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General Principles

Kayaderosseras Winter Steel is a game intended to allow friendly firearms competition in a safe manner without the necessity of special equipment and with the awareness of the realities of an upstate New York winter.

Participation Principles

Competitors will not attempt to circumvent or compromise any stage by the use of inappropriate devices, equipment, or techniques.

In any single contest, a shooter must use the same firearm on all stages unless the firearm becomes unserviceable.  Single action revolvers may be used as a pair.

Competitors will refrain from unsportsmanlike conduct, unfair actions, and the use of illegal equipment.

Re-shoots are allowed for stage equipment failures or RO interference only. This is a “no alibi” match; once the buzzer sounds, the stage must be finished.

Safety Rules

• Treat all guns as if they are loaded.

• Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.

• Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.

• Identify your target and what is behind it.

The Safety Rules below serve as the cornerstone for every shooter, Range Officer (RO), and Match Director (MD) to follow so that our events are safe and enjoyable to a wide range of participants.

Unsafe firearm handling will result in immediate Disqualification (DQ) from the match.

 Examples (Non-inclusive list):

• Endangering any person, including yourself. This includes sweeping one’s self or anyone else with a loaded or unloaded firearm. Sweeping is defined as allowing the muzzle of the firearm (loaded or unloaded) to cross or cover any portion of a person.

                 Exception: Some body types combined with some holster types makes it almost

impossible to holster a firearm or remove the firearm from the holster without

sweeping a portion of the shooter’s lower extremities. Thus, a match Disqualification is not applicable for sweeping of the shooter’s own body below the belt while removing the firearm from the holster or holstering of the firearm, provided that the shooter’s trigger finger is clearly outside of the trigger guard.


However, once the muzzle of the firearm is clear of the holster on the draw, sweeping any part of the body is a Disqualification.


• Breaking the 180.

• A discharge:

            In the holster.

            Into the ground downrange closer to the shooter than two (2) yards or over a berm.

             During “Make Ready,” “Unload and Show Clear,” “If Clear, Hammer Down,” Reload, or Malfunction Clearance, unless at the direction of the RO.

            Before the start signal.

            While transferring a firearm from one hand to the other.

• Handling an uncased/unholstered firearm except at the firing line. There are only three instances in which a firearm may be removed from the case/holster:

            With verbal instruction from a RO.

            While engaging targets in a Course of Fire (CoF) under the direct supervision and visual contact of a RO.

When in a designated “Safe Area.”  If a long gun is uncased in a safe area, it must be re-cased or transported directly to the shooting box or to the staging gun rack vertically with the bolt closed on a chamber flag.

• Pointing the muzzle over the berm during the “If Clear, Hammer Down”

• Drawing a firearm while facing up range.

• Dropping A Firearm.

Dropping a loaded or unloaded firearm or causing it to fall during "Make Ready,” the shooting of a string or stage, reloads or malfunction clearance or during “Unload and Show Clear” will result in disqualification from the match. If a shooter drops a firearm, the RO will immediately give the command “Stop”. The RO will pick up/recover the dropped firearm and render it safe and unloaded before returning it to the shooter. The shooter will be disqualified from the match.

If a competitor drops a loaded or unloaded firearm or causes it to fall within a stage boundary, it is a disqualification from the match.

The MD will make the decision as to the penalty to be given to anyone who drops an unloaded firearm or causes it to fall when he/she is not the active shooter.

Ear protection and impact resistant eye protection are required to be used by everyone attending the shooting event. The responsibility for safe and serviceable ear and eye protection falls completely on the shooter or spectator.

Firearms used in competition will be serviceable and safe. The responsibility for safe and serviceable equipment falls completely on the shooter. The MD will require a shooter to withdraw any firearm or ammunition observed to be unsafe. In the event that a firearm cannot be loaded or unloaded due to a broken or failed mechanism, the shooter must notify the RO, who will take such action as he/she thinks safest.

Fingers must be obviously and visibly outside the trigger guard during loading, unloading, drawing, holstering, while moving and during malfunction clearance. First offense for failure to comply will warrant a warning from the RO. Additional offenses will result in a 3 second penalty per offense. Repeated offenses after two stages will result in disqualification from the match.

The normal condition of firearms not in use during a CoF is holstered or cased and unloaded, with hammer down or striker forward and magazine removed or cylinder empty. Long Guns must have the bolt closed on a chamber flag. Loaded firearms may only be handled in the safe area when supervised by an RO. Magazines, speed loaders, and moon clips may be reloaded while off the firing line, but the shooter’s firearm can be loaded or unloaded only under the direction of the RO.  Single-Action revolvers may be loaded on a table placed for that purpose but once loaded must remain untouched with their muzzles pointing in a safe direction until the shooter is called for their CoF

All CoFs will be started with the firearm holstered or cased, or for long guns with the bolt closed on a chamber flag, safeties engaged as required by different divisions, and hands clear of equipment.

Safety Area

A Safe Area is defined as a designated area where the following rules apply.

• Each Safe Area is clearly identified by visible signage, including a table with the safe direction and boundaries clearly shown.

• Unloaded firearms may be handled at any time in the Safe Area. This area is used for bagging or un-bagging a firearm, holstering, drawing, dry firing, or equipment adjustment.

• A Safe Area may also be used for inspections, stripping, cleaning, repairs and maintenance of a firearm or related equipment or parts.

• In all cases, the muzzle of the firearm must be pointed in a safe direction.

• Handling of ammunition, loaded ammunition feeding devices, loose rounds, dummy ammunition, snap caps, training rounds, or loaded firearms is not permitted.

• A Safe Area may also be used, while accompanied by a RO, to render safe a firearm that has locked up and contains a live round or rounds.

• Reload practice within the Safe Area is not allowed. An empty magazine may be inserted into a firearm to test functionality or to drop the hammer on a firearm with a magazine disconnect, but reload practice is prohibited.

• The violation of any of the cases above will result in disqualification from the match.

Stage Layout

The stage shall consist of a square shooting box no smaller than 2’ on a side and no larger than 4’ a side when measured from inside the box.  All shooting will be done from inside the box.

There shall be a marker ten feet downrange from the shooting box to serve as the aiming point at the start of each string.   The marker may be no more than two feet high.

The targets will be twelve plates, poppers and/or clay pigeons divided into three groups of four.  Each of the three groups shall be arranged in as identical a manner as practically achievable.  The targets in the groups may be angled differently so that they are square to the shooting box.  The nearest targets may be no closer than twenty-one feet from the shooting box. 

Markers, painted lines, snow berms or the like should be used to separate one group of four targets from another.

Each group of four targets will be shot as a timed string in the stage.


Stage Procedures, Ready Conditions, and Range Commands

Competitor Responsibility:

When called to the firing line, it is the competitor’s responsibility to come to the line prepared to shoot, and familiar with the stage procedures and range commands. If a competitor is unsure of or unable to comply with stage procedures or range commands, they should direct questions to the Range Officer before entering the shooting box.


When casing or uncasing any firearm at the firing position:

The muzzle of the firearm must always be pointed downrange.

The competitor, if shooting a long gun, may unbag or remove their firearm from the gun cart or case into a side berm or staging area provided the bay being used has sufficient side berm space to permit this practice. Once the firearm is removed from the case or cart the muzzle must remain pointed reasonably vertical (up or down), at all times, with a chamber flag inserted, until the “Make Ready” command is issued.


Firearm Ready Conditions

After the “Make Ready” command is given, the firearm may be placed into firing condition (loaded, hammer back, safety off). In the event that a competitor fails to place the firearm in the ready condition, the Range Officer may remind them, but if the competitor chooses to begin the stage with the firearm in another safe condition, the Range officer may proceed to ”Are You Ready?”


Leaving the Line:

No contestant may leave the firing line position until the firearm has been unloaded, inspected and cleared by the Range Officer. The firearm will then be holstered or placed in a protective case, sheath or bag. Long guns must be carried from the line with a chamber flag in place, muzzle up or in a case or bag.


Start Position

The start position is standing within the box. When the competitor is ready, they will assume the required start position to indicate their readiness to the Range Officer. The competitor must remain still and in the appropriate position until the start signal.

There will be an aiming point (marker, cone, flag, or sign) centered downrange directly in front of each shooting box 10’ away and a maximum of 2’ high.

The competitor, while waiting for the start signal, must be pointing/aiming their gun at the aiming point with their finger off the trigger and the finger outside of the trigger guard. Each firearm may start with the hammer cocked and, if applicable, with the safety off.

A competitor not in the proper start position prior to the start signal will be required to assume the correct start position by the Range Officer.


Range Commands

The Range Officer will direct the competitor using the following commands:

“Make ready” - Under the direct supervision of the Range Officer, the competitor must face down range and prepare their firearm. The competitor must then assume the required start position. At this point, the Range Officer will proceed. This command signifies the start of the course of fire. The “make ready” command signifies the start of the competitor’s attempt at the stage or course of fire. Once the “make ready” command has been given, the competitor must not move away from the start location without the prior approval, and under the direct supervision, of the Range Officer. The competitor will have a maximum of one minute after the Make Ready command to prepare for the run. Sight pictures may be taken during the Make Ready process and while preparing for the next string. Note: Should the competitor experience an accidental discharge while taking a sight picture a disqualification under the unsafe gun handling rule shall be issued.

“Are you ready?” - The lack of any negative response from the competitor indicates that they fully understand the requirements of the course of fire and are ready to proceed. If the competitor is not ready at the “Are you ready?” command, he must state “Not ready,” “No,” or similar responses.

For each subsequent string after the first, the Range Officer shall proceed from this command, once the competitor has assumed the start position.

“Stand by” - This command should be followed by the start signal within 1 to 4 seconds. It is recommended that the start signal be consistent for each string started for a given competitor.  A regular cadence is desirable in Kayaderosseras Winter Steel. The interval may change between competitors, however.

Start signal - At the audible start signal the competitor is to begin their attempt at the course of fire. If a competitor fails to react to the audible start signal, for any reason, the Range Officer will confirm that the competitor is ready to attempt the course of fire, and will resume the range commands from “Are You Ready?”

(OPTIONAL) “Prepare for your next string” - After the completion of a string, if the competitor has not completed the required number of strings they may be instructed to prepare for the next string. The competitor should reload, if necessary, and assume the appropriate start position.

“Stop” - Any Range Officer assigned to a stage or the Match Director or Range Master may issue this command at any time. The competitor must immediately cease firing, stop moving, and wait for further instructions.

“If you are finished, unload and show clear” (or “Unload and show clear” if “Stop” is used.) - After the completion of the final string, the Range Officer will issue this command. If the competitor has finished shooting, he must lower his firearm, completely unload it and present it for inspection by the Range Officer with the muzzle pointed down range.

Semi-automatic firearms must be presented with magazine removed; slide or bolt locked or held open, and chamber empty.

Revolvers must be presented with the cylinder swung out and empty.

For single-action revolvers, all casings will be ejected so that the RO can see all chambers empty

“If Clear, hammer down, holster” (handguns/SA revolvers) or “If clear, hammer down, flag” (long guns) or “If clear, cylinder closed, holster” (revolvers) - After issuance of this command, the competitor is prohibited from firing. While continuing to point the firearm safely downrange,

the competitor must perform a final safety check of the firearm as follows:

Centerfire self-loading handgun – release the slide and pull the trigger (without touching the hammer or decocker, if any).

Long Guns – show clear, close the bolt, pull the trigger, insert flag, case. The bolt must be closed on a chamber flag.

Revolver – close the empty cylinder (without touching the hammer, if any).

Single-Action revolver – lower the hammer

If the gun proves to be clear, the competitor must holster or case/bag their firearm or return it to the rack if one is used.

If the gun does not prove to be clear, the Range Officer will resume from the command “Stop” followed by “Unload and show clear” Once the gun has proven to be clear, the competitor will be disqualified under the unsafe gun handling rule.

If the cartridge fails to extract/eject, which is common with Rimfire pistols and rifles, once the time has been recorded and with approval of the Range Officer, the last cartridge may be fired directly into the berm without penalty. After the cartridge has been fired the Range Officer will resume the commands from “If clear, hammer down,” as appropriate for the firearm.

“Range is clear” - This declaration signifies the end of the stage. Once the declaration is made, officials and competitors may move forward to reset the plates.


Each string is scored separately.

Each string requires a minimum of four shots to be a valid time.  If, due to poor stage design, a competitor knocks down/breaks more than one target per shot, they must still fire a minimum of four shots per string. 

Each string will be scored as the time to the last shot, plus a three second penalty for each unfallen/unbroken target in the group, having a foot outside the shooting box, or any other failure to abide by the procedure for the stage.  If a competitor knocks down/breaks a target in group that is not in their current string, a three second penalty will be assessed against the string of the incorrectly shot target.

The maximum possible score for any string is sixty seconds.

After all three strings are shot, the best two scores will be added together as the total score for that stage.  There must be three strings shot for a stage to count for score. 

Equipment Rules

All firearms must be in safe working order.

All firearms and equipment must be legal to possess by general citizens of the state of New York.

Automatic fire, burst fire, binary triggers, or any device with the same or similar effects is prohibited.

All pistols, rifles or carbines must fire pistol caliber ammunition with a maximum velocity of 1300 feet per second.

Armor piercing ammunition is prohibited.

All shotguns must fire birdshot with a pellet size of #7.5 or smaller. 

Competition Divisions

For ranking purposes within a match, competitors will be compared to other competitors using firearms in the same division as follows:

  • Autoloading Pistol, Iron Sights (API)

  • Autoloading Pistol, Optical sights (APO)

  • Revolver, Iron Sights (RI)

  • Revolver, Optical sights (RO)

  • Autoloading Pistol Caliber Carbine, Iron Sights (PCI)

  • Autoloading Pistol Caliber Carbine, Optical Sights (PCO)

  • Lever Action Rifle/Carbine (LEV)

  • Shotgun (SG)


Version notes:

0 – initial draft

  1. – added clays to acceptable targets

  2. – cleaned up formatting, clarified the uncasing of long arms.  

1.0 – Initial release.  Added loading/unloading of single-action revolvers.

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