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Are your matches "FUN" ?


Snakebite
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3 minutes ago, Jailhouse Jim, SASS #13104 said:

What isn't fun is when you show up to a match with permanent props that you know are going to blast you with bounce back because of target design.  That's always fun, NOT!

I totally agree with you Jim. IMO no club should put targets on their range that are known to be unsafe. I have pellets imbedded under my right eyebrow from shooting a unsafe shotgun target. 

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2 minutes ago, Snakebite said:

I totally agree with you Jim. IMO no club should put targets on their range that are known to be unsafe. I have pellets imbedded under my right eyebrow from shooting a unsafe shotgun target. 

And I have a piece of lead in my hand from a handgun round.  I thought it was just a cut at first but later I discovered it was embedded lead.  

 

My biggest concern is even though brought to the attention to the match officials, some of these targets have not been adjusted or repaired after months of issues.  The steel is good, it just needs to have the angles adjusted.  I've offered suggestions and would be willing to work on them but the comments seem to fall on deaf ears.

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1 minute ago, Jailhouse Jim, SASS #13104 said:

And I have a piece of lead in my hand from a handgun round.  I thought it was just a cut at first but later I discovered it was embedded lead.  

 

My biggest concern is even though brought to the attention to the match officials, some of these targets have not been adjusted or repaired after months of issues.  The steel is good, it just needs to have the angles adjusted.  I've offered suggestions and would be willing to work on them but the comments seem to fall on deaf ears.

Angle, Impact zone condition and stand design (ie: Hard Dirt with Rocks / stand legs), or the two most prevalent culprits. Often a bail of hay can remedy...but as a guy with a chunk of lead in my left cheek...I understand :P

 

Sorry if I've hijacked the thread...

 

Phantom

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Jim, half the posse was bleeding from this target. When I reported it, they got really upset with me. They continued to have far too much target feed back, so I just stopped going. 

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1 minute ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

Angle, Impact zone condition and stand design (ie: Hard Dirt with Rocks / stand legs), or the two most prevalent culprits. Often a bail of hay can remedy...but as a guy with a chunk of lead in my left cheek...I understand :P

 

Sorry if I've hijacked the thread...

 

Phantom

I actually saw the slug come off the target when I was hit.  This particular one had hook style stand which would allow the steel to turn several degrees upon impact.  The steel turned clockwise when hit then the next round bounced back at an angle to hit me while I was doing unloading table duties. 

 

I was hit above the right eye at a different club some thirty+ yards from the firing line on the way back from the Privy from leaving an exposed hole in the steel.  The slug hit the edge of the hole, spun against the other side and came at me like an angry bee.  That club fixed all the empty holes by the next match.  Snakebite saw that one and reminded the match officials of his prior warning.

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The stages need to be fun to offset the time investment.  Right now our local clubs shoot six stages for a monthly match.  If I average 25 seconds per stage times six stages that is 2 1/2 minutes of shooting time.  The average posse time on a stage is 45 minutes times six or 4 1/2 hours.  So that is 4 1/2 hours of match time to shoot for 2 1/2 minutes.  If the stages are not fun that is 4 1/2 hours plus travel time wasted.

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1 hour ago, Larsen E. Pettifogger, SASS #32933 said:

The stages need to be fun to offset the time investment.  Right now our local clubs shoot six stages for a monthly match.  If I average 25 seconds per stage times six stages that is 2 1/2 minutes of shooting time.  The average posse time on a stage is 45 minutes times six or 4 1/2 hours.  So that is 4 1/2 hours of match time to shoot for 2 1/2 minutes.  If the stages are not fun that is 4 1/2 hours plus travel time wasted.

MIss shooting 8-10 stages at my California clubs...don't know why so many clubs shoot 5-6. Okay, if it's ridiculously hot and humid...but otherwise...???

 

Never understood this...thought we were here to shoot!!

 

Phantom

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I admit I do not have as much fun since I have moved. I was spoiled back in Indiana as both clubs had private ranges so nothing needed to be stored. They had targets that moved side to side and away from you. The NCOWS club had six stages and was expanding to have more so that their would be even more variety. The SASS club was always improving the props and buildings to make it visually appealing.  Both places I shoot now are anything but visually appealing as it is. It's dirt berms on all sides. I understand that it is a public range so any improvements/mini false front town buildings would most likely be destroyed or be in the way for the next genre of shooting. And, in both clubs we shoot the same targets over from stage to stage but in a different pattern. Fun, yes, but not as fun as other matches. This is not to insult or degrade the effort put into the matches, but they are not as fun as some I have been to, and I have no idea how to make it better.

Just an FYI, the best range I have been to is in Evansville, IN. They had moving mine cars, forts, stores, train cars, etc. That's where NCOWS had their yearly national match until 2019.

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11 hours ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

I think stage writers discount the visual aspect of a stage too much.

 

There's value when shooters come up to a stage and think "this looks like fun" before they even know the scenario.

 

Phantom

Lots of truth right there. Our family had restaurants through the years. One grandfather was obsessed that the plate look good when it hit the table.

"People taste with their eyes first," he used to say.

And the customers would usually comment how good it looked as they grabbed their fork.

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Pretty much the same amount of work setting up stages as an IPSC match. 

 

Suppose the biggest bitch I can have is that its always the usual same few who do the setting up and taking down.

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Everyone is focused on the shooting aspect of a match and that is all well and good but for me at least, the social aspect is just as important. After all in a 6 stage match, less than 15 minutes total is spent on the firing line. (Loading to Unloading table)

 

I am fortunate in that I have 2 or 3 choices of where to shoot on any given Saturday. While drive time for some of the matches is a factor my choice of where to shoot is heavily based on the social aspect of the match. All of the matches I frequent have an enjoyable social side that includes a post match meal / social gathering that lasts for up to 2 hours.

 

 

  

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9 hours ago, Sedalia Dave said:

All of the matches I frequent have an enjoyable social side that includes a post match meal / social gathering that lasts for up to 2 hours.

I wish we could do that.  In some seasons it is possible, but especially in summer, our focus has to be to get in, shoot the match as early as possible, then get folks back in air conditioned vehicles ASAP.   Our last match was 106 F.  at 11:30 AM finish time.  Two hours of socializing would put us at 111 F.  Often a big group of us converges on a local eating establishment.  

 

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On 7/14/2021 at 3:57 PM, Creeker, SASS #43022 said:

I only had to read one sentence in the post and am looking at the logistics of getting to Nebraska.

 

Which one, Creeker?

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1 hour ago, Mustang Gregg said:

Which one, Creeker?

Never any hard to hit targets...

That very simple sentence tells me that there is an innate understanding of the game of cowboy action shooting.

 

Generous targets - straight forward sequences are the backbone of a "fun" match for me.  Not the only requirement, mind you, but to me the foundation begins with that simple premise.

 

A match that creates an atmosphere of success for NEW shooters, Grande Dames and Buckaroos is usually a "fun" shoot.  Because a match like that encourages the "higher skilled" or more experienced shooter to throw caution to the wind and run flat out.

 

I have always been a proponent of the NASCAR theory of Cowboy Action.

 

At the "right" speed most anyone could navigate an oval course.

45mph and some left turns - easy.

Now try it again at 125, 175, 225?

It got a lot harder didn't it?

Because the course itself is NOT the challenge on an oval track. 

The velocity at which you circle that oval is.

 

Make it simple and close

(You cant really MAKE a shoot fast - you can provide the opportunity for fast)

The new shooter will have fun being succesful completing the course.

Our Grandmother running the car at 45 will still be a thrill for her and she will have fun.

(Or she will be yelling for a turn of wedge, a pound in the right rear and some timing advance - I dont know your Grammy).

 

The midpack shooter will be having fun because they have never been placed in a position to run at 175 before without bouncing off the walls. 

And like the snail riding on the turtle and screaming, "WHEEEE!" going faster than you have ever gone before is fun.

 

And the more experienced shooter will have their fun by having to push their limits;  knowing if they dont run 225 with the tail out on the edge of out of control - someone else will drive off with the trophy.

 

Another fun component of simple is magnifying the value on every action, movement, transition, fumble or miss.

 

1 mistake on the part of a great shooter can bring them within range of a good shooter.

If Widder or Evil Dogooder or a 1000 other great gunfighters slip up (drop a round in the dirt, fumble a shotshell, forget the sequence for a moment) - a guy like me might beat them on a stage. 

Im probably not going to take the match - but keep it close and I might beat the best on a stage?

That chance makes it fun.

  

1 mistake on the part of a good shooter can bring them within range of an average shooter.

That gives shooters hope and incentive to come back again.

 

 

So never any hard to hit targets? 

That, to me, says a lot more about the match and the club than just a few simple words.

 

Edited by Creeker, SASS #43022
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20 hours ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

MIss shooting 8-10 stages at my California clubs...don't know why so many clubs shoot 5-6. Okay, if it's ridiculously hot and humid...but otherwise...???

 

Never understood this...thought we were here to shoot!!

 

Phantom

I'm too out of shape to shoot 8-10 stages!!!!

Then again...that may be WHY I'm too out of shape!!!

Viscious cycle!!!

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19 minutes ago, Creeker, SASS #43022 said:

So never any hard to hit targets? 

That, to me, says a lot more about the match and the club than just a few simple words.

Of course you know the rub...

 

"Never any hard to hit targets" is subjective. Defining size and distance would probably be warranted. Don't ask San Juan what a "Never any hard to hit targets" match is...the guy is an animal!!!  :o:P

 

Phantom

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50 minutes ago, Creeker, SASS #43022 said:

Never any hard to hit targets...

That very simple sentence tells me that there is an innate understanding of the game of cowboy action shooting.

 

Generous targets - straight forward sequences are the backbone of a "fun" match for me.  Not the only requirement, mind you, but to me the foundation begins with that simple premise.

 

A match that creates an atmosphere of success for NEW shooters, Grande Dames and Buckaroos is usually a "fun" shoot.  Because a match like that encourages the "higher skilled" or more experienced shooter to throw caution to the wind and run flat out.

 

I have always been a proponent of the NASCAR theory of Cowboy Action.

 

At the "right" speed most anyone could navigate an oval course.

45mph and some left turns - easy.

Now try it again at 125, 175, 225?

It got a lot harder didn't it?

Because the course itself is NOT the challenge on an oval track. 

The velocity at which you circle that oval is.

 

Make it simple and close

(You cant really MAKE a shoot fast - you can provide the opportunity for fast)

The new shooter will have fun being succesful completing the course.

Our Grandmother running the car at 45 will still be a thrill for her and she will have fun.

(Or she will be yelling for a turn of wedge, a pound in the right rear and some timing advance - I dont know your Grammy).

 

The midpack shooter will be having fun because they have never been placed in a position to run at 175 before without bouncing off the walls. 

And like the snail riding on the turtle and screaming, "WHEEEE!" going faster than you have ever gone before is fun.

 

And the more experienced shooter will have their fun by having to push their limits;  knowing if they dont run 225 with the tail out on the edge of out of control - someone else will drive off with the trophy.

 

Another fun component of simple is magnifying the value on every action, movement, transition, fumble or miss.

 

1 mistake on the part of a great shooter can bring them within range of a good shooter.

If Widder or Evil Dogooder or a 1000 other great gunfighters slip up (drop a round in the dirt, fumble a shotshell, forget the sequence for a moment) - a guy like me might beat them on a stage. 

Im probably not going to take the match - but keep it close and I might beat the best on a stage?

That chance makes it fun.

  

1 mistake on the part of a good shooter can bring them within range of an average shooter.

That gives shooters hope and incentive to come back again.

 

 

So never any hard to hit targets? 

That, to me, says a lot more about the match and the club than just a few simple words.

 

Most of that is true.   But Phantom's point about subjectivity is the other half of our reality.  On one hand, you can have "hard to hit" targets that go so far toward difficulty as to detract from the speed aspect of the game. 

 

At the other end of the continuum is no targets at all-- just rip off the correct number of rounds into the berm as fast as you can make the gun operate.   

 

Somewhere in between is the sweet spot where we each can enjoy our own brand of going fast with targets that still make us feel like we are shooting, instead of just racing.  I am sure that sweet spot is different for just about every individual.   It is why we can probably never really define for everyone what constitutes a "fun" match.   So we try to provide variety in both stages and whole matches ----- something for everybody.  If we like it, we return for more.  

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26 minutes ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

Of course you know the rub...

 

"Never any hard to hit targets" is subjective. Defining size and distance would probably be warranted. Don't ask San Juan what a "Never any hard to hit targets" match is...the guy is an animal!!!  :o:P

 

Phantom

Understood. 

San Juan and I have some differing ideas about that.

 

And perhaps I'm reading too much into a simple statement.

For my matches; this is how I tried to create fun.

I used nothing smaller than 16" circles.  

Usually 16" squares and my limited stock of 24" squares.

For annual events (usually only at annuals, because they took three men and a boy to setup) - I would break out our life size wolves or a 48" wide half round target.

 

Pistol placements were pretty consistent at 3-5 paces

(my paces are not full yards - a hair shorter)

Shotgun at 7-8 paces

Rifle at 9-13 paces.

 

Generous targets - placed close to the firing line.

3-4 positions on every stage but no track meets - positions generally within 5 paces of each other.

4 stages written with L-R movement

4 stages with R-L movement

4 stages with downrange movement

 

Varied gun order - hand position or prop manipulation.

Often start with a non shooting action - ring the train bell, knock down the door, flip over the card table.

Straight forward sequences - but never the same sweep twice in the same match.

 

3 to 4 line stories; long enough to be clever and set a mood - short enough that even the anti story factions will let it slide.

Starting lines (never mandatory) that reflect the story.

 

Target size and placement is the backbone (for me) but it still needs a healthy body to hang off that backbone.

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24 minutes ago, Creeker, SASS #43022 said:

Understood. 

San Juan and I have some differing ideas about that.

 

And perhaps I'm reading too much into a simple statement.

For my matches; this is how I tried to create fun.

I used nothing smaller than 16" circles.  

Usually 16" squares and my limited stock of 24" squares.

For annual events (usually only at annuals, because they took three men and a boy to setup) - I would break out our life size wolves or a 48" wide half round target.

 

Pistol placements were pretty consistent at 3-5 paces

(my paces are not full yards - a hair shorter)

Shotgun at 7-8 paces

Rifle at 9-13 paces.

 

Generous targets - placed close to the firing line.

3-4 positions on every stage but no track meets - positions generally within 5 paces of each other.

4 stages written with L-R movement

4 stages with R-L movement

4 stages with downrange movement

 

Varied gun order - hand position or prop manipulation.

Often start with a non shooting action - ring the train bell, knock down the door, flip over the card table.

Straight forward sequences - but never the same sweep twice in the same match.

 

3 to 4 line stories; long enough to be clever and set a mood - short enough that even the anti story factions will let it slide.

Starting lines (never mandatory) that reflect the story.

 

Target size and placement is the backbone (for me) but it still needs a healthy body to hang off that backbone.

Sounds like a lot of fun.  Seriously.  I'd drive some distance to shoot that kind of match.   

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53 minutes ago, Creeker, SASS #43022 said:

3-4 positions on every stage but no track meets - positions generally within 5 paces of each other.

You'd enjoy Hell On Wheels!

 

While we have a LOT of movement...it's not a track meet in that you don't run from one end of a stage to the other for no reason other than to run.

 

Phantom

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2 hours ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

You'd enjoy Hell On Wheels!

 

While we have a LOT of movement...it's not a track meet in that you don't run from one end of a stage to the other for no reason other than to run.

 

Phantom

I have heard nothing but positives about HoW.  

The upcoming Colorado State is the first shoot with the entire crew coming via plane - assuming that goes well; Im hoping to get to a lot more annuals beyond my comfortable driving window.

HoW is definitely on that list.

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I used to shoot at 4-5 clubs a month and 3 of them are still active and very fun to shoot at. The MD’s at all 3 clubs make you feel welcome. The stage writing and set ups are very well done and you see a lot of smiling faces.
 

One club that was only 8 miles from my house is no longer around and I believe the biggest reason for that is they weren’t cognizant of the changes in the game that were happening at other CAS venues. When I first started CAS I’d shoot the match there every month and there was always a large number of shooters with 4-5 sometimes 6 posses. Other clubs started using larger, closer targets and new and different stage writing and this club kept the small further away targets and every stage was start on the left, no shooters choice on starting location or gun choice. If you’d mention something to the MD or other club officials about doing something different or offered to write stages or help out they pretty much ignored you.

 

Even though they were a short drive away I only shot there twice in the last year that they were there because it wasn’t a fun match to attend. The other clubs grew and prospered but the last match that I attended they had 12-14 shooters. 
 

One club that I hope comes back started listening and making changes shortly before Covid hit. They used to be start on the left every stage with no choice of which gun to start with and man did they love Nevada sweeps, and other single tap sweeps, rarely would they have a scenario with triple taps. I wrote the stages on one of their last matches and injected some of the stages from other matches and made it shotgun heavy (a lot of SG targets) and every single shooter there told me how much they liked the match and the changes.

 

Stage writers like Phantom, Creeker and others realize that they are in the entertainment business and if their audience isn't being entertained and having fun they probably won't be back.

 

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I always liked neat props with a storyline when I was building matches. I’ve done The Wizard of Oz, Inglorious Bastards [a 1911 match], The Wild Bunch with a dummy 1917 WC and bags of ‘silver rings’, for Holloween [I put pillow cases on the pistol targets] [built an aura target] and for Christmas [the bad guys were the Hells Elves] shoots. Built a jail, a pitcher pump well, the 1917 that was wired to my cassette player so that a loop of a 30 cal machinegun firing played when the trigger was pulled. Planning on a 1917 gas gun rebuild when I get around to it. Here’s my aura Halloween target, the shooter was required to put hits on the aura with a bonus on the small marshal in the center or I’ve also had him sweep back and forth. I’d always put up my standup of Elvira too. Boo!

950D69EE-43C2-4712-8693-DA08FCF74091.jpeg

Edited by Baltimore Ed
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3 hours ago, Baltimore Ed said:

I always liked neat props with a storyline when I was building matches. I’ve done The Wizard of Oz, Inglorious Bastards [a 1911 match], The Wild Bunch with a dummy 1917 WC and bags of ‘silver rings’, for Holloween [I put pillow cases on the pistol targets] [built an aura target] and for Christmas [the bad guys were the Hells Elves] shoots. Built a jail, a pitcher pump well, the 1917 that was wired to my cassette player so that a loop of a 30 cal machinegun firing played when the trigger was pulled. Planning on a 1917 gas gun rebuild when I get around to it. Here’s my aura Halloween target, the shooter was required to put hits on the aura with a bonus on the small marshal in the center or I’ve also had him sweep back and forth. I’d always put up my standup of Elvira too. Boo!

950D69EE-43C2-4712-8693-DA08FCF74091.jpeg

What's the picture of???

 

Phantom

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In the center of my range in the photo is a yellow steel circle with a sass marshal cut out of it, the [cut out marshal] ‘ghost’s’ aura. A smaller sass marshal is a few feet behind it. 

1B3C7C93-9E72-40AC-9F28-D757EBDF24CD.jpeg

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While I agree that we are in the entertainment business, I don't believe CAS should only be about how fast you can manipulate your guns.  As a shooting sport, I think the ability to use your sights should, also, be a required skill.

 

Now, before y'all excoriate me, understand I'm not for small and distant targets.  However, I think we have progressed a little too far toward "we want EVERYBODY to have a clean match".  Isn't that what's happened to our education system we so lament?  Let's dumb it down until even the densest child can pass, even though that means the brighter ones will never be challenged?

 

Possum

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