What is Cowboy Action Shooting?

Initially authored by Katie Callahan, Saginaw Six-Shooters

It's the shooting sport that lets the "kid" in you come out to play. 

In fact, the whole family can participate in keeping the Spirit of the Old West

 alive, either by competing or merely dressing the part.


Cowboy Action Shooting is a timed shooting sport.  Shooters test their skill against metal targets set-up in different shooting stages called "Scenarios".  Each scenario is based on a western event, such as the shoot-out at the O.K. Corral, or perhaps a scene from a cowboy movie or a television western.  The challenge is to hit all the targets with the fastest time.  You miss, you pay by getting seconds added to your score.  Shoot the targets out of sequence and even more seconds are added to your time.

You'll also hear the terms "Spirit of the Game" and "It's the cowboy way" being used quite a bit in this sport.  What this means is that we "go back to those thrilling days of yesteryear", when you knew right from wrong, you showed respect, and played fair.  Truth and justice....that's the Cowboy Way.... back then and now!


Cowboy Alias

OK, Pards, If you're going to play cowboy,

you're going to need a name!


A unique part of Cowboy Action Shooting is becoming a member of the Single Action Shooting Society®, (commonly known as SASS®).  When joining this organization, you will be asked to select a shooting alias.  Your selection of the "cowboy name" can be from late 19th century Old West characters, Hollywood's western stars, or cowboy fiction heroes.  Why, you can even invent your own western character.

Picking out an alias can be quite a creative experience.  Gunfighters, trail-hands, outlaws, trick shooters, gamblers, and even soiled doves come alive as shooters don on their new identity and step back in time, portraying their selected character.

Cowboy Dress

And to play the part,

you gotta dress the part!


A real fun side of Cowboy Action Shooting is getting dressed-up in cowboy clothing to fully develop your newly chosen character.  Clothes make the man or lady of the Old West.  If you are a SASS® member, minimum "western" attire is required at shoots.  This includes a cowboy hat, boots and shirt.  Sorry, no tennis shoes, or t-shirts.  Did you ever see John Wayne wearing those???  And ladies, you have the option of dressing like a working cowgirl or if you prefer, dressing as a fancy lady.  And, of course, there are always those "Soiled Doves" flitting around.

Ladies and gents can find lots of 19th century wearing apparel for sale on internet sites, catalogs, or from vendors that set up at larger shoots.  There are also may fine patterns available for the seamstress in the family.


Cowboy Guns

Now that you're dressed up all purty-like,

it's time to strap on those guns.  But not

just any guns will do.



You'll need two revolvers, a rifle (.32 caliber thru .45 caliber. Sorry, no .30-.30s allowed) and a shotgun (12 to 20 gauge). The same kind of guns used by cowboys between 1860 and 1899.  And plenty of ammo (cowboy loads preferred, lead bullets only). 

Two single action revolvers (Colts, clones, Rugers, etc.), pistol caliber lever action rifles (Marlins, Winchester 1866, 1873, etc.), and old-time shotguns (double barrel coach guns, 1987 pump, etc.) are used in competition.  For those just getting into the sport, experienced cowboys are more than willing to share their knowledge and help the new tenderfoot have a fun safe time.  That's just the cowboy way.  Cowboy Action Shooters adhere to the "Safety first, last and always" motto.  SASS rules and regulations provide a safe and enjoyable shooting environment for all shooters:  young and old, male and female, tenderfoot to seasoned old rascals.

So, are you just itching to come play cowboy with us?  We know you want to. 

We hope to see you down at the Creek!

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