Getting into cowboy action shooting
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Author:  Scout82 [ Sun Mar 22, 2009 5:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Getting into cowboy action shooting

Ive been thinking of getting into cowboy action shooting. This might be a reason to buy some more guns, but i think it would be fun to get into. Since I don't have any guns that qualify, what are some good combinations? I'm thinking that I might start reloading my own bullets, if I get my pistols and rifle the same caliber. What would be a good caliber? I reload my own shot shells, but I have never reloaded brass.


Author:  uglydog [ Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Getting into cowboy action shooting

The "classic" choice for cartridges is the 45 Colt though no rifles in this chambering were made in that era. It is a popular choice due to its aura and one I have. The 44/40 would be a moreaccurate choice as it was available in both rifles and pistols which helped its popularity. If one is serious about competing, a rifle/pistol combo in 38 Spl or 357 mag woul be a good choice. It combines light recoil, low cost ammo, and ready availability into a good package. It is the route I wish I would have taken as bullets are much cheaper and it uses a little less powder which again is a savings. I also had all the components and dies on hand for this cartridge which would have saved me a bit in equipment.
For the shotgun, the 12 ga Win 97 seems to be the gun of choice for those serious about winning though a SxS with double triggers, external hammers, extractors, and no recoil pad or swivels is more era correct in my eyes. With the low recoil ammunition available, the 12 ga can be a very easy gun to use. Some used 20 ga guns in an attempt to get lower recoil but it can backfire as some 20 ga guns are pretty light. My shotgun is an old round body Stevens 311 in 16 ga. I chose it because I got an extremely good deal on it, they are common and hav elittle value so cutting the barrels back doesn't ruin a collector piece, and I have many thousands of 16 ga wads in the basement that need to be used. Otherwise I would have gone with a 12 ga of some type.
A side branch of CAS shooting is the long range rifle. I have a couple of Pedersoli guns for this, both in 45/70. One is a Remington Rolling block copy that is pretty plain. It has a ladder rear sight and 30" barrel otherwise is pretty low tech. It shoots well enough out to 200 yards though not well enough to be competitive with me shooting it. The other is a Sharps 1874 that is pretty decked out. It has the hooded front sight, Vernier peep, 32" barrel, long stock, and fancy brass here and there. It is not any more accurate than the Remington though. Must be a Pedersoli problem. these events are often held separate from the normal CAS events and the couple I have been to have been fun but as family friendly. The others are almost more of a social gathering with some shooting involved rather than the other way around. Hope this helps some.

Author:  Church Key [ Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Getting into cowboy action shooting

Your best bet is to go over to the SASS forum ( and lurk for a while. Lots of opinions and advice. The classic starter outfit that has a good resale value when you decide to upgrade is a Marlin 94 rifle, Ruger revolvers, and a Stoger coachgun in 12 ga. The most popular caliber is .38 spl. because of cost and availability. Startup costs are high because of the need for guns, leather (holsters, belt, shotgun shell holder), gun cart, and required clothes. A custom 100% beaver hat can cost as much as a Ruger. However, both will last a lifetime.

A top of the line cowboy action outfit (Colt's, Uberti 73, Winchester 97) will cost about as much as a good mid-range trap gun (about $4,000).

Author:  shotgunworld [ Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Getting into cowboy action shooting

Just don't forget to come back to the Shotgunworld forums. :?

Author:  FormerTankSarge [ Wed Aug 26, 2009 11:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Getting into cowboy action shooting

Good info, been thinking about doing cowboy shooting myself. :)

Author:  mudflatmike [ Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Getting into cowboy action shooting

Any lever action rifle with an outside hammer, in pistol caliber, any pump rifle with an outside hammer in pistol caliber

2 single action revolvers over .22 caliber, ammo must be lead under 1,000fps

shotgun can be any side/side with or without outside hammers, no auto ejectors (can be disabled) or 1897 winchester pumps (or clones) or lever action winchesters or clones

It really helps if the revolvers and rifle are in the same caliber.
Been doing CAS for near 15 years, including X2 in Europe, it's a blast!

Author:  edlmann [ Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Getting into cowboy action shooting

This article seems to make pretty good sense to me.

Author:  CRG [ Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Getting into cowboy action shooting

If I may add to the comments. There are a lot of things that set off Cowboy shooting. The guns are all fun to shoot, but most folks, unless they have a large cash flow, will reload.
Initial cost can be high, with special requirements on guns, clothing and leathers.

I would recommend that you visit the SASS website also. Find a club that is having a shoot.
Go to the shoot and watch and ask. Most Cowboy shooters are very friendly and will fall all
over themselves to discuss the venue with you. You will get more information in a few questions that you will get in a week on the forums.

I am a SASS shooter, and have been since 2002. There are some very fine people involved. There are also a couple of bad apples, but I guess you get them in all venues. Good news they tend to stick together and bad mouth each other.

Author:  oldcolonial [ Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Getting into cowboy action shooting

I love cowboy action shooting. I think I've participated in every shooting game there is in over 60 years of shooting. Bench Rest, Shiloette, 3 Gun etc,etc., but Cowboy is the most fun I've had. Winning isn't the focus (although you try) - having FUN is everything. The gun are fun, the matches are fun, the people are fun - and who didn't want to be a cowboy at one time or another. Dressing the part of your favorite cowboy is a real hoot. It's tough to buy enough ammunition if you use factory loads - you shoot so much at each match. Reloading really helps. It also helps if your rifle and pistol are the same caliber. I started out with 38's and 357's, but found out that I enjoyed the "big boomers" more although they are harder to shoot well.
To my way of thinking there is nothing better than 20 rounds of 45 Colt in pistol and rifle followed buy 6 rounds of 12ga black powder with a double barrel (with external hammers). Follow that up with a few rounds of 45/70 black powder long range and a few shots with a Derringer across the "poker table" and that's one fine Saturday in my opinion! Usually you'll shoot three or four of these "stages". By the end of the day you will have had your "firearm fix" untill next week. Trying to buy all you need at one time is a financial disaster (plus you really don't know what you want at this point), but just get what can and show up. You'll get all sorts of suggestions. I've witnessed folks show up with one pistol and be loaned everything else by shooters who just want them to have a good experience and a good time. I have not experienced this in any other shooting sport with the possible exception of handgun silhoutte. Anyway, I'm saying far too much. I hope will jump in and have fun!

Author:  Crunchy Frog [ Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Getting into cowboy action shooting

mudflatmike wrote:
2 single action revolvers over .22 caliber,...

Mike, I think you meant to say "over .32 caliber", right?

Author:  Crunchy Frog [ Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Getting into cowboy action shooting

This is an old thread but for the benefit of other readers I would echo what others have said about cowboy shooting. It is a real blast and cowboy shooters have the reputation of being a friendly bunch. For anyone interested I would recommend going to this page: to find a club in your area, then attend a match and take a look around. In my home club if a spectator shows up we practically lasso them and try to recruit them to start shooting! Some clubs hold "new shooter clinics" outside of regular match days to give prospective new shooters a chance to handle the guns and get information about the sport.

When I expressed an interest in finding out more about cowboy shooting I contacted the match director of my local club. His advice was spot on: don't buy ANYTHING, come to the match. I showed up in tennis shoes and a baseball cap ("prohibited" items by the way) with "legal" ammo. Other folks loaned me leather and I shot the entire match with a parade of borrowed guns. Very, very helpful.

Obligatory shotgun content: I ended buying a Winchester 1897 pump. It's a great ladies or youth cowboy shotgun by the way and I can also use it for "Wild Bunch Action Shooting" matches. My clays gun is a Beretta O/U and I had a little difficulty adapting to a two-trigger double. My wife is now shooting with me and I put a short stock on the '97. I am thinking of getting a single trigger double. The "Grail" shotgun in cowboy is an SKB 100 or 200 with appropriate modifications. Very nice shotguns.

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