Our Swedish Guests!

By Coso Kid SASS Regulator #5735

Late December 2005, Kazarah Jane received an e-mail from a family in Sweden who were going to be on vacation in the United States.

The e-mail stated: "We are a family of active black powder shooters, mainly competing in the MLAIC Colt and Mariette classes. Since we have heard a lot of positive things about CAS we would like to find an event (competition or training) that we can visit during ourvacationto see what CAS (or similar) is about."

The e-mail was from Bertil Nilsson in Hollviken Sweden. Since my grandfather was from Sweden, and these were black powder shooters (always my favorite), I felt that I had to do something for them. Besides, SASS shooters are always looking for an excuse to shoot.

I replied that the if they were willing to drive three hours from Los Angeles to Ridgecrest, I would put on a "New Shooters" class for them and put on a special match for them to shoot.

Bertil took me up on my offer. The family persuaded their travel agent to change one of the assigned stops that they had to make on their travel package and everything fell into place.

I found out that the Nilsson family consisted of Bertil, his wife Kristina, and two young adults, Emma 14 years old and Elias 11 years old. I also learned that Emma was on the Swedish National Team for Air Pistol. I know what kind of work and dedication it takes to get to a national level competition, so I knew this was a family of serious shooters.

Kazarah Jane designed some stages that were pretty simple but included a sweep, a Nevada sweep, triple taps, one shotgun reload. The first stage was shot in one location. The second stage required some movement. The third stage had them moving the length or one of our sets.

I asked a couple of the club members to bring extra leather and a couple of extra guns if they had them. We ended up with a 6 foot table of guns and gun leather.

I have been teaching a new shooters class for 8 years and these were the among the easiest students I have ever had. No one in the family had ever shot a lever action rifle or a side-by-side shotgun before the match. A couple minutes of dry firing and they had the actions mastered and were ready for live ammunition. We covered the SASS rules, terms they would hear in the match, and our local club rules. Then we had the new shooters load, shoot, and unload all the guns that they would be using in the match.

When the New Shooters Class was over, Kazarah Jane held the Shooters Meeting and we started the match.

The club officers: Kazarah Jane, Nasty Newt, M.C. Ryder, and Coso Kid helped the new shooters and did not shoot the match.

Eighteen RRV members and the four new shooters formed one large posse and shot the three stages.

Kristina Nilsson, in her first match, was the only shooter to shoot the match clean. Bertil had two clean stages, and Emma had one clean stage. This was outstanding for a family that was totally new to the sport of Cowboy Action Shooting.

After the match Spin'n Whiel and Squeaky Whiel provided lunch for the Nilssons, and rest of the shooters, at their home.

This social time was very interesting. The American shooters found that it is very hard to purchase and to keep guns in Sweden. Every household is allowed 20 points in guns. A handgun is two points, and a long gun is one point (M.C. Ryder did some quick math and found that he had more than 20 points just in the guns in his car). It also takes many months to get a permit to own guns in Sweden. Periodically, the president of a shooting club must verify and sign that the shooter is using the guns in competition or the shooter will lose his guns.

We learned that the Nilssons shoot original 1858 Remington revolvers when they compete in Sweden (the antique revolvers do not count towards their 20 points). Shooting an antique cap and ball revolver, in competition, at 0 degrees F is not for amateurs.

The Nilssons also had to get permission from the town council to take Emma and Elias out of school for their two week vacation to the United States.

We American shooters take our firearm freedoms for granted and do not fully realize how lucky we are. The NRA tells us how restricted firearms are in other countries. Hearing about those problems from another shooter really brought the point home.

The shoot was a great experience for both the Robbers Roost Vigilantes and our Swedish visitors. I hope they had as much fun shooting as we did putting on their shoot.


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2009 Eric Nelson