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Old July 14, 2013, 07:30 PM   #1
ironox
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New to SASS

Hello all,

I'm new to SASS Cowboy action shooting. I attended my first match -as an observer, and wonder what is the best caliber to shoot. I'd like to buy a Winchester 1873, but find that they don't offer one in 45 colt. I'd like a quality piece, am I "headin" in the wrong direction? Please help a greenhorn partner!

Thanks,

El Burro
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Old July 14, 2013, 07:46 PM   #2
Hawg
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The most favored rifle amongst CAS shooters is the Uberti 73 and it does come in .45 Colt.
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Old July 14, 2013, 08:46 PM   #3
khest
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Shoot different guns before you buy, I am sure the club you will be shooting with will let you try the different calibers and types of rifles.

Best round is subjective, there are the gamers that shoot light loads known as "mouse farts" to shoot faster, others like the biggest and hottest round to shoot, and then you have black powder shooters with the holy black.

I am using Uberti 1873 20" 357 mag/38 special, shooting 38 special.

Shoot what you can and then go from there. If you want to be a speed shooter, look at which rifles can be modded.
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Old July 14, 2013, 09:35 PM   #4
Crunchy Frog
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Welcome, El Burro! You are in for some fun.

If you took a survey of current cowboy shooters you would find that most are shooting .38 Special. It's the most economical round to shoot and its light recoil makes it easier to shoot quickly.

It's certainly not the only good choice. If you want to shoot Classic Cowboy category, or if you want a rifle that you can use for Wild Bunch matches, the rules require .40 caliber or higher. You also mentioned the 1873 rifle; if you were to choose B-Western category it would not be a legal rifle (B-Western requires that the shooter use a '92, a Marlin or a Burgess). Some people recommend that a new shooter settle on a category before buying hardware.

No question that the 1873s (properly set up for match work) are the top rifles in cowboy action. The Uberti replicas were, for all practical purposes, the only game in town until Winchester re-introduced the 1873 rifle at the last SHOT Show. The first rifles are available in .357 only, but early reports are positive. You just don't have any choice of calibers, barrel length, etc. Rumor has it that Winchester will introduce a .44-40 version this Fall.

Personally, if I wanted an 1873 in a big bore chambering I would choose a .44-40 over a .45 Colt. The .44-40 was the rifle's original chambering. There were actually no rifles chambered in .45 Colt in the 19th Century.
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Old July 14, 2013, 09:44 PM   #5
ironox
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Yes, I heard of Uberti, Marlin, Rossi and Winchester. That seems to be the most popular. I didn't see any Henry's.

The group at the shoot made us newcomers feel very welcome. That was a pleasant surprise. I met folks that have shot in most of the lower 48. Now that's very impressive!

It sounds as if once you get started, and you like it, there's more than one set of guns in one's future. Oh nooooo!
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Old July 14, 2013, 09:57 PM   #6
ironox
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I just three posts I have discovered that what I don't know...I don't know. This sounds like fun and certainly a lot to learn! Thanks!!
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Old July 14, 2013, 10:15 PM   #7
Tidewater_Kid
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In my opinion, the Taurus-Rossi '92 is a great SASS gun and Steve Young can make it even better. Mine is in .45 LC and it's easy to load for and will handle mild to wild.

http://stevesgunz.com/index.htm

Mine:


TK

Sorry had to add a picture...

Last edited by Tidewater_Kid; July 14, 2013 at 10:20 PM.
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Old July 16, 2013, 10:08 PM   #8
Jbar4Ranch
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A '73 in .45 Colt would be a good choice - as previously mentioned, the only category you can't shoot with it is B-Western.

The Henry is a SASS legal rifle, and is available in .45 Colt, but they're heavy, clunky, do not represent anything that existed in the day, and don't run fast very well.

I shoot a little of everything, and have had '66's in .45 Colt, but my '73's are in .44-40 and .38-40. I just won my category (Frontier Cartridge Duelist) at the Montana state championship this past weekend with a '66 in .44 special, a pair of Lipsey's Ruger New Vaqueros in .44 special, and a 12g TTN hammered SxS.

Check out the SASS Wire for a bunch more info.
http://sassnet.com/forums/index.php?
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Old July 16, 2013, 10:53 PM   #9
44 Dave
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For SASS stages where you have to load additional rounds the Henry is at a disadvantage.
I read some where that to use the new Winchester '73 for SASS some parts need to be changed, and the comments indicated the Uberti would still be the better choice.
Some of these guys can afford to buy 2 of every thing, but the advice to decide in what category you plan to shoot in is the best.
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Old July 16, 2013, 11:11 PM   #10
Crunchy Frog
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Congrats, JBar!

I grew up reading Skeeter Skelton so "had" to get a .44 Special revolver, a Ruger Bisley flattop. Alas, the store only had one.

I've had my eyes open for a .44 Special '66 or '73 for Wild Bunch matches. I don't think Uberti has made them in that chambering for a while, though.
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Old July 17, 2013, 01:06 AM   #11
denster
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Wish I'd known you were looking for a 44spc 73 Crunchy. I just sold a Uberti 73 short sporting rifle in 44spc last month.
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Old July 17, 2013, 05:44 AM   #12
MJN77
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Quote:
The Henry is a SASS legal rifle, and is available in .45 Colt, but they're heavy, clunky, do not represent anything that existed in the day, and don't run fast very well.
If you mean the Henry Repeating Arms company "henry rifles", then you are right. But Uberti makes a copy of the 1860 Henry rifle that did exist and was very popular. The Uberti also comes in .45 colt.
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Old July 17, 2013, 06:47 AM   #13
ironox
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44WCF

I'm seriously thinking about starting with the 44WCF round. I've heard some good things about it. However, it can be technical to reload, yes?

Jbar, congrat's on the win! Bravo!
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Old July 17, 2013, 09:58 AM   #14
Hawg
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Quote:
I'm seriously thinking about starting with the 44WCF round. I've heard some good things about it. However, it can be technical to reload, yes?
.44 WCF is a learning experience. Original 44-40 were sized to .427 and used a heeled bullet. Modern 44-40 uses a .429 bullet. However most reloading dies still size to .427. The 44-40 case neck is very thin and trying to stuff a .430 bullet into one sized to .427 results in a crushed case. RCBS makes a cowboy set that sizes to .429 or you can use a .44 mag expander plug. I use a .427 set and use a wad punch to flare the case mouth a little more.
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Old July 17, 2013, 10:08 AM   #15
44 Dave
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There are a number of us that reload .44 WCF.
I had an old set of Lee .44-40 dies that worked ok on some guns but when I got a new Uberti Cattleman the shoulder was too high.
Hawg Haggen suggests RCBS Cowboy dies.
I also like the Lee factory crimp die. You can crush cases if you set your bullet seating die too tight and the little roll on the thin case weakens them.
You only need the crimp for tube magazine loading.
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Old July 17, 2013, 05:18 PM   #16
thickice
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You might go to www.sassnet.com, lots of info there.
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Old July 17, 2013, 05:23 PM   #17
ironox
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Thanks Gents

Thanks folks for all the encouragement!
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Old July 17, 2013, 08:31 PM   #18
Crunchy Frog
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denster said: "I just sold a Uberti 73 short sporting rifle in 44spc last month."

Was that a used gun? I didn't think Uberti was making them in .44 Special any more.

I saw a .44-40 '73 in a local gun store's used rack recently. That would be a great choice but I'm already reloading .44 Special so it would be a little simpler.

We only shoot Wild Bunch about once a quarter in my local club so a big bore rifle is not a must-have. I have a greater need to get a cowboy shotgun since my wife commandeered my '97! Oh well, at least she shares.
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Old July 17, 2013, 09:03 PM   #19
ironox
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Modern bore is .429, but standards vary, yes?

Okay, so modern 44-40 chambered rifles are bored for a .429 bullet, can the same be said for pistols? For example, should I choose - say a Winchester model 92 chambered in 44-40, can I expect the bore size to be the same in a pair of Uberti Cattleman chambered in the same round?
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Old July 17, 2013, 10:00 PM   #20
Hawg
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Quote:
Okay, so modern 44-40 chambered rifles are bored for a .429 bullet, can the same be said for pistols? For example, should I choose - say a Winchester model 92 chambered in 44-40, can I expect the bore size to be the same in a pair of Uberti Cattleman chambered in the same round?
They are the same.
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Old July 18, 2013, 05:08 PM   #21
Crunchy Frog
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ironox, it's your decision of course but I'd think hard about going with .44-40 as main match cowboy guns. Your ammo or component costs will be pretty high.

On the other hand, it's a great cartridge if you end up shooting black powder loads.
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Old July 18, 2013, 05:37 PM   #22
Jbar4Ranch
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I've had a LOT of modern .44-40's, both rifles and revolvers, and all but one slugged .429". The sole exception is one of my four 1875 Remingtons, which slugs a whopping .4315". Fortunately, it shoots .429" bullets just fine.
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Old July 19, 2013, 03:20 PM   #23
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44-40s are expensive if you are buying loaded ammunition.
After the initial brass purchase, reloads are no more expensive than any other case that takes 38 grs of black or so.
If you are shooting black then the benefits FAR outweigh the drawbacks.
Once you get your load that works for you established, it's like any other round to load.
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Old July 19, 2013, 06:18 PM   #24
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44-40 is about the same price as .45 Colt. The problem is finding it. Reloading is the way to go.
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Old July 20, 2013, 01:13 PM   #25
ironox
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Reloading

Yes, I plan to reload, even though I've never done it before. I'm going to take the plunge and go big. I'm too old to start slowly.

I started riding motorcycles at age 42. I never rode one before. My first bike was a Harley Road King. For those that have never rode, it's a big heavy motorcycle. When I picked it up at the dealer, I had them load it in a U-Haul trailer stating that, "I never rode a motorcycle before". The look on the salesman's face was priceless. I've logged about 100,000 miles since.

I went to my first shoot last week, I observed a couple of cowboys shooting black powder. I knew immediately that for me, black powder was the way to go! I may regret my decision (44-40 and all), but it will be a hell of a ride!

Thanks again for all of your support.
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