What do I need for Cowboy Action Shooting?

  • Cowboy Hat
  • Long sleeve work shirt(no t-shirts)
  • Jeans
  • Boots
  • Two single action revolvers
  • Gunbelt and Holsters
  • Lever action rifle in pistol caliber 357, 44Mag 45LC are popular cowboy calibers
  • Shotgun (with extractors not ejectors*) or Winchester 97. 20, 16 or 12 ga.
  • Protective Eye Wear and Ear Plug
  • All lead Cowboy ammo

Ejectors are spring-loaded and will throw the empty shells clear of your gun when you break it open. Ejectors must be disengaged.  "Extractors" are not spring loaded and will only lift the empty shells up for you so you can retrieve them with your fingers.

Cowboy action shooters frequently share guns. This is very common with father/son or husband/wife shooting teams. Tell your Posse leader you are sharing and he will put you two or three shooters apart so there will be plenty of time for you to clear your guns and make the exchange.

Why are people so enthusiastic about the sport Cowboy Action Shooting?

Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS) is not only a shooting competition, but a gathering of people with similar interests celebrating the American cowboy way of life. It is as much a social event and celebration of American history as it is a competitive shooting sport. Cowboy Action Shooting was first introduced in the early 1980's and has become since one of the most popular shooting sports today.

Men and women, boys and girls are encouraged -but not forced-to dress in authentic period correct frontier or cowboy clothing and as you progress through different shooting stages you gather points based on the success of your aim and fire points. You choose your own personal "alias" or cowboy personality when you apply for a SASS membership. Dressing in authentic cowboy gear and period correct clothing can be as much fun as the shooting.

Progressions are made through different shooting stages that are built in a manner of the old west with targets placed in strategic locations. Some "stages" may be a re-enacted scene out of an old west movie or authentic American Cowboy frontier experience. Everyone registers an alias name that is protected by SASS which allows you to develop the character that you would like to portray as a unique individual in the sport.

What is SASS?

The Single Action Shooting Society is the organizing group behind the sport of Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS) and is integral in its continuing development. The exciting news is that it's growing at an incredible rate. SASS has a monthly news magazine (The Cowboy Chronicle) that is in itself worth the price of a membership. Follow the link to SASS to visit and join the Cowboy Action Shooting family.

What kind of guns do I need for Cowboy Action Shooting Competition?

You need two handguns which are usually single action revolvers. Common calibers are .357 and 45 Long Colt. You also need a rifle, usually a lever action, in a pistol caliber. It's a good idea to have it in the same caliber as your revolvers. Many leading gun manufacturers have come out with a line of rifles and pistols dedicated to the sport of cowboy action shooting. Shotguns may be a double barrel or a pump with an external hammer. Keep in mind, if the double barrel has automatic ejectors, they must be disabled.

How does the scoring work?

A match consists of a series of stages which are timed separately. Each missed target is a five second penalty. There are also additional penalties if you fail to follow instructions or do something which may be unsafe.  Safety is always considered the most important item in any shooting sport. At many competitions your times are simply added at the end and the fastest total time wins.

At most SASS recognized events, a system called Rank Scoring is used. In each stage you are given rank points for your place of finish. The first place shooter gets one rank point, the second gets two and so on. The rank points are totaled at the end of the match and the person with the least points, wins. Rank points can, and often do have a different outcome than total time.

What are the rules for Cowboy Action Shooting and SASS Matches?

You can read the SASS cowboy action shooting handbook available here in pdf format. You also receive a SASS Shooters Handbook and Rules with your membership. You might also want to find a local club and can research SASS Affiliated Clubs in your area. You don't have to be a SASS member to Cowboy Action Shoot. Check for local clubs in your area and go out and watch a match. Don't be surprised if you are signed up for the next match before you leave. It is a ton of fun.

Check-in often for new information, how-to articles and informative web sites. Pay a visit to our Cowboy links pages for additional cowboy and firearm related web sites to visit.

  • National Cowboy Museum & Western Heritage
  • The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum
  • Gene Autry Museum
  • Johnny Ringo - The Story of the King of the Cowboys
  • Cowboy Action Shooting, Old West and Shooting Forums and Discussion Groups