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.45 or .38?


SASS Name TBD

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I've been looking into sass for awhile, first got interested years ago when I was a volunteer range officer at the local municipal range.

I wasn't in a position to afford it at the time, but I'm looking again.

 

Interested in the Uberti cattlemen to get started.  Not sure if I should go with the .38/.375 or the .45.

 

I have a press and dies for the .38 (plus a bunch of brass), so that seems the better choice even though I haven't loaded in years.

 

Is there any advantage to going .45?

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42 minutes ago, SASS Name TBD said:

Is there any advantage to going .45?

While .38 probably is the better choice for you, there are some advantages of .45 to be mentioned: If you're (or maybe later will be) interested in the Classic Cowboy category, you need .40 caliber at least. Also something to consider, big bore barrels are lighter. And some say (me included) shooting 45s is just more fun! :)

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23 minutes ago, Equanimous Phil said:

While .38 probably is the better choice for you, there are some advantages of .45 to be mentioned: If you're (or maybe later will be) interested in the Classic Cowboy category, you need .40 caliber at least. Also something to consider, big bore barrels are lighter. And some say (me included) shooting 45s is just more fun! :)

Classic Cowboy? 

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The sport is less expensive if you're revolvers & rifle are 38 Special.  Loaded ammo is cheaper & reloading components are cheaper.  If you select 45 Colt you will have a much harder time picking up free range brass.

I have CASS rifles & pistols in 38/357 & 45 Colt.  I had to retire to afford 38/357 set.

The heavier barrels of 38/357 is an advantage, because you get less barrel flip from recoil allowing faster times.  Also mouse fart 38 Special loads have zippo recoil.

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New folks assume we shoot .45 Colt.  The .38 Special is by far the more popular cartridge.  You can buy the guns once but ammunition and components are like fuel-an ongoing expense.  The .38 is also easier to shoot quickly.  I’ve seen lots on new-ish shooters start with .45s, and later sell them to buy .38s.  I’ve seldom seen the reverse.

 

True, you cannot shoot .38s in the Classic Cowboy category.  That affects maybe five percent of the shooters in my area.  By the way, categories do not mean separate events.  Come to a local match and it will make sense.

 

If you want to shoot .45s, great.  If you load your own ammo it narrows the price gap.  I would not recommend starting with .45 Colt if your will be buying factory ammo.  I priced some for a new shooter clinic and it was $60 per 50 rounds, plus shipping.  We shoot 120 rounds in each monthly match.

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I've shot 45 Colt from day one. Why? Because I already had them. I eventually branched out into other calibers all of which start with the number 4 but that is because my category calls for 40 caliber and larger (classic cowboy)  But I shot Wrangler class for about 3 years before making the switch to CC and still shot 45 Colt and had a great time.  As for me personally I don't own any cowboy guns in 38 caliber. I just have no interest in them. That being said most cowboy action shooters do shoot 38 caliber. Why? Probably a combination of cost factor and greater potential for shooting faster. 

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Cause real calibers start with a "4".:P

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I have Uberti Cattleman Hombre's in both 38/357 & 45 Colt. I have no complaints about either caliber, but my favorites are the 38/357. Less recoil, cheaper to reload, reloading components are more commonly available, and I can use SP or SR primers in my reloads giving me a little better chance of finding primers. Unless you plan to shoot a category requiring a 45 caliber firearm I'd look at the 38/357 caliber for just starting out.

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I have been shooting 45 colt caliber since I started 14 years ago! Load full of black powder which I have had 0 issues with. Shot classic cowboy for years before switching to frontier cartridge duelist. That being said about 3 years ago I bought a pair of 38 open tops from a pard and they are slowly becoming my go to pistols. Guaranteed you will have several sets in several calibers before you exit this game.

Rafe

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I personally don’t use .38/.357, I’ve got nothing against them, it’s just a personal choice.  Go to a couple of matches and ask to try a couple of guns, most cowboys, if they know that you’re serious about starting out, will gladly let you shoot a couple of rounds.  You’re going to have to think about why you want to get into the game. There’s almost as many reasons as there are people, for some it’s pure speed, others it’s the costumes, the list goes on and on.  I like the history, for me I try to replicate what it was like in the 1860’s-1890’s so I shoot Black Powder with big bore guns.  I really enjoy the smoke fire and report of a good warthog load, will I ever win an Overall Championship? No, but that’s not important to me.  Find your reason, what’s going to make you happy and go for it.  The only other thing I’ll offer is whatever caliber you decide on try to keep both pistols and rifle the same, it makes reloading simpler and cheaper. 

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Only reason I could think of to shoot 45's would be if shooting Classic Cowboy.

Some like to just so they can pound your chest. Others just like it.

Other than that. I see not real reason.

.38's are cheaper. You can still load them to have a fair amount of recoil if you like.

Targets are already dead. No need to kill them again. 

Of course. This is just my opinion.  

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1.  If you like to brag and taunt smaller caliber shooters, then the .45 is perfect for you..... :D

 

2.  If you like to use excuses as to WHY you didn't finish as well as you could have, then the .45 is for you..... :lol:

 

3.  If you have some feeling that toting a .45 is more manly, then the .45 is for you......:o

 

That should stir the pot..... :lol:

 

..........Widder

 

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38 cal bullets $80k

 

45 cal bullets $110k

 

.38 brass is cheaper, easier to find, and less powder.

 

I don't see any difference in speed or accuracy, it's just cheaper to shoot 38.

 

 

 

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25 minutes ago, Widder, SASS #59054 said:

1.  If you like to brag and taunt smaller caliber shooters, then the .45 is perfect for you..... :D

 

2.  If you like to use excuses as to WHY you didn't finish as well as you could have, then the .45 is for you..... :lol:

 

3.  If you have some feeling that toting a .45 is more manly, then the .45 is for you......:o

 

That should stir the pot..... :lol:

 

..........Widder

 

 

 

giphy 2.gif

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50 minutes ago, Widder, SASS #59054 said:

1.  If you like to brag and taunt smaller caliber shooters, then the .45 is perfect for you..... :D

 

2.  If you like to use excuses as to WHY you didn't finish as well as you could have, then the .45 is for you..... :lol:

 

3.  If you have some feeling that toting a .45 is more manly, then the .45 is for you......:o

 

That should stir the pot..... :lol:

 

..........Widder

 

 

All I have to say is that 44 WCF beats 45 Colt hands down. 

 

 

 

 

:P

 

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50 minutes ago, Widder, SASS #59054 said:

1.  If you like to brag and taunt smaller caliber shooters, then the .45 is perfect for you..... :D

 

2.  If you like to use excuses as to WHY you didn't finish as well as you could have, then the .45 is for you..... :lol:

 

3.  If you have some feeling that toting a .45 is more manly, then the .45 is for you......:o

 

That should stir the pot..... :lol:

 

..........Widder

 

 

Because that's what Roy Rogers shoots, not always the right answer. 

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When I first started SASS I went with 44-40 because I already had a Henry lever rifle in that caliber and was reloading for it as well, so that is the caliber I started with.  Eventually I sold all my 44-40 stuff and changed to 357 because everything connected with 357 was cheaper then 44-40 and just as fun.  I chose 357 over 38 because I had seen other cowboys with 38's in there 357's get some occasional jamming with the shorter cartridge. But by shooting the correct length of cartridge in my 357 lever gun I have never had a problem with jamming.  I can load a 357 with the same charge as a 38 or even a little milder charge for cowboy.  45's can be a lot of fun especially with black powder but 357 is in my humble opinion the best for CAS.

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If you reload and cast your own bullets then its more than likely not 40% more. I started casting 160 gr 45 cal bullets so there isn't allot of difference between the cost of the 38 and 45. SPP aren't any cheaper than LPP. 45 Brass is more expensive than 38 spl brass though. 

 

Its like what Tequila said, its a personal choice and only you can decide what you need.

 

And just remember even a light 45 cal load is more than a mouse fart 38, LOL.:lol::D

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I started out shooting .45, and still shoot it. It's an enjoyable caliber to shoot. That said, .38 has less recoil and is cheaper to buy and to reload. If you're already set up to reload .38, that's what I'd go with, especially if you're not planning to shoot Classic Cowboy (which I don't).

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As others have stated, .38's are more popular and less expensive than .45's.

But I shoot .45's.   I just find it to be more fun to shoot the big calibers.   But I also shoot .32-20, which is also fun.   .38spl/.357 is just about the only caliber I don't use in a SASS context.   But that's just me.

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