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Beginner questions and issues

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9245:
I’m thinking about starting cowboy action shooting but have a few beginner questions and issues and seem to be getting conflicting answers (and outright bad attitudes on some other forums) so I thought I’d ask here.

First I know different clubs and groups have different “styles,” and I’m not sure where to go, I have seen videos of some “coyboy action shooting” that is nothing more more than 5-10 rounds, with no reloading, on a more or less fixed firing line, I.E. not really “action” shooting at all and more like fast bullseye shooting with “cowboy” gear, about as exciting and interesting as watching paint dry, that’s not really the kind of match I’m interested in.  I’ve also seen actual action shooting style matches with real movement, firing from “cover” and reloading on the clock, run and gun style stuff, kind of like IDPA or 3 gun but with cowboy stuff, much more realistic and more interesting and fun, that’s more my style.  I also prize historical authenticity, not race guns and whoever spends the most wins.  I’m also turned off by the only loading 5 rule, not everyone has that mechanical deficiency so it’s a handicap against them (me).  I’m in Southeast Michigan, any clubs/groups like that around me?

Any tips for a budget conscious shooter?  Unfortunately the only “cowboy” guns I currently have is a pair of .44 caliber 1858 Remingtons (one by ASM and the other by Pietta), so I still need a rifle and shotgun, not to mention conversion cylinders and an outfit.  I have heard that borrowing gear is often not an issue at matches, but I would hate to drive half a day to a match (and my area is almost devoid of decent ranges, the nearest indoor range is an hour plus away as is the nearest, and ridiculously restrictive, public outdoor range, their are (expensive) private clubs that are closer but my, brief, interactions with them in the past make it clear to me that if you are not Elmer Fudd doing your yearly 1 round “sight in” on your $10 a round belted hyper magnum “deer” rifle, using the original one box of ammo you bought with the rifle 10 years ago, and don’t already know one of the blue bloods already in the club you aren’t getting in) so driving half the day is likely what I would have to do) only to find out that no one happens to be in a generous mood that day and then having to turn around and go home so I would really like my to have my own gear.  Unfortunately prices seem to have gone insane since the last time I considered this a few years ago, Italian replicas going for $1,500?  Really?  I don’t mind spending $5-600~ on a decent (ish) rifle, to go with my $300~ revolvers but over a grand, minimum?  Nope.  If I’m spending that much I’m building a fairly decent AR, not a replica antique from Italy made by the same people who made my $300 revolver.  I’d pay that much (and likely considerably more) for an ORIGINAL, but not a repro.  Even looking for used stuff on gun broker returns insanity, I understand the panic is on but who the hell panic buys a lever gun?  Any clue where I can find a decent entry level rifle and shotgun that would be match legal and historically accurate for something approaching a reasonable price?  I’m thinking of doing an 1888 character.

Any recommendations on firearms?  At the risk of being a heretic, I’ve never been a fan of the Single Action Army, it just seems to have already been obsolete in 1873 and definitely not what I would have chosen had I been around back then, it reloads not much better than a cap and ball with paper cartridges and gives up a round due to it’s only being able to safely load five rounds design flaw, whereas things like Schofields, Merwin Holberts, and Webleys, among others, all far superior, existed at the same time.  That (and hot swap cylinders) is why I went with the 1858 Remingtons instead (along with price and availability), however I am considering a cartridge conversion for convenience.  My question is what should I be looking at for the Rifle and Shotgun that would go with that?  Again, my target year is 1888.

On the topic of conversion cylinders, I very much like the idea of a gated conversion, the drop in cylinders are just clunky and to get any real benefit over cap and ball would require multiple cylinders which would get expensive, however I do NOT like the idea of giving up a shot and reducing what should be a six shot revolver to five.  Any conversion cylinder I get must be six shot and must retain the ability to load all six safely, if I must I’ll get the drop in, or rather drop ins, because I would need a couple of extras, but I would prefer a gated conversion but refuse to give up a round, any suggestions?

Is there a guide somewhere for historically accurate clothing?  I want to get the details correct.  I see companies like River Junction that sell reproductions for a reasonable price and that is likely what I will do for most of the outfit but the price (and selection is limited/non existent in my size) boots, jackets, and hats is astronomical compared to the rest (I can see the boots, leather work, but the felt hat?) so I will likely have to buy those used only I have no real guide to what is authentic and what is farb, any suggestions?  (FYI I wear a 14 wide shoe and a 7 1/2 hat, that is why I say finding my size is an issue, it seems like most manufacturers think that people with feet bigger than a 12 or 13 only live in the forests of Oregon and do not need shoes or boots, and most used hats I see seem to top out at a size 7 for some reason)

Yes I know, I could technically get by with modern cloths but I figure I might as well go all out, if I’m going to do a period based event I may as well create a full and correct impression.

Are SASS and NCOWS the only games in town?  From what I have read I really like NCOWS but the nearest “posse,” according to their website, is in Indiana and I’m in Southeast Michigan, that’s just too far for more than once or twice a year and SASS seems (again, just based on first impressions, which another forum has blown) to be not terribly interested in historical accuracy or realism and is more of a bullseye shoot and biased toward Single Action Armys with the 5 round limit, no (or uncommon) reloading, and penalty for unfired rounds in the cylinder even if all targets are hit (or that’s how the rules read to me), and I also don’t get limiting it to single action only when double actions existed in the period and were readily available.

Any other advice for a newbie?

River City John:
Try this article from the NCOWS site on Creating The Outfit:

http://ncows.com/library/pdf/CreatingTheOutfit.pdf

All good questions you've raised. The five rounds loaded in a 6-cylinder firearm are standard safety in any Cowboy Shooting organization. Hammer always down on an empty chamber. And remember in some cases, such as smaller "pocket pistols", 5 chambers were the norm.

1888 there were still a lot of cap 'n' ball in use, and conversions, too. Uberti or Pietta '51, '60 or a Remington Army - all with a conversion cylinder, would be the most economical way to enter. There are some good deals on secondary market.
Conversion cylinders are a great way to be introduced to this sport. Cap 'n' ball revolvers and after-market conversion cylinders do not have to go through a FFL. We have NCOWS members who do not belong to any local club, and we also have members who form their own club if at least two other like-minded individuals share the same interest. Many clubs hold social events in lieu of shooting events, - go to museums, lectures or demonstrations, Western-themed movies if happening in their area.
Go slow and do what you're doing, ask a lot of questions and be patient. Welcome to the sport.

Coming out of pandemic times as the country is now has thrown a wrench into the cogs of everything, so it will be a renewal process by all. In effect we're all Newbies re-entering the sport this year. Great time to dip your toes into the water.
Let me mention that the NCOWS Convention and Congress Meeting is coming up March 19th, 20th and 21st in Nashville, IN. If you can make the trip it will be worth it.
It would be a nice resource to view a lot of firearms being offered, both original and repro.
Here is the Convention website:
http://www.ncowsconvention.com
It sounds like you lean towards the historical side of the hobby, so NCOWS would be a perfect fit. Plus you're right, NCOWS does allow double-action revolvers, which were well represented in the Old West. (One major difference between the two main organizations.) And NCOWS pioneered the two-gun category, using a single sidearm and a rifle. Very, very few armed men/women ran around with two sidearms, a rifle and a shotgun. And a gun-cart. Another economical choice to consider.
Many of our members hold dual membership in both organizations.
There are some independent clubs out there. Check with local gun ranges or stores and inquire of local resources.

As to your question, if a stage calls for hitting three targets only, there is usually a "dump" target to fire the remaining rounds in the gun. No stage would ever be written that would leave unfired rounds in a firearm to create a penalty situation for a shooter. In a case of a gun malfunction and it needs to be handed off to a RO, remaining unfired rounds would be counted as misses after the gun is cleared, - if there is not the option to re-shoot the stage.

RCJ

ira scott:
Five rounds loaded in a six shooter is not only standard practice in Cowboy Action Shooting, (SASS and NCOWS),  it is the standard way to SAFELY carry any revolver that does not have a transfer bar. A Schofield is just as likely to go BOOM when dropped on the hammer with a live round in the chamber under it as a SAA.  I think your comment about the Colt Single Action being obsolete in 1873 is amusing,  as the .45 Colt cartridge and SAA were introduced that year?  As far as appropriate rifles, a Uberti in either 1866 or 1873 version in .45 Colt can be had for far less than $1500 on the used market. That would work well with your .44 Cap and Ball conversions and fit your desired time frame.

It's a great sport if you would enjoy a taste of living history.  The best take-aways from my 15+ years of playing the game is the "interesting" people I have met and become friends with,  I don't give 2 sh#ts about the competition aspect.

Mike  AKA: Broken Nose Scotty

DeaconKC:
First, welcome! I started a Mewe page especially for folks new to CAS and have some great folks helping guide the new Pards. Look especially for Branchwater Jack's Youtube pages, they are listed on the Mewe page too. https://mewe.com/join/newcowboyactionshooterscassass
Okay, I like running the Schofield's too, currently looking for a second one. You do NOT have to choose a costume category to get started, show up in jeans, a long sleeve shirt and some boots. There are several active CAS groups in Michigan/Northern Indiana, so you can certainly find one by you.

9245:

--- Quote from: ira scott on March 16, 2021, 01:25:08 PM ---Five rounds loaded in a six shooter is not only standard practice in Cowboy Action Shooting, (SASS and NCOWS),  it is the standard way to SAFELY carry any revolver that does not have a transfer bar. A Schofield is just as likely to go BOOM when dropped on the hammer with a live round in the chamber under it as a SAA.  I think your comment about the Colt Single Action being obsolete in 1873 is amusing,  as the .45 Colt cartridge and SAA were introduced that year?  As far as appropriate rifles, a Uberti in either 1866 or 1873 version in .45 Colt can be had for far less than $1500 on the used market. That would work well with your .44 Cap and Ball conversions and fit your desired time frame.

It's a great sport if you would enjoy a taste of living history.  The best take-aways from my 15+ years of playing the game is the "interesting" people I have met and become friends with,  I don't give 2 sh#ts about the competition aspect.

Mike  AKA: Broken Nose Scotty

--- End quote ---

Ah but some, like the 1858 Remingtons, had hammer notches to let the hammer sit safely between chambers, no safety reason not to carry them like that, it’s one of the things that drew me to the cartridge conversions.

I never said the Schofield didn’t have the same issue but it’s still the clearly superior design, the Schofield ejects all the empty cartridges simultaneously and there is no need to rotate the cylinder after loading each round and it even allows for the use of a speed loader, which did exist in the Old West era (though was very uncommon), but even without the speed loader the rest of the features make it the better choice, five rounds or not.  And it is not the only better choice either.  I think the Single Action Army would have been fantastic had it come out maybe 5 years or so earlier, but as it stands better designs were already on the market and commonly found.  It’s debatable how common hot swapping cylinders was for the 1858 but even without much practice I can do that in 8-10 seconds, how fast can you reload a Single Action Army?  Plus I have an extra round.  Even without the hot swapping cylinder though, the Single Action Army has no real advantage over a cap and ball revolver (using paper cartridges) or a cartridge conversion, at least in terms of reloads.  Now compare that to say a Schofield or Merwin Holbert, which is my point.

I love the living history aspect of this, I’ve always been a history nerd, and also being a shooter this seems to fit well :)

If you can find them for less than that I would love to see it, none are in the local stores so I’ve been forced to gunbroker and damned if used stuff doesn’t sell for as much or more than new there :(  I REALLY don’t want to have to use a Marlin but it might come to that :(

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