Friday, December 29, 2006

Shot Show!

That’s right; I got 2 tickets to the GUN SHOW!

Ok, well I don’t actually have tickets and I only need one…It’s a joke, OK!

Anyway, I am finally getting to go to the Shot Show in Orlando this year and obviously I am very excited. For the uninitiated the Shot Show is the trade industry show for the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor industry. It is the 26th largest trade show in the world and last year had almost 41,000 attendees, over 1800 vendors, and over 610,000 square feet of exhibit space. You can’t really buy anything at the show since it’s for all of the companies to display their new items, but you get to check out everything. I’m going with a buddy from work that writes articles for several magazines and is in pretty tight with people from several major companies. My buddy Mick is like Charlie San from the “Green Berets”, He gets tons of stuff for free and seems to know everyone so I’m looking forward to meeting some people in the business, doing some heavy drinking with some interesting folks, and seeing all of the new gun stuff before anybody else.

I will try and take notes so I can give all of you several write-ups when I get back.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Battle of the “J” frame

Since I carry one every day for my safety I thought I would weigh in a little on the topic. The first thing you have to ask yourself is why do you have it? Then what do you expect to do with it? And how is it supposed to function?

In my case I carry it in an ankle holster as a back-up to my main sidearm. So, I have it as a last resort. I expect to use it when I am out of ammo for my main gun, or a malfunction has put my main gun out of service, or I am injured and can’t use my main gun, or I’m in a position that doesn’t allow me to get to my main gun.

So tactically where would I be if any of the above scenarios happened? If I have distance the little snubby is going to be a pure defensive gun. I’m taking serious cover and anybody gets to close and “BAM!” If I’m in the middle ground when I have to use the gun then I’m moving and not waiting around to engage someone…in other words back to serious cover. Finally if I’m in CQB then I want quick solid hits. Like Hicks says “I keep it for close encounters”

So how do I expect it to function? Well I need to be able to transition to it very quickly. That means smooth draws and no snags. I am not going to use it at any great distance (over 10 yards). When I do use it I need to hit fast and hard. To me that means I need a hammerless weapon with a smooth trigger, big sight, and a powerful punch…therefore my .357 Magnum S&W 640.

Centennial J-Frame nirvana?

The Centennial line is the Smith & Wesson line of J-Frame revolvers meant to be conceal carried and have internal hammers so that the hammer doesn't snag on clothing or contaminated by the contents of one's pockets. Judge has got one of these guns and I'm sure he'll like hearing the high praise that his little 642 gets from revolver-smith Grant Cunningham in his post about the Battle of the J-Frames. (via Les Jones)

The Centennials also have one less part than the other models:since they have no exposed hammer, they don't have (nor do theyneed) the hammer-block safety common to all other "J" frames. Thatpart, which is quite long and rides in a close-fitting slotmachined into the sideplate, is difficult to make perfectly smooth.Even in the best-case scenario, it will always add just a bit offriction to the action. Not having the part to begin with gives theCentennial a "leg up" in action feel.

I've had this particular gun apart and worked on it for Judge and it never occured to me that the lack of the hammer block safety would make this a sweeter shooting revolver. Sadly, Copper Quincy's 637 does have the hammer block safety as it is a shrouded hammer model (exposed). Maybe you guys can compare actions sometime, I know I'd like to see if I can feel the difference.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Texican

Click for larger image.So I was looking for some gun parts for my nephew today and ran across this new single-action revolver put out by STI. In reading the description, I was very interested in that they claim that with their manufacturing process, all the parts are perfect and fit perfectly thus saving you from sending it to a gunsmith, because, well, its perfect.

The whole time I'm reading all the great things about this gun, I'm thinking "I wonder how much STI is charging?"  I figured that if it sold for under $800, they'd have guys lined up to purchase them.  If it were under $1,000, they'd sell quite a few.  I then saw the MSRP of $1,260.00 and thought "do they really think they can compete with Colt?"  I mean seriously?  If (and that's a HUGE if) I were to plunk down $1,300 bucks on a pistol, I sure as heck want Colt's name on the side so I know I can get that money back if I need it.

Forget it, I'll never spend that much for a gun I'll use at a CAS match, period.  Not when I can buy a brace of Rugers and have $300 left over.  The Texican might be the best thing since sliced bread, but I'll not find out anytime soon.

Maybe Judge can get ahold of one of these at the Shot Show and give us a report on what that action truley feels like.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.You hear from time to time when you do enough shooting. "I love the smell of cordite" Its one of those things you never really give much thought to, at least I didn't, I know that cordite isn't used in modern small arms ammunition and I'm not loading it in the cartridges I load, so what exactly is cordite? The Box Of Truth knows.

Essentially, it is gunpowder made into spagetti and loaded into cartridges like the 4" shell to the right. (via Les Jones)

Friday, December 22, 2006


Today marks the 62nd anniversary of the famous response to a German surrender demand by Gen. Anthony McAuliffe, the Commanding General of the 101st Airborn Division who were surrounded in Bastogne France.  I couldn't possibly do the story justice, but you can read an account from a then Lt. Col. Kinnard.

We need a few Generals like McAuliffe right now and a political system that'll let them do their job.

New Rules

This time every year the SASS Territorial Govenors (TGs) vote on rules changes for the CAS game SASS sanctions. Some years its good, some years, well not so much. I think this year goes in the later grouping as the rules implemented don't make a whole lot of sense to me and in some cases are already rules and thus rendered redundent or confusing. Here's an item-by-item breakdown

  • Item #1 gets on there seemingly every year. Whomever is manufacturing that gun is sure pushing it along (and likely lining some founder pockets)
  • Item #2 Great, another catagory.
  • Item #3 Many of these are reduntent and this is going to add to confusion during stages.
  • Item #4 Tees and tank-tops are already banned
  • Item #5 I guess this clarifies this situation and isn't bad.
  • Item #6 I was unaware that this was previously handled differently. I suppose its a good thing they added this to prevent a did not finish or disqualified shooter to place.

If they'd have just voted in #5 & 6, I think I'd have been happy, but the rest are garbage and so bad they washed away any good they did with the last two.

The TG/Regulator at Thunder Valley (Vaquero Hayes) is proposing that they not vote on new rules every year at the SASS TG Summit which takes place during the SASS convention in Las Vegas. The argument levied against that is that nobody would come, which might be true, but I doubt it. The convention was pretty fun when Judge and I went and we aren't TGs and didn't care about the Summit.

I suggested that instead of voting on new items every year, they vote items in for a grace period and the following year, those items are ratified or let sunset. That way, mistakes are easier to get rid of, it breaks the climate that they feel they have to change something and gives TGs a reason to go to the convention. Just my 2 cents. We'll see what happens, my guess is that status quo will prevail and nothing will change. At least I didn't have to hear about Cap's latest whiz-bang gun that's so much better than anything else... blah blah blah.

Sorry lurkers, no cute pictures of Judge's daughter or poems or witticisms, just dry old SASS talk.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ok You Lurkers!

Well I guess my wife figured out where this blog was located and she passed that information on to other members of my family so I thought I would provide you all with some much needed information as we approach the holiday season.

Xavier said it best so check out this article over at Xavier's Thoughts.

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Future Young Gun

This little cowgirl needs some real pistolas.

Recently I’ve been thinking about the little one and what I should start looking for in the gun department. You see I would love it if she took up cowboy shooting with me. Now I know she is only 2 and she might not enjoy shooting at all, but just in case she gets interested I should be ready. Gun prices just keep going up all the time so if I come across a good deal on one of my gun choices I should snatch it up. With all of that in mind here are my gun choices for Sabrina;

A pair of Cimarron Lightnings; these little pistols are based on the Colt 1877 double action Lightning which has a birdshead grip and a smaller overall frame. They come in .38 and Redneck Rebel has proven just how far you can download one of these rounds. It should fit a little girl’s hands nicely and be very shootable.

Marlin 1894 Cowboy in .38; this rifle can be modified easily to make it smooth and easy to handle. I can also have the stock cut down if necessary to accommodate a shorter length of pull.

Stoeger Coach Gun, 12 gauge; I figure when the time comes I can give her my shotgun. Sure it’s a 12 gauge, but with feather light loads and a little practice she can shoot it just fine. Also it should be well broken in by then and open smooth and easy.

Friday, December 08, 2006

First Shoot, Last Shoot

There was a young man from Herne Bay

who was making some fireworks one day
but he dropped his cigar
in the gunpowder jar.
There was a young man from Herne Bay

-Ogden Nash

This poem reminds me of the very first CAS shoot Jose and I attended. I let him tell the story. Last shoot of the year tomorrow, wish us luck!

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Last month at our Department Range week I started having some pain in my right elbow. As the week went on it got a little worse each day. By Saturday my arm just plain hurt. I did a little research thanks to WebMD and self diagnosed Tennis Elbow. Now I’m not sure how I injured myself, but there you have it.

Jump forward to the last Thunder Valley main match. My arm had been feeling better so I thought I would give it a try. On the first stage the buzzer beeped and I picked up the shotgun…and damn near dropped it. I got a stabbing sensation all along my forearm and my fingers went numb. I made it through the stage but called it quits for the day right there. I figured I was either going to hurt myself more or drop a gun and I didn’t want either one of those to happen.

I spent the rest of the day in hell working the stages and watching everyone else have a good time. Well I’ve bought a brace and I’ll give it a go again this weekend. I would hate to not be able to shoot anymore this year, but I guess we will find out soon.

I have no shooting goals for next year; I just want to get back into fighting shape and have some fun.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"I have made it a rule never to smoke more then one cigar at a time. "

-Mark Twain

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

That Just Ain't Right

Last Saturday we went down to Thunder Valley to shoot and while Judge's arm was too sore for him to shoot, I had myself a very good day shooting. I actually beat a guy who usually kicks my butt, however, I pobably did so because when I was timing him, I stopped him when I thought he'd only shot four pistol rounds when he shot five. Even so, it was a very good shooting day for me. I'd have finished first if it weren't for a shooter from KY that came up to Thunder Valley for the first time and shot very well. Heck the top three duelists shot within six seconds of each other.

The new guy brought his family which included a buckaroo and by my count, they were all very competetive, friendly and they worked hard at whatever needed to be done. That's all I ask of anyone that I'm running the posse for. Their Buckaroo was a pretty decent shooter and mostly safe but like all kids, has the attention span of a fruit fly. I'm glad the Buckaroo safety rules were adjusted so that some of the responsibility is out of their hands.

RNVSSThe funny or sad thing (however you want to look at it) was that the dad was darn near my size and when he pulled out his pistol on the first stage, I almost laughed while I was timing him. He was shooting New Vaqueros in .38 and he had those things loaded lighter than the women we usually shoot with load theirs. It was one of the most pathetic thing I've seen in cowboy shooting. I'm not one to stop a gamer from being a gamer, lord knows I'm thinking of buying Cowboy .45 Special Brass and loading it to get a lighter recoil, but damn! I'm pretty sure he had those Rugers short-stroked as well, again, that's fine, but its the whole package. At some point, you look at something and say "that just ain't right".

I suppose he isn't hurting anyone, so why bother? I guess at some point, I have to agree with our good friend Manatee when he criticized another large man shooting .32s. Though somehow I find that particular shooter OK, maybe its attitude of the person or familiarity, who knows. But I find one example of a larger guy shooting small guns to be OK and another to be utterly ridiculous. I think in the end, its how you approach the game, in one case, this new shooter is doing the bare minimum with respects to appearance to shoot cowboy (or it appears that way) and is very competitive. The other guy is more entrenched in the "Cowboy" feel of things and acts the part. If I had to say, I'd say that someone who acts cowboy in entirety gets a free pass on what guns he shoots.

BTW, I find that guys who shoot completely full-house loads in an attempt to show just how manly they are and are overly bragadocious about shooting the "big stuff" are just as bad as a guy who shoots .32s.

Cooper on Glocks

"Shooting a Glock is simply shooting a single-action self-loader with no safety and a very poor trigger." -Jeff Cooper

Monday, November 13, 2006

A Good Cigar

Oh, 'tis well and enough
A whiff or a puff
From the heart of a pipe to get;
And a dainty maid
Or a bubbling blade
May toy with the cigarette;
But a man, when the time
Of a glorious prime
Dawns forth like a morning star,
Wants the dark-brown bloom
And the sweet perfume
That go with a good cigar.

-Norris Bull

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


a cutie and a codger So last weekend Judge and I went to PVR or Pleasant Valley Renegades range to shoot some cowboy action. PVR is in its first year and is located in Pleasant Indiana near the Ohio river at Madison. Its a two hour drive from my house and while that's quite a drive to shoot, its worth it. The best thing about PVR is the people, the folks running the place are the best. Nomore Slim owns the land the range is located on and Lizzy of the Valley and Randy Atcher pretty much run things along with Nomore. They epitomize what's good about SASS and I really enjoy being around them let alone privileged to shoot at the range.

PVR makes you feel welcome and as comfortable as possible, providing bottled water and lunch for your $40 membership and $15 shooters fee. They also have a nice area where members can put cabins, Nomore and Randy have put a couple in for themselves that were prefabbed by an Amish guy. They look pretty cool if not totally cabin-like.

PVR shoot This match I actually made an effort to take pictures of shooters and decided to not do action photos because you only get the backs of people when you do that. I've posted them on my Flickr account so go see the kind of rift-raft I hang out with on the weekends.

This shoot we had a great time with the nice weather, easy stages and good pards. I didn't shoot particularly well, but I'm having fun even though Gunfighter seems to be kicking my ass. I've also loaded up some brass shotshells and those are really fun to play with and I even decided to load up some smokeless shotshell reloads just because I had the stuff to do it.

After the shoot, we had a chili super that featured several tasty chilis and a deep-fried turkey. If you haven't had a deep-fried turkey, you're missing something awfully tasty! It is probably the best turkey I've ever had. So after stuffing myself, smoking cigars and a couple of beers, we headed for the homestead.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Range Week

Jose really needs to update this page a little. Range week and a few things jump out at me. People can’t shoot one handed. People do not know how to manipulate the shotgun. People can not do a proper tactical reload. People do not know how to shoot around cover. Some are decent shooters, but bad gunfighters. Others are decent gunfighters, but bad shooters…pick your partner carefully.

Things you can do without shooting the gun:

Learn to manipulate your weapon; load, unload, clear malfunction, grip, draw, re-holster

Learn how to use cover; don’t crowd, don’t shoot over, change elevation

Learn transitions; CQB and weapons

Move, Shoot, and Communicate…Live Long and Prosper.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


From the actual police blotter

…..age 20, reported that she was attacked by zombies as she sat parked in her Land Rover in front of the Smallwood Apartment complex at 455 N. College Avenue. She was very upset that said zombies had gotten some type of purple goo on her vehicle and she was afraid that it would damage the paint. Officers found about 3 dozen zombies a few blocks away, but they all denied any involvement in the incident and the complainant was unable to pick out any particular zombie(s) in the group as being the ones who attacked her.

This is why you should always be prepared. For more information try here: Zombie Survival Guide.


Bo Derrick was a perfect 10, or at least Dudley Moore thought so. The Judge is a perfect 10 right now as well. What, you say? How can that be? Well since Jose stole number 9 from me (I guess mail is delivered faster from Bloomington then Springville) I am the 10th ever member of the Thunder Valley Rebels. Currently I rank 10th in the Overall Cowboy contest at Thunder Valley, so that makes me a perfect 10!

On another note it looks like SASS has approved the Indiana State Shoot to be moved from the horrid July date to September! I couldn’t be happier. I had already decided if the dates were not changed I wasn’t going to suffer another miserable Shoot, but it looks like next year will be perfect…well it has to be better then +90 degree weather and +75% humidity like the last 3 years.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

1000 Words

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are a couple of pictures of the Rock for you to check out.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Rock Island Armory Gigante Special Edition (RIA/GSE)

Let’s face it. If you want a custom firearm you must spend a ton of money and wait years for your little toy, but two fortuitous events happened recently that changed my view of custom guns forever. First, I happened to find a government model Rock Island Armory 1911 for a great price, and second I convinced a fledgling gunsmith known here as Jose Gigante to take the plunge and build a custom gun. The results are the RIA/GSE a custom shop gun for a root cellar price.

The RIA/GSE started life as a standard 5 inch government model 1911 in .45 ACP. This is a quality firearm with surprising accuracy right out of the box and it turned out to be an excellent platform to build this custom masterpiece. I sat down and talked to the big man about my goals with this firearm. I was looking for a custom carry piece that focused on reliability but provided close to match grade accuracy. I wanted a combat firearm I could rely upon and the RIA/GSE meets all of those requirements and more.

Caspian provided many of the internal parts replacing the extractor, firing pin, firing pin stop and slide stop. Chip McCormick was used for the tactical magazine release and the thumb safety. An Ed Brown grip safety and match trigger fit beautifully. A Smith and Alexander magazine well, an EGW 1 piece guide rod, Swenson magazine release lock, and a Wolff spring kit helped to round out the weapon. The true treasure on the gun however, is the Cylinder and Slide Tactical Match Trigger Set. This trigger defines “breaking glass” and puts the “Special” into its name.

Novak Low Mount rear sights and a Millet front sight provide the sight picture and a set of Smith and Alexander Black Rosewood Double Diamond grips grace the gun. The gun was all ready to be finished and I chose an old style parkarization process to give it that fighting look. The finishing job was a little out of Jose’s league, but he managed to find a local gunsmith, AJ Brown, who did a fantastic finish job in only a couple of weeks. Of course this wasn’t just a parts swapping job. Jose polished, cut, fit, honed, and prepped this gun all the way through the refit process.

When you look at the features on the RIA/GSE and compare them to similar guns you find a price tag topping out over 1800 dollars. This beauty will shoot with them best of them and cost less then half of that price tag. It shoots exactly as advertised quickly proving that John Browning’s design and a little elbow grease from a quality gunsmith can create a true work of art.

I’ve compared the RIA to a Kimber Warrior and a Nighthawk Talon. Both pistols have some very nice external features that comes from a quality shop with a milling machine and the ability to dot, diamond, line, and checker just about anything, but the feel of the gun is almost the same. The Trigger on the Warrior wasn’t even close to the RIA and the Nighthawk felt almost the same. Next week I’m taking the RIA head to head against the Nighthawk and I’m expecting big things.

Special Thanks to Jose for a gun that will be my favorite for a long time to come.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Takes the Cake!

Now I have heard of some dumb ideas before, hell I’ve even had my share, but this one takes the cake. It appears as though John Bianchi and EMF have gotten together to create what they are calling the Dry Fire Model.

The Dry Fire Model is a pistol designed in all respects like a Colt SAA clone, but made non-firing to facilitate dry fire practice. Great John feels that the pressure of dry-firing on a SAA is to much and therefore this model is needed to give shooters something to practice with. Oh, by the way, it sells for $369.90.

Now, I can find a Ruger Vaquero new online for $450 and everyone knows that the Ruger is a tank and you could not only dry-fire to your hearts content, but send some valuable lead down range. But here is where it gets good. For $299.99 you can buy a Colt SAA Clone made by Cabela’s called the Millinium. For less then 15 dollars you can buy 6 snap caps that will protect your firearm from damage during dry-firing. So, for $315 or less you can have yourself a gun you can actually shoot. That just makes the Dry Fire Model plain stupid.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Uber Lever Gun

So yesterday I was reloading and while stuffing 200g SWC's into the 45ACP cases, my mind wandered to the Cowboy .45 Special and how it is about the same size as the ACP and how it can be shot from a Marlin. Then it hit me. One of the Marlin Short-Stroke specialists could possibly shorten a Marlin's stroke even more than is possible with the .45 S&W (Schofield).

So it might be possible to get a Marlin with an equally short stroke to a '66/'73 and maintain the shootability, strength and ease of maintenance of the Marlin and get the speed of the short-stroked Winchester clones. This would then be an "Uber Lever Gun". I could hear the cries of foul even before I finished the thought. The SASS community is gonna love this one. Will I do it? Probably not, since the change is irreversable without buying new internals and I don't want to send my rifle off, but I KNOW someone will try this.

UPDATE: Well, someone did do this. Adirondack Jack has one apparently, it is fast.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


PVR Main Match was yesterday and I continued my pursuit of Jedi Gunfighters everywhere.  Call me the Sith Gunfighter.  It was "one of those days" for me, in a bad way.  I started horribly and stayed there for the better part of the match until I finally cleaned up on the last two stages.  It had to be the syrup...

Since Judge was shooting B-Western, I loaned him my Marlin Cowboy and shot his '66 for the day, a gun that I admittedly should have bought myself, but that's old news.  I hadn't shot it since I put in the whisper springs and short-stroke kit.  They certainly make a huge difference in the rifle, I nearly knocked the butt off my sholder when I first levered, then I shot it like crap, oh well.  The thing I suppose I figured out yesterday about the '66/'73 vs Marlin '94 is that the former require a bit of practice and confidence to shoot.  They're kind of like driving a sports car, you can go fast, but you have to know what you're doing.  The Marlin on the other hand, is very easy to pick up and shoot relatively fast.

All in all, I think I prefer the Marlin for a couple of reasons.  The sight picture is better and the Marlin is easier to maintain.  When shooting the '66 or '73, you lose the sight picture when the hammer falls and you have empty shell casings flying in front of your field of vision.  As for maintenence, the Marlin is ultra-easy to disassemble and clean throroughly, on the '66 this is a chore, although less so on the '73 with it's inspection plates.  The carrier is the part that gets the dirtiest on the Winchesters and is hardest to clean, bad combo.

Judge brought up the buttstock on the Marlin being more comfortable and forgiving, as well as a better comb.  I don't disagree, especially with the former, but the comb is a personal thing to each shooter.  There's also the weight of the Marlin being less than a '66 with the huge brass receiver, can't argue that point either, but it isn't such a horrible thing.

All in all, I'm happy with the Marlin, I just know that it'll be forever marginally slower than a '66, but its a lot of fun to shoot and dead reliable.  Its just too bad Marlin doesn't make them anymore.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Jedi Gunfighter!

Well I’m not really all that good at this game yet, just don’t have the time necessary to either practice or shoot every weekend. So imagine my surprise when my name appeared in a thread on the SASS Wire.

You see, a fine gunfighter and world record holder, Widowmaker started a thread about forming a new SASS group called Jedi Gunfighters. First he put in the criteria for becoming a Jedi gunfighter which included winning a match as a gunfighter, shooting clean as a gunfighter, being a great guy and being a gunfighter…stuff like that. He then went on to list those people whom he made honorary members. And of course the big surprise happened when I found myself listed at number 11! (and you must pronounce “eleven” with a British accent)

I shot the Kentucky State Match with Widowmaker and found him to be a great guy. I managed to have my first ever clean shoot that weekend, and he must have remembered it. So I’m number 11 on the Jedi Gunfighter list and I love it. Jose aint gonna hear the end of it.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Cowboy .45 Special

What's that you say?  Haven't ever heard of such a round?  Well now you have.  Do to the constant lust to go faster and reduce recoil, some enterprising folks have created a new custom round called the Cowboy .45Special.

What is it?
It is a .45 caliber rimmed case with the overall length of .895 which is the same as the ubiqutous .45ACP and the same diameter and rim as the .45Colt.

Why's that so darned good?
Well, if you know anything about powder and case volume, you know that at lower velocity cowboy loads, the large .45Colt volume cause inconsistency and loss of accuracy, the Cowboy .45Special's smaller volume means less inconsistency and greater accuracy with lower recoil.

Will it work with Black Powder and Subs and the new "smoke rule"?
Heh he, this is the best.  15g of black powder will just fit under a 200g bullet.  No fillers.  This'll greatly simplify loading of BP and subs and allow you to use progressive loaders.

Will it work in my rifle?
Not in most.  A Marlin can be modified to work with this ammo though, just a modificatio to the carrier.

OK, this thing's got to cost me an arm and leg, right?
Well, it does cost more because the round is new and not widely used.  But it only costs $20-$30 more per 1,000 than the .45Colt.

Ah! but I have to buy new dies, right?
Maybe, do you have a .45Colt sizer/shellplate and .45ACP expander & seat/crimp?  If you do, then you're set.

When you buyin' a bunch?
Well, that's a good question, I don't really NEED this new case and Schofields work mighty fine right now.  But I sure would like to see everyone's face when I pulled out ACP sized rounds to shoot :)

This comparison is a .45Colt on the left, a 250g bullet and the new Cowboy .45Special on the right.  Case volume is cut in half.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Pyle Lovett

Well Jose and I headed on down to Thunder Valley last weekend for the August Main Match. A buddy of ours was in town so we talked him into going. I managed to fix him up with clothes, leather, boots, and a hat. Jose provided him the guns and a shooting we did go.

We tried to think of a name and Jose convinced him to go with Rick O’Shea, but of course there are like 4 Rick O’Shea’s in SASS. After the shoot we were sitting around the garage as usual and our two clown princes Vaquero Hayes and Smiley (AKA Sheepdip) came up with an alias for him. Pyle Lovett. It’s good, I like it, and I think it will stick. So if he ever shoots again I think it’ll be as Pyle Lovett.

On a side note the shoot was downright miserable. It was very hot and humid and we got stuck with the Posse from hell. We had five new shooters, Lorenzo Lain, and Chief Old Timer. That’s 7 out of 14 that didn’t really do a damn thing. I managed to shanghi Randy Atcher and Lizzy of the Valley for help and Redneck Rebel busted his but as usual, but we barely made it and we finished almost 45 minutes later then everyone else. But, a bad day shooting is better then most anything else.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


It seams like if you write a rule someone will try and circumvent it. From my limited experience overseas and with people from other cultures it seems like that is an American trait.

Now before you go and bash me I guess I should explain myself better. As Americans we tend to try and find the better, smarter, faster, and easier way to accomplish a task. When people tell us we can’t do it that way we try anyway. When kept in check and devoted towards good causes that is an admirable trait, but when unchecked and applied in inappropriate situations….well that’s when at lot of us get pissed.

We start with little or no rules, everybody knows what we are trying to accomplish and therefore things run smoothly. Then along comes the cheat. This guy doesn’t like the way things are going because he isn’t getting ahead fast enough. So to win, he does something we didn’t think about; therefore we have to write a rule. The truly evil bastards just keep breaking the rule until they are punished, but the cheat tries something else, hence another rule and the cycle goes on and on.

CAS is about testing our skill against the next guy or gal. It’s about stepping up to the plate and swinging away hoping to knock one out of the park. It’s about your candle burning brighter then the next guys because you have practiced more, or are more gifted, or are just a little smarter. That’s the essence of competition, it’s not if you win or lose, but how you play the game.

And then there are cheats. They aren’t as devoted, they don’t have natural ability, but they are usually smart in a sly kinda way. They are looking for edges, loopholes, and chinks in the armor, whatever it takes to win and it don’t matter how they got there. They prefer to make their candle brighter by blowing your candle out.

Maybe you’re one of these guys. Hell, maybe these aren’t bad traits and maybe there is a place for the cheats, but not on my team. You see at the end of the day I could never look at myself in the mirror if it wasn’t a fair fight, and once I figure out who the cheats are I usually make them my number one targets and damn the game. I usually don’t care if I win or lose as long as the cheats lose.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Cavalry Charge!

Many years ago a buddy of mine was into Civil War reenacting. He almost drug me into that, but I somehow managed to resist. Since then I have always had an affinity for the re-enactors and as you have probably already figured out from reading this blog I’m into anything I can do stretch the experience.

While investigating my family history I found out that a distant relative was a Colonel in the Civil War. After the war he became a Justice of the Peace and while I ended up not using his name for my Alias it defiantly influenced my “character.” What I’m trying to say in a roundabout way is that I have been interested in an 1876 Cavalry Officer Uniform for CAS since I started this sport. So for fantasy purposes lets take a look at what’s out there for an authentic looking 1876 Cavalry Officer Uniform.

The internet is amazing. I remember my buddy having a very difficult time finding the necessary items for reenacting. Now, with a few key strokes, you can find everything you need from specialty stores online. So let’s start from the ground up.


This is the Military Civil War Cavalry Boot. It was found on both sides of the war and was common up until the 1900’s. Civilian Stovepipe Boots or shorter Military style boots from the period would also be acceptable, but the well dressed Cavalry Officer would probably be wearing these.


The M1873 Trousers, Sky Blue were made from “Kersey” and for the cavalry would have had a 1.5” Lemon Yellow stripe down each leg. The stripe width varied depending on the rank, but since we are looking at what a Colonel might have worn we will go with the wider stripe.


Here is where things get a little interesting. First If I was shooting for an 1873 look I would probably have to go with a M1852 Pattern Civil War Grey Flannel Shirt. In 1874 they issued a slightly modified version and in 1875 came out with a Dark Blue Version known as the M1875 Dark Blue Experimental Shirt. Since 1876 is our target year then we’ll go for the Dark Blue Shirt. The shirts changed often and there are many variations including a white civilian shirt. The shirt doesn’t matter as much because the well dressed officer would be wearing a fatigue blouse.


This one is easy, the M1876 Undress Blouse with Shoulder Boards for a Cavalry Colonel.

There will be more to come including the hat, belts, holsters, and shotgun belt so stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Hoosier Ambush scores are up

I'm pretty darned happy for a guy who finished 7th in his category.  I finished overall 53rd out of 163 shooters, a top third for me is good.  I shot very consistently within my class and was able to pull off a quick stage 7 to put me ahead of a couple of duelists that would have otherwise beat me.

I was able to stay ahead of some shooters from other categories that can or usually beat me, like Buffalo Dick, Randy Atcher, Manatee, Abu, Judge Mint Day, Hardscrabble & Graver.  The only shooter that I would normally compare myself to that beat me is M'bogo and I've really no right to compare myself to him, but he's my goal and I'm even happy for staying within 30 seconds of him over 10 stages.

I'm improving and that's what I get out of the competition.

The match was ranked by category, so shooters are measured against other folks in their category and not all the other classes (except for the overall results).  This sounds like a good idea, except that it isn't.  In several categories there is not a large enough sampling of shooters to make rank scoring work, so I hope this is the last big match that does this.  I don't think it would have changed Duelist much if at all, but I know it affected Traditional and FCD.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Almost There

I've gotten the Rock Island to the point that I can send it in for refinishing, the problem is that I can't get in contact with anyone who can do the parkerizing. Both of the guys who I am assured can do this are either out of town or not answering, so I'm kinda stuck.

So here are some pre-finish pics to show the work that was done on the pistol.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Why does this rule exist?

ROI Course, Page 13

11. The shooter with firearm in hand shall
never be allowed to move with a live
round under a cocked hammer.
Movement is defined the same as
“traveling” in basketball. Once the firearm
is cocked, one foot must remain in
place on the ground until the firearm is
made safe. This means, on revolvers, you
may move, restage, or reholster when the
hammer is down on an empty chamber or
expended case. You may move with a rifle
when the action is open or hammer
down on an empty chamber or an expended
case. If restaging the rifle, the action
must be closed and hammer down
either on an empty chamber or expended
case. Shotguns are considered safe for
movement when the action is open and
may be restaged only if open and empty.

I believe I might have an answer. This rule is here to prevent a shooter who has cocked a pistol in the incorrect shooting position from moving to the correct shooting position (shotguns and rifles can be opened and made safe without firing). I presume this is for safety reasons, having a shooter move with a cocked, loaded single action pistol is dangerous.

It has been pointed out to me however, that a shooter who's running with a model '97 shotgun, can drop a round on the carrier, rack and fire the round out before the shooter violates the "traveling" defined above. That is, the shooter has a foot on the ground and it remains "in place" for the time it takes the action to close and the hammer to fall.

Lets assume that's true, then by that logic, a shooter with a single action pistol, could similarly run, cock and fire that pistol while avoiding the penalty. Same principle, just hold the trigger down and slip-hammer with the opposing hand, the round is under the cocked hammer for a split second, not nearly enough time to lift a foot.

How about a rifle? I believe, neigh, I KNOW there are shooters who can lever their rifles and fire them in splits of a second. This would also be considered well within the rules.

So my question is why is it more safe to have shooters running and operating their pistols/shotguns and potentially their rifles and a shooter who has to take a step to an adjacent window isn't?

I propose that this rule needs to be fixed. To me at least, the INTENT of this rule is to keep folks from MOVING while operating their firearms and I don't believe that someone who is at a walk or run is not moving. It's like this, if you are in the action of walking, then you are indeed moving. It takes only a split second for the hammer to fall when a '97 is closed, however, during that split second, you are still moving (walking).

In the beginning, there was just the rule that a shooter couldn't move with a cocked firearm, but that was too restrictive. So the power that be added the "traveling" example and then made that example the definition of moving. This is a mistake in my book because you have to know what the traveling rule is in basketball and I'd dare say that 95% of the participants have never read the basketball traveling rule. The traveling example/definition was put in to save words and thats all. Instead of spelling it out properly, the rules writers got lazy and said it is the same thing as traveling in basketball and that was good enough until shooters started thinking outside the box and pushing the rule to the limit.

This rule also had more teeth until the rule was changed to allow movement with a live round on the carrier. It would be far harder to run, drop a round in and close the action before the "plant foot" moved. The rule would also then preclude a rifle from being made safe to move with, thus preventing a shooter who levered a rifle out of position from moving until a shot was fired, thus incurring a penalty.

Now I believe the rule is nearly meaningless as it can be demonstrated that a shotgun and pistol can be safely fired while running, so why punish the poor pistolero who just happened to cock his hammer at the wrong window or doorway? I'd as soon see someone take a step with a cocked Colt than run while loading/firing a '97.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Birthday America

Concord Hymn

by Ralph Waldo Emerson

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set today a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Another hot one

Last Saturday was another hot one at Thunder Valley.  I think the official temp was 94 degrees and the humidity was up there too.  Of interest this month is the return of our TG and newly appointed SASS Regulator Vaquero Hayes, congrats to him for a well deserved appointment.  He is truly an embassador to the game.

Also of note was the injury last Tuesday to our club president and range owner Redneck Rebel who was thrown from a horse and broke one rib clean, three fractured and a punctured lung, OUCH!  I went down early with another pardner to help setup and then spent time after the shoot helping clean up.  I have a new appreciation for all that Redneck does and hope he's a fast healer.  Actually, I don't mind helping, I just wish some of the other guys would have pitched in on such a hot day, especially since I ran the posse.

As for the shooting, I shot pretty consistently and ended up the top duelist and 5th overall (out of 23).  I'll take it, my speed was pretty good (for me) and I had nary a bobble, just a couple of shotgun hulls that stuck in the port and were quickly cleared.  I'm getting several compliments on my shotgun work, four over the top seems to be fastest for me, so that makes you feel good.

I've got one more shoot next weekend before the Indiana State Shoot to improve, this is about as well as I've ever shot, if I can get the misses down, I'd feel better, but every shooter wants to do better and that's part of what makes shooting sports so great.  You can pick them up easilty, but mastery is very hard.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Xavier Rules

Or should I say Jeff Cooper Rules, Xavier Interprets. Anyway you gotta love this;

"The problem with guns that "just go off" is that a person put their God damned booger hook on the bang switch."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


One of the things that is pretty popular in our local area right now is the unofficial sub classes that some shooters are taking advantage of and local clubs are starting to recognize them as if they are classes.  One such class that's impressed me since I first saw it two years ago at the Kentucky State shoot is the Outlaw class.

Outlaw is where the shooter fires his pistols and shotgun from the hip.  This not only looks cool, but is pretty darned hard to do well, so when you see someone who's good at it, be impressed.  Tennessee Tomstone is a shooter from Tennessee (I want to say Pigeon Forge) and I saw him shoot it at that KY State shoot and he had a few misses, but he shot it well and looked like he was having fun.

Lately, the best duelist shooter that I regularly compete against, M'bogo, has started shooting Outlaw.  Last week, he put on a show only missing four targets and shooting very soundly all day long, Randy Atcher beat him, but not by much.  He was very impressive.  Maybe if I keep shooting 20 more years, I'll be that good.

I think Thunder Valley is going to start scoring this suedo category, I just don't know who's got the stones to shoot it with M'bogo.  I would, but I don't want to tax our poor spotters that badly.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Beat the Heat

So Saturday was hot. "How hot was it?" It was so hot I didn't mind Indy Kid's witless banter :)

Just in case you didn't know, 91 degree days in Indiana suck and standing in full cowboy gear and being even remotely active can be dangerous. Everyone got through it fine, but to make it you need to have a plan to beat the heat. Here's mine.

  • Water: the more the better, start hydrating the night before
  • Umbrella: have one, the bigger the better; Don't count on natural shade
  • Gatorade or some other sports drink to replenish salt
  • Light colored and loose fitting clothes, leave the leather vest home
  • Straw hat: My sombrero is keen for this weather because it lends a lot of shade and doesn't hold heat like felt
  • Sun screen: don't want to be mistaken for an injun do you?
  • Don't do too much: its OK to hand off a job to a posse-member and remember to relieve your fellow members
  • Water: drink some more
  • Cooling bandanas are helpful, especially when stored in a cooler; These look promising

No matter how much I try to watch after people, it seems that someone always does too much working or doesn't drink enough water. One of the guys Saturday was plumb punchy by the end of it, good thing is it was caught before it went too far and we cooled him off with a cooling bandana and a bunch of water. The beer afterwards tasted WAY too good, man I love beer after a long hot day.

BADGE UPDATE: We've pretty well settled on a badge from Starpacker, Redneck has a design picked out and is taking names for an order. He needs 25 and has 20+ names from the shoot on Saturday. Looks like that will happen pretty easily. They'll run $52 each and we'll be able to get our club number and some sort of indication for the charter members of the club, which is cool.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Bangkok Rules

I get these things in my head and after jabbering at Jose for awhile I usually manage to get him onboard (except for Harleys). I have been checking out Cowboy Fast-draw and I’ve been intrigued as hell by it. The neatest thing about the sport is the head-to-head competition and I know that’s what’s got me interested.

The short of it is that you shoot wax bullets at a steel target. You compete against a person standing next to you shooting at his own steel target. The targets are attached to a timer and they have a light at the center. When the light turns on you draw and fire. The person who does it first wins…period. I’ve thought it would be cool if Thunder Valley had one for fun days where guys could just shoot it out, however there is one catch.

The shit is expensive!

I guess in the grand scheme of things it’s not bad, but for a complete target kit you’re dropping about 1500 dollars. That does not include the weapons, equipment, and ammo you might need. I can’t see the club being able to drop that kinda money for a fun-day event, although maybe something like that could be a great draw for a State level match. Pay a dollar a shot and take on all comers…might be able to afford something like that in the future.

Anyway if you dig fast-draw then check out the Cowboy Fast-draw Association webpage and see for yourself, but I think this one will go in the same category as Harleys with Jose.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day

A day to remember those who gave the ultimate so that we can do silly things like dress up like cowboys and play games.

Each year I'm reminded of my uncle Ted who passed on while I was young from lung cancer. He fought the disease for about a year and in that year, my parents and I visited he and his wife several times and I remember talking to Ted about everything from cars and girls to his time in military during WWII. Ted was a seabee stationed in New Guinea. Lucky for him, he didn't see much in the way of the Japanese, as he always put it, he was more in danger from the snakes falling out of trees onto his tractor than any Jap.

I always liked uncle Ted because he treated me with respect and was always a nice person who had intellegent things to say and I greatly appreciated that he served his country but was more impressed by the kind of person he was and how he treated others. One of the memories I'll always have is having Thanksgiving dinner at his house because he was too weak to travel, I always felt that it meant a great deal to him to have his family around him, my father was the same way. Ted was always upbeat even though cancer had left him ravaged, offering advice and encouragement to me and always ready with a joke.

Ted didn't last much longer after Thanksgiving and we laid him to rest before Christmas of that year. I recall being asked to be a pallbearer at his funeral and how I felt it to be an honor to be asked. I recall how cold it was on that day, the fire from the honor guard and the short, meaningfull graveside service and the somber look on my father's face of having lost a dear brother.

I didn't know Uncle Ted for very long, but I cherish the time that I had with him and I thank God that men like him existed and still exist that keep us safe from those that would do us harm.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

So True

This cracks me up. I still read the damn things, but I've never really seen a bad review. Thanks to Xavier for pointing this one out.

Friday, May 26, 2006

What's wrong with people?

OK, I know I'm getting off topic lately, but this really pisses me off. Today, the Capitol Police closed down the Rayburn building for five hours and Capitol Hill overall for part of that time. Why? Because someone called the police and reported that they thought they heard gunshots in the Rayburn garage.

Now today when I went to lunch, I saw on the TV the CNN reporters jabbering away inanely lunging for anything sensational to attract the viewers attention and I'll admit that for the first few minutes, I fell for it. Then I heard two key clues; the only thing they were going on is the one call and there was construction work in the garage. At that moment, I knew that this was all just a waist of time, some dumbass heard a hammer drill or concrete nail gun (which is actually a gunshot) and shit his/her pants, called the police and several hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars went to waist.

I can believe that some dumbass office worker who has never done an honest day's labor in their life would mistake normal construction noise for gunshots, what gets me is the response? Hey! I know, send a couple of guys to check this shit out before you go all commando and close down Capitol Hill and bring in the FBI HRT team to take down all the hostiles. Methinks someone is watching too much 24 lately and fancies himself a Jack Bauer. You and I are working damn hard to pay for all this shit and its being pissed away chasing down noises and not actuall bad people!

So I guess to be a part of the solution, I'll post some tips for the many many dumbass office workers out there.

  1. Know what a God Damned gunshot sounds like! You can do this buy going to a range and shooting one.
  2. Don't assume what sounds like gunfire actually is gunfire, there are many things that sound similar that aren't
  3. Don't call the police unless you KNOW someone is threatening life with a gun, you know, see it with your own eyes, that sort of shit.
  4. Finally, if you're that God Damned scared, stay the fuck home and suck your thumb you pussy!

As for the Police

  1. Office workers are morons who don't know what guns sound like, don't listen to them when they talk about gunshots
  2. If someone calls to report shots fired, send a car, hell send three, just don't call SWAT and every cop in radio range to come and waist our money searching for something that never happened on one fucking call!
  3. Has anyone else called in? You would think in a big office building, someone else might have heard the shots too, guns are loud you know!
  4. If you get a shots fired call, make sure some shots are fired by shooting the caller and the commander

I guess its not all bad, at least Congress wasn't able to prattle on about letting illegal aliens have amnesty or how they shouldn't be subject to pesky things like felony bribery or the Constitution.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Cowboy Camping Reduex

Ok, you’ve heard me jabbering (Jose’s favorite word) about cowboy camping for a couple of months now and of course here we go again. The thing that draws me to camping at the shoots is simple. I have a desire to stretch the cowboy experience as long as possible.

I enjoy shooting and I am very competitive. I also grew up role-playing so the idea of dressing up and playing cowboy is just as appealing. The three things that keep me coming back to this sport again and again are the shooting, the people, and playing cowboy. Those three things are not in any particular order.

When you camp at a multi-day shoot you get to shoot for at least 2 days, hang out with great people all afternoon and into the evening, and if you do it right get to play cowboy for a couple of days. At Hooten we just camped and it was fun, but definitely not as fun as it could have been if we were prepared. That’s why I have been pushing for a cowboy wall tent, cots, and sundries. But now there is a new idea crawling around in the back of my head.

A couple of great people have just started up a new club, the Pleasant Valley Renegades. This club is a little far away for us to attend often (It’s about 2.5 hours away) but I’m sure it will be a quality place since it’s on No More Slim’s land and Randy Atcher and Lizzie of the Valley are helping Slim run the club. They have said that if a member would like to put a cabin down by the range it would be ok as long as it was on skids and could be moved if necessary and looked cowboy. Also slim said that if you had a cowboy wall tent then you could also camp right down next to the range. The modern stuff would have to stay up on the ridge overlooking the range. Slim and Randy are already planning on putting in cabins and it sounds like they are going to go for a look and feel similar to Hooten.

I love this idea and the thought of getting a cowboy cabin just keeps popping up.

If Pleasant Valley is as successfully as I think it will be then having a premium camping spot at a range that is family oriented (They are pushing for families to join by charging only 5 bucks more for a family) would be great fun. If I can get the guys to go in on it then we could look to spend 4 or 5 weekends a year camping, shooting, and hanging out with great people. Who knows maybe I can get the old lady and my little princess to come and spend the weekend as well.

So, what would you need…first, a cabin. I guess there’s a Mennonite nearby who builds barns, sheds, and such on skids for about a grand cheaper then you can buy. So let’s start with a 12’ by 12’ building with a 4’ front porch. Then we throw in a full size bunk bed (a couple of 4x4 posts and a bed frame with wood slats should get it done), a wooden table, some chairs, an old dresser with a mirror, a sideboard, and for the other bed either a futon or just a regular bed. All of these items could be made or bought real cheap. They could also be made to look cowboy very easily. Then just add in some odds and ends from River Junction Trading Company, or Conner Prairie, or the Pioneer Village and you’ve got yourself a cool looking cabin. Oh and don’t forget the gun rack!

The only real modern conveniences I would want would be a small refrigerator, a fan, and a space heater. Lights could be provided by little brass lanterns and we could cook on the Coleman stove. Now if the place were big enough an old pot bellied stove would be awesome. I know most of this is just a pipe dream, but still it’s banging around inside my head and it’s easier to talk about it here then to keep bugging the guys.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Calix Meus Inebrians

It means "My Cup Makes Me Drunk." Now why would you want to ruin a perfectly good cowboy sight with a Latin phrase? If you were thinking that then I have a answer for you.

Often cowboys are portrayed as simple, stupid folk with little knowledge outside of roping a steer and riding a horse, but the truth is much more complicated. Trail drives, bunkhouse life, and line work could be tedious events filled with long hours of boredom. To fill this time many cowboys would find themselves reading all types of literature. One story puts a cowhand in a line shack wall papered with old newspapers for an entire winter. After reading the north, south, east, and west walls he was just starting on the ceiling when the weather broke. He doubted he would have made it another week.

From can labels to pulp fiction cowboys would read or find someone to read to them to pass the long hours, but the truly prized works were true literature with Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Sir Thomas Moore are but a few of the prized authors. Having read and reread these works cowboys would often recite favorite passages, memorize favorite lines, and quote specific works. The more knowledgeable this made them appear the happier they seemed to become.

This affectation was not lost on purveyors of sin in the old west. Many saloons, dance halls, and taverns would spice up their names by chosen Latin phrases to attach to their signs, or by taken names from great works and using it for their business. The Oriental, The Alhambra, and the Arabian Nights are but a few examples.

This brings me back to our title. In the true fashion of the old west I propose a title change:

Amigo’s Cantina
Calix Meus Inebrians

Badges!?!.... So the topic of our shooting club getting badges was broached (is there a pun there?) the other day because currently, we are using a plastic badge that people don't like, it isn't period and its cheap. I've done some reasearch into getting badges with Thunder Valley Rebels and maybe something else on them like a seal or logo. Well there are many places that make badges for Law Enforcement and such, but those are really too heavy and too expensive for club badges and they don't really have the old timey look to them. Judge suggested Buffalo Brothers badges, but like always, he won't call anyone, so that was up to me.

Turns out the badges aren't that expensive even with a casting startup fee and a minimum amount of badges. For 15 badges, it works out to $350-$425 or $23-$28 each. That's much cheaper than the modern LE badges and it'll look more period correct and I think we'll sell far more of them. Win Win.... Win

I'm not much for badges, especially my SASS badge, but I'll wear a TV badge simply because I'm proud to be a member of TV and if it would help to promote the club, then I'm all in.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Why are you like you are?

That's what I want to ask Federal Express. You see, normally, if a company ships something to me from Fedex, it takes at least a week to get to me and it usually involves me calling FedEx several times and them toying with me by holding my package at the local facility or one nearby for 3-5 days taunting me while giving me lame excuses about how the weather is bad or they're REALLY busy (like I'm not). They've also shipped something to my town then handed it to the Post Office to deliver, to which all I can say is Wha?! Then there's the old "drop off the package on my porch" when I pay extra to have a required signature. You might say I hate FedEx... and you'd be right.

Fast forward to today when out of the blue a package I ordered three days ago arived EIGHT DAYS ahead of when they indicated it'd be here. The package came from Shenzen, China, yes, I said China, in a mere two and a half days. That's less time than they were going to ship a package earlier in the year from 60 miles away! Don't get me wrong, I'm glad it came early, but why would they continually taunt me with relatively local deliveries and then be able to get an iPod from China in 60 hours, hell, I didn't think you could fly to China in 60 hours!

My point is that customer service in the past several years has really gone to hell. Just order some custom leather for CAS or anything else custom and you'll get the standard "four to six weeks" and you'll still be waiting four to six months from then. Of course they'll run your credit card the day after they take the order and give lame excuses and promises. Try cancelling a cellphone or other such service and see how long it takes to get your check from them, think they'd be that patient for you? Hardly!

To all SASS vendors, shipping companies and any merchant in general, if you want to retain my business and loyalty, treat me with respect, don't lie to me and do what you damn well tell me you are going to!

Monday, May 22, 2006

What's in a hat?

Identity, that's what.Judge%20and%20the%20Giant%20Ky04

When I first started shooting SASS, I bought a cheap straw hat a) because it was cheap and b) because I couldn't get a felt hat to fit my big-ass head. I didn't like that hat, so I got a sombrero and that worked well for a while, but it wasn't made well and the writing was on the wall. Next came the Sunbody Sombrero that was made better and would tide me over until I got my custom felt hat from Tonto Rim. Finally, last year in August I acquired my custom made felt hat from Tonto Rim and I love the hat, but everyone asks "where's your hat?" You see, after 2+ years wearing a sombrero, everyone has identified me with that hat and now its odd for them to see me without it. You want my definition of frustration? try spending $250 and four months waiting on you custom hat only to have folks ask you where your crappy straw is!

Oh well, hot weather is coming and everyone will get their wish and I'll wear the sombrero so I don't melt.

That blasted new hat that I love and everyone else thinks I should forgo.


I've been a little frustrated lately with the fact that I just can't move up in the world of SASS shooting. I have been shooting duelist for a couple of years now and things have pretty much settled at Thunder Valley that I finish behind M'Bogo and Randy Atcher. Nice guys and very good shooters, but I'm tired of finisihing in the same place and I got to wondering how I would finish shooting two handed Traditional style. I guess I made the mistake of mentioning this too many times to Copper Quincy during our drive to/from Kentucky and now I've got a reputation as "Jabbering" about it, whatever. Since I spent so much time "jabbering" about this, Judge and Copper decided to shoot two handed on Saturday as well. The more the merrier I say.

Things turned out pretty interestingly, I scored my first real win in SASS by besting all Traditional shooters (thanks to a shooter or two for not showing up). I beat everyone that I felt I could beat that was also shooting two-handed and beat one guy I thought I might have a chance at (Fighting Eagle). Most interesting to me was the reversal in positions of Judge and myself, usually, he shoots 2-3 seconds faster than I do per stage (raw time) and Saturday, I shot nearly 3 seconds faster than he did (raw time). I guess he's a better one hander and I'm a better two hander, go figure. Of further interest to me is that M'bogo still beat me shooting duelist, that guy is good! I also figure that if I were to switch to Traditional shooting, I'd quickly get back to the same old rut of finishing behind the same people since I can count 49 and Modern shooters since they shoot the same two-handed style.

The only thing I wish is that Drew First and Zwing Hunt would have showed up as they're good and I'd like to have seen how close I was to Drew and how far behind Zwing I was. But I got the plaque, so maybe its best they didn't show.

Now I just need to get that damned holster from San Pedro so I can compete on equal ground with Judge in Gunfighter!

Friday, May 19, 2006


Well I have the ’66 short stroked and tuned by Gigante Guns. I’ve got the clothes; spurs, leggings, vest, pocket watch, scarf with slide, sleeves garters. And, I can borrow the shotgun since Jose has his TTN hammered double. So that means I’m shooting Classic Cowboy tomorrow!

I’ll have to remember to shoot it double duelist instead of gunfighter, but it’s something different and I think it might be fun. I’m looking forward to running the ’66 and seeing how it works. It feels great, and I can’t wait. My competition might be No More Slim and his birdsheads, but that will be fun.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

A Hoot at Hooten

Sorry it has taken me so long to update, but alas I have been very busy. Last week at the Kentucky State shoot was a ton of fun. Yes the vendors were better in the past. Yes “something” seemed to be missing. But the shooting was great, our posse was awesome, and I enjoyed the camping even if the weather didn’t cooperate.

Friday was gorgeous and it didn’t take us long to check in a set up a great little campsite. We hooked up with the Thunder Valley boys and girls and drank a few beers. Redneck Rebel, Marshal Spencer Owen, Abu, Graver, Lizzy of the Valley, and Randy Atcher were all staying at a really nice bed and breakfast about 15 minutes from the range and they invited us to have a steak dinner with them Friday night. We didn’t take long to make up our minds. We had a great dinner, drank everything we could get our hands on then crawled into the sleeping bags. That night it must have gotten down to about 40 degrees and man that can be cold when you aren’t expecting it.

Saturday was beautiful, and the stages were a lot of fun. The shotgun targets were giving me fits and weren’t going down very easy. I had to make up 5 targets in the first 4 stages, but everything else was clean so even though I was adding about 4 or 5 seconds a stage I was happy overall. By the time the day was done I was still clean even though the clean match jitters hit me hard on stage 10. We finished the day smoking cigars, drinking beer, eating BBQ, and buying blankets in preparation for the evening.

Things took a slight turn for the worse at about 4 am when the rain started. It didn’t stop the rest of the day. So we had a wet and miserable Sunday, but I managed to keep the clean shoot going and finished with my first clean match ever, and at a State level match to boot!

Copper took some fantastic pictures and everyone had a good time. Our posse was fantastic with all the Thunder Valley boys, a nice Manatee, a couple of fun black powder shooters from Tennessee, No Purse Neuce, and the world record holder Widowmaker. Everybody worked hard and made the 2 days fly by. I picked up a short stroke kit from Manatee and Jose should be getting it put in my ’66 real soon. I generally hate the award ceremonies but these seemed to be better the usual and I made it home to see my daughter Sabrina before she went to bed. Great weekend!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Kentucky State Shoot


Well, I'm finally warm again! The camping experiment (at least experimental on my part) was COLD and WET! Friday and Saturday were absolutely perfect weather days for shooting, problem is, it got down to around 40 degrees at night, thankfully, one of the vendors was selling blankets. Sunday morning brought the rain and I woke up with water dripping into my eye. Not fun...

As for the shooting, well, Judge shot well, he had his first clean match ever and is rightfully full of himself. I'm proud of him for resisting temptation and not blowing it. Oh, and listening to me when he counted wrong :) Copper Quincy shot pretty decently too, just not clean and I'm pretty sure he enjoyed his first large match.

As for how I shot, well, my pistol marksmanship needs a lot of work, I'm thinking a remedial class or something. There's really no excuse for it, I can do it, I just lose focus and don't do what I crowd.06need to do; lock out the arm, actually see the front sight, you know the hard stuff.

That said, I was happy with my speed, even though on a stage where I feel that I shot as well as I'm capable, the guy I'd like to beat still got me by 2 seconds while shooting black powder. I'm starting to think this one-handed thing isn't for me. I may try traditional shooting at the next match just to test the waters amongst the regulars at Thunder Valley. All the guys I could compete with seemed to have gone gunfighter or frontier cartridge on me. I ain't shootin black and I can't seem to get San Pedro Saddlery to send me a holster I ordered four months ago so I can shoot gunfighter (which is what I wanted to do from the get-go).

Copper Quincy has the pictures from the shoot and we'll post those as soon as they become available. Copper made the weekend much better with his camping knowledge and gear as well as taking pictures. He also kept me from destroying that guy who backed into my truck at the gas station, its hard to go postal on someone when your cop buddy is with you.copperhead.joes

I feel that every large match you attend is a learning experience, so what did I learn you ask?

  • 40 degrees is damn cold!
  • Don't lose your temper during a stage, 7 misses is rough on the overall
  • There ain't a better breakfast than one cooked on a Coleman stove
  • Spring Mountain Inn has a mean steak dinner
  • Don't mix tequilla, beer, whiskey and wine and then shoot the next day
  • Black powder shooters are a hangover's worst nightmare
  • Thunder Valley has a lot of good shooters
  • SASS participants are good people, most anyway (there's always a Pecos Pete)
  • It doesn't matter how large the target, someone's gonna miss it
  • Jackasses who drive while on the cell phone should be flogged
  • If you hold a state level match, you should know how to hang targets
  • Even if you're cold, wet and shooting like crap, its still better than nearly anything else you could be doing!
UPDATE: Copper dropped off the photos last night so I've added some to this post. you can see more of them on my Flickr account.

Sunday, April 30, 2006


In four more days we will be heading down to the Kentucky State Shoot at Hooten Old Town. Jose and I were there a couple of years ago and had a great time. It is a fantastic facility with a ton of atmosphere. My bags are slowly getting packed and my guns are far from clean, but I still can’t wait to get on the road. We’ve got tents, chairs, beds, food, guns, gear, and of course cold hard cash for the trip.

We have already shot a couple of times this year, but I can’t help thinking this will be the real kickoff to the CAS season. At least it feels that way to me. If you’re a cowboy shooter and you are not going to Hooten for this match then shame on you. If you are going, then look Jose, Copper and I up for a cold one.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Cowboy Camping

In a little over a week Jose, Copper, and I will be camping at the Kentucky State Shoot in Hooten, KY. Jose and I have been to several state level shoots and have always had a good time. In 2004 we went to Hooten and loved the atmosphere of the place, but hated the 40 minute drive every morning from the nearest hotel. We decided if we went back we would stay on site. So we have our modern camping equipment and it should be a lot of fun. But when I think of camping at a cowboy shoot, this is what I would like to see.A true period style campsite, and while the picture shows one a little over the top I would still love to have the canvas wall tent, canvas dinning fly, wooden chairs, tables, camp boxes, cots, water barrels, and all the little do-dads that would round out a true old west camp. Money is the only problem; all those things cost money, so for now we will just take what we can get. Thanks to Civil War Reenactors in Photos for the image.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Ranger Camp

I have never met Captain George Baylor. I saw him on the TV show “Cowboys” once. I’ve read his articles in the Cowboy Chronicle. So, I know him only through a brief interview on TV and by reading his articles. All I can say is the man’s amazing.

Jose has a link to Captain Baylor’s Ranger Camp on the left. Click on it and go read his thread on Getting Started in Cowboy Action Shooting. It’s what I did when I started this game and while surfing the web today I ended up back there, finding it just has fun to read today as it was informative five years ago. If you wanna know what, why, and how Jose and I do what we do go check it out, but be careful you might get hooked.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Being as how my gun accumulation has reached the ten barrier, and because I want to have the information in one place, I downloaded the Insurance Information Institute's free home inventory software. This program is excellent in that it basically is a database of your possessions, you can put everything you own in the database or just the important stuff like guns. You can just list the items without any pictures or accompaning documentation, however, with a digital camera it is relatively easy to add photos of the item and scans of receipts.

I simply added my guns to the database as I think its overwhelming to think about putting every valuable item I own in this thing with a picture, receipt, serial number, model number, where I bought it and the date of purchase and replacement value. Yeah, just the guns for now. Maybe the comptuers and then TVs and such, but EVERYTHING?!?! sheesh! I've got a job already.

Once you get everything in the database on your computer, DON'T FORGET TO TRANSFER THE FILE OFFSITE! it would do no good to have this important document sitting in the same house as your guns and other valuables in the event that someone breaks in and steals stuff or a fire or natural disaster. My house is where I keep all my stuff and if it's gone, my stuff is gone. So I transferred the file up to my server at work. You could burn it to a CD and take it to a safe deposit box as well. I also "printed" the file as a PDF so that I wouldn't need the III's program to view the goodies. Again, you could print off the list (though its gonna be long) and put it in a safe deposit box.

I guess I feel a little better that if something happens to my guns, I can accurately report my loss to my insurance agent.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


I spent this evening working on another of Judge Mint Day's guns. I installed the "Whisper Springs" that we picked up at the last main match into his '66. I went ahead and tore the gun compltely down and did an more thorough deburring and slicking up of the gun, though to be honest, these guns don't need as much work as a '92 or Marlin 94. The main way you improve a '66 or '73 is to lighten the springs on them. So the Whisper Springs are part of that equation, they replace the factory lifter and lever springs which are inordently heavy. The Smith Shop invented the Whisper Springs and they replace the stock heavy springs with some piano wire.Judge%20%2766 For $35 they're probably worth it because if you grind too much off the factory springs, you have to throw them away and do over.

The only other spring that can affect the cycling of the '66 is the hammer spring and they are heavy as well. I pulled this one out and had to shake my head as the milling marks on one side of it were so rough you could probably cut wood with it like a saw blade. I clamped it down and smoothed up the sides with a file, then took a drum sander to the concave part of it to elliminate the milling marks there. Milling marks btw will cause a spring to fail, so its important to get rid of them. I then cleaned up the hook on the end so that the yolk on the hammer would run smoother. Upon reassembly, I shimmed a couple of thin washers under the spring to further lighten it.

The deburring and slicking up consisted of me cleaning each part thoroughly, running my hands over it to feel where the burs were and removing them and then stoning the contact surfaces where needed. Then I reassembled the rifle. All told, it took me a little under 3 hours, I doubt that I'll strike any fear into the hearts of the good gunsmiths, but I think the rifle is a major improvement now. I probably should have taken photos, but I don't like pausing to do something totally unrelated while I'm working, so maybe next time.

BTW Judge, you WILL want to check out this rifle before the KY State match since I changed the hammer spring strength. I'm 90% sure it'll fire, but you want to be 100% sure. Oh, and you owe me a beer at the least for this job :)

Monday, April 17, 2006


Something that I thought was SASS related and definitely of interest is the "Deadwood bather". The healthy young lass who is seen during the opening credits of the HBO Deadwood series. Yeah, its a stretch, but you'll thank me for it. That's a posse member that'd make things more fun.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


After the shoot yesterday I had to check the calander because I could have sworn that this was April and not July. The official temperature was 87 degrees, I know it was hotter and they didn't give the heat index, but I'm pretty sure it was 150 or 160. Anyways, it was hot, we sweated A LOT! and had our resident elder statesman nearly succumb. But in the end, all of us made it through and I at least had fun if I didn't shoot particularly well (11 misses, ouch!). I got real sloppy and it wasn't the heat, it was just me being sloppy with sight picture and slapping the trigger.

I shot Judge Mint Day's '66 since he wanted to shoot B-Western and use my Marlin (funny, I recall him owning a '92 which is legal). After two stages, I was using my Marlin again because that '66 is annoying to me. The sight picture is disturbed too much, once when the hammer falls and again when brass is ejected, love the Marlin. I suppose when the '66 is short-stroked and massaged, it will be better, I bought a set of whisper springs for it after the shoot from the local purveyor of gunsmithing goodies Manatee. He's an alright guy when you're handing him money ;)

Judge shot pretty well, but that's because he's sneaking off to practice, here I am slaving away on his guns and loading his ammo and he's sneaking off to practice, what a pal!