|What’s wrong with KDs by
Rowdy Yates SASS #141
In the past 20 years of my observations
of Cowboy shooting and looking over the many discussions on the various
chat boards It’s fairly easy to come up with a short analysis of the problems
associated with knock down and reactive targets. Most of the comments and
observations can be boiled down to just a few factors.
Lack of consistency or reliability
usually top the list.
Fact is if a range isn’t willing
to spend the dough a reliable revolver knockdown may be quite elusive.
Typical problems with a reactive
target might be:
1. The target will blow over in
a stiff wind, creating confusion for the shooter.
2. Fall when the KD next to it
is hit, creating confusion for the shooter.
3. Not fall with even the heaviest
4. Change of position or reactivity
during the match. (inconsistent)
I’m sure there are other problems
with reactive targets but these 4 seem to be the most common. In the first
2 scenarios (the most contentious) the problem is from trying to set the
targets to fall with the lightest of loads. Obviously the number 3 problem,
a target that refuses to fall even when hit squarely with a shotgun, is
the result of a non-functioning reactive target.And finally the number
4 problem is generally the result of poor attention to or maintenance of
the targets during the match. It is important that a reactive target be
staked, mounted or placed so that it does not move or change position through
out the match and that it be tested from time to time in order to make
sure it remains consistent for each shooter.
If a match director or club has
chosen to use reactive targets they must expect to have properly functioning
targets. These targets must have a method of adjustment that will insure
a proper setting and a shield that protects the mechanical portions from
The MD must also have a plan to
attend to and maintain them throughout the match. Additionally the Club
must also have the ability to set these targets to a standard that will
lessen the contention factor.
Requiring a setting on reactive
targets is so light as to accommodate the lightest possible load will demand
the existence of the contention factor in full bloom. Under current SASS
rules that setting may be so light that the target would be required to
react appropriately from the strike of a 70 grain bullet traveling at a
blazing 200 fps. Maybe even less.
Permitting the MD to set his targets
to a reliable, consistent and firm reactivity will provide targets that
will have the greater potential to “enhance shooter feedback and spectator
appeal” as originally intended.
So, the bottom line:
The Wild Bunch is currently in
the process of making a decision regarding power factor, velocity, bullet
weight or allowable ammo. In this writers opinion it would not be prudent
to change or alter the current reactive target standard regardless of the
results of this process. The only exception might be to offer the bonus
system of; a hits a hit and a bonus for the reaction of the target.
If implementing a power factor or
velocity requirement also results in the reduction of the reactive target
standard then it might be more productive to drop the whole subject.