Transitions

In a SASS event, nothing is more important that how you transition from one gun to another during a stage. Most shooters (myself included) lose more time in their transitions than they do in misses (which count as a five second penalty). If you could add up all the time spent transitioning from your rifle to your pistol and to your shot gun, you’d see that you actually spend more time in transitions that in actual shooting. That’s why the very best shooters practice their transitions more than just about anything else.

Coach Gun

Coach Gun – Groesbeck, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens hand held. The exposure was taken at 75mm, f/8 for 1/400th of a second at ISO 200. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5 using Nik’s Color Efex Pro filters.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

 

Transitioning to Shot Gun Sequence
Click on the images below for larger versions.

Transition A

Transition B

Transition C

Transition D

Transition E

Transition F

Shooting with the Old Fort Parker Patriots

Old Fort Parker Patriots

 

Another Match / A New Club
A few months ago the folks that run The Old Fort Parker Patriots in Groesbeck, Texas invited me to join them for their next monthly match. I’d heard lots of good things about this SASS club and decided to take the long drive north from Sugar Land to the green pastures of Groesbeck, Texas.

The Old Fort Parker Patriots is a SASS affiliated club that shoots at historic Old Fort Parker, the former homestead of the pioneer Parker Family and Cynthia Ann Parker. The monthly match is held the third full weekend of each month and the drive north from Houston covers some beautiful East Texas scenery.

The Winchester 1873 Rifle

Winchester 1873 Rifle – Groesbeck, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens hand held. The exposure was taken at 105mm, f/8 for 1/250th of a second at ISO 200. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5 using Nik’s Color Efex Pro filters.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

 

More Friendly Faces
This was the largest match I’ve shot in and although I didn’t place very well, I had a great time and really enjoyed the stage designs and how well the match was run. I saw many familiar faces and was once again, warmly welcomed by everyone there.

Shooter's Meeting at Fort Parker

Shooters Meeting – Groesbeck, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens hand held. The exposure was taken at 32mm, f/10 for 1/125th of a second at ISO 200. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5 using Nik’s Color Efex Pro filters.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

 

Great Shooters
I was very impressed by the caliber of shooters I faced at this match and I can honestly say that being beat by a thirteen year old boy and an eighty five year old man was the most fun I’ve had in years! I learned more about cowboy action shooting during that beautiful Saturday morning than I ever thought possible and enjoyed watching the technique and skills of these fine shootists.

Six Shooter

Six Shooter – Groesbeck, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens hand held. The exposure was taken at 75mm, f/8 for 1/400th of a second at ISO 200. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5 using Nik’s Color Efex Pro filters.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

 

Food, Fun & Guns

Cowboy Action Shooting is much more than just another shooting sport. Yes, we keep score and the competition can be quite stiff at the State or Regional level, but cowboy shooters always compete with a positive and friendly attitude.

The folks that get involved in cowboy action shooting are truly a different breed. They are generally conservative in nature, always respectful and never let their ego get the best of them. Cowboy action shooters are warm, friendly and honest. They are the type of folks that have many friends, few enemies and believe in God and country. Folks that you’d be proud to call friend.

Shooter’s Meeting
Each match begins with the shooter’s meeting and here in Texas we stand tall, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and Honor the Texas flag. We also pray together for a safe and fun filled match.

Shooter's Meeting

Shooter’s Meeting – Willow Hole Cowboys, Texas
Copyright © 2011 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L USM lens hand held. The exposure was taken at 24mm, f/10 for 1/30th of a second at ISO 200. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

 

The Posse System
Everyone that participates in a cowboy action shooting match is expected to be part of the “posse” when not loading or shooting. Safety is our number one priority and everyone is a range officer. One member of the posse will also man the loading table to make sure folks safely load the correct number of rounds for the stage. In cowboy action shooting, we never holster or stage a weapon with a live round in the chamber and the posse member that mans the loading table plays a vital role in our sport.

Another vital member of the posse is the “Timer” as shown in the image below. This member of the posse stands the closest to the shooter and watches every move he or she makes during the stage to insure everyone’s safety. In cowboy action shooting under SASS rules, the Timer is the shooter’s best friend during the 30 or so seconds of live fire.

There are also three independent “Counters” in a SASS match. Each has the responsibility to count “misses” and “procedurals”. The three Counters along with the Timer keep track of how a shooter is doing during a stage. They are also there for the safety of everyone involved and most folks will help out a shooter if he or she looks to be confused about the order of fire or type of sweep being called for.

Reload Time

Reload Time – Willow Hole Cowboys, Texas
Copyright © 2011 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L USM lens hand held. The exposure was taken at 80mm, f/8 for 1/125th of a second at ISO 200. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

 

Friendship and Fellowship
Many SASS clubs will offer a picnic style lunch after the match. This is where folks can relax after a match, enjoy some good food and get to know they’re fellow shooters a little better. It’s also a great time for newbies to learn from the more experienced shooters.

What a great way to spend a Saturday or Sunday morning!

Food & Fun

Food & Fun – Willow Hole Cowboys, Texas
Copyright © 2011 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L USM lens hand held. The exposure was taken at 24mm, f/9 for 1/125th of a second at ISO 200. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

Willow Hole Cowboys Sweetheart Match – February 25th

Willow Hole Cowboys Logo

Sweetheart Match This Saturday!

The Willow Hole Cowboys are hosting their Sweetheart Match this Saturday at 9:30 AM and it’s a match you won’t want to miss! Bristlecone Jan and the other gals have designed six of the most interesting stages you ever see at a single SASS event with plenty of challenges for even the most experienced shooters.

Come join us for a fun-filled Saturday in beautiful North Zulch, Texas. The weather looks to be darn near perfect. Bring your sweetheart or just give Jan a big hug after the match. Lunch will be provided and there’s even an interesting side match scheduled for the afternoon. Spend Saturday with a great bunch of folks, have some good eats and tons of fun.

PS: Bring an extra box of shot shells just in case. I also recommend a strong cup of coffee in the morning. You’ll need your wits about you for these stages.

Bristlecone Jan

Bristlecone Jan – North Zulch, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens hand held. The exposure was taken at 105mm, f/8 for 1/160th of a second at ISO 200. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5 using Nik’s Color Efex Pro filters.
Click on the image above for a larger version. You may want to print this image of Jan and use it for a target after the match.

Lady Shootist

Don’t let anyone tell you that cowboy action shooting is just for old men. I’ve seen several young ladies at recent matches that beat the pants off the men. There’s just something about a woman and a lever action rifle that stirs the blood.

Just kidding ma’am. 😉

Lady Shootist

Lady Shootist – Magnolia, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens hand held. The exposure was taken at 105mm, f/8 for 1/160th of a second at ISO 200. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5 using Nik’s Color Efex Pro filters.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

Sharps Shooter

Sharps

Sharps Shooter – Magnolia, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens hand held. The exposure was taken at 105mm, f/8 for 1/200th of a second at ISO 200. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5 using Nik’s Color Efex Pro filters.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

 

Sharps Shooter Sequence
Click on the images below for larger versions.

Sharps Sequence A

Sharps Sequence B

Sharps Sequence C

Sharps Sequence D

Slow and Steady

A Cold Start
I shot my third SASS match with the great folks at Thunder River Renegades in Magnolia, Texas last weekend. The day started out bitterly cold and most folks wore their normal costumes with authentic 19th century long underwear or old west “dusters” to keep them warm. My heavy canvas range coat and lambskin gloves were just enough to keep me from freezing until the sun came out and began to warm us all up a bit.

I’ve never shot a match in forty degree weather before and my fingers were chilled to the bone during the first few stages. It’s a strange feeling to grasp a freezing cold single action pistol and each round that I fired jolted my hands and arms. The first shotgun round I put down range jammed the Stoeger’s butt-plate deep into my shoulder and felt like I’d been kicked by a mule. I shot the first stage “clean” (no misses or procedural errors) but felt like I was moving through molasses.

Hammer

Hammer – Magnolia, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens hand held. The exposure was taken at 105mm, f/8 for 1/80th of a second at ISO 200. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5 using Nik’s Color Efex Pro filters.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

 

Warming Up
There are no “warm up” stages in cowboy action shooting so everyone greets the first stage with the same sense of trepidation (for me it’s still terror, for others just nerves). On a cold February morning like this I knew I had to go “slow and steady” until my muscles (and mind) began to thaw out. I began to understand why the Civil War slowed down so much in the winter. I’m sure most Confederate soldiers hated fighting during those long winter months when just shooting your rifle in that bitter cold hurt like hell.

Speed

Speed – Magnolia, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens hand held. The exposure was taken at 95mm, f/8 for 1/20th of a second at ISO 200. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5 using Nik’s Color Efex Pro filters.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

 

Speed or Accuracy
I would love to be one of the many fine shooters I saw last weekend that could shoot both quickly and accurately but my days of being “fast on my feet” are long gone. I decided to see if a slow and steady course of fire would serve me better and shot four of the six stages clean with only one miss in each of the other two stages. After my nerved racked performance last month I was overjoyed to see my match “rank” climb into the bottom third of the group. I was also quite surprised to see that my overall time was not much slower than that of my previous match. Best of all, I had shaved off almost two minutes by shooting each stage as cleanly as possible.

Straight Shooting

Straight Shooting – Magnolia, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens hand held. The exposure was taken at 105mm, f/8 for 1/125th of a second at ISO 200. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5 using Nik’s Color Efex Pro filters.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

 

Reload

Reload – Magnolia, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens hand held. The exposure was taken at 105mm, f/8 for 1/200th of a second at ISO 200. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5 using Nik’s Color Efex Pro filters.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

 

Intensity

Intensity – Magnolia, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens hand held. The exposure was taken at 105mm, f/8 for 1/200th of a second at ISO 200. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5 using Nik’s Color Efex Pro filters.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

 

Enjoying Myself Completely
I guess my nerves have settling down a bit since I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of last weekend’s match with the fine folks at Thunder River Renegades. There’s nothing better than getting together with fifty friends to enjoy a bit of outdoor fun and competition.

Next weekend, Bristlecone Jan has something special planned for us at the Willow Hole Cowboys match in North Zulch, Texas. Having the ladies design the stages should add an interesting twist to our colorful sport. Can’t wait to get some photos of her to post. I’ve taken so many images of Fairplay John’s great costumes and black-powder shooting that it seems only right to embarrass Jan just a little. 😉

Where There’s Smoke . . .

Photographing the “black powder” shooters in action is a treat. These replicas of 1873 Winchester rifles shoot black powder cartridges reminiscent of the days before “smokeless” (modern) gun powder was invented. The percussion “open-top” pistols are even more interesting since there is no modern “cartridge” as we know it. Just a cap, ball and black powder! KaBoom…

Hammer Down

Hammer Down – North Zulch, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens hand held. The exposure was taken at 105mm, f/7.1 for 1/160th of a second at ISO 400. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5 using Nik’s Color Efex Pro filters.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

 

Smoke

Smoke – North Zulch, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens hand held. The exposure was taken at 70mm, f/7.1 for 1/320th of a second at ISO 400. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5 using Nik’s Color Efex Pro filters.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

 

Shooting Duelist

Duelist – North Zulch, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens hand held. The exposure was taken at 73mm, f/7.1 for 1/160th of a second at ISO 400. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5 using Nik’s Color Efex Pro filters.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

 

No Place for Old Men?

Don’t Bet On It!

Don’t let anyone tell you that cowboy action shooting is for “old men”. I shot this six image sequence at 3.9 frames per second. This old cowboy drew from his holster and fired the first shot (a hit) in less than 2 seconds. That’s a darn good time even for a much younger man shooting a semi automatic pistol in IDPA or USPSA competition and this was a single-action revolver!

Sequence 1

Sequence 2

Sequence 3

Sequence 4

Sequence 5

Sequence 6

Willow Hole Cowboys – North Zulch, Texas

Willow Hole Cowboys Logo

 

Another Match / A New Club
I hadn’t planned on shooting another match so soon after a short but painful bought of food poisoning Thursday but by Saturday afternoon I was feeling better and decided to drive North Sunday morning to shoot with the Willow Hole Cowboys. The WHC is a SASS club located in North Zulch, Texas between Bryan and Madisonville. It’s a 2-1/2 hour drive on a quiet Sunday morning, through some of the most beautiful countryside in East Texas. The town of Zulch boasts a rich history dating back to the late 1830’s and the club takes its name from the original Willow Hole Church that existed up till the 1950’s.

I arrived at the Willow Hole Cowboys range early to see Fairplay John and his lovely wife Bristlecone Jan, whom I’d met earlier at the Thunder River Renegades in Magnolia. I was feeling very nervous about shooting at a new club and seeing these two friendly faces really helped calm the butterflies in my stomach. As I’ve said before, the people in this shooting sport are some of the most warm and friendly you could ever hope to meet. I got my cart all setup and walked up to pay and saw the familiar hat (and face) of Baba Looey, the gentleman I photographed at TRR during my first match two weeks ago.

Winchester 1897 Shotgun in Action

Winchester 97 Shotgun in Action – North Zulch, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens hand held. The exposure was taken at 95mm, f/7.1 for 1/125th of a second at ISO 400. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

 

Friendly Faces
I wandered around the range looking over the stages when Jan (seeing my nervousness) grabbed my arm and introduced me to the real “Willow Hole Cowboys”: Walter Durbin, DefWillie, Doc Bury’Em, Dealin’ Lead, Red River Mac, Lonesome Lefty, Rooster, Chato, Texican Slim, Yellertooth and One Shot Doc. I could tell that these were some serious shooters with years of experience. After a few minutes of introductions and small talk, Walter Durbin the “Range Master” went through the day’s schedule, rules and safety reminders including a story about a gun being dropped during Saturday’s match.

We proceeded to the first stage and I thought “Oh Lord, Please don’t let me screw up in front of these fine folks”. I swear I felt like a thousand butterflies were darting through my stomach until one shooter looked me square in the face and said, “I wonder how many times you’ve got to do this before the butterflies go away?”. Wow! That simple question coming from an experienced shooter did more to get me through that first stage than I ever thought possible and even though I missed almost every target (6 misses in my first twenty shots) I got through those “first stage jitters”. I must have looked like a frightened schoolboy on the first day of class and Jan graciously came over to me and said “Breathe”.

Intense Concentration

Intense Concentration – North Zulch, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens hand held. The exposure was taken at 85mm, f/7.1 for 1/160th of a second at ISO 400. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

 

Skill & Speed
The match progressed through the first few stages before I finally relaxed down enough to shoot straight and began to enjoy myself. I spent a lot of time watching the other shooters’ form and strategy and it was a real pleasure to see some great shooting with a variety of different firearms. Let me tell you, these folks can put an 1873 lever-action rifle through its paces faster and smoother than I’d ever thought possible.

I also saw some long distance (Cody-Dixon) rifle shooting that amazed me. It was awesome to see a vintage lever-action rifle hit a six inch steel target at 100 yards with nothing more than a semi-buckhorn sight. John Chisum or Lucas McCain would have been proud to hit such a mark!

Black Powder and Orange Smoke

Black Powder and Orange Smoke – North Zulch, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens hand held. The exposure was taken at 85mm, f/7.1 for 1/160th of a second at ISO 400. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

 

Great Action / Wonderful Color
The black powder pistols and rifles were especially interesting to watch. I’d never seen one up close before and FairPlay John’s matched set of percussion pistols were gorgeous. I got my camera out and came away with some wonderful action shots of this colorful sport as you can see here. Combining my passion for photography with such a great subject such as cowboy shooting is going to be a real challenge for me. I enjoy capturing this shooting sport and sharing my work with y’all but I “itch” to grab my own guns whenever I see one of these “old pros” step up to shoot a stage!

Many Thanks
I had a great time shooting with the Willow Hole Cowboys and truly appreciate their friendly advice and coaching of this newcomer. I look forward to seeing y’all again next month and around this part of Texas!