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Shooting dissimilar handguns


Warden Callaway
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An often asked question, "Does your handguns have to match?".  The answer is no.  But most everyone gravitate to a matched pair of something, myself included.  But last Saturday I shot an obvious mismatch - my recently acquired Cimarron S&W American 44WCF and a first generation Colt Frontier Six Shooter.  Different by design and age but shooting the same 44WCF black powder loads.  Despite only about 100 rounds of experience with the S&W, I didn't have a problem. 

 

 

Rifle is a Marlin 1889 44WCF made in 1891.  Note the cases fall on my right toe.

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I very rarely shoot what can be described as a "matched pair."   Often similar, but I doubt I own 2 pistols that have the same exact configuration.   Sure, shooting a 7.5" Colt or clone and pairing it with a 4.75" one is close, as is a nickel and a blue sheriff's model but sometimes I enjoy shooting very dissimilar guns.  

For example, one of the above mentioned sheriff's with a Buntline.
A S&W New Model 3 with a Merwin and Hulbert.

A reproduction S&W American with a reproduction Schofield.

A Remington 75 with anything else!
A Walker and a Dragoon.

And the above are all examples of things I can do with them being in the same caliber.   Sometimes my revolvers will shoot different cartridges as I only have one in a particular chambering.

 

Oh, and if they'll let me, a Mare's Leg and a Lightning Bolt.   That's about as different as different can be!

 

As Bugs Bunny once said, "I don't ask questions, I just have fun!"

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I think a lot depends on your style. If you're shooting gunfighter, you might find that one pistol model works better than another for your right-handedness or left-handedness. Same for double duelist. If you are shooting cowboy, you'll probably want the guns to feel and react the same. I do know a few folks who shot two different pistol types when they got started (because that's all they could afford at the outset) and claimed that their game improved when they got a matching pistol (but I'm sure their game also improved with practice).

RR

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I shoot with people who have what look to be identical handguns but I notice they carefully select what handgun goes in what holster.   I asked why.  The answer was, one shot low and right while the other shot high and left.  They have to know what gun they're shooting to apply appropriate Kentucky windage. 

 

In my case, the S&W American shoots high.  I've not corrected it.  I just aim at the bellybutton.  The old Colt hits where you point it.   

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While I try to shoot "matching" guns my SASS arms cache is so varied its often fun to make extreme mixes in pistols.  

 

The most extreme is a 32 H&R Baby Vaquero with Birdsheads grips paired with a 18" barrel 45LC Buntline.  

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I've always shot matched pairs. I may shoot a 4 3/4 and a 5 1/2 but that's about as different as I get. All my pistols are tuned the same so they feel the same. I never liked two completely different guns. 

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I don't mix guns when at a match, but have multiple pairs to choose from. Blackhawks, Vaqueros, Colt clones or Schofields in .38 or .45 caliber. It's easier for me to shoot one type than mix and match. YMMV

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I pretty much shoot all mismatched pistols. The closest I have to matched pistols are a pair of 1851 Navys, one with Navy size grips and one with Army size grips and 3 1860 Armys from different manufacturers. The rest of my pistols range from a 3 1/2" in Thunderer .45, 4 5/8" Ruger Blackhawk .357, 4 3/4" nickle Pietta Colt .45, 5 1/2" Ruger Vaquero .45, 5 1/2" Open Top .45, 7 1/2" 1875 Remington .45, 7 1/2" nickle engraved Pietta Colt, 7 1/2" 1851 Navy .44, 8" 1862 Dance .44, and a Walker.

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As I shoot '51 Navy guns in .36 all are same, 4 Uberti and 4 Colt. 2 Petia '60 Army with Navy grips turned by the Game Room.  2 ROA's in .44.  Cartage is mixed.  Texas Longhorn Arms SAA .44WCF, ASM 1st model Scholfield .45 Colt , EAA .44 mag, USFA'S .44 WCF, Colts .44 WCF and Uberti .44 WCF.

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My first year I shot Uberti 45 Colts that we slightly mismatched: one was 5.5" barrel new frame with wide front sight and rear sight slot, the other was a 7th Cavalry Old frame model with 7.5" barrel and narrow front sight blade.  The feel and balance was slightly different and the narrow front side was a lot harder to see, especially when shooting black powder.  I since bought another 5.5" barrel revolver that mechanically matches (though it visually is different in the grips) the other, and my revolver times have improved.

 

That's probably more due to easier-to-see sights than the guns being "matched".

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I had been using a Vaquero with a Uberti El Patron in 45 Colt and quickly learned to shoot the Uberti's lighter trigger first so I didn't get a surprise on the first shot on the lighter press, conditioned to the heavier trigger.

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Howdy

 

Most serious competitors are going to shoot a matched pair of pistols. It only makes sense, keeping everything the same.

 

No one has ever accused me of being a serious competitor.  One Colt has a longer barrel than the other. The long one always goes in my cross draw holster, easier to pull a 7 1/2" barrel from cross draw. I found out a long time ago that trying to pull one from a strong side holster often results in my elbow getting tangled in my arm pit.

 

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When I bring my Merwin Hulbert I usually bring a New Model Number Three along as my second pistol, because I don't own another Merwin Hulbert. Things get a bit confusing at the loading table because the S&W is chambered for 44 Russian while the MH is chambered for 44-40.

 

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I think this is the closest I can come to a matched pair of pistols. One New Model Number Three is blued, the other is nickel plated. But they are both chambered 44 Russian, at least that makes loading easier.

 

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All my sets are mis-matched, .38s are a 51 Navy and a SAA copy, both with Army grips, my 44-40s are a OMV and a SAA copy with Army grip and the 45s are a Schofield and an 1860 Army open top conversion. I will be looking for another open-top conversion in either 38 or 45 at CAC.

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My ROA's are 7.5 and 5.5" the longer one goes into my crossdraw holster and the shorter one strongside. My OMV's are the 4 5/8" barrels and I do have a left and right side gun but that is due to how they were engraved on the backstrap...truthfully does not really matter as they both shoot the same.

 

Hochbauer

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