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Gunfighter


Chief Rick

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Staying in a hotel down here in S. TX and working 10 hour days for the last two weeks, only having Sundays off.

 

One more week to go.

 

Brought my Colt's down and have been practicing double duelist & gunfighter every couple of nights in the room (dry-firing, of course!).

 

Put some various color 4x6 Post-It notes on the wall & practice until my thumbs get tired - which ain't taking too long!

 

Using different numbers of targets & different sweeps - some of my scenarios are darned easy, and some get damned confusing when shooting gunfighter!

 

With having to shoot a left target with the right gun and a right target with the left gun - I'm hoping this gets easier as I keep working on it.

 

I am planning on shooting gunfighter for the first time at our match on August 6.

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Chief Rick:

 

To many GFer's do things different. Even your top GFer's have different shooting styles and various ways they approach certain scenerios.

 

A GF could tell you how 'they' might approach a certain shooting string but that approach might not be best for you.

 

Some double cock, some don't. Some are good with cross-overs and some are good with lead changes. And some are skilled at doing both.

 

I think Buck D. Law has some sort of booklet that he has put together just for beginning GFer's. Hopefully, he will chime in here with some info on how he can send you a copy.

 

Good luck in your GF endeavors.

 

 

..........Widder

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Chief,

 

It will get easier. It is a rhythm thing. I alternately cock and fire and the shooting orders I find the most difficult are ones where each 5 round string starts at the same end. This almost forces you to cross over.

 

You could change leads on the 6th round, but something that works for me is to do the cross over string first and then the more natural one. This allows you to get the hard part out of the way first and speed up as you go. The results can cause a perception of extreme acceleration. I have gotten many compliments on my pistol work after shooting stages like this, even when my times are not that great.

 

Keep up the practice and it will become second nature to cock one gun as you aim and fire the other.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Smoke

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i'd certainly be interested in a "Beginner Gunfighter" handbook! I'm switchin to Double Duelist right now to get used to using my left hand before I try to confuse myself with GF sequences! There's nothin I like more than watchin a GF go through a pistol string. I've seen some world champs fly through stages, and that's neat to see, however, I always stop and watch the GF'ers. I'm hopin to be one someday!

 

:FlagAm:

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Just curious: what is a crossover, and what is a lead change?

Ok, I'll try to explain. When you have a pistol in each hand, you would like the next target shot with the right pistol to be to the right of the last target shot with the left hand. If the next pistol target is to the left, you have what is referred to a cross over. This is most apprarant when the Gunfighter is cocking the pistols alternately. I shoot Gunfighter by double cocking. I cock both pistols and then shoot them in the most convienet order. I can aim the next pistol in the general direction of the next target while I'm siting in on the current target. It cuts down on the transition time from target to target. I can also change leads and I don't have to contend with cross over. Is one way faster than the other? It depends on the stage. Probably the alternate cocking of the pistols is faster overall but I get lost and confused doing that.

 

It's much easier to show someone than explain it.

Hope this helps.

 

Badlands Bob

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I shoot with one guy who shoot BP GF, and ALWAYS shoots his right gun first, left gun next, and never does a lead change. Watching him do a five target L to R sweep with a repeat, the first run looks like he's knitting a sweater, and the second run looks "natural" But he often shoots clean....

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...

I am planning on shooting gunfighter for the first time at our match on August 6.

 

 

However ya do with whatever technique you use, I will wager that your gonna love shootin' gunfighter..

 

Hope ya do well ;)

 

GG ~ :FlagAm:

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Ok, I'll try to explain. When you have a pistol in each hand, you would like the next target shot with the right pistol to be to the right of the last target shot with the left hand. If the next pistol target is to the left, you have what is referred to a cross over. This is most apprarant when the Gunfighter is cocking the pistols alternately. I shoot Gunfighter by double cocking. I cock both pistols and then shoot them in the most convienet order. I can aim the next pistol in the general direction of the next target while I'm siting in on the current target. It cuts down on the transition time from target to target. I can also change leads and I don't have to contend with cross over. Is one way faster than the other? It depends on the stage. Probably the alternate cocking of the pistols is faster overall but I get lost and confused doing that.

 

It's much easier to show someone than explain it.

Hope this helps.

 

Badlands Bob

Okay, I understand what a crossover is and how double-cocking (meant to ask what that was, too) eliminates it. Still not sure what lead changing is.

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Afternoon Rick:

Here is a post from a coupla years ago by the infamous Buck D. Law that I have found to be very helpful:

--Dawg

 

Gunfighter 101

 

Greetings from Alabama!

 

First I will address what I call "pumping" the pistols. After firing, many pull the just fired gun back toward them to cock it (we'll say the left one)... which leaves the hand holding the other gun (right) in front of the barrel of the left gun. For whatever reason, pumping the guns seems to be natural to most people and it is something that must be overcome. Besides being unsafe, it slows you down.

 

Let me give you a thought that might help you overcome this. It's gonna sound crazy because it is so basic and clear after you think about it. Here it is: You hold your pistols with your hands... and you cock them with your thumbs. No matter how much you extend your arms (fully or elbow bent pulling the pistol close to you), since your thumb is attached to your hand and moves with your hand...your thumb stays the same distance from the hammers and, therefore, moves the same distance to cock the hammers. In other words, you can cock them extended (without pumping) as easily as you can by pumping them because you are reaching no further. As I said, it's basic, but it is part of convincing your mind that you can do it.

 

The next thing is practice doing it correctly first…without worrying how fast you can do it. I give credit for this concept to my guitar teacher from years ago. He would say, “Learn to play it correctly… and then learn to play it at the proper speed.”

 

Here’s the way I learned to do it. I would take my pistols (we all know to make sure they’re empty), and practice while I watched T.V. You can use anything in the room for targets, but initially, pick a left target and a right target. Initially, just shoot the left target with the left gun and the right target with the right gun. Remember, you are training for cocking right now, not training for different target arrangements. It should be noted that if you are not using Rugers, you should put snap caps in your pistols before dry firing them.

 

(1) Pick up both pistols and as you extend them out, cock both of them.

(2) Aim the first one (I always start with my left) and pull the trigger.

(3) Move your eye(s) to the sights on the right gun and while looking at the sights on the right gun, cock the left. Don’t pull the trigger on the right until you have cocked the left.

(4) Now, with sights still on the target, pull the trigger on the right gun.

(5) Move your eye(s) back to the left gun and cock the right one.

(6) Keep repeating this.

 

Eventually, you will find that you are cocking the gun not being shot… automatically without a thought. An analogy I use to demonstrate this, and once again convince the mind that it can be done, is to think back to learning to ride a bicycle. Do you remember having to concentrate on pushing down the right pedal and, just at the right moment, changing to push down on the left pedal? I would bet that you can now ride a bicycle without giving a thought to when you should push which pedal. With practice, you will accomplish the same with cocking and shooting your pistols gunfighter style. You will eventually come to a point that you can cock your pistols FASTER than you can aim and shoot.

 

As you begin to gain a level of comfort with this, begin counting your shots as you pull the trigger. Remember the last sentence in the previous paragraph because as you come to the point that you can cock faster than you can aim and shoot… you stop cocking when you fire the NINTH round. It took me a while to realize that when shooting gunfighter, NINE is the magic number. As a result, on two occasions, I arrived at the unloading table with my left gun cocked. It was empty, but it was cocked. MSV…twice!

 

Once you conquer this part of shooting gunfighter, on most stages, it is no more complicated than shooting any other discipline. Some people say it confuses them. I am of the opinion that what confuses them is cocking the guns. We shoot strings of 10 with a rifle, so why not with pistols?

 

I suppose, depending on how a person approaches shooting a rifle, that it could change their method of counting in some situations. An example is how I count an IRS sweep with pistols. An IRS sweep being one on target one, two on target two, three on target three and four on target four. I suspect that many people would count with their rifle, one… then one, two… then one, two, three… then one, two, three, four.

 

I find it less confusing to use what I call hard numbers. Hard numbers are numbers requiring a particular action. In this case, the last shot on a target. I will type hard numbers in all caps and advise that when you are counting to say these numbers (in your mind) loud. ONE, (next target) two THREE, (next target) four, five, SIX, (next target) seven, eight, nine, ten. At first it might seem a bit confusing, but in time you will probably find that you will begin counting the rifle the same way. It is certainly possible that you might prefer counting as listed in the last sentence of the previous paragraph. It doesn’t matter. Whatever works best for you…is what IS best for you.

 

With Nevada sweeps with three targets, the hard numbers are FIVE and SIX. Here’s how I count two left Nevada sweeps…which initially seems very different shooting gunfighter. Traditional style shooters don’t normally think about the fact that two left Nevada sweeps causes a double tap on P-1 and two right Nevada sweeps causes a double tap on P-3. I advise counting it like this: One, two, three, four, FIVE (P-1), SIX (P-1), seven, eight, nine, ten. The reason I do this is it is very easy to get on a roll and forget to double tap and instead do a continuous Nevada and get a P for ending on target P-2. Practice makes this as easy as riding a bicycle.

 

If you’re doing a left Nevada followed by a right Nevada, the hard numbers are still FIVE and SIX. The only difference is, assuming you started with your left pistol, FIVE is on P-1 and SIX is on P-3. This scenario will make a gunfighter grin because as you shoot P-1 and move your eyes to your right gun and target P-3, you’re holding each gun near 45 degrees (depending on target distance) away from you and you look like Kevin Costner in Silverado shooting the two fellers coming from two directions at the same time. Yee haw!

 

A continuous Nevada sweep is going to make you glad you’re a gunfighter. While two handed shooters have to remember which target to begin with on their second gun, you are just rolling right along. On four targets, you shoot to the end, reverse, shoot to the end, reverse and shoot to the end. Again, yee haw!

 

When practicing or shooting, I always start with my left because it leaves me shooting the last target with my strong hand. I like to leave the easy part for last. Someone once told me if you ate the pie crust first, it left the best part, the pie, for last.

 

In certain target arrangements, it could technically be better to start with the right gun. I realize this, but honestly do not practice doing this enough to insure that I don’t cock the right gun after the ninth round. They are rare. I suppose if I encountered them more, I might actually spend some time practicing doing so. Until I do so, I will continue starting with my left gun as I do not believe you should do something at a match that you have not practiced enough to insure that you don’t penalize yourself with a P.

 

You will find that shooting gunfighter is some slower than shooting two handed, I believe because you are having to transition back and forth on sights, but you will also find that, with practice, you can be purdy dern fast. I believe, perhaps vainly so, that shooting gunfighter commands a respect from shooters that believe it is a dragon that they cannot envision conquering. It can be conquered… and be as natural to you as shooting two handed. It is exciting!

 

What type of pistols do you shoot? You probably already know this, but the hammers are easier reached on certain guns. I started CAS shooting Vaqueros two handed and after switching to gunfighter eventually bought a pair of Ruger Single Sixes in .32. The hammers were very easy to reach and with lightened hammer springs were very easy to cock. The grips were a bit small for my hands although I don’t have large hands. They were certainly livable, but in 2006 a pair of original Bisley Vaqueros came available and I bought them just because they were difficult to find. I decided to shoot them at one match and have never looked back. The only thing I don’t like about them is they are a bit heavy. I’m anxious to see the New Vaqueros with Bisley grips that Ruger has announced. If they’re significantly lighter, they might have to go on my Christmas wish list, but they’re probably not.

 

Now if money is no object (waiting for a customer to tell me that that means it – I’m in the printing business), the absolute best, without any close competition, pistols I have EVER seen were a customized pair of Single Sixes that Coyote Cap built for his wife. He had taken them (stainless guns) and put Colt sized grips on them and done something to the hammers that made them SO light that I believe I could have blown on them to cock them. How they managed to set off a primer is beyond me. Seriously, they cocked like cap guns. Well, I guess that make sense since he is Coyote Cap and his shotguns are routinely called “Cap” guns.

 

I want to say that a pair of them ran somewhere in excess of $2500. Now, it’s nothing for a Colt collector to pay that for a Colt, but these are not Colts…and I AIN’T no collector. You should know that I sometimes intentionally butcher the English language. The truth is they would not speed me up in the least because I can cock WAY faster than I can aim and shoot. You will be able to also.

 

Well, I’ve about worn out my fingers, so I’ll wrap it up by saying, if you think of anything I have failed to address or anything that you might like to question me further on, holler back or if you want to get it over quicker, give me a call. I’m a rattle trap as much on the phone as I am on the computer.

 

My kindest regards to you and yours,

 

Buck D. Law, Gunfighter. Yee haw!

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gunfighters ROCK

 

enjoy it while you can

before your elbows blow out

 

you should have seen me shoot suport handed shootin the other day

I keept, going fer two pistols at the same time

when the buzzzzzard blew his hot breath in my face

 

perhaps twoo many years as a carpenter (yes, even before nail guns)

just plain worm them elbowss down a tadd bitt

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Okay, I understand what a crossover is and how double-cocking (meant to ask what that was, too) eliminates it. Still not sure what lead changing is.

 

Let's say the shooting order calls for the shooter to alternate the first pistol between two targets starting on the left, and repeat with the second pistol. If as a GF you start the first string with the left pistol the sixth shot would be from the right pistol but it would be on the left target causing a cross over. By changing leads and shooting the left pistol twice in a row on the fifth and sixth shots you avoid the cross over. At the end of the second string you will have to fire the last two rounds from the right pistol.

 

Hope this makes sense,

 

Smoke

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To elaborate a bit on what Phiren said:

Changing leads is simply firing the same pistol twice in a row. It is typically done to allow a gunfighter to shoot a target to the left with the left gun and to shoot a target on the right with the right gun. If you do it once, you're forcing yourself to do it twice because there are five rounds in each pistol. Example: L, L, R, L, R, L, R, L, R, R. I had a brain fart this past weekend and changed leads (for no reason at all) and you don't want to know what the little, very loud, voice in my head said. :D

 

Personally as an alternating cocker, I will go to great measures to avoid changing leads (great measures = never) because I am aiming and firing one gun while cocking the other. If I shoot the same pistol twice in a row, I must finish the cocking before I can aim and fire it and that slows me more (typically) than it would to "cross over." The fastest duelists prove that the same gun can be cocked and shot very quickly...but I'm NOT one of the fastest duelists. While I didn't stay at the Holiday Inn Express last night, I do know some of the fastest duelists that manage to make it look easy. :D

 

The term "cross over" is a bit confusing because it implies that to do so actually involves crossing one arm and/or hand over the other when in fact that is rarely done. I highly recommend that someone does not literally cross one hand over the other as, in my opinion, it is an opportunity to bump the guns, not only slowing the process, but also potentially causing a gun to be dropped or worse, shoot one hand with the other (gun). Hold the guns close together instead.

 

Did I really call myself an "alternating cocker?" :D

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The term "cross over" is a bit confusing because it implies that to do so actually involves crossing one arm and/or hand over the other when in fact that is rarely done. I highly recommend that someone does not literally cross one hand over the other as, in my opinion, it is an opportunity to bump the guns, not only slowing the process, but also potentially causing a gun to be dropped or worse, shoot one hand with the other (gun). Hold the guns close together instead.

I usually just cross my forearms. Can't hit crap but lotsa style points.

 

Did I really call myself an "alternating cocker?" :D

I wasn't going to ask...

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I would soooooooooo love to shot GF, but the right shoulder makes it really difficult to hold the right pistol up to shoot more than about 2 stages of a match one handed unsupported. I can kinda do a chicken wing thing with the right elbow agaist my ribs but that is so lame.

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Gunfighter is a blast. Some people will tell you that "double cocking" is best others will say "alternate cocking" is best, most will tell you pick one method and stick with it. And I agree for the most part. That being said I have worked hard to learn both methods because it is much easier to change leads as a double cocker and some stages are much easyier as a double cocker "think a 3 target nevada sweep" while others are much faster as an "alternate cocker" think 2 target alternating

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I just got my new guns on Friday and shot my first Gunfighter match Sunday. Was great fun! :) I can not wait to be comfortable with it and getting my times down but I did better than I thought that I would. I need some snap caps so that I can dry fire and work on cocking but I can already tell will be a blast. Will be shoot Ladies Frontier Cartridge Gunfighter so nothing better that gunfighter and black!!!!!! :)

 

Painted Filly

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No matter what style of pistol shooting you employ, two handed supported, duelist or gunfighter.

The rule to speed has always been BOTH HANDS should always be doing something productive.

 

The double cocking Gunfighter breaks this cardinal rule (and gives up time because of it).

I do not care how fast the double cocker can run their guns, they would be faster alternate cocking.

 

The double cocker, makes the action of cocking it's own stand alone event.

Cock - fire, fire. Cock - fire, fire. That "event" no matter its duration is a break in the firing sequence.

After being fired, the 1st pistol is in hand unproductive and has to wait until the 2nd pistol fires to again go in motion.

 

The alternate cocker never has that break in sequence.

While pistol 1 is being fired, the 2nd pistol is being cocked. While pistol 2 is being fired, pistol 1 is being cocked, constant motion and simultaneous actions.

Both hands are being productive.

 

I understand that there are some fine gunfighters that double cock, but a new gunfighter?

If they can avoid falling into that style, I think they will be happier (and faster... Hmmm, maybe I should be encouraging double cocking?)

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Creeker as much as I have learned from your posts and agree with the both hands always moving theory, there are cretin stages where changing leads is faster and smother than crossing over. if you choose to change leads as a alternate cocker the second hand is still not being used and therefore is no faster than a person who can double cock. I am not saying that double cocking is faster or better, just saying that knowing how to do both can be a huge asset

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Although my style is 'alternating', there is a little advantage for a double cocker on those stages that might have split pistol runs in that the double cocker can draw both pistols, cock ONLY one for the first shot and then proceed to double cock.

 

This helps the double cocker in not accidentally cocking the pistol for the 6th shot.

 

The 'alternating' style shooter has to be VERY CAUTIOUS when shooting a stage with split pistol type scenerios unless he/she decides to shoot DD.

 

 

..........Widder

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I am NOT a gunfighter, but I have always held that a true cowboy shooter should aspire to become a gunfighter. I am still thinking about it but have gotten distracted by shooting WB and maybe a little black powder.

 

I will get around to this eventually I am sure. Depends on when Santa Fe River Stan wants to quit picking on me.

 

Dang It Dan

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I would like to thank Buck for the copy of gunfighter 101. And would like to tell his better half thanks for all the great pictures she takes and shares with us all.Sugar you do a great job.

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