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I am doing my research on Cowboy guns - and while there is a lot of information out on the Cimmarrons, the Ubertis and the Vaquero I would like some real experience with either the "factory tuned" Puma Westerner or the Heritage Big Bore. What I have read so far was all positive but I would like to find out more..

Thank you,

Axel
 

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I have found it doesn't do much good the give new cowboy shooters advice on which guns to buy. Most of the time your advice will be ignored and the shooter will buy what he thinks will work, only to change his mind later on. I has been my experience to buy Ruger hanguns, '66 or '73 clones for rifles (Uberti) and a Stoeger Coach Gun or a 97 for a shotgun. Usually these are the guns people end up with if they stick with CAS any length of time. Marlin 1894 rifles are hard to beat also, but you can't install a true short stroke kit in them.
 

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I've had a chance to look all of them, and too shoot most of them when I was active in Cowboy match shooting. Every match I've been too there are a few people who came out too watch. With very few exception they shot the match with loaned equipment. Quite a few showed up later with their new guns and gear. The single action made by Colt has some design problems with flat springs. I suggest the Ruger New Vaquero. Ruger's redesign has cured all of the problems of the Colt. All the pistols are close as far as price. The Colt and some of the factory tuned pistols are over a thousand dollars. I prefer a Marlin rifle. The action is stronger and smoother than any thing I can think of
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks everybody for their reply. I should have specified - I was looking for a plinker not a serious CAS gun. I went with the Heritage more out of curiosity then anything else - and the price was beyond "right". So far I am very impressed by the fit and finish of the gun. Time will tell.

Should I enjoy SA shooting enough to dabble into CAS I will definitely get one or two Vaqueros... now on to finding a Stoeger shotgun :)
 

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Axle,

Now you know why I said it doesn't do any good to recommend guns to people. A good used Ruger vaquero in 357 (38 spec) would have also made an excellant plinker and you wouldn't have a gun you'll die with. Heritage is cheap for a reason, but if you don't have the money to spend, they are better than nothing. If you become serious about CAS, you can not beat a Ruger. No, I don't have anything to do with the company, but I do own 21 Ruger's. I bought them because I've been into firearms for many years, and I'm lucky enough to be able to buy what I want.
 

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Concurence

While I also agree it does little good to advise what to buy, I will concur with what has been said about the New Vaquero. They are heck for stout. I have three, one for back-up just in case one goes down. I had Wolff spring kits put in all three and it made quite a difference. They are .357/.38's. While they are a tad heavier than the old Vaquero, I doubt a beginner will notice the difference if he/she starts out with them. I also have the Marlin 1894 in the same caliber and am pleased with it so far. Have fun out there and be safe!
 

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From what I understand the Heritage gun is the old Armi San Marco clones that used to be imported as Dakotas by EMF.

Decent clone peacemakers, nothing wrong with them.

Most of the "problems" people have with cowboy guns is that they don't know much about guns and try to do stupid stuff they see on television.

If you take a new Colt, Uberti, ASM or other accurate Colt clone with the traditional lockwork and start fast draw work with it and fanning it you will break about half the springs in the gun in the first 200 rounds or so. That design was not built with speed shooting in mind. Pulp novels and spaghetti westerns to the contrary.

That's why when Taurus came out with the Gaucho it was modified AT THE FACTORY for that sort of abuse. Somebody at Taurus figured "people always abuse these guns by fanning them, so we better stop that problem before it starts by altering the lockwork."

Sadly, the Gaucho is now discontinued.
I have seen people at gun shops who handled new Gauchos and thought they were broke because of how light the action was. No, thats how a modified gun handles. Some of Bob Mundens guns have free spinning cylinders for example.
Most Itallian single actions are designed to be accurate copies of 19th century guns. Rugers are designed to be overbuilt for competititors and such.

Personally, I prefer itallian single actions to Rugers. Ruger makes a good gun, but the triggers are often rougher and the cylinders sloppier fitted than a Uberti or ASM gun. I prefer the Gaucho to the Itailians though, LOL...
 

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I have been shooting single action revolvers for only about 3 years now and have been a stickler about accuracy. Before I even started trying to shoot fast or one handed I probably spent 500 rounds of ammo per gun that I own with a sandbag and a good prop. I am no expert, blind in one eye and cant see out of the other, but here are my findings on my pistols. Note: All of my guns are factory tuned with no mods.

My 1st saa. Taurus Gaucho .357 7 inch barrel. Within the 1st 15 shots the gun started misfiring. It misfires 1 out of every 10 shots fired. The action is so light it will not hit the primer with enough force to fire. (I know I can send it back to taurus for a free repair but was so disappointed with it it has become a paper weight.

2nd saa. Beretta stamphede .357 4 3/4 barrel. Seems a little heavy but fired everytime and is accurate out of the box. At 20 yards with a sandbag you can get a 2.5 group with factory ammo.

3rd saa. Colt .45lc 5/12 barrell nickle 3rd gen. Action is very heavy but the gun is accurate. It took awile to find a ammo that it liked but now it shoots good. I ended up with a 200 gn bullet, winchester casing, 7.9 gns of unique. I didnt have to twist the barrel or file the front sites. This gun took some practice and some reloading experimenting, but now shoots good. The grips are slippery also. A firmer grip is a must for the grips and nickle backstrap.

4th saa. ruger vaquero ss .45 4 5/8 barrel. I love the feel and weight, shoots everytime with decent accuracy. I feel the groupings could be better but that could just be me. This gun came to me shooting low and left. After reading a bazillion articles on this gun it seems it has been a problem from the factory. I filed the sight to get the shot pattern up, filed the rear sight opening on the right side and against most recommendations I bumped the front blade left a tad to bring the gun on aim. I have read the forcing cones in the cylinder come too tight and by haveing a gunsmith ream them out to spec helps with accuracy and leading. Ive got it hitting so I am not sendind it off for repair.

5th saa. Another identical ruger vaquero as above. Exact same results. I repeated the same as above to bring the gun on aim.

Most folks will suggest its the grip of the gun or Im pushing the gun and I know theese are common problems with a saa but I have staggered the live rounds with dummy rounds and paid close attention to my pushing and it simply isnt there. The only other low, left condition was with the colt but was resolved with a firmer grip and the right load. It has been a learning curve coming from the 1911 world.

good luck with your decision, rust
 

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It is amazing what you can tell about a person's experience by reading their posts. In cowboy action shooting, accuracy is not really a big deal, speed is. You are shooting at steel targets that are maybe 12 to 15 feet away, so a gun that shoots a group of 2" is no big deal. Yeah, most Ruger's in 45 Colt will shoot low, but once you figure out which weight bullet you are going to use and file a bit on your front site, they do just fine. Speed is everything in cowboy action shooting, so a light bullet and light powder charge is everything. Most experienced shooters use 38 special and 32 H&R's, down loaded with light bullets and powder charges. Marlin rifles are really good, but 73's and 66's are faster because they can have short stroke kits installed, again, speed is the name of the game. Trimming seconds makes a difference.
 
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