A Short Introduction to Cowboy Action Shooting Matches
Cowboy Action Shooting competitions are divided into different shooting areas or stages with various western action scenarios that range from simple scripts to complicated shooting routines. Some local CAS clubs that are just starting out have targets but not too many bells and whistles. However, shoots have been exciting and has elicited a lot of interest.
Well-established cowboy shooting groups that sponsor an event spend much time, money and imagination to put all the props and sets in place. These include facades of saloons, banks, and stables, stagecoaches, and even mock-up horses that “move.” Organizing these type of events keep things entertaining for spectators as well as the participants.
The Main Match Guns in Cowboy Action Shooting Competitions
The firearms used in CAS matches are restricted to originals or their replicas, of the type that were around before 1900. Revolvers must be single-action models. Rifles can be either of the lever-action or the slide-action type, but both should be in pistol calibers and have exposed hammers.
Shotguns can either be double barreled with external hammers or slide action with a hammer of the kinds manufactured during the 19th century. Shotguns should be 10-gauge or smaller, with barrels not shorter than 18 inches. Handgun and rifle ammo are restricted to lead bullets with medium velocities. Only low brass lead shots loaded with #4 buckshot or smaller are allowed.
Experience the Spirit of the Game
The main match generally consists of four to eight stages, depending on the number of participants, in which they will shoot at steel targets. Their speed and accuracy will determine their final score. Contestants are timed on each scenario and misses are counted against them. Each miss is equivalent to a five-second penalty.
As a beginner, don’t feel bad if you’ve garnered a lot of misses. Even the pros can actually miss even close targets at times. Just bear in mind that it’s alright for you to miss a target, so long as you don’t look bad while you do it.
The fun part of the event is that participants are required to adopt a cowboy name or alias and to dress up in Old West-style apparel. Some associations are more exact in this aspect than others, particularly on the National level. Local groups generally encourage their members to dress in western clothing, but if you’re just starting in the sport, jeans, boots and a cowboy hat will do for a while.
Many people find Cowboy Action Shooting as the type of shooting sport that allows you to have fun, mingle with folks that share your interest, and really enjoy yourself. The sport is not limited to adult males, but is family-friendly, which means ladies and children can join as well.
Getting Involved in the Sport
This type of sport has a lot of women shooters competing in matches. Women who previously were uncomfortable with firearms end up seriously immersed in the cowboy shooting arena. Much of the womenfolk’s involvement in the sport has to be credited to the congenial attitude of most of the shooters in the event. Add to that the fun factor of “playing” cowboy or cowgirl.
There are certain shooting categories where women and kids can participate. Most Cowboy Action Shooting groups have categories in modern, traditional, duelist, gunfighter, black powder, ladies, seniors, boys, and girls. CAS clubs can be found in every state all over the country. There’s a category for nearly everyone to join. No matter what state you live in, you’ll certainly find a CAS organization in your locality that will be more than happy to welcome you.
Bring the equipment you have, even if you don’t have all the guns and gears. If you’re just there to look around, come on out and do some shooting anyway. You’ll be provided with guns and ammo. Some groups will even walk you through a shooting scenario or two so you’ll discover what the sport is all about and learn how it’s done.
A word of warning though, Cowboy Action Shooting can be a fun and addictive sport.