Wednesday, March 16, 2011

First Cowboy Action Shoot

"Fill your hand, you son of a bitch!"
~A Fellow Fat Man

I attended my first match at my local Single Action Shooting Society club down at Coyote Valley Sporting Clays last Saturday. I had an awesome time, and I can't wait till next month.

I was planning on taking lots of pictures showing the action, but there was never a slow moment. It's not just about taking your turn to shoot. If you're not loading, shooting  or unloading, there's plenty of other tasks; counting misses, picking up brass, making sure the guns are unloaded, filling your shell holders, grabbing a sip of water, etc. About the time you think you have a minute to take pictures, it's time to move to the next stage!
Coffee round the campfire.
My overall time was something like 276 seconds over four stages. That's about 70 seconds per stage, but I shot 3 of the stages clean (no misses). The winner's overall time was 87 seconds, or something equally disgustapating. Yeah, I'm snail-ass slow. On the other hand it was my first match, and the winner was some kind of national competitor or something. Meh. I'm only competing against myself.

The thing that slowed me down the most (besides my fat ass) was getting the empty hulls out of my double shotgun. The other shooters have their chambers polished, so they just do this backwards jerk thing and the empties fly right out. I have to pick the hulls out with my fingernails. About 60 seconds of my time was the ten to fifteen seconds it took for me to pick them out. Sometimes I'd have to shoot 6 or 8 shells to knockdown the targets. Five seconds spent picking hulls per reload really adds up. My first gunsmithing project is going to be polishing the chambers on my shotgun, so I can do that jerk trick.

One serious problem I had was my holsters. They kept collapsing after I drew the guns out, making it tough to get the guns back in. Of course, my first instinct was to buy new holsters. However, I don't throw money at my problems anymore. I'm going to get some thin brass plates and fix them, forcing them to stay open. I'm also going to look into wet-molding them. I'm not worried about ruining the holsters, I'm  worried about the process ruining my guns; wet leather and guns don't mix. I'll post pics as things go along.

However, I had a KICK ASS TIME! I can't wait for next month! The best part was getting faster as the day went by. As I climbed that experience curve, I had more and more fun. My rate of fire was way higher by the end of the day, but I was still hitting every target. It was kinda tai-chi-ish. I was going slow at first, yet correctly, so I wasn't missing, but I was easily picking up speed as I went along.
Fine, upstanding citizen.

I don't have a lot of experience with cowboy guns either. I've always used 1911s, DA/SA pistols, and semi-auto rifles. I never really got into shotguns either, so this makes my learning curve doubly steep. For example, during a practice session I tried to fix a problem with my rifle by racking the lever. On an AR-15, if the gun just goes click it means you've got a bad round, so you rack the action and keep going. Turns out the safety on my cowboy rifle was on, but the hammer still dropped and went click. All I had to do was turn the safety off and re-cock the hammer with my thumb, but my instinct took over and I racked the live round out onto the ground. That counts as a miss, and you're not allowed to pick it up. Oh well.

If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area and want to try cowboy action shooting, the Coyote Valley Cowboys have a program where they'll rent you the guns and supply all the ammunition you'll need for about $100. They're really nice folks, and you'll have a great time. It's a great way to give cowboy shooting a try.

Tar isteach agus a chur orthu!

No comments:

Post a Comment