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Captain Curly Strait

Spirit of the game?

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I'm relatively new to SASS and Cowboy Action Shooting; a reload so to speak, from a brief encounter with CAS back in the late 90's.  So, I've been a reading posts on this wire for several months.  I am amazed at the breadth and depth of knowledge shared here by some real shooters and cowboys!  And for the courteous, informational responses to us "newbies".  What a testament to the Cowboy Way.  Thank you!

 

In this vein, I have a question for y'all.  After reading several threads/posts on "Shooting Clean" "Penalties", or "Speed vs. Accuracy", I am curious regarding some of the responses I have read.  Sorry, I do not recall the original thread or original "poster", but it seemed the consensus on one or more of these threads was, to paraphrase, "shooting clean was overrated, used to salve the ego's of those who shoot too slow." 

 

It seems I also read a thread about imposing new penalties for misses, in order to "level the playing field for the slower shooters" who were more accurate, i.e., "a fast shooter with a pistol could still clean the stage faster by hitting the target on the 2nd or 3rd time, shooting faster than the imposed penalty".  In other words, I read this as 'the fast shooter missed the target with the pistol one or two times, but still hit it faster than the imposed 5-second penalty', therefore still beat the slow, accurate shooter on the overall clock.  Again, I am new here, so I am just trying to understand.

 

1. Aren't we given a limited number of rounds to engage every stage at the start, (discounting reloads on the clock, of course)?  10 pistol, 10 rifle, and 4-10 shotgun on each stage, as an example?  If so, should a lightning-fast shooter miss a pistol or rifle target one, two, or three times, isn't he or she out of ammo to finish the stage, (without a reload), no matter how fast the first, missed target was eventually eliminated?  Seems like reloading an SA revolver, on the clock, to engage an additional one, two, or three targets would negate the advantage of shooting fast, missing once, then taking the penalty.  In another life and in another game, I have seen the advantage of "missing fast and taking the penalty".  We called it gaming.

 

2. And lastly, as a newcomer it seems to me the first reality of this type of event is to be safe and have "FUN".  Secondly, meet and make friends with others who enjoy the cowboy life, cowboy guns, and cowboy-type shooting, the Cowboy Way.  Thirdly, to shoot to the best of your ability.  Fourth, not get DQ'd. 

 

But, if I had to boil it all down to one thing from my perspective of shooting, in the old west or anywhere else, for real, a "miss" means you might not get to shoot again.  Seems to me a target left standing, not neutralized, might be the last target I get to see.  Guess I stand on the side of the fence that "fast is fine, but accurate is final".  And this is the center of my question, "Where in the Spirit of the Game have we apparently lost the finality of neutralizing all targets as though it were life and death in the old west, no matter how many rounds, no matter how much time?"  Or is this "speed-with-penalties-is-more-important-than-accuracy"  just a practical application of moving each stage along, so we all have fun, at the same match, in the same calendar year? :-)

 

Again,  I am new to this and just looking to get the lay of the land before I embarrass myself further by shooting.

 

My Thanks in advance to all who have time to show me the way.  Please pardon my ignorance.

 

Curly 

 

2019 Most-Scattergun-Misses Champion, LeRoy’s Towing and Gun Emporium Semi-Pro/Am, Kiel, WI
2019 Fastest-Miss Champion, Sheboygan County SASS Shooters Sectional, Glenbeulah, WI
2019 Derringer Mis-Fire/No-Hits Champion, Really-Notta-Gun Side Match, Kalamazoo, MI
2018 High-Miss Champion, Rockford Railroad Regulators Regional, Paw Paw, IL
2018 Bottom-Gun Champion, Pigeon Falls Fire In The Water Winter Classic, Pigeon Falls, WI
2018 Highest-Miss Percentage Per Stage, Johnsonville Sausage Invitational, Sheboygan Falls, WI
2017 Best Dressed City Slicker, All Hat and No Cattle Award Winner, Dodge CO. Fair, Slinger, WI
Edited by Captain Curly Strait
Forgot my Shooting Award History
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Captain Curly Strait…

 
I’m a bit perplexed by your question.  Your title “Spirit of the game” suggests a question about one of our rules, but it appears you are considering a more global application of the term. 
 
If your question is about the merits of shooting clean vs shooting fast-and-clean vs just shooting fast and darn the clean, then I think you’re approaching a very slippery slope, as each of these three virtues can be supported by rather lengthy and interesting responses and arguments.
 
Seems that the essence of your question is that we should all shoot fast and accurately (i.e, CLEAN) as if our lives depend on it. Is that a correct evaluation of your question?
 
RR
Edited by Roger Rapid
re-word

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Howdy Curly. Your point number 2 pretty much answers your questions. On point one unless it's written into the stage instructions there are no reloads for pistol or rifle to make up misses, you are usually able to reengage shotgun targets  to eliminate a miss. Scores are time plus misses and penalties, so if you're faster than me including your penalties if any you beat me. Since this is a fantasy sport and we don't get to really shoot the bad guys it's a time thing. From your SASS number I'd guess you've been a member for awhile, if you haven't shot any matches yet just go and shoot your own match and have fun. No one is going to think any less of you  for shooting your best. Have fun and worry less.

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You can't miss fast enough to win.  

 

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...1. Aren't we given a limited number of rounds to engage every stage at the start, (discounting reloads on the clock, of course)?  10 pistol, 10 rifle, and 4-10 shotgun on each stage, as an example?  If so, should a lightning-fast shooter miss a pistol or rifle target one, two, or three times, isn't he or she out of ammo to finish the stage, (without a reload), no matter how fast the first, missed target was eventually eliminated?  Seems like reloading an SA revolver, on the clock, to engage an additional one, two, or three targets would negate the advantage of shooting fast, missing once, then taking the penalty.  ...

 

If I'm understanding your question (heighten above in red) correctly.  No, the Shooter is not out of ammo and is unable to finish the stage.  A missed rifle or pistol target is NOT reengaged until hit.  

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First off, that's some mighty good shooting credentials you have there. I'm glad you edited the post to contain them. I bout spit my coffee on the dog. Good thing she's quick and got out of the way. As far as the 2 points go:

1) We start with a number of rounds according to the stage instructions. Each round is usually intended for a specific target unless it's a round count scenario. When someone misses, they go on to the next designated target. At the end, misses are scored.

2) That may be YOUR order of having "fun" but not necessarily everybodies. Some want to dress the part right down to the socks. Some just want clean no matter the time it takes. Some want to go fast as possible. Some could care less about the misses or the time or the dressing the part. They just like the camaraderie. Whatever gets them out of bed and to the range is fine with me and I applaud them for it.

 

The saying that you cant miss fast enough to win is too broad a generality and that makes it essentially false. Take a shooter usually in the 30 second range and pit them against a 15 second shooter. Give the 15 second shooter a miss on every stage and they have still won by 10 seconds per stage. See what I'm getting at? 

This is just my opinion but, someone will never gain much speed worrying about having a miss. There's going to be some in there when you start to go faster. They will start to die off in time.

Thanks for the questions.

 

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And lastly, as a newcomer it seems to me the first reality of this type of event is to be safe and have "FUN".  Secondly, meet and make friends with others who enjoy the cowboy life, cowboy guns, and cowboy-type shooting, the Cowboy Way.  Thirdly, to shoot to the best of your ability.  Fourth, not get DQ'd.

Again,  I am new to this and just looking to get the lay of the land before I embarrass myself further by shooting.

 

Captain, the nice thing about CAS is that it can be what you want it to be. You see people who looked like they just stepped off the set of Tombstone , those who look like they came directly from the 1890's, and those who simply put on a pair of jeans and a denim shirt. Those who shoot black powder and look like a boxer dodging and weaving to look through the smoke to see the target. Two handed, duelist, gunfighters, and "outlaws."  (have "FUN") check!

 

I'm a middle of the pack shooter and usually have 1 or 2 misses a match. There are five or six of us who "compete" with each other. If one of them beats me by 5 seconds, I'll walk up to him put my hand on his shoulder and say, " You kicked my ass today," and we'll both laugh. At the last match, I slowed down about a second per stage. I shot clean and won my category. One of the guys actually shot 10 seconds faster, but had two misses and a "P," adding 20 seconds to his total time.  ( meet and make friends ) check!

 

As far as embarrassing yourself, about the only way to do that is by your actions, not your shooting. The fact that you are asking these questions and have these concerns shows that you are not that type of person.

 

You'll find that you'll fit right in and get more comfortable after a few shoots

 

Best to you, Marshal Chance Morgun. 

 

 

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Just speaking from my limited, 5 yr, experience, and watching many others around me,  the same dry fire or live shooting practice that produces faster shooting also seems to produce faster transitions and cleaner matches.  There are obviously exceptions--everyone has an occasional train wreck, and slower shooters occasionally surprise themselves with great times on individual stages.  But my general observation is that the names of the fastest and most experienced shooters are almost always among the names on the clean shooter list.   It's clearly about practice/experience, maybe with a little youth/agility thrown in. 

It's always a pleasure to watch the smoothness and clean transitions of seasoned shooters.   But it's also amazing sometimes to watch an enthusiastic new shooter practice hard and climb up the ranks quickly. 

So my advise to a new shooter would be to carefully watch the detail of how experienced past championship shooters do it, and practice, practice, practice what they do, until the moves become your own muscle memory.  

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You can't miss fast enough to win.  

 

Au contraire.  Since we don't compete in a vacuum... the other competitors play a part in just how well all other competitors fare.   You can't miss fast enough to BE ASSURED of a win... but if your competitors miss slower than you, you've "missed fast enough to win!"

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I've shot a few clean matches and still placed lower than folks with 3,4, and even 5 misses.

Not complaining - I dont "practice" and dont "try" to shoot fast.  I just enjoy shooting cowboy guns - but there is something to be said for the possibility that you CAN miss fast enough to win in this sport.

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Ranking high in the overall results and shooting clean are complementary goals, not different  goals.

 

Look at the results for most matches -- club monthlies as well as the big championships.  Most of the top shooters will shoot a clean match.   At that level of competition they simply can't afford to spot their fellow competitors 5 seconds for a miss when their placement may be determined by less than a second's difference between shooters.   

 

If you are not shooting clean matches, look at your scores for the last few matches you shot.  Figure out how much higher in the rankings you would have been if you had shot clean.  Figure you take one more second to aim so you don't miss, and that one second investment saves the other 4 seconds off your time.  So subtract 4 seconds for each miss from your total match time.  How far would you move up in the rankings just by eliminating misses, by actually shooting each stage one second SLOWER?  

 

Shooters who are missing a lot can help their rankings quickly and easily by eliminating misses.  Getting faster after you eliminate most of your misses will probably take a lot of practice time.

 

If a person is shooting really slow and still missing, then you may have a gun or ammo problem.  It amazes me how many shooters have never shot at paper to see where their guns and ammo actually hit the target.  Do whatever you must to get point of impact on the point of aim.  Kentucky windage will kill your scores.

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I would suggest that you shoot fast enough to have one or two misses per match.  More misses than that, you're over running your headlights.  Clean every match means your not trying to go faster.   If you have the miss or two in a local match, you can generally slow down a bit and shoot clean any time you want to.

 

You shoot the game however you enjoy it.   If clean is your thing, that's great.   If one match a month is your thing, that's great.  However you like it, come out, enjoy the shooting and the people.

 

If you want to move up in the standings. there's only one way to get faster and have less misses, and that's practice, practice and practice. It takes work.

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My most sincere Thanks to Y'all!  I have a much better understanding now, and I'll quit overthinking it and just go shoot!

 

I shot a couple of local matches back in 1998 or '99, but had to give it up for work and personal reasons.  Then in 2006 or 2007, I signed up for SASS at either the NRA or SHOT shows, intending on getting back into it because it was FUN!  However, work again got in the way; durned work...always messing up my play time. 

 

Recently a great friend of mine found himself without a SASS shooting partner.  So, I am back!  But after reading a bunch on the Wire, I really couldn't discern the approach to being more competitive, or where the emphasis on my limited talents should be placed.  Some promoted speed more than accuracy, some the other way.  What I am hearing from y'all, is speed and accuracy are both important if you want to rise to the top, but there are a myriad of reasons people participate and enjoy this endeavor.  That said, I'm taking your advice and I'll find my comfort level after the first few locals, then decide how much time I need to spend to get faster, and if its really worth it to me, or do I really just enjoy the company.  I am confident I can already finish in the bottom of the field and still have fun.

 

As to the original title, I was curious over the relationship of the "Spirit of the Game" as it would apply to the reality of being a cowboy in the 1880's, where misses might be the end of the competition for the cowboy, wondering why we would not apply the same adherence in the spirit of the game.  But, I now better understand the reality of balancing speed and accuracy in such events.  Thanks Roger Rapid for bringing that up, because that is essentially what I was wondering about, but with accurate being a priority to fast.  As noted, it appears those who truly excel at this game are BOTH!

 

And to the rest of you fine cowboys, again my thanks for taking the time to reach out!  Since I haven't shot a stage since '99, I had to get a bit creative with my awards and championship titles, but thought adding those would lend some levity to my obvious lack of knowledge; reflecting my sincerity instead of sounding like a, well...you know, the south end of a northbound donkey. 

 

And to Tennessee Williams, "Glad you got a fast hound"!  LIttle worse in life than a scalded dog.  Hope to see some or all of you down the trail!

 

Most Sincerely,

 

Curly

 

 

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My most sincere Thanks to Y'all!  I have a much better understanding now, and I'll quit overthinking it and just go shoot!

 

I shot a couple of local matches back in 1998 or '99, but had to give it up for work and personal reasons.  Then in 2006 or 2007, I signed up for SASS at either the NRA or SHOT shows, intending on getting back into it because it was FUN!  However, work again got in the way; durned work...always messing up my play time. 

 

Recently a great friend of mine found himself without a SASS shooting partner.  So, I am back!  But after reading a bunch on the Wire, I really couldn't discern the approach to being more competitive, or where the emphasis on my limited talents should be placed.  Some promoted speed more than accuracy, some the other way.  What I am hearing from y'all, is speed and accuracy are both important if you want to rise to the top, but there are a myriad of reasons people participate and enjoy this endeavor.  That said, I'm taking your advice and I'll find my comfort level after the first few locals, then decide how much time I need to spend to get faster, and if its really worth it to me, or do I really just enjoy the company.  I am confident I can already finish in the bottom of the field and still have fun.

 

As to the original title, I was curious over the relationship of the "Spirit of the Game" as it would apply to the reality of being a cowboy in the 1880's, where misses might be the end of the competition for the cowboy, wondering why we would not apply the same adherence in the spirit of the game.  But, I now better understand the reality of balancing speed and accuracy in such events.  Thanks Roger Rapid for bringing that up, because that is essentially what I was wondering about, but with accurate being a priority to fast.  As noted, it appears those who truly excel at this game are BOTH!

 

And to the rest of you fine cowboys, again my thanks for taking the time to reach out!  Since I haven't shot a stage since '99, I had to get a bit creative with my awards and championship titles, but thought adding those would lend some levity to my obvious lack of knowledge; reflecting my sincerity instead of sounding like a, well...you know, the south end of a northbound donkey. 

 

And to Tennessee Williams, "Glad you got a fast hound"!  LIttle worse in life than a scalded dog.  Hope to see some or all of you down the trail!

 

Most Sincerely,

 

Curly

 

 

Well, as far as I'm concerned, your list of "love me" plaques is quite impressive.  :) 

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Hope to see some or all of you down the trail!

 

Where in Wis. are you? 

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We live about halfway between Milwaukee and Green Bay on the eastern side of WI.  The two closest SASS Clubs are the Bristol Plains Pistoleros and the Liberty Prairie Regulators.  Contacted Dirty Deeds over at the LPR in October, since they are the closest, and he put me on their email list.  Looking forward to meeting them at their annual January planning meeting in Ripon.  Me and my Pard will be shooting locals/monthlies both in middle and western, WI and southeastern, MN; plus taking a trip to Enderlin, ND next year for their state match, I hope.  

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Au contraire.  Since we don't compete in a vacuum... the other competitors play a part in just how well all other competitors fare.   You can't miss fast enough to BE ASSURED of a win... but if your competitors miss slower than you, you've "missed fast enough to win!"

 

I didn't say "you can't miss fast enough to beat some of your competitors."  I said "you can't miss fast enough to win."   

 

Of course some of that is hyperbole, and I'm clearly not the first one to use that saying. I was cautioned with this axiom as I was starting out some 4 years ago.  

 

I think it's good advice to new shooters. The essence, as I took it, is that while shooting fast is the objective, if you miss too many times, you'll suffer in the standings.  You need to balance speed and accuracy--total focus on one or the other yields varying results. 

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I just happen to think that's it's a nice platitude to justify why some folks value accuracy over speed.  For there have been a number of World Champions that have, to put it simply, missed fast enough to win.   Since I'm not likely to ever again shoot fast enough to be considered "competitive", it's a moot point, as one must "practice", or at least shoot more often than I do, to gain, or regain, any semblance of speed.

 

As I've discussed with a couple of those past World Champions, back when I cared enough to "win", one needs to shoot fast enough to outpace their ability to hit reliably, and keep at that pace until their hit percentage catches up... then speed up again.  Repeat as necessary to be declared a "winner"!  Then continue to repeat, as there WILL be someone willing to gain that little bit extra speed and accuracy to overtake you!  That is, if you want to continue to be a "winner".

 

YMMV.

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Some Pards care about shooting fast and where they end up on the score sheet .

Some Pards dont .

I say come shoot your own game what ever way you want to play .

Its Your game !

I'm self employed and work many hours a day  .

I'm Not looking for a second job trying to practice three or four times a week .

Working on transitions or dry firing practice for a hour or more a day .

It all sounds like work to me .

I shoot slow and enjoy shooting  with like minded people,  Who Love Cowboy Guns and Single Action Firearms .

That's My Game :D

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Thanks Ripsaw and Griff!  I don't think I need to worry about world championship status, or state, regional, or even or local.  Just don't want to embarrass myself.  So, I was asking for wisdom from the more experienced, which in my case, is just about everybody.

 

Thanks again to ALL for your time and input.  It is much appreciated!

 

Most Sincerely,

 

Curly

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If you are not shooting clean matches, look at your scores for the last few matches you shot.  Figure out how much higher in the rankings you would have been if you had shot clean.  Figure you take one more second to aim so you don't miss, and that one second investment saves the other 4 seconds off your time.  So subtract 4 seconds for each miss from your total match time.  How far would you move up in the rankings just by eliminating misses, by actually shooting each stage one second SLOWER?

 

May I politely object as this equation has imho a little flaw: You wouldn't know in advance which shot(s) will be a miss ;)

 

Most shooters have a certain speed, a rhythm with quite equal split times for each shot. At the end of the stage, most bullets have hit the target and some maybe have missed. If you wanted to shoot clean you would have had to slow down for every shot, not just the one(s) you've missed! Assuming you aim 0.5s more per shot in a ten shot string that equals 5 seconds respectively 1 miss.

 

Sure, a lot of theory, in reality the goal is to become as fast as possible with rare misses ^_^ And there are more parameters, like in a big-and-close match a miss is more crucial than in a match with rather diversified targets etc.

 

Just some thoughts, Equanimous

 

 

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in the old west or anywhere else, for real, a "miss" means you might not get to shoot again.  Seems to me a target left standing, not neutralized, might be the last target I get to see.

 

In the old west, if you were standing alone face to face with 24 "targets" you probably wouldn't get to the second shot... :ph34r:;):D

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This is the SASS definition of Spirit of the Game:

As the game of Cowboy Action Shooting™ has evolved, our members have developed and adopted an attitude towards their participation called "The Spirit of the Game." It is a code by which we live. Competing in "The Spirit of the Game" means you fully participate in what the competition asks. You try your best to dress the part, use the appropriate competition tools, and respect the traditions of the Old West. Some folks would call it nothing more than good sportsmanship. We call it "Spirit of the Game."

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Captain Curly Strait,   just go get yourself a good hat, everything else will sort itself out.

 

Imis

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May I politely object as this equation has imho a little flaw: You wouldn't know in advance which shot(s) will be a miss ;)

 

Most shooters have a certain speed, a rhythm with quite equal split times for each shot. At the end of the stage, most bullets have hit the target and some maybe have missed. If you wanted to shoot clean you would have had to slow down for every shot, not just the one(s) you've missed! Assuming you aim 0.5s more per shot in a ten shot string that equals 5 seconds respectively 1 miss.

 

Sure, a lot of theory, in reality the goal is to become as fast as possible with rare misses ^_^ And there are more parameters, like in a big-and-close match a miss is more crucial than in a match with rather diversified targets etc.

 

Just some thoughts, Equanimous

 

 

 

One does not have to shoot much slower to eliminate misses.  One must become a better shooter.  Our champions are proof.

 

Most of us miss with revolvers more than with the rifle or shotgun.  Take 1 second more per 10 shot string  to  perfect the sights.  One second per string does not sound like much. but it’s surprising how much less rushed you will feel.  Depending on a “rhythm” can get you a miss.  Break the shot  when the sights are right, not when your rhythm demands it.  It’s a change in attention focus.  Practice shooting at paper for small groups like Bullseye competition to get away from being enslaved by a rhythm.

 

Misses are proof that big close targets can’t conceal every sloppy shot.

 

 

 

 

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Misses are proof that big close targets can’t conceal every sloppy shot.

 

 

Maybe for you, but in my case, misses are proof that the target moved.:D

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Slowing down doesn't mean less misses.  Any more than speeding up means more misses.  What causes misses is as simple as the sights weren't on target when the bullet left the barrel.  Fundamentals.  That's where it's at.  See what you need to see to hit each target, nothing more, nothing less.  For some targets that may mean a very rough sight picture.  For other targets, it may mean a very clear sight picture. 

 

Once your fundamentals are sound, it's all in your head.

 

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Misses just happen sometimes.  You are having a great day, and you were in your "zone", moving fast.  Everything seemed to fall together well.  You can't understand how you could possibly have missed, but three spotters and the T. O. all say you did.  Then you go to the unloading table and the ULTO and score keepers all relate which shot you missed.  So you grumble back toward  your cart, where your wife of 40 yrs and two other friends also say you missed.   (But no two people describe the miss as occurring on the same target!!! ) 

 

 That's the game we all play.  After a bit of joking and laughter and food, everything seems OK again.  So it's posse work to clear your mind out, more joking and laughter, more goodies, then over to the next LT for the next stage.  "This time I'm gonna do better, if I could just figure out what it was that I did wrong this time" ???!!! 

 

But I know I'll be back next month, because CAS is much more than just hits, misses, and times. 

JMHO. 

 

Edited by Dusty Devil Dale
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Slowing down doesn't mean less misses.  Any more than speeding up means more misses.  What causes misses is as simple as the sights weren't on target when the bullet left the barrel.  Fundamentals.  That's where it's at.  See what you need to see to hit each target, nothing more, nothing less.  For some targets that may mean a very rough sight picture.  For other targets, it may mean a very clear sight picture. 

 

Once your fundamentals are sound, it's all in your head.

 

I'd disagree as some of it is in the hands.  When they don't work as well as they used to the head is only a hatrack. :D

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When at a match, they time me with a sun dial....:D  I shoot Holy Black Powder and duelist or double duelist...  and I shoot to enjoy it...   I don't own a watch or time piece so I ain't interested in or concerned about time...  I enjoy the folks, things that go boom, and having to deal with not seeing targets...

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When at a match, they time me with a sun dial....:D  I shoot Holy Black Powder and duelist or double duelist...  and I shoot to enjoy it...   I don't own a watch or time piece so I ain't interested in or concerned about time...  I enjoy the folks, things that go boom, and having to deal with not seeing targets...

 Be glad it's a sundial and not Carbon-14.

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