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Recently I have considered gettin in to wild bunch matches as I already have a 1911 and just recently picked up a period shotgun.  However I was surprised to learn that despite being an actual shotgun designed, built, and used in the “wild bunch” era and being a classic design I cannot use it because it is not an 1897 Winchester.  Why is wild bunch limited to one specific model shotgun?  Surely people realize that other models existed and were very popular in the period.

 

Ironically I got another John Browning design, the Stevens 520, which I believe started production in 1909, my particular example is between 1913 and 1916 and still in perfect shape.

 

Admittedly it was an impulse buy, I used “I can use this in a match” as a justification to myself to buy it, I just saw a cool old very under appreciated antique shotgun for a low price and jumped on it.  But still, I would like to know the reasoning why only 1897 Winchesters are allowed.  It couldn’t be the year as 1911s are certainly 20th century and are a newer design than the Stevens 520 (and yet another John Browning design).  I obviously am partial to the Stevens 520 but this criticism goes to other designs of the period as well.

 

Mechanically the Stevens 520 is very similar to the 1897 in that it is hammer fired, it just has an internal hammer, it’s also very unique looking having a hump back design that looks more like an auto 5 than a pump action shotgun, and the early ones like mine have 2 humps.  The bolt in to a square at the top of the receiver.  It has a 5 round magazine using 2 3/4 shells (though I suspect 6 would fit if using 2.5 inch shells) and no interrupter, the shells are held in the magazine tube by the elevator, this allows it to be unloaded without having to cycle the rounds through the chamber.  It features a unique recoil sensing safety that locks the slide unless recoil is detected, the idea being to prevent out of battery detonations from squibs, without firing (dry firing doesn’t count) you must manually press the slide release every time you cycle the slide.  All models of the Stevens 520 were takedowns.

 

It was very popular and was produced into the 1930s before being replaced by the Stevens 620 (the same model but with a more modern looking non humpback receiver) and was made in that form  until 1955.  Stevens only made them under their own name in to the 1920s, after that it was made by Stevens as a “store brand” shotgun and was commonly found in Sears and Wards.  It also saw service in World War 2 and almost in World War 1.  Yet despite it’s popularity and it being a John Browning design and extremely well built it is mostly unknown today, it’s John Browning’s forgotten design.

 

Other equally interesting shotguns were also used during the period so why limit it to the 1897 Winchester?

 

Also, is it true that the 1911s are limited to 5 rounds?  Why?

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Wild Bunch is named after the movie, “The Wild Bunch”.  The opening scene showed bank robbers posing as soldiers using 1911s, ‘97s, and one Model 12.  It’s why most competitors dress in army costumes.

The above is a large part of the restrictive rules. The TO's should not be expected to know everything about every shotgun or pistol of the time period. When a gun jams, and needs to be cleared it's h

Because whomever started WB only had 97s and Model 12s! 

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I think that you will find that most of the Wild Bunch shooters use a Model 12 shotgun but it is not limited to that.  Some use their 1897 configured to hold six in the magazine.  As for the 1911, 7 rounds in the magazine is the standard now.  The 5 round days are over.

Blackfoot

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20 minutes ago, Kid Rich said:

You will clear up a lot of your ? if you read the rules on WB.

kR

My mistake, apparently the Winchester Model 12 is allowed too but still, why only those two?

 

”SHOTGUN REQUIREMENTS
Winchester 1897 pump in 12 gauge, original or replica—Civilian or Military style. The IAC ‘93/‘97 reproduction Winchester is also approved. This shotgun may be identified by the numbers ‘93/’97 on the left side of the barrel and the words IAC Billerica, MA on the right side of the barrel. Original Winchester 1893 shotguns were declared unsafe by the manufacturer and are NOT legal for use in Wild BunchTM Action Shooting matches. The Winchester Model ‘12 pump in 12 gauge is also allowed.”
 

from: https://www.sassnet.com/wildbunch/handbooks/SASS WILD BUNCH Action Shooting Handbook Vers 15 3.5.21.pdf

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Because whomever started WB only had 97s and Model 12s! 

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Because the people who started wild bunch had a 12 ga 97.  If they had had a 97 in 16 ga that would have been allowed, but they didn't.  Then they got a model 12 and thought it would be cool to use it in Wild Bunch, so they claimed that there were not enough 97s available, justifying the use of the model 12.  Then they decided that they wanted to be different from CAS so they decreed that you could load 7 in the mag.  Then they realized that slapping mags into the 1911 hurt their hand so now you can glue a leather pad to the bottom of the mag.

 

I agree with you in that there are any number of firearms that would be period correct.  Also, if this game is patterned after the movie, why can't you shoot your revolver and limit pistol shots to one mag in  the 1911???

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This goes way back to around 2001-2002, other hammered pump shotguns of the same era had questionable safety records such as the Win 1893 and some of the Marlins.  This was made worse when Marlin stated that none of their hammered shotguns from the turn of the century (1900) should be considered safe to fire.

 

This caused the people running SASS at the time to ban all pump shotguns except the Winchester 1897 in the gauges it was originally chambered in (12 & 16) and any replicas of the Win 1897 in those gauges.

 

The ruling wasn't popular with everyone then, however the chances of the ban being overturned is only slightly higher than winning $50 million in the lotto

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Because when SASS created Wild Bunch rules, they created very restrictive ones.  Prior to the official SASS rules, a good general rule of thumb was that you could use any rifle, pistol or shotgun in safe working order that existed in or prior to 1918.   There was some variation within that general proviso, but in a nutshell, that was more or less how it was.  In those days, 1911's or whatever auto you used, was limited to 5 in the mag because some pards were using, for example 1917 revolvers.  You could use one pistol and reload, or use two pistols.  Some folks even did one auto and one revolver.  You would occasionly have to reload one pistol, once, but not always.  Some clubs allowed for "rifle caliber" rifles to be used.   Any repeating shotgun in safe working order was generally allowed.  You would see a lot of interesting old timey guns at a Wild Bunch match.


Then SASS came along and said, only 1911's, only Main Match CAS rifles of .40 or larger, and only the 97.  Since then then have expanded to allow the Model 12 and the 93/97, a shotgun that is basically a 97 made to look like the earlier 93.  For some reason they had a 5 round limit, but that has been changed to 7.  Most WB matches require 4+ magazine changes per stage in the 1911 these days.

 

Why?   Because that's the way the people who made the rules decided it should be this way.   They could not abide by the more wide open way it was being done.

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11 minutes ago, Chantry said:

This goes way back to around 2001-2002, other hammered pump shotguns of the same era had questionable safety records such as the Win 1893 and some of the Marlins.  This was made worse when Marlin stated that none of their hammered shotguns from the turn of the century (1900) should be considered safe to fire.

 

This caused the people running SASS at the time to ban all pump shotguns except the Winchester 1897 in the gauges it was originally chambered in (12 & 16) and any replicas of the Win 1897 in those gauges.

 

The ruling wasn't popular with everyone then, however the chances of the ban being overturned is only slightly higher than winning $50 million in the lotto

 

 

As far as the "only the 97" rule for in the Cowboy shooting side of SASS, goes, yes, there are some very real concerns with the Marlin 98 family.  But instead of just no longer allowing those guns, all pumps other than the 97 were thrown out.  It has been argued that the safety concerns over the Marlin can be adequately addressed, but since they DO exist, I understand the no Marlin reasoning.

As far as why the Spencer and the Burgess are banned, other than the fact that they are "not a 97" there is no logical reason for their not being allowed.


The Winchester 93 is an interesting case.  In a nutshell, if you run 2-3/4" smokeless shells, it can blow up.  Therefore it is not allowed.   Never mind that if you run 2-1/2" black powder shells it's perfectly safe.  This is the identical set of circumstances faced by original Winchester 87's, but they are okay.

And then there is the IAC 93/97, a gun that has the action of a 97 but the ejection port of a 93.  Any safety concerns that existed with the 93 do not exist with this gun.   But, it's not allowed.   I think this prohibition is the silliest of them all.

For the record, I believe that the Marlin should continue to not be allowed, but that the Spencer, Burgess, 93 and 93/97 should be deemed to be acceptable.   We use pumps like glorified single shots anyway, so what's the problem?

All of that being said, I think the chances of the rules ever being changed are slim to none.   I can live with that.  The rules are the rules, but I reserve the right to voice my opinion of them when it comes up.   And as you know, we all have opinions.  :)

Edited by H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619
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I think 870s and 500s should be allowed. They are safe, plentiful and tough.

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As has been stated, in the beginning there were no formal rules, each club made their own or borrowed from a nearby club. These were strictly side matches, held after the regular monthly or annual shoot for a club. For our club and several around us we held two categories, Pike and Dutch. One used period semi-auto pistols, the other revolvers. Any SASS main match legal rifle and any pump or semi-auto shotgun, 20 gauge and larger. The cutoff date for all was 1916. Competitors were told if they had an uncommon design in either handguns or shotguns to bring documentation to prove the date of the design. As Match Directors this kept us from having to know when each was introduced. And it was kind of fun to see the variety of handguns. Most shot 97's as they already had them, the other really popular design was the Browning A-5 family. These were made by Browning, Winchester, Remington, Savage and maybe others. Of course these local or regional rules are still in place at some clubs, there is no prohibition on them.

 

When SASS decided to make a unified, national event under one set rules, they narrowed the choices quite a bit. This did anger more than a few folks, but it is necessary to have rules that are known in advance for the competitors so they don't travel half way across the country only to be told that they can't shoot a Stevens 520. "But they let me shoot it at my home club" is the phrase you would be hearing everywhere. By saying that only Model 12's, 97's or 93/97's and 1911's are to be used there is no guesswork for match directors. Tech inspection before a match is to check that it is indeed a full sized 1911, that all of the safeties are still on the gun and functioning.

 

While no one can give you a definitive answer as to why the shotgun field is so narrow, believe me it works out just fine for the majority. I would suggest you join this game we play and see if you can't get your local club(s) to adopt a broader set of standards. 

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11 minutes ago, Goody, SASS #26190 said:

When SASS decided to make a unified, national event under one set rules, they narrowed the choices quite a bit. This did anger more than a few folks, but it is necessary to have rules that are known in advance for the competitors so they don't travel half way across the country only to be told that they can't shoot a Stevens 520. "But they let me shoot it at my home club" is the phrase you would be hearing everywhere. By saying that only Model 12's, 97's or 93/97's and 1911's are to be used there is no guesswork for match directors. Tech inspection before a match is to check that it is indeed a full sized 1911, that all of the safeties are still on the gun and functioning.

 

Well, the obvious counterpoint to that is, "Anything made in or prior to 1918 is okay."   Just as in CAS, the phrase "Anything made prior to 1900 is okay."   We don't need to list specifics for CAS, why do we need to list things for WB?   We don't inspect CAS guns, why do we have to inspect WB guns?

I will always find this a fascinating topic to discuss.

 

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Wild Bunch is named after the movie, “The Wild Bunch”.  The opening scene showed bank robbers posing as soldiers using 1911s, ‘97s, and one Model 12.  It’s why most competitors dress in army costumes.  So watch the movie for a better understanding of the rules and restrictions.

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There are specific handling and clearing rules.  The Range Officers understand the manual of arms for the guns allowed, and how to keep everyone safe.  Add in more guns, with characteristics that are not known to all, and you are adding too many unknown factors.   The Model 12 for instance is a bit different than the Model '97 and the R.O.'s know how it is to be handled and shown "clear".   There were all sorts of firearms available between 1899 and 1918.   Many of them are quite different in design.  R.O.'s cannot be expected to know what's safe and what's not for all types.

 

I'm sorry that your gun isn't SASS-legal for Wild Bunch.  Perhaps, you should have read the rules of the game before buying.   Lot's of new people try to change the SASS rules without having ever played it.  The most common one is, "Why can't I use my double-action revolvers?!"

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3 minutes ago, McCandless said:

There are specific handling and clearing rules.  The Range Officers understand the manual of arms for the guns allowed, and how to keep everyone safe.  Add in more guns, with characteristics that are not known to all, and you are adding too many unknown factors.   The Model 12 for instance is a bit different than the Model '97 and the R.O.'s know how it is to be handled and shown "clear".   There were all sorts of firearms available between 1899 and 1918.   Many of them are quite different in design.  R.O.'s cannot be expected to know what's safe and what's not for all types.

 

 

I don't buy that argument.  The SAA is very different from the S&W Top Breaks, is very different from Cap and Ball revolvers.  The plethora of different rifles that are okay for CAS have many differences.   And why does the RO need to be an "expert" on everything that may show up?   We are shootists.  We're not going to show up with something that we don't know how to use or that is not in safe working order.  

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6 minutes ago, H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619 said:

 

I don't buy that argument.  The SAA is very different from the S&W Top Breaks, is very different from Cap and Ball revolvers.  The plethora of different rifles that are okay for CAS have many differences.   And why does the RO need to be an "expert" on everything that may show up?   We are shootists.  We're not going to show up with something that we don't know how to use or that is not in safe working order.  

SASS in not WB

WB is not SASS

OLG 

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2 minutes ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

SASS in not WB

WB is not SASS

OLG 

 

Never said it was.  Although, to be honest, with the SASS rules, I really do think of WB as "SASS with a 1911" as much as it is protested to say that is is not.

 

Edited by H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619
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8 minutes ago, H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619 said:

 

I don't buy that argument.  The SAA is very different from the S&W Top Breaks, is very different from Cap and Ball revolvers.  The plethora of different rifles that are okay for CAS have many differences.   And why does the RO need to be an "expert" on everything that may show up?   We are shootists.  We're not going to show up with something that we don't know how to use or that is not in safe working order.  

The number of blown up '97s, Marlin pumps, and single action revolvers, we've seen, kinda says, "not so".   Just because someone shows up with a gun does not mean they know how to use it, how to reload, or to determine if their gun is safe to use.  

 

doublecharge.jpg.25130352f79d034c9f3618f343c63fcb.jpg

 

 

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Asking WHY for SASS rules is usually an exercise in frustration.  Unless you personally are going to be writing rules for the sport, it really doesn't matter much.   The use of Model 97s is because the SASS cowboy action shooting decided to allow Model 97 pumps into that game early on (and only 97s), and lots of potential WB shooters already had one or more of them.   IAC 93/97s hybrids were allowed in to allow the enlarged loading port.   Model 12s were allowed in because it was in the WB movie, after all.    Others were not.  Buy that way, shoot that way, enjoy the sport. 

 

Save other shotguns for other uses.

 

good luck, GJ

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1 minute ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

Asking WHY for SASS rules is usually an exercise in frustration.  Unless you personally are going to be writing rules for the sport, it really doesn't matter much.   The use of Model 97s is because the SASS cowboy action shooting decided to allow Model 97 pumps into that game early on (and only 97s), and lots of potential WB shooters already had one or more of them.   IAC 93/97s hybrids were allowed in to allow the enlarged loading port.   Model 12s were allowed in because it was in the WB movie, after all.    Others were not.  Buy that way, shoot that way, enjoy the sport. 

 

Save other shotguns for other uses.

 

good luck, GJ

 

When all is said and done, GJ has summed it all up.   It may be interesting to "discuss" these things, but when all is said and done, they are the way they are, and I don't think they are going to change.   People should know that I think they should, but I accept them as they are and will abide by them when I go to an actual shoot.   Trying to figure out the WHY behind some of these things will make your head spin.  :)

Kudos to GJ for a good summary of the reality.

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21 minutes ago, H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619 said:

 

I don't buy that argument.  The SAA is very different from the S&W Top Breaks, is very different from Cap and Ball revolvers.  The plethora of different rifles that are okay for CAS have many differences.   And why does the RO need to be an "expert" on everything that may show up?   We are shootists.  We're not going to show up with something that we don't know how to use or that is not in safe working order.  

You would be suprised how many show up not knowing their gun.

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44 minutes ago, McCandless said:

There were all sorts of firearms available between 1899 and 1918.   Many of them are quite different in design.  R.O.'s cannot be expected to know what's safe and what's not for all types.

 

The above is a large part of the restrictive rules. The TO's should not be expected to know everything about every shotgun or pistol of the time period. When a gun jams, and needs to be cleared it's helpful to have folks around with knowledge of that gun. It's ultimately the shooters responsibility to clear it, but we see shooters all the time that don't know a thing about their cowboy or WB guns. Why throw something else into the mix?

 

Folks should consider asking before buying if things are legal rather than buying and getting bothered that what they bought isn't legal.

 

Tully

 

 

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Sometime around '02 or '03 Goody and myself had heard about "Wild Bunch" and we decided we needed it at our Club.

So we looked at what some other folks were doing and put together a set of rules for LSFSC...........

It started out as a side match and then was incorporated into a category that could be shot in a match along with everyone else...

That was the reason we limited the pistol to 5 rounds.... so we could shoot the same scenarios as everyone else.

We shot it Only at our monthly matches and it was a Blast and well received by "almost" everyone......

 

In 2008 I was asked to head up a Wild Bunch Side Match for the Southwestern Regional that year at Badlands Bar 3

I told T-Bone I'd be Happy to do it..........

So I wrote up the Rules (Very Intentionally All on One Page) and again most everyone was Happy...........

 

Then SASS got involved and Everything changed.............

 

If you're interested here is a copy of the Wild Bunch Rules we used at the 2008 Southwestern Regionals......... B)

 

 

 

 

Southwestern Regional, Wild Bunch Categories

 

“Pike” Semi-Auto Pistol & “Dutch” Double Action Revolver

 

SASS rules apply except as modified or appended below,

Stages will run like Regular CAS Main Match Stages.

 

“Pike” participants shoot, Any “Period” Semi-Auto Pistol, with a minimum caliber of .30 mauser

 

“Dutch” participants shoot, Any “Period” Double Action “Pencil Barrel” Revolver minimum .32 caliber

 

Rifles Any “Period” lever or pump action rifle, in minimum .32 Pistol Caliber.

 

Shotguns Any “Period” pump or lever shotgun, including “trench gun”
or Semi-Automatic shotgun based on the “humpback” Browning ‘05... No SxS

 

**Note... “Period” is prior to 1915 and defined as a firearm originally designed and

manufactured Prior to 01/01/1915 or replica thereof. For Any Rare or Unusual, Pistol,

Revolver, Rifle or Shotgun that he or she wishes to shoot, the shooter Must provide

documentation to prove they were designed & manufactured Prior to 1915.

 

Pistol, rifle & shotgun, bullets & shot, will be Lead, No jacketed ammo! No Steel Shot!

 

Dress is standard Cowboy or Period Military or whatever combination you can come up with.

 

Shooters shoot Duelist Style.......

 

Exception, Ladies or Juniors may shoot Two Handed.

 

Each Category will be shot with One pistol or revolver, guns can be staged or holstered.

 

“Pike” Semi-Auto Pistols, Magazines or stripper clips can be staged or carried on the body in a

“period” style holder, each magazine or clip loaded with 5 rounds maximum. The Pistol will be Staged

or Holstered (as the stage instructions direct) Empty with slide closed and exposed hammer down on

an Empty Chamber. The shooter will load and chamber all rounds on the clock.
The Shooter
MUST shoot or clear the pistol Empty Before the Pistol leaves his Hand. The Pistol will

have the action locked Open and Empty Or Hammer Down on an Empty Chamber Before it Leaves the

Shooters Hand.... Remember ALL SASS SAFETY RULES APPLY!

 

“Dutch” Double Action Revolver, The pistol will be loaded with a maximum of 5 rounds at the loading

table prior to coming to the stage, in the same manner as a CAS revolver. Any Reload ammo can be

staged or carried on the body in a “period” style holder and reloaded on the clock, Moon clips, half and

full, are allowed on period Double Action Revolvers such as, Colt New Service, Smith & Wesson 1908

style Hand Eject and Webley (Enfield) models. Remember ALL SASS SAFETY RULES APPLY!

 

Both Divisions: Rifle and Shotgun may be loaded, action closed, hammer down on an empty

chamber, at the loading table prior to coming to the stage.

 

Only stock pistols, revolvers, rifles, shotguns or clones and reproductions thereof, can be used, no

target or race guns, and no race gun or IPSC type modifications such as, extended

barrels, extended magazine wells, magna porting, compensators, weighted muzzles, wrap around grips, thumb rests,

optical or aim point sights etc. The gun should be in the out of box factory condition. Internal

modifications or accurizing are fine as long as they do not change the way the gun functions. Any

“period” style holster is fine as long as it retains the firearm thru the full range of motion during carry.

Questionable firearms will be subject to approval by the Match Director.

 

BE SAFE, HAVE FUN!

03/03/2008

 

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3 hours ago, Goody, SASS #26190 said:

...

While no one can give you a definitive answer as to why the shotgun field is so narrow, believe me it works out just fine for the majority. I would suggest you join this game we play and see if you can't get your local club(s) to adopt a broader set of standards. 

 

1 hour ago, John Barleycorn, SASS #76982 said:

I stopped asking why a long time ago. 

 

I think y'all didn't ask the people who made the rules. I suggest you ask Happy Jack, Texas Jack Morales, or Evil Roy.

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38 minutes ago, Allie Mo, SASS No. 25217 said:

 

 

I think y'all didn't ask the people who made the rules. I suggest you ask Happy Jack, Texas Jack Morales, or Evil Roy.

 

I remember Evil Roy being not really happy at the '08 Regional and telling me at the shooters meeting 

"this is not how we do WB in Colorado...."

I told him that's how we do it here in Texas and it's too late to change the rules now..........

 

Needless to say, I wasn't invited to join in on the SASS WB Rules committee 

First I found out about it was a few months later when Goat Neck Clem was putting on the

First SASS Wild Bunch Texas State Championship....

At sign up I was told none of my guns were legal and I couldn't shoot..... That day I was the one Not Happy!!

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If I only put one round in each barrel, and could make it a .45C could I use this as my main match rifle?  Guess it would be hard to start the stage with rifle at port arms or at the ready :ph34r: :D

 

image.jpeg.2f7a682811da421d5f60307d2f0f04ac.jpeg

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6 minutes ago, Tequila Shooter said:

 

 

If I only put one round in each barrel, and could make it a .45C could I use this as my main match rifle?  Guess it would be hard to start the stage with rifle at port arms or at the ready :ph34r: :D

 

image.jpeg.2f7a682811da421d5f60307d2f0f04ac.jpeg

Under the "original" Rules I believe that would have been Legal.... I certainly would have given it the OK :D

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4 hours ago, H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619 said:

I don't buy that argument.  The SAA is very different from the S&W Top Breaks, is very different from Cap and Ball revolvers.  The plethora of different rifles that are okay for CAS have many differences.   And why does the RO need to be an "expert" on everything that may show up?   We are shootists.  We're not going to show up with something that we don't know how to use or that is not in safe working order.  

WHAT?  Are you kidding?  I take you've never been to very many cowboy shoots.  We've had everything from, "I've never shot a gun before..." to "...how do you load this?"    More 1st time shooters have started at a cowboy action match than any other discipline.  I've shot from coast to coast, the Canadian line to further south than Mexico, even competed in international SASS matches...  Can't tell you how many times I've been asked to teach someone's wife how to work her SAA...  Why do you think I shoot so slow, interrupt myself during the course of fire to discuss the weather and target order...?  I don't want to teach ANYONE AGAIN!!!

 

Shooters have shown up at EOT as their VERY FIRST MATCH!  Having never fired their new SAA copies or levergun before!  Your argument, Sir, doesn't hold water.

 

Nobody's expected to be an expert... but basic familiarization with sour legal firearms is expected.  Why do you think not EVERYONE is asked to be an RO?

4 hours ago, H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619 said:

Never said it was.  Although, to be honest, with the SASS rules, I really do think of WB as "SASS with a 1911" as much as it is protested to say that is is not.

And therein lies the trouble.  The 1911 was designed with 7 shots in mind.  Artificially trying to make it a 5-shooter is demeaning to the gun.  It was said at the beginning the justification was so that target sweeps, etc, would be familiar to the cowboy action shooter.  So yes, at that time, it was basically SASS with a 1911.  Not so much any longer.  There's no more effort in accommodating 7 rounds on 3, 4 or 5 target arrays than 5 rounds.  

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There is a separate online forum dedicated to Wild Bunch Action Shooting.  The people who are involved in making and interpreting the rules are active on that forum and could better address your question. https://www.sassnet.com/wildbunch/forum/index.php

 

The Wild Bunch rules were last updated in mid-March of 2021.  If you are looking at rules that mandate five rounds in the 1911 magazine that rule changed in the 2018 Handbook.  You can download the current handbook from the SASS website.

 

 

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