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Could Rooster Cogburn have pulled this off?


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Clint Eastwood as The Man With No Name from his spaghetti western days could easily have done it. Did he ever miss anything in those westerns? The greatest shot in cinematic history. He could knock the antennae off a flea on a bouncing prairie dog at 100 paces during a sandstorm on a three legged horse.


Edited by: roverrocks on Feb 3, 2014 10:41 PM

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I didn't see any mounted shooting in the OP link, so not sure what you're talking about. Although I AM a fan of mounted shooting competition.


I had a horse that tolerated shooting guns while mounted. We had a linear track where I never had to worry about her footing. I very rarely hit my target while cantering or galloping although I rated "master" in pistol competition (on the ground) And forget even TRYING to use a rifle!


My assessment is accurately shooting from horseback was nearly impossible in the "old west". We're not talking about "groomed" ground and horses must have dodged or tripped on rocks & holes a lot throwing the rider off balance.

If you have an evenly, steady gaited horse (probably worth their weight in gold) you still have to aim, hold your arm steady while flexing your torso and handle the recoil, even with a long barrel pistol.


This is most likely why Wayne's Cogburn shot with both hands, just showering the "area" with bullets. Not realistic, but what a memorable scene!

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Tiki, did you shoot that pistol with ONE HAND?


One of the only two gun owners I know said he tried shooting his 9mm Glock with one hand ( at a range, don't worry) and the damned thing sprained his wrist and practically flew out of his hand. And his shot went nowhere NEAR the target!


Make me wonder about all those old westerns where two men would "draw" and one guy would, with one hand shooting a .45 caliber Colt, hit the other guy "right between the eyes".



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During the pioneer era (1700's - 1800's) one had to learn to use and be a professional at firearms starting at a very young age. It was a matter of survival - hunting, fending off enemies and wild animals.


Not learning the skill could result in one's early demise.


These women you don't *mess with.*


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>Tiki, did you shoot that pistol with ONE HAND?


I don't remember exactly what I was shooting 20 years ago, but most likely a leetle caliber pistol. (we owned scores of guns) I imagine I was holding the reins in my left hand crossed in front with my right wrist resting in the crook of my elbow. But yes, any recoil can make you lose your balance. Remember-you're absorbing 1000 lbs of upward thrust with your spine every stride. (like skiing or surfing)


That girl in the photo is sitting way too high up on that horse's back for a good deep balance, an example of sitting on a horse vs really riding him. She's concentrating on hitting a target, not riding. The horse is compensating by holding his head up and is open to a slip or fall.


My horse tripped yesterday and went down on her knees a split second-I stayed glued to the saddle but the poor thing bit her tongue or lip. It bled a lot but didn't stop her from chowing down! If that girl's horse tripped-she'd be in orbit!


But yeah, that's one reason I don't care for westerns. So unrealistic. I bet a LOT of people suffered long before dying from sloppy gunshot wounds that simply could not be treated properly.


A good horse & accurate shot together must have been one in a million.

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Hope your horse be all right, sad to hear that. Like to pose a question - if this is myth concerning cowboys so how did the Native Americans became so good at this? (mounted archery) They had to ride a horse at very high speed while firing a bow and arrow that took 2 hands? Their horses certainly were not on favorable ground (level and smooth).




There are many other examples in other countries like this guy Isla Rosser-Owen, showing his horsemanship and the skill of archery in Pembrokeshire, Wales.



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Those are tough questions radio, I'm no expert on history, just riding.


I would guess Native Americans became really great horsemen because they used a natural seat- bareback (or with a bareback pad) allows you to sit deeper with ultimate balance. And a really good rider doesn't need reins, you signal with your legs. Think of reins as more a "fine tuning" tool or emergency brake.


The Native American in that painting is certainly not guiding the horse at all, he's concentrating on his aim. (look at how far back his leg & foot are) When that horse lands, that guy may fly off, but he doesn't care, he speared the buffalo.


You can train a horse to "track" (run in a straight line) hunt, herd and a host of other talents allowing you to concentrate on your own business, such as roping a cow. Take a look at Portuguese bull fighting, done on horseback. It is this type of horse that founded the American Mustang, where herding is an instinct.




The guy in your second photo is standing in his stirrups with his balance forward to steady himself. He's riding a draft mix type horse, known for their soft steady gait. This is the type of horse used in jousting and vaulting- in contrast a short light horse that would be used for polo.


But yeah, I do find it amazing how skilled some riders & horses are, I'm lucky just staying on. Being a good shot was essential back then, with more talent needed than any controlled environment firing range. Couple that with the movement of a horse, questionable ground and it's amazing they ever hit their target. I'm glad "cowboy shooting" is gaining ground as a sport, there's even magazines for enthusiasts.

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