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Cowboy shooting is all about taking part and enjoying yourself, and this is what we try to encourage amongst the participants in our monthly competitions. There are strict rules that govern Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS) competitions, going back to the British Western Shooting Society and to the parent organization, the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS). And, if you enter a BWSS competition, there will be a minimum dress code expected of you, you will also be expected to partake with the correct period guns. However, there is a large amount of slack in the system for the newcomers to our sport, no-one would expect you to turn up at your first competition in full regalia, with genuine period firearms, but that is up to you.

What we will try to do here is give you a rough idea of what is required, although we don't pretend that this is the authoritive narrative on the subject, it should give you an idea of what you will need should you want to endeavour deep into our sport. For more extensive information see the BWSS Handbook and the SASS Handbook.


Rifles should be a nineteenth century design in a pistol calibre, sorry no 30 WCF, 45-70 or 38-55, they should also be a lever action design with a tubular magazine. New fangled cartridges like 38/357 Magnum and .44 Magnum are welcome, along with old timers like 44-40, 38-40 and 45 Long Colt, minimum calibre is .32.

Handguns should also be of a nineteenth century design, or modern reproduction which means, in dear old England, that we have to use cab & ball revolvers, whether with the black stuff or with a "nitro" conversion. You have two calibre's to choose from, .36 or .44, but you do have a wide selection of guns that are eligible, from the 1836 Colt Paterson right up to the modern day Ruger Old Army, with the Colt models 1847, 1848, 1851, 1860, 1861 & 1862 and the Remington 1858 in between. There is also the Uberti Cattleman, which is a cap & ball version of the Colt 1873 single action army (SAA), also known as the Colt Peacemaker.

Shotguns. Here you are restricted to three types of gun, side by side, either with external hammers or without. You can have a lever action shotgun, which means a Winchester 1887 or a reproduction, you can also have a pump action shotgun, as long as it's a Winchester 1897 or copy. Minimum calibre is 20 gauge, max is 10 gauge. Minimum barrel length is 18 inches, although in England that means you are rstricted to 20" barrels. You can have a coach gun as a section 1 firearm, for the purposes of CAS, Pedersoli do a very nice copy of the Colt 1858 hammer gun with 20" barrels..

The ammunition that you use is just as important, it also has to be "period", so no jacketed bullets or bullets with a gas check, projectiles must be made from pure Lead or a Lead alloy.

Ok, so now you have the basics of what you need to take part in CAS, the important thing to note here is that the "arms race" stopped at the end of the nineteenth century, way, way over a hundred years ago.

If you are looking to get started in CAS or just want to try it out before you plunge in head first, the monthly competitions we hold are very informal afairs, we don't enforce any dress code, although there are those amongst us who do try to dress the part and we are very relaxed in the type of guns we let people use, particularly the shotgun. We have people who use Remmington & Mossberg pump action shotguns, and a couple who use over & under's! The important thing is that they take part.

Even if you don't have any of the guns outlined above, it does not necessarily mean you can't take part, we are a friendly bunch, not wild at all, and there are people who will lend you their gun, but please be neighbourly and pay for any ammunition that you use.

All of the other stuff, the clothes, the hat, the boots, the spurs and the leather can all come later. Above all else, whether you just like to have a little fun or you are ultra competitive, there is room for you.

If you have any questions about taking part in our competitions please contact us, we will do our best to answer your questions. woodrowf.call@ymail.com

Charlie Utter
  Charlie Utter
  Johnny Behan
Johnny Behan
Laura Bullion
Laura Bullion
Butch Cassidy
  Butch Cassidy
©Shooters of The Cast Iron Shore 2016