Cowboy Action Shooting is full of accouterments. Some are designed to make your life a bit easier at a match. One such item is called a loading block. It is a piece of wood with holes (based on what lead beans your feeding those irons!) to arrange ammunition for each shooting stage. There are a myriad of vendors that design these. Heck, you may even decide to create your own!
So why do we use these? First off they are completely optional, but extremely helpful. After you have arrived at your first match, signed in and listened to the safety briefing things will get started. When it is your turn to get ready, you will gather your guns and head to the loading table. There you will load everything under supervision. This is when having loading blocks can come in handy.
Although no one is rushed, occasionally the shooters before you are much faster. This can definitely make you feel anxious at the loading table, as it will be your turn soon. Additionally, you may want to watch the shooters that are ahead of you run through that stage. This is something I like to do myself, to get a better feel for how things will go. Having loading blocks just makes life easier as it just speeds up the loading process.
I have seen folks use reloading strips, canvas sacks, plastic ammo boxes, zip-lock bags, and even their pockets. You ultimately have to decide what is best for you. I myself prefer the loading block since it has the ammo arranged perfectly. Five for each revolver and ten for my rifle. Additionally, with everything arranged so nicely it is easy to check for high primers or any split cases.
Most folks who sell loading blocks will also include your SASS Alias on the outside. This is yet another benefit as there is no mistaking who some misplaced ammo belongs too. You can also add thematic stamps in the leather for extra flavor. Many designs also include a leather thong, which makes carrying the blocks around a match much easier. Finally, these blocks just add to the whole Cowboy Action Shooting aesthetic.
Below is a video showing just how these loading blocks are used and few more helpful tips.
The loading blocks depicted in this post were crafted by Missouri Marshal (SASS 50682L). For more information, please check his website here.