..March 2005 ~~~~ Editor:  Cliff Hanger ~~~~
Good Enough for Cowboy Shooting by Rowdy Yates

How many times have you been in a discussion with your Cowboy pards and the subject of accuracy comes up? Around here it seems to be quite often and many times someone will say, “my rifle or pistol doesn't shoot real good groups but it's good enough for cowboy shooting”.

When this type of statement is made I usually have the highly intelligent response of, “HUH”? Even if I don't say it, the thought will pass through my mind, “What exactly is good enough for cowboy shooting in terms of accuracy?” Is a 6 inch group at 50 yards considered good enough or would the group size need to be covered by a silver dollar at this distance? In my opinion, it would be the latter, and I'll tell you why:

Let's assume that Gabby and his cowboy shootin’ pard, Roy, have a friendly competition going and every month each of them tries to better the other. For some time now they have known that their skills are nearly identical, but for some reason Roy seems to get the edge nearly every time. He just seems to come up with a couple less misses per match than Gabby does. Gabby has thought about it and has practiced but for some reason just can't quite come up with the answer. He has considered the target size and distance and just can't figure where Roy gets the edge.

Then one day Roy stops by Gabby’s house and asks if he wants to go to the range for a little paper punching. This is something Gabby, as a steel ringer, has never put much stock in, but since he doesn't have anything to do anyway he throws his shooting gear into the truck and he and Roy are off to the range. 

The first couple targets are set out at 50 yards, and they each shoot 10 rounds at their individual targets. When they bring them in to take a look the results are pretty interesting. On Roy’s target there is a nice group just over 1 inch, and on Gabby’s target the group is just a bit more than 6 inches. This is when Gabby turns to Roy and says, “yeah, it ain’t real good, but we shoot at 18 inch targets so this is plenty good for cowboy shooting.

Good enough for cowboy shooting. There it is again. Now we have the answer as to why 2nd place seems to fit Gabby so well. The reality is that he is shooting at smaller targets than Roy. With his group size Roy gets to shoot at an 18 inch target, and Gabby’s 6 inch group shrinks that target to less than 16 inches. Although these numbers are exaggerated, the principle remains valid.

Bottom line: know what your firearm is capable of and try to get the best you can from it.

For the rifle, it amounts to finding the best load by trying different bullet styles and weights and different types of powders and granulations. A good start in this process is to slug the bore so you know what size bullet your rifle likes best. There are many reference materials available, but it's even more fun to experiment to find what combination best suits your particular firearm.

Take the time to punch some paper to make sure you are getting the results you are looking for, and, for black powder, know how many rounds of each different load you can shoot before your group size starts to grow from fouling in the barrel.

The same would be true for the pistol, especially cap and ball.

Work out the loading procedure and what works best for your revolvers. Take the time to punch some holes in paper targets so that again, you know you are getting the results you are looking for.

Know your guns.
Know your loads.

Make sure your firearms do not require a second thought at the match so that your head can be in the game and not on the small stuff.

How good is good enough for cowboy shooting? I’d say that would have to be as good as you can make it.

1873 SAA  Colt  by many

Do you know one generation from the others?

Colt generations are a bunch of smoke and mirrors! But something like this......

1st Generation :
Those starting with serial number 1 to 181,999?, where made from 1873 to 1899.
These are referred to as the  First Generation "Antique". The frame uses a set screw in the front to hold the base pin.

In 1899 starting with serial number 182,000, the base pin screw was replaced with the spring loaded cylinder latch pin. This model referred to as the Modern 1st Generation was in production until 1848 with the last one bering serial number 357,859. Also this Modern 1st Generation Model used a better grade of steel and was marked with "VP" (verified proof) on the trigger guard. There are other very subtle changes as well. The cylinder bushing is full length of the cylinder.

There were none produced from 1948-1956.

2nd Generation
The serial number range was 0001SA to 73319SA. Made from 1956 to 1975.

These had the spring loaded cross bolt type of cylinder pin retainer. Most had floating (floppy  loose) firing pins, with a concave shaped point, but early 2nd's had 1st type firing pins.

3rd Generation:
1976-1978 the serial numbers started with  80000SA to 99999SA. 

1978-1993 the serial numbers started with SA1001 to SA99999 after #99999SA is built.

1993-1999 the serial numbers started with S02001A to S26699A after #SA99999 is built.

These had the floating firing pin and cross bolt type of base pin retainer. BUT they did not have the full length base pin bushing. These have a little short bush pressed into the front of the cylinder and the rest of the base pin support is cylinder metal.

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The Brimstone Pistoleros are not responsible for any accidents which may occur from use of  loading data, firearms information, or recommendations published on the Brimstone Pistoleros web site.