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Looking for suggestions on how to build interest in Wild Bunch

Doc Holloman

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Following on to my earlier posting, I am interested in any suggestions on how increase interest in WB shooting, either within the existing club membership, or by attracting new shooters.  Our club is the only club in the area that has offered Wild Bunch on a regular basis (a couple allow Cowboy 1911) and it is on life support.  A few weekends we have only had 3-4 WB shooters in a club that prefers posses of 15 or more.  The prevailing opinion on  the b clug board is that if we cant increase the interest in WB, we will basically shut it down or limit it to an occasional twice a year off weekend match.


Admittedly this was an off year across the board with COVID, ammunition/component shortages.  Only a couple of new members in the club and more attrition than that.  And Wild Bunch ammo expenditure and lost brass is higher than for folks shooting CAS.  We can reduce the number of rounds per stage (we currently shoot 4-5 mags per stage -- we can drop that to 3-4),  simplify the stage instructions to reduce the number of Ps, and shorten the distances to generate more clean stages/matches.  But at what point do we lose the essence of WB? 


I've thought of making changes to make WB more interesting and less repetitious.    I've though of throwing in an optional Fastest 1911/Fastest shotgun side match between the 2nd and 3rd  stages (after folks are warmed up but before they get tired.)  I've considered adding Doughboy and/or Teddy Roosevelt as categories during the stages.


I'm open to other ideas, suggestions. 

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Doc, you are fighting an uphill battle with the cost but mainly the unavailability of components with a sport as ammo intensive as what you are doing at your shoots. If there were no shortages of primers or powder, no inflated prices to boot or an extremely uncertain future for firearm enthusiasts and our firearm rights WB would be fine. Being unable to reasonably replace the primers that I would go through at your match would cause me concern. I’m not paying 100.00 for a brick of primers. Some are. Our cas/WASA matches are 60-60 and 20+-, WB are 75-60 and 20/30, BAMM are 60-60 and 25 [depending on the designer].

Suggestions.. I would limit the round count to a couple mags/ stage with one big stage. Do a BAMM with the 1911. I don’t have a problem with Cowboy 1911, if that’s what you want to call it, [i call it WASA rules]and I know you don’t want to hear it but until the dam breaks and primers are at least available let alone come down to 40-50.00/brick WB attendance along with a lot of other shooting sports will not be good.

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B.E. Is right about primers and such. We need to have good supplies to keep our sport healthy and growing. Right now we maintain and hold our own. So Doc the question is what can be done right now? Actually there’s several things

Go to 3-4 mags

Use rifle and pistol only on a stage or 2. Use shotgun, pistol on a stage or 2. All 3 on another. WB has more shooting and more technical shots but does not have to consume extreme amounts of ammo. Simpler stage design with one type of sweep for both rifle and pistol any order on shotgun for instance. Because of the shortages

Texas Doughboys allow all sass legal main match rifles and 22 lever or pump action rifles at our monthly match. We have a 22 class for where you can shoot both rifle and pistol. We allow 1911’s in 9mm along with 38 super.

By doing these modified rules we enable our shooters to take advantage of small and large primers along with rimfire. We always offer TR and DB after our main match we shoot a couple of BAMM’s one more thing it’s very easy to reduce round count for rifle and shotgun. A rifle can easily be reduced to 5 rounds and shotgun down to 4 without hurting the quality of the match because they have to acquire the long gun and put it into action then restage it. That’s where the challenge is. You can also kick those rifle targets out to a minimum of 25 yards or further for a little different challenge. It’s also fun to throw a shotgun target out 15/20 yards every once in a while. Also like said in another post if you can get one stage that they will dedicate to wild bunch you can dress it out with plenty of steel and never get bored. Hope some of this helps. It works for us. Dusty

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Dusty, we have been allowing .22s on both Cowboy and Wild Bunch since Spring.  A few of the Cowboy shooters use them.  Those of us with .22 1911s probably don't have 5 mags for them ( I have 4 for mine).  No one much complains about shotgun ammo for WB.  We generally shoot about the same number as the Cowboy shooters (20+), and actually shoot fewer rifle than the Cowboys.


The new Club President is willing to let me design the stages, and I can limit 3 of them to 3 mags with one big stage of 4 or 5.  We historically have had one stage with no shotgun and one with no rifle, so that would not be a change.


I willgive some thought to allowing the sub .40 rifles, although a lot of our cowboy shooters shoot .44 or .45  ( I shoot .38-40, but I'm an eccentric. ) and those who shoot the slicked up .38s like it was full auto would not be interested in WB ( they are the guys who think 10 yards  is much too far for rifle targets.)


The biggest complaints I hear ( besides the ammo / primer and powder shortage) are too many misses (target distance) and too many Ps ( complicated scenarios).  And we have serious difference of opinion on both those subjects.

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Doc, you could take out all the p traps on most stages. Have a few fast killem all type stages. The rifle when used at 25 yards and out with the targets spread out 4-5 yards apart increases the accuracy needed and turns the rifle back into what it was supposed to do in the first place. Deliver lead at further than pistol range. Setup this way caliber and action type are not that important.

The pistol being the work horse in wild bunch is probably where most misses are seen. The problem is a competitor that steps over from cowboy is used to hitting everything and having clean matches. Thats mindset. A stage or 2 could be setup at 7-8 yards with 28 pistol and 5 shotgun. Use 2 banks of 4 pistol targets first window engage left targets in a Nevada sweep twice move to right window engage pistol targets same order ground pistol move to shotgun engage targets. Something along these lines. As far as shooters complaining of misses well, Wild Bunch is by design more challenging at target distance than cowboy. Perhaps it would behoove the competitors having difficulty to actually shoot the  pistol on (gasp) paper

Or perhaps even practice. We don’t believe in dragging down wild bunch to the worst shot. Rather we think the shooter should rise to the challenge of wild bunch.

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