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Old March 29, 2013, 03:33 PM   #1
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Calling all cowboys!!

So I'm building a gun collection. Usually going for an inexpensive model to try when I look for a new piece. As I collect I try to think of what kind of competition is the kind I'd really like to try. I don't think my vision is that good for bulls eye matches. But as far as fast draw and three gun type matches (when hitting a chunk of steel or cardboard equals a hit) I think I've got the aim for... But I digress.
If I were thinking of buying my first single action revolver, first, just to have one, And second to perhaps begin practicing for some fast draw or cowboy match shooting SOMEDAY, what would my experienced friends on the forum suggest looking at first? I would prefer a larger caliber like in .38 or bigger...
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Old March 29, 2013, 03:47 PM   #2
Bob Wright
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One of the very best to start with is the Ruger New Vaquero in .357 Magnum. This gun is legal in SASS matches, and has the Ruger transfer bar mechanism. The .357 can, of course be loaded and fired with .38 Special cartridges, which offer little or no recoil in the Ruger. And the Ruger is rugged enough to last through many thousands of rounds without a hiccup.

And it looks so nice decked out with fake stag or ivory grips!

Bob Wright
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Old March 29, 2013, 03:48 PM   #3
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Top gun

One and only one the Ruger Vaquero New Model!
Personally I have a Stainless .357 Magnum 4 5/8" bbl. I fire a lot of .38 Specials through mine just to keep shooting economical. The Vaquero easilly handles "HOT" .357 Magnums and the welcome weight of the slightly heavy Vaquero soaks up even the powerful .357 rounds!
Proven reliability, good out of the box preformance, and long life describe the New Vaquero. The reasonably priced "stock" versions are supplemented by several custom models including a short barreled Horseback competition model and others like Birdshead grip models.
It;s the #1 chosen model for serious competition and more importantlly the #1 choice for serious "social" work...
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Old March 29, 2013, 08:15 PM   #4
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Uberti Cattleman, nothing else comes close except a first gen Colt.
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Old March 29, 2013, 09:17 PM   #5
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If you don't reload I would get a .357 because of the price of 45 colt ammo.

I would look at a Taylor's & Co. Smoke Wagon Deluxe. It comes with a action job and nice walnut grips . You also get the 4 clicks like the Colt.

Like the others said the Ruger New Vaquero is a good choice, they are made tough and you can carry it with 6 rounds ( except for cowboy action ).

Both will cost around $650.
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Old March 30, 2013, 10:00 AM   #6
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well.... I've never punched cows for a living, but I'd go with the Ruger Vaquero.
I've not had the privilege to try out the Uberti, but if they are like their other models, they would probably be a great choice as well..
I always felt that if I got to the point where I thought it was time to bury my firearms, it was actually time to pick them up..
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Old March 30, 2013, 10:07 AM   #7
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Like the others I like the Ruger NV only I like the 45 LC.

I load light, 5.4 gr. of 231 pushing a 250 gr. cast bullet. Accurate and no recoil yet that bullet will knock down any plate you hit.
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Old March 30, 2013, 10:21 AM   #8
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The Rugers are great guns, but I wouldn't mind having a more historically accurate Uberti someday. I do prefer 45 Colt for these guns but it breaks the bank if you don't reload.
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Old March 30, 2013, 10:38 AM   #9
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cowboy shooting

Do check out the Single Action Shooting Society web pages for lots of good ideas. I have colts, taylor's uberti's and ruger vaqueros with barrel lengths ranging from 4.75" to 10" in both 357m and 45lc. (Given the Obama panic, it may be hard to find any for sale, by the way). Among these, the 4.75" Ruger New Vaquero in .357M in stainless is the best first gun in my opinion -- and mostly shooting 38Spec "cowboy loads" (with cheaper reloaded ammo available online). Also about the vision thing, I've had great luck with having Decot Hy-Wyd make me clear lens with my right (dominant eye) set at an intermediate distance (arms length -- to the front sight of a revolver) and the left set for distance. I've worn these in 4 hour matches with no discomfort and enjoy a sharp focus on front sights but still the ability to move around the course -- somehow the mind adjusts!
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Old March 30, 2013, 11:23 AM   #10
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44 Spec Ruger Vaquero (gotta handload in order to feed this thing, unless you have a strong bank account)

or perhaps this 45 ACP Ruger Birdshead:
When two of equal skill meet at swords' point, there is no conclusion to the match--Takuan Soho (written in 1629)
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Old March 30, 2013, 09:58 PM   #11
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Ruger Vaquero new model in .44sp.
Any man who packs a big bore Sharps carbine could come in mighty handy, if we're attacked by buffalo... or elephants. - Rooster Cogburn
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Old March 30, 2013, 11:33 PM   #12
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Lots of neat guns out there.....
The Uberti ( as mentioned) is a very affordable option. However, I'd not tell you it's THE gun after a 1st Gen. Colt.....
Others...look for used Virginians (not Dragoons, Virginians....mfg. by Hammerli.
Or Great Westerns, or as was suggested Ruger Vaquero.

If you want a gun that stackes up to the 1st Gen. Colts, perhaps a USFA.

If you just want a new gun, I'd go Uberti....mine are very accurate.

"Onward thru the Fog"
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Old April 1, 2013, 11:36 AM   #13
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Uberti if you're drawn especially to Colt feel/action, New Vaquero if you don't care, and really like that safe 6th round. I have and enjoy both equally for different reasons, functions. I don't CAS, but find the Ruger to be my first choice as a rugged "working" gun - campin', trailin' woodsin'. Though I have full confidence in the Colt/clones for that duty as we'll, they're in my stable "just because" and I do like the "snick snick" of the Colt action. These come out particularly when it's "appreciatin'" time and visitors want to oggle. If .357, and especially your first SA, IMO keep it to 4-5/8". Not only handier, especially if fast draw is in the mix, but those little holes mean a lot of metal left over and the longer barrels can be a little nose heavy and for all day wear a bit hefty on the hip.

Last edited by gak; April 1, 2013 at 11:46 AM.
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Old April 1, 2013, 12:50 PM   #14
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New Model Ruger Vaquero in 45 Colt


You need a 45 Colt


I would think about a Blackhawk

Not as good for CAS but better for hunting

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Old April 1, 2013, 11:58 PM   #15
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Yep yep. Lots of good info here

So the uberti does look like a great option because the price leaves good wiggle room to have it properly smithed after the gun is purchased so that it fits my needs to practice fast draw as I stated was the eventual intended purpose for the gun. And I need nothing extravagant when it comes to trying out a new style of shooting. K.I.S.S. Keep it simple stupid.

I have been looking into every single shooting sport I can get my poor screen blinded eyes on. Don't got the vision for precision marksmanship or bullseye group shooting. But I know I can point and click very well when I put my mind to it. Trap shooting has always been fun for me too. So I feel like the instinctive shooting style of good old fashioned cowboy fast draw would be one seriously fun skill to learn and practice for a long time without breaking the bank since you can find wax fast draw bullets and proper shotgun primed cases fairly cheap if you look in the right nooks and crannies.

Thanks for all the great responses. I've really been pointed in a good direction.
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Old April 2, 2013, 02:58 PM   #16
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If you buy one of the upper end Uberti's like the Evil Roy from Cimarron Arms or Smoke Wagon Deluxe from Taylor's & Co. or the EL Patron from Uberti, they come with a action job.

But if I new a good Smith that didn't take long to do the work, I would just buy a Cattleman.
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Old April 2, 2013, 07:49 PM   #17
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I say drop by a SASS or NCOWS shoot and feel all the different guns and maybe shoot some with them.

I liked the feel of the Ruger Vaquero in 4 5/8" bbl. I have a pair for SASS.
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Old April 2, 2013, 08:05 PM   #18
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I liked the feel of the Ruger Vaquero in 4 5/8" bbl.
I see there are still those shooting the original Vaquero. I like mine too, but the New Vaquero just seems right to me now that I have one. The smaller grip, the smaller frame... just something right about that!

I think my next revolver will be a Colt clone.... All my big bore are Rugers .

As for fast draw, I just can't bring myself to fast shoot my guns.... Maybe if I had deep pockets it would make it easier! Ha! Do like to practice point shooting though. Fun and frustrating!
A clinger. When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Single Action .45 Colt (Sometimes improperly referred to by its alias as the .45 'Long' Colt or .45LC). Don't leave home without it. Ok.... the .44Spec is growing on me ... but the .45 Colt is still king.
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Old April 2, 2013, 08:19 PM   #19
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The original poster probably knows this, but for other readers of the thread, there are different types of "cowboy shooting".

The OP mentioned shooting primer-powered wax bullets. This is "cowboy fast draw"; the governing organization is the CFDA. These folks shoot wax bullets at steel targets. Timed single shots, often hipshooting, and you only use one revolver. I think they use .45 Colt revolvers either primarily or exclusively.

Then there are the different "action shooting" games. The most prevalent is "cowboy action shooting", the name coined by SASS. Cowboy action shooting is a three (four actually) gun sport in which the competitor uses two single action revolvers, a rifle and a shotgun. We use real ammunition and shoot steel targets. Minimum caliber is .32, the .38 is very popular with .45 Colt and other calibers in use. Oh, and a Ruger Blackhawk is legal in most of the scoring categories.

There are other cowboy shooting organizations like NCOWS and Western Three Gun. I'm sure I'm leaving someone out.

Don't forget mounted cowboy shooting (CMFA and SASS Mounted); competitors use .45 Colt revolvers loaded with black powder blanks to break balloon targets from horseback.
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Old April 2, 2013, 09:16 PM   #20
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quick draw

for quick draw get a 45 lc three screw blackhawk with a 4 5/8" barrel.
for SASS the vaquero or uberti. I have rugers in .357 with 4 5/8".
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Old April 3, 2013, 08:55 PM   #21
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I have a Ruger New Vaquero in 45 Colt. I do reload 45 Colt now and there is a warning that goes with them. They multiply. By that I mean I have the NEED for a 45 Colt 92 Lever Action along with ANOTHER Ruger New Vaquero all in 45 Colt.

I'm finding the 45 Colt to be one of THE most versatile rounds to reload for. From mild to MAGNUM rounds with lots of bullet types available.

I too am looking to do CAS and will become a member of SASS but the 4 gun buy in is steep to do all at once. I'm working on 'em one at a time and will eventually do some matches.
Never enough toys
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Old April 3, 2013, 08:57 PM   #22
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I'm gonna go against the grain a little here an recommend a model with an adjustable rear sight such as the Ruger Black Hawk. Same classic "cowboy" looks and handling but much more versatility.

Being able to quickly and easily dial POI to POA with any load you ever choose has many advantages. The only disadvantage to the gun would be IF you were to ever compete in an event that didn't allow the adjustable sight. At that point you'll be looking for an excuse for another gun anyhow.
.44 Special: For those who get it, no explanation is necessary. For those who don't, no explanation is possible.
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Old April 4, 2013, 03:31 PM   #23
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I'm in the same boat,I've had my eye on one of these for awhile now.
I'm kinda partial to the case hardened look,and the bird head grip.
Any thoughts on these??

Uberti 1873 Cattleman NM Birdhead Grip 4" Barrel .45LC
Retail $600.00
Our Price: $460.00
You save $140.00!
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Old April 4, 2013, 07:41 PM   #24
Bob Wright
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These are my Ubertis, a .22, .44, and .45:

They are not my magnum/hunting/field guns, for which I go to my Rugers, but they are indeed a pleasure to shoot.

Bob Wright
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Old April 4, 2013, 07:53 PM   #25
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Uberti won!

I settled on the uberti cattleman in .45 with the 4 5/8 in. barrel. I like the vaqueros a lot but that price on the cattleman was too good to ignore. Thanks for all the advice and suggestions everyone!
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cowboy action shooting

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