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Man Accidentally Kills Self Practicing Cowboy Action Shooting

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Reddog1, Dec 18, 2005.

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  1. Reddog1

    Reddog1 Member

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    Accident Kills Man at Gun Range

    Has anyone else read the article in ths Ocala Star Banner about the man
    that killed himself at a Cowboy Action Shooting meet in the Ocala
    National Forest? Seems he was shooting two .357 mag SSAs when one
    twisted in his hand and fired hitting him. Bad accident, left wife and children.
    It was in this mornings paper. :( :(
     
  2. mete

    mete Member

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    Twisted in his hand ? Or did he do it on the draw ?
     
  3. FXR

    FXR Member

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    Tragic and sad consequences of a ND. My heart goes out to his family.
    K
     
  4. MrTuffPaws

    MrTuffPaws Member

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    Cowboy grips are funny, but how is it going to twist in your hand enough to shoot you?
     
  5. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    Here's the article:

    Published Dec. 18, 2005 7:30 am

    Man killed in accident at shooting range

    Witnesses say man shot himself practicing cowboy action shooting.

    AUSTIN L. MILLER
    STAR-BANNER

    OCALA NATIONAL FOREST - A 39-year-old man accidentally shot himself to death at a gun range Saturday while practicing a popular sport called cowboy action shooting.

    The Marion County Sheriff's Office identified the man as Chadwick M. Bogard, 39, of Kingsport, Tenn. According to the Sheriff's Office, he was married and had children. Deputies also said he was in the area on a job interview. Deputies said the man has a wife and children.

    Sheriff's deputies said they received the shooting call at 9:45 a.m. from the Forest Road 88 Gun Range. When they arrived the man was unconscious. He was transported to Shands Hospital in Gainesville, where he died shortly before 3 p.m.

    "At this point, it appears accidental and no foul play is suspected," said sheriff's Capt. Fred Vyse.

    Authorities said the man appeared to be a cowboy action shooting fan, and he was at the range practicing. Eyewitnesses told them he had two single-action revolvers - a .357-caliber Magnum in each hand - and was firing .38-caliber rounds in the weapons back and forth.

    They determined that at about the eighth shot, the weapon somehow rotated toward him and discharged, striking him in the abdomen.

    "I heard him say, 'I'm shot,' " said Bill Hayter, an employee of the Star-Banner who was standing next to the man. "I saw him slumping to the ground and I called 911."

    Hayter said bystanders propped up the man's feet and head and performed CPR.

    Kat Kelley, a spokeswoman for the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, said Saturday that the agency constructed and maintained the building and the range. However, Kelley said they do not own the range, as it is on U.S. Forestry property.

    Kelley said since the 1990s, the agency is only aware of two accidents on the range, both of which occurred in the 1990s. In the first case, blood was found on the range but there were no reports of anyone being injured there. The second incident was in the late 1990s when a man's weapon exploded. Three people, including the gun owner, suffered minor injuries.

    Web sites dedicated to cowboy action shooting describe it as a fast growing sport. The weapons used are mostly older style guns, and the shooter attempts to hit as many targets as he can in the shortest time possible.

    "This is a rarity," said Johnny Nelson, from Roswell, N.M., of the shooting.
     
  6. whm1974

    whm1974 Member

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    I'm wondering myself. I could see having a AD on the draw, but...

    -Bill
     
  7. Rem700SD

    Rem700SD Member

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    Hmm, I'm not a revolver owner, but if it was single action, maybe he was holstering a cocked gun? Or perhaps holding both guns and turned the gun toward himself to cock it with the other hand? Just speculating
    Dan
     
  8. rfurtkamp

    rfurtkamp Member

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    Sounds like someone did the twirl the gun around with the finger in the trigger guard routine and gravity caught up with him.
     
  9. Texfire

    Texfire Member

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    Man what an awful thing. Truly a sad loss for his family. My thoughts go out to them.

    Tex
     
  10. Azrael256

    Azrael256 Member

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    I was at one of those small town fairs once. I saw a fella do a trick where he holds his thumb on the hammer, which stays pretty much stationary, and then swings the gun forward to cock it. When he brings the barrel back up, he's in position for a point shot. Real, REAL dangerous trick, as your finger gets awfully close to that SA trigger. I could see how flubbing it could put the muzzle at abdomen level if you lost your grip on the hammer after it hit the full cock notch. The guy I saw doing it was using blanks. He wasn't really shooting, just showing off some fancy gun twirling. Sounds to me like this guy might have been trying something similar. Damn shame that it caught him like that.
     
  11. Gunpacker

    Gunpacker Member

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    Sounds like he was practicing the "Duelist" scenario, where indeed, you shoot with one gun in each hand alternating shots from each hand.
    IMO, it is easy to imagine losing control of a Colt while thumb cocking with one hand. Just a simple mistake. From there, drop it and try to regain control while it is cocked, and you can have an AD. Sad, since CAS has an overall great safety record. My prayers go out to his family. The CAS fraternity has lost a friend, and probably a wonderful person, since CAS shooters as a group are among the best people you can hope to meet.:(
    Gunpacker SASS 32844

    Edit: Makes me wonder if this is a good type of shooting to practice, since if you slip in some manner with one hand, your other hand is full of another gun and you are in a world of trouble.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2005
  12. Texfire

    Texfire Member

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    Let's not get too far afield. After all we only have secondhand eyewitness accounts, and a theory from law enforcement on what might have happened. They may have been watching closely, and maybe not. We don't know that he was doing something unsafe.

    Rereading the article, and drawing inferences from it, it appears that he might have been shooting gunfighter style. That's standing with two drawn pistols, and cocking and firing them alternately with each hand. I guess that if he lost control of the grip while cocking it, it could rotate on the trigger finger and fire when the trigger rotates up on top of the finger with the weight of the gun tripping the sear. That doesn't mean that he was showboating, just that he had an accident.

    I don't want to try and calculate the odds that happening, then of a single .38 caliber slug hitting a vital organ and causing instant death. Just suffice to say he was really really unlucky.

    Tex

    Lefty Blackburn SASS 67010
     
  13. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    I used to ref CAS matches for a bondsman buddy of mine.

    I have seen this almost occur before I put a quick stop to it. There are two variations that I saw:

    1. The top wrist flick: the cowboy flicks the gun over his shoulder in cocking it like he is casting a fly rod. First time I saw it I dropped my clipboard (and then had small stroke) and stopped everyone right there and gave them a basic weapons handling lecture.

    2. The two gun sideways push: the cowboy has guns blazing, one after other, and one pistol (usually weaker hand) pushes to side and muzzle goes sideways as he draws the weapon back. We put a stop to the Duelist stuff after I pointed this out.

    CAS is a lot of fun (I mean playing dress up, what's more fun that that, it's like a carbine class and the guys who dress up as "operators"). I just wish the organization would stress proper weapons handling. Too many treated it as a "game." Maybe this will spur change.:)
     
  14. jsalcedo

    jsalcedo Member

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    While firing a colt SAA clone one handed I have had the the gun slip sideways while cocking the hammer.

    If the guy was going really fast I could see this happening.
     
  15. georgeduz

    georgeduz Member

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    thats why u use 2 hands on one gun.
     
  16. Fenrik

    Fenrik Member

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    I used to frequent that range alot. Its in the middle of nowhere, about 20+ miles from the nearest hospital. Not the type of place you want to have an accident.

    I also noticed alot of the shooters there lacking basic gun safety. Especially during hunting season when the range is crowded. I suppose an accident was bound to happen sooner than later. Too bad it was a fatal one.
     
  17. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    He might have been wearing a cross draw rig? [​IMG]
     
  18. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    I can see how it could happen. Imagine if he COCKED the revolver in his left hand while shooting in his right, then as he was pulling back his right hand and presenting his left the grip slips out from his palm because he hadn't gotten his thumb back around it yet. Since the revolver is top heavy, it of course rolls down on his finger and is pointing back towards his gut, and since it is cocked and has a nice light CAS trigger the weight of the revolver is enough to discharge it and BANG that's all she wrote.
     
  19. Father Knows Best

    Father Knows Best Member

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    You're kidding, right? You obviously haven't been a CAS match that follows SASS (Single Action Shooting Society) rules. First of all, you don't "ref" a SASS match. Each posse has SASS-certified Range Officers, and EVERY member of the posse is a safety officer.

    More importantly, SASS is the most safety-conscious shooting organization I have ever seen, by a long shot. SASS rules are so incredibly restrictive that some of us think they go overboard and remove too much of the "fun" from the sport.

    For example, under SASS rules you cannot move with a cocked gun. That means no shooting "on the move", as is common in IPSC, IDPA and every other action shooting sport. In a SASS match, you can only move with the hammer down on an empty chamber. A violation of this rule results in an immediate stage disqualification. I've seen plenty of competitors DQ'ed for simply shuffling their feet a little.

    Second, SASS has a rule to enforce muzzle discipline that is known as "the 170." Basically, it means that if you muzzle ever strays too far from downrange, you are disqualified. Point it straight up in the air results in an immediate disqualification. It is not uncommon to see beginners get their muzzles a little high when trying to cock a revolver one-handed. The Timer Operator will usually caution them to watch their muzzle. If they keep doing it, they'll get DQ'ed.

    In fact, the 170 rule about muzzle direction is so strict that you can't reholster a crossdraw while standing square to the line without getting a DQ. That results in competitors using crossdraw rigs having to turn their bodies sideways to the line before reholstering -- a move that is so common in CAS it has become known as "the crossdraw shuffle" or just "the dance." At pre-match safety meetings, you almost always hear the Safety Officer say, "competitors with crossdraws, remember to 'do the dance.'"

    Third, sweeping anyone with a muzzle, even yourself and even when the firearm is open and unloaded behind the line, is an automatic DQ. After clearing your guns at the unloading table under the eye of the unloading officer, you walk them back to your cart with muzzles up and actions open. If you accidentally sweep a fellow competitor on the way, you're done for the day -- that's a match DQ. Of course, I go to the club to shoot a round of trap or skeet, and I get swept by 10 muzzles before I have my car unloaded. Go figure.

    After shooting CAS for a few years, I find it difficult to attend any other type of organized shooting competition, because no other group is anywhere near as anal about safety as SASS is.

    Finally, let me note that it sounds like this guy was practicing shooting "Gunfighter" style, which means handling one revolver in each hand simultaneously. "Duelist" requires shooting one-handed, i.e., cocking and firing the revolver with a single hand (the way it was done in the old west, and the style the guns were designed for). "Gunfighter" is Duelist with two guns at once -- one in each hand.

    Gunfighter can indeed be dangerous. It's hard enough to manipulate a single action revolver one-handed. Once you master that, you should practice with the weak hand until you are just as good weak-handed as strong-handed. Only then should you attempt Gunfighter.

    At my club, you have to be a member and compete as a Duelist for at least a year before they'll even let you attempt to qualify to compete as a Gunfighter. The qualification involves a test on a closed range before several experienced Gunfighters.

    SASS couldn't be any more safe than it is. That's why this accident occurred when and where it did. He was on his own "practicing" things that he would never be permitted to do at a match.
     
  20. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    There's a lot to be said for dry shooting.
     
  21. Father Knows Best

    Father Knows Best Member

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    FYI, the article says the man is from Kingsport, in northeastern Tennessee. I'm a member of two CAS clubs in western Tennessee, and I have good friends in most of the other Tennessee CAS clubs, including the Wartrace Regulators (Nashville area), and the two clubs near Kingsport -- the Smokey Mountain Shootist Society and the Greene County Regulators. According to officers with each of those clubs, no one by this guy's name is member of any of the clubs, and no one by that name has shot in any sanctioned match put on by one of those clubs in at least the last three years.

    In other words, the guy does not appear to have actually shot in a sanctioned CAS match. He probably isn't even a member of SASS. Perhaps if he was, he would have learned how to handle those irons safely, and he'd still be with us today.
     
  22. loose cannon

    loose cannon Member

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    i have very limited sa experience but ive learned that i have a hard time safely operating a standard saa style one handed. because my hands are too small and my thumbs arent long enough i tend to cant the gun when cocking.

    on the other hand the ruger bisley style is perfect for me because the spur is lowered and easily reached by my thumb so i dont have to cant the gun.i wonder if the same was the case with this guy.

    its a shame no 1 caught his bad safty habits and taught him differently.safty should be everyones buisness.
     
  23. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    FKB, that has not been my experience at all. I was shocked at the weapons handling at CAS events.

    However, last time I was at a match was 2000, so maybe things have improved.:)
     
  24. jdkelly

    jdkelly Member

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    ...SASS shooters seemed to have the weakest gun handling skills...

    Although I attend several shoots a year as a spectator, I don't shoot SASS because I don't want to play "dress up" or "role play". But that's just my personal preference.

    I no longer shoot IDPA for several reasons that I won't rehash here, and I've cut my USPSA shooting back for other reasons.

    From what I've seen all three sports have very good safety rules and none seem to meto be any safer then the other two.

    But of these three shooting sports, the SASS shooters seem to be the least comfortable with their gun handling skills. Perhaps it's just the dynamics of the firearms involved or maybe it's the shooters attracted to the different sports.


    Respectfully,

    jkelly
     
  25. Father Knows Best

    Father Knows Best Member

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    That definitely could be the case. CAS tends to attract a lot of people who are not hardcore shooters. Many of them are new to the shooting sports, entirely. There are lots of women, children, senior citizens, etc. At a typical match, as many as 20% of the competitors will be women. I've been at matches where we had shooters ranging in age from 8 to 83. SASS addresses the wide range of experience levels and capabilities by having extremely strict safety rules.

    So yes -- some of these people may not seem particularly "comfortable" with their gun handling. That's fine with me. If they're a little nervous about gun safety, they are far less likely to make stupid mistakes that get people injured or killed. In my 30 years of competitive shooting, 95% of the most dangerous acts I've seen have been committed by the most experienced shooters. They get cocky and careless. You won't find them in SASS.
     
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