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Old December 10, 2011, 11:22 PM   #1
Shotgun693
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Hunting With Cowboy Guns

I've killed deer with a Colt's SAA .45 and with my '73 clone also in .45. I limit my range but have had success with'm so far. I use a lead bullet as I had poor results with hollow points. I do have a Marlin .38-55 for hunting hogs and for hunting in more open areas.
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Old December 11, 2011, 10:29 AM   #2
Art Eatman
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Most any big, heavy bullet will work when it's up close and personal. Back in the late 1940s, my uncle worked his cattle via an old WW II surplus Signal Corps Harley 45. The deer were used to it chugging around the pasture. I questioned his use of a GI .45 auto with pure-lead bullets on deer. His comment was, "At ten yards, that old bullet just sorta wraps around them."
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Old December 11, 2011, 04:35 PM   #3
Win73
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Here is my real "cowboy" gun. You can't get much more cowboy than this. It is a Model 1873 Winchester made in 1891. It is a .38-40. I did shoot a deer with it about 4 years ago. I trailed the deer over 500 yards bleeding heavily. I lost the blood trail and could not find the deer.







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Old December 11, 2011, 05:46 PM   #4
Ralph Allen
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Win73. All I said was "Wow". Nice wood! I have a Marlin model 94 made in 1904 in 32-20. Metal patina is almost identical to your 1873, but wood is not figured at all. My Mom shot a deer with mine about 55 years ago. I just recently bought 500 Starline brass and am handloading this cal also.
Shotgun693. I have a Marlin 1894CB in 45 Colt that I handload for. Am going to take it deer hunting. It also only likes lead bullets. Jacketed is too small diameter, and groups about 3 times the group that I get with lead.
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Old December 11, 2011, 09:49 PM   #5
Art Eatman
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I'd figure that a .38-40 in cowboy loading would be a bit lightweight for performance, except maybe a close-up neck shot.
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Old December 11, 2011, 10:39 PM   #6
Win73
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Quote:
I'd figure that a .38-40 in cowboy loading would be a bit lightweight for performance, except maybe a close-up neck shot.
It wasn't a cowboy load. It was a standard .38-40 load, a 180 grain soft nosed jacketed bullet. I know that the .38-40 is not a powerful round. I had three does feeding out in front of me. I waited until I had a 40 yard standing broadside shot. The stand I was in had a shooting rail so I had a braced shot. I know I hit the deer where I was aiming (in the heart lung area.) The deer ran off bleeding heavily. My friend and I trailed it for over 500 yards before we lost the blood trail in a area that was so thick and had so many vines and briers and brush that you couldn't even walk through it. We hunted for over two hours but could not find the deer. We were amazed that it could go that far bleeding so heavily.
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Old December 12, 2011, 05:32 AM   #7
eastbank
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when i shoot a deer with the old time guns,i wait 45 minutes to a hour before trailing them if they run off. if hit good they will go lay down and bleed out and die most of the time. eastbank.
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Old December 12, 2011, 09:17 AM   #8
Art Eatman
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eastbank's advice is good, and there is a reason for it.

I'd bet that a factory loading in .38-40 is not much over a "cowboy" load, if any. The bullet won't expand; it merely punches a hole. If the hit is off by an inch or two from "perfection", the animal can indeed run a long way if spooked.

And that's why the old-timers passed along the idea of sitting and waiting for a while for an animal to bleed out.

Modern cartridges are far more destructive of tissue, so there is much less need for this sit-and-wait style of game retrieval.
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Old December 12, 2011, 09:32 AM   #9
rantingredneck
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Modern, high pressure cowboy guns............

I've lately become enamoured of levergun/SA wheelgun combinations for the field.

I have a Marlin 1894 and Blackhawk in .357 and a Rossi '92 and Blackhawk in .45 Colt. I'm loading stout for the .45 but so far have been using factory in the .357 (about to change). The Blackhawks are both convertibles with 9mm/.45ACP spare cylinders and the Rossi is a factory "scout" configuration with forward mounted scope and cheekpiece (not sure how I feel about those yet.)



So far this season the only animal I've taken with one of my "cowboy" guns was this 9 pointer that fell victim to the 92. He poked his head out in the open at 60ish yards. Quartering away shot that entered about the third rib from the back on the near side and exited forward of his off side shoulder. He ran about 30 yds and left a heckuva blood trail.



I'm shooting a 260 gr. hardcast WFN .454 bullet at upwards of 1700 fps from the carbine and 1277 fps (chrony'd) from the handgun.
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Old December 12, 2011, 06:23 PM   #10
jaughtman
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Sure I do..........

Killed my only deer this year with a 30/30!

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Old December 12, 2011, 07:20 PM   #11
30-30remchester
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WIN73, what a beautiful rifle, WOW. However that particular rifle wasnt ownered by a working cowhand. Its condition is too fine to have been used by such a rough group of laborers. I wish I had your rifle and you had a better one.
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Old December 12, 2011, 08:26 PM   #12
upstate81
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Agreed to waiting an hour after shooting a deer. I've killed more bucks after blasting a doe and waiting deer are always curious of the BANG!
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Old December 12, 2011, 08:59 PM   #13
Win73
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Quote:
when i shoot a deer with the old time guns,i wait 45 minutes to a hour before trailing them if they run off. if hit good they will go lay down and bleed out and die most of the time. eastbank.
I did wait 30 minutes before we started trailing. The other two does continued to feed for that 30 minutes after I shot the other one.
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(Luke 11:21 KJV) When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:

(Luke 22:36 KJV) Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
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Old December 12, 2011, 09:13 PM   #14
Win73
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Quote:
WIN73, what a beautiful rifle, WOW. However that particular rifle wasnt ownered by a working cowhand. Its condition is too fine to have been used by such a rough group of laborers. I wish I had your rifle and you had a better one.
I wish I knew its history before my father bought it. He paid $5 for it. That doesn't sound like much until you realize it was almost a weeks pay for him at the time. He was making 15 cents an hour working on a road building crew. He got paid $1.50 for a 10 hour day.

The '73 received no special treatment until fairly recent times. I grew up on a farm in SE Missouri. It just stood in a corner with the other guns. It was a working gun.

I realize that no cowboy would have carried it on his horse. He would have used the carbine version with the 20 inch round barrel. This is the rifle version with 24 inch octogon barrel. The carbine would have been much handier and lighter.
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(Luke 11:21 KJV) When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:

(Luke 22:36 KJV) Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
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Old December 12, 2011, 09:22 PM   #15
30-30remchester
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WIN73, that guns has such grand patina, I just hope you realise that any over cleaning or refinish will SERIOUSLY devalue this gun and will will earn you a first class ticket to the devils hometown.
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Old December 13, 2011, 07:37 AM   #16
PunchinPaper
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Im using a 92 44mag for deer this season.
For those of you that hunt with cast loads in the big bore cowboy guns, how fast do y'all run your cast hunting loads?
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Old December 13, 2011, 12:04 PM   #17
Tom Matiska
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My one friend used to get a kick from hearing his 38-40 hit. The "crack" of wood or the "umph" of a body shot after the shot told the tale. Winchester sells trap loads that are on par with 38-40 or 44-40 velocity, and slug loads that are faster.

Those not familiar with how much "Kentucky windage" it takes to hit a moving target with an old BP level load have a rifle useable at short ranges for one shot against a standing target. 2nd shot against a fast mover is likely to hit the tree where behind where the deer used to be.

For old bp level loads think shotgun. Faster smokless reloads or modern 44Mag think 2/3 shotgun and 1/3 rifle. 30-30 or 35 Rem think 1/3 shotgun.... or use a 308 or 243...
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Old December 13, 2011, 07:24 PM   #18
Shotgun693
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Current .38-40 loads are downloaded for the older handguns being used. Really to keep your old '73 in good condition you ought to be shooting black powder with a lead bullet having a large grease groove. The first Winchester made for smokeless powder with jacketed bullets was the '94 in .30-30 which came out in that round in 1895.
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Old December 13, 2011, 10:34 PM   #19
Win73
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Quote:
WIN73, that guns has such grand patina, I just hope you realise that any over cleaning or refinish will SERIOUSLY devalue this gun and will will earn you a first class ticket to the devils hometown.
Don't worry. I have no plans to refinish it and since it was passed to me from my father about 30 years ago it hasn't been cleaned more than once or twice.
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(Luke 11:21 KJV) When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:

(Luke 22:36 KJV) Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
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Old December 13, 2011, 10:40 PM   #20
Win73
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Quote:
Current .38-40 loads are downloaded for the older handguns being used. Really to keep your old '73 in good condition you ought to be shooting black powder with a lead bullet having a large grease groove. The first Winchester made for smokeless powder with jacketed bullets was the '94 in .30-30 which came out in that round in 1895.
As long as I am alive that gun will be shot very little, if any. I realize that jacketed bullet smokeless powder rounds are not good for it. I don't reload so to shoot black powder loads in it I would have to have someone reload them for me.
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(Luke 11:21 KJV) When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:

(Luke 22:36 KJV) Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
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Old December 23, 2011, 12:46 PM   #21
Jack O'Conner
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This photo was sent to me by a friend. I've never met this hunter.

Jack

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