By Matthew Bitz
As of last week, I had began to explain the process of Cowboy Action Shooting to you and how a stage works. I felt that this was interesting enough to write it in two parts. So, this is the second and final part.
OK, we are at the shoot and have registered and have been assigned a posse that we will shoot with for the rest of the day. Our safety briefing is over and we are heading to the first stage of the day, the Jail. In this stage, we will be shooting both pistols, the rifle, and the shotgun.
At every stage are a loading table and an unloading table where guns are loaded by the shooter who is supervised by another shooter. All the pistols and rifles are loaded with the hammer down on an empty chamber. They are then staged for the shooter. Shotguns are always staged action-open for safety's sake. When the shooter is ready, the time keeper activates the timer and the lead starts a-flyin'. After the shooter has finished the stage, the guns are moved to the unloading stage where all empty brass are removed from the cylinders of the pistols and the rifle and shotgun are checked to be sure they are empty too. When the guns have been declared clear, the range is cleared and it is now safe for the targets to be reset and for empty brass to be collected.
Our first stage is the jail, a real jail cell that we get locked in at the beginning of the stage. The objective is to use the broom that the jailer foolishly left beside the cell to lift the keys off their peg on the wall and open the lock on our cell and break out, (we are, after all, being held on trumped-up charges) and hold off the lynch mob that's coming for us. To do so, we'll need to grab the first pistol from the holster hanging on the wall, shoot five steel targets from the barred window and reholster that pistol. Then, we look through the dresser next to the cell for our second pistol. The catch to this is that we have to find our five bullets that are in one of the other two drawers that were placed there when we weren't watching. After we have find and load the pistol, we shoot five more baddies, then, after holstering, grab up our rifle and shoot through the cross in the outside door at eight targets 30 feet away. Lastly, we grab the old double barrel and give the last three what for. All of this took us 75 seconds, a pretty good time for this stage. After everybody has shot through, we all move on to the next adventure that awaits us.
Well, that's how it works, I've tried to include everything in here, if I've omitted anything, then I apologize to those of you who know the sport better than I. If you have any questions about cowboy shooting contact me at 352-4045 or check out the Single Action Shooting Society on the web. This is truly a great sport and is fun for all ages; I'd encourage you to give it a try.