They Deafen Horses, Don’t They?


Participants ride through patterns shooting 10 balloons attached to sticks. There are a total of 64 different patterns that can be chosen for the runs. Before the meet, a lot chooses the four patterns that are rotated. Riders are armed with two single-action revolvers, which require the shooter to cock the hammer before the gun is fired.

The contest is timed and requires riders to fire five rounds from each revolver. The guns fire .45 caliber blanks loaded with black powder. The unburned residue of the black powder is powerful enough to break the balloon at a distance of about 5 feet.


  1. avatar Brad Kozak says:

    Actually, I spoke to some of the Cowboy Action Shooting guys at the NRA show. They told me that at their meets, their cartridges are hand-loaded by the event organizers (no one is allowed to bring their own ammo), and that they use cornmeal in lieu of lead. The cornmeal can burst their balloons at a greater distance than black powder alone, and can't do any damage to humans (okay, it probably can sting a little).

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