Information for the new shooter


Time Commitments:

Sign-up starts at 9:00am, there is a shooters meeting to go over safety rules at 9:30, announcements and then break up into Posse's of 8-20 shooters each, with shooting beginning at 10:00am. The matches usually last about 5 - 6 hours, yet this depends on the number of stages, the number of shooters and how fast each posse proceeds through the stages. It is not unheard of to get home from a match at 2:00pm. Often a group will go out after for Lunch / Dinner to a local eatery.


At the Renton range, it is best to bring water and a lunch with you to the range. There is no drinking water at the site and lunch is rarely provided. Refreshments and snacks are available for sale back at the club house once it opens.

I will attempt to address some of the basic information about Cowboy Action Shooting here, but it is only meant to get the basics. It is best to read up on the equipment and safety rules provided by SASS (Single Action Shooters Society) in their SASS Handbook. In it you will find more detailed information than what I've provided here plus information on how to pick out an "alias".

Ammunition Requirements

The amount of ammunition required varies from month to month, but if you bring 150 centerfire rounds and 50 shotgun rounds you'll have enough to shoot the match.
Revolver and rifle ammunition may not be jacketed, semi-jacketed, plated, gas checked or copper washed. It must be all lead.
Velocities are relatively low:
Pistols - up to 1,000fps
Rifles - up to 1,400fps
Shotguns - No magnum loads - Renton requires #6 lead shot or smaller (no steel shot)

For a full explanation,see the SASS Handbook.

Many gun shops in the area carry Cowboy Ammunition, Pinto's in Kent (email Pinto's), The Marksman in Puyallup and Wade's in Bellevue. Call first to be sure.


Equipment and Shooter Categories


Shooters are divided into three basic types of categories: Age based, Shooting style based, and Costume based.

Age based currently has Juniors (under 16), Cowboys (any age), Wrangler (age 36+), 49er (49+), Seniors (60+), Silver Senior (65+), Elder Statesman (70+). These allow one gun out at a time, shot two handed or one handed.

A woman may enter any of those categories, or often a Ladies only equivelent of them, is available.

Pistol shooting style can also define your category. One handed shooters have either duelist (one gun at a time shot strong handed), or Double Duelist (left gun left hand and right gun right hand), both with only one gun out at a time. Then there is two guns out at once (Gunfighter).

Costumes are required in all categories, but some categories are a little easier to fit into then others. To get started, you'll need at least a long sleeve shirt, leather boots, simple denim pants. Hats are not required except two categories, but you'll want one to keep the weather from getting to you, and keep people from heckeling you too much. Some things are not allowed ie. ball caps and tennis shoes.

Classic Cowboy, and B-Western are the two heavy hitters for the costume police. See the rules for their requirements.

For a full explanation of the rules see the SASS Handbook.


Pistols must be single action revolvers designed before 1899, or any reproduction thereof. Most common are Colts SAA and their replicas, and several models from Ruger.
- Must be in a "pistol" caliber, .32 cal. or larger. Most common 38spl/.357 & 45 Colt.
- Adjustable or fixed sight are allowed in all but a few categories.
- Velocities up to 1,000fps.

For a full explanation of the rules see the SASS Handbook.


Rifles must be lever or slide action, tubular feed, exposed hammer rifle or carbine designed before 1899, or any reproduction thereof. Most common Marlin 1894, and Winchester 1873 and 1892.
- .25 Caliber or larger. Most common are 38spl/.357 & 45 Colt.
- Must be in a "pistol" caliber.
- Open iron sights or original style, tang mounted peep sights.
- Velocities up to 1,400fps.

For a full explanation of the rules see the SASS Handbook.



Shotguns must be single shot, or side by side typical of the era (1860-1899) without automatic ejectors, with or without external hammers, with single or double triggers. Also any lever action or pump shotgun with an exposed hammer (e.g. Win. Modes 1887 or 1897, or their descendants).
- Must be between 10 gauge and 20 gauge
- Barrels must be over 18" in length
- No magnum loads

- #6 low base lead shot or smaller (no steel shot)
- Pump and lever action shotguns are allowed to load no more than two rounds at a time unless specified in the stage description.
- Extractors are legal (they pull the cases about 1/4 inch out of the barrels)
- Ejectors are not legal (they launch the cases out of the barrels)

For a full explanation of the rules see the SASS Handbook.

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