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The Loading Table/Area -- Rules?


Dusty Devil Dale
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I've looked the SHB cover to cover now and I cannot find a rule that I always have thought existed.  Is it a SASS rule or requirement that loading of firearms be observed/checked by another person?  

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I don't see a rule, but there are these definitions on page 21:

 

  • Loading Table Officer  is responsible for visually checking to ensure all firearms are loaded with only the correct number of rounds, verify no round is ever under the firing pin of any firearm, and all loaded firearms’ hammers are fully down on an empty chamber.

  • -  Unloading Table Officer  is responsible for visually checking to ensure all firearms are unloaded (clear) at the completion of the shooting stage.

 

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And page 28 has the Loading and Unloading Table Conventions.

 

A strict read only finds a requirement for the unloading table:

 

  • Competitors shall unload each of their firearms at the designated unloading area and have them visually inspected to make sure all chambers are empty.

But other text in the section -- considering definitions -- does imply both positions should be filled.

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1 minute ago, John Kloehr said:

And page 28 has the Loading and Unloading Table Conventions.

 

A strict read only finds a requirement for the unloading table:

 

  • Competitors shall unload each of their firearms at the designated unloading area and have them visually inspected to make sure all chambers are empty.

But other text in the section -- considering definitions -- does imply both positions should be filled.

 

should be

 

but sometimes there aren’t enough shooters to fill every role so loading table gets ignored. I have been places where that role is ignored regardless of posse size, even at annuals/state level. 

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18 minutes ago, Tyrel Cody said:

 

 

I have been places where that role is ignored regardless of posse size, even at annuals/state level. 

And Winter Range and EOT.  In 11 years of SASS Cowboy and Wild Bunch, I have yet to see a “loading table officer”.    I’ve had a few shooters ask me to check their revolvers, but not many. I’ve never had anyone check mine.  Works for me. 

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I rarely see a designated loading officer,  The Western Regional and that’s about it. I rarely see a designated unloading officer other than myself or one of my assistants.

 

Edited by Yul Lose
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22 minutes ago, KingSnake said:

And Winter Range and EOT.  In 11 years of SASS Cowboy and Wild Bunch, I have yet to see a “loading table officer”.    I’ve had a few shooters ask me to check their revolvers, but not many. I’ve never had anyone check mine.  Works for me. 

Definitely had those at EOT this year,  at least on  my posse. We always have them at TN State too.

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1 hour ago, John Kloehr said:

I don't see a rule, but there are these definitions on page 21:

 

  • Loading Table Officer  is responsible for visually checking to ensure all firearms are loaded with only the correct number of rounds, verify no round is ever under the firing pin of any firearm, and all loaded firearms’ hammers are fully down on an empty chamber.

  • -  Unloading Table Officer  is responsible for visually checking to ensure all firearms are unloaded (clear) at the completion of the shooting stage.

 

 

 

I do a lot of loading table duties at the two clubs we frequent.  In addition to above,  I try to keep people from walking back to their carts or otherwise leaving the table with loaded guns. 

 

I have caught people lowering the hammer on live round.

 

We always try to have a loading table officer. If not possible,  then the shooter before or after checks the guns. 

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26 minutes ago, Tyrel Cody said:

Definitely had those at EOT this year,  at least on  my posse. We always have them at TN State too.

I had forgotten that EOT wasn’t in New Mexico this year. I seriously doubt there will be any at EOT in Phoenix. 

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PAGE 89 in the ROI pretty much makes it clear that there is a Loading Table Officer and what his/her duties are.  It has been "Clarified" to allow if a Loading table officer is not present that one of the shooters in line can act as the LTO... but needs to actually watching and not be loading while they are Acting. In the old RO material it was made more clear. It got watered down a bit in the new material but has NOT been eliminated. Only a vote of the TGs can remove it.  The TRUMP card is this.... the MD of every match has the final say about what goes on at the match.... that goes for you local monthly match, or for the World Championship match. Only an ignorant MD would remove a position of safety. Having someone check their guns is something that some shooters don't like. Whether it is done by a fixed LTO or by another shooter, having your guns confirmed as being safe to move to the stage is a good and smart thing to do. 

 

Snakebite

Edited by Snakebite
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1 minute ago, irish ike, SASS #43615 said:

Our club has never done it. Shooters are responsible for their actions. The LTO had no responsibility other than slow down the process!

The High Plains Drifters use to require a LTO at the Western States Championship when Quick Cal was running things.

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This is from the ROI course before it was summarily re-written. The rules have NEVER been changed. Only two things can change them. A vote of the TGs or someone using their Power to do it. To date, neither has occurred.  To say that the Loading Table officer has no duty or responsibility is just admitting that you don't know the rules! One of the Posse Marshals duties is to see to it that all positions are filled. THEY MUST ENSURE..... This has been debated for ever. It has been opposed by many folks that just don't do it, and come from clubs that don't require it. But that does NOT change things. Lots of clubs and shooters don't follow or enforce the rules that they don't like, but they have NEVER had the votes to change this rule, so they just ignore it.  

 

From the Original ROI  course:

Posse Marshals cannot perform all of the Range Officer functions themselves, but must ensure Range Officer assignments are made and the rules and regulations are being followed

 

 

 

9. Loading/Unloading Table Officers A) Loading Table Officers are responsible to visually check to ensure all firearms are loaded with only the correct number of rounds required in a course of fire. They count, along with the shooter, rounds being loaded into rifles and revolvers. B) They check to make sure no round is ever under the firing pin of any firearm and that all loaded firearm hammers are fully down on empty chambers. While at the Loading Table, shooters must be allowed to make corrections as necessary to be sure no round is under the firing pin and hammers are fully down on empty chambers without the assessment of a penalty. Discharging a round at the loading table is a Match Disqualification. Leaving the Loading Table with a hammer not fully down on an empty chamber or with a round under the firing pin of any firearm is a Stage Disqualification. C) The Loading Table is also a good place for the Loading Officer to observe the shooter’s equipment, especially his firearms, inspecting for illegal modifications. A comment from the Loading Officer may save the shooter an embarrassing disqualification at the shooting line. Any illegal external modifications encountered at the loading table should be brought to the shooter’s attention and corrected prior to shooting, if at all possible. D) It is good practice for the Loading Officer to ask the shooter if he understands the stage. Explanations at the Loading Table avoid these questions being addressed at the line by the Timer Operator and prevent unnecessary delays. E) These officers ensure safe muzzle direction is strictly observed and enforced when a competitor is at a Loading or Unloading Table, as well as during movement to and from the Loading or Unloading Table. F) At the Unloading Table, competitors shall unload each of their firearms, and the Unloading Officer must visually inspect all chambers to make sure they are empty. Rifles and shotguns are cycled to verify their magazines are empty. All revolvers COWBOY ACTION SHOOTING™ SASS Range Operations Basic Safety Course ~12~ Copyright © Single Action Shooting Society, Inc 2010 Version “K” Instructors Version taken to the firing line must be checked, whether or not they were used, and only two main match revolvers may be taken to the line. G) Never allow a competitor to leave the loading table with a loaded firearm unless they are proceeding directly to the stage or expeditor position. Remember: The primary responsibility always rests with the competitor. Shooters should always know the condition of their firearms and should never depend upon the Loading and Unloading Officers to ensure their firearms are correctly loaded and unloaded. The Loading and Unloading Officers are simply an added measure of safety. A competitor may never blame the Loading Officer for an incorrectly loaded firearm, and at no time will this claim be considered grounds for dismissal of penalties.

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OK.  Where as . . . and Why For . . . As I see it . . . Doesn't really count.  Just an Opine.

 

There is NO RULE that there SHALL BE a Loading Table Officer.  Read the book as written, not how you'd like it.  The "Duties" of an LTO are specified.  There is however, NO specific RULE requiring an LTO. 

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33 minutes ago, Snakebite said:

The High Plains Drifters use to require a LTO at the Western States Championship when Quick Cal was running things.

HPD and Western States no longer exists. We are now the Battle Born Rangers. We are grateful that Cal invested his personal funds to build our range. But Cal never "ran" things. He shot with us. And because of his presence in SASS he was seen as some sort of celebrity figure in SASS. He was our MC for many years at our annual. And we thank him for that. He has since left SASS and is focused on Fast Draw.

We, like a lot of clubs, thought the LTO was mandatory. We, like many others, discovered it wasn't.

 

When we realized the LTO has absolutely no accountability for their actions at the LT. It was still on the shooter. We decided it was an unnecessary encumbrance. That and many of our shooters experienced LTO nazi's who wouldn't let anyone load unless he saw the entire process, slowing down the whole process. There were many posts about LTO's and how they thought they were in charge and everyone had to bend to the way they wanted things done.

 

All the things you mentioned the LTO was supposed to do is mute. The LTO's mistakes were still on the shooter.  So why bother?

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31 minutes ago, Snakebite said:

A competitor may never blame the Loading Officer for an incorrectly loaded firearm, and at no time will this claim be considered grounds for dismissal of penalties.

Well, there ya go. I'm going to impose my will, but have no responsibility for what I do. Sounds like a politician!

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19 minutes ago, irish ike, SASS #43615 said:

Well, there ya go. I'm going to impose my will, but have no responsibility for what I do. Sounds like a politician!

Or it sounds like a Spotter. The Spotters will impose their will on you, and have no further responsibility for it. Go ahead, file a protest about their call on the number of misses and see how far it goes. The person acting as the LTO is there to help and double check you. So what that some of them did/do a poor job, they should be removed. I know every Chair that the RO committee has ever had. Find ONE of them that will say that you should not be checked at the loading table. YOU WON'T. Most will agree that you can be checked by another shooter if a LTO is not present. WR didn't use assigned LTO, but they told EVERY SHOOTER in the shooter's Safety meeting to check each other at the loading table. If you don't do it, then you don't do it, but just deciding that it is not necessary doesn't change things. If holding up your handguns so that someone else can confirm that you are not down on a live round is too much to ask, then there is nothing I can do about it at your range or anyone's range without support from the MD. As for calling someone a Nazi ... I've heard ignorant people use that phrase against me before just because I know and try to enforce and play by the rules. I have never taken them lightly, even when I don't agree with them.  I really don't care what you do, but it you won't do it at my match or at the Western Regional match... we play by the rules and require all shooters to be checked.   

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13 minutes ago, Snakebite said:

I really don't care what you do, but it you won't do it at my match or at the Western Regional match... we play by the rules and require all shooters to be checked.   

The "rules" don't require an LTO. Its more of a guideline!

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2 hours ago, KingSnake said:

And Winter Range and EOT.  In 11 years of SASS Cowboy and Wild Bunch, I have yet to see a “loading table officer”.    I’ve had a few shooters ask me to check their revolvers, but not many. I’ve never had anyone check mine.  Works for me. 

I was able to go to 5 EOT’s in New Mexico and was an LTO at every one of them. can’t say what other Posse’s did.

 

Randy

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Shot with a club ONE time who required you to unload your loading strip or block or whatever at the loading table and load your ammo that you just removed into a club supplied loading block and then an observer watched you load each rifle cartridge and each pistol cartridge. It really slowed things down at the loading table. He had no idea how Lightning rifles were loaded and insisted that I close the action to load it. It’s impossible to load one with the action closed. The MD was called over and I had to demonstrate why it loaded with the action open and then they both watched me to make sure I didn’t close it with a round in the chamber which would have been impossible also because you feed the rounds under the carrier to load it. Never went back.

Edited by Yul Lose
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5 hours ago, John Kloehr said:

And page 28 has the Loading and Unloading Table Conventions.

 

A strict read only finds a requirement for the unloading table:

 

  • Competitors shall unload each of their firearms at the designated unloading area and have them visually inspected to make sure all chambers are empty.

But other text in the section -- considering definitions -- does imply both positions should be filled.

That's what I found in looking.  We all tend to do it similarly, based on the stated LTO responsibilities, but I couldn't find a rule, or any penalties, in either the SHB or RO Manuals.   I gather the only penalties for not being checked occur if you are found to move (i.e. to the starting position)  with a live round under a hammer =SDQ, or fail to load according to Stage Instructions = Procedural.   But both of those are about actual improper loading by the shooter,  not about failing to be properly checked.  

 

Added edit:

My original question was only about a rule requiring the shooter to get checked or a  penalty against the shooter for failing to do so.  Hopefully all of us can understand that there is need for shooters to have an extra set of eyes on our loading, and that the LTO has certain specified responsibilities, and the PM has responsibility to assure a competent LTO.  I have recently caught errors of loading whole acting as LTO.  They included loading an incorrect number of rounds, a live round left accidentally under the revolver hammer,  and two cases of rifle hammer at half-or full-cock 

 

Upon looking, I just couldn't find any SASS prescribed penalties, except as above.  

 

Snakebite is correct that the old rules more fully specified LTO duties, but there still were no penalties assigned.  That seems to have led to the laxity we see now at some matches. 

 

 This does seem like a "soft" area in the rules that the ROC and/or TGs might consider firming up.  Possibly they did consider it, and decided to leave flexibility.  I would disagree, if that is the case. 

 

 My suggestion would be to start from the old rules of five or more years ago, pre-rewrite-- which IMO are more descriptive and clear, but consider penalties for noncompliance by the shooter.   

 

----just IMHO...

DDD

Edited by Dusty Devil Dale
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Quote

8. The issue of enforcing Loading Table Officers was raised. The question was “are they an absolute requirement?” The TG pointed out how the requirement for a specific LTO is applied differently from club to club. Blackjack Zak (MD at Winter Range) and Lassiter/Deuce (MDs at EOT) all agreed that there must be someone checking at the Loading Table, either a specific person assigned as an LTO……or shooters at the LT check each other. In either case, a person MUST BE checking, as per our rules. A consensus was reached that what really matters is that the firearms are checked, whether by an adjacent shooter or by an LTO.

EoT 2019 TG meeting minutes

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RO I Under Penalties, Stage DQ.

 

• Failure to adhere to loading/unloading procedure

 

I'm sorry if I have ruffled any feathers on this very controversial issue. It's nothing new and comes up every once in a while. It has been my number one issue for a long time, as any member of the ROC could tell you. After reading this thread it should be obvious that it is not handled the same at every club, and some clubs even totally disregard it. The only way it will occur consistently is if Match Officials make it clear that they want you to either have a LTO or check each other at the Loading Table. If we just turn a blind eye to every thing we don't like, where will it end? We should all be willing to play by and support the rules, and to also be willing to ask for and support rule changes where needed. In the case of someone checking your guns, the issue has been discussed and found to be a solid and sound practice. 

 

One other point: IMO, a good place to start when you have rules questions would be to ASK YOUR TG!    

 

Snakebite

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10 hours ago, Dusty Devil Dale said:

Hopefully all of us can understand that there is need for shooters to have an extra set of eyes on our loading, and that the LTO

 

Obviously not since a lot of clubs ignore it and a lot of us feel it's not needed.

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7 minutes ago, Tyrel Cody said:

 

Obviously not since a lot of clubs ignore it and a lot of us feel it's not needed.

LTOs are good for keeping 15 of your 20 posse members from occupying the loading table at the same time. s12.gif.6e001f4dc245d566b72d580cca6dc3a2.gif 

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13 hours ago, Snakebite said:

As for calling someone a Nazi ... I've heard ignorant people use that phrase against me before just because I know and try to enforce and play by the rules

I didn't call you anything. I was referring to the posts in the past when the LTO thing came about. Many shooters came across LTO's that took their role way beyond what was was intended and called them Nazi's.

Must use our loading strips

Only one shooter can load at a time.

You can't start loading until I say you can

You will load you guns in this order.

You can not holster your pistols until you're called to the line.

That sort of "Nazi" stuff

Using an LTO only insures you have one person in your way while you are trying to concentrate. It still doesn't eliminate the items of concern. You make the LTO get some penalties, responsibility for missed items, then sign me up.  But no one would do it.

The organization went on for years before the LTO suggestion. What major safety infractions or accidents occurred on a large scale. None.

 

The final thing is SASS allows "local clubs" to deviate from the rules all the time. Using LTO's is not a rule it's a suggestion. How can WB, Josey Wales, Outlaw, Tom Horn, unofficial categories allowed to be used if the SASS rules don't list them?  We just put on an annual match where Tom Horn shooters got to shoot 12 stages with big bore single or repeater rifles. Where are the SASS rules for that? What special safety precautions should be used?

As to safety, with or without an LTO, and a major safety accident injured someone the attorneys would still be lining up.

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When we review things like this, we tend to gravitate to a question of who is ultimately responsible.  And other posters are correct.  It is always the responsibility of the shooter to be safe in all ways and at all times.  But we put in the additional checks and balances because the cost of an error is just too high.  Cowboy Action has a reputation for being one of the safest shooting sports out there and that is because of our dedication to safety.  So while some think an LTO (or another shooter checking guns) is a waste of time or that it takes too long, I don't support that idea.  I, myself, as an LTO have caught people with a round under the hammer at the table and was able to help the shooter correct.  I don't view this as "saving the shooter a penalty", though that is a benefit.  I view this as helping to ensure an unsafe condition does not happen and helping to ensure someone does not accidently get shot.  Really, that is why we don't allow a gun to be moved with a round under the hammer.  It is to prevent an unfortunate accident.

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2 hours ago, Patagonia Pete said:

But wait!!

It's OK to walk to the line with a cocked firearm!! s10.gif.ca7401f7d916601ef6b1913403058dc8.gif

Only the rifle.

 

It is a sdq if you do it with a pistol or closed shotgun.

Edited by Branchwater Jack SASS #88854
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PaleWolf (spokesman for the ROC), Snakebite (former chairman of the ROC), and the ROC indicate (in no uncertain terms) that the LTO is required.

 

Could the resolution of this recurring dilemma be implemented by adding unequivocal verbiage to the SHB?

 

The ROC has historically balked about adding to the SHB. However, when a "safety rule" is continually ignored or misunderstood, the time has come to clarify it in writing.

Edited by Allie Mo, SASS No. 25217
added words
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