Friday, December 30, 2005

Show and Tell

Another Christmas has come and gone, I hope your's was a fine one. I got a really nice gift from Judge Mint Day, a Mitch Rosen holster for my Kimber Eclipse CLE II! Its the new Premier holster from Rosen and it's a very nice one indeed, the width of the holster really spreads out the weight of the full size 1911 nicely and makes the holster less bulky. The snaps make it a cinch to take off if I need to; the forward cant of the gun is something I really like in a holster and this one manages to keep the grip nice and tight to my body. This thing is absolutely made for the 1911, when I first got it, I had to shove and shove to get the gun in the holster and then couldn't pull it out for a while. It is breaking in now and I can actually wear and carry with it now. The only thing that will limit my use of the holster is it's drop, it makes wardrobe very important when I carry with this holster and almost precludes me wearing it in the summer. But that lets me buy another holster later on, right?

Anyway, thanks for the gift Judge, I love it. Now for some holster/gun porn.

Cocked, locked and ready to rock
Flickr Photo
Holster; Kimber, Mag and 9 Friends

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Gunfighter

Since I broke the ice with Warlock I decided I had to keep going with the western reviews. I love movies and on the rare (very rare now with a baby) occasions I get to relax I do it watching a movie, and westerns are one of my favorite genre films.

The Gunfighter is another thinking mans western. Gregory Peck stars as Jimmy Ringo, an aging gunfighter tired of upholding his reputation. The movie starts with the tired Ringo trying to quietly have a drink. A young tough recognizes Ringo and forces a confrontation. Having gunned down the tough Ringo leaves town as fast as he arrived and the skilled manner in which he does it only proves how many times it has happened before. On the run from the brothers of the young tough Ringo tries to make amends with the only women he ever loved, but his past keeps getting in the way.

Gregory Peck is amazing in this film. He manages to capture the dangerousness of Jimmy Ringo as well as the sadness. We get to watch him develop the character in ways unexpected and it is a wonderful precursor to the roles he will play in the future, like On the Beach and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Just as Warlock utilized it beautiful Technicolor to enhance the picture, The Gunfighter does the same with Black and White. Stark and bare images for a character with little beauty left in his life. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


I love a good cigar, and CAS gives me plenty of opportunities to light up and relax. You can’t smoke anywhere in the city I live, and I’ve pretty much given up golf for CAS, so that’s where I do most of my smoking. Jose and I have different tastes so I know he wont agree with me on this, but the best (non-Cuban) cigar I have smoked is a Davidoff Millennium.

It was March 9th, 2004 and I had just finished watching a Pacers game with my squad. The game went into overtime and we all went to the Claddigh Irish Pub. We had a few beers and I settled in for a cigar. They had the Davidoff’s on the menu and since I hadn’t tried one before I decided to give it a shot. I am glad that I did.

It’s an excellent smoke with an even draw, mellow finish, and a slight nutty flavor. Not to strong and not to mild, but a perfect cigar for the middle of the day or a CAS shoot. The only problem is that nobody carries them around here and they are very hard to find…not to mention a little on the steep side.

[update] I probably have less sophisticated taste than Judge. I like the Carlo Torano cigars the best (for now), especially the 1959 Exodus Silver torpedo. Had one in Vegas during last year's SASS convention in the Tropicana's cigar bar. There's nothing like sitting in an overstuffed leather chair, watching a ball game, sipping a Manhattan, smoking an excellent cigar and engaged in discussion with a best friend (the cigar girl was a nice addition!).

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Three Inch Magnum

My current goal is to own a three inch magnum and find out if the myth is really true. I know this isn’t cowboy related, but it is gun related so here it is. The mythical three inch magnum is supposed to be the ultimate carry gun. Perfect for concealability, great stopping power, and the three inch barrel doesn’t bleed off as much muzzle velocity as the 1 and half and the 2 inch models.

I currently own a couple of S&W revolvers. A model 66 given to me by my father and carried for the first 2 years of my police career ( I love that gun), and a model 640 I currently carry as a back up. I love the S&W revolvers and think they are the finest revolvers ever made, but trying to find a three inch magnum is damn near impossible.

So I think I’m going to have one made. But first I gotta find me a good deal on a model 19, or model 66. Hell I might even go for a model 29. Besides the little cowgirl is going to need something when she gets a little older.

[UPDATE] I think this is a fine representation of a M19. Like Judge says, the 3 incher is hard to find so this example is a 4 inch model 19 ($270 on

Sunday, December 11, 2005


The latest Carnival of Cordite is up. Like always the topics run the gambit, from second ammendment news to hunting to Barret's newest creation, the XM109 25mm anti-anything rifle. I want one of these. The Milt Sparks holster looks like a dandy as well. My 1911 wants one of those.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Littlest cowgirl

Flickr Photo

I had to add Judge Mint Day's little girl to the blog. Someday maybe this young lady will be cryin' about how she shot just like her daddy. I told her mom that she was crying because she didn't have any guns yet. :)

Jose just can’t lay off Coyote Cap, and like he said in his post “breaks my heart”. Now maybe we aren’t being fair to Cap. Sure we haven’t bought anything from him so can’t comment on his customer service or product quality, but here are a few reasons why we tend to give Cap a hard time.

It started in 2002 or so when he announced that he was making a Winchester Model 1887 lever action shotgun. He started taking 50 dollar pre orders from people and said that the guns should be here by the end of the year. Thousands of people gave him the money, and some even paid the full amount, but they didn’t get there shotguns. He finally delivered 120 shotguns (out of thousands) this December…that’s right 2006! I wouldn’t mind making the interest off of all that money for 4 years!

But he then went on to complain about the rise of the Yen and raised the prices on the guns…that takes balls. And the worst part is that everyone defends him for being a great guy and a good pard to do business with on the wire. Other vendors have been kicked off the SASS wire for the same thing, but he keeps right on going.

Jose and I meet him at the SASS convention in 2004. There is no doubt that he knows his stuff, and provides quality products for the gamers (all his guns are gamer guns), but the guy is slippery. I mean he is the epitome of a used car salesman. He could sell sand in the Sahara, and in the end that’s what chaffs our backside. Jose and I are about as straight forward as it comes. We keep our word, don’t’ take advantage of people, and take responsibility for our actions and decisions…the things that Coyote Cap seems to lack.

Feel free to do business with him, hell who knows I’ve always wanted an 87 lever shotgun so I might buy one some day, but I’ll keep my hand on my wallet when I do cause a snack oil salesman hasn’t changed much in a 150 years.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The SASS convention is over and the TG voting on agenda items has been released. You can d/l a copy here.

I thought I'd comment on the items as I see them.

#1 Should State and higher matches be required to award prizes to all categories. [YES] My only worry is that they'll hike the price of the match, though I don't see why they would, I guess I'm just used to oil prices rising at the hint anything that could negatively affect their profit.

#2 Should rules go into affect March 1st [YES] Good!

#3 Black powder categories blah blah blah 1cc powder blah blah blah [YES] Well good for them, now I hope they shut up. Oh and forget shooting that .32 of yours in BP at State and above because someone's going to challenge you and everyone knows you can't get that much powder in a .32. The three TGs will see that you don't create enough smoke because EVERYONE knows you can't hold that much in the cartridge and people see what they are expected to see. The expectation is there and it will be judged so.

#4 B-Western an official category [YES] I like this, it adds to the sport. Not everyone wants to look like a grungy old cowboy.

#5 Should any shooter be allowed to protest a non-safety issue (miss, procedural) [NO] OMG! thank you for that! I can't imagine a major shoot where anyone could argue a miss! Flog whomever put this on the agenda!

#6 Should any shooter be allowed to protest a safety call on another competitor? [NO] again GOOD! (see above)

#7 Should FC shooters be allowed to shoot Gunfighter style? [RATIFY] This is hogwash! If you want a BP Gunfighter, fine, make that, but dilluting a CATEGORY by making it a STYLE is stupid, moronic and simply a bad bad bad idea. BAD! There's already people asking if they can shoot gunfighter in B-Western for Christ's sake!

8# Competitor's age be established by his/her age on the date of the shoot? [YES] Duh!

9# Should we allow a leather tie down under the hammer? [NO] Who thinks of these things? STUPID!!

10# Should we change the empties left in long guns safety penalty? [NO] This is good, now just stop people from loading on the run and I'll feel safer. This rule keeps everyone safe from those who think this isn't a safety issue.

11# If a modification to a firearm can be seen in normal handling of the gun, is it illegal? [TABLED] This one is tricky, there's too many parts that can be seen as modified that are currently legal. I think as worded, this elliminates too many guns. BTW the lightning rod started this whole thing and I have actually seen one and it doesn't look as bad as I thought it would. It is awfully gamer though.

12# Uberty 1873 percussion pistol legal? [RATIFY] I don't have a dog in the hunt, but this isn't a gun in the spirit of the rules and I hope it gets voted down.

13# Should revolving percussion rifles be legal main match guns [NO] by all means thank heaven!

Also voted on were the Coyote Cap/Interstate Arms 93/97 shotgun with was tabled for next year. Something that's got Cap hopping mad, so that makes me happy. To read him whining about all the money he spends to make this sport safer is truly gut-wrenching. Like I care if he lost a few thousand from the $100k or so he took on deposit for the 1887 that he had the gall to raise the price on anyway. HA!

The lightning rod isn't legal either, breaks my heart...

Anyhow, that's the voting and that's my take like or leave it. I don't pretend to make everyone like me, but I have my opinions and that's why I've got a blog.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

What’s your favorite western movie? I’m thinking about this now that winter has rolled around and I can’t shoot for the next couple of months. Warlock is my favorite western movie. Warlock was made in 1959 by Edward Dmytryk and stared Henry Fonda, Anthony Quinn, and Richard Widmark. Dymytryk is one of those classic Hollywood directors who was responsible for The Young Lions and The Caine Mutiny the depth that is found in both of those films can be found in this one as well.

The movie starts simple enough and at first seems to be much like 90 percent of the westerns being made at that time. A town called Warlock is being plagued by a gang of cowboys and the townsfolk hire a gunman to come to town and clean things up. Henry Fonda plays Clay Blaisedell the hired gunman. Anthony Quinn plays his gambler friend Tom Morgan.

The tone of the movie starts to change pretty quickly as one of the cowboys, Johnny Gannon played by Richard Widmark, decides he wants no part of the thugs and members of the town make him deputy marshal to Fonda’s marshal. Good guys morph into bad guys, bad guys become good guys, and Anthony Quinn plays one of the best and creepiest (and probably gay, but the film only hints at that) “sidekicks” I have seen in a western. At the end you’ll find yourself never hearing “Rock of Ages” the same again. This isn’t a light hearted western it is thought provoking with plenty of depth and character to sink your teeth into. It was the first film I ever saw Richard Widmark in and I still think it’s one of his best performances.

So this long winter go out and rent or buy Warlock, you’ll be happy you did.

Monday, November 21, 2005

What a beautiful weekend. Thunder Valley had its main match on Saturday, and it was great. The day started a little cold, about 32 degrees with a hard frost, but the sun was out and it hit 50 by the early afternoon. With a slight breeze it was dreamy weather for the black powder guys, and the rest of us just found it pleasant.

Not only was this the main match, but we also celebrated El Paso’s 75th (?) birthday. El Paso has got to be one of the nicest guys I have met. He genuinely cares about everyone and goes out of his way to help, even when his body isn’t up to it anymore. For his birthday we had a pitch in lunch. We normally shoot half the stages, and then break for about 45 minutes for lunch. Of course lunch is usually hot dogs and chips, but Saturday was very different. We had BBQ beef, beans of every kind, Mac and Cheese, potato salad, several different slaws, meatballs, corn pudding, cookies, cakes…lets just say that we had over 40 shooters and I bet everyone brought something. I know it’s a cliché by now, but Cowboy Folks are the best.

The shooting went well, not because I shot very well, but because I got to play with my new toy (the ’66) for the first time. Jose and taken it apart and slicked it up a little, but this was the first time I got to make it go boom. The first two stages were a little rough. The rifle functioned great and it is going to be a real machine, but the front sight is ivory and all our rifle targets at Thunder Valley are painted white. That little bead just disappeared out there and it took me well into the third stage to get used to it. I’m either going to black out the sight, or replace it with a brass bead (my preference). My pistols were all over the place, mostly because I was focusing on the rifle and not even putting much effort into the rest. In the end I won the Gunfighter Category. I beat Hardscrabble who must have screwed up somewhere, and Randy Atcher who doesn’t really count because he was shooting cap and ball pistols.

After the shoot we went up to Rebel’s garage and had a few beers. It’s pretty hard to beat a day like that. We have one more shoot for the year in two weeks, I hope the weather holds out.
UPDATE [jose]:
I'm adding the Posse Picture that Lorenzo Lain took during the October (?) main match. As for Saturday's shoot, all I can say is "You sold me rotten taters! Now you die!"

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Yeah, I realize that the posting has been light lately, I've just not had time to put together a post that I've been wanting to do on gun carts, there's also some stuff I wanted to do on kitchen table gunsmithing and reloading too. I've spent my time working on my Marlin getting it slicked up and cleaning guns lately. That and there's always something better to do, like watch Lost or My Name Is Earl.

There's been some discussion on the wire about the '66 & '73 winchesters discharging while out of battery. This happens when a cartridge doesn't properly enter the chamber and "jams" the rifle. A lot of shooters instinctively rack the action a few times to try and clear it, well in doing so, you can cause an OOB discharge. This happens when the bolt travels forward at speed and is suddenly stopped by the cartridge, the momentum of the firing pin carries it forward, striking the primer and BOOM! Not good. So be careful when you have a jam with a '73 or '66, or heck, ANY gun! These things are real you know!

Look at this video of a test that Cypress Sam (via Manatee) did demonstrating OOB discharge. Its a Windows Media file.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

A special Veteran's Day Carnival Of Cordite is up. Go read it and learn how Silly String is saving soldier's lives in Afghanistan, very cool. Also a reminder about November 19 being National Ammo Day

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I gotta put this picture up. I was going through some of the CAS photo’s I’ve taken over the last couple of years and found this one. This was Jose at our first match. We each bought a pistol, and we each bought a long-arm, and we gathered up the bare necessities for shooting. From what we had read, and what we had seen at the two matches we had visited prior to shooting our first one we knew we needed a gun cart. With all the stuff you gotta lug around from stage to stage a gun cart is damn near required. So this was our first “Pimp Ass Gun Cart.”

Hey, it got the job done; it held ammo, guns, and everything else we needed. We used it for a couple of matches until we got one built. Of course by now we each have a complete set of guns, carts, clothes, and all the other stuff. The neat thing I like about this picture is that it shows you that you don’t need a lot to get started. If you’ve got a buddy to shoot with who is willing to split some things with you then you’re good to go. Buy a cheap straw hat, a pair of boots (if you don’t already own a pair), throw on your Levi’s, put on a button down shirt, strap a milk crate to a dolly and you’re done.

Maybe Jose will post his gun cart plans. He makes pretty sweet and simple gun carts.

UPDATE: More stuff in the flicker gallery

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

“Guns, Guns, Guns” Clarence Bodiker said it best, and ultimately that’s what drives this sport. People can talk about dressing up, the great people, spending time outdoors, and all that other crap (don’t get me wrong, I like all that other crap myself) but in the end it’s about the guns.

Jose and I just bought new rifles. We should be set for a long time, but I know we are both already thinking about our next gun purchases, even if they won’t be for a long time yet. As I said before, I’ve got a set of Ruger Vaqueros in .45 colt, a Stoeger Coach gun in 12 gauge, a Rossi Puma Model 92 in .45 colt, and now an Uberti Yellowboy. So what else do you ask could I possibly want?

How about a pair of Cimarron Richard Mason Open Top Conversions in .45 colt, a TTN Hammered Double Barrel 12 gauge, a Sharps .45 – 70 rifle, an American Derringer in .38 special, andWinchester Model 94 in .30 caliber. That ought to do it for the cowboy guns. I would also like to pick up a Remington Marine Magnum 870, an M1A Scout Squad Rifle, a Kimber Grand Raptor II 1911, and a S&W 625 with a 3 inch barrel. I reckon that ought to fill the gun safe.

Now If I could just figure out how to link the pages you wouldn’t have to run a search, but I’ll let Jose take care of that…speaking of Jose, what’s his wish list.
For cowboy guns, I'd have to go with 1875 Calvalry Model Schofields chambered in .45 Colt/Schofield, An 1873 Winchester-Style Rifle in .45 Colt, an original Winchester '97 in 12 guage, a Marlin 1895 in 45-70, and a Sharps in 45-70. As for the modern guns. I want a Black Rifle in .223, a Mossberg 590 in 12 guage with light and ghost rings, S&W model 19 or 66 in .357Magnum with 3" barrel, Walther PPK/S in .380ACP, a Rock Island Armory (or similar) 1911 in .45ACP (for project gun), and a Browning Hi Power in 9mm.

That said, I'd also love to have most of the guns Judge mentioned (those M1A's are sweet) and by no means would I limit myself to just these guns. I've already got a Kimber Eclipse CLE II and a TTN 1878 hammered double, so I don't need another of either. Its a decent list that will take me a while to get through and will certainly change before I get to the next gun!

UPDATE: I added a link to my Flickr gallery and started adding pictures.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Judge isn't the only cowboy with a new rifle. I picked up my Marlin Cowboy in .45Colt yesterday at our fun day shoot. Abu (the pardner I bought it from) purchased it because Judge told him he wanted a Marlin and to buy one if he found a good deal on one. Well Abu was at the gun show the day after Judge bought his '66 and didn't know Judge didn't need him to pick it up. In short, I now have a rifle and thought I would post our first gun porn.

As you can see, I'm no photographer, but this rifle is a dandy. I'd suspect it had less than a box of ammo through it before I got it and I got a decent deal on it. There's much to do to make it truly match ready, but I shot it yesterday anyway and I'm very happy with it so far. As Judge mentioned in his post, you can outrun a '92 and he and I are at that point now and the '66 and Marlin will let us push a little more and hopefully start moving up the shooter list.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Carnival of Cordite 37 is up. This week's installment covers everything from CAS to Women in Guns to a laser rifle!?!

Monday, October 31, 2005

In the late 1850’s Benjamin Henry designed a lever action repeating rifle using .44 caliber brass cartridges. The rifle revolutionized military weapons and many soldiers during the Civil War saved and spent their own money to purchase a Henry Rifle. In 1866 the Winchester Company released their “improved” Henry Rifle which quickly became one of the guns that won the west.

The “improved” Henry became known as the Winchester Model 1866. It was brass framed as the Henry, but had a side loading plate which was a tremendous improvement over the tube loading Henry. It also incorporated a fore-end which made shooting the rifle comfortable. Due to its brass receiver it was nicknamed “Yellowboy” and even though it’s 2005 I just picked up my new (used) rifle this week.

Jose and I attended the Indiana State Shoot this year and even though I didn’t plan on winning, I still thought I could put in a good showing. Well my Rossi Puma 92 locked up on me and jammed with 9 rounds in the gun. That’s 45 seconds worth of penalties and I swore I would have a new gun by the first of the year. I’m not a great shooter, but the design of the Winchester Model 1892 copies have a “speed limit” the faster you go the greater chance the gun will malfunction. So I started looking at the alternatives.

First there were the Marlins. The Marlin 1894 is an excellent gun, and pretty reasonable even though the price keeps going up. Right now you can have a new one for about 550 to 600. You can short stroke the Marlin and make it a real slick shooter. The only real drawback it that it can not be used to compete in the Classic Cowboy category.

The next rifle was the Winchester Model 1873. This gun was perfect. It could be slicked up to shoot amazingly and it could be used in any category. The only problem was it ran at about 900 bucks. And, of course there was the 66 Yellowboy. The Yellowboy was the same as the 73, but with a brass receiver. It ran about 800 bucks and was probably going to be out of my price range, just like the 73. Both guns are made by Uberti and imported into the US by several different companies.

So I looked everywhere for guns and nobody had them in stock and everyone wanted crazy prices for the guns. Jose found one on Gunbroker so I gave the guy a call. He lived only 2 hours from my place and was selling a used Uberti Model 1866 Yellowboy Sporting Rifle with a 24” barrel in .45 colt. It was exactly what I was looking for and in a price I could afford. I drove up and picked it up from the guy and was even happier once I held it. The rifle looked brand new and couldn’t have had more then a couple of dozen rounds fired threw it. I haven’t had a chance to shoot it yet, but the action is smooth and it cycles cartridges just fine. I’ll report back after I’ve had a chance to shoot it. I will also put up a picture of the gun when I figure out how to add pictures to this thing.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Thought I'd start linking to the Carnival of Cordite. A weekly roundup of gun blogging.
Buying and selling online is a wonderful thing, I just love the idea of being able to sit at home or work, browse around until I find just what I'm looking for and at the right price and purchase it (like the new drover coat I ordered Tuesday). Then there's the whole anticipation thing too, you wait anxiously until the delivery guy or gal pulls up to your house and drops off your package, its just like christmas!

Why bring this up? Because I think that the internet may be about as important to CAS growth as anything. I'm lucky enough to live an hour away from a really nice cowboy store called Tonto Rim where I can buy all the duds and stuff I need for shooting cowboy (except guns). They make custom hats and have a really nice selection of boots as well as all the clothes you need. But then, not everyone is so lucky. Most cowpokes are going to have to order their stuff and that's where the internet has to of really changed this sport. I can't imagine trying to find all the cool cowboy stuff by browsing through the Chronical and calling the merchant to request a catalog, then waiting, browsing the catalog and ordering by phone, you get the picture.

You can find any and everything you need on the internet to go shoot and have it delivered to your door or to your FFL dealer. Yes, you can buy guns online via merchants or by individual classified or auctions, just ask Judge as he's just got a purty 66 yellowboy that I'm jealous of. Buying stuff isn't the only benefit to CAS that the internet offers, you can go to one of the forum websites and discuss CAS topics, rule changes, techniques and just find other friends if that's your thing. I like to visit the SASS Wire to read about the various guns and gunsmithing/reloading related stuff as well as get suggestions on more places to buy gear. Clubs can post or email scores, you can check weather forcast to decide what to wear, get directions to a new range, register for shoots and much much more.

It isn't all sunshine and lollipops, there's some aspects to the internet that I don't like. I think people say things when they are hiding behind their computer and the distance it provides that they wouldn't say face to face. I try not to say anything that I wouldn't say in person, but Its really easy to do and its one of the things that turns me off on the wire. That and I think some people just post on the wire to see their own posts, they're probably the same kind of folk who talk just to hear themselves, you know?

Kind of ironic really, this sport that harkens back to the days of yore is thriving in large part to the most recent of innovations, the internet.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

One of the cool things about shooting CAS is the comraderie with the other shooters. I've not been a participant in any of the other shooting sports, but I would find it hard to believe that the IPSC and IDPA shooters are as friendly and helpful as the CAS shooters. Case in point, our local bad-ass shooter Vaquero Hayes has offered to take his own time to teach a class to the local shooters for a very nominal fee. I mean he has to drive 2 - 2 1/2 hours to get to the range and he's teaching it on the off weekends (one time on his and his wife's anniversary). This level of dedication to SASS and his fellow shooters should be commended, but it is hardly a rareity in the SASS community. That makes an impression on me and makes me want to help other shooters out.

Another way this comraderie manifests is the post match BS session usually held at the range owner's garage (Redneck Rebel). We pull up a bunch of chairs in a circle and chew the fat and kill some beers (some like whiskey or other beverages). We can talk about the shooting, complain about stuff we don't like and pat others on the back for good work or shooting. I'm convinced Redneck Rebel could open a cantina and do a heck of a business on the night after a shoot. Sometimes we steer a little far off course and the discussions sometimes get heated when discussing rules or some of the less likeable characters in SASS, but we all leave as friends. This past weekend the discussion turned to the proposals put forth by the TG commitee and what we thought of the rules and what direction SASS is headed. I'm really glad to have an active TG that really really cares about SASS and more importantly, me and what I think.

Speaking of what I think, I thought I'd address the equipment race issue that seems to have been thrust to the forefront by Tex and some of the TG items (I'll let Judge continue an item by item account). I tend to agree with Tex in that the problem isn't with the manufacturers and I don't forsee it being with the gun manufactures because they have to build a gun that works and is safe and they're building them for general consumption and some people use these guns as collectables, hunting or just plain like having a cowboy gun. The problem arises when the aftermarket products come to the table, they provide us with drop-in parts or smith modifications that significantly modify how the gun operates. When you have a model 66 winchester clone that only requires a couple of inches of lever travel to cycle, that's pretty significant and probably the most wide-spread major modification in existence. That's not to say Ruger short-strokes, 93/97 shotguns and lightning rods aren't significant, just not as plentiful nor obvious when in use.

I feel that if a modification breaks my suspension of reality, then I've got a problem with it. That goes for the cowboys themselves, if I see a cowboy with something obviously not cowboy on him, then I have a problem with it. A couple of shooters a while back had used some sort of substance on their hands to help grip their pistols (dry day), the only way I noticed was that it made their palms white. No it wasn't chalk, I asked what it was and one of them said it was a tube of "stuff". I didn't really say any more, but you know, that kind of bothered me not because it gave them an extra advantage, but because it a) interrupted my suspension of reality and b) he wouldn't tell me what it was either because he didn't want his secret getting out or because it was illegal.

So with that in mind, I really don't mind the short stroked rifles and pistols, I do mind the thought of a lighning rod, because it'll look out of place. Coyote Cap's proposed 93/97 shotguns are a joke because they are simply a 97 with a larger ejection port. Sure the 93 was an actual gun, but manufacturing it with 97 internals is crossing the line. The 93 is not safe in original form and should be outlawed by SASS as well as this abomination. Similarly, the 1873 percusion pistol is a similar lark although it was never even made.

I really don't know where you draw the line on this stuff, its kind of like governing pornography in that I can't really tell you what I wouldn't allow beforehand, although I would certainly know it when I see it. I know, big help, but making a rule that anything that can be seen "during normal handling" would elliminate a lot of the guns that are used in SASS legally right now. That would do away with all short strokes, lightning rods, alloy 66/73 lifters, 1887 drop two mod and the like. Maybe that's a good thing though. We need something so that we don't have to vote on every single mod as to whether it is legal or not. What I don't want to see is a rule governing the internals that you don't see, that's just too draconian and nye impossible to govern when the officials are volunteers.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Saturday was the Main Match at Thunder Valley, and the weather could not have been nicer. Bright sunshine, slight breeze, low humidity, and 70 degrees, but as nice as the day was, the shooting was just plain ugly.

Jose won third place in Duelist and even though he didn’t shoot great he had only 1 blowup and that was mitigated by some of the worst spotting I have ever seen. So overall he didn’t do to bad and got the third place ribbon.

Bison Bud was on hand and from the very beginning I knew I couldn’t win gunfighter. That’s not the best attitude to have, but it was the truth. Bud’s pistol work doesn’t intimidate me, but his rifle is about as good as it gets, and with me still shooting a 92 I knew there was no way. So I figured it was between me and Rapid Lee for second. By the end of the first 3 stages Rapid Lee was clean and shooting in the low 30’s. I couldn’t seem to get in gear with times in the low to mid 30’s and I already had 2 misses. So after the break I made up my mind to shoot as fast as I could, and I did.

My first stage after the break was stage 7 and I managed to run 10 pistol, 10 rifle, and 4 shotgun in 29.?? seconds, clean. That’s only the second time I’ve shoot a stage under 30 as a gunfighter and the first time using a 92. I was pretty pumped after that stage and we moved on to stage 8, Stage 8 consisted of 10 pistol, 10 rifle, and 2 shotgun. I managed to run a raw time of 23.?? Seconds, with one miss! That was the best stage I have ever shot.

So now I had 3 mediocre to poor stages and 2 great stages so I moved on to the sixth stage of the day, and that one brought me back to reality. I was on a great pace, shooting fast and moving well, but I threw one of my rifle rounds, and when I transitioned to my pistols things got out of hand. I missed every pistol shot with my left hand, but with each shot instead of slowing down and correcting my error I kept speeding up, by the end I was laughing and whooping and so was the rest of the posse. If you gotta go down, go down in flames! I still ended up with a time in the low fifties, even with 6 misses (5 sec. penalty for each miss)!

Of course Bison Bud won first in Gunfighter, and Rapid Lee, who shot great all day, took second place. I ended up with the third place ribbon and against those two guys I guess that isn’t too bad. One of these days I going to put together a whole shoot, 7 stages of great shooting, and when I do you’ll all hear about it.

So the day had its good and bad spots, but most of the time it just felt like people had their head up their kazoo. Spotting was poor to nonexistent, people wouldn’t listen, a few wanted to argue, and the easiest scenarios seemed to cause the most confusion. Still I always say a bad day at the range is better then most good days anywhere else.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

SASS is a large group and it is governed by a smaller group known as the “Wild Bunch.” They were the original members of SASS who still decide the important matters of the organization. A second group known as the “Territorial Governors” is elected by the individual clubs and represents the clubs at the national convention. The following is a list of agenda items for the next convention and how I feel about them.

Should all SASS State and higher championships be required to honor all SASS categories even if there is only one participant? We are now requiring all sanctioned State and above championships to honor all categories with 5 or more participants.

I believe that SASS should be required to honor all categories. They made the damn things and charge each of the members yearly dues, so if I want to shoot in a category at a state level then I should be able to win a plaque if I’m the only one shooting or not.

Should all rule changes passed at the Territorial Governors’ Summit go into effect as of March 1st of the following year? With End of Trail moving its calendar forward to June of 2006, would it be best for SASS to initiate the newly adopted changes in the rules, following the SASS Convention in December, to an earlier date? With dates of matches varying, it would not be a good idea to attach new rules to a match date but rather a calendar date. March 1st, at this point, would precede all Regional, National, and World championships.

This one is a no brainier. How they got by for so long having the rules take effect at an event instead of on a date is amazing. It only makes since to say “rules go into effect on this date” I don’t really care if it’s May 1st or January 1st, as long as it is the same every year and there is no wiggle room.

Should all black powder categories be changed to add the following statement, Competitors will be required to produce this amount of smoke. Some types of black powder, or black powder substitutes, may produce this amount of smoke with less volume of powder. It is also recommended that there be an appeal procedure (three Territorial Governors) if it is suspected a competitor is not producing the correct amount of smoke and that base line loads be on hand to compare to the shooter’s loads. It is also recommended the penalty for such an infraction should be a Spirit of the Game Penalty (30 Seconds), removal from the black powder category and placement into a comparable smokeless category.

This is much ado about nothing. I won’t waste your time with the long history of this debate but simply say that if you think someone is cheating under the current rules you can spend 50 bucks and challenge them. If they are shooting duplex loads (black powder mixed with smokeless) then they are disqualified and you get your 50 bucks back. SASS doesn’t have the time or money to check everybody’s loads. And another thing about this stupid rule…If I catch you cheating then you get a spirit of the game penalty and moved into another category! I don’t think so. If you are cheating you should be gone, finished, fini! None of this crap about getting caught and then just switching categories.

“B” Western has been a great success at END of TRAIL, The Shootout at Mule Camp, and several other State and Regional matches. It is time to make it “official”. Should we make the B Western category official? The following are the rules for the category. Handguns: All SASS legal handguns are allowed. Rifles: Any SASS legal rifle of 1884 or later design or a replica thereof (i.e. 1892, 1894, Lightening Rifle, or Marlin) Shotguns: all SASS legal shotguns Ammunition: All SASS legal ammunition is allowed Leather: Buscadero holster rigs or drop loop rigs. (All of the pistols must be carried below the top of the gun belt.) All belt and holster rigs must be embellished (fancy stitching, conchos, spots or tooling). All holsters must be of the “Straight Hang” type. No cross draw or shoulder rigs. Shooting style: Any non-gunfighter shooting style. Clothing: Shirts must be of the “B” Western style with snap buttons or any of the following, “Smiley Pockets”, embroidery, appliqués, fringe or different colored yokes. Shield Shirts are also allowed if it has piping or embroidery. Pants must be jeans, ranch pants, or pants with flap over the rear pocket, keystone belt loops and/or piping or fringe. Pants must be worn with a belt. Suspenders are not allowed. Felt hats only, no straw hats. Hats must be worn. All boots must be of traditional design with fancy stitching or multi-color fancy design with smooth, non-grip enhancing soles. Lace-up boots and moccasins are not allowed. Western Spurs with rowels are required for men. Ladies may wear skirts or split riding skirts. You must choose at least one or more of the following optional items: Gloves or gauntlets, scarves with slides or tied around the neck, coat, vest, chaps, cuffs. All costumes are expected to be fancy and flashy. The “B” Western costuming must be worn during the entire match and awards ceremony with exception of evening formal occasions. Costumes that depict leading role characters in “B” western movies are allowed as long as the costume is complete with all accessories.

This is another costume category like Classic Cowboy, so I say why not. It encourages people to dress up, and the flashier the dress the more fun they will have…not to mention the spectators.

There is a ton more agenda items that I will get to over the next several weeks, but I thought I would get started. What do you think Jose?
I think "B" Western is fine by me, not something I'd ever want to do, but I can't see why it shouldn't be allowed.

Rulz should take affect January 1st, that makes it easiest to remember and you shoot the whole season under the same rules.

There are a couple of arguments against requiring State and above to acknowledge a class with one person in it. 1) The expense of the awards (minimal) 2) you'd have people signing up for classes they know they'll win in just so's they'll get an award (like LFCD or something like that).

I've been a long time denouncer of the Black powder regulation. There's two camps that want this passed. One wants to keep black powder categories from getting too gamey and I can see the point here. The second camp just wants to make everyone a warthog and elliminate the .32 cartridges, usually whining about the .32hr being a modern cartridge (and .38/.357/.44mag aren't?). I've always felt the latter group were the ones crying the loudest and trying hardest to get this passed. If you don't want it to get too gamey, then establish a realistic and reliable method of enforcement, three TG's judging smoke ain't it. If you want to elliminate the .32 and make everyone in your own manly, he-man image, go away, far away, we don't want or need you. Besides, if you aren't shooting Walkers loaded with 60 grains gunfighter style, shut up.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

My new shotgun is here! My new shotgun is here!

I’ve only been waiting for this thing since June so I guess I’m just a little over excited. When I first got into this sport I purchased a Ruger Vaquero in .45 colt. I then bought a Rossi Puma 92 in .45 colt. Jose got a Ruger Vaquero and a Norinco 97 pump shotgun. For the first several matches we shared guns and that worked pretty well for getting started and keeping the cost down. Pretty soon we were both ready for a complete set of our own guns and we both finished off with another Ruger and he bought a 92 carbine and I picked up a Stoeger Coach Gun. It’s a double barreled shotgun, and I’ve enjoyed it quite a bit.

I used the gun for almost 2 years. Jose worked on it and disconnected the automatic safety and honed the chambers. I decided I needed a little practice with the gun so I picked up some dummy shotgun rounds from Jose and did about 10 minutes of practice a couple of times a week in preparation for the Indiana State Championships. So one day in early June the shotgun wouldn’t close. It felt like something was binding up. I messed with it a little bit, and then finally took it over to Jose. After taking it apart we found that the locking lug on the bottom of the barrel was broken. This part is not supposed to break…ever!

So I contacted Stoeger and explained the problem. After having to repeat myself twice (I thought the lady on the phone didn’t understand guns at first, but she knew what was going on and was just as surprised about the break as I was) they said that even though the warranty was expired on the gun they would repair it under warranty because that part isn’t supposed to break. I was pretty happy with that so I packed up the gun and sent it back to Stoeger. Three months and a week later Stoeger sent my gun back…kinda.
Stoeger looked at the gun and decided it was unfixable so they sent me a brand new gun. Not to shabby even though it took forever. Now I just need Jose to slick it up for me before the Main Match on the 15th!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I never get to shoot enough. That’s my biggest complaint with regards to CAS. I’m a fairly decent shooter, and have been shooting firearms for a very long time, but I never have enough time to really get into practicing or shooting.

Jose went to the Play Day on Saturday, but I had to stay home. Between work, a new baby, and of course the wife, it’s tough enough to shoot one day a month! A lot of the guys we shoot with are retired, and/or make CAS their life. I’m not to that point yet, but what a dream. I imagine myself shooting every weekend, traveling to all of the major shoots like Guns of August, Mule Camp, Winter Range, and End of Trail, shooting all day and sitting around passing the time with a good cigar and a beer all night. I could practice as often as I like and maybe even get competitive. You see, the people at the top of their game in SASS are shooting from 10,000 to 25,000 rounds a month. Of course they get sponsorships that pay for the bullets and therefore are being paid to shoot, but that’s a different argument all together. I don’t mind being a working man with a family, hell I like that, but I’ll just have to dial back my shooting expectations for now and wait for that blissful moment called retirement.

So once a month I get my gear together and travel on down to “Thunder Valley” for the day and forget all my troubles. Speaking of gear if you don’t know anything about this sport here is a quick rundown of what you need to shoot. First off are the guns. You will need 2 single action revolver style pistols which are reproductions or originals from the mid to late 1800’s. You will need 1 lever or slide action, tubular feed, exposed hammer rifle or carbine manufactured between 1860 and 1899 (reproductions are fine). Lastly you will need 1 side by side or single shot shotgun typical of the period from 1860 to 1899. Lever or slide action, single barrel, tubular feed, exposed hammer shotguns typical of the period are also allowed.

Now you’ve got the guns you need the clothes. To compete you must be wearing clothing typical of the 19th century, a B western movie, or a western TV series. A minimum of cowboy boots, Levi or Wrangler blue jeans, a button down long sleeve shirt, and a cowboy hat are required.

This sounds like a lot of stuff, and it is. You can spend as much as you like or as little as you want and get by. Jose and I started fairly cheep, but have already started spending more and more, and just like golf clubs, once you start competing you want better equipment.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Back from the range today. Today was a "play day" or "fun day" depending on where you're from. The match consists of shooting "side" matches and usually a shortened stage match, as opposed to a "main" match where we shoot 6-8 stages and no side matches. At Thunder Valley, we shoot the side matches starting earlier in the morning (9am) and then shoot around 5 or 6 stages. Shooting the side matches doesn't have a whole lot of interest for me, speed pistol/rifle/shotgun & long-distance match rifle are about all I shoot. Don't own a big-bore long distance gun and I just don't see dropping the coin at this point for one. Someday maybe. .22 and pocket pistol/derrenger hold very little interest for me because, while .22 whould be really nice to have and plink with, I don't have a place where I can plink. As for pocket pistol, well my big-ass hands won't have much of that! (Although I came in third at the Indiana State in single-action pocket pistol, heh)

We shot six stages besides the side matches which makes for a nice shoot. The weather was an absolutely perfect Southern Indiana day, mid 70's and not a cloud in sight, georgeous! As usual, I was the posse deputy-marshal and ran a timer for about half the shooters. It something I enjoy doing and get antsy when others do it because I'm used to being in charge and always like to think I do a better job when in reallity I think most people just don't want the headache. Either way is OK by me, I just like getting out and shooting for a whole day and leaving all the headaches at home, except for the shooting woes :(

My shooting was pretty typical of the way I normally shoot. I've got too many misses, something I'm honestly trying to get a grip on, but I just am not doing it this year. I try to go fast and keep up with the faster Duelist shooters and don't concentrate on my game. I have a theory that my timer operation and management of the posse also interferes with my concentration, that's my theory anyway :)

As a timer operator/RO, I tend to have pet peeves and let them get to me and I think today was a bad day for one of my peeves. Shooters who don't pay attention! The stage directions are read off and posted at the loading table at Thunder Valley, inevitably, I get a shooter (or 2) who gets to the line and says "what do I do?". I think that's just rude, the timer operator then has to spend yet another couple of minutes reciting the stage directions and answering more questions while everyone else waits. If everyone did that, we could only shoot 3 or 4 stages or need lights! C'mon, it isn't that hard to read the description or pay attention, the other 12-14 shooters managed! Whew! Glad I got that off my chest.

I think I really like this blog thing for giving a flavor of the shooting day.

Friday, September 30, 2005

I’m thinking these first couple of posts will be about background stuff and then we’ll get into the fun stuff, like shooting. The Single Action Shooting Society is the largest organization of Cowboy Action Shooters out there. They are the governing body that runs the majority of shoots and specifically puts on the world championships every year at “End of Trail.” When you join SASS you have to register an alias to be used at all SASS events and shoots.

When we decided to join, one of the biggest decisions was coming up with that alias. It’s a helluva lot harder then it sounds. First of all the alias has to be unique, and with over 60,000 members there aren’t many left. So I started researching and looking at other people’s aliases and here is what I found.

There seemed to be three different routes you could go. First you could pick an historical or literary name. The first member of SASS is “Judge Roy Bean.” Names like “Billy the Kid”, “Wyatt Earp”, “Chisum”, “Will Money”, and “Josey Wells” were obviously taken, but I still had hope for a name from this category. See, I grew up reading Louis L’amour and Zane Grey. I also loved westerns on Saturday mornings so I started looking through all my stuff for a name. No matter what I tried it seemed like someone had already picked it. So I moved on to the next category.

The second category seemed to involve descriptive names. Aliases like “Black Tom”, “Dirty Steve”, “Ohio River Gambler”, and “Vaquero Hayes.” The problem I had with this category was that everything seemed to be like that joke about porn star names. You know, combine the name of the street you grew up on and the name of your first dog kinda crap. So while this category works for a lot of people, and works well, I just couldn’t come up with anything I liked.

The last category seemed to be humorous names. Names that had a play on words like “Rapid Lee”, “Drew First”, and “Gunzilla.” This category of names appealed to me so I started thinking about aliases. Finally it hit me and when I filled out my application I put the one from this category first. That’s right; I came up with a name for each category.

My historically alias was “Gideon”, an ancestor of mine who was a colonel in the Civil War then went on to be a justice of the peace.

My descriptive alias was “Big Creek Kid” since I grew up on a little river called “Big Creek” when I was a kid.
And my first choice of aliases came from the humorous category, “Judge Mint Day.” Since I was in law enforcement and my ancestor had been a judge I liked the link and I thought it had a catchy ring to it. It also gave me equipment ideas right away. So I kept my fingers crossed and I called SASS. Lucky for me no one had thought of it yet so that’s my alias.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

My first exposure to CAS was watching the TV show "American Shooter", they had a couple of specials on End Of Trail and they really talked it up as something really neat and I thought it would be something to see. I had just started shooting for the first time since I was a kid out plinking around with my dad and didn't have too many places locally to go shoot (they've since closed the only range we had in my town). So one day Judge mentions Cowboy Shooting and how we should get the guns/gear and start shooting cowboy since we'd conversed about getting out and doing some shooting of some sort (IPDA, IPSC, etc). I suppose I should mention that Judge and I are pretty good friends, I consider him my best friend and its much easier to start something like this if you have a buddy to share the experience (or share the guns!).

Now I'll admit, I've never really had a great love of all things cowboy, I never read cowboy novels or sat transfixed by Western movies or TV shows, in fact I avoided Bonanza and Gunsmoke as a kid. So why now? Why go through all the trouble to buy four different guns, gunleather, clothing that makes you stick out like a sore thumb and do silly things like build a wooden cart to hold your guns? I suppose the answer for me is a few things, Comraderie, love of firearms and gettin' out of dang house once in a while and getting some much needed sun and a little exercise (also much needed). My job requires me to sit in an office in front of a computer with cell phone, radio, PDA, laptop and other communications gadgets and technology surrounding me. One unanticipated side benefit to CAS is I don't worry about any of that when I'm on the range, nobody whips out the cell to take a call, no PDA's or laptops, nothing. Just shooting.

That in a nutshell is it and its why I love Cowboy Action Shooting, while easy to do, its darn frustrating to get very good so its a challenge. Most of the people I have met through CAS have been a great group of folks. And did I mention the guns, yeah, that's sweet too.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

You have to excuse Jose, he is a man of few words, but many opinions, so I know he will keep things interesting. But lets talk a little about Cowboy Action Shooting.

Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS) is a competitive shooting sport involving firearms common to the late 1800's in the American West. Competitors shoot up to 4 firearms on a timed stage. The winner is the one who completes the scenario in the least amount of time with the fewest misses. Simple really, or at least it should be.

Some of the things I know will be explored by Jose on this blog deal with the definitions, opinions, and beliefs of the over 60,000 participants in this sport. We will talk about the "Spirit of the Game", Competition, Firearms, the American West, the Rules, Scenarios, Ranges, Matches, Personalities, and just about anything else we can come up with.

I thought I would start with a quick rundown on how and why I got into the game. I enjoy shooting and have done so for almost 25 years, but I never competed. I decided I was interested in joining one of the shooting sports. I looked at IPSC. It looked cool, but the 2,000 dollar race guns, skeleton holsters, intensity, and unbelievable shooting times kind of scared me away. Next I checked out IDPA. That was pretty close to what I was doing at work, and using the same equipment. At first I thought that might be for me, but after checking out a few websites and see a few shows on TV, I started to get a bad feeling about IDPA. See, I didn't want to develop any bad habits that might carry over into my work, and watching some of the IDPA stuff I figured that I might cause myself more harm the good by joining. Lastly I came upon CAS.

I read several articles and started checking some of the stuff out on the websites. It is a shooting sport, so it met my first criteria. It involved weapons (sorry firearms) that I didn't use on a regular basis so no bad habits to carry over. And finally it looked like a lot of fun. The fun part came when I found out that you HAD to have an alias to shoot and you MUST dress in period appropriate clothing (or close to it). In other words it wasn't only a shooting sport, but it was a bit of roleplaying and historical reenactment all rolled into one.

Finally I went to a match and saw a bunch of people having a great time. That cinched it for me. So Jose, why did you get into CAS?

Monday, September 26, 2005


This is the start of my CAS dedicated blog. I'm just getting started on this and I don't have the pretense to call myself a writer, I just have the interest in Cowboy Action Shooting and just enough know-how to get the blog started (it helps to have a pardoners to push you along sometimes).

One of the first things that I think might be of interest to the CAS shooter is the new movie by Josh Whedon called Serenity. It's an adaptation of the TV show Firefly which Whedon created and aired a few years ago (buy the DVD's, you'll be amazed the morons at Fox killed this series). The series is quite literally a western that takes place in space, I guess you could call it a Sci-Fi Western. The characters are very good and Whedon does a terrific job of writing dialogue and developing characters. If you're wondering, Whedon was the guy behind the Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel TV series.

You can go to the Wiki Firefly entry to learn everything there is to know about Firefly. Go to the official movie sight to learn about Serenity. It opens this Friday Sept 30.