Wow! Another month and another cowboy shoot. Last month we talked some about what cowboy shooting is, where you can find information about it and the types of handguns that can be used. I told you that I’d talk about rifles this month and I’m going to throw in some on the shotgun. I use a Rossi, Model 92. And, I use the same caliber as my handguns a .44. Using the same caliber allows for no mistakes with the ammo and firearm. Trust me, that’s important.
According to the SASS, Single Action Shooting Society handbook, the rifles “must be original or replicas of lever or slide action rifles manufactured during the period from approximately 1860 until 1899, incorporating a tubular magazine and exposed hammer.” The caliber should be no smaller than a .32 but no larger than a .45, centerfire of course.
When you’re choosing a rifle, I would want to mount the rifle to see how it feels on my shoulder. I would ask myself these questions… Is the stock short enough or longer enough for me? Can I work the lever with ease? Is it too heavy? When I look at an octagon barrel, I know they can get heavy. The stock can be modified, if you know a good smith but I would suggest that you look for something that works without the modification. KISS, keep it simple S.
When looking at shotguns, and I love my shotguns, I use a Winchester 97 for cowboy shooting. The shotgun parameters are like the rifle with regards to the time period. You can use a side-by-side which my dad likes (look at the picture – he’s in a white shirt). But for me, it’s just too heavy. I think of myself as a stronger person, I do physical labor every day, but it simply gets heavy after a while.
When you look at the firearms that are out there for cowboy shooting, it can get overwhelming. In an article this year from Tactical Life written by Ashley Hlebinsky, 23 of the Coolest Cowboy Guns to Hit the Marketplace in Recent Months, she lists a Pietta Confederae LeMat all the way to a Navy Arms Buffalo Bill Center of the West Centennial Rifle. Some of these are limited editions and a little pricey. They look nice and have a lot of engraving, which I like as my husband is a wood engraver/carver. But, what works for you? What do you have money for – to start out cowboy shooting? What will you choose for your first cowboy gun?
I’d go to a shoot first. A smaller shoot is better as the shooters are under a lot of pressure with a national shoot. You can find shoots that you should be able to go and watch on the SASS website www.sassnet.com, or NCOWS website at www.ncows.com. It’s not only fun to watch but you can learn a lot simply by going and talking with people. What information I gave you deals with SASS, as that is the organization I started with and shoot. I have friends, who shoot NCOWS, and they share it’s as much fun to do.
Whatever you do, do it safely. Take a class if you haven’t done so simply to refresh yourself with the safety rules needed to shoot safely. Sometimes I’ll share how I ended up with my foot cut open and 20 stitches because I was trying to learn how to throw a knife. Always safety….