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New to SASS. Looking for main thoughts


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Greetings.  While not new to shooting, new to SASS. Going with. 357/38. Going to start gunfighter. 

 

I have average hands with two mitigating issues.  Both hands have dupatryns contraction (pinkie finger only.) Second issue is mild arthritis in thumbs. Looking for suggestions on mains that are easy to shoot one handed . Initially thinking birdshead or bisely grips with low wide hammers.  Ruger vaquero or thunderstorms. Looking at the ages here; hopefully couple of folks have experience with one or both issues. 

 

Thanks,

 

Shakes 

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Welcome! I'm also new to this sport, have shot other sports for several years.

 

I also have Dupetryns, right pinky about 45 degrees, left is 90. No problem shooting any firearm. Would have got them "fixed" some time back, but CoViD... Might be another year before I get treatment.

 

Arthritis in the thumb, a bit on the left. Hot loads get a bit of pain going. A light 1911 45ACP with +P loads, one handed... Sanity kicked in after the 3rd round. No problem for me with cowboy rounds though. But listen to your body, one-handed shooting is going to apply more stress. Did get an injection in the thumb joint about two years ago, helped a lot. Don't need another one yet.

 

Bisley hammers might help with arthritis as the reach is a bit less. Vaqueros make sense as they have good heft, stay away from light guns.

 

.38 Special is probably your best bet for caliber, and I was going in that direction; then the "romance" of fat rounds took over so I'm shooting .44 Russian in my revolvers and .44-40 in my rifle. I plan to reload my brass when my initial cartridge purchase runs low.

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Welcome!  I hope that you love the game as much as most of us here.  Would I be correct in saying you’ve been to some matches already?  If not do like Tyrel Cody suggested before you do anything.  Very adventurous on your part to start out wanting to shoot GF, most new folks start out shooting 2 handed.  If you’re set on shooting one handed you may want to try Duelist first, some pistol sequences for GF can be a bit confusing.  I have a pair of Rugers with birdshead grips and the low wide hammers, but there in .45LC.  I’d strongly suggest you try to find someone using them and try them out first, it took me a bit of getting used to, so much so that they’re now sitting in the safe.  You’ve got a lot of good pards up there in the Buckeye state, and depending on where you live some may not be too far away.  If you get a chance talk to them and see if anyone can help you out.  Again welcome and if you enjoy the game even ½ as much as I do you’re gonna love it. 

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Ruger Bisley's are VERY popular with Duelist and GFers.

 

Even better with the thinner GFer grips like those from Eagle Grips.

 

You should also go to a match or two and find folks will let you try

some out, BEFORE you start dropping coin.

Edited by Anvil Al #59168
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I have been shooting duelist for the last 19yrs.  I use old model Ruger Vaqueros 44 mag. I have changed the grips to thin style Altamont as I don't have large hands and installed Ruger Super Blackhawk hammers.   A couple of years ago I thought I would change to shooting gunfighter, I do have arthritis in my right thumb, but I am left handed, so I thought not a big deal.  During the winter I did some practice with the gunfighter mode.  I was having a hard time cocking my right revolver, and I noticed that my right thumb was about 3/4 inch shorter than my left because of the arthritis, I thought no big deal, with practice I was able to shoot the gunfighter pretty good.   On my first match I did okay, I was impressed, but when I got home, the next day my whole right thumb area was black and blue and sore..........back to shooting duelist again.   Good Luck

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Welcome.  Tyrel Cody gave you the best advice of all.  Try stuff.  Some folks really like the Bisley's and some folks don't.  Don't make the mistake most of us have made and buy stuff before trying it only to find it's not for us.  I shoot gunfighter.  My preference is for a full size grip, though I like a custom grip fitted to my hand.  I also prefer a short stroked gun with a flat hammer spur.  

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Find the club closest to you and contact them. This is a good time to connect with members and maybe handle some guns without the stress of a match. My wife shoots duelist and has a pair of new model Vaqueros with gun fighter grips, a super Blackhawk hammer, and an action job by Jimmy Spurs. My Vaqueros have an action job from Cowboy Carty. Both guns are not just smooth, they are smoooooooth.^_^

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Grips are probably the most important but overlooked part of shooting revolvers well. .  Im fairly proficient at gf and it's what I will pretty much always shoot.

 

   Try all the guns you can get your hands on.   Take two identical guns, use different grips on them and they will feel totally different.  

 

   My personal opinion is while you can shoot any stock grip properly, you'll never be as fast as if you have custom grips built.   They aren't expensive, and there are a lot of competent makers. Or you can do it yourself.  Get oversized blanks and slowly remove material. 

 

The first pic is my main match guns.  The grips are different.  Swells are in different places To fit my hands. They are wider and I've prepped the surfaces. I cant stand the narrow gf grips.   I've had multiple surgeries on my left hand so I made them work for it.

 

 The blued guns are 45s and recoil more so I did a different style to help with it.  

 

  Also material makes a HUGE difference in feel, balance, and grip.     I do not use grip powder, as I personally dont see any advantage to it.      I wouldn't recomend plastic grips for anything.  I have guns with them but if I plan on actually using the gun I swap grips out.

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Edited by evil dogooder
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I too have mild arthritis in my one of my hands.  Protect those thumbs!  Shoot light 38 Special loads with 125 grain or 105 grain bullets in your revolvers.  Avoid factory ammo (as if you could buy any now) and reload for minimum recoil.  You may need a separate load for your rifle.

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I also have arthritis in both hands mainly concentrated in my knuckles. On any given day I can barely make a fist. Some days better than others. Thumbs aren't too bad.....yet. We have sets of cowboy guns with Bisley, plow handle and birdshead. I settled on wide plow handle grips on my 7 1/2  Vaquero 45's. I can get a better grip on the wider grips on days it hurts to make a fist. I have installed Super Blackhawk hammers on the Vaqueros. I also shoot as light of loads as possible in my revolvers to help. I do get the tired of people complaining of "mouse phart" loads. Without lighter loads, I could not play this game. Just like Tyrell said, go to shoots and feel what is right for you. 

Edited by Sixgun Seamus
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An area I'm not familiar with, but treat as a followup question for the OP.

 

Short-stroked revolvers...

 

If the springs are not lightened, won't that increase the force required to cock them since the stroke is shorter? Easier to reach, harder to cock?

 

Or is lightening the springs part of the modifications? Easier to reach and the same or less force to cock?

 

And at what point does doing both make revolvers sensitive to hard primers? The hammer no longer hits as hard?

 

On edit: Just thinking about this compared to Bisley hammers (easier reach but same travel and force as standard hammers). All of this in the context of a shooter with arthritis in the thumbs.

Edited by John Kloehr
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Note that I "liked" several of the above posts... Note what those posts had in common:  Go out to a local match, introduce yourself and ASK questions.   You'll probably be overrun with helpful folks... even some help from folks that aren't much newer than you!  If you don't get overrun, consider yourself lucky... and very abnormal!  Look up the closest SASS club to you, contact the person listed and find out when their next match is.  Before you spend a dime, go out, I also suggest that since you're not an inexperienced shooter, offer to help a posse thru the match... spotting, picking brass... and generally being helpful as you learn the ropes... yes we use ropes to pull up our knockdown targets...   That help WILL be appreciated and will translate in some good advice and hints... maybe even an offer to try out some equipment those shooters have selected.

 

I went to my 1st cowboy match 35 years ago... and experienced all the above first hand...  In the long run, I known far too many shooters and potential shooters that might've saved some money if they'd have listened to the above advice... 

 

Good luck and Welcome!

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3 hours ago, John Kloehr said:

An area I'm not familiar with, but treat as a followup question for the OP.

 

Short-stroked revolvers...

 

If the springs are not lightened, won't that increase the force required to cock them since the stroke is shorter? Easier to reach, harder to cock?

 

Or is lightening the springs part of the modifications? Easier to reach and the same or less force to cock?

 

And at what point does doing both make revolvers sensitive to hard primers? The hammer no longer hits as hard?

 

On edit: Just thinking about this compared to Bisley hammers (easier reach but same travel and force as standard hammers). All of this in the context of a shooter with arthritis in the thumbs.

So I'll take a shot at answering this.  I'm sure people more knowledgeable will correct my terminology.  Because of the shorter hammer throw, there is less inertia.  Usually the use of radically lightened main springs will cause misfires in short stroked revolvers no matter what primer you are using.  My Uberti's use a stock mainspring and Taylor's recommends you do not change the mainspring (and from my experiments, they are right).  I recently started using a pair of OMV that were worked over by Three Cut.  The Rugers are using 14 lb mainsprings.  If you took and put a short stroke into a gun with out any other upgrades, yes you would probably notice a heavier trigger pull; however, there is usually a significant amount of other action work done that I think makes up for he spring.  I think it's just a matter of personal preference.  Just a little easier for my arthritic fingers and thumbs to operate.  I doubt the average shooter is going to notice any significant speed improvement.

 

I've used Federal and Winchester primers for years in PPC, Bullseye and now CAS.  I've never had a problem with hard primers with these brands.  

 

In regard to the Bisley grip/hammers, I just really don't care for the way they fit in my hand.  I think you either love them or hate them.  I belong in the latter group.  So, yeah if you can stand the Bisley grip, it would probably make things a lot easier for arthritic hands.  But as Evil Doogooder said above, if you are shooting gunfighter, it is really important that the grips fit properly (and yes, there really is that much difference between your left and right hand). 

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I can't thank everyone enough for the time and effort in responding. 

Brought a tear to my eye. 

Wrong time of year to attend too many shoots. The good news. I am central Ohio ( go Bucks!) . Bad news is both clubs nearest appear to be an hour.  Have been shooting years (mostly 9mm compacts to full size polymers. With sporting Clay's peppered in for fun)I have acquired and thoroughly enjoyed a 357 thunderer. I will be bouncing to every shoot I can find.  

My sincere thanks again.  Look forward to meeting and shooting with ya'll. 

 

Shakes 

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5 hours ago, Shakes Peare said:

I can't thank everyone enough for the time and effort in responding. 

Brought a tear to my eye. 

Wrong time of year to attend too many shoots. The good news. I am central Ohio ( go Bucks!) . Bad news is both clubs nearest appear to be an hour.  Have been shooting years (mostly 9mm compacts to full size polymers. With sporting Clay's peppered in for fun)I have acquired and thoroughly enjoyed a 357 thunderer. I will be bouncing to every shoot I can find.  

My sincere thanks again.  Look forward to meeting and shooting with ya'll. 

 

Shakes 

 

Shakes you’re too kind.  As been suggested even if there aren’t any matches going on due to very anti-summer weather up there, contact the clubs where you think you may be shooting.  If you introduce yourself, explain what you’re trying to do and get added to their email blasts it can only help you.  Driving 1 hour for a shoot is not unusual.  There was a post about a year ago asking how far you drive for a local match and the it was generally 2 hours or more.

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I shoot duelist style and with my small hands the bisley grips don't work for me. However lower hammers help tremendously.  Try many types BEFORE you buy!

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Howdy and Welcome Shakes Peare!

 

I have Arthur pain in my thumb. The other thumb was so bad they removed the basal joint. No pain in that thumb anymore. One thing I know is that Arthur doesn't get better with age. So, shoot GF while you still can. However, cocking will gradually worsen both thumbs. Opinion only. I haven't even stayed in a Holiday Inn Express.

 

If you select lowered hammers, I believe that may lessen the abuse of your thumbs.

 

PS Clever alias. My Hubby suggested Shaky Sue for me. :o:rolleyes:

PPS You may see the Holiday Inn Express comment as a qualifier in posts, which means I'm not an authority. Or, at least that is what I think it means.

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based on your ailments you will fit in well with those of us shooting SASS on the whole [kids aside of course] most of us have something wrong if not more than one something related to old age , not complainin just statin a fact , 

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I found this to be VERY useful:


SASSNET
Cliff Hanger #3720LR

There is a way to check which might be better for you.

1. Find a 1/2" dowel  or some other item, I used a long wooden cooking spoon.
2. Hold it in your strong hand with half the item above and half the item below your fingers.
3. Take your standard shooting stance.
4. Now close your eyes and raise your gun hand up as if you were aiming at a target.
5. Without moving your hands, open your eyes and look to see if the item is vertical or leaning forward at the top.
6. The more vertical the item is, the more a Bisley will point naturally.
7. the more the item leans forward, the more naturally the P frame grip will point.
8. Standing next to a mirror so you can see your hand will help to see what angle your hand naturally has.

Depending on the angle of your hand has naturally will tell you which grip will work best.

If you have to move your wrist forward or back to get a straight sight alignment, you should try the other grip.

As it turns out, the physiology of my hands favor the Bisley grip.

 

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I don’t think this has been mentioned yet so I will be the bad guy.  How competitive are you?

 

Some folks truly play the game for companionship and don’t care where they fall in the rankings.  Some go all out in every respect to beat everyone else.  Some are in between, satisfied not to finish last, but not interested in pursuing the champion award.  And many of us evolve from one goal to another, both up and down in rankings.  You know yourself best,  based on other sports you have played.  Just be honest with yourself before spending money.  There are a lot of cool firearms out there that are great fun to shoot but are not usually seen in the winner’s circle.  Same goes for holsters, etc.

 

Another good reason for visiting several clubs and shooting as many different guns as you can before buying anything.

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Since everyone is being above and beyond helpful, I will play my hand on the table.  Competitive ? Yes. But not winner's circle competitive. Know your limits.  I am a decent shot. I also have young onset Parkinson's . I am here for fun company and challenge. I will always want to do well ( but manage expectations. )

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1 hour ago, Shakes Peare said:

Since everyone is being above and beyond helpful, I will play my hand on the table.  Competitive ? Yes. But not winner's circle competitive. Know your limits.  I am a decent shot. I also have young onset Parkinson's . I am here for fun company and challenge. I will always want to do well ( but manage expectations. )


Sorry you face medical challenges.  Safety first of course.  As long as you can handle them safely, buy what the top shooters are using.  There are no 2nd or 3rd tier firearms that will help you compensate for physical problems.  Be as competitive as you can for as long as you can and enjoy the ride.  When the time comes to sell, the top tier firearms will return more and be easier to sell than some others.

 

 I sympathize.  I missed some matches because I could no longer hold a gun safely.  Sutures were removed from my right hand last week.  We’ll see.

Edited by J-BAR #18287
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55 minutes ago, J-BAR #18287 said:


Sorry you face medical challenges.  Safety first of course.  As long as you can handle them safely, buy what the top shooters are using.  There are no 2nd or 3rd tier firearms that will help you compensate for physical problems.  Be as competitive as you can for as long as you can and enjoy the ride.  When the time comes to sell, the top tier firearms will return more and be easier to sell than some others.

 

 I sympathize.  I missed some matches because I could no longer hold a gun safely.  Sutures were removed from my right hand last week.  We’ll see.

 

Bunch of wisdom here ^^^^^     In your past recreational experiences - golf, fishing, cycling, archery etc.  have you found satisfaction in competing or participating ? Both ? Take a hard look at your previous endeavors & evaluate what you have previously been satisfied with. I've always been a competitor, but have been satisfied with bottom of the upper third  in ranking. (Struggling to make the mid to bottom of middle third now) But in this pastime, with the people I've met & shot with, I'm SOOOO satisfied with this experience.  :):D 

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3 hours ago, J-BAR #18287 said:

I don’t think this has been mentioned yet so I will be the bad guy.  How competitive are you?

 

Some folks truly play the game for companionship and don’t care where they fall in the rankings.  Some go all out in every respect to beat everyone else.  Some are in between, satisfied not to finish last, but not interested in pursuing the champion award.  And many of us evolve from one goal to another, both up and down in rankings.  You know yourself best,  based on other sports you have played.  Just be honest with yourself before spending money.  There are a lot of cool firearms out there that are great fun to shoot but are not usually seen in the winner’s circle.  Same goes for holsters, etc.

 

Another good reason for visiting several clubs and shooting as many different guns as you can before buying anything.

 

Some of us would like to be more competitive, however real life steps in.  I did not hear of this game until I was about ready to retire.  I have realized that I will never be twenty five again as I am in my seventies.  If I finish in the top twenty five percent I feel that I am doing as good as I ever will.

 

Medical issues will come as we age.  Most clubs and fellow shooters will be very accommodating to assist in whatever way they can.  I have Arthur in my index and middle finger, which means my trigger finger is always turned-in.  Consequently I sometimes fire the rifle when closing the lever before it is on the target .  I shrug and keep on trucking.  The pards will understand that we are doing the best we can.

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It is all about managing expectations. There will be a day when I cannot play safely.  That day is not today.  

So in the meantime... live love and laugh.  We all have our challenges or demons.  Quality of life is king. I ask questions so I can make my way through the most efficient way I know how. I am here to shoot and have fun. And for the friendship , I thank you all. 

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On 12/22/2020 at 12:48 AM, Shakes Peare said:

I am here to shoot and have fun. And for the friendship , I thank you all. 

 

Then you have come to the right place!! 

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11 hours ago, Shakes Peare said:

No . More like the Earl of Sandwich. 

Or Count du Money. 

Best get busy doing a “count du money” cause if you are like most of us it won’t take long before it change’s to “count du pennies” :D :D :D

Welcome to the game!

Regards

:FlagAm: :FlagAm: :FlagAm:

Gateway Kid

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