It was the summer of 1969, Richard Nixon was President, Elvis was making a comeback, Led Zeppelin had just released their first album in the United States and before we even get to the Apollo moon landing or Woodstock, Sam Peckinpah releases a western called The Wild Bunch. The Western theme had pretty much been hashed over as much as anyone thought it could be by this point in history. From early radio days to television and countless films the American public had viewed just about as many westerns as anyone could reasonably expect. Then Peckinpah brings us a film that was violent, coarse, groundbreaking and, to this day, controversial. A film like that leaves an impact on society and sticks in people’s minds. This is even true of shooters who engage in competition shooting, none more than those who named themselves after the movie, The Wild Bunch.
The Wild Bunch is a spin off from traditional cowboy action shooting. They still maintain the rules for dressing the period, correct weaponry for that time frame, and all the rest, but they focus in on the turn of the century era as depicted in the movie The Wild Bunch. This excerpt from the Wild Bunch Handbook sums up the sport very nicely;
SASS Wild Bunch™ Action Shooting is a multifaceted amateur shooting sport in which contestants compete with firearms typical of those used in the taming of the Old West just after the turn of the 20th century: 1911 semi-auto pistols, lever action rifles, and Winchester Model ‘93/‘97 and Model ‘12 pump shotguns. The shooting competition is staged in a unique, characterized, Old West style. Contestants shoot in several one-to-three gun stages (courses of fire) in which they engage steel and/or cardboard targets. Scoring is based on accuracy and speed.
Winter Range is a week long competition that is kicked off by two days of Wild Bunch shooting. The match is hosted by Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix Arizona and this year it runs from February 20th through the 26th. The event is open to the public. If you are in the area you might want to stop by and get a healthy dose of old west action shooting fun.
These videos, from the Wild Bunch website, should give you an excellent idea of what Wild Bunch shooting is all about.