Would you buy your SAA again or a different make, caliber, model?


July 10, 2008, 08:15 PM
I'm on the verge of ordering a pair of SAA revolvers since I'm interested in getting into CAS and also, I like SAA revolvers. I've narrowed it down to USFA or STI "clones" and have read through most of the SAA related posts on this site. I was wondering if any owners of SAA revolvers could help me out? What SAA do you have and would you buy the same make, model and caliber again? If you have a .45LC have you found it to be an accurate round (this seems to be a popular caliber)? I'm considering the .45LC and .44WCF (which rules out STI). Would you order extra options if you were doing it again? Do you have any regrets or advice? I greatly appreciate any feedback. Thanks.


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July 10, 2008, 09:01 PM
I have a Colt, 2000's production with a Bob James trigger job. It belonged to a multi-state SASS champion who sold it when he switched to .38's. The feel of the action and the trigger is one of the most satisfying things you can engage in while fully clothed.

I also have a Beretta Stampede. It is serviceable and shoots to point of aim.

Finally, I have the guns Ive been shooting about twice a month in SASS matches for the past three years. Two Ruger Vaqueros (old model) in .357. They work every time and have never failed me.

I don't see too many people having problems with their revolvers at matches (most malfunctions are with the long guns), but the few I have seen have been with guns that weren't made by Ruger. I don't think I have seen a USFA failure, but it's hard to tell the difference between the USFA's and some of the Italian clones at a distance. The people I know who shoot USFA's all like them. I have never seen any of the STI guns, so I have no opinion of those.

As to choice of caliber, if I had to use a caliber starting with .4, I would stick with the .45LC. .44WCF brass is more expensive and the round is not used by a huge number of competitors. You can also find .45 LC ammo for sale more easily than .44WCF if you run out of reloads the day before a match. As to accuracy, all SASS shooting takes place inside of 25 yards, most inside of 15 yards, so either cartridge will be accurate enough.

Sorry for the longwinded response, but I've missed the last two SASS matches around here and wanted to reminisce. :)

July 10, 2008, 09:21 PM
I wouldn't redo my purchase of the Taurus Gauchos. Too crappy.

I would purchase Ruger Blackhawks and be done with it.

July 10, 2008, 09:58 PM
I went through so stinking many over a period of over 20 years that it looked like a book when I started putting it all down. So. Short answer:

What I've still got are stainless old model Ruger Vaqueros. A pair in .44-40 and another pair in .357. And the stuff that DIDN'T get traded or sold to get to this point. Heh.

July 10, 2008, 10:13 PM
I own 4 of the Colt 3rd gen's. 2 in 45lc, 1 of the 44 special and one of the 44-40.

I own 3 USFA's, 2 ea of the 44-40's and one in 44 special.

Several of the imports but am gradually selling them off.

Having said all that, I have to say, by and large, the USFA's straight out of the box are some of the finest SAA's on the market.

I love my 4 Colts but my go to gun for almost all occasion is a USFA Gunslinger, 44-40 with a 5.5" barrel. I have never regretted either of these brands and prefer them over all others.:D

Just my humble opinion.

July 10, 2008, 10:15 PM
I have a Stoeger Uberti 4 3/4" .45 Colt clone. This is my second Uberti, the first being a cheaper grade American Arms .44-40/44 Special convertable 7.5 inch barreled Colt clone.

Yes, I would buy another Uberti single action.

One thing that needs to be realized about the Colt clones, is they have many of the "Colt" failings. Mainly small parts breakage. The parts most commonly broken being the hand and or hand spring, and the trigger/cylinder bolt spring. The original Colts busted the same parts. I do notice that Uberti has departed from the original hand and hand spring design, and now use a beefed up hand and a coil spring and plunger.

If you want a more Colt-like revolver get one of the Uberti's(Cimmarons, or whatever). If you want something super tough and just looks somewhat like a Peacemaker, get the Ruger. The Ruger is NOT prone to any breakage issues.

Also, if you do get a Uberti or whatever revolver, avoid the charcoal or fireblue. Doesn't wear too well. Reguler blue being much longer lasting.

July 10, 2008, 10:17 PM
Well, I shoot .45 Gauchos and a .45 Vaquero ("old new model"), and I am very happy with all of them.

However, if I was going to start shooting CAS all over again, I would but a pair of "new new" Vaqueros in .357, and in stainless.

Why? 1) it would be cheaper to feed them, and 2) one will never be competitive shooting .45's.

July 11, 2008, 12:59 AM
Many years ago I started out with Colts. Was very happy with them, no problems. A few years ago I decided money was not worthless, sold all the Colts, and now I have 2 original model Vaqueros and 2 Cimarrons. I love the Vaqueros but do not feel they are an apples to apples competitor with the Colt SAA. I am very happy with the Cimarrons and my money.

July 11, 2008, 07:20 AM
After much deliberation I ordered a USFA .45LC a couple months back. They had a deal that included an extra .45 acp cylinder and since I shoot a lot of acp I went that way. Trigger is great, finish is great and since I shoot mostly acp it's pretty convenient. I would most definitely buy another USFA. Since it's mostly a range gun the hammer on empty chamber and carry 5 doesn't bother me.

Jim Watson
July 11, 2008, 08:07 AM
Have had Colt, Cimarron/ASM, and Mitchell/Uberti, not to mention S&W.

If I had to start over, most likely USFA. I'd probably have it "rugerized" with coil spring and plunger to replace the leaf handspring. I'd keep a spare flat bolt-trigger spring on hand rather than go to the durable but soft bent wire.

Harve Curry
July 11, 2008, 09:37 AM
I been using Colt SAA's since I bought my first 1st Generation 44-40 in pieces filling a shoe box in 1981 for $145 at a swap meet. I still have it and it shoots good. 2 years ago I got a new 3rd gen from the Colt Custom shop to my order, a 44 special. That is the caliber I would recommend, it leaves more steel around the cartridges.

45 Colt is very accurate to if the revolver is built right, as with any.

I had a Ruger Blackhawk 3 screw when I was 16 and it was a good gun.

My son works the action to hard for my Colts or any Italian or German copies, knocking them out of time. So I don't let him touch them anymore. He has Rugers.

Colt SAA have always held up in my hands. I've had the Italian and German copies and some of them are very good. I have not had a USFA.

The new Ruger Vaquero is probably the best for your money and can be carried with all six rounds.

You have to think all the time about traditional Colt SAA/copies that would have the firing pin resting on the primer if you load six. Only load 5 with the hammer down on a empty chamber. Do not trust the safety notch of the trigger-hammer sear engagement for anything but to break the tip of the trigger off.

Hope that helps.

July 11, 2008, 09:43 AM
I think the USFA Rodeo is the best value out there with the Rugers a good choice also, but they have the transfer bar which some like and some don't. I like the four clicks of the original action.

July 11, 2008, 10:08 AM
I've got one each of an STI, Turnbull Classic/USFA, Uberti and New Vaquero, all in .45 Colt. It just sort of happened - I don't shoot competively.

The STI gets shot the most - it's got the nicest trigger and it makes me grin. The Ruger has an awful trigger but it's still fun to shoot, the Turnbull seems overly sprung and the Uberti seems overly loose. These are all subjective "straight out of the box" impressions - none have been 'smithed or molested.

In my highly subjective and personal view, if I had to keep just one, it'd be the STI. I expect the STI's lack of flexiblity would discourage many (you can get it any way you want so long as it's a 5-1/2" barrel in .45 Colt) and it's currently a pain to find one. I also tend to wonder how long it'll be around - STI isn't well known for suffering overlong with slow suppliers.

July 11, 2008, 10:41 AM
I've owned, and shot in SASS competition, 2nd generation Colts, Uberti clones, and one USFA. I currently use OM Ruger stainless Vaqueros in .45. Recently bought a pair of Cimarron (Uberti) Open Top replicas but haven't used them in a match yet. I went to Rugers because I was tired of replacing parts in Colts and clones. However, that was ten years ago and I understand that the newer SAA copes - STI, USFA, etc. are stronger guns. After ten years of shooting and lots of dry firing, both my Vaqueros broke in a 10 day period. On one broke a hammer plunger spring. The other broke the pin that connects the pawl to the hammer broke off. I'd still opt for Rugers for reliability, clones for authenticity.

The Bushmaster
July 11, 2008, 10:54 AM
Purchased a Colt SAA in .357 magnum in 1966 brand new in the box for $136.00 and change. I still have it and still shoot it. What was the question again??

July 11, 2008, 11:01 AM
I have about 8 Ruger revolvers, a mix of Vaqueros and Blackhawks.

I had a Cimarron at one point and hated it compared to the Rugers. Shot the Cimarron at the range twice and some things broke on it. I was shooting cowboy loads of 45colt and the cylinder pawl thingy broke and then after fixing that, the spring on the bottom under the bolt broke and then the little thing under the hammer (not sure what it was called) broke.

Quite annoying to have a gun where all those little parts broke whereas my Rugers have never failed me. Sold that Cimarron and bought another Ruger.

The Cimarron also felt too small in my hand.

July 11, 2008, 11:01 AM
97 winchester's sa!

July 11, 2008, 11:22 AM
I started with 3 guns and I would shoot 2 of them each match until I decided what I liked best.

- Vaquero Birdshead
- Beretta Stampede
- Taurus Gaucho

I liked all 3 and despite what others have said I was very happy with the Gaucho. I ultimately liked the Vaquero BH the best and sold the other two in favor of a pair of Vaq birds heads.

But for all of my effort I now own 3 pairs of pistols for CAS.

- Original Vaquero 357's
- Blackhawk 9mm/357 convertibles
- Nickel Beretta Laramie break opens in 38sp (consecutive SN's)

I'm going to shoot the laramie's in a match for the first time in a couple of weeks.

One suggestion, with current ammo costs (and especially if you don't reload) you may want to consider 357's. Some purists will say the "gamers" like to shoot 38's but there's also an economic factor if you like to shoot a lot. 3 of my 10 CAS guns are 38 only so that's what I reload even though I started with 357.

July 11, 2008, 09:37 PM
This is proving to be a very difficult decision and I thank each one of you for your thoughtful comments. As much as the Ruger Vaqueros are an excellent value at under $1000 for a pair, I'm leaning towards a pair of USFA nickel plated revolvers (possibly with stag stocks) in 45LC or 44WCF. Whichever caliber I ultimately choose, I'll order the dual caliber cylinder for sure. If I really enjoy CAS and feel that I could be competitive with a smaller caliber, then I could always buy a pair of Vaqueros and keep the bigger stuff for other occasions or uses. If I don't really enjoy CAS, then I'll have a pair of really nice revolvers that will hopefully last a lifetime and may even become collectible.


July 12, 2008, 10:25 AM
I got a new-in-box colt saa in .45lc with a 4-5/8" barrel about 3 months ago. Don't regret it but I would have bought USFA instead. At least I'd be able to shoot that one-I just can't seem to put a round through an unfired Colt SAA. Other than that I got a vaquero. If you ask me rugers are the best deal going. $350 for a used (but brand new) .44 magnum vaquero in polished stainless. For ruggedness and economical value rugers are about the cats ass.

Harve Curry
July 12, 2008, 11:43 AM
Unless you are buying it for investment shoot the darn thing. That is what they are made for. Mine is from the Colt Custom shop, engraved 1/2 coverage, gold inlays front sight, plus my signature down the backstrap. Sorry no ivories. I carry and shoot it almost everyday. It is in a holster ready to go all the time. It will have plenty of honest wear on it when I check out.

July 12, 2008, 12:50 PM
Yeah I know im being a wimp about it. I didnt buy it for investment and I dont ever plan on getting rid of it. I'm even apprehensive to shoot my python at times just because colts are so darn hard to replace (and ive got a corresponding "cheap" ruger to match all of my colts).

July 12, 2008, 01:27 PM
Some years ago I bought an "old" Vaquero .45. I wanted something that could shoot hot loads in grizzly country and I wanted a "cowboy" centerfire single action. I don't do CAS.

At that time I didn't really understand the difference in frame sizes. Nothing wrong with the Vaquero but looking back I wonder if I should have just gotten a Blackhawk instead (maybe in 44mag?), since the original Vaqueros are "neither fish nor fowl."

I would really like to get one of the new Vaqueros, though not in .45 because I don't want to risk mixing up the ammo. Actually, if I could afford it right now I would like a .357 Vaquero for a daily carry instead of the Security Six. :)

Jim March
July 12, 2008, 05:32 PM
I own a Ruger NewVaq 357 and love it. It was right'n'tight out of the box, and I've modified it since :). Better sights, thinner grips, spring kit, SBH hammer so far. May switch it to Bird's Head with a Qualitas/QPR/MK-Tech kit.

If I could find one of the distributor special runs in all-blue, that would be better as the Ruger "fake case colors" are the only cheesy thing about mine. Not a problem though.


It's my daily carry CCW piece :) in a fanny pack.

This thing can shoot 2" off the bench with factory JHPs. Even before the sights swap, windage was dead on - the sight mods were not done to correct any factory flaw. Rear sight channel is hogged out to match the new wider Novak front.

July 12, 2008, 10:58 PM
I have a 3rd gen Colt SAA, 4 3/4 barrel in .45 colt. I like it but I think my next one will have a longer barrel. The shorter barrel looks better to me but I have trouble shooting the group size I want with it. It does fine for CAS targets and ranges but I am not happy with my groups when I punch paper. I do much better with my longer 51 navy. As for the caliber, 45 does fine for me. Next SAA will probly be in 44-40 just because I am interested in the caliber and is historically accurate for a lever gun to match it.

July 12, 2008, 11:33 PM
I shoot SASS matches with New Model Vaqueros. I've got a pair that I use for 38s and a pair for 45s. Nice guns. As for caliber, consider 44-40s if you might shoot blackpowder and match the caliber to your rifle.

July 12, 2008, 11:49 PM
... it seems that from reading all of the excellent posts for about the 10th time now I should buy a pair of Vaqueros in .38 if I plan on being competitive at CAS and I plan on shooting them on a regular basis. If I don't shoot them much or don't enjoy CAS (is that possible?) then I'd be better off buying something that I enjoy looking at more than Vaqueros, shoot occasionally and could possibly be an heirloom or investment. So would it make sense to show up to a CAS event for the first time with a pair of nickel plated USFA SAA revolvers in 44-40 with 5-1/2" barrels and stag stocks? I could start out with those and then pick up a pair of Vaqueros a year from now. :scrutiny:

July 13, 2008, 05:44 PM
(is that possible?)

The only people I have seen not enjoy CAS are the ones that have a chip on their shoulder, don't want to shoot is a social environment or get discouraged because they made a mistake or got smoked by someone 30 years older than them.

USFA SAA revolvers in 44-40 with 5-1/2" barrels and stag stocks?

How could you go wrong? Great guns, just pricey to start and pricey to shoot unless you reload. But I think it sounds like you have that covered.

Keep in mind, buying the guns is just one thing. You need a set of leather and at least a hat too. Not sure what your budget is but leather can set you back a bit.

Now, if you show up with USFA SAA revolvers in 44-40 with 5-1/2" barrels and stag stocks holstered in Uncle Mike's holsters and an electricians belt yer gonna be made fun of ;)

July 13, 2008, 10:07 PM
I've been a cowboy action shooter for many years. I still shoot two or three matches each month. I've played with, shot and loved single action revolvers for sixty years. And I have been inside of about everything on the market, past or present. I won't call myself an expert on single actions, but I am no novice either.

First regarding caliber, if money for ammo is not a consideration, then .45 Colt is a wonderful caliber. But even if you reload, it will cost about twice as much to shoot .45 as it will cost to shoot .38 special. How much you shoot or plan to shoot also comes into play. I know a lot of guys who shoot around 1000 rnds per month. For them the savings are very significant. While it is very satisfying to shoot normal strength .45 loads, you should know that you will be shooting against others with smaller calibers and lighter loads. Because of recoil you will never shoot as rapidly as these fellows. So if winning is important to you, buy .38/357 revolvers.

Regarding revolver choices, here is a brief overview.

The STI is a wonderful revolver. If you can afford a pair of them (you'll need two) then by all means, get them.

Colts are not as pricy as the STI. I have several sets of them. The current production Colts are of excellent quality, but they will still need a light action job. The big attraction to me is that they are Colts, and that matters to me. However a good clone can be made to shoot just as well and the STI a bit better perhaps.

The USFA's are excellent clones. Fundamentally they are just as good as Colts, but they aren't Colts. However, if I wanted a pair of excellent cowboy guns at an affordable price, I would go to Longhunter Supply and order a set of USFA Rodeo revolvers complete with his action jobs. For the money they are an outstanding value and they will be nigh perfect when you receive them. The only thing I don't like about them is the brushed finish, blue and nickel.

For a little less money, Longhunter will sell you a pair of tuned Ruger New model Vacqueros. They will serve you admirably. I don't shoot them because they are modern guns in my view. But they are good guns and if you aren't into the history aspect, you will be very happy with them.

I am very partial to the Great Western II revolvers sold by EMF. Their parts are generally interchangable with Colt parts, and they are well made guns. They should be quite adequate right out of the box.

There isn't a thing wrong with the Uberti guns from various distributors. All but their "special" models such as the "Evil Roy's and Smokewagons, will require an action job for optimal performance, but they will be slick and dead dependable once they are tuned. My only complaint is that the case hardened finish should have a little more color.

You will note that I have mentioned getting your revolvers tuned several times. This serves two functions. First, because the revolver will feel so slick and will be so much easier to manipulate, you will shoot it better. Second, you will put less wear on your guns. Friction will be minimized. I shoot a pair of revolvers that are over 100 years old. They are as good as the day they left the Colt factory, maybe better!

There is no truth to the myth that Colt and clone revolvers are subject to breakage. Of course, if you don't know how to handle them or if you abuse them, they will be less dependable. But they rarely break. I will grant that I have to replace a hand spring or a trigger bolt spring in a heavily used gun every few years. That costs me less than $5.00 and about ten minutes of my time. And any fool can make these replacements in 15 minutes. Most serious competitors simply replace these springs annually so the problem never comes up, and these guys shoot tens of thousands of rounds each year.

Rugers use all coil springs. They seem to never fail. But even the Ruger benefits greatly from tuning.

Of all the guns mentioned, STI is the only one that isn't going to need a tune up because of the absolute precision of their machining. The Uberti Smokewagon and the Evil Roy models as well as the Great Western II revolvers are tuned by the distributors prior to shipping.

Regarding barrel length, it really doesn't matter. I routinely shoot them all. However, and this is just a personal thing, I find that uniformly across all barrel lengths, the .45, 44-40, .44 spec. and .38-40 have slightly better balance that the .38/.357. I think the shorter 4.75" barrel offers the best balance in .38 caliber. In the larger calibers, the SA revolvers balance well with all three standard lengths.

In summary, even if you buy the cheapest set of SA revolvers that you can find, they are going to perform quite well with a good action job. I am partial to Colts, but you don't have to buy Colts to get a fine revolver.

I can't comment on the Beretta and Taurus revolvers as I have no long term experience with them.

July 14, 2008, 03:30 AM
Hmmm .... thanks owlhoot for that outstanding post which is packed full of excellent information ... I really appreciate it.

Keep in mind, buying the guns is just one thing. You need a set of leather and at least a hat too. Not sure what your budget is but leather can set you back a bit.

You're not kidding ... I was just checking out the holsters on Long Hunter's web site and they can be as much or more than a Vaquero! :eek:

I've never competed in a CAS event but it seems to me that there should be some form of handicap system for those shooting 44/45 calibers or perhaps a different class. This is probably heresy to some but it's a pity that shooters have to shoot 38s to be competitive.

July 14, 2008, 05:13 AM
I own:

"Longhunter" Rodeo 4-3/4" .38 Special
Uberti 1890 Police .357 Magnum
Cimarron Thunderer SS 4-3/4" .357 Magnum
Ruger New Vaquero SS 4-3/4" .357 Magnum

I like them all, but if I could turn back the clock I'd still buy the New Vaquero, but instead of buying the others I'd buy a NIB Colt SAA blue/CH 4-3/4" .357 Magnum, with Colt's custom shop 2 piece walnut grips with Colt medallions. In fact, that's likely where next year's tax return is going....:D

*I don't shoot SASS, but if I did I'd use Ruger's New Vaquero.*


July 14, 2008, 05:21 AM
Before I got into CAS I had a blackhawk 7 1/2" 45LC. When I joined SASS I bought a Vaquero 7 1/2" in like caliber with my blackhawk and rifle. I like them both and would buy them again. I wish I had had the chance at shooting the 5 1/2" . If so ,I may have went that way. So, for now, yes I would buy what I have again.

July 14, 2008, 10:16 AM
This is probably heresy to some but it's a pity that shooters have to shoot 38s to be competitive.

This is a debate that has raged long and hard and is probably not going anywhere.

There are a ton of categories in CAS that vary based on the types of gun you are shooting, the types of powder you load, your age, cap & ball pistols, the type of holster you use, which hands you shoot with and the way you dress. These categories already do a good job of making different shooters competitive.

In my experience the people who try to game the system don't always come out on top. One of my pard's shoots black powder and regularly finishes in the overall #2 or 3 spot and won the Ohio State championship last year.

Plenty of guys shooting 32's as well.

Gamers usually have more than enough misses to compensate for the added speed.

There's also something called "Spirit of the Game", although not always enforced it can be used to reign someone in who is pushing the envelope on the rules to gain an edge.

If you haven't already you should download the SASS handbook to get familiar with the categories, especially before you buy leather. You should know in advance if you want to shoot B Western, dualist or traditional because the accessories you buy will change.

July 14, 2008, 04:10 PM
I'd like to thank everyone for their comments, suggestions and experience. The feedback really helped me to make a decision that I'm happy with. I ordered a pair of USFA Rodeos from Long Hunter Shooting Supply. After talking with Jim (who was really helpful) and reading owlhoot's post, I decided that a pair of Rodeos was the way to start since as cpirtle pointed out, I'll need "leather" plus a rifle and a shotgun to participate in CAS. Jim pointed out that the only difference between the Rodeo and USFA's premium SAA revolvers is the external finish i.e. the steel, internal parts etc are the same.

The USFA's are excellent clones. Fundamentally they are just as good as Colts, but they aren't Colts. However, if I wanted a pair of excellent cowboy guns at an affordable price, I would go to Longhunter Supply and order a set of USFA Rodeo revolvers complete with his action jobs. For the money they are an outstanding value and they will be nigh perfect when you receive them. The only thing I don't like about them is the brushed finish, blue and nickel.

Jim at Long Hunter told me that the nickel finish on USFA revolvers can come off if you're not careful cleaning them :eek: so his advice was to buy the Rodeo which in his words is one of the best SAA revolvers around. He prefers the Rodeo to the Vaquero and that's what he shoots in CAS.

USFA Rodeo from Long Hunter (http://www.longhunt.com/firearms/usfa.shtml)

I ordered plain hammers since I'm not too keen on the "bling" look of the jeweled hammer. Given the savings over what I was considering before, I'm now trying to convince my wife to join me in CAS and want to order her a pair of the Rodeos in .38 probably with the 4-3/4" barrels but we'll see.

I reload for all of my rifles and handguns so I'll be ordering dies and brass this week from MidwayUSA. I still really want a pair of Colts in 44-40 so I'll keep checking ImpactGuns.

Thanks again to everyone!!


July 14, 2008, 04:48 PM
I think you made a great choice. The beauty of CAS is that there are a lot of options and everyone gets to play in the toybox with what they like.

One last pointer, if you are buying lead and have not yet bought your rifle be sure to get RNFP's.

Older rifles like the 73's will not feed wadcutters. You'll be okay with a 92 or 94 but I wouldn't stock up on lead until you know for sure.

I had been shooting wadcutters for years, then this year added a 73 as my primary rifle and had to buy all new lead for it. Now I am well stocked on wadcutters for plinking as I don't like to mix and match my bullets on the loading table.

July 14, 2008, 04:52 PM
I love it when a plan comes together.

July 14, 2008, 06:37 PM
One last pointer, if you are buying lead and have not yet bought your rifle be sure to get RNFP's.

I just checked my stash and I have about 1500 SWCs in .45 that I shoot in my SIG 220. I haven't bought a rifle yet but was thinking about the Marlin 1894 Cowboy in 44 mag/44 spl although it's available in 45LC too (that's probably another thread altogether). I have less than no idea about a shotgun!

Marlin 1894 Cowboy (http://www.marlinfirearms.com/Firearms/Cowboy/1894_45Colt.asp)

cpirtle, any advice on "leather"? Long Hunter has some nice looking stuff available. I've never even been to a CAS event but I downloaded the SASS manual and have looked through it (I'll need to go through it more thoroughly I know). I like the sound of the duelist and gunfighter classes and I'm thinking about an alias. :)

I love it when a plan comes together.

Me too!! :D I'll definitely post some photos once the Rodeos get here. Jim is confident that he'll mail them out to me next week but it's going to be about a month or more before I have them in my hands due to local licensing laws.


July 14, 2008, 07:32 PM
45 Vaquero ("old new model"), It took the place of my 1849 36 cal. colt pocket pistol ( yes 36 not 32 ) when black powder got hard to get. The Ruger with a 4.3/4" barrel is what I carry for farm work and is a good gun but not as accurate as the 49

July 14, 2008, 07:54 PM
.357 Taurus Gaucho, in polished stainless steel. It's real pretty, but I wouldn't buy another one.

I'd probably get a New Vaquero, or one of them ugly Cabela's Millenniums. I'd also check out the Beretta Stampedes.

July 15, 2008, 10:01 AM
Wish I could help you on the leather but I made all of my own so I can't speak first hand about anyone specific.

If you want to get a nice classy basic rig Midway has several Ross Leather cowboy holsters and belts (http://www.midwayusa.com/eclearance.exe/browse?promotionid=13371&brandid=2599) on sale. For the money they look like an excellent value and they are fully lined to boot. Get the whole rig for under $200.

If you want to church them up a bit you can pick up a couple of screw back concho's (http://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/products.asp?dept=123) for the holster loops and/or belt.

I have one of the Marlin 1894's .38 Cowboy Special's they made for a couple of years. Shot my first few seasons with it until I switched to the 73. Marlin's are a great choice. Unless you are going for nostalgia stay away from the Winchesters, they have an extremely long stroke on the action.

Not too many choices on the shotgun. Double barrel that extracts only (no eject) or a Winchester 97 (non-trench model). Stoeger is far away the favorite of the doubles over the Remington Spartan and they are fairly inexpensive. See a lot of old Stevens too. I keep a Stoeger coach gun and an original (1903 mfg) Winchester 97 in my cart for matches. The 97 is my primary.

You really should plan to go watch a match and talk to the cowboys. Let them know you are interested in starting up and you will probably have guys lining up to let you try out their guns :D

I hate to keep doing this to you but you need a cart of some sort as well. For your first couple of matches you can probably pair up with someone and share their cart. I made a new one over the winter, it'll give you an idea of how your gear should be transported while at the match.




July 16, 2008, 12:26 AM
1858, for what it is worth, let me give you the benefit of my experience on a couple of other matters.

Caliber: So you got the .45's, good for you. Now if you use 200 gr bullets and load with 5.5 - 5.8 grains of Trail Boss powder, you will have a relatively mild but very accurate load.

Is you decide you want to take on the fastest shooters, buy some .45 Cowboy Special brass. It is made by Starline and is a .45 Colt case cut down to .45acp length. Almost like the old auto rim made for the 1917 revolvers. You can use .45 acp dies with a .45 Colt shell plate for reloading.

Gun leather. This is as important as your guns. Buying the "RIGHT" leather is not expensive. Buying the wrong leather is expensive. There are hundred of commercial makers most of whom do quality work with good materials. But their holsters may or may not be worth beans for your purposes. Kirkpatrick Leather makes the Long Hunter rig as well as several others. The LH rig has all of the little bells and whistles that make a gun rig work. You don't need the more expensive model, the base unit is fine.

If you want a less expensive rig, go to eBay and check out Red Dog Leather, good products at good prices. But there are many others just as good and priced right. Having said that, if you can afford it, go with the Kirkpatrick Long Hunter rig. Not because it is the best value but because it has the features you need whether you know you need them or not. If you just order leather that looks good and is priced right, you have no way of knowing whether it will be what you need.

Rifles: The 1894 Marlin is the best value among cowboy rifles. Go to gun broker and get an older model in .45 Colt. You want to use the same ammunition in both rifle and revolvers. Look for the older model that doesn't have a ramp front sight. These routinely go for under $400. They will have the micro-groove barrel but that doesn't matter. Don't worry if the stock has a few dings. It will have more before you are finished with it. Send it to Long Hunter, Rusty Marlin, Bill Oglesby, Cody Conneger, or one of the other Marlin wizards for an action job. This shouldn't run more than $125. max.

Shotgun: My preferences are showing now, but I would firmly suggest that you get the TTN 1878 Colt replica shotgun. It is a mule ear shotgun. But that will not slow you down at all. Moreover, it has loads of class. This gun will also profit from an action job. It is best to buy it complete with action job. You can get it from Evil Roy, Steves Guns, or maybe Long Hunter. Anyway, it is the berries. Cost with action job will be in the $550 range.

Nobody ever said that Cowboy Action Shooting was cheap. However, unlike many shooting sports, you are getting ready to make a bunch of new friends, some of whom will prove to be among the best friends you will ever have, and a true friend is priceless.

July 16, 2008, 02:28 PM
... you can't imagine how helpful you've been and I sincerely appreciate your efforts.

I called a CAS member yesterday that had a Marlin 1894 Cowboy Competition listed for sale on our local CAS website. It turns out that he decided to keep that particular rifle but we talked for a while and he was happy to answer a bunch of questions, give advice and pointers and so on.

Anyway, I bought a Marlin 1894 Cowboy Limited in .45 Colt with a 20" barrel this morning (on the internet) which is NIB. I don't know if it has the ramped front site or not but it does have ballard rifling. There's a 1894 CL in .45 Colt with a 24" barrel at a local gun shop but it's used and they're asking $695. I may take a look at that as well just in case ... no harm in having two right?

Now all I need is a shotgun, and leather, and a cart, and a hat , and boots and ..... :D

I'm going to watch my first CAS event on July 27th. Our local club has one "match" per month so it should be fun AND educational.


July 16, 2008, 08:23 PM
Glad to help, it's a fun sport and I love to see others get involved. (It's also the fastest growing shooting sport in the country..)

Feel free to email me offline anytime if you have questions or just want an opinion. -- chad@pirtleranch.com

PS: If you enjoy CAS you will have 2 or more of everything in pretty short order ;)

July 17, 2008, 09:55 AM
I've got a Uberti SAA clone, and I love it. I would buy another Uberti at this point.

I'm not sure if a Uberti is the most competitive SAA clone for CAS, but I like it because it's a faithful reproduction with no transfer bar like on the Rugers.

July 17, 2008, 03:19 PM
Caliber: So you got the .45's, good for you. Now if you use 200 gr bullets and load with 5.5 - 5.8 grains of Trail Boss powder, you will have a relatively mild but very accurate load.

I've been looking into the Trail Boss powder from IMR but there's no data on the Hodgdon web page for rifle loads. They own IMR and Winchester powders but only provide pistol loading data for .45 Colt. Am I to assume that the same loads can (and should) be used in both revolver and rifle?

cpirtle, thanks for offering to help out a newbie! :D It's always tough starting at the beginning since there's so much to learn.

July 17, 2008, 06:15 PM

Absolutely. The same loads for your revolvers should work just fine in your rifle.

July 18, 2008, 12:00 AM
Sistema1927, thanks for the confirmation.


July 18, 2008, 09:19 AM
1858....I'm late on your thread, and you've already gotten great answers (for the most part), plus, have already made a decision I applaud.

Just for 20/20 hindsight, will mention that my experience with import SAA-type guns has been uniformly disappointing, especially the insides of the guns, when compared to actual 1st/2nd Gen Colts I own.

The Rugers are cast, and look cast, on the inside, but are incredibly durable.

The USFAs are good enough quality you'd have to go pre-WWII from a US maker to equal them.

The SAA, if made correctly (and USFAs are), can be mighty reliable if high quality springs are used, and the springs are swapped on a schedule....but in several years of shooting my USFA's, I've not had a parts failure to date, through LOTS of shooting/cycling.

If you end up not liking the modern black-gun look of the Rodeo, the disassembled gun can be put in a container of white vinegar, and five-minutes later (NOT overnight, for fear of etching bore/chambers) you'll have a grey gun that will slowly turn plum with handling/shooting, just keep it oiled like usual....

Edited in PS..... I have a solid, inexpensive holster from www.carricoleather.com and the bullets from www.cowboybullets.com equal best-quality homecast ...I don't shoot CAS, but these are good suppliers.

Phil DeGraves
July 18, 2008, 10:05 AM
There's also something called "Spirit of the Game", although not always enforced

It hasn't been enforced in years. That's why I don't shoot CAS anymore. It just stopped being fun.

Be that as it may, I started about ten years ago with Uberti's. Finally was able to afford Colt's and got them. Wish i had got them in the firstplace and saved the money from the Ubertis. But then again, I couldn't afford the Colt's when I started. I wanted authentic looking armament so a Ruger just wouldn't do, but that would have been a better affordable first choice.

July 18, 2008, 10:48 AM
I don't participate in Cowboy Action shoots, but I do like SA revolvers...Have a Sheriff's Model .357 Vaquero and a 50th Year ,357 Blackhawk, not to mention the Single-Six.

Kinda what I'm Jonesing for though is either a short barrel "Birds Head" Vaquero OR a long-barrel [6"+] Convertible Blackhawk, either one in .45 Colt

July 18, 2008, 12:34 PM
foghorn, my Uberti is a "Bird's Head" model, and I love it, BUT... I kinda wish I had gotten the standard grips. Don't get me wrong, the birdshead grips are beautiful and pretty comfortable, but at least with my big hands, I get the feeling that I could operate the gun faster and more naturally with the regular grips.

I've also heard that while Colt DID produce a revolver with birdshead grips starting in the late 1800s, that revolver was a DA model, and it is historically inaccurate to have a SAA with birdshead grips.

July 18, 2008, 10:30 PM
If you end up not liking the modern black-gun look of the Rodeo, the disassembled gun can be put in a container of white vinegar, and five-minutes later (NOT overnight, for fear of etching bore/chambers) you'll have a grey gun that will slowly turn plum with handling/shooting, just keep it oiled like usual....

Hmmm ... mtngunr, any photos to go along with that intriguing description .... :scrutiny:? You got me thinking about the Gunslinger from USFA (shown below) and I have to admit, I like the look of the gunslinger patina more than the flat black of the Rodeo (also shown below) based on the photos on the USFA website.




July 19, 2008, 10:06 PM
No pics, but it looks better than their version (wink)....seriously, if you want something along those lines, just DIY....some browning solution, some cold blue, a little steel wool....

But, I just wanted to let mine age naturally, and do nothing which might blunt edges or marks....the Rodeo looks VERY good under the black.

If you wanted it to look like an older gun, but not a rusty gun, you could keep in mind that case colors are always the first to go, being nothing but stained metal in-the-white and protected by a clear finish which wears relatively quickly...

Which would lead to you doing a cold-blue to all parts save hammer and frame, age the cold blue with steel wool or alcohol, leave the hammer and frame grey, and you have an instant old gun.....

PS....to give you a good visual image as to what the newly stripped Rodeo looks like, it very much looks like one of the Ruger stainless revolvers or rifles in their "target grey" finish....with handling/shooting, it will slowly stain/brown, most noticeable where handled most.

July 19, 2008, 10:46 PM
I would buy a Colt again, if allowed to inspect it very carefully. There are quite a few bad Colts, as QC has varied so much over the years. Recent guns have been quite nice, but I have no doubt there are "NOS" sixguns built during the bad times.

USFA tends to make excellent stuff, and I would consider buying a new one sight unseen. Pre-owned sixguns may have been abused, so I would prefer inspection first.

I have no experience with STI at this point.

July 20, 2008, 02:21 AM
I was able to handle a USFA Rodeo today and to my surprise, the butt is kind of small. My little finger was out to pasture so either I was holding the revolver incorrectly, or the butt IS kind of small or I've got large hands which I don't think I have ... hmmm ... looks like I'll be needing something bigger down there!! ;)

mtngunr, I like the idea of natural aging too, which I assume follows the vinegar bath. This is something that I'll be considering once I've shot a few rounds.


July 20, 2008, 08:31 AM
The USFA grip is very Coltish....I DO have small hands and even my pinky only rides half on the bottom corner of my USFAs and Colts....it's a non-problem, folk with bigger hands supporting the butt with the curled pinky under the grip since 1873.....once you look inside your Rodeos, you'll be patting yourself on the back.

Truly have heard very good things about Colt for the last couple of years, and if their SAA is anything like their 1911-line, they would be worth having in spades....but no experience with them, my Colts being 1st and 2nd Gen guns.

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