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Best Cowboy Nostalgia Caliber: .30-30, .45-70, etc.?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by BerettaNut92, Mar 15, 2003.

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  1. BerettaNut92

    BerettaNut92 Member

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    I'm looking into getting a Beretta Stampede and may need a rifle to go with it.

    What lever rifle round has the most cowboy nostalgia? Were pistol-caliber rifles around back then or were they predominantly .30-30 and .45-70? What rounds were the common calibers of its day, like .223 and .308 are now?

    Please help a fledgling wannabe cowperson. This LA city boy never got to play Cowpersons and Native Americans in school, and need some learning. Right now I'm hoping Beretta makes a matching rifle to go along with that thing.
     
  2. GinSlinger

    GinSlinger Member

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    What about .44-40?? One of the RO at the range I go to has let me shhot his .40-40 on several occasions. What a BLAST. No recoil. Heavy as all heck. And when you shoot out past 300meters, you can pratically see the projectile drop in like a artillary shell. Of all the cowboy weapons out there, that is the one I want.

    GinSlinger
     
  3. Smoke

    Smoke Member

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    44-40 or 45 long colt.

    Get one of those to match your 6 shooter. Then if you still like playing Early American Bovine Relocation Specialist (non-gender Specific) get a Pedersoli or other Sharps replica in 45-70
     
  4. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

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    FWIW...

    I have a 3rd gen Colt SAA and a Uberti Yellow Boy in 44-40 This was one of the first centerfires and very popular (per the Native Americans at Little Big Horn). IIRC 45 Colt was just a few years later than the 44-40. 30-30 was one of the first smokeless rounds and came after the "Old West"

    Your guns will get used (read beat up), so don't get something that's "too beautiful". Rugers and some of the clones hold up pretty well. I'd hate to take a $1,500 Colt SAA and beat it around.

    If you reload, the 44-40 is more difficult as the cases are paper thin. 45 Colt is easy. Both are expensive to buy.

    Some of the guys are getting 38 Special or .357's. Not exactly as authentic, but cheaper to buy.
     
  5. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    The 1873 SAA was introduced in .45 Colt. .44-40 became available in 1878.

    The trail-herd era was roughly 1870 to 1890, starting slowly and tapering off with the advent of the railroads into the southwest. The Winchester 1892, then, pretty much followed what we think of as the "Cowboy Era". (Well, from the Hollywood "historical" perspective.) And, in only two more years, the Winchester 1894 came into production with it's much more effective cartridges.

    Art
     
  6. Yanqui

    Yanqui Member

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    WOW!!!!! I have never heard of the Beretta Stampede. I just checked the webpage http://www.berettausa.com/product/spotlight/spotlight_stampede_main.htm

    It is beautiful to say the least. I'm going to check it out. I was considering the USFA Rodeo or Cimarron Model 'P'.

    You can not go wrong with any of the lever-action out there. You have Winchester and Marlin. You have imports such as EMF, Navy Arms, Cimarron, ect.

    I prefer the John Browning designs. I like the Winchester 94 and 92's. Davidson's is having a short run of Winchester 92's. I like the Rossi copies that Navy Arms carries as well as Legacy Sports.
    I have the Rossi 92 SRC with large loop levers that Interarms imported.
     
  7. BerettaNut92

    BerettaNut92 Member

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    Uberti YELLOW BOY??!?! :eek:

    Isn't that a tad un PC? :D

    Is .45 Long Colt blackpowder then? Assume I won't be reloading.
     
  8. tex_n_cal

    tex_n_cal Member

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    :D They were called "yellow boy", Skunky, because they were yellow - specifically, the actions were made from brass, not steel.

    .45 Colt is probably your best bet, unless you take up handloading. You can find that in single action "revolver thingies", single shots, like the Browning and Italian copies, and several flavors of lever action rifles, too.
    :)

    The .45 Colt was originally a blackpowder round - the original load was a 250 grain bullet at a leisurely 800 fps or so. Modern duplicate the original velocity. You can of course get much hotter .45 Colt loads - intended for Rugers. They will disassemble old-fashioned guns, so use caution.

    Now, if you want a Tactical Revolver Thingy, look for a Uberti copy of the Smith and Wesson Schofeld - you can get it in .45 Colt, and the top break feature allows you to reload about three times faster than a Colt copy:p
     
  9. BigG

    BigG Member

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    The Win models 92 and 94 came along after the cowpoke era. The real guns that won the west are the 1866 (44 Rimfire) and 1873 (44 WCF or 44/40) models.

    The 45 Colt was never chambered in an original le-ee-eever gun, to my knowledge. The rim was too skinny and would pull off with the fouled chambers provided by black powder. The rim had to be small to fit in the Peacemaker's cylinder. The new Lever guns in 45 Colt are not copies of anything that existed "back in the day."

    IIRC the newer 45 Colt ca-atridges have a beefed up rim to obviate the problem of the lil bitty rim on the original balloon head cases. :confused: Not really a fan, can anybody confirm?
     
  10. jjmorgan64

    jjmorgan64 Member

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    BigG The rims arn't any larger, they cut a groove just above the rim that essentially lengthens the rim and blends it in better with modern cartridges, this would have been tricky with the old Balloon head cases.
     
  11. Sir Galahad

    Sir Galahad member

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    The original Winchester 1873 was .44-40 caliber. It was in 1878 that Colt made a revolver in .44-40 to match it. The Colt "Peacemaker" of 1873 came in .45 Colt originally. The Winchester 1866 and the preceding Henry rifle were made in .44 Henry rimfire.
     
  12. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

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    Skunk,

    ***THE**** rifle cartridge of the cowboy was the .44-40 Winchester, AKA .44WCF. Usually chambered in the 1873 Winchester.

    Some market and sport hunters of the day used the .45-70, 45-75 and assorted others. The cowboy used the .44-40, and to a much lesser extent, the .38-40. The populatiry ot the .44-40 and the '73 Winchester was the reason that Sam Colt decided to chamber his SAA in .44-40.

    The .45 Colt was not chambered in rifles because it's tiny rim made extractin difficult when the black powder fouling crudded up the chamber.

    For today's cowboy action shooting, where you're using smokeless powder, the .45 Colt is fine.

    But if you want true authenticity, use a revolver in .45 Colt or .44-40, and a rifle in .44-40 or .38-40.

    Many cowboys and frontier lawmen used a Colt SAA and a Winchester '73 both chambered in .44-40, so the same ammo could be used in both.
     
  13. tex_n_cal

    tex_n_cal Member

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    Oh hell <slapping forehead> I know!

    Skunky needs a Trapdoor Springfield

    :evil:
     
  14. BerettaNut92

    BerettaNut92 Member

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    So what's up with the popularity of the .30-30, is this not really a cowperson round?

    That Redneck Assault Rifle concept seemed pretty cool.
     
  15. tex_n_cal

    tex_n_cal Member

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    The .30-30, while very popular in the west (and the eastern U.S., too) wasn't introduced until 1894, and wasn't commonly available until a year or two later, so it missed the heydey of the Indian wars, buffalo hunting, OK Corral, etc. It was always loaded with smokeless powder, not black.

    The .30-30 did become very popular among ranchers and farmers because they were (and are) fasthandling, reliable, reasonably priced, and sufficient to do the job. The flat action carries well in a scabbard, or in your hand.

    It has adequate power for deer, black bear, 2 and 4 legged predators, plus adequate accuracy, out to 150 yards or so. The cartridge has more power than a 7.62 x 39, but not as much as the .30-06, nor even the .308. Until quality scope sights became common and reliable in the late 30's & 40's, the 30-30 was hard to beat as a hunting rifle.
     
  16. Sir Galahad

    Sir Galahad member

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    Nowadays, you're just as likely to see a rancher with a SKS, AK or AR as you are to see a .30-30. And a lot of cowboys are more likely to be carrying Glocks for a handgun.
     
  17. Frohickey

    Frohickey Member

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    Ruger Bisley Vaquero
    [​IMG]
    Rossi Legacy 92 .454 (Puma)

    [​IMG]

    You can have a cartridge belt with 45Colt loads, either cowboy or the hot ones from Corbon, and have no fear if the sidearm or the rifle will be able to handle the pressure. And they still look 'cowboyish' too. Just as long as you don't put tritiums and tact-slings on them. :neener:

    Also, for extra oomph, you can get some 454Casull loads, and shoot them out of the Rossi. Should be fine with the 454 in the levergun. More mass on the gun, means less recoil on the shoulder. Plus, even if you mix up cartridges on the belt, the 454 Casull will not chamber in the Ruger pistol. But you can load 45Colt into the Rossi til the 'bovine meat production units arrive at the designated shelter and production center' :p
     
  18. Yanqui

    Yanqui Member

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    The reason the 45 Colt was not chambered in a lever action was because Colt had propriety ownership. It was also an official military round.

    I read that information somewhere. Usually I copy everything of interest. I'll find it and post it.
     
  19. Ian

    Ian Member

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    How about a .38-55? They made the Winchester 1892s in that, IIRC.
     
  20. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Winchester 94s.
    The '92 is a short action, suitable only for pistol cartridges.
     
  21. Ian

    Ian Member

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    I stand corrected. Thanks, Jim.
     
  22. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

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    Galahad, LOL! In Colorado and Wyoming most cowboys that I've seen carry the Glock also. Most cops as well!

    Ranchers and cowboys carrying a rifle in these parts usually have an AR-15. if they can't afford one, then it's usually an SKS or AK. I even saw one last year that had a scoped FAL in the back window of the pickup.

    What I don't see in farm/ranch vehicles are revolvers, and lever actions.
     
  23. Yo

    Yo Member

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    Cost vs. authenticity

    If you shoot Cowboy action matches, it will cost just about twice as much to shoot 45LC as 38spl, whether you reload yourself or buy commercial reloads.

    I like both calibers, but I save about $50 per month shooting 38s. Over the course of the year that will pay for a new rifle.
     
  24. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    "Were pistol-caliber rifles around back then or were they predominantly .30-30 and .45-70?"

    Well, the first truly successful and popular lever-action rifle, the 1873 Winchester, was chambered in rounds like .38-40 and .44-40.

    While these are thought of today as handgun rounds, the truth of the matter is that they were rifle rounds before they became handgun rounds. Same with the .32-20.

    The .30-30 didn't come out until 1895, and by that time the "Old West" as we've come to romanticize it was pretty much over.

    The first lever action capable of handling cartridges more powerful than what could also be chambered in a handgun was the 1876 Winchester, but the cartridges it introduced, rounds like the .40-60, .45-75, and .50-95, were popular in their day, but are virtually unknown today.

    The exception to that is the .40-60, which has seen a rather nice comeback as a round for NRA's Blackpowder Cartridge Rifle Silhouette matches, and that's in single-shot rifles.

    The .45-70 was a round of the Old West, but the first successful lever action didn't come out for it until 1886.
     
  25. TallPine

    TallPine Member

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    The range was still open up in this part of the country up until about 1910.

    And Tom Horn (hanged in 1903) used a 30-30.
     
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