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Whiskey Hicks

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I'm a 36 year old on a budget, cutting down to work part-time while finishing my degree.  I just bought a Heritage Series matte black 1873 walnut gripped .45 LC manufactured by Pietta four months ago.  After I finally got some range time the last few days, my uncle told me a bit more about cowboy action shooting.  Honestly I have a few questions:

 

1) Will my matte black finish be ok?

2) Do I need to acquire firearms for all categories to begin or show up at a local club's match to learn more?

3) If I acquire a second single-action revolver, does it need to be the same model and caliber or can they vary?

 

I really hope to hear back from you all, and I'm excited to jump into this community.

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Howdy and welcome.  

 

49 minutes ago, locklear24 said:

I'm a 36 year old on a budget, cutting down to work part-time while finishing my degree.  I just bought a Heritage Series matte black 1873 walnut gripped .45 LC manufactured by Pietta four months ago.  After I finally got some range time the last few days, my uncle told me a bit more about cowboy action shooting.  Honestly I have a few questions:

 

1) Will my matte black finish be ok?   YES

2) Do I need to acquire firearms for all categories to begin or show up at a local club's match to learn more?  GO TO SOME MATCHES BEFORE BUYING ANYTHING

3) If I acquire a second single-action revolver, does it need to be the same model and caliber or can they vary? THEY DON'T HAVE TO BE THE SAME, SEE #2.

 

I really hope to hear back from you all, and I'm excited to jump into this community.

 

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I'm in the camp, which is very small, that says just get what you can afford and go to a shoot and SHOOT! You're gonna wind up buying other guns anyway sometime and going to a match first while it can be helpful can also be confusing. Everyone's going to tell you about THEIR firearms!!

 

JUST GO SHOOT!! Life's too short, have some fun! 

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Welcome to the sport.  Yes, we are a community.  I really miss the shooting sports while our local ranges are closed.  Take what guns you own to matches and shoot every gun offered for you for trial before buying anymore.  Since you are on a budget start shopping garage sales and gun shows for used reloading equipment.  A single stage press is a good start.  (You can reward yourself with a progressive press once you get that first good job and your income increases.)

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Since a budget is involved, the smart thing to do would be to attend some matches and look, watch and listen. What do most shooters use? What categories interest you? You will be offered chances to handle or shoot various guns. Many folks will happily discuss their opinions on what works and what doesn't and they might even reveal the mistakes they have made. The wire has a lot of postings that would be relevant or interesting to you. See the SASS rule books to explain things. There are a number of websites that go through how to get started. I was anxious to get started way back when and made a number of purchases I later regretted. A bit of patience can save you money, at least initially. Welcome.

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Welcome.  It may seem counterintuitive but it’s better NOT to purchase all the gear before getting started.  All too often folks end up buying the wrong gear or paying too much.  
 

In my area clubs are eager to help new shooters.  Some clubs have designated “loaner gear” but more often other shooter step up to lend and share with new folks.

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I'm somewhat older, also on a budget, and also a newbie in this game. I'm so new to it that I have a basic cowboy outfit and an empty cart.

 

This is not a cheap sport to get into, but the folks I have met have been more than willing to share a few rounds for you to run their guns. In some cases, it's their "loaner guns."

 

That said, I see two approaches to getting into the game. Buy once, cry once. Or buy twice cry twice. This does not mean you or I will not change guns over time as our interests change, it means not to buy something you already know you are not happy with or something you don't even know you if it will bring happiness.

 

So yes, shoot others' guns to sort out what works for you.

 

And since you are on a budget, consider ammo cost very carefully before jumping in. Cowboy requires lead ammo, not the cheap copper jacketed. You will likely find reloading makes the sport more affordable. At least that is how the numbers are turning out for me. It may take a year to break even on a reloading setup but the savings can be significant.

 

And even if you don't have all of the guns to shoot cowboy, you can shoot most of them in Steel Challenge (pistols or rifles in pistol calibers, rifles must be side gate, cowboy wear encouraged). And you can shoot FMJ in that sport so if the range lets you collect your brass (have heard proper attire makes the delay to police your brass more acceptable); that is a good way to get a leg up for reloading as your collected brass is then essentially free.

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working on a budget is tough but doable. if you have prior experience with our types of firearms it can really help stick to a budget. If not then get to a few matches and talk to folks. They will point you in the direction of the best deals in your area while letting you get a feel for what works best for you equipment wise.

 

I always tell new folks to get to some matches and talk to the shooters and get a feel for what they like and works for them. I didnt. I had most of what I needed to start because I was already a gun nut and liked wild west type guns. My funds are limited like a lot of peoples but I'm always getting something else to play with. I've never understood the buy once cry once theory. Just buy it and dont bother to cry lol.  I know what I like and still buy things that i've never really tried just to see. But that's me. If you're really wanting to just play the game and are limited on funds here's my suggestion. Stay out of the costume categories. The outfits can set you back dearly not to mention restrictions on guns and calibers that can be used. Go with 38's because the cost of store bought ammo is much lower and if you reload components are also cheaper. Go to the matches even if you dont have all your gear. call the match director and let him know you're gonna be there to watch/ask questions. Take what you have. odds are someone will put the rest of what you need out there to try. Often you can find great deals on used gear that will work for you at a discounted price. I think I only have 1 or 2 pairs of pistols that were bought new the rest came from cowboys that upgraded or was making room in their safe. 

 

If you reload it will save you a lot of money in the long run. The average monthly match will require 50-60 pistol rounds, 50-65 rifle rounds, and 25+ shotgun rounds. average cost of "cowboy rounds" when purchased from a retail outlet near me is about $36 for a box of 50 .45 colts and $28 for a box of 38's. of course there's cheaper alternatives and prices vary around the country and online retailers etc. walmart special shotshells will run about $6 a box. I reload for way less than half those cost for rifle/pistol. 

 

anyways that's my ramblings on the subject. hope some of it made sense to someone. 

 

T.F. Jack

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Here is how I would answer your questions...

 

1) Will my matte black finish be ok?

Sure.  You can have any kind of a a finish on your guns that you want.

 

2) Do I need to acquire firearms for all categories to begin or show up at a local club's match to learn more?

Some categories require specific guns.   If you want to shoot B Western, for example, you need a Winchester 92.  When all is said and done, you need 2 revolvers, a rifle that fires pistol ammunition, and a SASS legal shotgun.  You have a lot of options in those overall requirements.  Going to a match with what you have and seeing if anyone will loan you things to try is one good way to learn what you do an do not like.

 

3) If I acquire a second single-action revolver, does it need to be the same model and caliber or can they vary?

No.   When I first started this game, my pistols were .45 Colt and .38 S&W and my Rifle was .44 Special.  It is "easier" for all three guns to be in the same caliber, but there is no requirement for them to be so.   Just pay careful attention as you are loading, and all will be well.

 

Best thing to do is get what you like.   If that means waiting and spending a little extra, you are better off doing that than in getting getting something less expensive that you don't enjoy and will have to eventually replace.

Of course, the "dangerous" part of this game is that it can cause your gun collection to grow exponentially.   If I wanted to, I could provide guns for 8 or 9 shooters, without them having to share.   Beware of that!

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You don't list where you're located.  Are you planning on joining SASS?  Chances are there are folks on here that are in your area so you can talk to them directly.

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4 hours ago, Tequila Shooter said:

You don't list where you're located.

 

His profile says he's from Martinsville, Ohio.  I'm sure there are SASS clubs in his area.

 

OP, go to matches, ask questions and shoot what you are offered from the other cowboys before you buy, most of all have fun. 

 

AG

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7 hours ago, Rye Miles #13621 said:

I'm in the camp, which is very small, that says just get what you can afford and go to a shoot and SHOOT! You're gonna wind up buying other guns anyway sometime and going to a match first while it can be helpful can also be confusing. Everyone's going to tell you about THEIR firearms!!

 

JUST GO SHOOT!! Life's too short, have some fun! 

I’m in this same camp. While I probably would have saved a lot of money had I bought the guns I have now first, I have no regrets on the cost it took getting here. The only regret I have is that I didn’t start playing this game sooner. 

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6 hours ago, H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619 said:

Here is how I would answer your questions...

...

2) Do I need to acquire firearms for all categories to begin or show up at a local club's match to learn more?

Some categories require specific guns.   If you want to shoot B Western, for example, you need a Winchester 92.  

...


That is NOT the only option according to the BW regs:

Quote

B-Western/Lady B-Western Category

B-Western shooting category carries rules and guidelines for both costuming/leather and firearm usage.

Firearm Rules: - Any main match revolver may be used.

- Revolvers may be shot in any SASS legal shooting style, at the shooters discretion.

- Rifles: Any SASS legal rifle of 1880 or later design or a replica thereof (e.g., Burgess, Lightning Rifle, 1892, 1894 Winchester or Marlin). 

 

SHB p.8

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1 hour ago, Arizona Gunfighter said:

 

His profile says he's from Martinsville, Ohio.  I'm sure there are SASS clubs in his area.

 

OP, go to matches, ask questions and shoot what you are offered from the other cowboys before you buy, most of all have fun. 

 

AG

 

Ahhh, he's changed his profile since his original posting.  Much better now that we know where he's at.

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Of course you know that Cap & Ball revolvers are cheaper than cartridge and in many states they don't have to ship to an FFL.  Added benefit = black powder 'nough said.

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First, Welcome to Cowboy Action shooting.

 

Second, What Tequila Shooter said X2.

 

If you are on a budget, you'll want to buy stuff the way you like it the first time around.  Try stuff out.  Your closest club will help you.  Once you get inside the club, you'll start finding deals on guns and equipment.  People who have extra stuff or who are getting out of the game will step up deals.  Searches on this site and other sites related to our sport will offer deals.  Look for freebies or make you own clothing to get started.

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2 hours ago, Tequila Shooter said:

Of course you know that Cap & Ball revolvers are cheaper than cartridge and in many states they don't have to ship to an FFL.  Added benefit = black powder 'nough said.

As a muzzleloader shooter, it gets smoky enough shooting a flinter... I have never shot my revolvers fast enough to make a smoke cloud but have seen it. Must slow things down a bit. LOL And yes, real BP is captivating.

 

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3 hours ago, Tequila Shooter said:

Of course you know that Cap & Ball revolvers are cheaper than cartridge and in many states they don't have to ship to an FFL.  Added benefit = black powder 'nough said.

Not always. I’ve got more into this pair than I many of the colt clones I have. But hey they sure are fun

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I know that you are not going to like hearing this, and I don't like saying it, but STOP. Don't but anything else.  45 was probably not the best choice. Reducing your income and buying cowboy action shooting gear don't go together.

 

I'm not saying to give up and walk away, I'm saying like others have said. Go to matches, talk to everyone you can, and accept their offer the borrow their guns. This will allow you get "educated" in CAS so when you get that degree and your income increases, you'll have a real good handle on what you should get. 

 

I didn't start until I was in my early 50's. So, at 36, you have plenty of time to enjoy CAS.

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Welcome to the Fun ,, From North Of the Medicine Line ...

Go to matches and enjoy the folks ...

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7 hours ago, Arizona Gunfighter said:

His profile says he's from Martinsville, Ohio.  I'm sure there are SASS clubs in his area.

If thats where I'm thinking it is he's got several clubs all within an hour of him. Including the places that host the NE territory BP championship and the Ohio State championship. Lots of great cowboys and ranges over that way. 

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5 hours ago, Tequila Shooter said:

Of course you know that Cap & Ball revolvers are cheaper than cartridge and in many states they don't have to ship to an FFL.  Added benefit = black powder 'nough said.

Ehhh I hate to say it being a BP shooter myself but the only thing cheaper is the pistols themselves and if you buy used cartridge guns you can get them for about the same price as new cap guns. Round for fired round cap guns cost more to shoot. Round balls cost more than cast lead conical projectiles, caps cost more than primers, most folks are going to use a wad so there's an added expense, lots of folks are going to use a lube like bore butter to help keep fouling soft and that's an additional cost. Also BP vs smokeless powder it cost more to shoot. Using the minimum required powder charge for sass BP categories is about 3x-5x the amount of powder you'd use for the same caliber in a smokeless cartridge. I shoot BP because I enjoy it not because it's cheaper. But saving a few bucks was part of why I did cartridge conversions on my cap guns and started making my own powder.  YMMV but that's how I see it. 

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Go to several matches, talk to folks, ask questions.  After a while you will be drawn to a category and then start gathering guns and such.  Thrift stores are great for costumes.  Look at pictures from the old west, most folks wore hand me downs, or what they could find for cheap.  Don’t think I ever saw two that looked alike.  Most folks understand getting started on a budget and will be eager to help.  Welcome to be best group of folks you can ever hope to meet.  Come to Alabama and I will let you shoot the slowest and most inaccurate guns in SASS(I will give you bullets too!)

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You've got Three of the best Sass Clubs in southwestern Ohio within 1.5 hr of you. #1 the Big Iron Rangers,they shoot at Middletown Sportsmens Club. #2 Greene County Cowboys, they shoot at Greene County Fish and Game, and #3 the Miami Valley Cowboys, they shoot at Piqua Fish and Game. You can play at least 3 weekends a month here. For match and contact info you can find all that on the Sass home home page. Come to one of the matches watch ask all the questions you want. I wouldn't be surprised at all if you didn't find a great deal, on what you need, or at least an idea.

 Prof James Weed Nish #107206

 

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