Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fat men and iron, Part Deux (Gettin' SASSy)

I went down to Renton, WA last Saturday to check out a cowboy action shooting match at the Renton Fish and Game club. The cowboy shooters there are members of the Renton United Cowboy Action Shooters (R.U.C.A.S.), which is a local affiliate of the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS). I first heard of SASS and the sport of cowboy action shooters watching cable shows that featured it. When I bought my Cimarron Model P single-action .45 last year, I was sort of embarking on a long road towards getting into the sport.

I come by my interest in cowboy shooting honestly. My family is of pioneer stock. Born in Ireland, my great-great grandparents came West on the Bozeman Trail to Virginia City, MT in 1865. My great-grandfather was the sheriff of Richland County, MT. Like many a good lawman, he considered the line between legal and illegal to be a bit fuzzy where his own actions were concerned. Family legend has it that he and his deputies were stopped from running a herd across into North Dakota by the US Marshall, Floyd Davis--who was his brother-in-law. Family relations were a bit strained for the next generation.

Frederick Daniel Sullivan
Sheriff, Richland Co., Montana

The cowboy action shooting in Renton was very compelling. Despite the rain, the shooters were out there on one of the stages plugging away with rifle, six-gun, and shotgun. I'm eager to get started, but I've got a few things to get first.

So far, I have a very nice CZ Arms coach gun that I picked up used at Wade's. It's a short, double-barreled, hammer-action shotgun with color case-hardened frame and butt-plate, blued barrels and nice walnut stock. I haven't fired it yet. I have the Cimarron Arms .45 Model P SAA that I picked up a year ago and the Cimarron Colt .38 Lightning that I picked up last month. What I lack is a suitable rifle. I have my eyes on a Cimarron Yellow Boy carbine. After hemorrhaging so much cash already, I'm loth to spend another $900.00+ for this. I'm also unsure yet about whether I want to get it in .45 LC or .38 special.  The latter uses less expensive ammo, the former allows for homogenization of ammunition, but I'm already mixing calibers with my revolvers. The SASS shooters in Renton tell me that there are plenty of rifles to borrow for matches, just bring my own ammo.

Things are picking up. Other items I need are suitable cowboy clothing to wear at matches. I don't normally sport cowboy-style wear, so it's not like I have a hat, chaps, boots, etc. sitting in my closet. SASS specifies specific clothing requirements to be worn at matches, so I'm busy collecting these items, too. They are less expensive than guns, but some items are still pricey.

Yesterday, I went to the WAC gun show in Puyallup with Phil. I bought 500 rounds of .45 LC cowboy action rounds from Surplus Ammo and handed off my Lightning to Tru Ivory for custom fitting of grips to match the ones I have on my Model P. I also bought a cowboy hat from a vendor at the show. It's a very nice heavy-duty waterproof beaver-felt hat.

Another recent purchase was a gun-belt and holster for the Model P. I got it from Buffalo Arms, who carry a great deal of cowboy action items including clothing. When I ordered the belt, I fooled myself into thinking I was thinner than I was. However, "Fat men and iron," (a line from True Grit) is no misnomer. I'm a 38" waist, and the belt I ordered (33" - 38") was too small. I need to go to the next size to get the right fit and feel. In any case, the belt and holster are first-rate and very nicely made. Now I just need to get something for the Lightning, but Buffalo's Huckelberry shoulder-holster rig, which looks very nice, is also very expensive. I'll settle for a cross-draw that I can add to my gunbelt, but all of the cross-draw holsters at Buffalo Arms are for Colt SAA clones, like my Model P.

I don't know when I'll do my first match. I've joined SASS, but I'm still gathering the necessaries. However, one of the R.U.C.A.S. members holds Friday night practice sessions at the Renton gun club. I'll need to do a few of these before I'm confident about competing in a match.