Charging the SAA
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  1. #1
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    Charging the SAA

    I just got my first western gun belt and holster, my retired GI niece got it for me off flea bay as a gift- really like it. Dang she's a good kid.! Its a EPS 1890 holster, and a Texas gun belt. Have not had a chance to try it out at the range yet. Seems real comfortable and useful, I am a tyro and don't know a damn thing about them. (Western Gun rigs) Just trying to learn.


    The cartridge loops are not centered at the back- they are placed towards the left near the buckle- seldom have seen this set up before, usually the rounds are directly centered at the back 12-24-36 bullets as far as I know- correct.? My belt has 24 Rds.

    At first I was kind of surprised about that, but after I tried grabbing the rounds out of the loops with my left hand with the gun held in my right- seemed very ez to get them out from left of center on the belt with left hand and fill the charge holes. EG the above photo (Not mine)

    Is that SOP for the SAA? Is that how you "Cowboy Action" vet's reload.? A loco question?

    Don't shoot the piano player!
    Last edited by Ugly; 07-07-2019 at 02:45 AM.
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    Cowboy Action Shooters at a match load at a loading table just before being called to the stage to shoot. Most have their required ammo in a small loading block. Any cartridge loops on the belt is pretty much decoration. It is extremely rare for one to load a handgun on the clock. They will often add a rifle cartridge or two to make up a rounds that didn't go off or got jacked out by accident.
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    When I shot cowboy action in the early 90s, I'd carry ammo in my front vest pocket. It was usually shotgun shells, like said above you usually started the stage with revolvers and rifle already loaded. But you could only shoot 2 shots at a time in a shotgun, even if you used an 1897 Win pump like I did, so it would be fair for the double barrel users who had to reload after 2.

    If I have to reload revolvers fast, I like loose rounds in a pocket. Loops on a gunbelt are tight and slow. If the rounds have been there a while, they are often corroded. The Army found that out, and went to canvas belts during the Indian Wars. Still too slow for me in action. Hunting...doesn't matter, I shoot a single shot rifle.
    Last edited by azshot; 07-07-2019 at 12:06 PM.
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    I've always thought that cartridge loops on a belt were more for decoration than actual use.
    And of course they look good in the Hollywood western movies.
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    As a Cowboy Action Shooter, I normally load from my belt at the loading table. I use a separate ammo belt that holds 12 shot shells and 24 pistol/rifle rounds. We usually load 5 in each of two pistols and up to 10 in the rifle. My belt has the cartridge loops sewn so that the cartridge sticks up above the top of the belt about 3/8” or so.

    The loading technique I use for my single action Colt type revolvers (I’m right handed), is to pull the hammer to the loading position with my right hand while transferring it to my left hand, unload the spent cases using the ejector with my right hand, then with right hand pull three rounds from the belt and drop one at a time into the cylinder, pull two more and repeat.

    Then I index the cylinder with my left hand while transferring the gun to my right hand, cock using left thumb and continue shooting. (This is presuming that you hold the gun in two hands when shooting.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress Sam View Post
    As a Cowboy Action Shooter, I normally load from my belt at the loading table. I use a separate ammo belt that holds 12 shot shells and 24 pistol/rifle rounds. We usually load 5 in each of two pistols and up to 10 in the rifle. My belt has the cartridge loops sewn so that the cartridge sticks up above the top of the belt about 3/8” or so.

    The loading technique I use for my single action Colt type revolvers (I’m right handed), is to pull the hammer to the loading position with my right hand while transferring it to my left hand, unload the spent cases using the ejector with my right hand, then with right hand pull three rounds from the belt and drop one at a time into the cylinder, pull two more and repeat.

    Then I index the cylinder with my left hand while transferring the gun to my right hand, cock using left thumb and continue shooting. (This is presuming that you hold the gun in two hands when shooting.)
    What I did different from you. Pulled 2 rounds first. Loaded one, skiped one chamber, loaded the other one, pulled 3 more rounds, loaded them, cocked the hammer, uncocked it and holstered.
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    Lots of questions and some good answers. Some have mentioned this already. I'll repeat it. Assume you are shooting right handed. I put the gun at half cock with my right hand then switch the gun to my left hand. I'll eject the spent cases and reload with my right hand with gun sitting in my left hand. I load by indexing the cylinder with my left thumb, from round to round. Right hand drops in the cartridges.

    SASS matches get loaded from loading blocks. 5 rounds in each hand gun, 10 rounds in the rifle. Gun belts or shot guns belts only hold 5 pistol/rifle rounds and what ever is required for shot gun..usually 8 here. Shotgun belts are worn buckle to the back..ammo in front/center for easy access.

    Smart Niece! Nice rig!

    My field rigs have ammo in front on the right side where my watch pocket is. Ammo is on a 6/12 round loops/ slide or in a pouch there for my right hand to easily source ammo and reload. Gun held in my left hand, right hand to eject and load. I've also got a couple of cartridge belts that have 6 to 18 loops stitched up front very close to the buckle on the left side. Same deal using the right hand to dump and load while the gun is held in the left hand while doing so.

    Easier to work the SAA style gun to unload and load in the left hand which is why many folks have speculated Sam Colt was left handed.

    Cartridge belts were for easy ammo storage back in the day. Wear one on a horse a day or two and you will get an education on just how impractical they actually are. Box of shells in your saddle bag makes a lot more sense or a carbine with 10+ in a saddle boot even more.

    Load one, skip one, add 4 more. Hammer to full cock and then down on an empty chamber to carry. When I am shooting...I load six and start shooting from half cock.

    Last edited by Cozmo; 07-07-2019 at 09:35 AM.
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    After we shoot awhile I suppose all of us just do what works best for us. Right now I doubt I could write in detail exactly what my procedure is without refreshing my memory by doing a practice run with various type actions guns. For a new shooter though it is best to get instruction first from a knowledgeable shooter so bad habits that are hard to break arent developed.
    I dont own a gun belt with cartridge loops but I have never been a club type cowboy action shooter. When I worked as a armed guard I carried the absolute minimum add on`s on my gun belt as I could get away with.
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  10. #9
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    As far as gun belts go, I doubt that there is a right or wrong for a single action revolver though I prefer loops and lots of them. I have a 42 inch gut and the two gun belts I have for my single actions each have 60 loops. The holster back which forms the belt loop is made to go over the looped cartridges. I will carry 5 or 10 .30-40 cartridges on the left side to support my 95 Win. The belt with holstered revolver sits pretty much square and even with my pants belt; no low slung rig for me but, then, I am not a gamer or single action competitor. I have never had a problem with this set up horseback or on a motorcycle and it works ok in a truck. I guess it depends how you are built.

    My reloading of the SAA is the same as Yahoodie, Karuso and Cyprus Sam, but that is what works for me. If I did not reload, I might ejeck the cartridges differently but being right handed, it is always better to feed the ammo with the strong hand.
    Last edited by DJC; 07-07-2019 at 10:20 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yahoody View Post
    ...
    Easier to work the SAA style gun to unload and load in the left hand which is why many folks have speculated Sam Colt was left handed. ...
    It's obvious that the percussion Colts were built for rightys; much better control of powder flask, ball, rammer and capping by the right hand (by a right handed person) than the left, and the loading gate and ejector rod on the right side of the SAA is just a continuance of how the percussion Colts were manipulated for loading. Sam Colt may or may not have been left handed, but his guns were always designed for a right handed shooter.

    Best regards,
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