Friday, February 18, 2011
The question I hear the most on the range by someone who is wanting to get started is, "How much is this going to cost me?" To be realistic, Cowboy Action Shooting is not a cheap sport. You can get started on a budget, you can go all out, or you can settle somewhere in between. Most shooters I know are not even using the gear they first started with, they are shooting completely different guns and using different holsters as well. You are going to grow as a shooter and what you start with may not work as well for you down the line as you gain experience.
That being said, do a lot of research and go to several matches to see what other shooters are using. Talk to the shooters about guns, gear, ammo, and reloading. If you're going to shoot more than one match a month (like most shooters do), you are going to want to look into reloading your own ammo. Reloading can be expensive, but buying pre-loaded ammo for any gun is going to set you back much more.
The key here is to do a lot of research before you buy anything. I am sure you will find that many shooters at your local club will be happy to let you try out their guns. At our clubs here in Oregon we embrace new shooters and always try to help and educate them on acquiring new gear. Don't be afraid to ask what people are shooting, about the holsters they use, or for reloading tips. You will find that Cowboy Action Shooters are about the friendliest and most approachable bunch of people you will ever meet.
Once you've done all of your research and you are ready to buy your gear I suggest that you buy "up" a little if you can. Although there are a lot of inexpensive alternatives out there, especially leather, I've seen so many people waste valuable time on the clock fumbling with their gear, for example with an uncomfortable draw and/or trying to get their gun back into a cheap holster that collapses.
As for guns, there are a lot of different ways you can go. Keep in mind, though, that you are only as good as your gear. Ideally, your gear will always be a little bit better than your skill level. That way you are not fighting your gear (just fighting those pesky brain fades that we all have on occasion).
Finally, the last big tip that any top shooter will tell you is this - buy good brass. When you buy old, used, or cheap brass it is going to give you feeding problems in your rifle. I prefer and only use Starline, but Top Brass is good too.
For more detailed information about guns, leather, reloading, and just about everything else from transitions to good western books and movies, check out the rest of my blog.
Cowboy Action Shooting is a whole lot of fun and is highly addicting, so don't blame me for your new addiction. You've been warned, Pard!
Buy Starline brass at Cabelas online