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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am wanting to move into SA cowboy shooting. I understand some of the SASS basic gun requirements. Besides the Vaquero and other manufactures of clones, does the Ruger SA Blackhawk single six meet the requirements for entry into all the SASS completions? Or are you required to have an actual clone? What is the best caliber to use? .357/38sp or 45LC? I currently reload for 357 and 38 for my double action revolvers. If I moved to 45LC I would have to pickup a set of dies plus brass to load 45LC. I do not at this time shoot or possess a rifle. I just want some help in making a decision before purchasing any firearms.

While I enjoy my 9mm pistols, I am really like shooting 45 acp! That being said, should I consider the 45LC?
 

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I am wanting to move into SA cowboy shooting. I understand some of the SASS basic gun requirements....
First off - SASS is a specific association (the largest) of Cowboy Action Shooting competitors. It has a specific rule set, which you can find on sassnet.com or here:

SASS Shooter's Handbook

[D]oes the Ruger SA Blackhawk single six meet the requirements for entry into all the SASS completions?
The Blackhawk and Super Blackhawk are accepted models under the rules for some classes. Single Sixes are not allowed in most circumstances, EXCEPT for the 32H&R magnum version (I suppose 327FM Single 7's would be too), as the general requirements for all adult classes are for 32cal CENTERFIRE and larger. Blackhawks and SBH's are pretty common fair.

Certain classes are more traditional, and require the use of fixed sight revolvers.

All classes, however, do require that you black out the white outline on the rear sight - or turn the sight blade around - on a Blackhawk/Super Blackhawk.

Or are you required to have an actual clone?
No, in SASS, you're not required to have an SAA clone.

What is the best caliber to use? .357/38sp or 45LC?
38spcl is the way to go. Mid-frame New Vaqueros are the ticket. I don't care what the fire-breathers say, the fastest of the fast are all running 38spcls - it's a decided competitive advantage to cut your recoil in half, compared to the 45's. I started out as a Warthog (full power 44 or 45colt shooter), then switched ends to try to be a Gamer for a while (shooter of minimum requirement 38spcl and 32H&R loads). Ultimately, I won more with 32's and 38's, but I had a lot of fun with 44mags.

While I enjoy my 9mm pistols, I am really like shooting 45 acp! That being said, should I consider the 45LC?
Nothing wrong with the 45LC, nothing wrong with the 9mm or 45acp either, as long as they fit the rules of your class and your club. Maybe something changed at the top level in recent years that outlawed auto pistol cartridges, but I've seen a lot of guys use them, and frankly, the rules get pretty lax at local club levels most of the time, especially for beginners.

.38spcl still rules the roost over the 45acp or 9mm. I'd lean away from the auto cartridges simply because once in a blue moon you'll have to reload on the clock, and there's less to get a hold of and less to hold onto.
 

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Thanks to all for the great input, very helpful. Sounds like 38sp is the way to go. While the Vacquero seems to be the leading revolver, I'd enjoy hearing some opinions on some of the clones. Liking what I am reading about Umberti, but don't want to sacrifice the good old Ruger reliability out of the box. But, the Umberti certainly appears to be a much more accurate reproduction. Still, there is something to be said about filling your hand with a 45 Colt revolver and reliving all those western movies that we all loved as kids.
 

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Everything has been addressed, I believe, but my dad shoots Vaqueros in 45LC as does his cowboy friends. just Food for thought.
 

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jk021054

What about the shotgun and rifle ?
Do you prefer a SxS or early pump ? Getting all the gear and duds can get rather costly quick.
 

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I've been Shooting Cowboy Action since '92. I have tried most of what's out there and for my money I'd say start with Vaqueros or Blackhawks, A Stoeger Coach Gun, and A Marlin '94 Lever. There are lots of other good choices but these will do the job with a minimum of expense, tuning and breakdowns. The Marlin may be hard to find new, you may have to get a used one. Just my two cents worth!
 

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jk021054

What about the shotgun and rifle ?
Do you prefer a SxS or early pump ? Getting all the gear and duds can get rather costly quick.
It can turn into an arms race. I experienced the same thing a few years ago in the BPCR game! My wallet couldn't keep up!
 

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Kansas is a cowboy free zone, so I've only seen the action shoots on TV. Big bucks being pulled around on those rolling gun racks. Period attire usually isn't available in discount houses. I quench my western style desires with casual 50yd private plinking with my 1858 44's. Agreed not wanting to get into an arms race, monthly senior's benefit checks won't allow it anyway.
 

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I started with 357 Vaqueros (still have them) but I quickly switched to 45 Colt Vaqueros simply because I enjoy shooting 45 Colt more than 38/357. Since you already reload I would simply just pick whichever caliber you think you'd enjoy more. If you get fast enough and competitive enough that shooting mousefart 38's will mean the difference between winning and losing you'll probably already have a safe full of cowboy guns by then.

Nothing wrong with the Marlin recommended. I see lots of them at shoots but also take a look at one of Uberti's 1866 or 1873 clones. Both come in either 357 or 45 Colt. If you add up all the other different types of rifles other than 1866/1873 at a typical shoot, combined they wouldn't equal the number of 66/73 clones.

Start with a basic Stoeger SxS. They work.

Bottom line is just show up. You'll be turning down multiple offers by others to let you shoot their guns. You'll make friends fast and if you don't have all your gear we'll loan you ours until you get what you need. Seriously. It's part of the CAS culture. We'll go to great lengths to help someone else get started.
 

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Yes, sarcasm. One local club below for main street shootouts.
Powder Creek Cowboys Home
I live not too far from where they shoot and have really wanted to see about getting into cowboy action shooting and joining. Looks like they have a lot of fun. The cost of the equipment to get started has always been too intimidating and one of the reasons I have not done it yet. I have one revolver that would be acceptable, but lack a shotgun or a rifle.
 

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As mentioned in that URL, several shooters will be willing to loan you a rifle or shotgun for your turn. A friendly group willing to help possible new members.
 

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Heck, the same generosity tends to get extended to all levels of shooters, not just "greenhorns." Sure, if a newbie wants to keep coming around, they either need to work out a long term borrow from another user, or buy their own eventually, but most guys end up with 2 or 3 sets of main match firearms, and we always take them along in case something breaks down, or in case someone needs it - and 2-3, or 5x the ammo we could need too! Repay the guy for the ammo burned as "rental" for using his kit, and you're a step ahead.

Same goes for leather too. Lots of guys buy cheap hunter holsters and belts to get going, but a lot of guys borrow too. Everybody ends up with a couple different rigs, and it's rare that folks use their spares, so they're easy to find on a borrow or buy used (cheap) basis.

Whether it's a firearm malfunction, a newbie, or just a guy wanting to try a different iron, generous sharing of firearms in SASS is very prevalent.
 
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