Cowboy Action Shooting is a three gun sport, to move up in the rankings you
must be able to shoot your pistols, rifle and shotgun equally fast. One of the
biggest time killers on a CAS stage I've noticed is multiple shotgun targets.
As recently as two/three years ago the new CAS shooter was very
limited as to available shotguns. My own first shotgun was a Stoeger 12ga.
coach gun. Now, we still have the Stoeger along with imported Russian and
Chinese double barrels at very reasonable prices. I have not personally shot
either of these but the ones I have seen at various CAS matches seem to be of
high quality. Also, I do have a Russian over/under for skeet and it is
excellent! At this point in time I would not buy a pump 97 unless I knew the
owner or was able to shoot it. There are simply too many totally worn out 97's
out there. However, Norinco is supposed to be bringing in another shipment of
repro 97's this fall. The cowboys I have spoken to that were lucky enough to
get in on the first shipment of them like them.
Don't feel outgunned with a double barrel. According to how the
stage is laid out a double barrel can hold it's own against the pump and is
quicker in some situations. For Example, a double barrel laid on a table
requiring two shots at close together targets will beat a pump every time!
Watch the Rev. Marrying Sam double tap with his double barrel sometime. Where
the double barrel loses game is when it is staged against a wall or at stages
requiring odd numbers of shotgun targets.
Most cowboys, however, cannot shoot the double barrel to it's
fullest potential and lose significant time. This is not their fault as most
double barrels do not come from the factory optimized for quick loading and
shooting. My own Stoeger 12ga. came from the factory with an action release
that was so stiff it took two thumbs to open. This can be easily fixed, I
took mine to the gunsmith at PMS firearms in Salisbury. David has been working
on cowboy guns long enough that he knows how to make them shoot. David made a
new action release spring that still holds the action securely closed but can
be swiped off with a flick of the thumb. While he had my shotgun he fashioned
new hammer cocking springs. When you open an internal hammer double barrel
these springs cock the hammers but also give the gun a tendency to partially
close requiring you to hold the gun open while you attempt to load it. The
Russian guns seem especially prone to partial closing while loading. I also
had David break the sharp edge on the chambers that was catching on my shells.
He also asked if I wanted the automatic safety disconnected and the chambers
polished. I elected not to have the safety disconnected, with practice it has
become second nature to flick it off when I mount the shotgun to my shoulder.
Also, my chambers did not need to be polished, empty double A's will usually
fall out on their own weight.
Speaking of shotgun shells, Winchester AA shells and the green
Remington STS are tough shells that can be reloaded many times and fall
out of the shotgun chambers easily. The cheap high-pressure hunting loads kick
hard and swell when shot sticking in the chambers. Stick with AA or STS
OK, now that you've had your double barrel worked on it's time to
practice your reload. I make dummy shotgun shells out of the silver
Winchester AA hulls. I never reload these to keep from mixing them up with my
live shells. I ain't seen too many of these lately and will probably use
the green STS hulls for my next batch of dummy rounds. (When practicing make
sure there are no live rounds anywhere near, right Jim?) To make them I resize
and de-prime on my MEC 600 JR, place and seat a wad and then throw a shot
charge. Pour in a little extra shot as the wad will be deeper in the hull with
no powder. Crimp the hull as usual and then take rubber silicone and
completely fill in the primer pocket. Slightly over-fill this cavity as the
silicone will shrink some. When dry, after 3 or 4 day's, trim the excess with
a razor blade and you will have a dummy round that will last through hundreds
of practice firings.
For practice I take 6 dummy rounds and practice picking up my
shotgun from various positions such as against a wall, from a table and
standing at port arms. If you are a right handed shooter try grabbing two
shells between the thumb and forefinger of your left hand and use a rocking
motion to load both simultaneously into the shotgun. Mount the shotgun and
fire both shots as you practice acquiring a good sight picture. Then, break
open the shotgun and extract the shells with a short backward flip. Keep
trying this, work first on smooth form and the speed will come. Keep trying
this until you can start with the shotgun laying on a table and load and fire
six rounds between 10-14 seconds. I guarantee that if you get the kinks out of
your shotgun shooting your rank standing will improve dramatically.
Back to North Carolina