Is Mounted Shooting Dangerous?

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Answers to Commonly Asked Questions


Mounted Shooting
Photo, Karen Helderado, courtesy of WWMS

What is cowboy mounted shooting? Do you use real guns? These are common questions we hear often. Mounted shooting is a timed event, much like barrel racing. However, we have over 60 patterns, each set with 10 latex balloons and from 1 to 3 barrels. Like barrel racing, we get a 5 second penalty for knocking over a barrel, but we also get a 5 second penalty for every balloon target that is missed and a 10 second penalty if we do not properly follow the course of fire.

The guns used are real, single action 45 Colt (or Colt clone) revolvers. Single action means that you must pull the hammer back for every shot. Today there are a few manufacturers who make revolvers specifically for the sport, with wider lowered hammers and a lighter action in both the hammer pull and the trigger. Our ammo is a black powder load that travels a maximum of 20-25 feet. The burning embers break the balloon and the optimum distance to ensure breaking a target is 12-15 feet.

If you would like to see what all the fun is about visit for videos and a club near you. To follow mounted shooting live visit for a live feed of major CMSA events. Check out our club at or find us on Facebook: WESTERN WASHINGTON MOUNTED SHOOTERS (all caps on this public group).

Upcoming Pacific Northwest events:

May 6-8, Round Up City Rangers, Pendleton Cattle Barrons, Pendleton OR

May 13-15, Washington State Championships, Cashmere, WA

May 21-22, Western WA Mounted Shooters, Sedro Woolley, WA

May 27-30, Applegate Trail Peacemakers, Terrebonne, OR


Published in May 2016 Issue

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