Wednesday, January 18, 2006

More Cowboy Bad News...

...and it's not about Brokeback Mountain.

My little cherubs and seraphim tell me that the Winchester 94 isn't the only cowboy gun getting ready to vanish. The cherubs orbiting around Marlin tell me that the Cowboy Competition .38 Special rifle, which was designed specifically for cowboy action shooting competition with input from COWBOYS host Richard "Tequlia" Young, will be taking the Long Sleep. Lack of sales.

This follows Ruger's dropping of the .32 H&R Vaqueros, which were always launched straight at new cowboy shooters, last year. BTW, my Sweetie, Indiana Jackson, shoots a pair of the little Rugers, and they are wonderful guns!

Now, you might say that the disappearances are nothing more than the huge diversity of replica cowboy guns now available, and, yes, there's something to that. However, some of my other seraphim are telling me that the clonemakers aren't exactly dancing in the street, either.

Here's what I — Wolf Bane, SASS 13557 — think...feel free to ignore it. Shooting is the engine that drives cowboy action shooting and the whole cowboy revivalism "culture." However, the cowboys got greedy. They started thinking how much larger a market they could attract if they focused on dress-up rather than shooting competitions. They also noticed that the dress-up contingent was older, and far more affluent, than those pesky shooters. So in too many venues, the "shooting" became secondary to the "culture."

Here's a flash, ain't working!

Dress up is inherently limited. The only thing that allowed cowboy dress up to work was the GUNS (there I go's the guns, stupid!). The dress up side of the community is generating exactly NO new participants. None. Nada. Zip. The Powers-That-Be in cowboy need to stop agonizing over friggin' boot styles, wake up and smell the gun oil! There's still time, but the clock is running...

BTW, I started cowboy action shooting because, duh, I love the heck out of the guns. Lever guns, single action revolvers, double-barrel and pump 'em to death! Glad to have an excuse to use 'em and buy more of them. I don't mind dressing in cowboy drag — I live in the West; I can wear cowboy stuff every day and fit in. But get rid of the guns, and all of a sudden you're back to Brokeback Mountain, lettin' this thang git a'hold of us!

It goes bang, or it goes away!


Anonymous said...

A few years ago, when SASS started their Las Vegas Convention, and then the SASS Family Reunion, and the SASS Riverboat trip, I predicted a time would come when SASS would start to look at the money and how to scoop more money from SASS members.

As they have lost sight of their reason for being, argued over how to somehow preserve SASS, they are as responsible as anyone for any declines.

A top SASS executive told me once that SASS doesn't really benefit from Junior programs because they don't have enough money.

When lead in ammunition came under fire, held an international meeting on this, SASS wasn't there.

In fact although SASS was part of WFSA, now they are content to sit back and let others lead.

SASS offered a neat new idea for family sport, but it seems to have lost its footing.


Anonymous said...

I am not currently a SASS member.

I have thought that Cowboy Shooting looked like fun.

The guns look like fun. The shooting looks like fun.

But I am not prepared to go out and drop more on a cowboy wardrobe than I would on a good gun.

That's the thing that keeps me from taking the SASS plunge.

To be completely honest the whole "cowboy culture" thing doesn't interest me one bit...the guns and the shooting interest me.

But the whole dressing up, and callin' strangers "pard" thing just....just.....well.....

Let me say this much. I hate musicals, too. Especially elaborate costume musicals.


P.S. Oh, and any "shooting sport" that chooses to ignore juniors because there isn't enough "money" in juniors is signing its own death warrant in its own blood.

Anonymous said...

have you been to a match yet? I am getting into CAS now and I went to watch one last year to see if I thought I would like it.

Some of them had really neat costumes but not all. Having an expensive outfit isnt a "requirement" but you do have to have jeans, long sleeve shirt, boots and hat. There were quite a few people there who didnt spend alot of $ on their clothes.

If I do all that it will be a little at a time. They were the nicest bunch of people I have probly ever seen. There were all age groups from 12 yr. old kids to 60 yr. old women.

Dont let the clothes hold you back!

I hate for winchester to go out of business but I (like alot of guys) cant afford to buy every gun you want or even a new one.



Anonymous said...

I have been trying to buy a Marlin Cowboy for 8 months. Can`t find one. I have been a member of S.A.S.S. for a year and can see some of their problems. I spent $1500 on guns and $1000 on clothes. Shooting is getting to be secondary.

Anonymous said...

When the Cowboy Competition came out they told us it was competition ready. It wasn't. It cost more than the regular Cowboy and, in reality, offered only the case hardened receiver over the standard Cowboy. The standard Cowboy was cut to 20" to match it.

Thus there was no real reason for any of us to buy the Competition model. I'll bet Cowboy sales are still healthy.

It has nothing to do with clothing. Additionally anyone who spends more than $100 for start-up clothing is either mis-informed or doing it because he wants to. As mentioned above, a $10 hat, blue jeans, work shirt, and $59 Ropers works for a lot of shooters, some of whom have been in the sport for years.

The Ruger .32s probably saturated their market. I've been testing the .32 H & R Marlin Cowboy for the Cowboy Chronicle, and I don't see it as an advantage. Yes, you can make it very low recoil, but you can with a .38, and the .38 has a loading gate. The .32 is a pain to load. The Ruger .32, because of its weight, has more recoil impulse than a .38 in a standard framed SAA or New Vaquero. Additionally most guys won't shoot the .32s because of peer pressure. The small framed guns, the Cimarron Ligtning, and the Ruger .32, are pretty much limited to women and children as a target market.

.38 special is still the most versatile cartridge in CAS.

New Vaqueros are hard to find. 73 short rifles are hard to find. 97 clones are selling. The 5.5" Ruger Old Army has sold out until they make another batch.

It's not the clothes. It's the product. If the Cowboy Competition had really been competition ready, it would have been worth the money. If you see Marlin dropping the regular Cowboys, the .38s and .45s, then either SASS is in trouble, or Marlin is, or both.

Anonymous said...

I was also real interested in joining SASS and cowboy shooting, until I seen some of the pictures from events held in magazines and their sample newspaper. To me, I love western guns and shooting. I don't mind dressing cowboy. But authentic period is ridiculous when I see pictures with people having on Rolexes, cell phone, quick reload shotgun shell holders on their gun belts, or modern jewlery.
Cowboy shooting should be just that, fun and competition. Not cheating with a quick reloaders, or using shotguns without exposed hammers because it slows down the competitor chances of winning. Yet, the Sass dictates holsters style, period costumes, guns, rifles, and shotguns. Yet ignores watches, cell phones, or other intrusions in the image they want to convey.
When an organization comes along that wants to really get into cowboy shooting and fun, I will join. So if one week I want to put my drop holster on and straw cowboy hat, and reach into my vest or pants pocket to pull out some shells to reload my shotgun, it will be fun and real, not cheating. Lets have some cowboy fun again.

Anonymous said...

SASS and other present clubs need to strenghten their rules for fun, family unity. I went to a recent shoot and could not believe the over-a-bundances of .357 and .38 calibers being in competition. I did not see a single 44-40 nor .45 being fired. I asked a competitor on this. I was told "to much recoil". So fun is out, winning is in. "Son, if you want to compete, get yourself a .357 and load it down, otherwise your wasting lead to win." I also agree about the snap on shotshell holders, how ridiculous these look. I was also told "don't get a hammer shotgun, it'll slow you down cocking." SASS is losing its appeal as cowboy period shooting, and just another gun club. In a few years you'll probable see automatic Mauser broomhandles that came out in 1896 a year before the 1897 rifles and shotguns. And yes, some range cowboys did have the new fangle automatics. Maybe, the Tom Mix's and Roy and Gene's were more cowboy then the present batch at these events. And, yes, I would like to see a club start up with more correct weapons and time periods.

Anonymous said...

SASS is still about shooting, yes, some of us do go kinda overboard on the dress end, but it's just what floats your own boat. There's just as many at local matches that are dressed to the bare minimum as far as clothes, etc.. The big dress up events are optional, not mandatory!
There is another old west group out there that does stress period correct clothing and guns , AND is a lot stricter than SASS about it. This is NCOWS.
As far as the smaller calibers goes, with some it's not the speed or competition/winning. It's affordability. .38's are a heck of a lot cheaper to shoot than the bigger calibers, especially if you're restricted to having to buy ammo to shoot. .38's are $11-$15 a box, .45's or 44-40's or 38-40's are $20 - $35 a box! At 100 or so rounds in a monthly match, or, 250-300+ at an annual on the club level, that's a big chunk of dough to put out, and even more if there's family members shooting as well.
Myself, I shoot three different calibers in rotation. .45Colt, 38-40, and .38 Specs., and my wife shoots .38's as well because that's the round she can safely handle.
Come on out to a local match around you, see for yourself. It's not all big bucks stuff on the local level.

Anonymous said...

I don't belong to SASS, I belong to CMSA (Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association) I don't see how you can spend so much money on clothing. I grew up on a cattle and horse ranch in Wyoming (NO I haven't seen BrokeBack Mountain and Won't either) and most of the stuff I wear for day to day is cheaper than most clothing. I buy it because I wear the stuff daily. My hats, boots, and belts are expensive, but your can buy a hat for under $100, boots from $100, jeans for $35 (Wahmakers are more), and Wrangler makes a no collar shirt for $40. You dont need to buy 100x Resistol that cost $600-$100, Luchasse boots for $300. If you aren't going to wear the stuff but for the shoots, why spend the money. I buy high quality hats and boots, because I wear them everyday for work and I need them to last.

Anonymous said...

Hay Gang ... SASS & Cowboy Action Shooting is for everyone. Young, old, juniors & Buckaroos, Seniors & Elder Statesmen.
The primary focus is SHOOTING, Fun & Safety. Sure some are competative and some just shoot to have fun. I cant win, I shoot the Holy Black with full loads in 44/40 ... can't see a dang thing after the first shot. But you should see the fire & brimstone .... FUN.
There is a place for every one ... my grand son shoots .22's, my wife shoots .38's ... she tried .45's but didn't ike the recoil.
Dressing up is fun .. ya should see the underware shoot in Muncey Valley, PA. What a hoot ...
CAS shooting is anything you want it to be ... what ever your budget will allow and your imagination can concieve.
Ya don't have to go crazy with costumes ... look at Evil Roy ... He has one outfit that he uses for all; shooting, banquets, and the SASS Convention.
If you ain't into SASS then it's ya own fault ... Your missing a lot of fun and friendship.
Scalawag Joe 39610L - New York

Dream Steam said...

For the record, you can put your shotgun shells in your pockets and pull them out to load, in some competitions, as long as doing so does not create and unsafe condition with your gun (waving it around and pointing it at people/violating safety rules).
It will just take longer. The shell belts I have and have seen everyone else using are not "fast loading" belts, they just hold a few shells for quicker/safer loading than from pockets. Ammo *dropped* on the ground or on a table during a stage is considered to be dead for the same safety reasons. Last weekend, my club did a stage where we loaded our first few shotgun shells from a box that we held in our hands at the beep, as a part of a scenario. From what I can see, CAS is all about safe fun. I cannot speak for every club everywhere, but the people involved that I have met are safety conscious, friendly and fun. And I am a woman, even. =p Show up, wear the long-sleeved shirt (requirement often waived during summertime here in the southeast, so short sleeves are okay with some clubs), boots, jeans, and a hat, and shoot! People are thrilled to let you borrow guns if you need to. It is all about the shooting if we MAKE it about the shooting.

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