If you like shooting competitions, then you need to check out that exciting sport of cowboy action shooting (CAS) that’s gaining quite a following worldwide. It involves 3 types of guns – revolvers, lever action rifles and shotguns. Try a few competitive matches and have some fun as you hone your skill. CAS shooters are friendly and, if you’re new to the sport, happy to share their experience and even offer some tips you could use.
Single Action Shooting Society or SASS is a global organization that preserves, promote and governs the sport of cowboy action shooting. As the name implies, the sport uses single action revolvers, similar to those used in the time of the Old West.
The competitive aspect of CAS make it necessary for revolvers to be modified or slicked up in the manner that is legal. Have your trigger fancied up at the very least. For instance, only a Bisley grip frame with a Bisley style hammer is allowable.
The heyday of the single-action revolver is prior to the 1870’s, before the invention and widespread popularity of the double-action revolver. For a single-action revolver to work, the shooter has to cock the hammer first to fire each shot. Even when the double-action revolver’s popularity was at its peak, the single-action revolver was still favored by most gunmen for its firm trigger that made it more accurate and its hammer that was easier to cock. While many single-action revolvers went into production, a few names became legendary for their superior quality.
Below, in no particular order, are the most preferred revolvers in CAS. They are featured to help narrow down your gun choices for use in competition. You can make some enhancements and modifications as long as they are within the permitted range.
Credit: Mike Searson
The Ruger Vaquero was manufactured by Sturm, Ruger in 1993, based on the design of their earlier Ruger Blackhawk .357 magnum that was introduced in 1973. This modern six-shot single-action revolver is coated in blued steel with a gloss stainless finish that is very similar to 19th-century revolvers with nickel-plated finish. Although it leans much on the classic Old West revolver’s aesthetic preferences, the Ruger Vaquero is powerful by today’s standards.
Colt M 1873 Peacemaker
Credit: Mike Cumpston
The Colt M 1873 Peacemaker was originally developed in 1873 for military use but wasn’t standardized as a military revolver until 1892. The Peacemaker owed its moniker to its large size, precision and destructive force.
A popular variant of the Colt M 1873 is the Bisley model. It was initially produced for target shooting but rapidly gained the reputation as a fast shooting revolver. This ’73 variant has a longer grip frame, wide and lowered hammer, and a wider trigger.
After it was further developed as an inexpensive and more practical revolver for the military, the Colt M 1873 remained popular among lawmen, ranchers and outlaws for many more years.
Taylor’s 1875 Army Outlaw
Credit: Taylor’s & Company, Inc.
Taylor’s 1875 Army Outlaw is a very close copy of the 1875 Remington® single-action revolvers, which retained Remington’s 1858 model’s solid frame and overall styling. Carrying a robust and dependable design, these revolvers are slightly heavier than the Colts. Both lawmen and citizens of the wild west acknowledged the rugged physical strength of this new Remington model.
The 1875 Army Outlaw is made with a casted frame, and comes with a somewhat distinct grip and different trigger pull distance which some shooters find as a welcome change. Frank James usually carried one of these revolvers during his outlaw years.
Freedom Arms Model 83 Premiere
Credit: Michael E. Cumpston
The Freedom Arms Model 83 Premiere is another modern revolver that’s popular among cowboy action shooting aficionados. Freedom Arms became widely known for developing single-action revolvers when they were still enormously popular. Their Premier class revolvers comes with a glossier finish and an original owner lifetime warranty.
The Model 83 Premiere still has a fast reload time and outstanding power behind its grip. The grip quality provides a perfect buffer to the minor recoil after every shot, which gives the user a smoother shot compared to other single-action revolvers.
The single-action revolvers featured above are all SASS-approved and in compliance with cowboy action shooting regulations. If you are looking for guns of superior quality and reputation for the sport, or if you just want to add one more to your competition arsenal, they are right here so don’t look any further.