The Cowboy Fast Draw World Championship
& Top Gun, Duty Gear Match

Shooting USA - The Cowboy Fast Draw World Championship

31-03-2We’ve got the fastest cowboys slapping traditional leather in the tradition of Hollywood’s Old West Shoot-outs. The fastest guns go man-on-man in Fallon, Nevada, at the Cowboy Fast Draw World Championship.

It’s a classic Hollywood scene. The good guy and the bad guy… on an empty street in a Western town. It’s the classic shoot out… that likely never happened in the old West. But classic shoot outs do happen these days… it’s the shooting sport known as Cowboy Fast Draw.  And it’s a throw-back, that started in 2002, when the other forms of fast-draw got too gamey.

31-03-1Cal Eilrich is the creator of Cowboy Fast Draw, who saw the evolution, and saw the opportunity to return to the Old West roots:  “People get technology, they make the guns lighter, they make the holsters faster, and it got to where it didn’t mean anything about the Old West anymore.  So the Cowboy Fast Draw Association was actually formed in Deadwood, South Dakota in 2002, with real guns, real holsters, the ammunition is a wax bullet, so it’s period correct equipment and that allows us to tie it back to the Old West again.”

Going back to the West begins with guns.  Nearly everyone competes with a replica Colt Peacemaker, chambered in 45 colt. No external upgrades or modifications are allowed. It’s just the gun that won the West.  The hammer is exactly what it would have been 160 years ago and the barrel.  The only thing that you can do in this sport to the outside of the gun is you can take the sight off of it. Internally, all the guns have action-jobs to slick them up for speed.

31-03-3The ammo is a wax bullet loaded into 45 colt brass, with a large pistol primer. But some of the competitors add a few grains of powder. Just enough to give it a little kick and enough to entertain the audience.

The competition is head-to-head.  Two competitors stand at the line waiting the commands of the announcer. There is a two-to-five-second delay, after the set command, before the light comes on in the center of the target.  The light is the shoot command. The target is 24 inches in diameter and the distance for all the competitors is 21 feet.  Seven yards is not a long shot at a target that big, but the shooting is from hip.  And you have to hit the steel in order to score.  The light flashes when the steel is hit, and the times are displayed above each competitor. You may be surprised to see all draws are “thumbing” the hammer.  Fanning simply isn’t fast enough to compete.

Cal says:  “Fast hits are always going to win but hits are the key here.  So speed is fine, but accuracy is final, and that is according to Wyatt Earp and it’s true in cowboy fast draw.

Related Links:

The Smith & Wesson Governor

31-03-7The Governor is the six shot revolver that can chamber .410 shot-shell ammo, 45 long colt, and 45 ACP.  The one option is factory installed Crimson Trace laser grips making it ideal for personal protection. It has a tritium night sight on the front with a fixed groove rear sight. The governor comes with six round moon clips for 45 ACP, and two round moon clips for mixing 45 ACP and 410 ammo. The Governor is a formidable home defense solution. Suggested Retail is 670 dollars. With the crimson trace laser grips it’s just under 900.


Louisville Metro Police Athletic Club - Top Gun Match

31-03-6The Top Gun Match is a Police only, Duty Gear match. Officers must compete with the guns and holsters they wear on the street. It’s one part training and one part competition at the Top Gun Match.

The match is held at the Silver Creek Conservation Club in Southern Indiana. The stages of fire have their origins in IDPA and USPSA competition, with a few challenges that simulate situations officers may encounter working the streets.

31-03-4The  real challenge is for officers who carry on the street in level three retention holsters. Practicing a fast draw, to be competitive in match times, is invaluable training for the job.

Louisville Metro Police Athletic Club Info




Pro Tip – Sgt. Jeff Holguin on Double Trap



Cold bore shooting. The term refers to shooting any rifle with a cold barrel. A rifle’s accuracy will change as the barrel warms up.  So how does a cold weather hunter deal with this? Sergeant Joe Hein, with the USAMU International Rifle Team, has the answer, which is going to surprise you.

See Pro Tip



RCBS Reloading Tip – The AR Die Set

31-03-9The RCBS AR series die set is a combination designed specifically for progressively loading .223 or 5.56 rounds. We’ve got Kent Sakamoto to demonstrate how these dies improve loading for AR shooters.

The RCBS black box AR set comes with both the sizing and seating dies.  The box is labeled with the caliber and the letters SB and TC. SB stands for small base and TC stands for taper crimp.

Kent:  “The AR series of dies features a small base diving die which sizes a thicker web of the case down another 1000th of an inch to ensure chambering in the AR platform.  The taper crimp seating die is for progressive loaders looking for volume versus using the traditional roll crimp.”

31-03-10A taper crimp is simply tapering the case mouth into the cannelure of the bullet. The angle of taper for the AR series is seven degrees. To begin install with the correct shell plate in place, lower the handle and thread the small base sizing die into station one until it contacts the shell plate. Slightly lower the ram and thread down 1/8 of a turn. Raise the shell plate and secure the die lock ring.

 Kent: “ I’m sizing this case. We’re going to need this one for setting up of the taper crimp seat die. We’re going to insert it in section five, raise it up, take the tapper crimp seat die, and thread it down onto the case.”

 Continue threading the die down until you feel resistance. The case mouth is contacting the taper crimp portion of the die. Back the die up one turn and temporarily lock the die in place. Lower the ram enough to place a bullet on the case. Run the case with a bullet into the seat die. Check for proper bullet seating. Adjust the seat plug as needed.

31-03-11Kent:  “Now that bullet seating depth has adjusted properly, we’re going to back the seat plug out a turn and then adjust the die body for tapper crimp.”

Raise the round into the die body, unlock the die lock ring. Thread the die down until it contacts the case mouth, Slightly lower the cartridge and turn the dies down a quarter of a turn or more for proper taper crimp. Lock the die lock ring. Check the cartridge; this is a heavy taper crimp. Put the round back in the die body and thread the seat plug down to the bullet, secure the lock nut.  At this point you are ready to load your rounds.

The taper crimp seating die is more forgiving when various case lengths are loaded at the same time. So you get more usable ammo faster with the new AR series die set.


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