Preserving the Cowboy Way

cowboy action shooting

When many of us were children, the airwaves were filled with TV westerns and characters that we have cherished for decades, some of which we have even emulated in adulthood by participating in Cowboy Action Shooting. CAS is one of those rare hobbies that requires an investment in time and equipment and a commitment to honor an old creed – we call it The Cowboy Way. Like the Old West, it is a truly American tradition.

Fastest Growing Outdoor Shooting Sport in the Country

Cowboy Action Shooting in its most formal practice is overseen by the Single Action Shooting Society or SASS, a 34 – year-old organization dedicated to preserving the Old West through events from coast to coast that honor the traditions of the American Cowboy. It is the fastest growing outdoor shooting sport in the country, attracting competitors from around the world. As they say at SASS, "Cowboy Action Shooting is not only a sport that tests the shooter's accuracy, but also a forum that brings back the days of the Old West in a veritable celebration of the cowboy lifestyle."

One of the many ways this is achieved is through wearing period costumes based either on historical cowboys and famous lawmen or characters from our favorite TV and movie Westerns. Either way, it is dress up, gear up and have fun! Famed Italian armsmaker F.lli Pietta (Brothers Pietta) has been deeply involved with Cowboy Action Shooting for more than a decade, first with historic recreations of black-powder revolvers (cap-and-ball pistols from the 1840s to the end of the Civil War), a special class of competition within SASS, and since 2003 with a remarkable line of Colt-style Single Actions that have become the new standard for out of the box quality fit, finish and tuned actions that are competition ready.

Today, Pietta has an exclusive line of single-action models produced for Cabela's that exceed the contemporary safety standards for single-action revolvers by incorporating a transfer bar to prevent accidental discharge if a gun is dropped. While preserving all of the exterior features of the original cowboy six-shooter, the Pietta line for Cabela's provides one of the finest, most affordable out-of-the-box shootin' irons money can buy, and they are ready to face those steel-framed bad guys downrange in any SASS or Cowboy Action event!

Pietta single-action models encompass the full spectrum of single-action models from the early c. 1873 black-powder frame design penned by Wm. Mason for Colt's in 1872, as well as the later transverse latch models introduced just before the turn of the century to handle the new, more powerful smokeless power cartridge. Pietta revolvers come with standard factory-tuned actions that are very impressive.

To get a revolver with a glass-smooth hammer that positively clicks through each step and a light, crisp trigger pull usually requires a trip to the gunsmith's shop. Pietta triggers are delightfully consistent, breaking cleanly shot after shot with only 3⁄16" take-up. The factory action on the Pietta is commensurate with those of specially tuned guns. Another factor often overlooked is hammer draw, which on most single-action models averages 6 lbs. Pietta single-actions average 3 lbs. 14.2 oz., which is substantially better than most guns with tuned actions. This is one of the reasons that SASS/Wild West Performing Arts Society 2009 World Champion Johnny "Hotshot" Tuscadero (Jonathan A. Mincks) uses a pair of Pietta single-actions in his act.

Thanks to Cabela's and Pietta single-action revolvers, you don't need to be a professional shootist, performer or even a SASS competitor to enjoy taking a page out of the Old West, strapping on your six-gun and living the Cowboy Way.

The Single Action Shooting Society is the governing organization of Cowboy Action Shooting, worldwide. Today, with over 97,000 members, SASS is represented in all fifty states and 18 foreign countries. The organization endorses regional matches conducted by its more than 700 SASS affiliated clubs and promulgates rules and procedures to ensure safety and consistency in Cowboy Action Shooting matches. Most importantly, however, SASS members share a common interest for preserving the history of the Old West.