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FlashAndPoof

What guns/gear would you buy if you had a $4500 budget?

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I've shot Steel Challenge and 3 Gun, but I've gotten bit by the cowboy action bug. Serious enough that I'll be selling a couple items I barely use so I should have about a $4000-$5000 budget to spend on guns and gear.

Obviously I don't have to spend the entire budget, but I'm more than willing to buy once to cry once for quality and gear I'll never need to replace. Sounds like most people advise buying completed rifles from cowboy action gunsmiths as it's cheaper than buying new rifles elsewhere and sending them in. The only thing I'm really unsure of is which shotgun to go with. Seems most recommend the '97 pumps for speed, but the double barrel shotguns looks really fun too. Appreciate any advice!

Edited by FlashAndPoof

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Howdy,

Sure I ll go first.

a 73 saddle ring carbine in 38 sp. case color mainframe.

Two ruger vaqueros in 38/357--stainless bead blasted

And a dubble barrel 12 gauge pick your maker....

And some nice leather with NO loops, just matching slides.

and if there is enuf left over, a spare 38 rifle.

A spare rifle is a good thing.

Best

CR

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Although I shoot the IAC 97, I would strongly suggest you get an SKB, and have a reputable SxS gunsmith set it up for you.

 

 

..........Widder

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You got a right-high budget to buy what you want... in my opine. Shop 'round... pick up guns and.... "FEEL"... them.

 

Get what you want. Also... listen to Widder... he has smarts....

 

ts

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Well if you are just starting out .

And you are all about speed ?

 

I would go with a 73 or 66 in 38.

A Pair of Rugers 4-5/8 38's

And a Winchester 97 .

 

Im not in too speed , So

Im shooting a pair of Rugers in 44 special

A 73 44 special

And a 87 shotgun .

All with Black Powder .

200gr bullets .

And a hole lot of fun .

Im slow and make em choke for 40+ Seconeds lol

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Welcome to the fun!

 

If you are interested in Wild Bunch too, definitely get that model '97 SG and a .45 caliber rifle. If not, go with the .38s as they are more economical. As you won't be able to use the SA pistols in WB, go with .38s there, unless you want to shoot Classic Cowboy. Check out the categories in the Shooter's Handbook. http://www.sassnet.com/Shooters-Handbook-001A.php before making up your mind.

 

Regards,

 

Allie

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Good advice - Rugers, a 73 Rifle and a good shotgun.

 

And as you have noticed it is best to buy the gun slicked up from a good smith.

 

Don't forget that good leather is also vital. A set up by folks such as Kirkpatrick, Mernicle and some relatively new or local folks such as Doc Nopper make great competition leather. You want the good stuff so the only limits are your own - not having to worry if the guns will work or the holster will close up, etc.

 

Go to a shoot and ask around as a final check before buying.

 

As to SxS or 97, either can be really fast. Many of the top shooters now use SxS shotguns. Generally an SKB SxS. If you are strong, you can also use a heavier gun such as a Baikel that is well tuned. Some of the top still us a 97.

 

The techniques for shotgun have evolved to where there is practically no difference between the pump and SxS. Some find they fumble less with one or the other. The 97 is slightly more complex design so it will need just a little more maintenance but can run well and fast for over a year before a part replacement is needed.

 

All of our guns will need a little maintenance after shooting a bunch like we do. A spring here, an ejector there, etc.

 

Welcome to the fun!!!

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Jimmy Spurs Vaqueros.

Longhunter or Cody Conagher '73

Johnny Meadows SKB SG

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Don't listen to any of them. Get yourself a pair of colts in 45. If you shop around, that's $3000. Then get a new Winchester 73 in 44-40. That's about $1300. $700 easily gets you a Johnny Meadows ttn hammered shotgun. You're good to go.

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Colt 51 Navy 44s, Cimarron 1878 double, Marlin 1894. Why? Because everybody else is shooting Rugers, 1873s and 97s.

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18 1/2 or 20" 1873 in 357- By Harlem Wolf.

Ruger vaqueros 357- Short stroke kit by Shotgun Boogie.

SKB SXS 12 g model 100 or 200- By Fast Eddie in GA.

 

These would be the absolute best and last you for ever.

 

Leather is your own preference just look at several from Kirkpatrick leather , Rod Keebler, Johnny Morris ......... the list could go on and on.

 

Welcome to SASS... it's the most fun you can have with your clothes on. 😜

 

Slick

Edited by Slick McClade

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1866 Sporting Rifle in .38-40 Uberti from "Taylors"

Two Uberti 1872 Open-Tops from "Taylors" in .44 Special 71/2 inch barrels

TNN hammered Double , Slicked by Jonny Meadows

 

Leather from Mernicle ,, Two strong-side Slim Jim Holsters and Comp belt with two 6 round slides, one for .38-40 the other for .44 Spl. ...

 

Jabez Cowboy

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18 1/2 or 20" 1873 in 357- By Harlem Wolf.

Ruger vaqueros 357- Short stroke kit by Shotgun Boogie.

SKB SXS 12 g model 100 or 200- By Fast Eddie in GA.

These would be the absolute best and last you for ever.

Leather is your own preference just look at several from Kirkpatrick leather , Rod Keebler, Johnny Morris ......... the list could go on and on.

Welcome to SASS... it's the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

Slick

And there you have it!!!

 

Spades H. With hours of practice both dry and live fire as well as dozens and dozens of matches and a set of irons as described and some luck at the right moments and your walls should start filling up nicely with plaques and buckles!!

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Shotgun- Browning BSS, tuned for the sport.

 

Rifle- Uberti 1873 in .357 mag, tuned by Cody Conagher for .38 Specials.

 

Revolvers- Ruger Vaqueros, old or new models, whichever fit you best. Or Ruger Old Armies if you want to go into percussion revolvers.

 

That will use up your $4500. Mow some lawns and get Kirkpatrick holsters.

Edited by J-BAR #18287

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Where are you from? Go to a local match, find a mentor.

 

If you want to be "competitive" you probaly want 38sp.

 

Hard to beat the Ruger Vaqueros. Couple if options on grips/hammers. You won't need a back-up

 

Rifle wise a 66 or 73, from Cody Conager or Long Hunter. I have both. I like the 66 more, but I think the 73 is probably better. If you get a 66 reinforce the loading gate.

 

Bakail SXS by Johnny Meadows. For another $1000 you can get the SKB.

 

Get quality leather from a cowboy leather maker. I got mine from Johnny Meadows, j-m leather. You have to decide on cross draw or double straight hang. I use cross draw, if I was starting over would probably go with double straight hang.

 

Don't forget a gun cart to haul everything around with. The Rugged Gear cart us hard to beat. The wood carts are easier to customize or "pretty up" but the Rugged Gear just works.

 

Then side match, long range, plainsman, Wild bunch.....

 

4.5 years ago I had 1 Glock 9mm. Got into CAS, Glock us long gone, I have 28 cowboy guns! I shoot 3 times/ month on average. Greatest bunch of guys you will ever meet!

Edited by Hoss

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1873 carbine by longhunter or another SASS gunsmith.

2 rugers- old model if you have big hands, new model if you have medium hands. Unless you spring for $$$ for a short stroke, all you need are lighter springs.

The Stoeger double for SxS. Cheap enough.

I use 1897s but the old ones often need work and the new red army ones need work as well. Radachy publishes a good takedown publication. My favorite 1897 is an old one I took a stone to and trainwrecked but it works great. The cowboy and indian store has dvds on guns that helps a lot with takedown and lubing etc. Marauder's website is a must read.

I do a little modern 3gun but it is a lot of work for a geezer like me. I do like action pistol.

Post where you live and you will get hits back to attend local matches and hombres will share their wisdom, guns, and stories.

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Go to a local match and talk with the shooters. Download a copy of the Shooters Handbook and read up on the various categories. A few categories are limited by caliber, type of rifle and/or shotgun, and the holsters you wear.

Do your homework and welcome to the fun.

 

Barry Sloe

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A pair of 1895 Nagants, a Taurus Thunderbolt or a Spencer rifle, and an NEF Pardner 20g shotgun.

 

FoghornLeghorn_zpsebe165c8.jpg

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I love warthog 45 Colt and 10 gauge 3-1/2 loads of Holy Black. Rather than take up space, if you want ultimate joy in CAS, send me a note. I use Mernickle leather for my revolvers and Idaho Leather for my shotgun shells. For side. matches: Pistol action Rifle-Henry Big Boy .44 Magnum, Rifle Action Rifle .38-55 Marlin and a C. Sharps 50-140 Sharps for single shot Buffalo and also for BPCR. I use a Bond Deringer in .45 Colt and a pair of .41 Colt Thunderers.

 

Everyone for their own taste said the old lady as she kissed the cow! :-)

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Ruger New Model in .38/.357 tuned by Jimmy Spurs

Uberti 1873 in .357 tuned by Longhunter or Cody Conhager

Browning BSS or SKB 12 gage SxS

 

You still gave to buy at least two sets of clothes, leather and reloading equipment and supplies.

You can build or buy a guncart.

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Didn't expect to come back from dinner with this much input! Much appreciated y'all!

Sorry if I didn't reply to everyone!

 

 

Howdy,

Sure I ll go first.

a 73 saddle ring carbine in 38 sp. case color mainframe.

Two ruger vaqueros in 38/357--stainless bead blasted

And a dubble barrel 12 gauge pick your maker....

And some nice leather with NO loops, just matching slides.

and if there is enuf left over, a spare 38 rifle.

A spare rifle is a good thing.

Best

CR

What do you mean by leather with no loops and just matching slides? Are you talking about the retention loops I see on some holsters?

 

Good advice - Rugers, a 73 Rifle and a good shotgun.

 

And as you have noticed it is best to buy the gun slicked up from a good smith.

 

Don't forget that good leather is also vital. A set up by folks such as Kirkpatrick, Mernicle and some relatively new or local folks such as Doc Nopper make great competition leather. You want the good stuff so the only limits are your own - not having to worry if the guns will work or the holster will close up, etc.

 

Go to a shoot and ask around as a final check before buying.

 

As to SxS or 97, either can be really fast. Many of the top shooters now use SxS shotguns. Generally an SKB SxS. If you are strong, you can also use a heavier gun such as a Baikel that is well tuned. Some of the top still us a 97.

 

The techniques for shotgun have evolved to where there is practically no difference between the pump and SxS. Some find they fumble less with one or the other. The 97 is slightly more complex design so it will need just a little more maintenance but can run well and fast for over a year before a part replacement is needed.

 

All of our guns will need a little maintenance after shooting a bunch like we do. A spring here, an ejector there, etc.

 

Welcome to the fun!!!

I will definitely look into all those leather makers. Would you also recommend El Paso Saddlery?

I'm glad to hear that SxS are also competitive. They look more enjoyable to me than a pump.

 

Jimmy Spurs Vaqueros.

Longhunter or Cody Conagher '73

Johnny Meadows SKB SG

I'll definitely look into those fellas. Thanks for the recommendation! Seems like most of these guys offer preworked revolvers, lever guns, and shotguns. I guess each gunsmith has their own strengths? And some may be more cost efficient for certain guns? I had briefly considered just getting everything from one person like Long Hunter or Cody.

 

Don't listen to any of them. Get yourself a pair of colts in 45. If you shop around, that's $3000. Then get a new Winchester 73 in 44-40. That's about $1300. $700 easily gets you a Johnny Meadows ttn hammered shotgun. You're good to go.

I seriously considered getting a pair of Colts in 45 along with a Winchester 73 in 45 as well. Colts and Winchesters are how I first fell in love with the old West. I'm sure I'll eventually end up with some... but they're so beautiful that I'd be worried about dropping or marring them up. And I'm not sure if I would send them out to get modified.

 

18 1/2 or 20" 1873 in 357- By Harlem Wolf.
Ruger vaqueros 357- Short stroke kit by Shotgun Boogie.
SKB SXS 12 g model 100 or 200- By Fast Eddie in GA.

These would be the absolute best and last you for ever.

Leather is your own preference just look at several from Kirkpatrick leather , Rod Keebler, Johnny Morris ......... the list could go on and on.

Welcome to SASS... it's the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

Slick

K... going to add those fellas to the list of people to also check out lol. Is Shotgun Boogie from Europe?? I must be googling wrong for Harlem Wolf as I didn't find a match.

 

Where are you from? Go to a local match, find a mentor.

If you want to be "competitive" you probaly want 38sp.

Hard to beat the Ruger Vaqueros. Couple if options on grips/hammers. You won't need a back-up

Rifle wise a 66 or 73, from Cody Conager or Long Hunter. I have both. I like the 66 more, but I think the 73 is probably better. If you get a 66 reinforce the loading gate.

Bakail SXS by Johnny Meadows. For another $1000 you can get the SKB.

Get quality leather from a cowboy leather maker. I got mine from Johnny Meadows, j-m leather. You have to decide on cross draw or double straight hang. I use cross draw, if I was starting over would probably go with double straight hang.

Don't forget a gun cart to haul everything around with. The Rugged Gear cart us hard to beat. The wood carts are easier to customize or "pretty up" but the Rugged Gear just works.

Then side match, long range, plainsman, Wild bunch.....

4.5 years ago I had 1 Glock 9mm. Got into CAS, Glock us long gone, I have 28 cowboy guns! I shoot 3 times/ month on average. Greatest bunch of guys you will ever meet!

Seems like everyone recommends the SKB SxS and the Baikal shotguns if SKB is too much money. I've never owned a SxS before, but it sounds like these are far higher quality than a Stoeger?

Cody Conager and Long Hunter both seem to be highly recommended, I'll definitely look into them more. Thanks for the advice on double straight hang holsters. I was wondering about that myself.

Good tip on the gun cart. I'm going to probably try using my 3 Gun cart since they're so similar.

 

Shotgun- Browning BSS, tuned for the sport.

Rifle- Uberti 1873 in .357 mag, tuned by Cody Conagher for .38 Specials.

Revolvers- Ruger Vaqueros, old or new models, whichever fit you best. Or Ruger Old Armies if you want to go into percussion revolvers.

That will use up your $4500. Mow some lawns and get Kirkpatrick holsters.

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll get my lawn mower out... it's still warm enough this year for me to get some business! Hahaha.

Any Ruger Vaquero will do? Was wondering if the SASS Ruger Vaqueros are even better. Problem is that they seem to be going for $1400-1500 for a pair on Gunbroker while Long Hunter offers modified versions for $1625.

Edited by FlashAndPoof

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"Any Ruger Vaquero will do? Was wondering if the SASS Ruger Vaqueros are even better. Problem is that they seem to be going for $1400-1500 for a pair on Gunbroker while Long Hunter offers modified versions for $1625. "

 

Mine are old model Vaqueros with light hammer springs and Super Blackhawk hammers that I installed myself and I'm not a gunsmith. Not saying you should do the same, but Rugers are pretty darn good out of the box. In my opinion cosmetic stuff doesn't improve your ranking.

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Didn't expect to come back from dinner with this much input! Much appreciated y'all!

Sorry if I didn't reply to everyone! ...

 

I seriously considered getting a pair of Colts in 45 along with a Winchester 73 in 45 as well. Colts and Winchesters are how I first fell in love with the old West. I'm sure I'll eventually end up with some... but they're so beautiful that I'd be worried about dropping or marring them up. And I'm not sure if I would send them out to get modified.

I very new to the sport, so far, so take this for what it's worth. I've been shooting Colt SAAs all my life, and one of the main reasons that I got into this sport was to shoot my Colts at something more than paper targets. I live in SoCal, so the days of being able to head up into the mountains or out to the desert for a day of casual shooting like I did "back in the day" is pretty much gone. Depending on how I'm feeling, I shoot either a pair of 2nd Gen .38s, or a pair of 3rd Gen .45s,, and one of these days I might break out a couple of 1st gens just for the heck of it. I shoot dualist so I'm not running the guns real hard, and they've all had action work by Jim Martin. One of these days I'd like to break out of the bottom third at a match, but speed is not the reason I so enjoy this sport.

So I guess it comes down to what your interest in CAS is; if it's to translate your 3 Gun experience into CAS, then most of the suggestions in the prior posts are the way to go, but if your interest is to play with the real thing and what initially spurred your interest in the Old West, then get the Colts and Winchester. When your guns eventually show some wear from use, it's nothing more than a sign of how much enjoyment that you've gotten out of them participating in this great sport.

Best regards,

Slate

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Definitely "shop around" and decide what you like. My dad's been in this for years, but I just started this year. I have some cheaper leather that gets the job done, borrow two .357 colt clones that feel amazing, and purchased my rifle over the summer as well as currently waiting on a shotgun for myself. So far my '73 in .45 was about $1250 out the door, plus about $150 on new parts, fitted and installed by yours truly. And the shotgun is going to be about another $700-$750 for an original '97 with action work. So far I've got a grand total of just over $2100 and that's including extras. You can no doubt get some good gear in your budget. I'd recommend posting and searching on the SASS wire classifieds when you decide what you want.

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I too got into this because I love Winchesters and Colts. I already had a example of both... And some Bianchi leather. But... I've been shooting that same 3rd Gen SAA in 45 for 30+ years... recently it got rebuilt and reblued. The second has only been getting used for about 20. The Colts were 1st tuned by Bob Munden, then by Oglesby... They've been modified by adding a wire bolt & trigger spring, Ruger coil spring & plunger for the hand, and reshaped mainsprings. I consider those mods necessary... you could run with stock guns, but they'll break rather soon, and usually at the most in-opportune time! Since the mods, I've not had either break during a match... knock on wood!

 

I still occasionally shoot the Stoeger SxS I started with, but like the TTN hammered doubles I added a couple of years ago, and probably use them more.

The Stoeger shotguns I use (20" & 26") are bone stock with just the chambers polished (to aid shuckin' empties) & the auto-safety feature disabled. Safety still works, but not automatically. The TTNs (same 20" & 26" bbl lengths), have been smoothed over, chambers polished and hammers de-burred.

 

I still occasionally use the 1873 Uberti in 45 I bought in 1987, but more often use the 18" Short Rifle 1873 I bought a couple of years ago. The Uberti rifles have recently had Whisper Springs added as lever and carrier springs, the lifter (carrier blocks), clearanced to reduce sluggishness when shooting BP, and run fine for a complete 10 stage match, or several monthlies using smokeless. Other'n that, they're stock.

 

I use a mishmash of leather gear... a belt built by a friend, 27 years ago... has 50 cartridge loops, but only a few ever get used, a 12gauge shotshell slide hold 6 round, and two lined holsters, of truly unknown origin. I know they're by different makers, as the stampings don't quite match. If you get the El Paso Saddlery gear, make sure to upgrade to lined holsters... they'll hold their shape far, far longer, and reholstering is a necessary skillset.

 

I too, heartily recommend you attend a couple of local matches, introduce yourself and let them know you're still researching what gear will best serve you. I will hope you're treated as well as the young fellar that showed up at our recent match, with a box of FMJ ammo, no rifle or shotgun. But, full of desire to learn and experience... we accommodated him! ;)

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I guess I will throw my two cents in while I'm here. I don't want you to get the wrong idea. It IS possible to love the old west, have an affection for the old guns, love the people and the spirit of the game and embrace the history of SASS AND be competitive all at the same time. The theme sometimes seems to be that if you are interested in the competition that somehow you are not here to have fun. In fact in my region it's the competitive shooters that drive the CAS economy, travel the most, go to more monthly matches and run and administrate matches. With that being said go to some matches and talk to everyone you can. Take a note pad with you. Don't underestimate local gun tuners. A Uberti 73',pair of Rugers and a quality SxS or 97's along with good quality leather designed for our game are all good places to start. I encourage to ask around, you rifle will need service from time to time (they ALL do) and if you can get it done locally all the better. Given your background in other shooting sports you know that reliable equipment that works well equals way more fun regardless of what level you want to be at. You will not find better friends or people. Good luck!

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This is a pic of the slide from Mernickle Custom Leather. It can be had in .357 or .45 size and the loops are made of heavy elastic - they hold your reloads securely but it's not difficult to pull one out as needed. Rarely does a shooter need more than one reload for a stage, and even then that's rare. This slide can be moved from belt to belt and if you get one for each caliber you can swap them out as needed if you shoot multiple calibers. You can also position the slide on either strong or weak hand side of the belt, or wear your buckle in the back and place the slide between your holsters.

hp1r2.jpg

I'm also a fan of their shotgun belt - same type of loops.

hpsg1ref1.jpg

And their Gunfighter Series holsters. Metal lined to hold the shape and not let the holster collapse after the draw. The High Performance Series is also metal lined and just slightly different on the cant and drop IIRC.

GF1REF1b.jpg

Mernickle (as most custom leather makers) does have a wait list. If this is the direction you want to go, or any cutom leather maker for that matter, try to find someone with an extra set of leather to let you borrow until your order arrives. This will also let you experience different holsters and determine what you want long term.

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As stated above try before you buy. Decide what Category you want to shoot and what personality you are. Those will help you decide what to get. $4500 is a nice budget unless you want all new and top of the line and depending on the Gunsmith.

 

73 can run from $1500 to $2200

Pistols from $1500 to $2200

Shotgun $600 for hammer gun to $2200 for a SKB

Holsters will run $500 plus

Shotgun belt $100 plus

Carts/misc. $100 plus

 

That being said if it was me and that was my budget.

 

$1500 codymatic(probably the most economical price for a cut and weld) 73 18" 1/2 rd 1/2 octagon barrel

 

$1400 set of colt clones. Colts/Clones feel different then Rugers. Try them.

 

Doc Noper rig and shotgun belt $700

 

TTN hammer gun with work $700. You can be very competitive with a hammer gun. Later if you want you can upgrade to an SKB. In truth I only changed because of a bad shoulder as it became harder to run the gun at top speed. There is something to be said winning with a hammer gun.

 

That gets you a good set around $4200 leaving you some money for a hat, cart etc.

 

If the budget was bigger probably would recommend diffrenly. But that imo is how I would spend it.

 

 

Again try,try,try then decide.

 

 

EMN

Edited by El Muerto Negro
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I seriously considered getting a pair of Colts in 45 along with a Winchester 73 in 45 as well. Colts and Winchesters are how I first fell in love with the old West. I'm sure I'll eventually end up with some... but they're so beautiful that I'd be worried about dropping or marring them up. And I'm not sure if I would send them out to get modified.

 

If you are seriously considering Colts, then I would recommend trying some out (like everyone else said about try before you buy) and then really considering them again. From personal experience, it is quite possible to spend a lot of money trying to find guns that are as close to Colts as possible and then end up with Colts anyway since nothing is close enough. You could save a lot of money just getting the Colts in the first place. However one chooses to play this game is entirely up to them and there are no wrong ways to play. It's just a game and none of it is even close to what real cowboys would have been doing. That being said, usually a decision is made regarding being as close to old west as possible, and being competitive. It's rare to see someone have both. These days, the game is geared toward speed, and short stroked rifles and pistols lead the way along with the smallest 38 bullet with the least amount of powder as possible. I have handled some of the short stroked rifles that make you wonder if you are even using a lever gun. And that's all fine. It isn't what I want out of the game. Some of us like to belch as much smoke and flame as possible. The most important question you can ask and answer for yourself is what it is you want to get out of the game. As for getting the guns scratched, dinged and marred up, that's going to happen no matter what guns you use eventually, and every single gun I have ever seen a sass shooter use was beautiful before and after the dings. I don't remember ever seeing a truly ugly gun while playing. That's the beauty of this game. The guns are all so very cool.

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If you are not already loading your own ammo make room in that budget for a reloading press. You might not save much money loading .223 and 9mm for Three Gun but you will with cowboy ammo.

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Ruger Vaqueros 4 5/8 inch barrels, 73 20 inch barrel, SKB double, both pistols and rifle in 357 to shoot 38 spls. Leather from Kirkpatrick. Have shotgun belt set up with double loops and 10 loops of 357/38 sewn so shells are half above the belt. Look closely at the Longhunter LH-05 Kirkpatrick rig with the metal reinforced body and loop over the belt to give some good separation from body to draw. This rig keeps it's shape forever. I had mine made so the top of the grip is at the top of the belt so I could also shoot B western if I wanted to. Have slide for pistol belt made to hold 357/38s just in case. Do not put any loops on back of belt or anywhere else, just on belt slide and shotgun belt as noted.

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I must be googling wrong for Harlem Wolf as I didn't find a match.

 

 

Try this -

Marshal Harland Wolff, SASS #5019

(you can PM him by searching for his profile, and sending a private message. He still does a little gunsmithing.)

 

A web page for him:

http://www.onsp.us/Profiles/5019.html

 

 

 

Shotgun Boogie originally from Germany, now from Southern California. Does a lot of gunsmithing.

 

Good luck, GJ

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