You Make the Call



I will be offering some rules issues for discussion from time to time. I will pose several questions for you to consider the answers and then see how your answers compare with the latest rulings by the Wild Bunch, SASS RO committee or other sources.

High Noon Henry


        May, You Make the Call

1)  Shooter is supposed to shoot his rifle first, but instead pulls his first pistol and cocks it and then stops. Can the shooter safely decock the pistol and get a restart, since no round has gone down range?

The shooter can decock his pistol in this scenario. He must first ask the Timer Operator then he can fire the pistol downrange after permission is granted.

2)  Alternative, same situation as with #1., with rifle being first but shooter instead pulls his pistol by mistake, cocks it, fires it and has a squib. Can shooter get a restart?

The shooter is a very lucky person, in this scenario the shooter gets a reshoot since no round has exited the barrel.

3)  Shooter is shooting a pistol string and while doing so, one round does not fire. Shooter proceeds to go around the cylinder and refires the round but it still does not go down range. Shooter then loads a round from his person into the empty chamber and fires and hits the last target in the proper sequence. Is this legal?

Yes this is legal. Shooter needs to make sure the hammer is down on a fired round when complete and if he does nothing after firing the just loaded round he hammer/cylinder should be in the correct position.

4)  Is it legal to move with a loaded pistol pointed safely downrange by SASS Rules?

As long as the shooter keeps the gun pointed downrange and does not cock the pistol until his feet are planted at the new location, he can move with the pistol.

5)  A male shooter is 66 years old, shooting adjustable sight revolvers, how many different categories might he choose to enter shooting smokeless powder?

I count 9 categories: B Western, Gunfighter, Duelist, Senior Duelist, Cowboy, Wrangler, 49er, Senior, and Silver Senior.

6)  Can a shooter use a 22 Magnum caliber derringer for derringer side matches?

No a 22 Mag caliber derringer cannot be used in a derringer side match. It is interesting that 22 caliber is allowed but not magnum caliber in 22.

7)  Does a spotter have to see or hear a hit?

Spotter should be looking for misses. If spotter does not see or hear a hit and does not also see a miss, it is a hit.




July, You make the call?

1)  Shooter is instructed that he has 4 shotgun targets to knock down. One of the shotgun targets does not fall. When may the shooter reshoot the target that did not fall, immediately, after he shoots at all four targets, or anytime he wants to shoot the one(s) that did not fall?

The shooter can pick up the knockdowns that did not fall in any order he wants unless the stage instructions specifically identify an order that the knockdowns must fall. This is true even when a specific engagement order is given, i.e. outside targets then inside targets (in that case if the first outside target engaged is missed the shooter can re-engage it anytime he wants unless the stage instructions explicitly provides an order they must fall in). Where it gets tricky is when the shotgun targets are located in multiple positions. In this case the shooter usually needs to complete all the knockdowns for a given shooting position.

3)  Shooter is at loading table with a cross draw holster and sweeps the shooter in line behind him while drawing his empty pistol (sweeping defined by pointing barrel at the next shooter after his barrel clears the holster). Penalty?

Breaking the 170 with an unloaded gun is a stage disqualification. Breaking the 170 with a loaded gun is a match disqualification.

4)  Shooter is at loading table and has an accidental discharge while checking for high primers in his revolver. Penalty?

An accidental discharge at the loading table would be a match disqualification.

5)  If the RO/TO bumps the shooter while shooting or moving, can the shooter request a reshoot?

If the TO/RO bumps the shooter, the shooter can ask for a reshoot-this is interference. If the shooter abuses this rule by purposely bumping or running into the RO/TO when they had penalties they would like to get rid of, TO/RO is not required to grant the reshoot.

6)  Shooter shoots stage with an inadequate number of shotshells in his belt so gets misses for targets he was not able to engage. Can shooter claim the RO/TO should have caught his mistake??

TO/RO is obligated to start the shooter in the proper location. If the shooter does not stage his guns in the right locations or does not have the required ammo, he'll be sorry! A good and observant RO will usually help the shooter to have the required ammo.

7)  Can a shooter ask for a restart if no round has gone downrange after he fumbles his shotgun shells on his first stage of the day?

A restart is not a reshoot. A restart means no round has gone down range. Shooter gets to ask for a restart for whatever reason. If shooter has bobbles (and no round fired) the RO can actually stop the shooter and help him get restarted. Rules say RO must grant a restart unless the shooter is abusing the rules.




March, You Make the Call

1) The maximum cant (tilt angle) that can be used on a cross draw holster is how many degrees from vertical? How can it be easily measured?

The maximum tilt angle on a cross draw holster is 30 degrees.  Unfortunately there is no standard for measurement, but if your barrel tilts more than 30 degrees from vertical when you stand straight up, you may get called.

2) Shooter is shooting a string of five revolver targets and the shooter is instructed to shoot them once from left to right (i.e. 1,2, 3, 4, and 5). The targets are set very close together (almost overlapping). The shooter actually hits targets in this order               (1, 3, 3, 4, 5). What is the call?

Call is a Miss only.  The new handbooks will caution match directors to not set up stages so a miss on one target hits another target close by and if targets are set too close together the shooter will get a Miss only and not a Procedural penalty.

3) A pump 1897 shooter has to engage two shotgun targets then move a fair distance and engage another two targets. The shooter loads one shotshell and hits the first target, loads a second shotshell and hits the second target leaving his shotgun closed on the fired round. Shooter then moves to the new location and on the way, loads two new shotshells in the 1897 magazine maintaining muzzle control. When shooter arrives at second location, shooter pumps new rounds into his chambers one at a time and hits the final two targets leaving his shotgun open and empty. What’s the call?

The rules say the shooter may not load more than two rounds at a time.  This has been recently ruled by the RO Committee to be two LIVE rounds.  So, the shooter can leave one fired round in his gun chamber, and load two rounds in his 1897 pump or 1887 lever action shotgun as he is moving or before his next shooting position.  This will be clarified in the Jan 2009 handbook(s) release.

4) Same shooter is shooting his 1897 and it is the last gun on the stage. Shooter leaves a hull in his shotgun accidently on last shot. At what point is the shooter awarded a minor safety for the infraction?

Shooter is awarded the safety penalty for the empty hull when he lays his shotgun down on the unloading table provided it was the last gun shot.

5) Shooter is shooting his shotgun and lays it down with an empty hull in the shotgun. Shooter then moves to a new location and picks up his rifle and after he levers the rifle (now with a round in the chamber and hammer cocked) but before he fires the rifle, the Range Officer informs the shooter of the empty hull in his shotgun. How can the shooter recover from this situation without incurring a penalty?

Shooter must remove the hull from his shotgun before he shoots his rifle or he gets a safety penalty.  With the rifle, the shooter can open his rifle and jack out his round from the chamber, but will have to load another round from his person to hit all his rifle targets eventually. When the rifle is open the shooter can continue to hold on to the rifle while he moves back to the shotgun if he wants-but does not violate the 170 muzzle rule. Then the shooter has to go back to his correct position for shooting his rifle and at any time then can load one more in his rifle.  Most shooters would do it for his last round.  If the shooter cocks his revolver before removing the hull he has a much more serious issue to resolve-probably best to just take the 10 second safety penalty

6) Shooter completes his stage, and moves to the unloading table and has checked all his guns, returned his long guns to his gun cart, comes back to the unloading table and holsters his first revolver and while holstering his second revolver drops it on the ground. What is the call?

Shooter is very lucky, he has avoided a major penalty.  Under the new definition of the firing line, it is defined as from when the first gun is placed on the loading table until the last gun is picked up from the unloading table so shooters dropped gun did not occur on the firing line so no penalty. If it were any other of his guns he would have gotten the dropped gun penalty.

7) A reshoot is not a restart. What is a restart? When is a restart granted and by whom?

A RESHOOT can only be granted by the Timer Operator, Range Officer or other match official.  This can be for all kinds of issues.  A RESTART is granted to the shooter when requested by the SHOOTER.  As long as the shooter does not abuse the privilege a restart is granted at the shooters request. This must be done before the first bullet leaves the barrel.

8) Shooter loads his guns at the loading table and forgot to lower his hammer on his rifle on an empty chamber and loads the magazine with the correct number of rounds. As he leaves the loading table and comes to the props to stage his long guns the Range Officer notes that the hammer of the shooters rifle is cocked. What is the call?

Shooter gets a stage disqualification for coming to the line with his rifle cocked, even when on an empty chamber.

07 September 2009