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Dirty Dutch Brody

Cowboy action pistols for Females.

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So I'm Very new to the sport of Cowboy action shooting. My wife joined me at a shoot this past weekend and she thinks she would like to join as well. She is pretty familiar with firearms and shoots a few times a year. She has shot my cowboy guns and her only complaint is how heavy my pistols are. I have a pair of older style matching vaqueros. So we are curious if anyone has some recommendations of a few pistols we could look into for her that might be a little lighter?   

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The Rugers, new or old will be heavier than an Italian SAA.  I'd suggest that she goes to a couple of matches and see what she likes and what fits her hands.  A couple of things to see if she likes would be standard, Bisley or birdshead grips and of course different calibers.  

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Ruger Single Six .32s are no longer made but available used.  Cimmaron sells Lightning and Model P Jr. revolvers.  I know ladies that shoot the Ruger and the Cimmaron models.  If your wife can hold and shoot these she will find her preference.  BTW, the .32 H&R mag cartridge can be easily loaded to take down properly-calibrated knockdown targets.

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Take her back and let her try someone's Vaqueros in .45.

 

Colt style .357s are also a little lighter if anyone at the club is shooting them. New Piettas are very good.

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Posted (edited)

First and most important buy what SHE likes and wants. Not what you think she should have. I always ensure that my wife's guns are 100% even if that means that mine have to take a back burner.

 

As TS stated Uberti and Pietta clones are a lot lighter than your OM vaqueros.

 

Both Cimarron and Taylors import a SAA clone that is about 75% the size of a standard SAA. The are available in 32 and 38 special, can be had with plow handle or birds head grips and at least 3 barrel lengths..

My wife has a pair of P jrs 38 special with the plow handle grips that she likes because they fit her smaller hands and are very light. She tried birds head grips and didn't care for them.  Because they are lighter felt recoil is more but with light loads my wife doesn't mind the recoil.

BTW The same lighter spring kits that fit a SAA will fit the smaller frame pistols. You may have to shorten the hammer spring a 1/8th inch or so but this is easy to do with a grinder. 

Edited by Sedalia Dave
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I bet more than one of the ladies at your next shoot would be delighted to let her shoot a stage with their guns.  Give her a chance to learn from them.

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7 minutes ago, Sedalia Dave said:

First and most important buy what SHE likes and wants. Not what you think she should have. I always ensure that my wife's guns are 100% even if that means that mine have to take a back burner.

 

The best advice of all posted.  Beside the matches,  it's a good excuse to go shopping.  

 

Don't assume you need a downsized revolvers or go to minimum calibers .  Sawmill Mary shoots Smokewagons in 44WCF with no problems.  

 

596a19d3b7415_CimarronLightningJuly2017.jpg.6974515bedefee8d20ec18c91f5fb7b9.jpg

 

I have a pair of Cimarron Lightning in 32 and extra 32WCF cylinders.   I find the recoil sharp when just shooting the 32 short with light loads due to their light weight. 

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Just now, J-BAR #18287 said:

I bet more than one of the ladies at your next shoot would be delighted to let her shoot a stage with their guns.  Give her a chance to learn from them.

^^^^THIS^^^^

 

Most wives are more open to constructive criticism from people other than their husbands.

 

A few of the top shooters in our club coached my wife when she first started. 

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All good advice above.  One other thing my wife, Ozark Belle, would recommend is for her to get involved with LOCAS (Ladies of Cowboy Action Shooting).  They have a Facebook page where she could ask other cowgirls their thoughts on options.  

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There's no doubt that they can feel heavy, especially when loaded with the lead bullets.  But, once she finds pistols that fit her hands and she can grip well, the rest will fall into place.  I started with old model Vaqueros in 38 cal.  Later I moved from traditional to gunfighter and also worked on my hand strength to do so.  When Classic Cowboy was introduced, I moved to that category, shooting 45 caliber with longer barrels one-handed.  My Vaqueros feel light now.  The weight of the gun will help diminish recoil.  I would rather shoot the my "heavy" cowboy guns all day than my carry pistol in 38 cal.  It's nice and light but there's much more recoil and my hands sting and can tire quickly with extended practice.  

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3 hours ago, Dirty Dutch Brody said:

So we are curious if anyone has some recommendations of a few pistols we could look into for her that might be a little lighter?  

 

Real Colt SAA and Pietta Great Western will be lighter and feel lighter.  

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Old Blackhawks have aluminum grip frames and trigger guards. They are not as heavy as Vaqueros yet just as stout.

The grips on any may not fit and may need replacement.

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If you are not now reloading, "tailoring loads for her" will be a great excuse to buy reloading equipment. 

 

Imis

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For my wife I dug out every single action revolver I owned and had her handle each one to see what she liked. After settling on a pair of 1858 Remington conversions I blind folded her and handed her each one again. Asking which felt better A or B. I cycled through them multiple times and she kept coming back to the 1851 Navy blindly feeling the best in her hand. She was very disappointed when the blindfold was removed and what she saw in her hand was what she had considered the ugliest gun I owned. Now she has a pair of Cimarron man with no names. Still won't shoot a match but she grabs them Everytime I head to the range.

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Posted (edited)

Try the Uberti Stallions from Taylor firearms. .38caliber. I have four & they are excellent.  Light weight.. Did have SBH hammers installed.

 

JRJ

JRJ's Stallions 003 & 004.jpg

 

 

Jackrabbit's Pistols.jpg

Edited by Jackrabbit Joe #414
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I still say the one that fits her hands and feels good to her...After that it is what caliber feels good to her to shoot....If she works with her hands a lot then she might have a strong grip...

 

Texas Lizard

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I've been shooting various styles of firearms since I was a little girl.

I listen to my husband better than anyone else on Earth.

He still knows better than to buy a pistol for me unless I've tried it out myself. :D

 

Finding the most comfortable combination of pistol, grip, & ammo will be most expedient if she takes up with some local ladies after a match for show & tell & shoot. Ask ahead of time and most people will come prepared with various things for her to try out in addition to their regular match guns. I've seen felt recoil & long guns not cut to size run off more ladies than any other equipment issues, so be prepared to not only buy what is comfortable for her, but also to finesse things as she goes. I guarantee you there will be ladies happy to share their experiences with her and help her try things out with no pressure. 

 

My main match cowboy pistols are Ruger Bisley Vaqueros in 38 spl with 125 gn TC bullets. I have small hands, but these were and still are the most comfortable for me to shoot two handed. We reload ammo, so that helps, too. When I shoot black powder it's even more comfortable...and funner. :lol:

More than anything, enjoy spending time together in an exciting hobby!
 

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https://taylorsfirearms.com/hand-guns/cartridge-revolvers/stallion-compact-single-action-revolvers.html?options_caliber_smokewagon=205

 

This revolver is 3/4 size and comes in 38sp. 

It is made for the smaller hand size.

 

 

 

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Ask her to try .38 Special, 3.1 grains titegriup, 125 grain lead slug.

 

There are other, similar light loads.  
I would be surprised if your wife is unable to well-handle the “almost-no-recoil” light-load .38 Special above.......or another, similar load.

 

Cat Brules

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30 minutes ago, Cat Brules said:

Ask her to try .38 Special, 3.1 grains titegriup, 125 grain lead slug.

 

There are other, similar light loads.  
I would be surprised if your wife is unable to well-handle the “almost-no-recoil” light-load .38 Special above.......or another, similar load.

 

Cat Brules

He's asking about / commenting about the weight of the gun...not the recoil.

 

<_<

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Probably more important than the pistols is shotgun. If she needs a shorter LOP then get her one. Don’t make  her shoot yours because “it’s just the shotgun”. When my wife was shooting she struggled with the shotgun.  Tried  a cut down 97 and it was much better. I had the stock cut down on my 97 and it was nuch better for her. 

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Thank you to everyone who took time to comment. My wife is former law enforcement....now retired and has zero issue with the shotgun and rifle and I would never buy her a gun without trying to get it in her hands first. I truly do appreciate all the suggestions and direction on where to start our search. I'm completely hooked on my new found hobby and hope she will be too. 

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Well pilgrim wish you the very best and maybe some day in time we will meet up with yah. Take care, God Bless & welcome to the family of cowboy action shooting. Yeeeeh, Haw.

 

Jackrabbit Joe & Sly Puppy

 

 

 

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18 hours ago, Assassin said:

Old Blackhawks have aluminum grip frames and trigger guards. They are not as heavy as Vaqueros yet just as stout.

The grips on any may not fit and may need replacement.

Good suggestion. These lighter frames and a set of grips that fit her pleasure could be the ticket.

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56 minutes ago, Billy Boots, # 20282 LTG-Regulator said:

Good suggestion. These lighter frames and a set of grips that fit her pleasure could be the ticket.

Ruger’s website says there is one ounce difference between a .357 Blackhawk (the one with the aluminum grip frame) and a New Vaquero in the same chambering and barrel length.

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21 minutes ago, Abe E.S. Corpus SASS #87667 said:

Ruger’s website says there is one ounce difference between a .357 Blackhawk (the one with the aluminum grip frame) and a New Vaquero in the same chambering and barrel length.

From what I was told from a fellow competitor, he lightened more than that when converting his Rugers to BH frames.  But if only one ounce, I doubt worth the investment.   

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I found all the guns heavy when I first started out, but then it was all new to me.  I noticed a big difference when I changed from old vaqueros to the new model because they felt so very different in my hand.  It wasn't the weight but the feel.  I didn't like birds head, because I liked to feel the curve out a bit to the bottom of my grip.  So I say, coming from a female point of view... Yes.. she should shoot different models and find what she feels comfortable and safe with.  Note -- both comfortable and safe.  I suggest a checked grip - because the smooth ones feel slippery in the summer when hands are "moist". 

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Again thanks to everyone for all the info. We have been reading the suggestions together and starting our research...

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Posted (edited)

Dutch:

You can research this sport to death and still not know what is important.

Your best bet is to go to the local matches. Bring what you got with you. Handle everything that you can get your hands on and take all the advise with a very large grain of salt.

You will find pistols that fit your hand but are awkward to cock (Remember that this is primarily a two handed pistol sport) A revolver that feels good in one hand might not sit right when using two.

Rifles can be almost as awkward to some. Shooting a long barrel 1873 is a lot different than a short barreled 1892. Some of our rifles are just a bit heavy and left hand placement can be uncomfortable if the the fore stock is too long.

And some shotguns just never seem to come up and point naturally. Most of this is due to stock design but the front to back balance is important too. This is a gun you should be able to shoot with your eyes closed.

And as for leather...... In case you hadn't noticed. Women are shaped different than men. She needs to try on several different rigs to get the right feel for her.

 

The third sentence in this post is the most important one.

 

 

Edited by Ace_of_Hearts

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Ace_of_Hearts said:

In case you hadn't noticed. Women are shaped different than men. She needs to try on several different rigs to get the right feel for her.

 

To design Sawmill Mary's belt and holster rig, took two hours of discussion,  choices and measuring.  It was a complicated process taking in a lot of considerations. You lay the belt out for her rig and it curves somewhat.   My rig took about 5 minutes. 

 

Don't expect to get your gun choice right the first, second or third time.  Sawmill Mary is on her third pair.  All Uberti Cattleman.  First pair was 4-3/4" 357 with brass grip frames.  Then she thought she'd like birdshead so she bought a pair.  Then I got a pair of Smokewagons in 44WCF and she liked them and took them.  She's pretty pleased with them.  The grips feel thinner and are checkered.

 

1720549165_HisandherssmokewagonsSept2018.jpg.0d442425c7f55162fbfc1157d32566d1.jpg

 

His and her's Smokewagons in 44WCF. Her's on top.  All have lowered hammers. 

 

P.S.  She's on her forth Marlin 1894 rifle. She started out with a pre-safety 1894 carbine in 44 Magnum that was her deer gun.  Then a 357 Cowboy Limited in 357 with 20" barrel. Then another with 24" barel,  Then I bought a CBL in 44WCF that Widder had worked oved. She immediately took it from me. 

 

She has stuck faithfully to her Stoeger Uplander with long barrels although she has a Liberty hammer double if she's in the mood.

 

 

Edited by Warden Callaway

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Posted (edited)

Whenever you buy a new cowboy gun...........for yourself......

 

Never let the other half try  it out unless you want to hear the word......

 

MINE!

 

Edited by Ace_of_Hearts
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