Gun Club’s ‘Cowboy Action Shooting’

Dave “Doc Holiday” MacDonald geared up for a Cowboy Action Shooting Competition.

Mike Moss

The most recent Gun Club monthly meeting featured another in our series of presentations from our members, as this month our own gunslinger extraordinaire David “Doc Holliday” MacDonald shared his passion with his fellow club members, teaching us all about “Cowboy Action Shooting.”

Dave is a legit “Frontier Cartridge Gunfighter,” one of the SASS (Single Action Shooting Society) official Cowboy Action Shooting categories. Dave shared the origins of his hobby, from his childhood days of Western TV and movie stars—“Hoppy,” Gene, and Roy, who inspired him to want to be a cowboy and to learn how to “quick draw.” Turns out, he wasn’t alone, though few others likely had their own Have Gun Will Travel business cards made as Dave did! An entire national sporting activity grew around folks like Dave who loved the firearms of the Old West, bringing that love together with the entertainment and camaraderie of competition. Lest you think this is just a “western thing,” Dave got his start with the Hole-In-The-Foot Gang back in New Jersey. Dave explained what’s behind Cowboy Action Shooting, from the “uniform” to the firearms.

He then walked us through a day’s competition. The shooting competition is staged in a unique, characterized, Old West style. Contestants, adorned in the official uniform of boots, cowboy hat, Levi’s, and a long-sleeve shirt, shoot vintage firearms in several four-firearm stages in which they engage steel targets in a specifically designed scenario and shooting sequence. Revolver forms include the traditional two-handed, the one-handed “Dualist,” and the one-handed “Gunfighter,” plus rifle and shotgun components. While the average stage time is 20 to 40 seconds, Dave left us with a completely mind-blowing video demonstration of a young, nationally-recognized Cowboy Action Shooting Star, Matt Black, and his “8.45 seconds” video, in which Matt shoots 10 shots from a lever-action rifle, five from each of two revolvers (drawing each from a holster and firing five rounds each) and four from a double-barrel shotgun, including the reload—in 8.45 seconds! Yes, 8.45 seconds. We had to replay the video twice, because no one could believe it!

After his captivating presentation, we all understood what Dave meant when he said, “We come for the history, the costuming, and the shooting, but we stay for the people.”

The mission of our Robson Ranch Gun Club is to provide an opportunity and forum for our members to meet, share their interest in firearms, participate in various forms of shooting sports, and provide a learning environment for all skill levels of firearm ownership and uses. Our monthly meeting is the second Tuesday of the month at 1 p.m. in the clubhouse. Safety is always our primary concern and is a shared responsibility of each member.

For more information, please contact Club President Larry Hampton at [email protected] or Vice President Mike Moss at [email protected].