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Diablo Blanco

Non-matching Revolver Barrel Lengths

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I'm getting started in cowboy action shooting and am trying to decide what setup and equipment to go with. Are there any shooters who use revolvers with different barrel lengths? I was given a beautiful Colt SAA with a 7 1/2" barrel by my father that shoots great, and was thinking of getting a matching Uberti clone to go with it. But wondering if maybe I shouldn't get one with a shorter barrel since they're easier to find and cheaper. Also wondering about drawing a longer barreled piece, I'm 6' and proportioned normally, can I get a good draw with a couple of 7.5"?

>that's the SAA with another gift, I know, I know, I'm spoiled 

20181209_212136.jpg

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I have a 5.5 inch barrel on one revolver  and a 4.75 inch on the other.  I shoot cross draw and find it easier to pull the longer barreled gun out of the cross draw holster.  With the shorter barrel in the holster that is straight upright, it seems easier to clear the holster with the shorter barrel.

 

I see cowboys with long barreled guns with two strong sided holsters but they ain't very fast on the draw with them.  It's really sort of what you like and are comfortable with.

 

Dr. O. R.

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Two of the fastest GunFighters know (and have the pleasure of shooting with) are Lassiter & Cripple Creek Kid

Both shoot 7-1/2 guns, and both are champion shooters.

Yes, you might be faster if you had shorter barrels on your gun, but, at least to me, CAS is about shooting what I love.

Only a handful of folks will be speed demons anyway, so why start out with competing with them in mind. 

So you are a second or two slower shooting your father's gift and a matching mate.

Who cares???

If it makes you leave the stage with a grin on your face and a warm heart, it's more than worth it (IMHO)

Be safe & have fun!

--Dawg

 

PS:

Thunder Creek Kid is selling a blued 7-1/2 colt as I write this:

 

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You probably won't get much shooting in till the spring time.

If I were you I would look around for a good shotgun and a rifle before picking out that second pistol.

Pistols are more of a "I like the feel of this one" gun.

Then as soon as you can, get to a local club and bring what you got. Let the cowboys loan you there guns and fondle them and see what you "feel" you like best. If the ladies will excuse me..... It's all about the curves and they fit your hand. The length of the barrel matters not when it comes to love.

 

 

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With proper holsters the difference in drawing between barrel lengths is tenths of a second.   If your wearing holsters high and straight id go with a shorter barrel. 

  As for different barrel lengths,  it really doesn't matter.  I  shot for over year with different lengths and I know many who still do 

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Whichever barrel length you do decide to go with I would highly recommend getting all your holsters fitted for the longer barrel. 

 

I first started with a pair of 4-3/4" and already had a set of Tom Threeperson style holsters for that barrel length.  Then I got a good deal on a pair of 5-1/2" but needed new leather.  Now I shoot a pair of Navies with 7-1/2" and Armies with 8" barrels.

 

As other guys already said, proper leather makes barrel length a bit of a moot point so just go with whatever you like the feel of.

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6 hours ago, Dr. O. R. Vet said:

I have a 5.5 inch barrel on one revolver  and a 4.75 inch on the other.  I shoot cross draw and find it easier to pull the longer barreled gun out of the cross draw holster.  With the shorter barrel in the holster that is straight upright, it seems easier to clear the holster with the shorter barrel.

 

I see cowboys with long barreled guns with two strong sided holsters but they ain't very fast on the draw with them.  It's really sort of what you like and are comfortable with.

 

Dr. O. R.

Howdy Dr., I do the opposite, I have my 4 3/4" in my crossdraw and my 5 1/2" in my straight holster. What you said has me thinking now!! Maybe I'll try and switch!;)

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My favorite combination is a 4-3/4" Colt on my left and a 5.5" on my right.   

 

My oddest combination is a 12" Buntline on my left, and a 3" Sheriff's on my right.

 

That's admittedly a novelty done for fun about once a year, not a serious attempt.   I have several pairs of pistols, and if I stay with them both being the same caliber, the only ones with the same barrel length are pair of 7.5" Colts.   Most of the time by barrels are of different lengths.    Sometimes not even the same revolver type.   Shoot what works for you and have fun.  :)

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CAS is not really about drawing quickly and the difference in drawing speeds between different barrel lengths is fractions of a second (well maybe not with a Buntline!).   The real advantage of a shorter barrel is in RE-holstering.  

 

Historically holsters were were designed to either be secure or to permit a quick draw.  Since there was no urgency in a quick re-holster, not much thought was given to how quickly a gun could be returned to leather.  As far as I know, CAS is the only shooting sport that requires re-holstering on-the-clock.  Even with the flared mouths of SASS-type holsters, a shorter barreled gun is quicker and easier to re-holster.

 

But there are a lot of other things that are more important than either drawing or re-holstering.  Such as being able to use your Dad’s gun in matches.

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Howdy

 

Conventional wisdom is to have both of your pistols be identical. Same caliber and same barrel length. These factors will usually help a shooter shoot his fastest times. Generally speaking these identical pistols will usually have either 4 3/4" or 5 1/2" barrels.

 

Not being a conventional shooter, and not caring a whit about how fast I shoot, I have shot two mismatched 2nd Gen Colts as my main match pistols for many years. The one on top has a 7 1/2" barrel, the one at the bottom has a 4 3/4" barrel.

 

SecondGens_zps1cfdcbb0.jpg

 

 

 

 

I learned a long time ago that trying to draw the 7 1/2" Colt from a high riding strong side, straight hang holster was next to impossible without getting my elbow caught in my armpit.

 

The rig I have been using for many years has the short pistol on my right in a conventional Duke style holster. I wear the longer barreled Colt on my left side, in a conventional Duke style holster worn butt forward. This allows me to draw the longer pistol cross draw without getting my arm tangled up.

 

Duke%20Rig%2002_zpsomylbkzk.jpg

 

 

 

 

"But there are a lot of other things that are more important than either drawing or re-holstering.  Such as being able to use your Dad’s gun in matches. "

 

 

I agree completely!

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Use what you like and what feels good. Blackwater occasionally shoots different pistols for each stage and side to side for a whole match. Long guns too. I shoot very different pistols for Josie Wales, 4 5/8" Ubertis for pistol targets, 6 1/2" Rugers for rifle targets and a 10 1/2" Ruger SBH for shotgun targets. It engages the brain a little more and helps focus . Enjoy your Pa's pistol. I have one like it only Nickeled and a Pietta twin . The 7 1/2" barrels make for more interesting draw and reholstering.

Welcome to the game...now go get yourself a good hat.

 

Imis

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8 hours ago, Dr. O. R. Vet said:

I have a 5.5 inch barrel on one revolver  and a 4.75 inch on the other.  I shoot cross draw and find it easier to pull the longer barreled gun out of the cross draw holster.  With the shorter barrel in the holster that is straight upright, it seems easier to clear the holster with the shorter barrel.

 

Dr. O. R.

I also have mismatched revolvers. I got a great deal on a used 7.5 in 75 Remington and bought the second one in 5.5 in. I also use the longer one as my crossdraw. I find it easier to draw and holster. Ok, ok... I did take the plunge and got two matched 4 5/8 Vaqueros. The Rems were takin a beating.

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My daughter is 5' tall. She uses 2- 7.5" Colt Clones, with regular traditional holsters ,no drop. If she can do it, you should be able to. I originally bought her shorter guns but once she shot these she was hooked. She felt they were easier to aim and recoiled less. She also shoots BP with 44-40.

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I shoot 7" barrels except when i shoot my 10" replica of Wyatt Earp's Bunltine from the mivie Tombstone.  I also occasionally shoot my Spencer carbine in matches.  Of course, I come in dead-last in every match.  I shoot the guns I enjoy shooting, and I don't care about speed.

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I shoot black powder .45s Gunfighter style with a 4-3/4" revolver in my strong (right) hand and a 5-1/2"" in my left (weak) hand. I find that I am more accurate with the longer barrel in my weak hand. I have shot many different models and lengths over the years and have settled on this combination.

 

As I have done, you should do a lot of competition until you find what works for you.

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I think Deuce Stevens, one of the absolute fastest Cowboy Action shooters in the world, has gone to using 7 1/2" barrels.

 

Found a video of him shooting his 7 1/2"ers.

 

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I shoot a 5 1/2" strong side and either a 4 3/4" cross draw on my belt or a 3 1/2" in a shoulder rig. Just depends on how I'm feeling

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I use a 7.5” and a 4&3/4” pair of Colts.

7FB20721-305D-4C92-A83A-74D951471206.jpeg

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A Colts 7 1/2" and 5 1/2" . Longer one in a cross draw.  I used to shoot two 7 1/2", but the strong side draw was getting harder on the shoulder .

 

I can shoot in the low 30s if the wind cooperates. 

 

 

And I don't screw up.

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I shot Mis-Matched Revolvers all the time for the first 15 years in this Game .... Now I have a matching set of Open-Tops 7 1/2 inch barrels with Navy Grips in .44 Colt/Spl.

that I shoot most of the time ...

But then I have shot One Revolver in .38 Spl. ,, one in .45 Colt and a Rifle in .38-40 and a hammered Double in 16 ga. in the same match ....

 

I have also shot the Canadian Nationals using 5 different rifles in .45 Colt and 3 different shotguns and mis-matched Revolvers one 4 5/8 and the other 5 1/2  inch in .45 Colt ,,,, On purpose ....

 

Have Fun and Shoot what Pleases YOU !!!

 

Jabez Cowboy

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When I first started I was shooting gunfighter with a 5.5” ruger and an 8” Remington. So not only different barrel lengths, but different guns entirely. These days I try to keep it the same if I’m shooting gunfighter, but god classic cowboy anything goes. My three favorite combos are schofield and 5.5” open top (crossfire trail), 7.5” colt with open top (Appaloosa), or Walker with a 62 pocket police. I guess the latter is the most extreme

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13 minutes ago, Jabez Cowboy,SASS # 50129 said:

I shot Mis-Matched Revolvers all the time for the first 15 years in this Game .... Now I have a matching set of Open-Tops 7 1/2 inch barrels with Navy Grips in .44 Colt/Spl.

that I shoot most of the time ...

But then I have shot One Revolver in .38 Spl. ,, one in .45 Colt and a Rifle in .38-40 and a hammered Double in 16 ga. in the same match ....

 

I have also shot the Canadian Nationals using 5 different rifles in .45 Colt and 3 different shotguns and mis-matched Revolvers one 4 5/8 and the other 5 1/2  inch in .45 Colt ,,,, On purpose ....

 

Have Fun and Shoot what Pleases YOU !!!

 

Jabez Cowboy

I shot a match at Simms a few years back with 24 different guns, and not only 24 different guns, but 24 different dedicated cartridges/gauges, meaning I didn't shoot .44 mag in a revolver, then switch to .44 spl in the same gun the next stage, or shoot .45 Colt in a rifle, then again in a revolver. Nor did I shoot .38 spl in a gun chambered for .357 or .44 spl in a gun chambered for .44 mag, and so on. With the posse and MD's approval, I used .410 and 28g shotguns, in addition to 20g, 16g, 12g, and 10g. I know @Charlie Whiskers and @Crusty were there... maybe a couple others who frequent the Wire...

Dang near a clean match too, ONE daggum miss!

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I did for years but IMO it wasn't good for me. I don't mind really any length I shot 7 1/2 and now I shoot 4 4/5. I even shot 5 inch Rugers for a while...…..lol.

 

I just don't like two different lengths because it changes the feel when I transition the targets. I might be more sensitive too me than others but I could feel it. 

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Welcome to the game, Diablo!

 

Good gifts you've got there - anyone in your family looking to adopt a full-grown son??

 

As has been said before, there's room in this game to go anyway you want.  Some of the advice about maintaining consistent calibers and similar sight radius is quite good if you want things to be simple, efficient and quick.  That being said, if you're like some of us who just want to "play cowboy" then you can pretty much bring whatever you like.  I've seen some folks who've not only mis-matched barrels, but even mis-matched cap 'n ball with cartridge.  

 

Personally, I prefer long barrels.  I'm tall like you, and never have a problem fitting them on my frame.  I guess they could take a bit longer to draw, but I don't really worry about that either.  If history is of concern for you, in most old photos you'll view from the heyday of the cattle drives, long barrels are more represented than shorter ones.  If I was in your boots, I'd be very tempted to pick up another nickel .45 with 7 1/2 barrel and be a dandy!

 

Whatever way you go, be sure to have fun.  And if you change your mind, then you have an excuse to buy more toys! :D

 

On ‎12‎/‎19‎/‎2018 at 9:58 AM, Cypress Sam, SASS #10915 said:

Historically holsters were designed to either be secure or to permit a quick draw.  Since there was no urgency in a quick re-holster, not much thought was given to how quickly a gun could be returned to leather.  As far as I know, CAS is the only shooting sport that requires re-holstering on-the-clock.  Even with the flared mouths of SASS-type holsters, a shorter barreled gun is quicker and easier to re-holster.

 

But there are a lot of other things that are more important than either drawing or re-holstering.  Such as being able to use your Dad’s gun in matches.

 

And usually the former, more so than the latter, which is why most original gun leather is softer and lighter-weight than what we've got today: it gripped the piece!

 

20 hours ago, Badlands Beady said:

I shoot 7" barrels except when i shoot my 10" replica of Wyatt Earp's Bunltine from the mivie Tombstone.  I also occasionally shoot my Spencer carbine in matches.  Of course, I come in dead-last in every match.  I shoot the guns I enjoy shooting, and I don't care about speed.

 

Yes, to THAT!

 

 

Keep your powder dry,

 

Wild Ben

 

 

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I use different barrel lengths.  By no means whatsoever am I fast, but that's more me than the equipment.

 

Pistol #1 is a 10" buntline that is carried in a shoulder holster.  Makes for easier draw with such a long barrel (after the appropriate SASS dance to not break 170).  Other pistol is either a schofield or Ruger Bisley OMV.

 

 

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13 hours ago, J Bar Binks, #47015 said:

I shot a match at Simms a few years back with 24 different guns, and not only 24 different guns, but 24 different dedicated cartridges/gauges, meaning I didn't shoot .44 mag in a revolver, then switch to .44 spl in the same gun the next stage, or shoot .45 Colt in a rifle, then again in a revolver. Nor did I shoot .38 spl in a gun chambered for .357 or .44 spl in a gun chambered for .44 mag, and so on. With the posse and MD's approval, I used .410 and 28g shotguns, in addition to 20g, 16g, 12g, and 10g. I know @Charlie Whiskers and @Crusty were there... maybe a couple others who frequent the Wire...

Dang near a clean match too, ONE daggum miss!

 

  When I 1st started I was shooting a 5 1/2" OMV Ruger and a 1975 Remington 7 1/2" reproduction. I added a 7 1/2" OMV later all in 44-40. Plus a 1866 Yellowboy 24inch and a 1873 24inch rifles also 44-40. I just liked the 2 barrel length's when shooting revolvers. I ended up switching to 38/357 calibers (cheaper to shoot) and sold my OMV's to J Bar Binks along with a 66 rifle to help my switch over to 38's. I did the same when I went to the 38's. One 5 1/2" colt clone  and One 7 1/2" 1875 Remington. Since then I've been shooting assorted length open top conversions. Shoot what you like and have fun with what you choose.

  J Bar didn't mention him shooting an 18 inch Buntline; now that was a hoot to watch him draw that. He was yodeling the whole time trying to get it drawn. :lol:

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On 12/19/2018 at 9:37 AM, H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619 said:

My favorite combination is a 4-3/4" Colt on my left and a 5.5" on my right.   

 

My oddest combination is a 12" Buntline on my left, and a 3" Sheriff's on my right.

 

That's admittedly a novelty done for fun about once a year, not a serious attempt.   I have several pairs of pistols, and if I stay with them both being the same caliber, the only ones with the same barrel length are pair of 7.5" Colts.   Most of the time by barrels are of different lengths.    Sometimes not even the same revolver type.   Shoot what works for you and have fun.  :)

Saw Longshot Logan shoot that combo at a match in RI. But then, he had a bit of a sense of humor. Anybody have one of his Photoshops to post?;)

Of course, the match was Blazing Saddles-themed.

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I've paired up a 3 1/2" 1873 Cattleman with an 18" Buntline before. :lol: Kind of fun to use the 18" holster for the shorty, and see the reactions when you draw.

Buntline2.jpg

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I guess it sounds like I wouldn't be too out of place with mismatched revolvers, now it just comes down to personal taste. A good-looking pair or a little variety? Maybe I'll worry about the rifle first haha

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I don't think anyone mentioned this yet . . . go to matches in your area and the cowboys there will let  you try out their guns.

 

See what you like and works for you.

 

you also could run across some guns for sale--cowboys do sell there--but only to be able to buy new ones

 

down here in The Republic we have guns and leather to loan new folks so they can try out the sport without having to spend $$

 

Best of luck and remember to keep asking questions

 

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YWe tried to get J Bar Binks to shoot Gunfighter with his Walkers!  The 24 different gun story did happen the way he said and it was a hoot to watch!

 

We were real sympathetic when he missed!:D

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2 hours ago, Cheyenne Ranger, 48747L said:

I don't think anyone mentioned this yet . . . go to matches in your area and the cowboys there will let  you try out their guns.

 

See what you like and works for you.

 

you also could run across some guns for sale--cowboys do sell there--but only to be able to buy new ones

 

down here in The Republic we have guns and leather to loan new folks so they can try out the sport without having to spend $$

 

Best of luck and remember to keep asking questions

 

5a6f7612de843_CheyenneRanger-PosseMember.JPG.a172a713ac9eb5d112ebc9f4553f71b4.JPG.8857c0d31e3ecfa5268fa6f8021955e0.JPG

I guess I should've mentioned, my parents both got into SASS after I moved out, but I shot their stuff whenever I visited home. Dad used Colts with 7 1/2" and Mom used Rugers with 5 1/2". I like both plenty, which makes my decision tricky lol

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Shoot whatever length feels good to you.  We have champions in SASS that shoot different length barrels.  Some even cut their barrels to fit what feels good to them.  You cannot go wrong.  Have fun!

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8 hours ago, Crusty said:

YWe tried to get J Bar Binks to shoot Gunfighter with his Walkers!  The 24 different gun story did happen the way he said and it was a hoot to watch!

 

We were real sympathetic when he missed!:D

 

24 different guns?   Hmmm...

 

Last year at the MA/CT/RI Tristate match, I used different pistols on just about every stage.   The stages were themed had a Cowboy songs themes, and one of the them was, perhaps naturally, based on the old Marty Robbins tune, "Big Iron."   Since I did not yet have the conversion cylinder for my Dragoon, I paired a converted Walker with the Buntline on that stage.

 

On a stage based on Back in the Saddle Again, based on the line in the song about "totin' my old .44" I used a 1st Gen Colt and a S&W New Model 3.

 

On a stage based on Lorne Green's Ringo, which has a line about "The deadly .44" I used an Uberti clone in .44 Magnum.   (Don't remember what I paired it with.)

 

Etc...

 

So, there is nothing wrong with using guns the don't match.   :) 

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