WHAT TO BRING

If you’re accepted for Thunder Ranch’s Pre 1900 course, here’s what to bring:

Your cowboy shooting irons, 2 pistols, one lever-action pistol caliber rifle, and a double barrel or pre 1900 pump or lever action shotgun. This class brought mostly hammerless SxS or Winchester ‘97s. One was a hammer double. All of the pistols were Colt or Ruger except for one Italian Remington Clone, and it failed the first day. All variety of lever guns were there from ’66 on. All survived.

Bring 1300+ rounds of full power pistol and rifle ammunition. Everyone used the same caliber pistols and rifles, mostly .45s with a few .38s. The .38s had difficulty with some of the knock down targets.

Bring a case of shotgun ammunition. While everything from Winchester Featherlights to 00 buck was brought, you might want to make it easy on yourself and use light loads. Everything went down with 12 ga. Winchester Featherlights and with Tombstone Mary’s 20 ga. loads.

Bring all of your cowboy clothes. You’ll be in them for 5 days. Your hat should have a stampede string if you want to sit up top on the Thunder Stagecoach. Handlebar Bob had to go find his hat after the shooting was over. Bring comfortable boots. The gravel on the range is rough.

Bring knee and elbow pads, preferably the velcro variety. They aren’t "cowboy," but you need to keep your knees working for all 5 days.

Bring eye and ear protection. Cowboy shooters use in-the-ear plugs. Use something your stampede string won’t knock off. I used a Walker’s Game Ear in one ear until I had to spend 20 minutes looking for it on the gravel. Molded in-the-ear plugs seemed to work best.

Bring a small shooting cart if you have one. You’ll be putting it in and out of your car a lot, so leave the big war wagon at home.

Bring light lunch fixings. You won’t have time to leave for lunch. I ate peanut butter/jelly sandwiches and fruit. You’re at a dead run all day, so you won’t want a big lunch. I had a big cooler with various liquids. Hydrate or die. Bring sun block and Chap Stick.

Bring a method of carrying 40-50 rounds of pistol ammunition for the pistol range and up to 15 rounds of shotgun ammunition for the shotgun exercises. I wore 2 pistol belts during the pistol training. Some people used the cowboy vest for ammunition. Some used leather bags. You’ll need it. You’ll need a bag to carry 200-300 pistol/rifle rounds to the range and another for 2 boxes of shotgun ammunition.

Bring a good attitude. You’ll go flat out for 5 days, and you’ll enjoy it.