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H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619

Good for beginners/Not good for beginners

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Posted (edited)

 

Hey everyone.

 

A recent other thread asked if the 97 was good for beginners or not.

 

Without going back over that thread, it occurred to me that it might be helpful if there as a listing of things that do, or do not, make for good beginner guns, and the reasons why this is so in your opinion.

 

This would allow newbies to see a listing of several opinions on the matter and take it under advisement.   Note that everyone's opinion will be different, and what I am suggesting here is not what your favorite or most hated gun is, but a more generic commentary of if whatever firearm is a good selection for a beginner to use.

 

I'll start off with the following...

 

Good Revolvers:

Colt SAA/Ruger and other pistols that are similar in design and operation.   These are the backbone of the game and the most commonly seen things for a reason.

 

Revolvers to avoid:

Smith and Wesson top breaks.   As much as I personally like them, they do seem to have a higher learning curve, and might not be good for beginners.

Nagants are very much a novelty, and I feel best avoided until you are a bit more familiar with the game.

Merwin and Hulbert  Same as above

Bisley gripped Colts/Rugers.   I think they are very cool looking, and a lot of people greatly enjoy them, but for a newbie I feel the shape of the grip might be a bit awkward to learn with.

Although rare, since it is mentioned in the Shooters Handbook, I'll put the USFA Omni Potent in this category.  I do this because while I assume that they are as well made as anything else made by USFA, I know what they are.  They are for all intents and purposes, a single action version of the Colt 78 DA revolver.   I have one of those, and I can say without qualification that they are very awkward to cock and shoot SA mode.  I don't see how this can not be the same with the Omni Potent.

 

Shotguns to avoid: 

The 87.   I love it, I think it's great, and I think it takes a lot of work to master it.

 

Good Shotguns:

SxS's and the 97 have legions of fans.   I honestly don't think you can go wrong with either choice.   I will say that I am questionable on exposed hammers on a SxS for a newbie.

 

 

Rifles to avoid: 

Winchester 94  For all the usual reasons; it's a gun designed for long rifle cartridges and doesn't really work right with short pistol cartridges.

The Henry  Another great gun that I think is not good for newbies simply by virtue of it's complex loading method.

The Spencer  Similar to the Henry, it has an even steeper learning curve, and of course the 7 shot magazine might be frustrating for newbies to try to reload the thing on the clock to finish a string.

The Lightning.  Those of you who know me may be surprised to see me include this one here.   Yes, I think they are great, but I have to admit that there are well known "issues" with the gun.  I'd hate to see a newbie try one of these things and get frustrated by it and give up on the game.   But once you get to be more adventurous, then will be the time to hurry out and get one.

 

Rifles that are good:

Winchester 66, 73 and 92.   Depending on who you ask, you'll get differences of opinion on which is best but overall they are three excellent designs that will serve any shooter well.

 

Henry Big Boy   I can hear the howls of protest, but hear me out.   I'll say right up front that I don't like this gun.  But I have to admit that the one time I used one at a match as a loaner that it worked.  It gave me no problems and it hit where I aimed it.   Are there other things that are better, absolutely.  But it does work, and it would not harm a new shooter to use one.

 

Marlin  This one gets a big caveat.  While I am not partial to Marlins myself, I know they have many fans.   The reason for the caveat is very simple, many Marlin fans will tell you that depending on when and were the gun was made, it'll either be fantastic, horrific or somewhere in between.  I urge Marlin shooters to provide extra details that I am simply unfamiliar with.

 

Beyond that, you are getting into obscure antiques, and I'll refrain from commenting on them one way or the other.

 

 

Those are my opinions and suggestions.   They are just that, opinions and suggestions.  I encourage others to agree, disagree, clarify, qualify and offer alternative suggestions.   I feel that this could be a useful tool for new comers to our game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619
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Posted (edited)

Nice post.

 

 

We'll have to agree to disagree on the Henry Big Boy. My opinion is that rifle does more harm than good for our sport. I've seen a couple at a different matches, the owners were frustrated nearly every stage. More bad experiences are reported than good. Good American made guns, just not for CAS.

 

I would add that revolvers to avoid are:

1. Traditions/Pietta with transfer bars.

2. Uberti's with retractable firing pins.

3. Cap & Ball Revolvers. While the lower price is tempting, there are many other things for the new shooter to worry about and get used to besides loading cap & ball guns.

 

 

 

Lot's of us started with hammered doubles, I trust them more than single trigger Stoegers by a lot.

 

 

This is not to say that if someone already owns these "not recommended " guns that they shouldn't start with them, but it is a recommendation not to run out and buy them because they are cheap/available/cool.

 

Research, attend matches(if possible), make informed purchases, and trust those of us that have been doing this for a long time; we truly want new folks to be happy and play with us.

Edited by Tyrel Cody
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Posted (edited)

The Henry Big Boy tops my list of Not to buy ...

Lightnings ,,, Except those Chambered in .38-40 those Can be Slicker that snot .... 

Winchester 94s for main Match rifles , they work Ok in .38-55 , 32-40 ,.  32 Win. and .30-30 for Leveraction Longrange ....

94 Marlins made by Remington up to 2016 , better yet till 2019 .... So of the new ones just need a little Help, but not a Bunch ...

 

:P Anything chambered in .38 Special :D^_^

 

Jabez Cowboy

 

Edited by Jabez Cowboy,SASS # 50129

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I will only comment about the SG because I have seen so many good pistols by various manufacturer that I thought

would not be good but were actually fantastic shooters.

 

Although I love my 97's, for the beginner I would recommend they check out the SxS for their first SG.

And of course..... a 12 gauge.

 

..........Widder

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Oh no!  The first piece I own that qualifies for this is my Pietta.  Admittedly I was just looking for a single-action at the time and had no idea I would be looking at CAS a few months later.

 

Edited by locklear24

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Welcome to the Insanity.................

 

Jabez Cowboy

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Posted (edited)

Alluded to but not specifically mentioned.  Nothing in 20 gauge.  One of the dumber things I did 25 years ago was buy my wife a 20 gauge dbl for SASS.   She still has it and I still regret it.   Should have bought her a 12 gauge.     20s are smaller and lighter guns  but a 12 kicks less with the right ammo.

Edited by levi littleton
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Here's my .02.  

Rifles.  Stay away from the Henry's.  I have never seen one go through a match without breaking.  92's  decent starter rifle, but you're probably going to want to step up to a 66-73 so why not start with one.

 

Shotguns.  I've got SXS, 97s and 87s.  stay with a system you have experience and feel comfortable with.  Stay with 12 ga.  If you are uncomfortable with recoil, there are very light loads available.

 

Pistols.  You'll end up either a SAA clone fan or a Ruger fan.  Let your prejudices guide you. Won't really matter in the long run.

 

Caliber.  Stay with one of the common calibers to start. .38 spl/ .357 or .45 Colt. If you're recoil sensitive, stay with the .38 spl.  KISS.  Keep rifle and pistol in same caliber.  You'll be reloading later and makes it easier to reload and keep track of one caliber.Learn to say .45 Colt instead of .45 Long Colt.  It will save you unnecessary criticism later.

 

Reloading.  No matter what caliber you decide on, learn to reload.  Buy yourself one of the better progressives.  I prefer blue, but your opinion may vary.  

 

Leather.  Really good leather is expensive.  But you want good leather.  keep your eyes open for used deals.  You' find them here, on Ebay and other sites.  Don't be afraid to post in the want ads here that you a re a new shooter looking for equipment.  Stay with the top makers.  Too many to mention here, but stay away from the cheap stuff listed on Ebay from Mexico.

 

Costuming.  You don't have to go out and but a $500 set of clothes to start.  Jeans, a button down shirt, western style hat and Cowboy boots will get you started.  You can find stuff at surplus stores and make your own.  

 

Extra Credit.  Learn to say please and thank you.  Learn new skills related to your new hobby.  You can make a lot of your own stuff, whether it be gun carts, loading blocks or take up leather work and make your own holsters.  Nice when you can thank someone by gifting  something you made yourself.  

 

HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  If it's not fun, why are you still here?

 

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1 hour ago, locklear24 said:

Oh no!  The first piece I own that qualifies for this is my Pietta.  Admittedly I was just looking for a single-action at the time and had no idea I would be looking at CAS a few months later.

 

 

Which Pietta though?

 

Don't be discouraged, if it's one with a transfer bar it might be ok(they are known for breaking transfer bars);  they'll typically fix it under warranty. 

 

If no transfer bar, you've got a good one; I personally prefer Pietta over Uberti.

 

 

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My two cents.

 

If you're in the game to shoot fast I think it's important that you start with the best guns you can afford.  I know that some will say you can always upgrade later, but if you start with a 'less than optimal' gun, you're likely to pick up bad habits. 

 

A SxS shotgun that won't open with one hand and shuck easily can result in a shooter who gets in the habit of breaking the shotgun open with his off hand AND his strong hand, instead of having that off hand get used to going for his shells.  He may even start pulling the hulls out with his left hand. 

 

A rifle that isn't slicked up and short stroked can result in a shooter working the rifle so hard he has poor muzzle control.  The effort needed to make that long, rough throw carries over and is something that has to be overcome if the shooter upgrades to a race ready rifle.   On top of that some shooters develop a rhythm, then have to do it all over again when they upgrade.

 

Pistols are probably the least affected by this, but a long stiff trigger can result in pulling the gun and shooting left and low.   If the shooter gets used to that, then upgrades, his sight picture is likely to be wrong.

 

For those reasons I think a beginner who want to be a fast shooter should buy either an Uberti 66 or an Uberti 73 set up by a reputable CAS gunsmith.  If I were in the market, I would go with Lefty Wheeler.  A well set up JM Marlin would also be OK, but for me it would be a second choice.

 

Ruger Vaqueros, Single Sixes, or Blackhawks, there's nothing else being made right now that compares.  Easily the most popular pistols in SASS, for a reason.  Put in lighter springs and go for it, or splurge and get a race package.  The race package probably won't make much difference in speed, but a well set up revolver is a pleasure to shoot.

 

SKB SxS by Fast Eddie.  A well set up Stoeger or Baikal will do and probably won't cause bad habits to develop, but they are inferior guns compared to an SKB and the Stoeger will wear out sooner than either the SKB or the Baikal.  OR, take what you would have spent on the SKB and buy two 97's.  Unless the shooter has a category in mind that requires it they should stay away from hammered doubles and 87s.

 

All this is predicated on the idea that this is a new shooter whose goal is to be as fast as possible.

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