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What's with 'Cowboy Loads'?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Geronimo45, May 17, 2007.

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  1. Geronimo45

    Geronimo45 Member

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    Did a complete tour of the firearms section for Gander Mtn. Saw a beautiful nickelled Model 10 that I'd like to snap up soon... I love nickelled guns - especially old-style ones.

    While checking the price of ammunition, I looked at the ammo section.

    Correct me if I'm wrong - but aren't cowboy loads just a lower-power loading of the cartridge? I don't see why they're higher priced than full power ammo. Does not compute for me.
     
  2. Stinger1

    Stinger1 Member

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    Specialty loads . . . specialty prices.

    RC
     
  3. Tyro

    Tyro Member

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    Formal 'cowboy loads' (i.e. SASS legal loads) need to be sub-1000fps and use a lead bullet.

    The few rounds of cowboy ammo that I've shot were too smokey to use in many situations - i.e. they'd bother other shooters on the line.
     
  4. Trebor

    Trebor Member

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    What Stinger said. The production runs are probably smaller, so it costs more per round to manufacture then the standard pressure loads that are cranked out by the bajillion.
     
  5. tinygnat219

    tinygnat219 Member

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    Basically, if it says "Cowboy" assume a 10-20 percent price increase for lower powered LRN ammo.

    The folks involved in CAS tend to be older, retired / semi-retired people with money to burn. The industry knows this and takes advantage of it
     
  6. Jackal

    Jackal Member

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    It's kinda funny how ammo that is cheaper to manufacture is more expensive for the consumer. Anyone price lead bulk bullets? Ya, they are a lot cheaper than Gold Dots...
     
  7. CJ

    CJ Member

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    Supply and demand. You can set up the machine and churn out 20 million gold dots for the country's police forces, etc., quantity drives the prices down. Churn out 20,000 cowboy loads for the SASS shooters, you've got to change the machinery around.

    Maybe get a lee loader and hand load a few :)
     
  8. Dravur

    Dravur Member

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    I reload

    for Cowboy action shooting and it makes it heap cheap.
     
  9. foghornl

    foghornl Member

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    "Cowboy Action" loads are sort of a specialty load....Plain lead round nose (although some are flatpoint) loaded to less than 1,000FPS muzzle velocity. They do tend to be 'smokier' than you would normally expect, due to the lube used on those very soft lead bullets.

    If you buy from a commercial reloader, Cowboy Action ammo is usually closer to normal ammo prices than from the big "factory" ammo makers.

    F'rinstance, checking the website of my favorite Commercial Reloader, National Bullet Company, .38Spl 158-gr LRN and 158-gr round-nose flat point Cowboy Action ammo are both $9.00/50....$6.50/50 if you send in your brass for reloading.
     
  10. ZeSpectre

    ZeSpectre Member

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    It's all been explaned.
    Georgia arms makes pretty good cowboy ammo.
     
  11. sixgun MAK

    sixgun MAK Member

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    Real cowboy loads use black powder. Gamers like those whimpy smokeless loads.
     
  12. J32A2

    J32A2 Member

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    Does anybody sell 50 round boxes of .44 special that in not "cowboy load"?
    I know PMC did.
     
  13. Flatfender

    Flatfender Member

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  14. stellarpod

    stellarpod Member

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    The $20 per box price on Cowboy .44 Mags is what prompted me to get serious about reloading. I can crank out 400/hour easily on my Dillon 650.

    The price difference? If you don't factor in the price of the equipment :)rolleyes:), I can load for just under $4 per box. At the low pressures that result from such light loads I can reuse brass indefinetly. Pretty significant difference.

    Seriously though, I can amortize the equipment more efficiently, as I now load for all my pistol calibers, 9mm, .38, .357, .40S&W, .44 Mag, 45ACP and .500S&W.

    stellarpod
     
  15. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    Cowboy loads are handy when you have a cartridge-converted BP revo, for example--downloaded pressure so it doesn't blow your hand apart.

    They aren't worthless, though they will be once I get my reloading bench set up :D
     
  16. Geronimo45

    Geronimo45 Member

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    Thanks for all the info, everybody. I reckon what you say makes sense... though it still seems a bit odd that, for .38 Special, for instance, you already have a bullet going under 1000 FPS as is... but the mere fact of having a lead bullet ups the cost considerable. I'm not complaining, though.
     
  17. stellarpod

    stellarpod Member

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    Geronimo, what you're seeing is a combination of two things:

    First, the ammo companies are tooled up to make vast quantities (read: hundreds of millions of rounds) of standard ammo. When they have to stop their production line to re-tool for a relatively limited run of Cowboy loads their cost increases and likewise your cost increases. Setup and tooling are the bane of manufacturing as it is perceived as non-productive time. The manufacturer will always try to amortize the setup across as many units as possible. Admittedly, it shouldn't increase THAT much, which brings me to the second point...

    Cowboy action shooting has been the fastest growing segment of the shooting sports for several years now. It is typical that within our capitalist system that manufacturers charge more when the opportunity avails itself. Using a "Cowboy" label subjects the consumer to similar price considerations as does the word "tactical". Essentially, they charge the price because they can. And, right or wrong, we continue to support that process by purchasing those higher-priced products.

    It honestly has little to do with the price of the components.

    stellarpod
     
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