The Damascus Wildlife Rangers
New Cowboy Shooter Clinic Class Outline
Last Updated  01-15-22
Prepared By Chuckaroo 13080  =}:-)

Regulator, Territorial Governor
SASS Hall of Fame in 2014

Origin Of SASS

SASS Organization

CAS Competition





Accessories & Leather

Match Director

Match Components


Clean Up

Match Types


SASS RO Courses

Shooting Categories


Shooting Portion

Classroom Set Up


Preface: We have had great success with our New Cowboy Shooters classes. Using our web site, referrals from current shooters, flyers in local gun shops and shooting club newsletters, we are able to get a steady stream of new pardners. The net result is we reach a group of shooters that may not have ever tried the sport without the clinic. Their appreciation for the class is very rewarding. As first time cowboy shooters, they are more prepared and very safe. Consequently, their first match experience is almost always a great one!

This is a sample outline, used for the New Cowboy Shooter Clinics, at the Damascus Wildlife Rangers home range, at the Wildlife Achievement Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America, Inc. It certainly does not include everything. However, when used as a guide, it can assist in covering most of the sport in a short period of time. Adding your own touches and your local rules will customize the class for your club.

*1982 Wild Bunch
*New Mexico
*Wild Bunch
*SASS Numbers
*Your persona
*Chronicle (Hand out copies, available from SASS)
*Club affiliations
*Territorial Governors
*There are no prizes for winning, just bragging rights until the next match.
*Cowboy Action Shooting is shooting scenarios using firearms that are all of 1899 or earlier in design or manufacture.
  This includes rifles, pistols and shotguns.
*Matches are not quick draw contest.
*Cowboy Action Shooting is NOT the place to learn how to shoot. It is where experienced shooters go to play
  the fantasy of Cowboy Action Shooting.
*The "Spirit Of The Game" is a term we use to describe the honor of the old west, a handshake was your bond and honesty
   was the rule of the day. It also means the shooter fully participates in what the stage requires.
   (Common-sense exceptions are made for those shooters with physical disabilities that hinder participation in certain activities.
   For example, a wheelchair-bound shooter is not expected to mount the "horse" in the middle of a stage).
*If in doubt, just remember "WWJWD" (What would John Wayne do?)     
*Remember, No target is to close or to big, that it can't be missed.
  And remember, It ain't how good you shoot, it's how good you look shooting!

*Rifles - Pre 1900 Design or Manufacture - 1873 or older for Classic Cowboy Category.
 *Lever/Pump Action. Have an exposed hammer and be tubular fed, open or iron sights.
 *32 caliber and up, pistol caliber only. (allowable exceptions are 25-20 and 55.60).
 *Henry, Yellow Boy, 1873 Winchester, 1892 Winchester, 1894 Marlin, Colt Lightning.
 *.22 Caliber, standard velocity rimfire permitted for Buckaroo category only (optional)
*Pistols - Pre 1900 Design or Manufacture
 *32 caliber and up.
 *Single action only.
 *Two are required for competition.
 *Cap and ball are used in the Frontiersman Category.
 *.22 Caliber, standard velocity rimfire permitted for Buckaroo category only (optional).
*Shotgun - Pre 1900 Design or Manufacture
 *Pump action must be Winchester 1897 or replica only, in 16 or 12 gauge.
 *Side by Side and single barrel, in 12, 20, 16 or 10 gauge. (28 gauge, 32 gauge & .410 permitted in Buckaroo / Buckarette Category only).
 *With or without hammer. Hammer required for Classic Cowboy Category.
 *No automatic ejectors.
 *Lever Action
 *Side Match
 *There are another set of rules and additional guns used for "Side Matches." We will not cover these firearms during this class.

 *Firearms have a very limited number of SASS approved external modifications.
   Basically, you cannot alter the outside configuration of a firearm if it creates a competitive advantage.
   Internal modifications (action jobs) are allowed. See the SASS Handbook for additional details.

*All main match ammunition must be center fire, all lead. No copper jacketed, copper wash or gas checks allowed.
*Maximum speed of ammo, Rifle 1,400 FPS maximum. Pistol 1,000 FPS.
*SASS requires a minimum power factor of 60. (Bullet weight times velocity and divided by 100) and an absolute minimum of 400 fps.
*Many clubs have a minimum speed of 650 FPS or similar. It is their option.
*Round Nosed, Flat Point bullets should be used in the rifles tubular magazine.
*Black powder or black powder substitutes are used in some shooting categories. Must meet minimum smoke requirements.
*Shotgun ammunition must be all lead, shot size #4 or smaller (many clubs are 7 1/2 or smaller), no magnum or high-velocity.
 *.22 Caliber, standard velocity rimfire permitted for Buckaroo category only (optional).

*Typically, steel, cardboard, balloons, clay birds, reactive targets, tin cans. (Have several on display). Interactive poppers,
  clay throwers and swingers are used.

*Minimum, long pants, long sleeve shirt, Indian or military dress, Cowboy hat, boots, long sleeve shirts.
*No, shorts, tennis shoes, designer jeans, ball caps or sponsoring logos permitted.
*Additional items, (extras needed for Classic Cowboy Category).
  *Spurs, chaps, cuffs, bandanna, tie, pocket watch with chain, vest. For Ladies, Split riding skirt, bustle, hoops, corset, Victorian hat,
    period jewelry, hair ornaments, snood, period handbag, period lace up shoes, camisole, bloomers, fishnet stockings, feather boa and cape.
*Additional items (for B-Western)
   *Stitched or multi colored boots ( no lace up or moccasins), felt hat only, shirt must be embroidered or shield shirts with piping,
     pants must be jeans, ranch pants or pants with a flap over the rear pocket, no suspenders, belt only, spurs with rowels are
     required for men, ladies may wear skits or split riding skirts and at least one of the following; gloves or gauntlets, scarves with slides
     or tied around the neck, coat, vest, chaps or cuffs.   

*Holsters and Belt
 *Must be of period design and material, no Velcro, nylon or modern materials.
 *Need two holsters, can be one strong side and one cross draw or two strong side.
   Gunfighter Category requires two strong side holsters.
 *Gun belt. Recommended with bullet loops. Of period materials, no Velcro, nylon or modern materials.
   Drop or buscadero holsters not allowed in Classic Cowboy category.
 *Cross draw holster must be at no more than a 30 degree angle.
*Cart (Not required but highly recommended)
  *For carrying long guns securely, gear, ammunition, water, rain gear, tools.
  *A place to sit. 
*Cartridge Carrier
 *Belt loops on holster belt.
 *Ammo slide over belt, must be of period materials.
 *Shotshell belt, slide or separate belt for holding shotshells. .
   *Shotshell belt cannot have metal sleeves. Must be worn at or below belly button.
   *Bandoleers OK.
   *Bandoleer cannot be attached to belt.
*Safety Items
  *Shooting Glasses (GOOD ONES!, Side protectors highly recommended)
  *Ear Protection

*Match Director
  *Coordinates set up, stages, props, safety, food, trash, clean up, tear down, scoring , paperwork and registration.
  *Settles disputes.
  *Interprets any stage directions or rules.
  *Has the final say on all issues.

  *Monthly usually consist of 6 stages. State and above usually 10 to 12 stages.
  *Shooter arrives at match and locates the registration area. They sign up for the match and pay an entry fee.
    Usually between $5 and $15.
  *Match personnel will build posse's from the shooters that are present.
  *Just prior to the match, there will be a safety speech.
  *Posse members then go to the assigned starting stage.
  *Posse work assignments are handed out by the posse leader.
*Loading table.
    *Watches and monitors loading process.
    *Observes that the proper number of rounds are loaded and hammers are on empty chambers.
    *Verifies the shooter has enough shotshells.
    *Verifies the shooter understands the stage directions. 
*Unloading Table.
    *Verifies that all guns are empty by observation and demonstration by the shooter.
    *Three spotters are recommended.
    *Counts misses and counts to verify the proper number of shots that have been fired.
    *Watches for the proper shooting order and completion of all stage instructions.
    *After the shooter completes the stage, the three spotters concur on the number of misses.
      Discrepancies are scored in favor of the shooter.
*Score keeper. (Records the times and penalties on a score card).
    *Controls the firing line.
    *Responsible for running the stage.
    *Sees that the shooter completes the stage safely and coaches where necessary.
*Brass pickers. (Picks up rifle brass and shotshell hulls for each shooter).
*Target re-setters. (Resets reactive targets, poppers, clays or knockdowns).
*Stage story and shooting sequence described by the posse leader.
*Shooter shooting order will be read out by the posse leader.
*Shooter will be given the target shooting order, verbals, where to stage all guns and starting position.
*Shooters shoot the stage while alternating work assignments.
*Stage flow is loading table, stage firearms, shoot stage, move to unloading table, clear guns, return long guns to cart.
*Many shoots have vendors and food available.
  *Score cards
  *Misses (+5)
  *Procedurals (+10)
  *Safety Penalties (+10)
  *Bonus (-5 to -10)
  *Stage DQ 999.99 (When using Rank Point Scoring Method)
  *Match DQ 999.99 all stages (When using Rank Point Scoring Method)
  *Fail to complete 999.90  (When using Rank Point Scoring Method)
  *Rank Point Scoring / Total Time Scoring
  *Score Card Input
  *Match Results

  *At the end of each match, it is customary for shooters to assist in taking down targets and putting away the props.

  *Fun Match (Usually relaxed rules and no scoring)
  *Annual Club
  *State Match Championship
  *Regional Championship
  *Divisional Championship
  *National Championship
  *World Championship (End Of Trail)
  *Mounted Shooting (Uses blanks and live horses)

 *170 degree rule.
 *Cocking 45 degrees from ground.
 *Muzzle directions to and from staging and on and off stage.
 *Squibb load.
 *Down Range.
 *Cease Fire.
 *Do not cock firearms until they are safely pointed down range.
 *Firing line.
 *No moving with cocked gun.
 *All handguns are loaded with the hammer resting on an empty chamber, always.
 *All rifles are loaded with the hammer down on an empty chamber, always.
 *All shotguns are staged empty and loaded on the clock. If the stage directions calls for a loaded shotgun,
   it will be loaded after the shooter is ready to begin and under the control of the attending RO on the line.
 *When carried empty, to and from the stage, all rifles and shotguns will be carried muzzle up,
   to the stage the rifle is loaded hammer down on an empty chamber. the shotgun is open and empty. From the stage both are with the actions open and cleared, muzzles up.
 *While in the cart, actions on rifles and shotguns will be left open.
 *Review Match Safety Speech
 *Eye and Ear protection, Mandatory for all shooters and spectators.
 *Clubs are allowed, by SASS, to have additional safety rules due to different host club restrictions.
*Minor Safety Violations (Partial List)
   *+10 second penalty.
   *Leaving a live or spent round in a long gun (either in the chamber, on the carrier or magazine) at the completion of a stage.
   *Empty long guns that slip or fall, but don't break the 170 or sweep anyone.

*Stage DQ's (Partial List)
   *Dropped unloaded gun.
   *Any shot that hits the ground between 5' and 10' from the shooter.
   *Long guns that slip and fall and break the 170 safety rule.
   *Leaving a live round in the chamber of a long gun at the completion of a stage.
   *Moving with a round in the chamber (either cocked hammer or hammer down on a live round).
   *Cocked revolver leaving the shooter's hand.
   *Holstering a revolver with a live round under the hammer (cocked or down).
   *Loading or unloading at other than designated locations.
   *Unsafe gun handling.
   *Use of an illegal or illegally-modified firearm.
   *Violation of 170 rule (if no one is swept with the muzzle)
   *De-cocking a revolver, rifle or hammered shotgun with a live round under the hammer.
   *Sweeping anyone with an unloaded firearm.


*Match DQ's (Partial List)
   *Dropped Loaded Gun.
   *Shot over berm (most, but not all clubs; see local rules).
   *A discharge that hits the ground or prop 5' or less in front of the shooter.
   *Any two Stage DQ's.
   *Use of drugs (illegal or performance-hampering) or alcohol.
   *Belligerent attitude/un-sportsmanlike conduct.
   *Sweeping any person with a loaded firearm.
   *Willful failure to stop shooting when a cease fire has been called.

*SASS RO I Course  
   *Class is designed for all shooters. Goes into greater detail on the rules.
   *Class Material available on SASS web site.
   *Instructed by Territorial Governors during the year at local matches.
   *RO I Certification is required, to be an RO, at state level and above matches.
   *General cost is $10.
*SASS RO II Course
   *Must have completed RO I before taking RO II.
   *Designed as RO I review, Match Directors Guide and Stage Design Reference.
   *Instructed by SASS instructors at Regional and above matches and at local shoots throughout the year.
   *Required of the Match Director, at state level and above shoots.
   *Cost is $25.
  *Show Handbook.

  Shooting Style
  *Duelist/Ladies Duelist (Shoots with one hand support and cocking of the handgun), fixed sights only
  *Gunfighter/Ladies Gunfighter (Shoots with a handgun in each hand simultaneously)  
Black Powder
  *Frontier Cartridge/Ladies Frontier Cartridge Cartridge (Black powder, or substitute, loaded in all ammunition)
  *Frontiersman/Ladies Frontiersman (Cap and ball pistols, black powder, or substitute, used in all ammunition)
Age Based 
  *Buckaroo/Buckarette (Age 13 and under - Option of using .410 shotgun and .22 rifle and pistols with Standard Velocity ammo)
  *Young Guns (also called Junior) /Young Gun Girls (Age 14 and 15) 
  *Cowboy/Cowgirl Age 16 through 35 (shoots any style, except Gunfighter)
  *Wrangler/Ladies Wrangler Age 36 through 48 (shoots any style, except Gunfighter)
  *49er/Ladies 49er is 49 through 59 (shoots any style, except Gunfighter)
  *Senior/Ladies Senior 60 through 64 (shoots any style, except Gunfighter, age is 60 through 64 or any category younger except youth categories)
  *Silver Senior/Ladies Silver Senior is 65 through 69 (shoots any shooting style except Gunfighter or any category younger except youth categories)
  *Elder Statesman/Grand Dame is is 70 through 74 (shoots any shooting style except Gunfighter or any category younger except youth categories)
  *Cattle Baron/Cattle Baroness is 75 through 79 (shoots any shooting style except Gunfighter or any category younger except youth categories)
  *El Patron/La Patrona is 80 through 84 (shoots any shooting style except Gunfighter or any category younger except youth categories)
  *El Rey/La Reina is 85 and up) (shoots any shooting style except Gunfighter or any category younger except youth categories)

Costume Based
  *Classic Cowboy/Classic Cowgirl (Duelist style with additional restrictions, 40 caliber minimum, hammer style shotgun,
    1873 or older rifle, no drop holsters, no straw hats and minimum of 5 additional clothing items).
  *B-Western/Ladies B-Western (Any shooting style, 1884 or newer rifle, any SASS legal pistol or shotgun, buscadero holsters only,
    no cross draw, additional modern cowboy dress items listed under clothing)
  *Frontier Cartridge Duelist/Ladies Frontier Cartridge Duelist (Black powder, or substitute, loaded in all ammunition and shoots Duelist style)
  *Senior Duelist/ Ladies Senior Duelist (Specific duelist category for 60+ aged shooters)
  *Frontier Cartridge Gunfighter (shoots gunfighter style and using all black powder per Frontier Cartridge rules)

Retired, but often mentioned  

  *Traditional/Ladies Traditional.  No longer a stand alone category but the term is used to describe two handed shooting.
  *Modern/Ladies Modern (Adjustable rear sighted pistol).  No longer a stand alone category but often used to describe adjustable sighted revolvers.
   In age based categories from Cowboy/Cowgirl and up, shooter can shoot any age based category that is younger
   than their actual age.   A Senior, for example, can shoot in the Senior, Wrangler or Cowboy Category.

*Period - Generally, the late 1800's. Could include 50's cowboy western movie items.
   Some items, like double action revolvers, are period but not permitted. 
*Minor Safety Violation - Shooter is given a 10 second penalty.
*Stage DQ - Disqualification from a stage. Scored 999.99 in a Rank Point match.
*Match DQ - Disqualification from the entire match.
*RO / Range Officer - Controls the firing line.
  Responsible for the overall activity and usually the person with the timer.
*Posse Leader - Responsible for running the posse. Assigns jobs, sees that posse is on the proper stage
  at the proper time, delivers scores to match director or match score person.   
*Squibb - A low report from a firearm that indicates that a bullet may be lodged in the barrel.
*Stage Your Guns - Place guns in required location prior to shooting the stage.
*Spotter - Persons that count shots, misses and penalties.
*Re-shoot - Under some conditions, the shooter will be offered an opportunity to shoot the stage over.
   Prop failures, interference from a posse worker and a timer problem, for example.
   Re-shoots are not awarded for gun failure or ammunition failure after the first round has gone downrange).
   If shooter starts over, misses or procedurals do not carry over. Safety infractions do carry over on a reshoot.
*Cease Fire - Stop shooting immediately.
*Cold Range - Do not handle firearms.
*Hot Range - Firing is about to take place, do not go down range.
*Down Range - Do not handle firearms, workers are down range.
*Side Match - Additional matches held with main match guns and special firearms used in side matches only.
   Long range big bore rifles, derringers and pocket pistols as an example.
   Usually held at annual, state, regional and above matches.
*Sweep - This is shooting targets, in a left to right or right to left order. You could be shooting them single, double or triple tap.
*Double tap - Shooting a target twice in succession.
*Continuous Sweep - Continuing a sweep, where you left off, when a second gun is used
   in the sequence. Usually with two pistols shot back to back.
*Nevada Sweep - A sweep that goes in one direction, then returns back in the other direction without double tapping the end target.
*5 Shot dump - Shooting a target 5 times in a row.
*Procedural - A non safety shooting error. Unintentionally shooting targets out of order or not performing a stage
  direction or missing a stage requirement. Shooter is assessed a +10 second penalty.
*Miss - A missed target. Shooter is assessed a +5 second penalty for each miss.
*Safety - A minor safety infraction. Scored as a +10 second penalty.
*Bonus - Some stages have a bonus shot that is usually more difficult than normal.
  If obtained, the shooter can be awarded a -5 to -10 second reduction in the shooters time for that stage.
*Reload - Some stages call for a reload on the rifle or pistol in the middle of the stage and on the clock.
  Usually, instructions are very specific as to when and how it is done.
*On The Clock - Anything that takes place after the starting buzzer goes off and the last shot is fired in the stage.
*Stage - One of the courses of fire.
*Prop - Decorations and items that add to the look of a stage. Sometimes there are props that need to be handled,
  in a specific way, during the course of the stage.
*Hogleg - Revolver.
*Timer - An electronic device that will buzz at the beginning of a shot string and record the time of the shots,
   in particular, the last shot. The time is then used on the shooters score card as their raw time.
*Raw Time - The shooters time before any misses, procedurals, safety infractions or bonus scores
   have been added.

*During this portion of the New Shooters' Clinic, the students will try their hands at a short, simple CAS stage to get the "feel" of it.
*Create a simple but fun stage consisting of all long guns and one pistol to start.
*Have all guns staged, including the pistol.
*If possible, use firearms that are not highly slicked up. For many, they are not prepared for those nice actions jobs yet.
*Have at least one lateral movement without carrying a gun.
*On the first cycle through, let them hear the timer to start but do not actually time them.
*On the second cycle through, time them. If they brought holsters and are capable, let them draw from the holster. 
*Demo some unsafe actions, especially with the cross draw holster. Maybe they have not purchased their leather yet.
  Many of us would have probably benefited from not buying that cross draw rig in the beginning. 


The ideal student will probably know very little about Cowboy Action Shooting. Your classroom needs to be friendly and comfortable.
Because the verbal portion of the course is going to be about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, it is important to keep it lively and NOT a lecture.

Have the following items on display if possible. Cart, holsters of various styles, timer, shotshell holders, copy of class outline, SASS rule book, several instructors (hopefully one dressed as a Classic Cowboy), a target, counter person sticks, scorecard, RO Courses and as many of the approved firearms as possible. Nothing seems to get shooters more excited than looking at firearms! SASS will provide Chronicles through your Territorial Governor or you can recycle your already read Chronicles. They make great handouts.

Using the outline, step through from the beginning of SASS and as the outline flows it should generate questions. Encourage questions throughout the presentation. Questions get the students involved and often remind you of things you want to cover. They also give you a break from talking non stop. Also, make sure they understand what you have covered. After completing a section, especially on safety, ask "Are there any questions", or "Was that clear?" After answering a question, ask "Did that answer your question?"

Remember, this is most likely their first exposure to the sport and they may be reluctant to ask, what they feel, is a "Stupid" question. Take the time to make sure they understand. One of the objectives of this class is to prepare them for their first Cowboy Match. Hopefully that first match will now be a safer and easier experience because they have had a complete heads up on what it is all about.

The shooting portion should be designed to reinforce what they just learned in the classroom. It is a good idea for the instructors, of the range portion, to sit in on the first class to see exactly what the students are being told. There is a lot of information. It is reasonable to assume they will not retain it all. Therefore, the range instructors can restate the many safety items as the students proceed through the shooting portion. Treat the students as if it were in a regular match posse. Give them posse assignments and along with an instructor/mentor, proceed with reading the stage, and then all of the normal work procedures. This alone will give them a good idea of what to expect at their first real match. Without having to deal with those unknowns, they can concentrate more on the safety and actual shooting.

Your "Spirit of The Game" can easily spread to a new crop of CAS Shooters!

My thanks to Hill Beachy for proof reading and letting me know where my brain went south! 

Use as you wish and add to suit you own local needs.

Chuckaroo 13080