Shooting USA – Cowboy Action World Championship
Shooting USA goes west for the World Championship at End of Trail. It’s the cowboy shooting best competing for titles in New Mexico. Plus, the rifle that won the West. The Winchester 73 is one of History’s Guns.
End of Trail
The World Championship of Cowboy Action Shooting at End of Trail has been the Single Action Shooting Society’s biggest event of the year for more than three decades. It is why hundreds of men and women from across the world dress up like Hollywood’s version of Old West characters, and shoot six guns, lever-action rifles, and shotguns each year in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The event is part shooting competition, part family reunion, and part Wild West jubilee.
“The oldest saying in the book here is, people come for the shooting, and they stay for the people,” says SASS Member Frederick Jackson Turner.
In 35 years, SASS has signed up more than 100,000 members, 600 of whom this year tackle the cowboy stages at End of Trail. SASS CEO Misty Miller, known by her alias Misty Moonshine, says one-third of members are now women and children, thanks to the cowgirls who wanted to shoot with the cowboys.
“When Cowboy Action Shooting was first envisioned 35 years ago, it was a group of guys that got together, that had a love for the wild west films and guns of the Old West, and they were having such a great time that they wanted to have the wives come along and play, too, so they could keep playing,” says Misty Moonshine.
Competition in SASS is divided into many divisions, based on age, equipment, and style of shooting, which means many competitors will leave End of Trail with the title “World Champion” in their category, but only one will win the biggest title as the Overall World Champion.
History’s Guns: The Winchester ‘73
Oliver Winchester first put his name on a lever action repeater in 1866. It was really an improved Henry, but his next generation lever gun, the Model 1873, was a design that would stand the test of time – it’s also the rifle many shoot at End of Trail.
“It’s definitely a piece of American history,” says Robbie Roberts, Curator of the NRA’s Whittington Center Museum in New Mexico. “It was extremely popular with the outlaws, the good guys, law enforcement, the sheriffs and the Indians.”
Firebird TAC-12 with Bushnell TRS-25 HiRise
In multi-gun and tactical shotgun competition, the trend in the open division continues to shift to the magazine-fed shotgun, and Firebird Precision out of New Mexico has the answer. Firebird uses the Turkish-made MKA-1919 platform to create what they call the TAC-12. It’s driven by a gas piston system, and that makes it reliable with birdshot, buckshot and slugs, exactly the mix of ammunition you’ll see in competition. The barrel accepts Winchester thread-pattern chokes, and the controls are AR-inspired. The lower receiver is billet aluminum and is also designed to accept AR grips and stocks.
John mounted a Bushnell TRS-25 red dot on the TAC-12’s full-length picatinny rail. Though magazine-fed shotguns are notorious for wrecking red dot sights, the scope has been in reliable service for more than 500 rounds. The Bushnell TRS-25 HiRise costs around $100, and the Firebird Tac 12 is $2,400.
Firebird Product Link
Bushnell Scope Link
Hogue Laser Grip
Hogue is out with high-quality laser grips for classic 1911s. The LE Grip, meaning Laser Enhanced, uses Hogue’s popular over-molded material. That material has made 1911s controllable and comfortable for years, only now the grip has laser activation under your middle finger. Sighting the laser is just as simple. Adjustments can be made with a tiny Allen wrench that is included with the package. Suggested retail is around $190.
Pro Tip: Max Michel on Recoil Management
Managing recoil is key to fast and accurate shooting.That results in quicker follow-up shots and target transitions. So, it’s no surprise the World Speed Shooting Champion knows how it’s done. Max Michel shows us his techniques to manage recoil.
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NRA Membership Offer: Jim Pays $10 when you join the NRA through the Shooting USA website.