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Frontiersman Guns


Tyrel Cody

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I've dabbled before and actually shot my first clean match in this category, but I'm thinking about shooting it more and maybe switch for a year or ten.

 

What's your setup? 

Preferred rifle and caliber?

Preferred Shotgun?

 

Anyone winning with revolvers that aren't ROA's?

 

I've got several pairs if Pietta 51's that are slicked up and fine, but wonder if any successfully use 1858's? If you

use 1858's which is better Uberti or Pietta?

 

 

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I have a set of 44’s Pietta Armies tuned by Goons Gun Works that I use. I shoot a Codymatic 73 in 44/40 and use my 1887 Lever most of the time but also shoot a Tula Hammered Double with 30” barrels. A couple times a year I shoot 61 Pietta Navies with 36 caliber conical lead so they make a ding more than round balls. I have shot Frontiersman for about ten years but do shoot FCD with my 1871 Open Tops in 45 Schofield in colder weather. I enjoy the extra effort shooting Frontiersman. DC I have tried 58 Remmies but my fingers get smashed with the trigger guards so sold most of them. 

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When I shoot Frontiersman, I just use the same rifle and shotgun I use for smokeless -- '73 rifle in .357 and 12ga single-trigger Baikal. It works great, and it gives me a reason to clean the long guns (occasionally). I've only ever shot ROAs, but I don't believe they are required to be competitive.

 

IIRC, neither Chili Pepper Pete nor Dammit Olli shoot ROAs, but they are both excellent Frontiersman who compete at the highest levels, and they're great dudes too.

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Frontiersman can be won with any model C&B revolver as long as they are set up to be 100% reliable. Fire and Fallback shoots Frontiersman using a Dragoon and a small .36 cal open top. At Mississippi State he placed 25th over all this year.

The reason ROAs are so popular is that it is very easy to make them 100% reliable.

1858s are also easy to make reliable but do require the cylinders to be pulled between stages so that the base pins can be cleaned and relubed.

Open tops are harder to make reliable but they can be set up to be as reliable as any cartridge gun..

 

For me at least open tops point the best. The ROAs are just like shooting any other Ruger. I tried 1858s but they did not point as natural as open tops so I sold them. 

 

I use the same main match rifle (Rossie 92 in 38/357) and shotgun (Lassiter 87) as I do when shooting Frontier Cartridge Duelist.

 

I have a set of Longhunter tuned 1860's that my late wife bought me but I haven't shot them near as much as my ROAs. One thing I did discover about my 1860s is the reduced power hammer springs Lassiter installed were not reliable enough for me. They would work flawlessly for 1 or maybe 2 stages. Then I would get at least one cap that failed to fire.

Troubleshooting revealed that the lighter hammer springs were allowing more blow by to get into the hammer channel causing drag on the hammer.  Cleaning the channel between stages eliminated the problem but invariably some of the cleaning solution (PAM or Moose Milk) would get on the grips and make them slippery. 

Solved the issue by reinstalling the full power springs. I then used shims of different thickness under the springs to tune them. This allowed me to reduce the force required to cock the hammers while also making the guns 100% reliable.

 

 

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Hey Tyrel:

I don't think its a really big deal to shoot ROAs to win, but your Colts or Remmies must be properly set up.

That means correct nipples/Caps, and a means to keep Colt-style revolvers from sucking spent caps back into the action, as it will tie up the gun.
All of my Colt types had either the Manhatten Conversion, installed by Rowdy Yates, who is now retired, or a cap rake (hammer-channel post) to prevent this.

They had the "fixes" written about by Larsen E. Pettifogger, in his articles on tuning the Uberti & Pietta cap guns.

They were 100% reliable -- as reliable as cartridge guns.

As long as I didn't get water in the cap, my guns would always fire.  Always.

Once your guns are 100% reliable, winning is all you & your technique, not the gun.

Some of the fastest guys I know shoot cap guns -- They almost always finish in the top ten, ahead of most everybody -- and they shoot Colt-types or ROAs.

I never won anything, cuz I'm slow.  Even when I HAD reflexes, I was slow.

I shot 44s, because the .36 round ball is very light, and on heavy targets, you'll get called for misses sometimes even when you hit the target.

44-40 Rifle, '66, '73, Henry conversion

TTN Hammer double

 

In the old days, Uberti guns were better built.

But, in my opinion, Piettas have surpassed them in build quality.

Back in the days when I had lots of cap guns, most were Piettas.
Nowadays, if I were to buy a cap gun, it would be a Pietta.

 

If you want to do the work on your Colt-Style guns, definitely follow Larsen's suggestions.

And Contact Coffinmaker about springs & such.
He's a wizard with cap guns. 

--Dawg

 

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9 minutes ago, Prairie Dawg, SASS #50329 said:

Hey Tyrel:

I don't think its a really big deal to shoot ROAs to win, but your Colts or Remmies must be properly set up.

That means correct nipples/Caps, and a means to keep Colt-style revolvers from sucking spent caps back into the action, as it will tie up the gun.
All of my Colt types had either the Manhatten Conversion, installed by Rowdy Yates, who is now retired, or a cap rake (hammer-channel post) to prevent this.

They had the "fixes" written about by Larsen E. Pettifogger, in his articles on tuning the Uberti & Pietta cap guns.

They were 100% reliable -- as reliable as cartridge guns.

As long as I didn't get water in the cap, my guns would always fire.  Always.

Once your guns are 100% reliable, winning is all you & your technique, not the gun.

Some of the fastest guys I know shoot cap guns -- They almost always finish in the top ten, ahead of most everybody -- and they shoot Colt-types or ROAs.

I never won anything, cuz I'm slow.  Even when I HAD reflexes, I was slow.

I shot 44s, because the .36 round ball is very light, and on heavy targets, you'll get called for misses sometimes even when you hit the target.

44-40 Rifle, '66, '73, Henry conversion

TTN Hammer double

 

In the old days, Uberti guns were better built.

But, in my opinion, Piettas have surpassed them in build quality.

Back in the days when I had lots of cap guns, most were Piettas.
Nowadays, if I were to buy a cap gun, it would be a Pietta.

 

If you want to do the work on your Colt-Style guns, definitely follow Larsen's suggestions.

And Contact Coffinmaker about springs & such.
He's a wizard with cap guns. 

--Dawg

 

 

Thanks, I actually have a pair of 1851s that I got from you; tuned by CC  :)  Also have a couple more pair of 1851s that I tuned and put cap posts in. Just debating if I want to get some 58s.

 

 

 

 

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1858s are nice guns.

I love them, but, they have no shielding to prevent fouling the cylinder pin.
When I had 1858s, they would start to foul-out after 3 shots.
Better, perhaps with APP, but I love real black powder.

They also have a longer hammer arc.
I believe that it makes them slower, and it is harder on your thumb muscles over time.

I think it would be harder to "win" with them.

Also, even though I shoot a hammer double, I think they are inherently slower  (Unless you are T Bone Dooley)

All the winningest frontiersmen I know shoot hammerless doubles.

I don't care about times or winning, so I shoot the guns I love to shoot, and that means a hammer double

--Dawg

 

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I've shot in every adult category in SASS except B-Western.  Or Cowboy, or those age categories I don't qualify for yet!  I began in Traditional and quickly transitioned to Black Powder.  This was 1986, right after EOT.  At that time Black Powder required a cap n ball revolver and BP in rifle & shotgun.  I used a IGA Stoeger 12 ga coachgun and an Uberti 1873 Sporting Rifle in 45 Colt.  My 1st pistol (again, at that time we only shot one pistol), was a ASM 1851 from EMF made from surplus Uberti parts for the Colt 2nd Series.  It quickly broke the hand spring and went to Lee's Gunsmithing in Santa Ana, CA for his fix, a Ruger plunger and coil spring.  After SASS discontinued the category, replacing it with frontier cartridge, I played around in that category for a while.  When Frontiersman made it's appearance, I quickly signed on, even though I can't stand shooting duelist.  This time around I bought a Colt 2nd Series and sent it and the ASM off to Rowdy Yates to have them both converted to a Manhattan Conversion and Ruger hand spring.  I'm still using both revolvers.  Although the ASM is now my backup with another 2nd Series Colt as my second main match gun.   Like I'm sure most guys have tried, I tried using lightened main springs.  While my caps would go off, the blowback would push the hammer back and blow the caps into the hammer channel, where they'd stick and stack up.  It'd take four or five and the hammer could no longer reach the cap.   Or they'd get down into the lockwork and really tie up the gun.   At the present, I'm playing with a pair of Patersons (Pietta) to really overcome a hardship.  They've been an adventure.  So far I've only made it successfully thru two stages... loading is a very involved process.

 

Frankly, any using a ROA, is a cheat.  (I'm not better, with the mods to my Colts)... but hey, one has to rag on the competition over something.  I toyed with a 1858 for about a season, but like it's later suppository guns, the 1875 & 1890. it never felt comfortable in my hand.  I'm sure it's a "Chevy/Ford" thing, but I also never had any work done on it.  It always clogged up, (read gummed up) rather quickly and got real sluggish.  They can be tuned to work, and work well... I just never warmed up to it well enough to put in the effort/time/money.

 

At the present time, I either shoot a Taylor's 18-½" 1873, the above mentioned Sporting Rifle or a steel framed Henry, all either in 45 Colt, tho' I'm transitioning to C45S as soon as I get set up for annealing the brass.  When I shoot 45 Colt, I simply sand down the sides of the carrier so it's a sloppy fit, and any fouling that sticks to it doesn't affect the action.  I can usually shoot 6 stages without cleaning it, and have gone all three days at Comin-At-Cha & EOT without cleaning any guns.  More time socializing in the evening.   For shotgun I'm still using that Stoeger, or more frequently a hammered TTN coach gun, sometimes the 26" barrelled version I got from Nate Kiowa Jones with it's Cased Hardened receiver.  

 

But, then again, I'm not out to win... I don't bother with practicing and only shoot 7 - 10 times a year.   Like Dawg, I prefer to go slow and hit targets... that defines fun for me.  

 

Goon's Gunworks can set up good reliable cap guns.  

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Every time I see the film Pale Rider, I wanna run out and buy Remmies.  Then I remember that there is so little room between the back of the trigger guard and the front of the grip, that it beats up the middle finger of my gun hand.  That's why I stopped shooting them.
I still have one -- a 4" snubbie built by Larsen E. Pettifogger.  I keep that because he is one of my SASS heroes, and I like to have stuff made by my SASS heroes.

--Dawg 

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21 minutes ago, Prairie Dawg, SASS #50329 said:

  I keep that because he is one of my SASS heroes, and I like to have stuff made by my SASS heroes.

--Dawg 

 

That's why I still have the cap & ball guns I got from you my friend!

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26 minutes ago, Griff said:

 

Goon's Gunworks can set up good reliable cap guns.  

He's the best....

 

 

 

 

 

Just be prepared to wait for a long time.

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3 hours ago, C.N. Double said:

When I shoot Frontiersman, I just use the same rifle and shotgun I use for smokeless -- '73 rifle in .357 and 12ga single-trigger Baikal. It works great, and it gives me a reason to clean the long guns (occasionally). I've only ever shot ROAs, but I don't believe they are required to be competitive.

 

IIRC, neither Chili Pepper Pete nor Dammit Olli shoot ROAs, but they are both excellent Frontiersman who compete at the highest levels, and they're great dudes too.

 

Thanks CN for the kind words, and right back at you!       I do shoot ROAs,  a 73 carbine and either my 1887 or SKB.   There are many schools of thoughts about which pistols are the best but the most important aspect is "Reliability"   If you have any hope of being competitive at the top level of Frontiersman, your pistols have to work all the time as mentioned in other posts.  Rugers seem to be the easiest to tune but several top shooters use colt style and have perfected the tuning that matches any ROA I've seen.   Fight the urge to reduce hammer springs too much,  what works at home or practice isnt the same as match conditions as far as i'm concerned,  you will never feel the extra 2 pounds when the timer goes "beep"  I have messed around with 58s and while they fit my hands perfectly, i have never been able to keep them running as consistently as Rugers,  someone once told me that part of the problem with Rems is that there is no deflection of the gases at the cylinder gap so the gas is blasted right onto cylinder pin.  I could see what they were saying but never knew if it had merit.  Anyway  good luck and look forward to seeing how it goes.

 

Chili

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PLUS ONE for THE PRAIRIE DAWG

 

It's all about RELIABILITY.  I personally never liked Rugers.  Couldn't shoot 'em for beans.  I like Colt Pattern Guns.  I DO NOT like Uberti.  Way too much to overcome to make them RELIABLE.  Before I retired, I built a LOT of Piettas into very good CAS guns.  I shoot Pietta.  Snubbies if you will.  3 3/4 inch barrels.  Unless it's my 1860 Conversions with Suppositories.  Comfortable in your hand and dead RELIABLE.  ALL of the guns I built are as reliable as any suppository shooter so long as the shooter feeds 'em correctly.  Burma Shave

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I have Goon’s ROAs, Cody ‘73 in .38 special and Brisco Kid BSS 12 ga.

 

b/u: Goon’s ROAs, Griners’ ‘73 in .38 special and a LSS CZ Sharptail (cause I couldn’t find a Brisco kid BSS).   Maybe I’ll find someone that will trade me a BSS from Brisco for my CZ.

 

slix nipples set up to run Rem 10s or CCI 11s.

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It's been a few years since I've shot Frontiersman, I went to FCGF with my caps cause I like to live life on the razor's edge.

 

I use either my ROA's, or my Uberti 1860's in .44.

Winny '73 in 44.40, or Uberti/Winny '73 in .38

Charles Day 12g, or TTN Hammered.

 

Rowdy Yates did up my ROA's, and I DIY'd my Uberti's.

 

I forgot who, maybe Coffinmaker?, told me that when you lighten hammersprings in cap guns or cartridge guns you need to address the handspring.  Handsprings can be stiff, and slow everything down has the hammer is falling forward, trying to push that handspring down.  Which I was I followed Larsen's DIY instructions and added the Ruger style handspring/plunger setup to my Uberti's.  Now they cycle nice and easy, and always go bang.

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Tyrel!  I shot ‘58s for the better part of a year, not long after I started SASS.

 

 I ran ‘em cap ‘n’ ball and converted to .45 Colt. My biggest problem was they absolutely mauled my middle finger with the back of the trigger guard.  Two stages and I was bleeding and looking for the first aid kit. I started taping my fingers before a match but they’d hurt like the devil when I levered my rifle.

 

Fun guns, but not much room for long fingers or big hands!

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It doesn't matter. Unless the category consists entirely of other 35 second, one-legged, or wheelchair bound shooters, I ain't winnin' nuttin'.

When I shoot Frontiersman, I use ROA's, 1851, or 1860 patterns, and any of a number of rifles (25-20 to .56-.50) and shotguns (usually 20g, 12g, and 10g, sometimes a 16g).

I could never get accustomed to the Remington patterns, so sold my 4 1858's, and 4 1875's.

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I bought a pair of 5-1/2" barrelled 1858s when powder and primers started being scarce. Put slix nipples on them as the stock ones wouldn't hold the caps consistently. I managed to obtain a bunch of caps just before they dried up completely. I'll get them out one day.

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The Pietta's have always worked well for me. Larson Pettifoggers instructions, and cap racks. I use a Tower of Power loading stand, while the cylinder is out of the gun, everything gets a quick baby wipe, wipe down.

 

Brass framed 51's are my go to. Although I have others,I love my brass framed 51's.

38 or 44-40, 1873, 66' or Henry transitional.

Baikal single trigger.

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After reading the others post I can't really add much to the conversation, other than I love my remingtons. Most either love or hate them. They are every bit as good as the other options but if you have larger hands you probably won't like them for the same reasons Dawg said about banging up your fingers. You can work around that with your hand hold on the grip. Is it worth it? Idk depends on how much you like them and how easy they are in comparison to colt clones for pulling the cylinder. I don't use them in sass anymore as I've moved onto FCGF with ruger bisleys. But they are still one of my favorites to take to the range to play with.

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