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Cortez Colorado
Cowboy Action Shooting

This page was last updated: June 20, 2017
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The 170

The 170º rule, by definition, DOES NOT always apply to/from/at the loading/unloading tables.
This is due to the wide variations in range/stage does on some ranges, if they are on a common firing line with the stage itself

(Note: The 170-degree safety rule means the muzzle of the firearm must always be straight down range +/- 85 degrees in any direction. If a competitor “comes close” to breaking the 180-degree safety plane, the 170-degree safety rule has been violated, and the competitor is at fault.)
SHB p.24/RO1 p.19

170º Safety Rule - means the muzzle of the firearm must always be pointed down range +/- 85 degrees in any direction.
RO1 "Glossary of Terms" p.30

J) Once the stage begins, the Timer Operator stays within arm’s length of the competitor until the stage is finished. The Timer Operator then immediately announces the stage time to the shooter. Only after revolvers are holstered and long guns are action opened, muzzles pointed in a safe direction, and the shooter is heading towards the unloading table does the Timer Operator, declare “Range is Clear” and conveys the time to the Score Keeper in a loud, clear voice.
RO1 p.8

4. “Muzzle up” Please move to the Unloading Table” should be stated at the end of a shooting sequence. Often the competitor stops thinking—after all, his shooting problem is finished! He simply needs a gentle reminder of what to do next.
RO1 p.13

2. Long guns will have their actions open with chambers and magazines empty and muzzles pointed in a safe direction when being carried to and from the designated loading and unloading areas for each stage.

...The muzzles of all long guns must be maintained in a safe direction (generally “up” and slightly down range), even when returning to the unloading table.
RO1 p.15

The "problem" seems to be the parenthetical "generally "up" and slightly down range" as a definition of suggested "safe direction"...
It should be obvious that the reference to "slightly down range" applies primarily DURING the stage engagement...if the muzzle of a firearm is pointed straight UP during the 'course of fire' (i.e. @ 180º), the shooter is in violation of the 170º rule.

Once the stage has ended & the shooter is headed to the ULT, there are often personnel DOWNrange (e.g. setting targets/picking brass) that point, "slightly downrange" might not necessarily be a "best practice" (depending on range/stage layout).

COMMON SENSE should be used to determine the safest direction to point muzzles when moving from the LT to the stage & from the stage to the ULT.
UP has already been determined to be considered acceptable.
The PRIMARY consideration is to avoid SWEEPING anyone with the muzzle of ANY firearm at ANY time.
Overloading the Rifle

NOTE: Published in the "Cowboy Chronicle" July 2011 edition - page 55

Overloading the rifle
... Overloading a rifle on a stage is not a safety issue. The safety comes into play if the shooter has any rounds left in the rifle after he/she has fired the rifle and committed to the next gun. Then, and only then, a safety shall be issued if a live round is left anywhere in the rifle.
Should the shooter realize that they have loaded too many rounds and safely ejects those rounds, it’s a no call.
Should the shooter fire more rounds than called for in the stage, it would be a “P” for using ammunition that was illegally acquired....
Wild Bunch mandate

What’s the Call?
Application of related existing rules/penalties

Stage calls for 9 rounds in the rifle. Shooter loads 10 rounds at the loading table.
Whats the call if:

1. Shooter shoots 9 rounds and ejects the 10th round…safely restages rifle “open & empty”.
NO CALL – NO MSV penalty for overloading – Rifle is considered “safe to leave shooter’s hands”.

2. Shooter kicks out the first round and then shoots the next 9 rounds.
“P” + miss (use of “illegally acquired” ammunition)

3. Shooter shoots 5 rounds, then kicks one out, and then shoots the next 4 rounds.
“P” + miss (use of “illegally acquired” ammunition)

4. Shooter shoots 9 rounds then puts down open rifle and then shoots the next gun.
MSV for an unfired round remaining in long gun action or magazine
SDQ if round is chambered (e.g. lever closes when restaged)

Here are the applicable rules used in determining the penalty for use of a "preloaded" replacement round in a rifle:

Ammunition required for reloads during the course of any stage must be carried on the shooter’s person in a bandoleer, cartridge/shotshell belt loop, pouch, holster, or pocket or be safely staged as required by stage instructions. ......Leather belt slide ammo loops are acceptable; …
SHB p.11

The penalty for using "illegally acquired" ammunition (i.e. NOT carried to the line/staged by the shooter in an approved manner) will be a PROCEDURAL. Any targets hit using that ammo will be scored as MISSES.
NO adjustments will be made to the stage raw time.
SHB pp.21 & 25 – RO1 p. 21 – RO2 p.6

24. Ammunition dropped by a shooter in the course of reloading any firearm during a stage or “ejected” from any firearm is considered “dead” and may not be recovered until the shooter completes the course of fire. The round must be replaced from the shooter’s person or other area as required by stage description or if the round is not fired it is counted as a missed shot.
SHB p.24 – RO1 p.19

Additional Q&A:

1) If you load too many rounds in your rifle it's a no call but ONLY if you kick it out AFTER you have fired all the rest of the rounds in the rifle?

YES. If a round is 'kicked out'/ejected DURING the rifle shooting string (as opposed to at the END), the 'extra round' is there to replace it.
Rather than rely on a "judgement call" as to the shooter's INTENT (i.e. was the rifle overloaded on purpose or not?), the rules regarding "illegally acquired" ammo can be applied in ALL circumstances where the 'extra' round is used.

NO PENALTY for overloading.
The following existing rules STILL apply:
"P" + miss for use of ANY 'extra' round(s) preloaded in the magazine at the loading table to replace ANY that are ejected during the rifle shooting string.
MSV for leaving rounds in the rifle at the end of the shooting string (shooter has until FIRING the next gun to clear it)...or...if the rifle is the last firearm used on the stage; it must be cleared before leaving the shooter's hand(s) @ the ULT.
SDQ if an extra round ends up in the chamber (e.g. rifle returned to scabbard & the lever closes)

A “Spirit of the Game” penalty would NOT be appropriate as there is no advantage in getting the 15-second penalty (Procedural + Miss) for intentionally ‘overloading’ in anticipation of ejecting a round during the rifle shooting string.

2) If a shooter fires the extra round.... Shoots the 9 targets, and dumps the extra round into the back of the bay. What is the call? Is it a "P" for firing 10 rounds when the stage called for 9?

YES...according to the WB mandate. The round MAY NOT BE FIRED to clear the rifle.
NOTE: This is NOT the same as loading 2 in a shotgun and firing one (or both) at a target or firing the "extra" round downrange. The shotgun is generally NOT "preloaded" at the loading table.


As it refers to the following rules re: DE-COCKING:

7. De-cocking may not be done to avoid a penalty if cocked at the wrong time, position or location once a round has gone down range. NO gun may be de-cocked on the firing line except by pointing it down range and pulling the trigger or while under the direct supervision of a stage officer/Timer Operator.
The penalty for de-cocking is a Stage Disqualification.
SHB p.23 / RO1 p.16

"Under the direct supervision" requires the TOs acknowledgement in an instructive or affirmative manner.
In other words there must be a positive indication to the shooter that the TO is giving his approval for the shooters action.
B WesternB/W
BuckarooBR  8-12
Cattle BaronCTB  75+
Civil WarCW  See Above for Information
Classic CowboyCC
DuelistDAny age
Elder StatesmenES  70+
Forty Niner49er     49+
Frontier CartridgeFC
Frontier Cartridge DuelistFCD
Frontier Cartridge GunfigherFCGF
Grand DameGD  70+
Gun FighterGF
Lady B WesternLBW
Lady BaronessLCB  75+
Lady BuckarooLBR  8-12
Lady Classic CowgirlCCG
Lady CowgirlLCG  Any age
Lady DuelistLD
Lady Forty NinerL49er49+
Lady Frontier CartridgeLFC
Lady Frontier Cartridge DuelistLFCD
Lady Frontier Cartridge GunfighterLFCG
Lady FrontiersmanLFT
Lady Grand PatronLGP 80+
Lady GunfighterLGF
Lady SeniorLS     60+
Lady Senior DuelistLSD   60+
Lady Senior GunfighterLSGF  60+
Lady Silver Senior LSS 65+
Lady WranglerLW  36+
Lady Young GunLYG   10-16
Senior DuelistSD    60+
Senior GunfighterSGF  60+
Silver SeniorSS   65+
Young GunYG  10-16


B Western
Senior G/F

You may be of any age in these Categories except
Senior G/F

Black Powder Categories

Frontiersman  (any age)
Frontier Cartridge  (any age)
F/C Duelist  (any age)

When is a Double  Shotgun Closed?

If it requires manipulation of the top lever to open it, it's CLOSED.
Otherwise  it should "fall open" freely when picked up by the pistol-grip/wrist

Long Range

"Range finders", or any other devices for calculating distances or sight adjustments are not allowed. Their use constitutes a side match disqualification."

Open Long Gun

Actions /Levers of long guns will sometimes close after ejecting the last empty (either completely or partially) upon restaging...depending on the surface of the prop (e.g. shag carpet/rough lumber) and/or the orientation of the firearm as it is set down. (particularly if the gun is "slid" onto a table/window ledge/wagon seat/&tc).

This is something that the shooter needs to be aware of during the stage and that the RO's need to watch for.
If a shooter is called back to open a firearm with the ACTION NOT completely CLOSED, it is grounds for a RESHOOT.
Lever position MAY be an indicator of ACTION condition, but the rule must be applied to ALL action types...including pump long guns ('97's and Lightnings); as well as SxS shotguns.

The rule is ACTION open...not LEVER.

A rifle with a functional lever safety that prevents the lever from fully closing (without manually doing so) might still be in battery with a closed action.

Determining the Overall Match Winner in regards to Buckaroo/Buckarette Competitors

The rule to consider at all times when formulating a match that is both fair and consistent for all competitors, in stage design as well as scoring and determining the "winner" is to ask the question: "Did everyone shoot the same match?"

Can a Buckaroo/Buckarette win a match overall? YES! As long as he/she shoots the same match as everyone else! if they choose to compete for the Overall Title.

To clarify:

* Buckaroo/ette Category Champions: When competing in the Buckaroo/Buckarette category, the shooter is "vying" for the Category champion title, hence, competing against others in that category who are following the same match specs, requirements, and shooting scenarios with the same expectations for performance (ie, the knockdown target doesn't have to go down, it only has to be hit).

* Buckaroo/ette Overall Match Winner: When a Buckaroo/Buckarette chooses to compete for an "Overall" Match Title, particularly at the World Championship level, that shooter is competing with all shooters, regardless of age. All target and scenario engagements must be met with the same expectations for performance with no advantage at that level. If the Buckaroo/Buckarette chooses to compete for the Overall Title, the shooter must inform the match officials and shoot the match accordingly. If the stage/scenario calls for a knockdown, the target must be down to count, aerial targets must be engaged, reloads taken at the line, etc.

Until now, there has been no official clarification, current rule, guideline, or restriction for determining the OVERALL Match winner at a SASS Sanctioned match in regards to Buckaroo/Buckarette competitors at the State, Regional, National, or World Championships as SASS Sanctioned matches.

SASS takes the above stand in regards to determining the Overall Champion at the World Championship Level, END of TRAIL.

~Misty Moonshine

B-Western and Suspenders

RO Rules Committee ruled that suspenders were allowed on the gun-belt, not on the pants

OK to hold up the gun/ammo belt.

AD at Unloading table

I see a dilemma here between the rule as written and the need to clear firearms on the line before they are taken off the line -duh. :D This begs the question what does one do to satisfy the rules, and still be safe.

Case #1 - A shooter is simply unloading their firearm at the unloading table, from a firearm that HAS NOT BEEN DECLARED OR DEEMED "malfunctioned"....(perhaps they overloaded their rifle, and didn't know it, and they racked the rifle at the unloading table and it went off) resulting in a discharge......I would say this is carelessness and needs to be penalized - MDQ.

Case #2 - A shooter experiences a "malfunctioned" firearm during the stage, hands it off or grounds it on a table / straw bale or something, then it is taken to the unloading table, easily cleared without a problem - then this is a NON-issue. Now if the firearm can't be cleared without the help of a gunsmith or very knowledgeable person, they need to enlist someone's help. There still exists the possibility of a discharge, and if so the firearm should be taken to line, the posse activity stopped briefly, and the firearm cleared......if there is a discharge after having done all the right things to be safe, I would say that it would be a NO-CALL.

There has to be some common sense used here......and we can't penalize people for doing all the right things to get a firearm cleared safely.

  Black Jack Zak, Palewolf concurs

Ro- 1 Handbook page 10
G)Never allow a competitor to leave the loading table with a loaded firearm unless they
are proceeding directly to the stage or expeditor position.

RO-I page 21
All firearms shall remain unloaded except when under the direct observation of a Range
Officer on the firing line or in the loading area.
(Does the above need to be addressed with a specific written penalty if they do?)
It already is:
SDQ - "Failure to adhere to loading and unloading procedures" (RO1 p.25)

It has come to my attention that some shooters are being reprimanded for taking a step away from the loading table with pistols in their holsters in order to allow room for other shooters to load their firearms.

Since I didn't personally did not observe the incident I have no further information.

Yes the shooter could have placed his pistols on the table............

I remember we discussed this some time back as to just how far the shooter could roam from the loading table before it becomes a safety issue?
It depends on the range/stage/LT arrangement.
There is no specific distance listed in the regs due to the many variations.
(REF: RO3)


6 stages

Cost is $7.00 for members and
$15.00 for non members!

Juniors and Buckero'(etts) Shoot Free

Notes/minutes from the 2014 EoT TG meeting

Besides the "Synopsis" re: the "Action Open" rule which has already been posted & discussed here:

The allowance for Ladies BW to wear "BW-Style" DRESSES was announced as a clarification of an oversight.

The TGs present approved that decision as opposed to requiring it be added to the Summit agenda as a rule change needing TG majority approval. Verbiage will be added to the SHB/RO2 at the next edit.

A ruling had been made allowing "crinoline" to be be worn in the Classic Cowgirl category. Effective immediately.

(Google it if you don't know what it is)  ;)

Discussion regarding AGE-BASED breakdown of the "specialty" (i.e. shooting style & costume) categories. Suggested that the regulations for the base category be applied first...THEN the age limits.

Reasons to do so: "any legal revolver" is the criteria for the basic AGE-based categories...which doesn't apply for FRONTIERSMAN (requires percussion ignition); CLASSIC (which has a caliber restriction), and GF (which requires FIXED sights) does DUELIST...Senior Duelist being the only anomaly specifically listed as such.

Instituting this as a standard for "non-official" categories when breaking down by age (e.g. Senior GF would be a Gunfighter 60+ years old) and changing Senior Duelist to comply with that standard will be a SUMMIT DISCUSSION ITEM & possible agenda item if the TGs can get past the verbiage issues.

Shooting STYLE = #1 determinant

Shooter's AGE = #2 consideration

Poll suggested to spot check how many Senior/Silver Senior Duelists this might effect.

(i.e. how many are currently using adjustable-sighted revolvers)

Discussion regarding allowing GF shooting style in ALL Age-Based cats.

"unintended consequences" were noted regarding the DISallowance of X-draw, Huckleberry, shoulder and other "butt-forward" carry as happened with BW once the allowance was given to use GF-style in that category.

Other discussion items:

Bypassing the ban on "padded" SG ammo belts by wearing a separate padded belt UNDER the shirt.

This violates the SPIRIT of the rule against the padded belt & is NOT ALLOWED EITHER.

A few more questions regarding the possibility of TWO MSVs for a closed action long gun with rounds/brass/hulls remaining.

REF: Synopsis of the "Action Open" EoT copies were in the stage boxes for reference, the PM's were briefed after the walk-through and each shooting shift was given the same information during the short safety meetings on day one. (with no Q&A/"WtC?")

Concern was brought up regarding posting notice to other clubs regarding a shooter who had been deemed "impaired" and no longer able to participate at a club. Same as for any shooter who has been banned "for cause"...warning was given to be VERY CAREFUL how those situations are handled...noted that the PNW is still feeling the effects of one from 9+ years ago.


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