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Guns & Ammuntion

Lever Action Rifles

Lever action rifles have to be a pistol calibre, designed in the nineteenth century, have a tubular magazine slung under the barrel and have sights design during that period. Modern reproductions are entirely acceptable, as well as originals.

Personal choice plays a big part in your selection, they are all good rifles and will all serve you well. You have the choice of Winchesters, copies of Winchesters made by Uberti, Rossi & Chiappa and Marlin.

A new Winchester 1894 or 1892 will probably put a £1200 dent in your wallet; secondhand 94's start about £450.

Uberti make copies of the Winchester 1860, 1866 & 1873, very nice guns that will set you back £900, and up for a new one, with pre-owned starting around £500ish.

Chiappa and Rossi make copies of the 1892; a Chiappa will cost you a little less than £900, and go up in price from there. On the other hand a Rossi 92 is a bargain at £500 for a brand new one; they even do a stainless version for a few pounds more.

The Marlin 1894 is ever popular, and rightly so. A new one will cost £800 and up, secondhand start about £500.

If you are prepared to hunt around you can come up with some real bargains, Pat Harrigan recently bought a Winchester 94, and if you put it in a Winchester box you would have said it was brand new, yet it only cost £350!

If you are prepared to put up with marked blueing or damaged wood then you can find some real bargains. Damaged bluing can be repaired at home; damaged wood can also be repaired, often by just a little labour on your part. If you want to really want to spruce your rifle up, how about a new stock? Treebone Carving (www.treebonecarving.com) will do you a nice new stock and forearm for a very reasonable price.

Shotguns

You have three types of shotgun to choose from; side by side, lever action and pump action. The rules governing shotguns are quite simple, minimum caliber is 20 gauge, maximum is 10 gauge. And, in general competition, you only load two rounds.

Side by Side

For that authentic look and feel you really need a hammer gun, but you don't have to have one, a plain old gun will do it. Minimum barrel length is 20", yes you can have one, legally. You can pick up a cheap, serviceable side by side for about £50, a hammer gun will cost from about £150. If you want to go for a section 1 20" barrel side by side, Boito do one for about £500 and Pedersoli have the Wyatt Earp hammer gun for about £960.

Lever Action

Just about the only lever action shotgun is the Winchester 1887, and its clones. There are genuine 1887’s about, if you can find them, and they probably have a very nice price tag to go with them. Norinco do a copy for around £600, and Chiappa do a very nice copy at about £1300ish!

Pump Action

Strictly speaking you have a choice of two pump action shotguns, Winchester 1893 and 1897. The 1897 is just a beefed up 1893, and is the one to go for. Firstly, have you ever seen an 1893 for sale? And they are a lot stronger. A genuine 1897 can be had for about £600 and Norinco do a copy for around £400.

Handguns

You are allowed to carry two revolvers in a competition; ideally they should be the same caliber for the obvious safety reasons. All of the revolvers that are eligible have their origins in the nineteenth century, and are single action only.

First up is the Uberti 1873 Single Action Army Buntline Special, complete with its 22” barrel” This is the only cartridge firing revolver eligible for CAS, you can have it in either .38/357 magnum or .45 Long Colt, don’t expect to be a fast draw artiste!!

In the cap & ball revolver section you have several choices, from Colt we have the behemoth 1847 Walker, and it only weighs about four and a half pounds! Slightly smaller is the 1848 Dragoon, the 1851 Navy is positively petite compared to those two. To many the 1860 Army is the sexiest looking of the colts, and there are the 1861 Navy & 1862 Police variants also.

If a Colt clone doesn’t light your candle there is also the Remington 1858 New Army, and several more types that we haven’t mentioned.

Last but not least is the Ruger Old Army, sadly not in production any more, but a very well made revolver typical of all Ruger handguns.

What does it all cost? For £300 you get a brand new Colt or Remington clone of practically any description, and you’ll still get change, even after you’ve bought the accessories to go with it. If you hunt around a little there are some real bargains out there, Arkansas Tom Jones just picked up a practically un-fired Uberti 1858 for £95! The same shop had two other 1858’s for £80 each. Rugers tend to hold their price well, a used stainless model can cost as much as £600, and a very good blued version will push £500. And yet there are still bargains available, but you have to be lucky. A short while ago a stainless Ruger went for £150 on Guntrader, and it was in very good condition too. Woodrow, got a blued model for £300 and a practically unfired stainless for £400, just by being in the right place at the right time.

Ammunition

The number 1 rule here is that you can only use Lead or Lead alloy bullets, no jacketed bullets or gas check bullets; they weren’t invented way back when. Other than that, the world is your oyster! There is a minimum power requirement, but it is pretty feeble, if your bullet comes out of the barrel and gets to the target, all is well and good.

Cartridges

The most popular appear to be the .38/357 magnum and .44 magnum, followed by .45 Long Colt. It’s obvious why the first two would be the most popular, both modern and versatile, and a whole host of components available for them, and everyone makes rifles for them. The .45 Long Colt is becoming more and more popular, and it actually dates from the correct period and is easy to reload.

For those of us who have the urge to be more authentic, the .44 WCF (Winchester Centre Fire) or .44-40 is popular, but there is also the 32-20 and 38-40 WCF cartridges which are rare in this country. As with the .44 WCF they are bottle neck cartridges and the cases need to be lubricated before sizing, none of the convenience of using a Tungsten Carbide sizing die. This is an inconvenience, for the devotee’s of authenticity it ain’t much of a problem, for the apostle’s of convenience it’s a pain in the proverbial! If you fall off your perch and decide to use Black Powder in your rifle cartridges, then you should seriously look at the old bottle neck cartridges, they seal the breech better and prevent most of the residue from getting back into the action.

For more details on Black Powder see the dedicated page.

   
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