Cowboy Action Shooting in Belton

Crunchy Frog

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Crunchy, can you provide some guidance on what are decent and not overpriced pistols, rifle and shotguns? What are some of the popular models being used by the average participants? I've gone to the SASE and Cowboy Action Shooting sites and they provide very broad information. I'm trying to get some specifics.

Thanks[/quote]

I'll do my "broken record" thing and say first that anyone interested in the sport should attend a local match or two and get a firsthand look at what people are using.

OK, on to specifics. Let's start with cartridge revolvers (cap and ball revolvers can be used but they are a LOT of work in a match). The vast majority of shooters use either a Ruger revolver (Vaquero/New Vaquero or a Blackhawk) or one of the Italian replicas of the Colt SAA (either a Uberti or a Pietta). Any of these will serve so the choice comes down to personal preference. The .38/.357 is the most popular chambering, followed by .45 Colt with the other chamberings bringing up the rear. Your revolvers don't hve to be "twins" but there is an advantage to having the revolvers match.

A word about the Ruger Blackhawk: At one point the SASS rules relegated any adjustable sighted revolver to a "Modern" category. The rules were changed several years ago to make adjustable sights OK for most categories. There are lots of Blackhawks on the used market and they are a good choice for shooters on a budget.

The Vaquero (what I call the Original Vaquero) is essentially a fixed sight version of the Blackhawk. It has the same sized cylinder as the Super Blackhawk so it's a large gun. Ruger introduced the New Vaquero in 2005; it is scaled down to roughly the size of the Colt SAA. The Original Vaquero can still be found used, and some shooters with large hands prefer them. A New Vaquero will run you about $600 new. Used Rugers are a good buy since they are so rugged; it is unusual to see a pair of used Vaqueros or New Vaqueros for sale for less than $900.

The Italian clones are fine for our sport. They are offered in a variety of finishes and with different features, so the price points are all over the board. For example, looking at Uberti revolvers on PSA's website, the matte finished Hombre is $395, the Cattleman with a nicer finish is $439, and the "competition ready" El Patron is $452. Cabela's website shows Pietta revolvers starting at $399 (matte) to $449 for the nickel or CCH/blued finish.

The most popular shotguns are the Stoeger Coach Gun or the Baikal, both run about $300-$400 new. They are really stiff out of the box and need a little action work to run right. The Baikal is currently on the import ban list but if you can find one, it's a very rugged gun. I prefer it to the Stoeger. Any side-by-side can be used as long as it does not have automatic ejectors. There are lots of good guns on the used market, like the Savage 311, than make decent cowboy shotguns. It does not have to be a short barreled coach gun.

Other legal shotguns are the Winchester 1897 pump or 1887 lever action shotgun (originals or replicas). Original '97s in good shape are getting harder to find. The Chinese clone of the '97 pump is no longer being imported but used ones can be found. I would avoid the 1887 replica now being imported.

Rifle choices include the Brazilian replica of the Winchester 1892 ($450), Henry Big Boy ($800), Marlin 1894 ($900?), Uberti 1866 or 1873 ($1100) or Winchester 1873 ($1600). The '92s are inexpensive but they are usually very rough out of the box and require some work to run reliably. Even a good '92 is difficult to run fast. Many people I know who started with a '92 ended up buying another rifle.

The Henry Big Boy is a good rifle but not ideal for our sport. The Marlin used to be a very good rifle for this sport. Their quality reputation went down after Remington purchased Marlin, which caused the price of the good used guns to go way up. New Marlins are hard to find. The Uberti '66 and '73 rifles have been the top guns for several years now. They are expensive and still need a couple hundred dollars worth of action work and parts to reach their potential. Winchester reintroduced the 1873 a couple of years ago; they are made in Japan by Miroku and appear to be good quality. Like the Uberti rifles they can benefit from a little action work.

I hope this has been helpful. Some of my comments are opinion and personal preference. Your mileage my vary and all of that.
 

craigp

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Thanks, that is very good info. The options are few and no one likes to waste money on gear that just doesn't work.
 

Crunchy Frog

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What I hate to see is a new shooter who has spent money on the wrong gear, just to find that it won't perform or that it's not legal for the category that they want to shoot. Leather is an example. Many of the holsters that you might find in a store or catalog, even the more expensive stuff, is not well suited for competition. If you buy it, you either struggle with it or replace it. That can be very frustrating and costly.

If you come out and let us show you what features to look for, you can avoid that problem.
 

craigp

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Crunchy Frog said:
What I hate to see is a new shooter who has spent money on the wrong gear, just to find that it won't perform or that it's not legal for the category that they want to shoot. Leather is an example. Many of the holsters that you might find in a store or catalog, even the more expensive stuff, is not well suited for competition. If you buy it, you either struggle with it or replace it. That can be very frustrating and costly.

If you come out and let us show you what features to look for, you can avoid that problem.
Would love the tour but while my memory's good, it can be short at times so too much information will all be lost. I work best off of written info I can refer back to as I'm hunting for gear.
 

Crunchy Frog

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The Belton Bushwhackers' monthly cowboy match was postponed this month from the regular 2nd Saturday to the 5th Saturday (January 31, 2015).

On 5th Saturdays they have been shooting a multigun game they have dubbed "Road to Perdition" which employs a 1911 .45 pistol, a pump shotgun and a semiauto Thompson. Kind of a "zoot shooters meets Wild Bunch" event.

I asked the match director whether it was just "Perdition" or whether they would also have the usual cowboy categories. He told me that participants can select either game at the match.

Those of you who have not made it out to a match, mark your calendars.

February's match will be on the second Saturday as usual.

They are making plans for a two day "annual match" on May 30-31. It will include a mounted shooting demonstration that I'm looking forward to seeing. If I know those guys they will have lots of interesting things in store.
 

Crunchy Frog

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The "Bushwhackers" will be shooting this Saturday (Valentine's Day): https://sites.google.com/site/beltonbushwhackers/

So, bring your wife or sweetheart! I don't recommend bringing them both. Guns being involved and all.

I just noticed that my wife is in one of the photos on the Bushwhacker's home page (it may be that the photos rotate so if you look and see photos of a bunch of hairy men, don't go making assumptions).

Their "annual match" is at the end of May. Should be fun.
 

Crunchy Frog

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The Belton Bushwhackers will hold a match on Saturday March 14. I may have to miss this one due to deadlines at work.

Hopefully we will have good weather from this point on.
 

Crunchy Frog

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I just received a message that Saturdays match has been canceled. The forecast is for rain tomorrow and they don't think the ground will be dry enough on Saturday.
 

Crunchy Frog

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The weather forecast looks good for the Belton monthly match this Saturday April 11. Time to shoot some steel.

The SC State Match will be held in Columbia beginning on Thursday April 30 so I expect the April local matches will be well attended as people are getting some practice in.

If any Forum members would like to meet me at the match I can show you around a bit.
 

Crunchy Frog

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We had great weather today and six good stages. I'll post a link to a couple of videos in the other thread.

We had at least three different folks who came out to watch. One was a forum member; I won't "out" him in case he prefers to remain anonymous but perhaps he will post his own report. I will say that he is a nice guy who jumped in and helped with posse chores (hint to any new shooters; that is a great way to make yourself REALLY welcome since it takes lots of volunteer helpers to run a match.

The Belton club will have its 2nd Saturday match is May as usual but they are also hosting a two day "annual" match called "The Bushwhack" on May 30-31. Here's a link with the specifics: https://sites.google.com/site/beltonbus ... -bushwhack
 

Crunchy Frog

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I count 67 registered shooters on the Belton Bushwhackers' website for "The Bushwhack" this Saturday and Sunday May 30-31. Looks like the Belton Gun Club's youth shotgunners will be helping pick up brass which allows the shooters to concentrate on other posse chores or on their shooting.

I'm looking forward to this match. I'm sure there will be some surprises in store.

Again, if you have not seen a cowboy match this will be a good introduction to the game.
 

Crunchy Frog

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We had a great time today; we shot six of ten stages. The youth shotgunners and their adult coaches are nice folks and there are other people from the Belton Gun Club helping in various ways.

We had several spectators today as well. We are starting in the morning at 9:30 so come on out and join us.
 

Crunchy Frog

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The Bushwhack was a very good match. We had shooters from North Carolina, Georgia and Florida and from all across South Carolina.

Dinner and entertainment yesterday was at an equestrian arena near Pendleton. There were demonstrations of reining, barrel racing and mounted cowboy shooting. There was a drawing for chances to shoot the mounted course from a golf cart. This was a big crowd pleaser. Potshot Parker, a shooter from Georgia, did a demonstration of whip cracking that was a lot of fun to watch. Did you know that the bullwhip was the first man made device to break the sound barrier? Whoda thunk?!

The Belton Bushwhackers will have their June monthly match in two weeks (two weeks from yesterday). I'm betting their attendance is really going to pick up.
 

Crunchy Frog

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Next match is this Saturday June 13.

The folks in Belton impressed some of the region's top shooters with the way they organized and ran a "big" match at the end of May, but they also do a great job making new shooters welcome.

I'm looking forward to seeing some new faces on Saturday. If you would like more info, post a reply here or send me a PM.
 

Crunchy Frog

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The next match is this Saturday July 11.

Last month I mentored a new shooter from Travelers Rest who had seen some match info I had posted in a Facebook group. He had experience in other types of shooting sports, including modern 3 Gun, but he wanted to try cowboy shooting. He ended up shooting the entire match and is hooked.

He liked the friendly atmosphere and the fact that Belton's matches are held on Saturday.

Who will be the next new shooter?
 

Crunchy Frog

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We had only 14 hearty souls in attendance today so obviously some people opted to stay indoors. Still, it was not too bad if you stay hydrated and under shade when possible and the folks in Belton provide this, so it's bearable.

A fellow who watched last month and tried a stage at the end came back today and shot the entire match.

Videos posted to the other thread.
 

Crunchy Frog

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Next match in Belton is Saturday August 8.

I am expecting two shooters who have gotten their first match under their (gun)belts and are coming back for another turn. Soon they will be beating me, the ingrates.

Looking forward to throwing some hot lead.
 
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