Suggestions for Cowboy Single Action Style Revolver?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Sour Kraut, Mar 6, 2019.

  1. Sour Kraut

    Sour Kraut Member

    Sep 30, 2011
    Looking for my first single action Colt 45 “cowboy” revolver. Not certain I’d get into cowboy action shooting yet, but anxious to get my first gun.

    What should I be looking at as far as brands etc? Don’t want to break the bank, so please include a price range if you can for your suggestions!

    Thanks in advance!
  2. gonoles_1980

    gonoles_1980 Member

    Jun 29, 2013
    See my picture, that's a Ruger Vaquero Bisley .357, but they have the 45 model too. I bought the .357 because I have a ton of .357 brass. Very fun gun to shoot. I think I paid around $600-$650 for it, but I don't remember.
    robhof, CoalTrain49 and Sour Kraut like this.
  3. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Ruger is reasonably priced and hell for stout. Blackhawk has adjustable sights which make a lot of sense for general use, I would only get the fixed sight New Vaquero for one of the SASS divisions specifically requiring it.
    I would get the Convertible because I am set up to load .45 ACP and could generate plinking ammo by the bushel, and just shoot .45 LC for CAS or hunting.

    The other brand names are importers of Italian clones, closer copies of the Colt but not as strong and not safe loaded with six.
  4. tcj

    tcj Member

    Aug 25, 2012
    I'm a fan of the Uberti based (i.e. Cimarron Arms) 1873 style in 45.

    FYI - they have models that have one of two types of safeties built-in: 1) retaining pin style (which I don't care for); and 2) retractable/floating firing pin which I have and works well.
  5. labnoti

    labnoti Member

    Apr 2, 2018
    Modern Rugers are the straightest path to durable shooters that are readily safe to carry with 6, drop safe and thumb-slip safe.

    For more authentic action, the old Ruger 3 screws and Colts are outstanding. The modern replicas that I've appreciated the most would be Taylor's Uberti models for practical shooters and for something pricier probably USFA. Standard Manufacturing looks to have some nice SAA's too now. My budget would favor a vintage Ruger or a new Taylor's though.
    Armored farmer, Sour Kraut and LRDGCO like this.

    LRDGCO Member

    Jul 11, 2018
    For looks, the Cimarron Richards-Mason conversion open top Colt in 45LC cannot be beat. It is an utterly elegant revolver.

    For functionality, a Ruger BH is a durable, working gun that will target shoot, hunt, or defend.

    For real deal elegance, Tony Galazan’s Single Action from High Standard Manufacturing are a blast from the pre-War Colt past, as much art as firearm.
    Sour Kraut likes this.
  7. Cump

    Cump Member

    May 18, 2013
    If I only could choose one single action (within my price-range) it would be a 6.5 in Blackhawk because of versatility, hunting and durability. That said, you should really try all (Blackhawks, Vaqueros and SAA clones), if you are really thinking about cowboy action. My bet is you would point and shoot either the New Model Vaqueros or Ubertis more quickly than the beefier Blackhawks. But to each his own. Also, you have barrel length and hammer shape to consider. For speed, I prefer the 4-in-range barrels, lowered hammers (Bisley) and standard grip frames.
    Sour Kraut likes this.
  8. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

    Feb 10, 2016
    Fl panhandle
    Not really my thing, but I do have a Ruger blackhawk in 357 I have owned for 30 years. Seemed like a cool thing at the time. It shoots good, and its a Ruger, who are known for excellent customer service.
    CoalTrain49 likes this.
  9. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

    Jan 10, 2014
    Somewhere in WA.
    I had a 357 Blackhawk back in 71. The only firearm I ever regret selling if that says anything and I've sold dozens. I'm a 357 certified wingnut.
    milemaker13 likes this.
  10. milemaker13

    milemaker13 Member

    Jan 14, 2013
    Chicago suburbs
    Still regret getting rid of my .357 Blackhawk. I really want another but like FL-NC, I had mine for awhile, got it from a friend and all that... shudda never gotten rid of it. Sometimes I imagine its still in the shops case, priced $500 more than I was given of course, and I could go get it back. Ahh, that was like almost 10 yrs ago.
  11. Old Stumpy

    Old Stumpy Member

    Mar 3, 2019
    It depends on what you really want.
    If you are looking for authenticity and the "Real Old West" or you are leaning towards CAS shooting, then a Pietta 1873 in .45 Colt is a good choice. These are less expensive than the equivalent Uberti 1873 replica, yet the newer production ones are very nice looking, well made, and very good value. .45 Colt is the original caliber and was highly popular, although you can have .357 magnum if you prefer.
    (Check out Duelist1954 on You-Tube for many videos, reviews, and advice/how-to about old west guns including Pietta.

    If you want a western-style single action revolver for shooting, but aren't too concerned about purist authenticity, but do want the best durability and accuracy, then Ruger Blackhawks are the way to go. These have all coil springs, adjustable sights, magnum frame strength, and yet retain that old west appearance and appeal.
    You can get one in blued or stainless, .357 or .45 Colt. Or you can buy a Single Six in .22 LR/.22 Magnum. These are the more expensive option, but you will probably never wear one out or experience a broken part. Ruger even produces a scaled down Remington-styled .22 LR revolver called the New Bearcat which is a joy to own and shoot.

    And, of course, there is the Ruger New Vaquero which has the smaller frame like a Colt SAA, authentic Old West sights, and an authentic look and feel, but still has all coil springs inside, just like the Blackhawk.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
  12. Keith G

    Keith G Member

    Nov 3, 2018
    F8511A10-0FEF-49F0-BB0E-725E31C940BA.jpeg I have a Taylor’s & Co. (essentially a Uberti Cattleman imported by Taylor) in 357 Magnum with a 5.5” barrel. It has the retractable firing pin and has been great through about 2000 rounds so far. It gets fed about 90% handloaded 38’s, and 10% factory 357’s. $425 out the door.

    I don’t think you can go wrong with a Ruger. I handled a Vaquero, but it felt like holding a tank. The smaller frame model would likely feel better.

    I’m not sure there is a bad manufacturer out there of SA’s right now. Just need to figure out what is important to you and head in that direction. Adjustable sights? Blackhawk. Hammer block? Ruger. Hot loads? Ruger. 4 clicks? Some clones (the retractable firing pin removes one click, and some people think a 3 click single action is the devil, but I’m not one of them).

    Good luck and have fun!
    Sour Kraut and SG1 like this.
  13. Master Blaster

    Master Blaster Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Delaware home of tax free shopping
    Look at a Ruger Blackhawk .45 convertible model with the .45acp cylinder included. It has good very visible adjustable sights, and allows you ammo flexibility if you reload or even if you don't the .45 acp will be less expensive and more available than .45 Colt. If you reload or are going to the range of possibilities from mouse fart target loads to almost .44 mag power levels makes it a very versatile gun and you can use it to shoot CAS.

    Buds has them new for $600. https://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog...0463+blackhawk+convertible+6rd+45lc/45acp+55"

    The adjustable sights are much easier to see than the traditional fixed sights. The extra $100 over a traditional gun like a Taylor's will be compensated for by the ammo flexibility.
    My Blackhawk convertible is very accurate with either the .45acp or the .45colt cylinder.
    Sour Kraut likes this.
  14. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

    Mar 18, 2009
    Central Arkansas
    You've been a member since 2011, and are just now about to get your first gun? Wow, that's impressive that you haven't done so before (assuming you were always old enough).

    I agree that the old west style six guns are very cool and they are certainly fun to shoot.
    And you don't have to break the bank. If you're wanting something close to historical accuracy, the Italian reproductions have an excellent reputation.
    If you don't care much about historical accuracy and want something with the look of an old west six gun, go with the Ruger.

    You should be able to get into something for $500ish.

    Let us know what you decide.
    Sour Kraut likes this.
  15. Whiterook808

    Whiterook808 Member

    Dec 14, 2017
    21.3069° N, 157.8583° W
    Get a Ruger New Vaquero if you are thinking about CAS. Get a Blackhawk, if you just want a great shooter. The adjustable sights on the BH make the gun way more useful. The Rugers will hold up better, hold their value better, and take stouter loads than the rest.
    Riomouse911, red rick and Sour Kraut like this.
  16. Sour Kraut

    Sour Kraut Member

    Sep 30, 2011
    First single action cowboy gun. I’ve owned guns for many years but never had a SA Old style 45 Colt. Lots of great suggestion, thanks!
    LRDGCO likes this.
  17. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

    Mar 30, 2006
    Rocky River, Ohio
    What are your criteria?

    I recently bought an SAA clone. My criteria were:
    1. four click Colt style action
    2. hammer mounted firing pin w/o transfer bar or other anachronistic mechanism
    3. period blued and case hardened finish
    4. black powder style cylinder retention

    Those criteria led me to buy a 7 1/2" Cimarron Frontier in .45 Colt.
    I got all of my criteria except the black powder frame, and that was my fault by not paying close attention on the budsgunshop website.

    If you plan to carry it, you will need either to learn to carry with five in the cylinder or buy a gun with some modern kind of safety mechanism.

    My gun:

    red rick and Sour Kraut like this.
  18. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

    Nov 25, 2006
    Northeast PA, USA
    While there are many SAA clones available but the Ruger Vaquero will stand up to the extensive use better than all of them. The Ruger may not look exactly as the original SAA like many of the clones but it will also not break in the middle of a match. The Ruger Bisley Vaquero is a great choice IMO. They also sell he SASS Vaquero pair that come 2 guns in the box with consecutive serial numbers.

    I have 3X Vaqueros, 2 match guns and a backup. I have not needed the backup ever in a match. :)
    red rick and Sour Kraut like this.
  19. Charlie Martinez

    Charlie Martinez Member

    Nov 4, 2018
    I guess you already know you'll need more than one SA revolver for CAS. When I did CAS I used two Ruger Vaqueros (one Bisley & a regular model), Marlin 1894 (all in 44 Mag) & a Stevens double barreled shotgun. I stopped CAS but still shoot all of them a lot especially my Bisley & my 1894 which is now my first choice home defense gun. I don't know much about current prices but you can't go wrong with a Ruger revolver. They're strong, accurate, moderately priced & will hold up better than the Italian replicas.
    Colts are the real thing & beautiful but very high priced & frankly not near as strong or as practical as the Rugers. .
    Sour Kraut likes this.
  20. Tallball

    Tallball Member

    Oct 2, 2014
    For just regular shooting, a Blackhawk. I have a 357, a 45 convertible, and a 44 magnum Super Blackhawk. They are probably my favorite handguns. The adjustable sights are easy to see for my aging eyes. (It's not just that they're adjustable, they're also fairly large.)

    For a more authentic fixed-sight version, a Ruger Vaquero or one of the Italian replicas would be just fine. If money is really tight, JP Sauer (as in Sig-Sauer) used to import 1873 replicas that were nice quality, back in the 70's or so. The used ones are very inexpensive. I had a nice one that I shot for years, gave to my FiL as a gift, and it's still going strong.
  21. 45 Dragoon

    45 Dragoon Member

    May 18, 2013
    What a great question! Just so you know, there's Rugers . . . lol!! I like Rugers but they are heavy and I think the best advice so far is to handle all the possibilities first (shoot if you can). I would also add a look at the Remington if you like that style. And, just so you know, all the copies of the Colt pattern, and Remington copies can be made as tough (even more so) as the Ruger and you'd end up spending about the same $. Of course buying used S.A.s would be even more economical.
    So, look for what fits your wants/needs and don't worry so much about longevity. Even the Ruger's can be made tougher/ more mechanically accurate.

  22. red rick

    red rick Member

    Aug 11, 2009
    I have an older Taylor's Smokewagon , made by Uberti . But if I were going to get another one I would not get a new Uberti , with the retractable firing pin . I would do like Deanimator and get a Pietta with the four clicks , like the orginal Colt . I like the way the Italian clones handle better than the Vaquero , but for CAS , I would get an Vaquero . I would also consider visiting a CAS match and see what they are using .
  23. Milt1

    Milt1 Member

    Jan 4, 2014
    I second this!
  24. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

    Jun 5, 2013
    I used to shoot SASS (#13997 alias: John Files Tom) many years ago, and I used an old style Stainless Vaquero .45 Colt, a Uberti .45C, a Win 1894 .45C and a 20” 16 gauge coach gun.

    It’s best to use two similar handguns, but I had recently divorced and I bought the Uberti from a gun store going out of business sale and it was in my very limited price range.

    The Uberti felt a bit better in my hand, but the sights were a bit tougher to see.

    The old style Vaquero is a chunky brute, and handles loads from popgun to bison droppers. The newer Vaquero is slimmer and feels a bit more like the SAA, but it can’t handle the heavier stuff.

    Blackhawks and other adjustable-sighted SA revolvers are more versatile with the adgustable sights, (I can’t recall all of the SASS categories) but the Blackhawk types were limited to one class because of the sights. You limit your SASS possibilities, but you expand overall usefulness with the sights.

    .38/.357 is easier to shoot because the loads can be made lighter, plus ammo is more commonly found and it’s cheaper to buy and load. .45 Colt is nostalgic, and to me is a lot more fun to shoot.

    EMF, Cimarron, Taylor’s, Ruger, (and Colt of course!) etc. are all really good looking guns. I’m liking the looks of the 1875 Outlaw revolver, with the Remington-like frame extension under the barrel. Those are sweet!

    If you can look around, handle those you are able to, read the specs and you’ll find a good one that fits your desires.

    Good luck!
  25. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

    Apr 20, 2011
    West of the Big Muddy, East of the Rockies and Nor
    If your interest is eventually getting into CAS this is the wrong forum to be asking for advice.

    Cowboy Action Shooting is a expensive sport to get into. You may already know it requires four guns (2 revolvers, lever action rifle and shotgun) meeting specific criteria. As you are on a budget this makes getting your choices right the first time very important.

    The best advice is to attend some CAS matches before you buy. The SASS (Single Action Shooting Society) website has a list of affiliated clubs and matches. CAS shooters are mostly very friendly and very willing to let newbies handle and shoot their guns along with giving good advice.

    There is simply no wrong answer for what single action revolver to get. It is merely a matter of what you like the best. I got my start many years ago when the Ruger Vaquero first came out. We have put many of thousands of rounds through them, used them in CAS and CMSA and one of them hangs on my bedpost for self-defense.

    With that said it would not be my first choice now. When I go into CAS the Vaquero was just introduced and was generally the only choice other than Colt SAA for a fixed sight cowboy gun. A CAS took off in popularity manufacturers responded by making more different types of revolvers that withstand a lot of shooting.

    Single action revolvers are very fun and, even in today's high-tech world, very useful. I am somewhat a single action revolver junkie and do not feel particularly underarmed when carrying one. (One of these days I want to add a 1872 Open Top in 38 Special to my collection of cowboy guns).
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
    Sour Kraut likes this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice