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Cowboy Action Shooting Questions

Layne12gunLayne12gun Member Posts: 178 ✭✭✭
I have never really been into CAS however the Wild Bunch match is something I would really like to do. I have the Colt Gvt. and 97 pump and a Winchester 94 in .357 I went to the range to try a match and was told that the rifle had to be a .40 caliber or larger. I was not given a reason other than its the rules!? Can ANYBODY explain why a rifle in .357 is prohibited and the reason behind the RULE??


  • Gunny0321Gunny0321 Member Posts: 25 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I also do not shoot CAS, but I have taken a look at the rules. Now it is my understanding that there are several sanctioning bodys for these shoots I looked at the SSAS rules as it seems to be the dominate sanctioning body.

    The rules are really pretty simple."Firearms must be of the Era and Pre-1899" In checking match results it looks like the two most shot calipers in both rifle and pistol are 38 special and 45 Colt.

    I would check again, and not settle for just an answer without a explanation.

  • Layne12gunLayne12gun Member Posts: 178 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Yea Thats what i cant understand. I did shoot one Match CSA Cowboy with 2 barrowed .38 AWA six guns, the 1897 I own and the lever action 94 in .357.. All was well..
    Since I have a Colt 1911. I thought Id try the Wild Bunch match but the rifle was the hang up.. I cant for the life of me understand why they would let .38 rifle in a SASS match but then turn around and not let you use it in a Wild Bunch Match.. Needless to say I was not happy and probably wont return. I cant afford another rifle just to play. and SASS lost a potential new member. I thought the wild bunch matches would be a hoot to shoot..
  • mackcranemackcrane Member Posts: 1,869 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I have the Winter 2010 issue of Guns Of The Old West, and it has an article about this and it states the rifle must be 40 caliber or larger. Don't know if this is right or not, but I thought I'd throw it in.
  • Layne12gunLayne12gun Member Posts: 178 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I have looked at several articles about the Wild Bunch match. and they say the same thing. i just dont understand why SASS Coeboy matches allow .38 revolvers and rifles but the Wild bunch does not and no one I have found can explain it to me. Other that its the RULES I understand sportsman ship . But why make some one purchase another gun (Rifle) when they already have one that is fully allowed in other SASS matchs??
  • ken44-40ken44-40 Member Posts: 201 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1

    The 40 Cal or larger rifle rule happens to be one of the parameters that was decided on when Wild Bunch was being developed. Pistol is limited to .45ACP single stack M1911 or clone. No 38 Super, no 9MM or any other caliber, no Glocks, Sigs, or S&Ws - Only .45ACP M1911 or clone. The only shotgun allowed is the model 97 Winchester in 12 ga; no 16 ga, no SxS, no single shot, no any other shotgun; only the 12 ga '97 or clones.

    That's what was decided by the powers that be. Sorry you don't like it; but, you need to get over it. If you want to shoot Wild Bunch, borrow or buy a .40 cal or larger rifle. Otherwise, try some other sport.

  • andrewsw16andrewsw16 Member Posts: 10,728 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    You've missed the point. You quote the "powers that be" as if they were GODS and are unchallengable. The question being discussed is WHY these "powers that be" set those limitations, not whether or not they did. Perhaps a little direct research with those awesome "powers that be" would yield the answer for the OP. Maybe, just maybe, there is a logical reason that is not self evident. [:D]
  • kg4pirkg4pir Member Posts: 1 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I am Cowboy Action Shooter, that like you when I wanted to start shooting Wild Bunch was upset with the .40 cal or larger rule for rifles. Mainly because I already owned a tricked out '73 in .38/.357 and really did not want to buy a new rifle. What I found was my local club was OK with me shooting my existing rifle for a couple of shoots to see how I liked Wild Bunch. I am not saying your local club sill do this but many will so, I would encourage you to ask first.
    I can also tell you that at any of our local clubs if you showed up without a rifle, you would have 4 loaners and ammo, in about 1 minute flat. It is the cowboy way.
    I am not agreeing with this statement just trying to explain the rules for the .45 pistol and .40 cal and larger rifle requirements. I beleive they were trying to limit the ultra light loads that are used in CAS. Like I said I do not agree with this, I feel that the fast shooters are always the fast shooters regardless of Caliber or Power Factor.
    I can tell you that I fell in love with Wild Bunch and now own a .45 Colt rifle as well. So definitely give it a try, and give your local club a call about using your existing rifle for a match or two at the very least.
  • andrewsw16andrewsw16 Member Posts: 10,728 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    One other thing to keep in mind. No rules are sacred. There is nothing to prevent making a motion to the ruling body to amend the existing rules. Ya never know til you try. Good luck. [:D]
  • Texas MasonTexas Mason Member Posts: 1 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    The wild bunch shoot is based on the guns used in the movie "The Wild Bunch" Set in 1915 it is the old west meeting the modern age. The shoot only uses guns that were used in the movie. That is why the 1911 is acceptable but the sxs shotgun is not.
    Just something to think about.

  • Layne12gunLayne12gun Member Posts: 178 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Well Guys I appreciate all of your imput. I fully understand the 1897 as that is the only shotgun used in the movie.. I understand the 1911 pistol in .45 ACP BUT I have watched the movie several times now and saw druing the shoot out sceen in the start of the movie several rifles being used a .30 Caliber Krag, Oh and a Mauser 98 both bolt guns. None of the wild bunch actors used any thing but a lever action in .30 caliber. Most looked to be .32-20 WCF's If being authentic was the issue then they did not watch the movie very well. But rules are rules and again Cowboy Action shooting comes down to having the money to buy all the toys and buy more toys. In this economy not many an afford that and a simple rule change may make more people intrested in the sport. Kinda like IPSC pricing its self out of the comand man being able to shoot it. which is why IDPA took off and IPSC is dieing a slow death ..
  • darksiderdarksider Member Posts: 34 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    If any of you started Cowboy Action 20 years ago You know what you shoot now is not what the game started out as..IE all knock-down/reactive targets,,650fps min. vel. max 1000fps pistol/1400fps rifle. Factory 38spec.158gr min.power for knockdown.. no mods. that affect external characteristics.and you sometimes had to use lariat,,tomahawk,,shoot a bow. throw a knife. throw sticks of dynamite. crank the well to get yout shotgun shells,,all of this was done on the clock. the rules were pretty simple..If it did not say you could do it..YOU COULD NOT DO IT that was the COWBOY WAY and SPIRIT OF THE GAME WAS LAW OF THE LAND.. Scoring was easy if it was still standing it was a miss!! There are a few clubs that still shoot the old and Fun and Socializing way with a Pot Luck afterwards This is just MHO John T. Henry SASS Life 7317
  • Layne12gunLayne12gun Member Posts: 178 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Darksider I agree with you.. I remember the days when you could wear a cowboy hat and boots jeans and long sleeve cowboy shirt have a six gun and have fun. I got out of cowboy action when the thing became a dollar came that as a family man could not afford. I had not shot in in years. when the wild bunch match came about I though id try it. But found that the requirement for the .40 caliber or larger rifle would again cost me MONEY to participate and for NO reason. Once again its a money game. While fun!not affordable. Like the IPSC pistol shooting that became to expensive to participate unless you had a race horse gun costing thousands of dollars and a sponsor to buy all the ammo you needed. These organizations keep up this way the shooting sports here in the USA will become like England .. A rich mans sport run by clubs and members who can afford to write rules to keep the common people out. Sad but it looks like that is the way its going.
  • hillbillehillbille Member Posts: 14,090 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    start your own shooting league if it bothers you so much, If your ideas and rules are so much better your league should fill up in a hurry...
  • Riomouse911Riomouse911 Member Posts: 3,492 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Don't take offense, clearly, those are the rules for that shooting discipline that were in place long ago by the people who started it. Everybody else follows them, so if you don't have what the rules call for borrow one. If you like it, cool. If not, it's no sweat off your brow.

    This thread is exactly what killed SASS for me (formerly #13999). When I first got into it it was a lot of fun, and no one really cared about anything other than range safety and over-maximum loads damaging metal targets. With the advent of money, sponsorships, and hyper-competitive whiny folks creating marshmallow loads, pushing the envelope on actions and equipment, custom this, complain about that, it got to be such a hassle that I left it to the birds.
  • machine gun moranmachine gun moran Member Posts: 5,198
    edited November -1
    Riomouse911, I tend to agree. I stumbled across CAS shoots on occasion, once when I was on my way out to the Heiroglyphic Mtns. to do some prospecting. I was wearing a Stetson sombrero, so I could always walk in the shade, and carrying a long-barreled Colt Peacemaker, my usual prospecting gun. They tried to recruit me, when I stopped.

    But it was a fashion show, like usual, and everybody was always using weenie-loads, anyway. I just didn't fit, and I didn't want to. It was like being asked to join some Polo club.

    Their game, their rules, and my priority for the weekends was different, I liked to look for new washouts in the canyons and draws.
  • jonlowerjonlower Member Posts: 41 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    No .357s is to prevent full blown loads used on the close steel targets. The darn things have been brought up to 10 feet away in some shoots which I feel isunsafe. I've had pleanty of lead splatter from these close targets. High velocity stuff would cut us to shreds. This is one of the many reasons I don't shoot anymore, not to mention the reasons given in the other posts. SASS is to open, NCOWS is too closed. We need to get back to just having fun without the decorations.

  • Wolf.Wolf. Member Posts: 2,223 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The SASS so-called "powers that be" are in many ways, a single-minded, arrogant group. They own SASS. SASS is a privately-owned organization and is shot-through with cronyism.

    However, SASS (Single Action Shooting Society) is pretty much the governing body (although there are other groups who sanction their own, much smaller organized shoots) for the sport of Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS).

    There is a lot I do not like about SASS, including how some clones of the Winchester 1897 were ruled illegal for the benefit of one of the "gods" because his company did not have the distributership for that gun and how some of the pals of these guys get away with certain shenanigans and how SASS is tightfisted, giving very little back to members and how they solicit donations to build structures on their private property and how so many members fall all over themselves to do free work for SASS and "kiss the rings" of the "gods." Makes me ill. But, all that is really secondary to the sport and essentially affects very few people and can be entirely ignored for the most part. Most CAS and Wild Bunch shooters just play the game.

    So, having said all that.....the rules are pretty well thought out. The regular SASS rules have evolved over time to be, in my opinion, too detailed and there are too many classes or categories of shooters, but that does not prevent the rules from making good sense. I think that they do and contrary to a lot of folks, I think that there are few loopholes in them. These were developed and written by interested members and administered by interested members.

    The Wild Bunch category is based pretty much on the Sam Peckinpah movie, The Wild Bunch. SASS was originally envisioned and started by a group of men who liked the movie and had grown tired of other shooting organizations, such as PDPA, USPSA, etc. They dressed in western gear and shot the old guns. It developed into SASS because CAS and later, Wild Bunch, can be enjoyed by the whole family and shooters can have fun. The owners or founders of SASS came to be known as The Wild Bunch.

    With SASS being the governing body, the various clubs in the US and elsewhere in the world are usually, but not always, not-for-profit organizations affiliated with SASS, the governing body.

    They do not want high powered, jacketed loads for safety purposes, due to all the targets being quite close, and to save the targets, which can hit a club's budget pretty hard to replace. The clubs can make certain of their own rules, but when running a SASS-sanctioned match, must go by the SASS rule book. Usually, though, for expediency, the SASS rule book is the go-to reference to keep peace.

    The Wild Bunch Category came to be in order to hark back to the movie and that period of time in American History after the turn of the twentieth century, which post-dates the period that the CAS shooters dress and shoot to. As far as the .40 caliber or above rule, I do not know for sure, but I think it was set to keep all the weapons used big, heavy, more modern (i.e. requiremnt for the M1911) and mean, so as to keep the gritty violence evident in the movie a part of the game and to a lesser extent, limit the "gamers" from either entering the category or at least leveling that part of the playing field. But that those reasons stated are simply my opinion.

    "Gamers," by the way, are those who search for or devise every possible advantage, such as smallest possible caliber and lightest possible loads or taking shortcuts that are not specifically disallowed but are unfair. That is why there are rules about calibers and bullet loads and a "Spirit of the Game" rule in both SASS CAS and Wild Bunch that specifically penalize shooters who play the game in a manner that either takes unfair advantage of the rules or lack of rules to the common detriment of other members.

    While I am certainly not the definitive source for SASS history, rules, gossip, etc., I feel that what I said is essentially accurate, and those who disagree are welcome to weigh in, of course.

    You can visit the SASS website and voice the questions raised here in the SASS Wire Forum if you wish. There is a link on the pages to the rulebooks, too, so you can check out the rules if you wish:
    Click on the "forums" button on the home page.

    By the way, most of the .38 caliber CAS guns are chambered in .357 Magnum, but few shooters shoot .357 loads because most folks reload and fire .38 Special brass in their guns. .38 S&W Special and .45 Colt are the two most common calibers used. You might see some shooting .357 brass, mostly due to user preference or their weapon's preference, but you can pretty much bet they are loaded down.

    Most CAS (not Wild Bunch) shooters use two revolvers and a rifle all chambered in, or capable of firing, the same caliber, just like the old Westerners did.

    In most matches, a shooter will expend 120 rounds of rifle/pistol ammunition and about 25 shotgun shells in the usually six stages encountered in the typical monthly match.

    I hope this helps. My point in saying some of the above is to simply speak to the positive and negative aspects of the sport. It is not all clear skies and green grass, but very little in life is. The exact same positive/negative mix appears in any organization, not just's anywhere you get a bunch of people together.

    SASS boasts something like 95,000 members, but naturally some have dropped out. So let's just say 50,000 +/- active members, but who knows the real number? That is still a lot of people, though, so the game works and there are a lot of people having fun playing it.
  • Nite RyderNite Ryder Member Posts: 31 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Excellent post, Wolf! You pretty much covered all the bases and told it like it is, except for one thing. Inside SASS is a group of people elected by individual clubs known as the Territorial Governors. Members must have certain qualifications to be elected to fill a TG position in a club. The TG's have their own private forum on the SASS Wire that is closed to the general SASS members. The TG's act as a liaison between The Wild Bunch (SASS Owners) and the general membership. They discuss rule changes and in November of each year send a 'notice' to each club's TG, known as the TG Summit Agenda. This is an agenda of rule changes for the different clubs to vote on. During the Convention in December the TG's meet again and vote on rule changes. The owners (The Wild Bunch) has the final say on all rule changes.

    Individual clubs usually operate under SASS rules. Most clubs will allow you to shoot the rifle or handguns you have for awhile. But they want everyone to follow the rules eventually. There are limitations on calibers in several of the other categories, the wild bunch category is not the only one that specifies a caliber larger than 40, look at Classic Cowboy, it specifies certain characteristics of the rifle that some people don't like. Layne12gun, if the sport is too expensive for you, maybe you need to take up bowling or something less expensive. Rules were made by the owners, and they don't feel they have to explain their reasoning to anyone. Their attitude and the attitude of many of the club members is, 'play by the rules or find another sport.'
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