The origin of the Buffalo Target Shooters Association (BTSA) dates back to the mid 1950’s. At that time the Alberta Provincial Rifle Association (APRA) was permitted to shoot on the Sarcee military base. The purpose of the club has always been to create a safe place for siting-in; practicing shooting and competing in full bore shooting competitions in a venue close to home for locals in and around Calgary. There was an annual “Hunters Day” held at the “Buffalo Range” on the Sarcee base. Hence the original name of the organization was the Buffalo Hunters Gun Club; which was later changed to Buffalo Target Shooters Association due to a public misconception of the purpose of the club.
The APRA left the Sarcee set of Ranges in the early to mid 1970's because access to the Military Ranges was terminated. Land was leased to the club by the City of Calgary on the west side of Ogden.
At that time the people who had taken on the responsibility of running the "Hunters Day" on the Buffalo Range decided to form a group on their own on the Ogden Range, as a hand-gun club. Being non-competition shooters the club was also a "General Plinker's" club allowing any type of firearm to be used, there were no set shooting competitions or programs.
The range was built and in less than a year the City decided to build Deerfoot Trail over the land in Ogden. The club was in hiatus while waiting for the city to do the fencing and earth work for a new range in the north end. It was to be named "Steve Johnson Rifle Range" (SJR) after a Canadian Military Officer named Steve Johnson who had written the Department of National Defence shooting program (called "Shoot to Live").
The Swiss (rifle; hand-gun and crossbow) were the primary work group to build the SJR, along with APRA (now known as full-bore); ASRA (Alberta Small-bore Rifle Association); some Rosebud members and Buffalo Hunters’ members.
When the SJR was completed (in 1981 or 82) the club moved in; originally restricted to rim-fire rifles and hand-guns no larger than .38 calibre. After negotiating with the APRA, Transport Canada and the Calgary Airport Authority the club gained permission to include Black Powder Rifles and larger calibre handguns. During this time on the SJR we grew.
While members shooting preferences varied from time to time it remained a hand-gun club even though at one time the black-powder shooters (56%) out-numbered the hand-gun shooters (44%). There were weekly shooting events and monthly competitions. The Steve Johnson Range was closed in 2012 when the land was re-acquired by the Calgary Police Service for their own range.
Land in Kananaskis country was leased to the APRA, BTSA, Rosebud and Swiss gun clubs in about 1981. The ranges on Homestead road were built by each club individually: Rosebud, Full-Bore and the Swiss. The APRA built a public range as part of the lease agreement with Kananaskis.
BTSA was hosting full-bore competitions at the Homestead range throughout the 1990’s concurrent with the development and use of the Steve Johnson range in Calgary.
The BTSA was proclaimed by the APRA to be the "Official" Handgun club under the umbrella of the APRA in 1995.
Today the club has a number of ranges at the Homestead location for use by club members. The club hosts a number of events and shooting programs. The club has been sponsoring an annual shooting competition as a fund-raiser for the Alberta Children’s Hospital since 1993.
Buffalo Target Shooters Association
PO Box 394
300, 8120 Beddington Blvd NW
Calgary Alberta T3K 2A8