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New Guy Questions, specifically firearm, category, and costume related.


IronOkie

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I've been interested in Cowboy Action for a long time, but finally decided to get serious about taking the plunge.  I plan to attend a match in the next few months but wanted to lay some groundwork first.  I am a very experienced shooter but I have limited experience with single action pistols and lever guns.  I am aware that I could possibly borrow equipment but I'm not in the habit of entering competitions with firearms I am not familiar with.  So to me it makes sense to acquire the equipment, and become familiar with it before showing up.

 

First question, are the costume categories and age based categories independent or are they always combined?  In other words is there just a Wrangler age category or would there always be a Costume category with the age category (for example: Wrangler age within Classic Cowboy)? 

 

For context: I found someone selling two new Evil Roy pistols and after a small amount of research decided the price was pretty darn reasonable and that they would be a good start.  Next I started looking at rifles.  One gun I'd like to have in my collection that I do not currently own is the Winchester 1873.  I've been looking into picking one of those up, but I appear to have run into a snag.  The pistols I purchased are 357/38's.  It appears, if I'm reading the rules correctly, that those two do not mix as classic cowboy requires .40 caliber and above and B western specifically outlaws the 1873.  

 

I also have a costume related question.  I'm a retired LEO and due to an injury to my foot wearing traditional cowboy boots is out of the question.  No one makes traditional western style boots that will fit my injured foot.  I wore 6E shoes before I got injured so suffice to say western boots are just not an option.  Is this going to be a problem?

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The reason for using other people's guns for a while before buying your own is so you get the feel of the gun. You think it would be real cool and period-correct to use a 7 and 1/2 inch 45, but then you get a pair of them and discover that those long barrels are heavy, and 45s recoil more than you like. So now you need to get rid of those guns, losing money because they're used, and buy other guns.

 

I bought three pistols before I started. I soon sold all three of them. They didn't feel right when I was actually using them.

 

If I had used somebody else's 4 and 3/4 inch guns, I would have soon realized that I did not like that barrel length, and I would not have bought three of them. I would have gotten five and a halfs from the get-go.

 

Yes, if you want to play classic you have to have 40 caliber or above, so those 357s ain't going to make it.

 

And as you noted, B Western will not allow you to use a 73.

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GO TO A CLUB MATCH !!!!!

 

Before you spend any money on anything.

Let the other participants know you are interested.

Be amazed at the friendship and offers of equipment and advice you will be offered.

This ^ will save you money and/or heartache in the long, and not so long, run.

 

wbj  :)

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Just FYI: the most popular cartridge in our sport is .38.  Most of the people you will see at a match are not shooting Classic Cowboy or B-Western.  That's not to say those categories aren't great, but most people are shooting the age-based categories.  If I'd known that when I was new to the sport, a lot of what I was reading, which was confusing at the time, would have made much more sense.

 

My club does have people who shoot frontiersman, or classic cowboy, or B-western, or who rotate around based on how they're feeling that day equipment wise, but you should not think that most of us are shooting black powder, or hammer doubles, or 40 cals or bigger, or Marlins or whatever.  There are those people, but most of us are shooting a pair of revolvers in 38, a 66 or 73, and a side by side.

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As almost everyone will tell you, go to a couple of matches first BEFORE you purchase anything. By purchase anything, I mean everything from gun cart, to leather, to guns. If you don't, you'll wish you did...unless you're well off financially.

 

I don't even own the first set of pistols that I started with, don't own the second set either. Still have the first rifle that I started with...somewhere. The second rifle is long gone also as is the first and second shotgun.

 

I really suggest that you stick with .38/357 for your "first guns". You can get .45's later, after you get a feel for the game. If you have the financial means, I suggest starting with Ruger pistols of some type, Uberti '73 and quality shotgun of choice. The Rugers and Uberti have a ton of aftermarket "speed" parts to choose from and repair/replacement parts are readily available. Choose quality leather/shotgun belts also. Buy once, cry once.

 

As far as the footwear question, it shouldn't be a problem. Most clubs make certain considerations for people with medical conditions which affect their feet. As long as you don't wear Air Jordan type shoes, you should be fine...although once you start finishing first in category, a few people might question your footwear choice.

 

I can't stress how important it is for you to go to a couple of matches to get the "lay of the land" and especially try out the various firearms. Not meaning to be a jerk but hide that pride and ego and accept some genuine generosity/advice from the people that have "been there".

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The only problem with going to a match or two first is you may wind up more confused than before. Everyone thinks what they shoot is the best. You already have all the guns so just go and shoot! 

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The number of Cowboy guns in my safe has grown over the years. I still own the guns I started with 11 years ago. I actually shot them in a match this month but mostly they get used by newcomers like you who want to try out a match. I have loaned them to new shooters many times. That being said, go to several matches, talk to people, let them tell you why they think their guns are the best then decide for yourself what is best for you.  You'll meet some very generous and helpful people. As far as clothing and categories, look up Branchwater Jack on YouTube and watch some of his videos. Buy Captain Baylor's book from Amazon titled "Captain Baylor's Big Bad Book on Cowboy Action Shooting". You will save more than the cost of the book by not making bad or unnecessary purchases. Don't overthink this. It's a game. Have fun and meet some darn nice people in the process.

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What everyone above said. Lace up work boots will work too. Read over the attached rule book as it will answer a lot of questions and create more! Hang on for the addiction.

Welcome aboard!

5a2a989e95497_SASSWelcome.JPG.ed5045d9abb98d8837093843c187d2e5.JPG

Shooters Handbook Vers 27.4 - 2023 FINAL.pdf

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Go to a couple of matches or more! Go with an open mind. The main reason that we say to try other folks’ guns is because you can find out what fits your hands and your style without going through the process of trading up, down, or sideways when you find that “brand X” doesn’t fit your hands or that you really, “like some other revolver better than the $1,800.00 worth of what you’re holding now”!

 

I went through three sets of pistols before I found the ones that I mostly shoot now. I was fortunate to be able to swap and trade until I found out that the 1875 Remington revolvers fit my big ol’ hands without taking a big loss on guns I wasn’t comfortable shooting!

 

As to footwear, with the exception of Classic Cowboy and B Western, so long as you’re not wearing sneakers, you’re pretty much good to go!

 

There are two rules that are the most important thing in CAS/SASS! Those are “BE SAFE” and “HAVE FUN” , the rest will generally take care of itself.

 

Get ready to have the most fun you can have with your clothes on!!

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130+ years of experience are telling you to go to as many matches as you can find locally. I will add my 22 years to that. We want you to come out and play with us NOW. Dont wait until you have all the RIGHT stuff, just come out NOW. You will have so much more knowledge to base your decisions on after you have been to a couple of matches, heck you can even help pick up brass, pull up SG targets etc. Then it (categories, caliber requirements etc)  will make so much more sense what we are doing and why. Only then should you spend money on stuff for this game. My ex used to call it "cowboy heroin".

 

Imis (did I mention dont spend money until you have been to a couple of matches?)

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On 11/26/2023 at 12:10 AM, IronOkie said:

 

 

I also have a costume related question.  I'm a retired LEO and due to an injury to my foot wearing traditional cowboy boots is out of the question.  No one makes traditional western style boots that will fit my injured foot.  I wore 6E shoes before I got injured so suffice to say western boots are just not an option.  Is this going to be a problem?

First of all, welcome to our sport.  Lots of good advice above, so no need to repeat that.  But I thought I might be able to help with question. I come from a similar background and recently had surgery on both feet.  I also have trouble with regular cowboy boots.  The rules do not require Cowboy Boots.  I know of one very good shooter who shoots barefoot.  The only things that are prohibited are Combat boots or vibram sole style boots  (Classic Cowboy and B Western) and athletic shoes.  Even those rules maybe waived by the Match Director on an individual individual basis.  I shot my first match this spring in a Medical Walking boot.  You may also want to contact Ariat.  When I called them they were very helpful.  They transferred me to a Customer Service Rep who specialized in specialty items. She recommended this boot to me:  https://www.ariat.com/10036668_192904794656.html?country=US&currency=USD&utm_source=google_ariat_datafeed&utm_medium=paid_shopping_pm&utm_campaign=17214922782&gad_source=1&gclid=CjwKCAiA9ourBhAVEiwA3L5RFkdfESSbp9hvQ5-WhmUmToo0gAKBp4Fs4q6-ToOB6GTNOz02zJBSQRoCn9AQAvD_BwE&dwvar_P22238__M__FOO_Size=10.5&dwvar_P22238__M__FOO_color=STATUS_BROWN&dwvar_P22238__M__FOO_width=D_Medium  This boot has a hidden zipper in the back, so that you can put your foot in through the back of the boot.  

Edited by Sarge
Correct post
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I am not going to suggest any calibers, black powder or not or class....but I will make a suggestion or two. I would buy used guns for sure. When I got started I only bought 2 new guns, a rifle and shotgun. The rifle I still own, a Taylor 73, slicked up to short stroke. Shotgun is long gone. Shotgun was the hardest for me, I had them all. Shoot an SKB by Johnny Meadows now. Try them all, borrow at a match a or otherwise. 

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You have gotten a lot of advice and it is all worth while. I started in 2018 and went to a couple of matches to watch and then was invited to another club to shoot their guns and they even provided the leather and ammo. I went and had a blast. I tried different guns and finally made my decision from that experience and have been shooting the same revolvers that I purchased in 2018. I chose Rugers in 357 and still shoot them today. I also liked the 73 and went with a Uberti and had a small tuneup on it that I shot for 4 years. Then I upgraded to another Uberti with a complete tuneup by Shotgun Boogie. I now have 2 of them and they are the top of the line but still Uberti 73's. As for the shotgun I tried the pump 97 but just never liked it. I only got it because it was a good deal at the time. I was able to sell it and even made a few dollars. I then went with a Stoeger SxS and shot it for 5 years. This year I upgraded to a CZ Sharptail and now have two of them. I also shoot the same leather that I bought in 2018. Buy good leather and it will last you a lifetime. So what I am saying is try others and then make your decision and you will save a lot of money. This is a great game and can get expensive if you try to do it on your own. Let others provide their knowledge so you can make the right decision for yourself.

 

On the boot question I have similar issues with flat feet and regular boots would kill my feet after an hour or so. I even bought top of the line boots but it didn't help. I tried Ariats that tied but they also hurt and I could hardly stand on them after the 6 stage match. I got a recommendation from another shooter and bought a pair of Ropers from Amazon and they have really been great. They are padded and very comfortable and priced right. Here is the boot that I finally bought that works for me.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002DQY4CE/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&th=1&psc=1

 

Good luck and enjoy a great sport.

 

TM

Edited by Texas Maverick
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11 minutes ago, El Chapo said:

 

What part of the rulebook made you think that "vibram sole style boots" are prohibited?

You are correct.  I should have clarified.  Not allowed for Classic Cowboy and B Western as they are an example of Lug Soles.  

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4 hours ago, El Chapo said:

Just FYI: the most popular cartridge in our sport is .38.  Most of the people you will see at a match are not shooting Classic Cowboy or B-Western.  That's not to say those categories aren't great, but most people are shooting the age-based categories.  If I'd known that when I was new to the sport, a lot of what I was reading, which was confusing at the time, would have made much more sense.

 

That's what I needed to know, you can shoot without having to be in one of those two costume categories.

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26 minutes ago, IronOkie said:

 

That's what I needed to know, you can shoot without having to be in one of those two costume categories.

 

Perhaps this may help:  SASS Category Matrix v2.5 (8).pdf

 

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Lots of great advice here thank you.  I knew going in the advice would be mostly geared around going to a local comp, and I should have clarified more.  It's not very difficult for me to get to the gun range every now and then for a few hours.  It is, however, going to be difficult to attend matches with regularity due to my family weekend obligations (which I would not give up for anything).  At best, for me, this would be a 5-6 times a year event, as such there will be limited time to become familiar with borrowed firearms at a comp.  I use to sell guns as one of my off-duty job so the advice on finding what fits is well taken and understood. 

 

The other half of this equation is historical.  In order to justify buying firearms of this type I need them to check a few boxes at once.  They should be suitable for competition, something I enjoy, and also something I want to have in my collection for historical significance.  For this reason the 1873 Winchester is likely the rifle I will buy.  That's not to say the other rifles are not historically significant in their own way, but come on 'the gun that won the west' (<-I hope that marketing guy got a big payday) is a solid add to any collection.

 

I'm looking forward to meeting my local club and continuing to interact with this community.  The sheer volume of replies with good advice speaks volumes for the community as a whole.  Thank you all for taking the time to answer my questions!

 

 

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2 hours ago, Sarge said:

First of all, welcome to our sport.  Lots of good advice above, so no need to repeat that.  But I thought I might be able to help with question. I come from a similar background and recently had surgery on both feet.  I also have trouble with regular cowboy boots.  The rules do not require Cowboy Boots.  I know of one very good shooter who shoots barefoot.  The only things that are prohibited are Combat boots or vibram sole style boots and athletic shoes.  Even those rules maybe waived by the Match Director on an individual individual basis.  I shot my first match this spring in a Medical Walking boot.  You may also want to contact Ariat.  When I called them they were very helpful.  They transferred me to a Customer Service Rep who specialized in specialty items. She recommended this boot to me:  https://www.ariat.com/10036668_192904794656.html?country=US&currency=USD&utm_source=google_ariat_datafeed&utm_medium=paid_shopping_pm&utm_campaign=17214922782&gad_source=1&gclid=CjwKCAiA9ourBhAVEiwA3L5RFkdfESSbp9hvQ5-WhmUmToo0gAKBp4Fs4q6-ToOB6GTNOz02zJBSQRoCn9AQAvD_BwE&dwvar_P22238__M__FOO_Size=10.5&dwvar_P22238__M__FOO_color=STATUS_BROWN&dwvar_P22238__M__FOO_width=D_Medium  This boot has a hidden zipper in the back, so that you can put your foot in through the back of the boot.  

 

Thank you Sarge!  Unfortunately 2E won't get the job done but I am glad to know someone is making some zippered Western boots!

 

I hope your feet heal well and quickly!

10 minutes ago, Eliphalet R. Moderator said:

 

Perhaps this may help:  SASS Category Matrix v2.5 (8).pdf

 

Exactly what I was hunting for!  Thank You!

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I wear wedge sole moc toe work boots. They help my feet and are very stable. B- Western requires a leather rig that keeps the gun butts below the top of the belt. If you shoot in an age based category you can shoot duelist, double duelist, or traditional. All in one match. Kind of like b Western but no Gunfighter. 

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Actually, the gun that won the West was likely mil-surplus and over-stocked muskets and single-shots that sold to settlers for piddling amounts.  Just look at photos of wagon trains and family heirlooms.  Winchester only made a bit over 550k of 1873s, peaking in numbers around 1890, at the tail end of cowboys and settling.

GET TO MATCHES!

You can talk to shooters and see what they use.  You might good deals on equipment from shooters aging out of game or finding other interests (some folks can't be figured).

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4 hours ago, IronOkie said:

Lots of great advice here thank you.  I knew going in the advice would be mostly geared around going to a local comp, and I should have clarified more.  It's not very difficult for me to get to the gun range every now and then for a few hours.  It is, however, going to be difficult to attend matches with regularity due to my family weekend obligations (which I would not give up for anything).  At best, for me, this would be a 5-6 times a year event, as such there will be limited time to become familiar with borrowed firearms at a comp.  I use to sell guns as one of my off-duty job so the advice on finding what fits is well taken and understood. 

 

The other half of this equation is historical.  In order to justify buying firearms of this type I need them to check a few boxes at once.  They should be suitable for competition, something I enjoy, and also something I want to have in my collection for historical significance.  For this reason the 1873 Winchester is likely the rifle I will buy.  That's not to say the other rifles are not historically significant in their own way, but come on 'the gun that won the west' (<-I hope that marketing guy got a big payday) is a solid add to any collection.

 

I'm looking forward to meeting my local club and continuing to interact with this community.  The sheer volume of replies with good advice speaks volumes for the community as a whole.  Thank you all for taking the time to answer my questions!

 

 

the 73 is a great rifle but I would recommend the Uberti model over Winchester because there are more readily available parts and it can be tuned up for SASS easier. 

 

TM

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And then there is the ammo!

 

If you do not currently reload ammo find a loading buddy/mentor close by who can run you through the equipment and the process.

 

Used equipment is out there, and usually there is a pretty good variety of manufacturers.

 

The best would be to find a local SASS shooter who could narrow down the field of equipment you would need for this game.

 

Good luck and enjoy the journey.

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Regarding age breakdowns of costume categories, this is sometimes done at major matches.  Land Run in OKC does it.  I shoot mostly Frontier Cartridge (FC).  At End of Trail I shot Elder Statesmen FC.  At our Regional I shot Senior FC.  At AZ State and NM State I just shot FC.  It is up to the match director whether to allow age-based breakdowns of costuming categories and other categories (shooting style and/or propellant).  Doing so increases the cost of awards.  For matches with fewer than 100 competitors you probably won't see age-breakdowns of costuming categories.

 

You can dress as a Classic Cowboy or B-Western and still shoot those .38 caliber firearms.  Just don't enter in those costume categories.  Shoot a '73 if you please.  I often dress B-Western then shoot FC.  Regarding boots, I too wear Ropers.  There's not room for my feet and arch supports in standard cowboy boots.

 

There's lots of good shooting in your region.  I've shot in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas and enjoyed every match.  

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most everything said above will help you avoid errors that could be costly , if you follow their advice you will find your way and have fun doing it , 

 

my advice is shoot age based till you have a feel for what you want to do - you can then invest wisely , as stated the 38s were a good buy and a wise choice , if you get a 73 get it in the same caliber it simplifies your needs , i kinda stumbled about going in , i do still own [and shoot] the first revolver i bought , but i went thru a lot of them finding out what i really liked and wanted - it was costly , rifles not so much i still have [amnd shoot] my first but ive invested in a lot of others as ive gone along [i still have all of them to] and im still shooting my first coach gun but have added a couple others as well for variety

 

if you have a foot issue - no one will give you chit for accommodating it , 

 

 

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2 hours ago, IronOkie said:

Central Oklahoma, I live in Choctaw.

One of the best, oldest SASS clubs in your area is part of the OK City Gun Club, who host the National Championships now.  You'll find many knowledgeable people there.   Be prepared to buy a bigger safe!  When I started I had a couple of hunting guns, a couple of duty guns, an operable wall-hanger of a double, and like any red-blooded American a Winchester 94 in .30-30 along with a Colt SAA.  My safe was overly large, I thought!  Playing in this game since 1985, my "collection" of "cowboy" guns far exceeds those in the safe at the time.  Having had a wife and son that also shot with me... their sets are still around, and get used from time to time!  

 

The phrase "come for the shooting, stay for the people" is as true today as it was when I started.  I've made many lifelong friends thru cowboy shooting.   Some of whom I actually know their "civilian" name!  

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It was already mentioned, but I'll repeat it. Buy Captain Baylor's book. I'm new to the game, but thought I read everything I could on the net. I got the book because so many people said it had so much info. They were right. Worth every penny and I keep going back to it. 

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One thing that helped me was working the unloading table. AFTER each shooter you get to see the guns that they shot with and ask questions about the different guns used, categories, see how the gun fits in your hands, how it loads and unloads, is this LOP good for you, etc. Virtually everyone is happy to show off their guns and explain what they like and don't like about them. Much better than standing around behind the shooters talking to people.

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3 minutes ago, Itchy Trigger said:

One thing that helped me was working the unloading table. AFTER each shooter you get to see the guns that they shot with and ask questions about the different guns used, categories, see how the gun fits in your hands, how it loads and unloads, is this LOP good for you, etc. Virtually everyone is happy to show off their guns and explain what they like and don't like about them. Much better than standing around behind the shooters talking to people.

WHAT HE SAID!!

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6 minutes ago, Itchy Trigger said:

One thing that helped me was working the unloading table. AFTER each shooter you get to see the guns that they shot with and ask questions about the different guns used, categories, see how the gun fits in your hands, how it loads and unloads, is this LOP good for you, etc. Virtually everyone is happy to show off their guns and explain what they like and don't like about them. Much better than standing around behind the shooters talking to people.

And with your foot concerns, you can do it comfortably from a stool.

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On 11/26/2023 at 10:58 AM, IronOkie said:

 

That's what I needed to know, you can shoot without having to be in one of those two costume categories.


You’re not the first to be confused by this.  Those categories combined make up less than ten percent of the entries at matches in my area.

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