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Captain Bill Burt

Cowboy Shooting Schools

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I'm thinking about attending a shooting school to improve my performance in SASS matches. I would appreciate opinions from cowboys about which schools might be the most useful. Information on locations, costs, results post attendance, and other things you feel are important would be very welcome.

 

Thanks!

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I need this myself............ might even have to go west if nothing is in the east.

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If you have the time and the money, I think you will be well-served by attending a shooting school.

 

I have attended two schools--one by Evil Roy and one by Doc Shapiro. I thought both of them helped me understand the sport better, identify the issues that can add to your time if not addressed and approaches that will allow you to shave seconds, and generally made me more interested and excited about the sport. I would recommend either of these schools--just depends on which may be more convenient to you. There are others as well, I am just not as familiar with them.

 

I have a lot more experience with Evil Roy's schools--I attended one at Hell on Wheels in Cheyenne and two at Winter Range. He also has taught two of his schools at my home club at the Tejas Caballeros near Dripping Springs Texas. I have helped set them up and attended to make sure things went smoothly. Even after hearing similar presentations about 5 times, I still learn something every time. I have seen him in action much more and can tell you that it will be fun, you will learn a ton, and you will finish the school being a better shooter in our sport. But I am sure that Doc Shapiro's school and others probably deliver the same experience.

 

I recommend attending a school, but not right away if you are a relatively new shooter. I think it is useful, and you will appreciate it more, if you have gone to a few shoots, seen how other folks shoot, make some of your own mistakes, and experience a little frustration before you go to one of those schools. Only if you have a little experience, make your own mistakes, and realize your own problems can you appreciate the advice that they are giving you.

 

Good Luck!

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Thanks Dave!

 

I've been to about 27 matches now and with the help of some really good shooters made some progress, but I want to get my times consistently in the teens. I'm wondering if a shooting school can help me get there, or if the answer is more matches or perhaps more one on one instruction, or all of the above.

 

For example I learned at the Ambush at Cavern Cove that I'm pretty weak when it comes to staging and retrieving long guns vertically. That soft spot cost me quite a few seconds. Now I wonder what other unknown unknowns await. It's hard to practice for things you don't know exist.

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Bill, ya can learn a lot at the School Of Hard Knocks. Pick out the BEST shooters around ya, not just mediocre shooters. Make a habit of watching every move they make on the firing line, where they place their guns and you will see, after watching closely, exactly why they placed em where they did. Watch every move they make and you will see why they made it. They are your best teachers, along with the dreaded practice word. With determination can do just as well on his own.

 

That's my story and I'm stickin to it.

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Hi Jack,

 

I'm very fortunate to have quite a few not just good, but great shooters around me. I watch and frequently ask them why they do things the way they do. They have, without exception, been very supportive. I've seen several comments here on the wire about various shooting schools, which is what prompted my question. One of the things I've noticed while seeking help is that different shooters provide distinctly different advice, not in the sense that it's contradictory so much as they have different things they focus on. So I wonder if these schools bring together a variety of different viewpoints on how to improve. I also wonder if the 'bang' for the buck (excuse the pun) is worth it.

 

Thanks for the feedback!

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If you have a chance attend the Dooley Gang class. You can find these guys at a lot of state and regional shoots. T Bone put one on a few years ago at Guns of August and was extremely helpful in pointing out a lot of transitional tips with staging, handling and movement. Well worth the cost and your time.

 

KK

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If you get the chance Half-a-hand Henri and Dastardly Dirty Dan run a very good school. They used to call it their finishing school but those two can help anyone from the novice to the world class shooter.

 

One thing to consider is what class you shoot and make sure the instructor addresses that style. If you shoot duelist or gunfighter and the instructor isnt up to speed on those styles well they maybe great for rifle and shotgun but not so much for what you do.

 

Being a gunfighter I kick myself for not attending Henri and Dan's course last year when they came back east as Henri is now shooting gunfighter.

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I vote for the Dooley School as well.

They had it at the US Open the last few years for FREE

Yep, Free

Gave me some pistol transition tips and shotgun tips that helped me a lot!

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Capt. Bill, I have attended shooting schools whenever I possibly could. Been to ER's twice,LongHunter does a great job and well as the Dooley Gang. If they are not an option hook up with a top shooter or two in your area and have a practice session,thinking Fast Eddie ,Ozark Azz, Risin Outlaw. If that's not possible then shoot on their posse and be sure you are not spotting or loading when they come to the line . Don't watch their targets, watch them stage their guns, move and transition, that will definitely help.

 

 

 

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When I started I attended two - one by Evil Roy and one by Handlebar Doc. Both were very worthwhile.

 

The only way to save costs is to try and attend one at a State or Regional Match near you that you have planned to attend anyway.

 

Watching good shooters will only take you so far. You need someone to watch and coach YOU. Or get a video cam and have someone video you. Then compare to a good shooter - if you know what to look for.

 

Some simple things that few do is to sight in your guns so they shoot straight.

 

Coffin Filler

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+1 for Half-a-Hand Henri's Finishing School. :)

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Capt. Bill, I have attended shooting schools whenever I possibly could. Been to ER's twice,LongHunter does a great job and well as the Dooley Gang. If they are not an option hook up with a top shooter or two in your area and have a practice session,thinking Fast Eddie ,Ozark Azz, Risin Outlaw. If that's not possible then shoot on their posse and be sure you are not spotting or loading when they come to the line . Don't watch their targets, watch them stage their guns, move and transition, that will definitely help.

 

Hey Dirt!

 

Long time no see! I've been pestering and observing all the shooters you mentioned, and a few you didn't mention, for a while now. They've been a great help. As you know I made fairly quick progress initially, but lately my rate of progress has slowed, quite a bit. That may just be the nature of the beast....or maybe I have unrealistic expectations, or maybe both. But I've been weighing my options, spend some $ on an SKB, upgrade my pistols, or pay for a shooting school. We're about to have a new club at South River so I'll be able to go back to shooting four weekends a month, hopefully that will help.

 

I know it's a long haul for you now, but I hope to see you at either the inaugural South River Shootists match, or maybe Guns of Autumn, or the DHI Christmas match?

 

CBB

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A tip about shooting schools.

Don't attempt to use information gained immediately. It doesn't work. You must do some amount of practice under controlled conditions before the new items can be used. I took the Dooley school at the US Open. I went to the first stage of the match and had all of the new techniques in mind.

BUT:

When the buzzer went off, I went on auto pilot and did most of the things as I had done before with just enough of the new stuff to really keep me in a state of confusion.

Practice, practice, practice then go to a match with your new found techniques.

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Capt. Bill, I have attended shooting schools whenever I possibly could. Been to ER's twice,LongHunter does a great job and well as the Dooley Gang. If they are not an option hook up with a top shooter or two in your area and have a practice session,thinking Fast Eddie ,Ozark Azz, Risin Outlaw. If that's not possible then shoot on their posse and be sure you are not spotting or loading when they come to the line . Don't watch their targets, watch them stage their guns, move and transition, that will definitely help.

 

 

 

What Dirt Said! But, if you have an IPhone, or a small video camera, you can learn a lot by filming them and then looking at their runs over and over, and then slowing them down. The memory is a funny thing and you may not catch all the little things they are doing the first time around.

 

Learning anything is a journey of self-discovery. What works for them may not work for you but it will give you a stating point. Look at everything to start with and narrow it down.

 

Good Luck.

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Hey Dirt!

 

As you know I made fairly quick progress initially, but lately my rate of progress has slowed, quite a bit.

CBB

 

The part I quoted above is very common for every shooter. Until you reach near the top, there will always be periods when your progress will be quick for a while and then incremental for a while.

 

Have you determined a specific area or area's that you think need improvement on?

 

In general (and not just restricted to SASS), upgrading equipment, be it different guns or high end gunsmithing work on existing guns isn't going to make an average shooter a great shooter. As an example, I have seen people spend $2,000 on a compensated 1911 with an optic and remain at best an average shooter. The problem was they kept trying to use equipment to correct a training issue and it never worked. They could never quite grasp why some old guy with a double action revolver or somebody using an inexpensive semi-auto continued to beat him. He continiued to be beaten because they had mastered their respective gun.

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I'm lucky!! I have a school every month!

I shoot with T-Bone Dooley and Nuttin Graceful every month B) Between that and knowing what I should do and videoing my stages I can see what I'm doing wrong and try to fix it. Like Noz says, once that damn timer goes off all bets are Off! I can tell and show you what you should do but it's up to you to practice it correctly! We have practice sessions where hardly any actual shooting occurs, just work on transitions, gun placement, where/how to stand, which gun to start with, moving between guns ect.

Practice is GOOD! Proper Practice is Better!!

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Howdy

 

did a day off school with FJT at the german territory round up(phillipsburg germany)

and what a day it was, i learned a lot, and at the end of the day i had jaw cramp from laughing

 

the best thing i have learned is how to practice

i hope to get a change to do it again next year

 

Dutch Bear

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The part I quoted above is very common for every shooter. Until you reach near the top, there will always be periods when your progress will be quick for a while and then incremental for a while.

 

Have you determined a specific area or area's that you think need improvement on?

 

In general (and not just restricted to SASS), upgrading equipment, be it different guns or high end gunsmithing work on existing guns isn't going to make an average shooter a great shooter. As an example, I have seen people spend $2,000 on a compensated 1911 with an optic and remain at best an average shooter. The problem was they kept trying to use equipment to correct a training issue and it never worked. They could never quite grasp why some old guy with a double action revolver or somebody using an inexpensive semi-auto continued to beat him. He continiued to be beaten because they had mastered their respective gun.

Hi Chantry,

 

I think I have a lot of room for improvement in all areas, but relatively speaking I see my shooting as follows. Transitions are pretty good I keep both hands busy and rarely fumble during them or during shotgun reloads (hammerless double Stoeger). I view the rifle as my strongest gun and pistols as my weakest, with shotgun in between. I dry fire a fair bit, but have had little opportunity for live fire practice(maybe three times so far). Target acquisition and shifting between targets definitely needs work. Accuracy with the rifle is fine, I've only missed two or three times since I started SASS, but I miss once or twice with pistols almost every match. I've only shot five clean matches out of about 27. My draw could use work too, both technique and speed. If you look at my profile you can get an idea of my times.

 

Dang it Dan,

 

Thanks for the good advice! I have been videotaped a few times and I do review those, but it had not occurred to me to video better shooters then watch that. I like that idea and will use it ASAP!

 

Thanks to all, please keep the tips and shooting school info coming.

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Check out the Dooley Gang School. Talk to your club and have us out for a fun/ practice day. We take lots of time with each shooter and with all of us riding together the school is usually very affordable or FREE. In attendance this year at the U.S. Open our class had 79 cowboys/girls each getting special attention and one on one training tips. Talk to you club president and give us a call. OR !!!!! If your in Texas on the 3rd weekend,stop by the Bar 3 Ranch monthly shoot and we will help ya all day for Free that right FREE..... Hope to see ya soon,,,, T-Bone

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Hi T-Bone!

 

I like both those ideas. I'll talk to the Club Presidents of the three clubs I belong to and see what they say! I had already planned to get down your way for CAC, but I would like to get there sooner if possible....I've heard good things...

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CBB if ye are shooting stages in the teens then you are already running with the big dogs. I been at it over a decade and a half and have never ever shot in the low twenties. If I break into the high twenties is a rare event. Do you have Evil Roy's CDs? They might help ya some.

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My wife and I have attended several of the SASS U classes. All improved our shooting. The instructors also evaluated our guns and leather and made valuable suggestions that we put in place. One benefit (besides shooting a major match after the class) is that we weren't overwhelmed by the amount of material presented. I find taking a half day class and then practising what was taught for several weeks is all we can digest at one time. Every instructor has different points to make and will observe things the others do not (or chose to overlook for the time). My wife probably slip hammers better than anyone else locally after being taught by Calvin 'n Hobbs. She thoroughly enjoyed Holy Terror's handgun class. Our practise session are based on Long Hunter's plan and Evil Roy's drills. TJ Wild was my toughest critic but his coaching is still saving me seconds. Learn for all our champions if you can.

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Hi Lone Dog,

 

I have only shot two 10x10x4 stages in the teens so far, and they were both just barely in the teens. Both were stand and delivers and if memory serves me both were double tap rifle and double tap pistol five target sweeps. At this point my match averages are between 23 and 26 with a couple of 21s. Gateway Kid lent me the Evil Roy videos and I watched them till my eyes bled, jk,while taking notes. Thanks again GK! At some point I may break down and buy them.

 

Thanks for the kind words.

 

I'm not running with the big dogs yet, but at least I'm off the porch!

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Hi Chantry,

 

I think I have a lot of room for improvement in all areas, but relatively speaking I see my shooting as follows. Transitions are pretty good I keep both hands busy and rarely fumble during them or during shotgun reloads (hammerless double Stoeger). I view the rifle as my strongest gun and pistols as my weakest, with shotgun in between. I dry fire a fair bit, but have had little opportunity for live fire practice(maybe three times so far). Target acquisition and shifting between targets definitely needs work. Accuracy with the rifle is fine, I've only missed two or three times since I started SASS, but I miss once or twice with pistols almost every match. I've only shot five clean matches out of about 27. My draw could use work too, both technique and speed. If you look at my profile you can get an idea of my times.

 

 

Based on your times and the one FB video I saw, you are already at a point when your improvements are going to be incremental and you will see the most improvement from just shooting SASS matches, watching the top shooter's techniques and asking yourself after each stage "What could I have done to be a little faster"

 

Q1 is how stock are your guns, are they unmodified?

Q2 are you reloading your own ammo and what caliber are you shooting?

Q3 where do you see the biggest difference in your time versus the faster shooters, be it gun & transition or stand & deliver vs movement.

 

Dry Fire Tip for the pistols: Make sure the revolvers are empty and then using your match rig, spend some time practicing your draws and transitions using something small as an aiming point, a light switch will work. Draw pistol, fire once and then transition to the other pistol. Spend some time every day or a couple of times a week doing that. Doesn't have to be a long time, 10-15 minutes a day. The quality of the practice is more important then the amount of time.

 

Dry fire for the rifle: Pick out a couple of light switches and practice your swings and acquisitions. As those become quicker, you can practice doing double taps and the various sweeps. This applies to the pistol too.

 

When you do live fire, pick something to work on and also use small targets, paper plates are cheap and work well, so do clay birds if those are permitted where you practice.

 

I noticed a big improvement in my revolver after spent a winter shooting 5 8" steel plates at 30-35 feet in man on man plate competitions. It made me focus on my sight picture and trigger and when the SASS season started back up, the much larger and closer SASS targets were easy to hit. And yes, for the first 6 shots a single action revolver is competitive against all but the top shooters using a DA revolver or semi-auto

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Thanks very much for the tips Chantry! Those videos are a little old, I'm shooting a couple of seconds faster now and feel much smoother and less hurried. At the time those were filmed I had shot about 15 matches, now I'm at about 27.

 

Q1 my rifle is an Uberti 73, .357/38 through Taylors with a straight grip, 18 inch barrel, Cody Conagher action job and C&I 4th gen SS. My pistols are Ruger New Vaqueros, .357/38 SS 5.5 inch barrels with an action job from a local gunsmith Hogleg Smith. My shotgun is a Stoeger Supreme also with action job from CC.

 

Q2 I recently bought a Dillons Square Deal, but haven't loaded with it yet. I'm shooting .38 125g TCFP. with what I would call a medium load. When I start reloading (probably next week) I will be using Clays and sticking pretty close to my current load, I don't see recoil as a factor currently.

 

Q3 I need to pay better attention to my movement, I'm not sure where I stand in relation to better shooters, but I'm guessing it's not my weakest point, maybe second. My ears, and eyes, tell me the top shooters are getting rounds on target significantly faster, particularly in acquisition and shifting from target to target, more so with the pistol than the rifle.

 

Once again thanks all!

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When I first started shooting CAS, I went thru Evil Roy's school. The best $$$ I ever spent in cowboy shooting. I am pretty lucky also as I shoot with ER and Ruff Cobb almost monthly at our local shoots. Both are very free with advice, especially Ruff Cobb as I shoot duelist. Only wish I was 1/2 as good as they are :D

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Bill, just watch me. My wife says I make all the right moves.

Wait...never mind....wrong thread.

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Capt Bill, have you checked out my web site? http://www.jspublications.net Lots of stuff there to help you out. And nothing for sale.

 

+1. Doc Shapiro has a great site.

Evil Roy videos helped me also. I can loan ya the videos Bill if ya like. Koda Joe has them.

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Thanks Doc, after my match tomorrow I'll take some time and browse through your site! If I have questions, and I usually do, I'll pm you, hope you don't mind?

 

Dan, I've watched Evil Roy's videos before, but I would like to look at them again when Joe is through. I hope to see both of you at South River tomorrow...

 

Thanks both of you!

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Thanks Doc, after my match tomorrow I'll take some time and browse through your site! If I have questions, and I usually do, I'll pm you, hope you don't mind?

 

Dan, I've watched Evil Roy's videos before, but I would like to look at them again when Joe is through. I hope to see both of you at South River tomorrow...

 

Thanks both of you!

 

I will not be able to attend. I am working out of town this month and only home on weekends. Have an insurance audit, quarterly returns and material to gather this weekend before I head back out Monday.

 

I hope ya'll have fun!

 

I sent a message to Joe to bring the videos to you tomorrow. Its 50/50 he will be out there tomorrow. Keep them as long as you like.

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Thanks Doc, after my match tomorrow I'll take some time and browse through your site! If I have questions, and I usually do, I'll pm you, hope you don't mind?

 

Dan, I've watched Evil Roy's videos before, but I would like to look at them again when Joe is through. I hope to see both of you at South River tomorrow...

 

Thanks both of you!

 

I don't mind at all.

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