Single Action Shooting, or Cowboy Action Shooting, may be unlike any other shooting sport, but consistency is still important when competing in a sport like this.
There are around 8-10 stages in a Single Action Shooting competition. Each stage is different in terms of location of targets and the process of engagement. Each stage of the competition will be scored as a separate event and will be added up at the end of the last stage.
Single Action Shooting is certainly not for the faint-hearted. In a single competition, having 8-10 individual stages will take time. It is usual for these events to last the whole day long.
If you’re a shooting enthusiast with love for the Old West, you might want to give this sport a try. To jumpstart your Single Action Shooting experience, here is a tip when joining an event:
It is important to be consistent in each stage of the competition. If you do good in the first few stages, but fail to keep the pace in the latter stages, you’ll lose a lot of points.
It’s important to remain consistent and to stay within your comfort zone when shooting. Don’t worry about the other shooter’s time, accuracy or overall performance. What you need to worry about is hitting that target with precision.
Maintain Your Own PaceIf you have a bad stage, as most shooters do, don’t psyche yourself out and enter the next stage too pumped up. While a little determination will get you a long way, stressing about your time just might backfire on you. Just shoot clean and maintain your own pace.
Want to take part of the action in Single Action Shooting?
Great! One of the first things you will need to take care of is your Cowboy Shooting costume. You’ll need a cowboy hat, cowboy boots, a long-sleeved work shirt and gun holsters. Bandannas and suspenders are also great accessories to complete your Old West cowboy look.
For almost all of the Single Action Shooting clubs, it’s okay to start off with just the basics. Most of the shooters have already spent a small fortune on their firearms and are not capable of spending too much on their costume. Still, this doesn’t mean you can’t look your best when you’re working with a budget.
If you need help finding affordable items to complete your Cowboy costume, here are some for you to choose from:
Billy the Kid Felt Cowboy Hat - $49.99
Diamond Jim Straw Cowboy Hat - $79.99
Blackfoot Stetson Hat - $59.99
Outlaw Cowboy Boots - $339.99
Harness Cowboy Boots - $209.99
Black Jack Boots - $239.99
Single Gun Holster - $89.99
For Guns with Caliber: 22, 38/357 and 44/45; Colors: Brown, Black
Double Gun Holster - $99.99
For Guns with Caliber: 22, 38/357 and 44/45; Colors: Brown, Black
Gunslinger Chaps - $159.99
Ranger Chaps - $159.99
Crazy Horse Vest - $119.99
Oilskin Cliffdweller Vest - $79.99
Single Action Shooting is a friendly competition. But just because the folks are friendly doesn’t mean they’re not sharp shooters. Single Action Shooters come from all over the country, and most of them are already avid shooters will plenty of skill and accuracy in shooting both short-range and long-range.
If you’re interested in joining Single Action Shooting, you better brush up your skills and knowledge with these basic rules first.
Here are the basic long range rules for Single Action Shooting:
- Front barrel sights could be simple blades or period-hooded wind gauge designs using interchangeable sight inserts.
- Rear sights need to be open iron sights mounted unto the barrel or have the original style tang or stock wrist mounted peep sights. You may use a peephole drilled through the sliding sight leaf if you’re using a long range rear barrel mounted sight of the flip-up ladder type.
- Bolts or receiver mounted sights are unacceptable.
- Rifle Caliber firearms should have traditional, period, rimmed cartridges. No cartridge chambered for use in any match revolver or rifle can be used in the rifle caliber competition except .56-50. Thus, .30-30 (.30 WCF), .38-55 Marlin & Ballard, .43 Spanish, or .45-70 Government cartridges. The .375 Winchester, .444 Marlin, .32-20, or .44-40 are unacceptable.
- Propellant powder is acceptable, except smokeless powder.
- Long range bullets need to be of pure lead or lead alloy with a plain base, gas checked or paper patched configuration.
- Any device that calculates distance is not allowed. This could get you a side match disqualification.
Do you know what the most fun part of Single Action Shooting is?
Here’s a clue: it has nothing to do with the shooting.
Single Action Shooting is all about re-enacting the way of life in the Old West during the late 19th century. And, to be able to do that, you also need to embrace the way they used to dress during that era.
Choosing the right clothing is quite easy. Still, there are a lot of considerations to make and a lot of details to plan ahead of time.
Mind you, Single Action Shooting enthusiasts are truly enthusiastic about their costumes. It’s time you started to feel the excitement too.
Here are some tips on how to choose your Single Action Shooting clothing:
- Hats, boots, jeans and bandannas are a staple. If you’re into Single Action Shooting, you need to have all of these items in your wardrobe. Hats like the Akubra or the Stetson are the more popular choices. If you’d like to be a little more adventurous in your clothing, invest in a pair of chaps, a frock coat, suspenders and vests to play around with your Old West cowboy look.
- Choose clothing closest to your SAS alias or persona. Single Action Shooters have aliases, or a western persona. For instance, they could name themselves after a character in an Old West movie or even a fictional character in a book. And because you represent a certain character, dressing after them becomes a breeze.
- Go the extra mile. Want to be noticed? Then pay more attention to the details of your costume. For instance, for the ladies, you can opt for period-correct materials and patterns for your dresses. There are a few seamstresses and tailors who are still quite familiar with making Old West costumes. Be sure to ask around your club for suggestions and recommendations.
Choosing the right gun holster for your Single Action Shooting firearms is just as important as any other part of the sport. You need to know which holsters will best suit your firearms. And because leather gun holsters usually cost at least $200, making sure you’ve got the best thing is s important as ever.
If you need a little help making up your mind, here are some tips on how to choose your single action shooting gun holster:
- Choose gun holsters commonly used by Single Action shooters. One way to narrow down your choices is by looking at what the others are using. Some of the common gun holsters used are typically made of leather with leg tie-downs or drop loop features.
- Make sure it gives you normal movement. Don’t choose a holster just because it has a really nice design. The primary use of your gun holster is to safely retain your gun while you’re out and about. Good gun holsters will let you move around normally and will not have an angle more than 30 degrees (vertical).
- The more substantial the design is, the more expensive it’s going to be. Whatever type of gun holster you choose, make sure that it is made of quality material so it can last you many years of service.
- Keep a lookout for second-hand gun holsters. Some Single Action shooters like to change their holsters every now and then, even if their holsters are as good as new. Make sure you keep your ear to the ground and look out for opportunities like these. Not only will you get a great gun holster for your SAS firearms, you’ll probably get it for a steal as well. Double treat!
The Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) has very clear rules on how they score and time your performance during competitions. If you’re interested in joining fellow Old-West aficionados in reigniting the cowboy flame, here are some of the things you need to know regarding scoring and timing:
SASS shooting matches are based upon two things; your elapsed shooting time and added penalty points for missed targets.
Each stage is scored individually with the total combined score for all stages being the qualifying score to see if you ranked in a place of finish.
Ranking score is also used at the END of TRAIL SASS Regionals. This would be at the discretion of all affiliated clubs. Ranking score is often used when all the stages in a match are not of the same duration or difficulty. An alternative to ranked scores would be in scoring based on total time or stage point scoring.
The male and female with the best score will be recognized at the SASS competition and will be named the overall winners.
All targets must be hit with their appropriate type firearm. Failure to do so will be defined as a “miss”. Missed targets are scored as 5-second additions to your raw time.
Procedurals are unintentional “mistakes” that often happen when a competitor engages in a different manner than the traditional way. These are scored as 10-second additions to your raw time. Minor safety infractions are also a 10-second penalty that is added to the competitor’s raw time.
If there is ever a dispute with the overall score and time, a competitor can politely and immediately appeal to the Range Master. The Range Master will consider the appeal based on rules and policies of the competition.
Single Action Shooting, or Cowboy Shooting, is a fun shooting sport. Still, like any sport, it would give you more pleasure if you can improve your current shooting skills and accuracy.
Needless to say, shooting speed and accuracy is important in this sport. That’s why you need to hone your speed and accuracy with constant training. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have any fun. One of the pitfalls of many single action shooters is the fact that they try too hard. They constantly train and do well during practice, but because they feel too pressured to do well during an event, they fail to do so.
To get that winning edge, here is a valuable Single Action Shooting Tip when using a Lever Action Rifle in a SAS event:
Don’t Lower Your Lever Action Rifle
Many shooters take their rifle off their shoulder in between shots. This is probably the most time consuming mistake that you could make at an event.
Lowering your rifle from your shoulder requires you to put your firearm out of position as you load, and back into position to shoot. This hinders you from easily acquiring your next target. Keep your rifle or carbine on your shoulder as you operate the lever while engaging rifle targets. Once you are able to master this, you can significantly shave off time from your usual total because you are no longer wasting time lowering and replacing your rifle back on your shoulder.
Single Action Shooting events usually last all day long. When there are around 8-12 individual stages in a day, it just isn’t possible to have the same energy and stamina as you had when you just arrived.
Single Action Shooting requires both energy and stamina. Many shooters, especially those who are new to the sport, begin to waiver when the afternoon matches come up. And if you’re competing in both the morning and afternoon, having less energy will significantly affect the way you approach, perceive and perform during the competition.
For some Single Action Shooting tips on how to keep your energy and stamina high during such events, here are a few things to try:
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins are essential to help you maintain a healthy body. In particular, potassium and calcium should be high on your list. This is because when the body exerts energy, these are the minerals that are easily depleted. To regain energy, you’d need to take vitamin supplements for potassium and calcium early in the morning and once again at noon. This will helps fight against fatigue during shooting events.
Aside from the vitamins and minerals, your body will also need a light breakfast before you start your day. Try to keep your coffee intake low and drink lots of water. Also, stay away from food that is greasy and high in sodium. Lunch should also be light, just enough to replenish your body.
Getting to perform well at a Single Action Shooting competition may be hard but it is also a lot of fun. Remember to keep up your energy and stamina with these tips, but don’t forget to have an awesome fun time as well.
Single Action Revolvers
Single Action revolvers need to be manually cocked by the user before it’ll fire. This is done by drawing back the hammer until it engages the trigger. This helps rotate the cylinder and bring the next chamber into firing position. Once pressure is applied to the trigger, the revolver will fire.
Double Action Revolvers
Double Action revolvers are slightly different. It has to be cocked by pulling the trigger. Once this is done, the cylinder will rotate and will bring the chamber into the axis of the barrel. This is because the trigger elevates the hammer into firing position and the hammer is immediately released from the trigger.
Some of the double action revolvers today are dual action only. And some can be cocked just like a single action revolver.
One of the most famous characters in the Wild West, Billy the Kid, was using a double action revolver, particularly the Colt 1877 Thunderer.
Pros VS Cons
As you might already know, double action revolvers are loaded faster than single action revolvers. Reloading is done by swinging the cylinder out of the gun frame and hand loading the ammunition.Reloading single action revolvers, on the other hand, is slower. This is because it takes more action before the firearm will be ready to engage. Still, the advantage of single action revolvers is their weight. Because they weigh less than a double action, they are easier to fire and accuracy is most usually high, as compared to a double action.
Single Action Shooting isn’t your ordinary shooting competition. It’s all about the Old West back in the late 1800s and your passion for the cowboy lifestyle. And in this sport, there is something they call the Spirit of the Game.
As Single Action Shooting evolved, all of its participants and members have adopted an attitude towards the sport. This attitude is the Spirit of the Game.
When you compete in the Spirit of the Game, this means that you are fully prepared to participate and compete with what the game requires. You won’t look for ways to outdo or create an advantage over the other competitors. You are completely willing to follow all of the rules and shooting procedure the game allows.
Some people would refer to the Spirit of the Game as good sportsmanship. Whatever you call it, if you don’t embrace the Spirit of the Game, then Single Action Shooting might not be your sport.
An infraction occurs when a shooter intentionally disregards the stage rules in order to acquire an advantage in the game. An infraction simply means that points will be taken from your overall score or your total time. This penalty will make you lose either your time or your points.
One example of an infraction is when you do not embrace the Spirit of the Game within 30-seconds of the game. Also, shooting ammunition that does not meet the minimum velocity is another infraction to be wary of.In every game, two Spirit of the Game penalties will get you disqualified to compete in the match.