUT!!! And it's a big consideration, for goin' fast, recoil is a factor... yes, you need some... but if you figure that the lightest practical weight of a bullet in a .45 is 160 or 170 grains... vs 105 or 110s in a .38 will give enough recoil to make operating the gun at speed ideal... the added recoil of the 160gr 45s is just that smidgen slower! Practice will mitigate that difference... if you practice enough, and do it intelligently. And that adds considerable to the cost. For either reloads or store bought ammo. Practice for top shooters can run into 40-50K rounds a year... If you only shoot 4 matches a month, of the usual 5 stages per match... at 24 rounds per stage, and can shoot 12 months a year in your area, that only equals 5760 rounds a year... justa little over a tenth of what top shooters run thru in practice alone! And you'll be hard pressed to find store bought ammo in those "light-for-caliber" weights. Especially in the .45.

 

When I started, I had a .45 Colt SAA, a Winchester .30-30 and an old Riverside side-by-side. When I showed up, they informed me that they outlawed the Winchester .30-30 as a main match rifle a few months before. I bought a Rossi 1892 clone in .357/.38Spl. Within a year I'd moved to an 1873 in .45Colt to match my handgun... and added a Stoeger 12 ga side-by-side. I ran with that combo for nearly 10 years... then they added the 2nd pistol as a requirement on nearly every stage... So, I bought a 2nd .45 Colt.

 

Do NOT figure that your armament will remain static. When my wife started shooting with me, I first added a Blackhawk in .38/.357 and a Rossi double for her... and she shot my Rossi 1892 clone. Then my son started... that entailed them shooting the same guns for awhile... then a Colt SAA in .38/.357 found it's way into the stable... another Stoeger 12 ga... and then my son won a .45Colt SAA... now he shoots a pair, a .45 Rossi 1892 in .45Colt and that Stoeger... Since the wife doesn't shoot anymore... every once in a great while her guns come with me to a match and that's what I shoot... except her 20 ga Rossi... the stock is cut to fit her and it just don't do my old shoulder any good havin' that lightweight thing kick me!

 

I'll tell you the same thing I've been tellin' folks for nigh onto 30 years when they ask this question... get yer carcass out to a few more matches... talk to folks, ask questions... you probably won't have to ask to try guns... many folks will be crowdin' around, tryin' to get you to try theirs... Not because they want to sell 'em to ya... but because they've either done it, or watched others buy/sell/trade their way thru several sets of guns before ending up with what they like! While you're tryin' on guns... make sure to ask what "work" they've had done to them to make those particular guns feel the way they do. There's a big difference between almost any STOCK gun and one that's been worked over to be a good, reliable, smooth functioning cowboy gun. And that should be a warning, as well as a help to you in making your final decision on buying.

 

Then there's the side match guns...

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My gosh, you guys are fantastic with your comments, etc. Giving me a bunch of things to think about that I did not think of before. The better half and I are also going to the NRA Annual Meeting in Nashville, April 10-12. I discovered SASS is going to have a booth there. I will also pick their brains, sign up there for SASS. It will give me a great chance to look and feel all the products at the exhibit tables also....

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You wouldn't know it by my times... but CAS is a speed game. I started w/45s and still shoot 'em. BUT!!! And it's a big consideration, for goin' fast, recoil is a factor... yes, you need some... but if you figure that the lightest practical weight of a bullet in a .45 is 160 or 170 grains... vs 105 or 110s in a .38 will give enough recoil to make operating the gun at speed ideal... the added recoil of the 160gr 45s is just that smidgen slower! Practice will mitigate that difference... if you practice enough, and do it intelligently. And that adds considerable to the cost. For either reloads or store bought ammo. Practice for top shooters can run into 40-50K rounds a year... If you only shoot 4 matches a month, of the usual 5 stages per match... at 24 rounds per stage, and can shoot 12 months a year in your area, that only equals 5760 rounds a year... justa little over a tenth of what top shooters run thru in practice alone! And you'll be hard pressed to find store bought ammo in those "light-for-caliber" weights. Especially in the .45.

 

When I started, I had a .45 Colt SAA, a Winchester .30-30 and an old Riverside side-by-side. When I showed up, they informed me that they outlawed the Winchester .30-30 as a main match rifle a few months before. I bought a Rossi 1892 clone in .357/.38Spl. Within a year I'd moved to an 1873 in .45Colt to match my handgun... and added a Stoeger 12 ga side-by-side. I ran with that combo for nearly 10 years... then they added the 2nd pistol as a requirement on nearly every stage... So, I bought a 2nd .45 Colt.

 

Do NOT figure that your armament will remain static. When my wife started shooting with me, I first added a Blackhawk in .38/.357 and a Rossi double for her... and she shot my Rossi 1892 clone. Then my son started... that entailed them shooting the same guns for awhile... then a Colt SAA in .38/.357 found it's way into the stable... another Stoeger 12 ga... and then my son won a .45Colt SAA... now he shoots a pair, a .45 Rossi 1892 in .45Colt and that Stoeger... Since the wife doesn't shoot anymore... every once in a great while her guns come with me to a match and that's what I shoot... except her 20 ga Rossi... the stock is cut to fit her and it just don't do my old shoulder any good havin' that lightweight thing kick me!

 

I'll tell you the same thing I've been tellin' folks for nigh onto 30 years when they ask this question... get yer carcass out to a few more matches... talk to folks, ask questions... you probably won't have to ask to try guns... many folks will be crowdin' around, tryin' to get you to try theirs... Not because they want to sell 'em to ya... but because they've either done it, or watched others buy/sell/trade their way thru several sets of guns before ending up with what they like! While you're tryin' on guns... make sure to ask what "work" they've had done to them to make those particular guns feel the way they do. There's a big difference between almost any STOCK gun and one that's been worked over to be a good, reliable, smooth functioning cowboy gun. And that should be a warning, as well as a help to you in making your final decision on buying.

 

Then there's the side match guns...

+1

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Howdy,

So be thinkin about yer alias an ifn ya gots a woman who wants to shoot wll pard start with 38s.

Mos wimminfolk don't care for the 45s. And the 38s are cheeper by a little to boot.

Try before you buy.

Best

CR

and don't fergit yer canteen, pard.

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