May 2020 Newsletter


Everyone keeps referring to this as “unprecedented times” and I guess I must use the same cliché. We sit on about 600 acres allowing for plenty of distancing between members, so we have stayed open and we plan to continue to stay open. Most of the discipline events have been canceled, however keep an eye on the events section. Some disciplines are considering hosting some of their events. However, larger events such as NW Multigun that has 200-300 competitors has been canceled.

The loss of revenue from canceling events and not able to do orientation for new members will decrease our income. COSSA is in a great financial position with no debt and healthy savings, but we still have some mandatory expenses to stay open (lease payments, insurance, maintenance, ect.). I want to keep us financially strong. The board and I have agreed to suspend planned improvements that were budgeted for 2020. This is designed to further increase COSSA’s reserve accounts protecting us from any financial downturn.

Members are our greatest source of income and support. With COVID 19 we have not had any orientation allowing new members to join and that is a problem. I have been working on an online orientation that will allow new members who cannot go to the range for orientation to learn the information required to keep COSSA safe. I hope to have this finish by mid-May. I hope that many existing members will also take to orientation to make sure they are aware of all the safety rules since the range is always evolving.

The board and I hope everyone is in good health.


Richard Mann

American Rifleman, May 2020

“Defensive handgun shooters spend a lot of time practicing presenting their handgun to the target. The draw stroke should be practiced often, and you should be able to conduct it quickly and smoothly.

What is often overlooked in practice sessions is holstering. This is the primary reason many self-inflicted gunshot wounds occur while holstering; shooters either do it wrong or do it in too much of a hurry.

There is a proper technique to holstering, and if done correctly, it is very safe.

The first rule when holstering a handgun is not to be in a hurry. It might be imperative that you get your gun out fast, but it is never critical to holster it in the same speed. When you decide it’s time to holster your handgun, take a deep breath, decide if there are any ammunition concerns that need to be addressed, and then – and only then—begin the holstering process.

The first thing you must do is remove your finger from the trigger and place it along the frame of the handgun. Then bring the gun to your workspace, close to your body at chest level. At this point, if the gun is equipped with a manual safety or decocker, you can activate it. Now is the time to remove your support hand from your two-hand grip.

When you do so, place that hand flat against your chest. This will prevent any chance of covering that hand with the muzzle of the handgun. Now begin to rotate the gun 90 degrees toward the ground as you move it to position directly above the holster. If you are wearing a cover garment, you can sweep it out of the way using the extended thumb of the gun hand. Once the gun is directly above the holster, reconfirm your trigger finger is completely out of the trigger guard and alongside the frame, and then slowly lower the gun into the holster.

Once the gun is fully seated in the holster you may release the grip on it with the shooting hand. If your holster has any retention devices, such as a thumb strap, you may now secure them. If it takes two hands to do it, then use both hands. Take your support hand from the center of your chest and lock the security devices in place.”

Remember, at COSSA, a holstered gun that is unloaded and has no magazine in the magazine well is considered a cased gun and you may move freely around the range with it in this condition.

A good holster covers the trigger when the gun is seated in it. Guns only fire when the trigger is depressed.


The work party for May is scheduled for the 20th. However, at this time we do not know if the Governor will allow a bunch of volunteers to get together and have so much fun. Therefore, keep an eye on the website for the latest information.

In the meantime, if you see a trash can overflowing, pull out the sack and put it in the black trash trailer. Keep the rubber band that keeps the bag in the can and replace the plastic bag. New bags are in the Old Training center back room. The more members keep trash contained, the easier it will be to keep the range clean.


Way back in the dark past someone had an idea. Bend needed a shooting range. A bunch of us got together and formed COSSA and started working towards that goal. One of the first was Norm Rife. We had to go to the many meetings and talk with the BLM and Norm was always there. It took years but we finally able to get the land we needed to build a range. Back in the late ‘70’s the International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Assoc. was born. Norm thought that we should have a range just for that and he set about doing that from the start. Norm was a man of many talents, but vocation was linemen for a power company. But he also excelled in the lighter sports like handgun shooting and teaching ballroom dancing with his wife Arlene on cruise ships. Many of the shooters in the local IHMSA were over the retirement age and could help get things started. One of the stipulations for using the present range site for shooting was to put up a fence around the entire leased area, this amounted to more than 5 miles of fencing. The BLM was sure it would take years to get this done and were skeptical about getting it done at all. Norm had contacts that he went to and found a great deal on T posts for the fence. Thanks to his group of IHMSA shooters and some other early members it was possible to get the fence done within the first year. Once that was done, they started shooting in the area of the Handgun Silhouette range. Norm was a marvel with the pistol. Before we had the IHMSA area set up as it is now, they had some metal plates set up for practice. One day I went out to see what my new rifle would do and found Norm plinking at one of the metal plates. We did not have any shooting benches at that time, so Norm was shooting standing at one of the plates, the plate was about 3’ x 2’. I joined Norm and started shooting at the same plate. After some sight adjustments, I began hitting the plate, about 2 out of 6. I thought that was pretty good from standing but Norm was also standing and hitting 6 out of 6 with his S & W .45 C. I was humbled so I left. The next time I went out I took my range finder to see how far the plate was away. IT TURNED OUT TO BE 385 YARDS. Then I was really humbled.

When we laid out the ranges and started working on getting them done so we could shoot, one of the first was the International Handgun Silhouette range. They wanted to shoot rain or shine and so they laid out the cover and started to build. Again, Norm with his contacts in the power community was able to get free posts and material and with the help of the IHMSA was able to put up the first structure at COSSA Park. The IHMSA group was a strong group at that time and were willing to help any shooters that wanted to learn. Norm took one of the early shooters and helped him along a bit. That shooter, Joe Cullison become the IHMSA champion of the world, the “Ironman” of IHMSA shooting.

Without men like Norm Rife, COSSA would not exist. Here’s to one of the best. All of the original HMSA COSSA members have passed. Norm Rife was the last one, I am sure that he will not miss a target where he has gone. Norm left us April 21, 2020 at the age of 95. If you are interested in learning more about Norm’s legacy, check out the COSSA calendar and come out and sample some of the shooting.


The quarantine bandit builds a pistol.

By Gary Lewis

On the morning of June 25, 1876, General Custer led his men against a combined force of Sioux, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho. Some of these Indians had recently fought General Crook's soldiers to a standstill at the Battle Where the Girl Saved Her Brother (Battle of the Rosebud), little more than a week before.

We will also discuss the curious case of Frank Finkel, of the 7th Cavalry.

This was an interesting time in firearms history with many different types of weapons represented. On the Indians' side, the bow and arrow, the lance, the tomahawk, and war club were employed alongside warriors armed with flintlock, percussion rifles, "Trapdoor" carbines, Winchester repeaters and Colt single actions. Soldiers were armed with the latest Trapdoors, Colts and their own guns.

A total of 2,361 cartridges, cases and bullets have been recovered from the fight. Archaeologists have identified 45 different firearms types on the battlefield and 371 individual guns.

On June 11, at the COSSA membership meeting, we will hold a display of the guns used at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, at a place the Indians called the Greasy Grass. Plan to be at this meeting and please bring guns that are representative of the guns used in the historic battle. Both replicas and originals guns are welcome.


By Gary Lewis

Kris Bales must not have enough to do. Kris Bales is a longtime friend of COSSA and a COSSA member. One of his favorite things to do is bring his grandchildren to the range - he has 9 grandkids - and let them shoot their great-grandfather's rifles.

While promoting the hunting heritage and the Second Amendment in his family, Kris Bales noticed that some COSSA shooters are not as proficient as they could be. The target stanchions were really taking a beating.

So, Bales decided to do something about it. Let's hear it in his own words:

"I built these tripod target stanchions on my own time and materials to help replace shot up tripods.

"Please respect these target tripods. I have nine grandkids who have been shooting from one year to 15 years and not one of them have hit any target tripods. If you shoot a target tripod I can set you up with shooting from ANY of my nine grandkids from 20 feet to 1,000 yards. Thanks, Kris Bales, COSSA Member."

So, if you are at the range and you see some super-cool red, white, and blue, super-strong target tripods, you can say thanks to Kris and his granddaughter Mercedes who helped with the project.

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