- Written by Ken Amorosano
- Published on January 23, 2012
Cowboy Mounted Shooting guns are a specialty item in the sport. For one thing they are all in the traditional .45 caliber. The guns shoot blank cartridges instead of lead ammo and according to the rules of the CMSA, must be of the single action type like that of the original Colt .45.
Manufacturers today who understand the needs of the sport have come to the plate with offerings that bring advantage and consistency to the shooters. Shorter barrels, lowered hammers and finishes that repel the corrosive effects of black powder are just the beginning.
Custom action jobs and precise tuning have also come into play and as all experienced shooters know, the most important thing is that the round goes off each and every time.
Western Shooting Horse has compiled the assortment of firearms from manufacturers that we know have paid specific attention to the sport of Cowboy Mounted Shooting.
Here’s what they have to offer:
Colt’s Manufacturing Company
The Colt Single Action Army is the original that defines the mainstay firearm of the sport. Colt has been producing this famous six-gun since 1873.
The single action pistol has its roots in one gun: the Peace Maker. It was once said, “God made men, but Sam Colt made them equal.” The Colt Single Action Army is the basis of most, if not all of the pistols used in Mounted Shooting today.
Arguably it is the most expensive pistol on the market running in the range of $1200 for a new one and a whole lot more for a first or second generation, but if you can afford a Colt, there is no need to look any further.
For the mounted shooting market, Colt offers the Single Action Army in several barrel lengths, including the most popular 4¾ as well as 5½ and in a custom configuration of 3½”. The guns can be had in Nickel, Hard Chrome or Blue–color case-hardened–and can be ordered with the Colt Factory widened hammers and a special action job by the Colt Custom Shop. The standard grips that come on new Colts are black composite from Eagle Grips.
Top competitors Andra Olson and Jim Hanson are spokespersons for Colt. They use the guns in competition, as do Jim Rodgers and Chad Little.
Mike Harvey of Cimarron Firearms is the designer of the very popular Thunderer Single Action. Harvey designed the Cimarron Thunderer grip based on a combination of three Colt grips; the Colt SAA, the 1878 Colt DA and the Colt model 1877 Thunderer.
The Thunderer was introduced with a 3.5 inch barrel, the shortest barrel available with a working ejector.
Most recently, Cimarron Firearms and World and National Cowboy Mounted Shooting Champion, Kenda Lenseigne joined forces to introduce a series of firearms specifically designed for the mounted shooting sports.
The Thunderstorm series are factory-tuned models available to shooters in the Cimarron Model P and Thunderer configurations. The pistols are offered in 45 Colt with 3 ½” and 4 ¾” barrels.
One of the unique aspects of the guns is the new hammer design, which was created after an extensive study of a variety of lowered single action hammer styles, including the original Colt Bisley.
The Thunderstorm hammer offers a domed widened hammer spur and hand cut continuous cross hatch checkering. The Thunderstorm hammer is available separately and will fit any Cimarron single action manufactured in the past 20 years.
Cimarron Firearms has a wide variety of rifles that can be used for Cowboy Mounted Shooting. In particular, their Model 1873 has enjoyed much use by top competitors. Their 16” trapper model 1873 is the gun of choice and is most popular in the .44-40 caliber that cycles the official 5-in-1 ammo used in the sport. Cimarron also offers an 18” barreled Model P revolving carbine with some of the same configuration in the Thunderer and Thunderstorm.
EMF Company has been in the replica cowboy gun business since day one. Founded in 1956, EMF and its owner, Boyd A. Davis have a reputation for quality firearms, customer service and industry support.
The stainless steel Great Western II Pony Express is designed for mounted shooters with a compact 3½“ barrel and wide–set-back–competition hammer. The guns comes with checkered Walnut grips in either Express or standard grips and can be ordered with either EMF’s turned down mounted shooting hammer or the Bisley style hammer.
For rifle, the company offers two choices. Their Hartford Model 1892 Trapper Carbine comes in either a 16” or 20” barrel and features a Stainless Steel finish for easy cleaning. Their Stainless Steel Pony Express Revolver Carbine is competition ready.
Sturm, Ruger & Company
Montado is the Spanish word for mounted. The name for this handsome pistol is appropriate for it is a gun designed specifically for the mounted shooter.
The Ruger New Vaquero Montado Single Action Revolver is constructed of corrosion-resistant stainless steel and built on the frame of the Ruger New Vaquero. It features a 3¾” barrel and includes a deeply checkered, low, wide hammer spur and grooves on the front of the grip frame to help the shooter keep a firm grip under competitive conditions.
The Vaquero Montado incorporates the New Vaquero’s slimmer pre-1962 “XR-3”-style grip frame and a smaller cylinder frame with a unique reverse indexing pawl, which positively aligns the cylinder with the loading gate cutout for easy loading and unloading of cartridges. The Vaquero Montado also features the New Vaquero’s hammer spring, a beveled cylinder, checkered “hard rubber” grips, and a crescent-shaped ejector rod head.
The Ruger Montado Vaquero is an exclusive offering from Davidson’s Gallery of Guns and can be purchaced through their network of dealers.
Taylors & Company
Taylor’s & Company know guns. They have been importing and customizing single actions since 1988 and have grown to become one of the largest and most respected purveyors of cowboy firearms in the industry.
Taylors’ mounted shooting gun is the Runnin’ Iron. This gun features thin checkered gunfighter grips, a wide turned down hammer and widened sights. The Runnin’ Iron features custom tuning for a smooth hammer and trigger pull and is available in blue or stainless finish and 3½”, 4¾”, or 5½” barrel lengths.
The Runnin’ Iron comes out of the box ready to shoot––no gunsmithing needed to make this gun competitive thanks to an in-house tuning the company is well known for.
In the rifle category, Taylor’s and Company offers two, the Runnin’ Comanchero and Runnin’ Revolving Carbine. The Runnin’ Comanchero comes with a buckskin lever covering and a laced elk butt stock cover and features custom tuning and a short stroke. The rifle comes in .45 and .44-40 calibers and is offered in short 16 and 1/8” barrel length. The Runnin’ Revolving Carbine is based on the Runnin’ Iron pistol configuration and comes tuned and ready to shoot straight from the company.
One of the highlights of the 2011 SHOT Show, the firearm industry’s annual trade show, was the introduction of the Uberti 1873 Cattleman El Patron Cowboy Mounted Shooter.
The new revolver, specifically designed for Cowboy Mounted Shooting, is a compact package that adheres to the needs of today’s competitive mounted shooter. The El Patron features the choice of either a 3.5 or 4 inch barrel and is fitted with low profile hammer.
The El Patron is also fitted with high-grade, US-manufactured Wolff springs and tested and certified for fit and function by Uberti gunsmiths.
All new models feature color case-hardened or stainless steel frames, steel backstraps, steel trigger guards, new checkered walnut grips and wide, easy-view front and rear sights.
The El Patron is available in three configurations for the mounted shooter: .45 Colt; blued with 4” barrel, color case-hardened frame; .45 Colt, blued with 3½” barrel, color case-hardened frame; and .45 Colt, stainless steel with 3½” barrel.
MSRP on the El Patron is $599 for the blue/color case-hardened and $749 for the stainless steel.