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No Room At The Campfire


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I've been shooting CAS since 2004, and over the years, I've enjoyed participating in the sport, and the people that I've met while participating in the sport.  Over the years, however, the focus and direction of the sport has changed dramatically.  We used to do things during matches that were fun, like using props, performing actions both on and off the clock, to make matches a fun event to attend.

 

Lately, the fun aspect of the matches has gone away, in favor of speed over all else.  Any type of action, whether off the clock, or, heaven forbid, on the clock, is strictly frowned upon, and simply not done.  These days, if you do not spend the money to have all of your firearms rebuilt and tuned by the growing number of CAS gunsmiths, you are frowned upon in the sport.  If you shoot loads that actually match factory spec ammo, both for bullet weight and velocity, then again, there is something wrong with you.

 

I come to matches to have fun, and to challenge myself shooting, to hit all of the targets, and to do so in a way that challenges my shooting skills.  I come to matches in proper cowboy attire, and my gear (belt, holsters, etc) is of the style actually used in the old west (my rig is a high ride, double strong side, Cheyenne Double Loop setup).  My pistols have had no gunsmithing done to them, other than the natural smoothing of the action that comes from firing many a thousand of rounds through them.  My rifle and shotgun, again no gunsmithing, just the natural smoothing of the actions produced by firing thousands of rounds through them over the years.

 

My game is my game, and I come to matches to play my game.  Lately though, I've not felt welcome at matches.  Seems that those of us who do not subscribe to the mantra of "speed over all else", are not as welcome to play the game.  Lately, what used to be described as "The Cowboy Way", has been relegated to a distant memory within the sport.  The old SASS saying of "Come for the shooting...Stay for the people", seems to have gone by the wayside, replaced by "Come to see how fast you can shoot".

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16 minutes ago, Sgt. John Campbell, SASS #58165 said:

Lately, the fun aspect of the matches has gone away, in favor of speed over all else.  Any type of action, whether off the clock, or, heaven forbid, on the clock, is strictly frowned upon, and simply not done.  These days, if you do not spend the money to have all of your firearms rebuilt and tuned by the growing number of CAS gunsmiths, you are frowned upon in the sport.  If you shoot loads that actually match factory spec ammo, both for bullet weight and velocity, then again, there is something wrong with you.

I have to agree. But I'll keep shooting in 2nd gear whilst the rest of 'em compete to see who can unload their guns the fastest.

A top shooter once told me that shooting anything but light .38 bullets at minimum velocity was rude, inconsiderate and completely unnecessary. :mellow:

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I don't  mind standard loads or loads on the light side. Makes no difference to me. I has stunned to hear more than one person remark how much they didn't like people to shoot Black Powder. It smells bad and there's all that smoke. One person evan said it was too loud!

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I occasionally remind myself that this game is more than speed. Too easy to get caught up the "shoot fast" part of this. CAS is a game and is supposed to be fun. I've found I actually shoot better when I focus on the fun part than the competition part. 

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I guess I'm extremely lucky.

I shoot with lots of the top shooters in the country, some you can time with a sun dial, BP shooters, handicapped shooters and just about everything else you can think of. Some desperately want to win and some couldn't care less who does.

Some of the best gunsmith shoot here so we've got plenty of "race guns" around but have also got plenty of stone stock guns in use too.

As far as attire goes we've got the contest winners and the barely get by crowd.

While we don't have any hatchet throwing either before or during the stage anymore, no one seems to mind. We don't require formal speeches to indicate you're ready, but you are free to "ad lib", and many do.

I think the reason we all get along so well and have so much fun is because since day one our club leadership has insisted that ALL our shooters are equally important and that there are no VIPs. All that really matters is that EVERYONE goes home safe with a smile on their face. That attitude soon transfers to all the shooters as well.

We've all become friends, and what's important is not what we're doing but rather who we're doing it with.

Yep, I'm a lucky guy because I shoot with the greatest friends a cowboy can have!

p.s. thanks JJ!

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I shoot reduced BP loads only because I have caritunal and arthritis in both wrists and the reduced load allows me to keep shooting. I don't care how others play the game, I play the way I want to

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I'm at the same camp with you guys.   Even if I had all the fastest guns with the best developed handloads, it probably wouldn't make any difference in my best stage times.  I'm always shooting guns that qualify but are a handicap if I wanted to lower my stage times. 

 

The first match of this year I shot an original Winchester 92 made in 1905 in 32WCF that I'd recently traided into and did some repair work on and an Parker DH grade double made in 1894 that I reassembled and fitted barrels onto it.  Both ran fine.  Not a missfire or cycle problem.  The Parker killed my stage time because I was using brass hulls and I was handling it gently.  But it was like a graduation ceremony for all the work I'd put into these old guns. 

 

We have enough black powder shooters at the matches we shoot at that I don't hear to many complaints.  I do see in my videos folks moving back and fanning away the smoke and making "disgusting faces".  We had a couple that came in from the far north west to shoot.  We were visiting before the match and I told that I shot frontier cartridges gunfighter.   The lady said with a sneer, "Oh, You're one of those.".   Yes,  I'm one of those. 

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I got into this game late, November 2014, just a couple weeks before my 53rd birthday. I knew and know that I will never be one of the top tier shooters, for multiple reasons. One of the big ones is that I am still working and do not get to shoot as often as I would like. Maybe only 2-3 local matches a year and a couple big state matches each year.

 

I like this game for the fun and challenge I place on myself and most of the people I get to meet and see again.

 

In April I had the pleasure of shooting a major match for the second time. It was great seeing folks from the previous year, some from other matches and a few from my previous 'local' club.

 

We had a father & son on our posse that are both VERY good shooters.. Sadly, both of them displayed very poor attitudes when they would have a stage that did not go perfectly. Cussing, sullen and just generally unpleasant.

 

I understand that many are just in it for the fame, recognition, buckle and bragging rights on how fast they can dump the ammo on target. They often stick to their 'click' of 'friends', but I think they are missing a lot in the way of true friendship, mentoring, comaraderie and fun.

 

I make silly mistakes, have brain-farts, equipment malfunctions. I learned a valuable lesson in April of which gun smith to NEVER allow to touch my guns. I came in next to last in my class only because one shooter didn't show up. Having my rifle fail to fire, as the second firearm, and thus earning 50 seconds in misses, and another stage with 4 pistol misses, was devastating and impossible to come back from.

 

But I still had fun, laughed at myself and refused to let it get me down. I love this game and the vast majority of people I meet and see over and over.

 

I love Six Gun Justice in Rexburg, ID. They always have additional action on stages. Whether sitting on the cot in the jail cell and having to open the door then get to your guns, or tossing 'dynamite'. At HOW in Cheyenne, we sometimes have to start sitting in an outhouse. Things like that make stages more interesting and fun.

 

Sure, it's impressive to see someone shoot a 14.xx second stage. But if they have the personality of a rattlesnake or a spoiled 2-year old, does that add to our game?

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Howdy Sgt., I read this type of comment on another thread recently and I'm sorry but I just don't see it that way. There are whole lot more "welcome aboard bring what you can and we will gladly provide the rest" types of comments and from the folks I've had the pleasure to shoot with. So far I've only made it to seven states, all the top guns and others I've meet have been ready to help with your game any way they can. Most folks are more than willing to do some type of action as long as it does not give someone an advantage. As for the action work that's up to each of us how much we want to do. In our excitement to help we may at some time give new shooters overload of info, I have to remind myself one tip at a time;)......and most of the time it's a new shooter asking the question about certain gunsmithing options. I shoot BP slowly and have just as much fun as the folks that can shoot in teens and twenties. I still think there is room for all. Good Luck:)

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you need to come to Ohio then, we have top shooters, and slo mo shooters and we ALL have a great time!!  one thing bad about being fast,,,, round trip of over 200 miles at times to shoot for 2 minutes total,,,  but the camaraderie is still the same,,, if not better, it gives me more time to goof off...

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Howdy SGT. Campbell.

 

I been in SASS since 2004.

The first few years, it seemed like every SASS/CAS I visited was like a 'Welcome Home' party, because everyone is trying to get to know the 'newbie' better and they want the 'newbie' to feel welcome.   All this great excitement and new friendships seem to grow for years because seeing some folks only once or twice a month and getting to talk for only about 5 minutes to each person during that month was always interesting and refreshing.

 

BUT, after about 6-8 years, everything starts to settle down and we all seem to concregate around just some of our closer friends.   YEP, the campfire might appear to grow smaller, but in reality, I think MORE campfires start to appear.    Its seems to be a natural thing that WE are all drawn into groups of similar interest beyond Cowboy shooting.

 

And when these things happen, it appears that some of the 'camaraderie'  has diminished, when in effect, it has more likely grown within smaller circles (or groups)...i.e............ motorcyclist, LEO pals, favorite drinking pals, and yes..... even religious beliefs.

For some of us, Cowboy shooting actually encompasses a large part of our daily life in our conversations and money purchases, etc...   But for many others, not so much.

 

As for what folks shoot and how fast or slow they do it is not something I concern myself with.   I don't get up on Saturday morning and travel 1 and 2 hours to concern myself with such trivial matters in life.

 

..........Widder

 

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I operate in the comfortable zone of not being particularly competitive but getting lucky every once in awhile. I know the secret to improving my luck, practice, but that just seems like work to me. I could lighten my loads and buy gamier guns and maybe win a plaque or two but that’s not why I’m in this game; I like to dress and talk like a cowboy and play with guns, simple as that. I choose not to get caught up in the arms race and yet I respect the heck out of those that do and put the work into it to consistently win. I play my game. The only person I want to beat is myself. Maybe it’s regional context but I’ve never been made to feel unwelcome for my choices. I’m sad to hear of your disappointment. I’ve  been playing this game since 2004.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sure am glad that our local matches at Panhandle Cowboys { Pace, Fl  } , & Panhandle Cattle Co. { Chipley, Fl. }  don't and never have had this kind of problem. Do we have some fast shooters? Dern tootin' we do! And they call us names, and we call them names, and we all laugh and carry on. I have been active in SASS for 23 years and counting, and I'm having more fun than ever-because of our great cowpokes!

 

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and sometimes you have to look in the mirror to see the whole picture,,,,   I even do sometimes,,,,,  thas why I dress the way I duze

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I hear what many of you are saying

 

I'm still having fun acting like a 12 year old playing cowboys and Indians.  If others are faster and more dedicated (whatever that means) good for them.  

 

I just like to shoot at things and have fun

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Like any social event, there are people that want to push people into the corner and accept them and their changes just because...

This can be a very emotional game. But part of playing games is to play fair, have fun, and build on sportsmanship. That's the game. Not who you play with or how they play.

 

I just started last fall and shoot 3 ranges. I love these guys!

I am more impressed with those that can shoot rather than how they shoot.

I had vascular surgery this weekend and it pissed me off that I missed a match because of it. I will have to shoot Josey Wales for a while, but I will shoot. I'm sure my ultra-lite SG rounds will not offend anyone and call me on Spirit of the Game.

 

I have spent the last six months working on getting reliable guns, and ammo. A little file work here and there. What I mostly focus on is what to do  when you find yourself in a train wreck, and how to come out alive. All of the fun and games are to get you into a state of un-ready. It's easy to hit a SASS target when your ready. But can you recover from any state and shoot clean?

 

I shoot Gunfighter, because I couldn't shoot left handed as well as right, not because it's faster or easier. If I want to just burn up ammo in short order, I can do that in my back yard with my own timer.

 

I think they should give end of match bonus points for shooting clean. But that would really piss off Quick Draw McGraw now wouldn't it? But it would sure change the perception of the game now wouldn't it? I might be fast, but accurate may whoop my tail!

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Up here Cowboy things are still done even at the Biggest matches ,,, Sometimes even on the clock ( gasp ).

I have had a few comments made about my Loads being excessive, I then state the My loads are with-in the rules of this game ...  My smokeless and Holy Black are build to the same velocity levels as ammo used from 1873 - 1919 that I have tested on my Professional Grade Chronograph system ...

My .45 colts ( yes that is how many were headstamped in the day ) and my .38-40 ( .38 WCF ) would exceed 1,000 fps. when fired in a 7 1/2 inch barreled First Gen,. SAA

So they are shot in shorter barreled guns, averaging 940 Fps. with bullets weighing about 255 gr. in .45 Colt and 180 gr. in .38 WCF... These loads average 1,280 Fps. in a 24 inch rifle and are with-in the rules of the game ...

 

The main point of this is that these LOADS are just like they shot in the Day, a working Cowhand could not afford "Subpar" ammo it was meant to kill what needed Killing and do the job ...  Yes I have had Rude Remarks about my ammo being to loud, more than Needed, too smokey and that it is slowing me Down...DUH like I'm to slow to figure that out ...

I have Shot as far from my Home Range as the 25th. WR. (Texas Slims posse), Montana, and across Western Canada and I refuse to allow a few rude comments from folks (many now friends) to getting in the way of my fun ...

 

For me it's all about the "Cowboy Way" 1851 - 1900 and using guns and loads just LIKE REAL COWBOYS ...

I have been shooting a pair of 1871 Open-Tops in .44 Russian/.44 Colt/ .44 Spl. with full case loads of Goex 3f having a blast in FCD the last two years and loving it ...

 

Jabez Cowboy

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Yes, the game has changed a bit in the last 25 years, or so.  New people coming in want things done their way.  But, I do things my way.  If some don't like it, they don't have to hang around with me.  I can always find a reprobate or two, mostly vets, who think the same as me. 

 

Tex

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The nice thing about SASS is that you can play the game in any way that gives you satisfaction.  Super fast shooters are not fast because they have done extensive work on their guns, they are fast because they have natural ability and they practice.

I have a friend that shoots in the 13 to 20 second range all day long.  If you took his race guns away from him and gave him box stock guns he would still beat the majority of shooters.  Practice.

We have shooters, like the above mentioned that shoot in the mid-teens and we have shooters that shoot in the mid-seventies.  As long as they are safe and having fun they are all welcome.

Some of us are truly old farts that might have been competitive 30 years ago but shoot now for the fun of it.  Yes I'm still competitive enough that I would love to beat J-Bar in a match, but it doesn't seem to be in the stars so I shoot as well as I can and enjoy myself.

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Come out to Arizona, I shoot with the best clubs around. Recently I brought my son out to shoot his 1st match, due to scheduling we went to a club I have not shot at in years,  everyone made him feel awesome, high fives after stages good job at the unloading table etc. Yes we have burn em down shooters, but overall some of the best people around.

Rafe

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I make it a point to welcome the new folks and talk with the spectators. I'm shooting with my best friends and am sure to make more. Come on out. I shoot with world champs but have never felt unwelcome anywhere I go. Maybe cause I bring my daughter but...... 

 

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I agree with Cheyenne Culpepper and Michigan Slim, come visit Ohio and Indiana & Michigan clubs. All the clubs I shoot at are a come one, come all shoot. We have all types of shooters who play the game, the way it fun for them. Then we all sit around our camp fire (all are welcome there) or visit all the campfires and reminisce about the shoots present and past. It is great fun that I wouldn't want to miss.  So much so I bought a camper just for this game.

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9 minutes ago, Michigan Slim said:

I make it a point to welcome the new folks and talk with the spectators. I'm shooting with my best friends and am sure to make more. Come on out. I shoot with world champs but have never felt unwelcome anywhere I go. Maybe cause I bring my daughter but...... 

 

 

I have to say that Kaya's ride does make every feel welcome. Glad to know him and have him at our fire. (Maybe I should say glad to be at his fire.)

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13 hours ago, Sgt. John Campbell, SASS #58165 said:

I've been shooting CAS since 2004, and over the years, I've enjoyed participating in the sport, and the people that I've met while participating in the sport.  Over the years, however, the focus and direction of the sport has changed dramatically.  We used to do things during matches that were fun, like using props, performing actions both on and off the clock, to make matches a fun event to attend.

 

Lately, the fun aspect of the matches has gone away, in favor of speed over all else.  Any type of action, whether off the clock, or, heaven forbid, on the clock, is strictly frowned upon, and simply not done.  These days, if you do not spend the money to have all of your firearms rebuilt and tuned by the growing number of CAS gunsmiths, you are frowned upon in the sport.  If you shoot loads that actually match factory spec ammo, both for bullet weight and velocity, then again, there is something wrong with you.

 

I come to matches to have fun, and to challenge myself shooting, to hit all of the targets, and to do so in a way that challenges my shooting skills.  I come to matches in proper cowboy attire, and my gear (belt, holsters, etc) is of the style actually used in the old west (my rig is a high ride, double strong side, Cheyenne Double Loop setup).  My pistols have had no gunsmithing done to them, other than the natural smoothing of the action that comes from firing many a thousand of rounds through them.  My rifle and shotgun, again no gunsmithing, just the natural smoothing of the actions produced by firing thousands of rounds through them over the years.

 

My game is my game, and I come to matches to play my game.  Lately though, I've not felt welcome at matches.  Seems that those of us who do not subscribe to the mantra of "speed over all else", are not as welcome to play the game.  Lately, what used to be described as "The Cowboy Way", has been relegated to a distant memory within the sport.  The old SASS saying of "Come for the shooting...Stay for the people", seems to have gone by the wayside, replaced by "Come to see how fast you can shoot".

That's not true everywhere Sgt.  At the FL State match (Lonesome Dove them) we shot through a waterfall, helped bury Gus, slammed the bartender's face on the bar, and ran our butts off.  There was no shortage of action.  I've never shot in CO though I did live there for a few years.  If you're ever in GA come shoot with us, you might be pleasantly surprised.

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SASS has changed a lot in the 22 years I've been riding the trail.  Some of it has been good and some of it, IMO, has not been to my taste.  That's OK because I come to play in someone else's sandbox and play by their rules.  There are those folks with attitudes who stand out but there are far more that are welcoming and friendly.  

 

I am a black powder warthog and darned proud of it.  Yes there are those who try to wave the smoke away and gurn but there are others who enjoy watching someone shoot "Frontier Loads" like it really was.  I shoot Navy '51's and a hammered 1878 double in FCG because I have fun with making an even greater challenge out of the class.  Folks really like seeing the old school guns being used even if they aren't up to the challenge and work required.  When someone says, "Oh you're one of those," I happily say, "Yup."

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The best part of the game is that you can change it.  I used to shoot a '97.  Moved on to a SxS.  I started as a Duelist.  Now I shoot Gun Fighter.  I tried to be fast but as I get older that has become impossible.  Now I just try for clean.

 

Sounds like you need to change the way you play the game.  Change something.  Caliber.  Go to Black Powder.  Something that will challenge you.

 

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After reading this post I feel so lucky to have not one but two amazing local clubs. From day one both my wife and I have felt nothing but welcome and encouraged in our adventure into cowboy action shooting.  There always seems to be something for everyone at all monthly matches, stages that cater to the speedsters, stages that benefit the gunfighters, stages for riflemen, or shot gunners, etc.  We have shooters ranging from shooting the the low teens to the multiple minutes and everywhere in between, but every match provides challenges to shooters of all levels and abilities and creates an just all around fun environment. I think this can be attributed to having really thoughtful and creative stage writers , and more importantly, an amazing group of people who wholeheartedly embody the cowboy way and the mantra "Come for the shooting...Stay for the people".  I think as in all aspects of like you will find people who are just not your cup of tea, and that's alright, perhaps find a seat on the other side of the campfire from those folks. I just hope they day never comes when there is no longer room at the campfire for me, or worse, the campfire goes out completely. 

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Ladies and Gentlemen of CAS,

 

I shoot because it is fun.  I go to have fun, I enjoy the people, the costuming, the guns and large calibers that go boom.  Whether I am shooting classic or frontier black powder, its about the fun.  Should I accidentally  do well and place and actually win, it is a bonus.  The first time I won was in a long range event on a Saturday with a rifle that arrived from Shiloh Sharps on the day before.  I rather be lucky that good.  My guns are tuned but are not race guns, they are functioning and do not need special primers, they are woods guns first, CAS second.  I have made some amazing friends through the years and will continue with the sport as long as  the Good Lord allows.  I will also be an ambassador of the sport attempting to financially stress as many as possible by bringing them into the sport of CAS.   We teach and foster competition in every aspect of our society, whether at work or play, America is about winning.  I have shot practical pistol and three gun, grew tired of the knot in my gut before an event, all cause by the stress and need to win.  I have had to do that too many years in my careers, I chose to just enjoy.  All of you are welcome at my campfire, we all share a like passion and I enjoy the varied conversations.

 

Just enjoy the ride, Ladies and Gentleman, you'll get a more harmonious outcome.

 

Respectfully, David Ramos,  "Yoos ta be Kid"

 

 

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I've been shooting CAS/ SASS since 2002 and still find plenty of enjoyment at each match. There are four clubs within easy driving distances allowing me to shoot a match every Saturday. There are subtle differences at each range that keep matches interesting. I go to each match with high  degree of expectation and am rarely disappointed. The game has changed but so have I in 16 years. I've been told that ya find what your looking for. If you're looking for cockroaches, you'll find cockroaches. If you're looking for butterflies, you'll find butterflies. Hope I can keep on shooting for another 10 years.

 

Hasta Luego, Keystone

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I don't know where you are shooting...but what you are describing is a completely different reality to what I see. Not only here in Texas, but in other States that I've shot recently.

 

I don't know one Speed Demon that doesn't enjoy folks shooting WHATEVER, and are having FUN! Believe it or not, the fast folks don't believe that everyone MUST shoot fast...but they do believe that everyone SHOULD have fun...fun as defined by each shooter.

 

Phantom

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12 hours ago, Dantankerous said:

I occasionally remind myself that this game is more than speed. Too easy to get caught up the "shoot fast" part of this. CAS is a game and is supposed to be fun. I've found I actually shoot better when I focus on the fun part than the competition part. 

:lol: I guarantee you the fast pards are having tons of fun too! None of us are going to retire on our winnings. ;)

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Just now, J Bar Binks, #47015 said:

:lol: I guarantee you the fast pards are having tons of fun too! None of us are going to retire on our winnings. ;)

 

WHAT!!!?  Now I'm really DEPRESSED! 

 

I was SOO hoping on a great retirement with all my winnings.  :D:D:D

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There are several in my neck o' the woods that tell me I should just play with one set of pistols for consistency.  And, with the amount of time I've been shooting, I should be faster.  But, for me, enjoyment is switching between different sets of guns, different barrel lengths, different calibers and different shooting styles as the mood strikes that day.  I also enjoy being loud and smokey, and those danged cap n' ball pistols.  So no, I don't get faster, in fact because of my druthers, I sometimes get slower!  (like when I drug a '97 outa the safe... bwaahaa haa!  Me?  a '97?  Yeah right!  Wait'll I drag out my '87... without ever practicing with it!) 

But the great thing is, we can all have fun anyway we choose.  I enjoy watching the shoot-offs too, even though I know I'll never be in one.

As for those folks that get on me for being slow and really not "stepping up my game", well it makes me feel bad for about 10 seconds.  I enjoy and work on the shooting tips they give me, with thanks!  But, my game is what I make it...."Illegitimi non carborundum!"

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I enjoy and admit to envy watching the top guns.  Lots of practice which I don't put in.

Still gotten advice to help transitions.

I enjoy and hoot and hollar when some guy shows up with a spencer. 

Me I get up to set steel shoot to have fun.

If I win great if I don't enjoy being able to have some fun and almost all of the people are the same

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I am brand new to this game and have yet to shoot my first match . I plan on doing my best but am more interested in making new friends and meeting new people . I am at a stage in life were I will love to compete but will probably spend more time yucking it up and telling storys . It is the social aspect that has drawn me to SASS as much as my love of shooting . I certainly hope there will be some room at the fire when I get there  .

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