Saturday, December 22, 2007

Guncart Christmas

Jose, Dina Might, Princess Shock'n'awe and I have exchanged Christmas gifts for years. This year Jose actually listened to me and built me a new guncart. Why would I need a new guncart you might ask. Well if you've every shot TVR then you know the answer to that one.

Our very first guncart was a milk crate and a hand cart. that didn't last long so we built a nice big 4 gun guncart with enough storage to hold everything 2 people would need for shooting. We were sharing gear and thought the one guncart approach would work, and it did for a while, but Jose took all of the stuff we learned building the first guncart and put it to work on his very own guncart and I inherited the first one. It's served me well, but it's a lot bigger then I need and I find myself filling it with unnecessary stuff. Lugging that sucker up and down the hill at TVR has made me long for a small, light guncart.

Jose met the challenge and put this one together for me for Christmas. It is exactly what I was looking for and I can't wait to give it a go. it holds 2 long guns and has enough storage for ammunition and a few other things, but not much else. It also comes with pneumatic wheels which make a huge difference when pushing the cart over rocks, ruts, and gravel.

I've been thinking about a few add-ons, but I think I'll shoot with it for a while before I make any additions or changes. And
of course Jose has already started his own using the experience and knowledge he got building mine.

If Jose would get off his keaster and start posting he might one day put up the guncart plans for this little beauty. Of course that would be after his post on the new Biesleys.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Dean, Roy and Don

I am a huge fan of Dean Martin, and of course since I shoot B-Western I've gotta show some love for ol' Roy Rogers. I can take or leave Don Rickles, but as you'll see he's the one that makes this classic little skit very, very funny.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Nicky Blaine's, Birthdays, and Padrons

Yesterday for my Birthday Jose and I went to my favorite little place called Nicky Blaine's Cocktail Lounge. It's in the center of Indianapolis right at the circle. You'll find this in the basement, fitting for an establishment that throws back to a speakeasy.

The bar is dark, and by that I mean dark leather furniture, dark wood work and dark lighting. What's not dark is red. When you walk in you are greeted by a hostess dressed as you would expect in a nice dark cocktail dress. She leads you to a table which is surrounded by wingback chairs or love seats, very comfortable. Then the whole night you are waited on by a true cocktail waitress. She pours your drinks and cuts and lights your cigar...that's right I said cigar. You see this place is a rarity nowadays. It's a martini and cigar bar. It offers some of the finest cigars and you are even allowed to smoke in the place...that just isn't allowed in Indiana anymore. Oh and I almost forgot, live Jazz.

So I treated myself to my favorite cigar a Davidoff Millenium Pyramid. It's was rated as a 93 from Cigar Aficionado and well deserved. The surprise of the night was the Padron 1926. I had read several very good things about the Padron 1926, but had never had the opportunity to try one. I saw it on the menu, but was scared by the "market price". I asked and while expensive it wasn't out of the world, so Jose and I each lite one up.

This was a full bodied cigar which I don't typically enjoy, but it was so flavorful and had such a mild finish for such a strong cigar that I quickly found myself falling in love with it. The Padron 1926 line was introduced to commemorate the 75th birthday of Jose O. Padron and also got a 93 from Cigar Aficionado. Only 16,000 of these are produced every year which explains the "market price" on the menu. I liked this one so much I think it will become my new Birthday Cigar! How fitting for a Padron designed for a birthday to be my new birthday cigar.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Six-String Justice

This year my family got me some great things for Christmas, but this was unexpected, and surprisingly not bad. My musical tastes run towards classic southern rock, blues, and a few 80's power bands, but it's nice to have some cowboy music to listen to just for mood music. I love "The Outlaws" and Marty Robbins, but a friend once said "If I hear Cool Water again I'm shooting somebody!" so this is a nice change of pace. Maybe I'll pick up some more in the future.

If you are interested you can get Six-String Justice and more by Zerf and others at Drovers Mercantile.

Monday, December 17, 2007

New Main Match Gun?

Hey, do you think they would let me use this for my main match pistol? I especially like the grips!

We could call it the Jon Carter from Mars Category. I bet Smiley would dig it.

It's from this pretty cool website, Hat tip to Tam for this one.

Friday, December 14, 2007

B Movie Bonanza

Are you looking for a way to pass the time this holiday season? Since the shooting year is over in most places north of the Mason Dixon many of you are surfing the web and looking for cowboy stuff to pass the time until we start throwing lead down range in the spring. Boy have I got just the thing for you. Check out this little fun site. They have all of your B-Western Cowboy needs until the Judge shows back up for the "bling" category. And if you want a little Horror, Sci-Fi, or Kung Fu they got that as well.

Turn the lights down low, grab a bag of popcorn and enjoy!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Judge Mint Day Story

Mint Day first stumbled on the scene quite literally as an extra in WESTERN ROUNDUP (1929). Listed in the credits as Gilbert O’Day he made little impact on the film, but a big move on the leading lady Dina Might.

By the end of the year he co-starred with Dina Might in GUNS FROM THE BORDER (1929) as “Mint” Day and never looked back. His publicist refused to provide background information for Mint Day saying only that a mysterious cowboy with no past sold more tickets than a law school dropout from the Midwest.

Mint Day made 11 movies from 1929 - 1931 all of them for Monogram Pictures and most opposite the lovely Dina Might. TRAIN TO ABILENE (1930), GHOST PASS (1930), OVER THE VALLEY (1930), DYNAMITE TRAIL (1930), CROSSED BADGES (1930), UNDER A BAD MOON (1931), THREE ON A MATCH (1931), HOMEWARD WAGON (1931), AND LONSOME HOMBRE (1931). All were of the western faire with Mint Day saving the town/girl/wagon train/fort from destruction from Indians/cutthroats/rebels. Only GHOST PASS (1930) had a substantially different feel from a first time writer/producer Al Hitch (pseudonym for Alfred Hitchcock).

In 1932 Mint Day signed with Republic Pictures and dove headfirst into the western serial. The first 15 part serial SIXGUN JUDGE (1932) not only gave Day movie star status, but also his moniker “Judge”. For the rest of his movie career he would be “Judge Mint Day”. He went on to star in 6 more serials for Republic before dropping out of Hollywood altogether. Little has been heard from Judge since his departure from the movie industry. Still married to Dina Might he purchased a horse ranch in the Sierra Nevada’s and lived a quiet and happy life.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Territorial Governors Summit - 2007

1. Change Classic Cowboy to require Chaps and Spurs at all times and drop the other clothing requirements to three choices. The wording was changed, by amendment, to either chaps, chinks or botas and spurs. Discussion was mostly concerned with heat and the added safety factor of wearing spurs. Speakers felt that if these things bothered a shooter, then they should not shoot in this category.

Voting result: Failed.

2. As of now you may get as many Minor Safeties as you incur. Change the rules to limit Minor Safeties to one per firearm.
Discussion was on both sides of the issue. Some felt a double jeopardy situation is created by allowing more than one penalty for the same single violation. Others felt that the current rule was not being enforced properly, and that all infractions or safeties should be awarded regardless of double jeopardy.

Voting result: Failed.

3. As of now you are not committed to the stage until the first round goes down range. Change the rule to read a shooter, if properly started, is committed to the stage once the timer sounds.
Discussion, it was felt that there was only a small group of people that took advantage of this type of restart. Some felt that there was no need to change this rule and that the situation could be resolved with good stage design starting with an action that was required for the stage like closing a door or handling a prop. Others were in favor of the rule to mean that once the timer beeps, you are committed, no matter what.

Voting result: Failed

4. The largest maximum shot size allowed is a #4. Change the maximum shot size to a #7 1/2 .
Discussion, many felt that there was no need to change this rule. Clubs can still have their own size requirement.

Voting result: Failed

5. Proposed New Long Range Optical Category with rules as follows:
No length or power limitation on the scope. Scope tube body to be 3/4" or less in diameter and any ocular or objective lenses, adjusting or assembly rings to be less than 1" in diameter.
No internal scope adjustments for windage or elevation.
Mounts are to be of a traditional style of the period, and contain the windage and elevation adjustments for the scope in either, or both, the front or rear mounts. No click adjustments in the mount. Either dove tail mounting or scope block mounting is allowed.

Original scope mounts of either the Cataract or Malcom style or variations thereof, or replicas or derivative conforms to the criteria of the paragraph above.

This rule matches exactly with the NRA Rifle Silhouette Rules. March 2005.
Discussion, several examples were on display. If passed, it would add only one category "Optical" for long range rifle side matches. There appeared to be a lot of support for adding the optical sight category for long range side matches.

Voting result: Passed

The SASS Wild Bunch has made the decision that rounds must now meet the following restrictions.

Effective at State level and above matches. Clubs can still maintain stricter requirements (like a 650 minimum) but it should be in match material in advance.

Goes into effect at EOT 2008.

The minimum velocity must meet at power factor of 60. Power factor is calculated by multiplying the bullet weight times the velocity and then divided by 1,000.

A 100 grain bullet traveling at 600 fps has a power factor of 60 (100 X 600) / 1000 = 60.00.
A 77 grain bullet traveling 800 fps has a power factor of 61.6 (77 X 800) / 1000 = 61.60.
A 200 grain bullet traveling 400 fps has a power factor of 80 (200 X 400) / 1000 = 80.00.

The maximum velocities are not changed.

Black powder rounds, in black powder categories, already have their own standards. The rule would be applied to smokless powder categories only. If a shooter is using black powder rounds in a non-BP category, they must meet the power factor requirements.

A challenge of the loads can only be made by a match official. They will take five rounds and use the shooters gun. If any pass, then the ammo is OK.

It was announced that it would not change the KD rules at all. The old calibration is still valid and there are no plans to change that.

They have made a tentative (not in stone yet) ruling on the penalty.

It would be a 30 second Spirit of the Game penalty starting on the stage the rounds were tested.

Match officials could be the only persons that could initiate a test.

The official would take the shooters gun and five rounds of ammunition (pistol). They would pull one round out to remove the bullet for weighing.

They would fire the other four. Currently, if any pass, the loads are ruled OK. The muzzle of the gun would be raised 80 degrees prior to firing each round, so the powder would be at the rear most section of the case. This would give the highest result.

These are results from the phone calls I made to Vegas. I have not received the actual report.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Til next time,

Vaquero Hayes

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Thunder Valley, 2007

The shooting season at TVR finished last weekend and this morning in my mailbox I received the final standings for the year from Redneck Rebel. I was happy with my final standing finishing 9th out of 42 shooters that meet the minimum 6 match requirement. Jose finished 13th and Copper Finished 15th so all managed to make the top 15. That's pretty decent and all of us seem to be getting better every year. I guess that's all you can ask for.

Jose has really started to figure out the rifle and when he switches to a shotgun belt instead of the bandoleer he is going to pick up his time considerably. Copper needs to learn to attack the stage and "shoot" faster. His transitions are excellent and his shotgun is very smooth. I need to get my 87 up and working well and I'm going to have to do some practice or both these guys will probably beat me next year. It's nice to have people pushing you.

TVR 2007:

Judge Mint Day; 9th overall, Average Stage = 29.305

Jose Gigante; 13th overall, Average Stage = 30.931

Copper Quincy; 15th overall, Average Stage = 31.363

Friday, December 07, 2007

What Time Is It?!?

I saw this picture that Carey Kid took at the November TVR match and thought is was an awesome photo that made Redneck Rebel look like Howdy Doody sittin' on my knee. Redneck may be much much smaller than I am, but there's not a cowboy I respect or admire more, nor one with a bigger heart. He owns TVR and is also El Presidente of the range, he does such a wonderful job of making sure his shooters are happy and is continuously tweaking this or that.

For instance, it has helped me greatly that he Gigantized the stages so that I don't have to bend down to shoot through the windows. I can't express how I appreciate that as the first range I started shooting at was run by a short cantakorous runt of a man who refused to acknowledge us big folk.

There aren't many cowboys I'd let sit on my lap, lots of cowgirls, but not many cowboys, Rebel is a rarity.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Ok, This doesn't have much to do with CAS. But if you are anything like me you will really dig this webpage. Blade Runner and Logans Run are a couple of my favorite sci-fi movies. Throw in some classic Star Trek and a couple of wanna be gunsmith's and you've got a recipe for entertainment.

Hat tip to Les Jones

Monday, November 26, 2007


My Colt is now represented on KIMSON Handicraft Co., LTD's website showing off the Dragon hand-carved grips for the 1911. I think it looks great. Essentially, he reposted my blog entry on the grips (with my permission) and I am quite proud of the way the old Colt turned out.

Now I just need to find someone to buy my Kimber, because I doubt it'll see much use...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

SCOTUS & Parker

For those living under a rock and may not know, the Supreme Court has decided to hear the Parker vs DC case where a lower court ruled that DC's ban was unconstitutional. This is the first time in 68 years that the court will rule on the 2nd amendment, so yeah, its a big deal. David Hardy over at Of Arms & the Law has some thoughts on the question that the court will rule on. He feels pretty positive about wording of the question if you can read anything into it at all and I think you can since they took their sweet time of it.

David also has some thoughts on the timing of when the case will be heard based on the timeline of when the parties have to file and the Court's schedule. Late March 2008. Make that 69 years...

BTW, if you aren't reading Of Arms & the Law, what's wrong with you?

Congratulations Copper!

Well he finally did it. After 3 years of shooting and lord knows tons of practice Copper Quincey managed to beat me last week at Thunder Valley. It wasn't like I shot bad either. I did pretty good with the exception of one stage and Copper shot well the whole match. He finished 15th which is pretty damn good since Vaquero, Indy Kid, Max Montana, Chicago Steely, Drew First, Clyde, Redneck, Cumberland Drifter, and Windy City Kid were all present.

Keep up the hard work, cause I'm not gonna let you do it again.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Colt Meets The Dragon

pvr.2007.11.10-017Back in August after revisiting Xavier's post about the grips he purchased from Mr. Kim Son in Vietnam, I got to admiring the 1911 grips in water buffalo with the hand-carved dragon on them. I had to have them, you see I like dragons, they've fascinated me be it in my early days of RPG gaming or my love of aircraft. At the time I figured they'd look great on my Kimber Eclipse CLE II (they probably would), but they never got a chance to appear on the Kimber. A month later, I ran across the Colt MKIV at the PVR swap meet and picked it up as I've always wanted a Colt 1911 in stainless. The following week, the dragon grips arrived from Vietnam and thus the Colt meets the Dragon.

pvr.2007.11.10-012The first thing I noticed about the grips when I unpacked them is that the carving reveals the inner beauty of the water buffalo horn and gives the carving an almost golden appearance. I was pretty stoked about getting these grips on my newest baby, so I removed the stock Colt grips and dropped on the Dragons. To say they fit is understating the matter quite a bit. These grips appeared to almost suction onto the frame of the MKIV, I find that the come off just as easy, but there's no wiggle in them even without the grip screws installed. Like Xavier, I find this amazing given that Mr. Kim Son doesn't actually have access to a 1911 frame. The grips even fit over the new over-sized plunger tube I installed.

pvr.2007.11.10-011One thing I had hoped the carving would do is provide purchase to maintain a good grip while shooting and after shooting it last Saturday at PVR, I can say that the purchase is good, not up to snuff with checkered rubber, but then what is? It does allow clothing to slip over and off of the pistol while in carry mode and I don't see it ruining clothes like some of the agressive grips or skater tape will do.

pvr.2007.11.10-013As you can see in the pictures I took, the grips fit the frame VERY well and leave almost no gap with the grips landing just shy of the end of the grip frame. The only thing I find about these grips in particular that I don't really like is that the grip screws don't sit flush with the grips, they protrude a small amount, I don't know if there are screws available that have thinner heads and will sit flush, I might try some of the low profile grip screws to see, but it certainly doesn't dampen my enthusiasm for these grips.

In all, I think I've been very lucky to have ordered these grips and found a Colt that I've been wanting, perhaps I'm living right, who knows but I know that I'm pretty darned happy with this package.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sheepdip Inn

pvr.2007.11.10-018Quite the name huh?

Like most strange things, there's a story behind it. The PVR clubhouse is the brainchild of a member who everyone knows as "Smiley" and since he was the main impetus behind the clubhouse, it is only fitting that it be named for or after him. Why Sheepdip? That's his real SASS alias, he goes by Smiley for some odd reason nobody can figure.

Anyway, the Sheepdip Inn is pretty much done, structurally anyways. In two weekends worth of work the entire thing got built by the hard-working PVR members and of course Smiley who not only thought it up, but had the skills to build it. That's always nice to have. I believe the club has about $1,000 in it and a lot of labor. The structure is 24'X16' and is pretty sparse inside, but that'll change when the women folk get to the decorating. As it is, it is a fine place to pvr.2007.11.10-021hold up in cold weather and shoot the bull, have a beer and do some karaoke.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Not Quite THAT Versatile

I know most gunnies think the venerable 12guage is a very versatile firearm and it truly is, but it does have its limits. For instance, don't try to remove a lug nut with double-ought at arms length. I've been frustrated working on a car before, but I usually reach for the penetrating oil or mechanical leverage when I encounter a difficult to remove nut.

Friday, November 09, 2007

3:10 to Yuma

Well I finally managed to free some time up to go see 3:10 to Yuma. It just happened to be the very last showing of the movie in our local theater. I'm glad I managed to go and see it since it met most of my expectations.

In short it's a good movie. If you get a chance see it our pick up the DVD when it comes out. The acting is solid and better then the first version. Russell Crowe and Christian Bale continue to impress me and the best parts of the movie are when these two great actors interact.

The story follows the first movie and I can only assume the original work pretty closely. I need to pick up a copy of Elmore Leonard's short story and see which version is more true to the work. One of the things I really enjoyed about the first version was the fact that the Dan Evans character was pretty much an everyday man. He was down on his luck, but not any more then most people and while he needed the 200 dollars to get by and needed it badly doing the right thing was more important to him. In this version the character is truly beat down with a missing leg from the war and a son with TB and an evil neighbor trying to steal his land. It's almost like Hollywood doesn't believe in the everyday man...what am I saying of course they don't.

The movie adds a few action sequences like a dangerous apache pass that wasn't any more dangerous then Dan Evans ranch and a run in with some other railroad people both of which seemed to be in there for the MTV generation. The only thing that really bugged me about the movie however was the overt approach to telling the audience that putting Ben Wade in the 3:10 to Yuma did not mean that he would get hanged. At one point Russell Crowe has to say that he's broken out of Yuma twice before. It just dumbs it down to much and generally pisses me off.

The action was solid, the acting was great, the costumes and guns were fun and the movie was enjoyable. Ben Foster did a great job playing the part originally done by Richard Jaeckel and definitely stole a couple of scenes. It's not the best western I've ever seen, even in the modern era, but it is well worth the price of admission.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


For future reference here is a list of Tags used so far;

CAS, non-cas, PVR, TVR, CCW, cap n ball, zombies, 1911, Colt, Gunsmithing, humor, Wild Bunch, Shotgun, reloading, Guns, 97, buying, AK47, Shooting, Fast draw, movies, SASS, Competition, scoring, Westerns, 2nd amendment, video, clothing, Revolver, Grips, Custom, advice, police, safety, defense, Glasses

Wow, that's a mouthful. Perhaps we should limit our tags a little to make them useful. For example make sure that all posts are listed as CAS or non-cas (yes it looks like they are case sensitive) Then we can further divide them into Gunsmithing, reloading, safety, advice, training, Competition, scoring, etc. After that we can put down the type of gun like Revolver, Shotgun, Rifle, or 97, 1911, AK47 etc.

This list is just to help us refer back to what we have already done so we can standardize a little in the future.

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More Zombies!!!

I like they way Oleg thinks. The S.T.A.R.S. patch cracks me up. Wish I could find one.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Will Work For Beer

Last weekend, several members of the PVR club descended upon the range to erect a clubhouse in the cabin area of the range so shooters can get out of the weather after a shoot for scores and socializing. I got there just before 9am during the lumber gathering stage and helped load up the wagon with fresh cut poplar. Even though the weather wasn't cooperating, we got the deck layed by lunch time and four walls up by 4:30pm, not terribly bad I think.

The crew consisted mostly of unskilled labor with one of the club members, Smiley, appointed as foreman since it was his baby and he has the knowledge to build a building. Another pard Billy Bucharest is a carpenter, so we had enough supervision and we were an enthusiastic bunch (the promise of beer at the end had a little to do with it).

The near constant drizzle was annoying, but you can work in it. The freshly cut lumber was heavy since it was cut to actual dimensions and was wet after several days of rain. My muscles cried for two days afterward. I posted my favorite picture here, you can see the rest that one of the ladies took at the PVR website.

I know this is going to be a great addition to the range and provide us with a way to get out of the bad weather after a shoot to continue our socializing. The clubhouse isn't completely done, I wasn't able to show up for Sunday to put the roof and siding on, but it looks to have got done, now we need to build the porch, then it will be a proper clubhouse.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007


If you've been reading this blog for a year now then you might remember my little tidbit of information regarding a zombie attack last Halloween. If not then a little check of the archives should bring it up. Suffice it to say that "Sometimes I worry about Zombies"

First you have the George Romero zombies, then you have the Danny Boyle zombies, and lets not forget the Edgar Wright zombies. What's all this mean? Well it means you should be prepared for any eventuality so make sure your zombie survival tools are standing by and happy hunting.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Well I know it’s a little late, but I’ve been very busy lately. A couple of weeks ago at the PVR swap meet I ran into a little deal that was just too good to pass up. I’ve been toying with the idea of picking up some cap and ball revolvers and shooting frontiersman. I love the look of the open top revolvers and found myself leaning towards the 1860 Army model Colts. Checking out prices here and their, I found that they always ran about $189. If I went with a brass frame I could get them cheaper, but I wanted a steel frame in the event I decided to get a cartridge

conversion or some such thing. So I had done my research, but never actually made anything happen.

When I went to the Indiana State Match last
month I hoped to find a good deal on some cap and ball revolvers, but there were almost no vendors at the match so I left dejected. The PVR swap meet was my last hope.

We stopped for breakfast at the Little Schoolhouse as usual and met up with Abu. While talking about what to expect at the swap meet he said he was trying to sell his Pietta’s. After further questioning it came out that he had 4 Pietta 1851 Navies in .44 and wanted only 100 dollars each. Well that was a deal that was just too good to be true.

The 1851 Navy is the gun that really brought Sam Colt his fame. They earned the term “Navy” not due to any specific use by military navies around the world, but to the engraved navel battle scene on the cylinder. The Term “Navy” has universally been used to describe the .36 caliber version of the weapon, and the .44 caliber version was called the “Army” so I guess I really have an 1851 “Army”, but that doesn’t sound as cool.

Anyway 200 dollars later I am the proud owner of a brace of 1851 Navies and someday I plan on shooting Frontiersman if I can ever figure out how the things work.

It looks like I got these just in time since we are going to have a Josey Wales side match at the next TVR main match. More on that later.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Carry Ready Colt

OK, so I decided to make the Colt 1911 I bought recently carry ready. What does that mean? For me it means adding ergonomic features that ensure reliable operation of the firearm. I also had the loose plunger tube to replace, so last week I placed orders with Brownells and MidwayUSA.

First came the plunger tube, it was remarkably easy to replace with the Brownells tool and now I have a solid tube and a new tool. While I had the gun tore down, I replaced the trigger with a solid Ed Brown smooth, extended trigger to accommodate my big hands.

I don't have the heart to start carving on the Colt frame, so I purchased a Wilson Combat drop-in Beavertail grip safety to allow a higher and more consistent grip as well as prevent hammer-bite. The unit went in fairly easily, there was the usual fitting involved and the safety rubbed on the frame in a couple of spots, nothing a little abrasive applied judicously couldn't overcome. To match the new grip safety, I installed a Swenson Commander hammer after thinning it a bit and stoning the hooks down to .020. The trigger feels OK if not outstanding. The original sear was perfect, so I think smoothing up the hooks a bit would help some.

I then fitted the Cylinder and Slide extended thumb safety to the frame which pretty much completed my work, or so I thought. It turns out that the plunger tube I bought was oversized and that coupled with the extended safety meant I had to adjust the grips to allow for clearances, not a problem and easily done, but not expected on my part.

Whilst I had the gun completely tore down, I replaced nearly all the springs with new factory replacement Wolff Springs and adjusted the trigger spring to lighten up trigger pull a bit as well as cleaned out many years of gunk. The previous owner had not taken down the slide in a long time if ever, I think that's fine as far as I'm concerned, I know nothing's been monkeyed with. The oil inside the firing pin channel had actually turned to shellac, so a cleaning was indeed warranted.

I tested the function of the gun to make certain the disconnect does its job and that the safeties work properly and I even made certain that the firing pin would strike a primer by putting a pen down the barrel and "firing" it out of the gun. Everything seems great and I can't wait to get it to the range to function test it and make certain the modifications work and the plunger tube repair will hold. I'm confident in my work, but you don't know until you know.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Thunder Valley Government

Had a great day shooting yesterday. Weather was perfect, Posse worked hard, shot well, and got done in plenty of time to enjoy the great company. That's what makes the sport so great, the people you meet.

Thunder Valley is one of the best places to shoot because it is filled with some of the best people. PVR is kinda like an extension of that same family since all of the same people belong to both ranges.

I noticed that the titles for the leadership at Thunder Valley was a little off. You see the leadership of SASS calls itself the "Wild Bunch" and the members of the representative body are called Territorial Governors. This is very cool and in the theme of things so I propose that TVR change it's titles accordingly.

From henceforth the President will be called "Mayor", the Vice President will be "Councilman", the Range Master will be "Sheriff" the Assistant Range Master "Deputy" and the Administrative Director will be "That Damn Newspaperman!"

Mayor Redneck Rebel
Councilman Graver
Sheriff Abu
Deputy Jose Gigante
and That Damn Newspaperman Fighting Eagle!

Friday, October 19, 2007


"He lives the poetry that he cannot write. The others write the poetry that they dare not realize." - Oscar Fingal O'Flahaertie Wills Wilde

Many cowboy on the lonesome trail found himself reading all that he could. Stories tell of cowpokes reciting Shakespeare to pass the time. Oscar Wilde was well known in his day for his skills as a writer and his salacious personal life. There is little doubt that he possessed a strong level of confidence.

Confidence is being filled with assurance, it is a peace of mind and a place of strength. Confidence means that fear and doubt do not hinder you. Confidence allows you to make quick decisions. It allows you to try knew things without fear of failure. It allows you to push yourself. To be successful you must have confidence not only in yourself, but in those with whom you surround yourself.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

As Seen On TV

I can't decide if this is an actual product, my BS detector went off while watching the commercial. If its real (and the patent is real), I'll never have to get out of bed to deal with intruders, now all I need is a bedside beer dispenser.

Heh, Ubermensch

Larry Correa of Monster Hunter Nation has a funny rant about HK, the guns, marketing and fanbois. HK. Because you suck. And we hate you. Be sure to read the comments, it gets funny at the end.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

New Colt Iron

As noted in my previous post, PVR had "Trade Days" at the monthly shoot and I for one thought it went very well and there was plenty to buy. I wish I had more money on hand, I might have walked away with another gun or two. As it was, I sold my Rossi '92 to a fella who's looking to take deer with it and the rifle should make a good deer gun, light, strong and in a cartridge (45 Colt) that should do fine against Indiana deer.

Having that cash in my pocket, I made a deal with the previous owner of a Colt 1911 MKIV Series 80 in stainless. I've been looking to get a Colt at a good price and I couldn't pass this one up for sure. I even got to shoot it after I bought it which is always good (even though I've seen the owner shoot it before and knew it was an excellent shooting gun). First thing I did this morning is to strip it down completely to see what I've got internally, everything is perfect with the exception of the plunger tube that needs to be replaced or restaked (I'll replace it). This is a problem that crops up on old 1911s and is of no surprise or real disappointment to me, just a fact of 1911 life. It isn't a big job, but it takes the right tool, so it looks like my tool selection will increase.

I do so love the stainless look and even though Judge thinks I should start cutting on it immediately to make it a carry gun, I can't bring myself to go hog-wild on it. I do know that Wilson makes drop-in beavertail grip safeties and an extended thumb safety won't change the gun forever. Honestly, I like the sights, the front is a wider ramp type and the rear have a wider notch than mil-spec and I'm not sure I'll do anything, perhaps the King's Hardball replacement or Yost-Bonitz retro sights, but no cutting of the slide for now.

Anyways, I'm VERY happy guy today after shooting wildly in a very fun match and bringing home new iron.

Friday, October 12, 2007

PVR Trade Days

This weekend Pleasant Valley is having a swap meet for cowboys before/after the match, so if you're looking for something or want to get rid of some of your stuff, come on by. I know Judge has some stuff and I'll be bringing a couple of guns, so bring your cash.

1st Annual PVR Trade Days
October 13th and 14th, 2007

Buy, Sell, Trade. Bring anything related to the Old West and
Cowboy Action Shooting. You are welcome to bring your own
table/display or just use what’s available at the range.

••••Cowboy Guns••••
••••Wild Bunch Firearms••••
••••Pocket Pistols and Derringers••••
••••Leather of all kinds
Holsters, Belts, Badge Holders
Loading Strips, etc.••••
••••Old West Clothing for
Cowboys, Cowgirls and Genteel Ladies••••
••••Spurs and Accoutrements••••
••••Reloading Components••••
••••Reloading Tools••••
••••Gun Care and Cleaning Supplies••••

Please price the items you want to sell.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Hey, if you are visiting this site please leave a little comment saying hello. I'm curious if anyone but Jose and I are reading. If you are not visiting and have never been here before then it's not necessary for you to leave a comment.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Code of the West

I ran across this today and thought that with all the whining and complaining we do in modern times (I admit, I do it), its certainly refreshing to look at how persons in the Old West conducted themselves, or were at least expected to conduct themselves. Going down the list, I certainly fall short in some areas, but then, times have changed and you can't really trust people the same way you could then (I believe). Anyway, I think most of the fellas on "The Wire" should take some of these to heart, I might like it there were these principles enforced there.

I took these from Legends of America website, the code was never penned in practice, author Zane Grey chronicled it in his novel The Code of the West.

  • Don't inquire into a person's past. Take the measure of
    a man for what he is today.

  • Never steal another man's horse. A horse thief pays
    with his life.
  • Defend yourself whenever necessary.
  • Look out for your own.
  • Remove your guns before sitting at the dining table.
  • Never order anything weaker than whiskey.
  • Don't make a threat without expecting dire
  • Never pass anyone on the trail without saying
  • When approaching someone from behind, give a loud greeting
    before you get within shooting range.

  • Don't wave at a man on a horse, as it might spook the
    horse. A nod is the proper greeting.

  • After you pass someone on the trail, don't look back at
    him. It implies you don't trust him.

  • Riding another man's horse without his permission is
    nearly as bad as making love to his wife. Never even
    bother another man's horse.
  • Always fill your whiskey glass to the brim.
  • Do not practice ingratitude.
  • A cowboy is pleasant even when out of sorts. Complaining is
    what quitters do, and
    cowboys hate quitters.
  • Always be courageous. Cowards aren't tolerated in any
    outfit worth its salt.
  • A cowboy always helps someone in need, even a stranger or an
  • Never try on another man's hat.
  • Be hospitable to strangers. Anyone who wanders in,
    including an enemy, is welcome at the dinner table. The same was true for
    riders who joined
    cowboys on the range.
  • Give your enemy a fighting chance.
  • Never wake another man by shaking or touching him, as
    he might wake suddenly and shoot you.

  • Real cowboys are modest. A braggert who is "all gurgle
    and no guts" is not tolerated.
  • A cowboy doesn't talk much; he saves his breath for breathing.
  • No matter how weary and hungry you are after a long day
    in the saddle, always tend to your horse's needs before your own, and get
    your horse some feed before you eat.

  • Cuss all you want, but only around men, horses and
  • Complain about the cooking and you become the cook.
  • Always drink your whiskey with your gun hand, to show
    your friendly intentions.
  • Be there for a friend when he needs you.
  • Drinking on duty is grounds for instant dismissal and
  • A cowboy is loyal to his "brand," to his friends, and
    those he rides with.
  • Never shoot an unarmed or unwarned enemy. This was also
    known as "the rattlesnake code": always warn before you strike.
    However, if a man was being stalked, this could be ignored.
  • Never shoot a woman no matter what.
  • Consideration for others is central to the code, such
    as: Don't stir up dust around the chuckwagon, don't wake up the wrong man
    for herd duty, etc.
  • Respect the land and the environment by not smoking in
    hazardous fire areas, disfiguring rocks, trees, or other natural areas.
  • Honesty is absolute - your word is your bond, a
    handshake is more binding than a contract.

  • Live by the Golden Rule.


I copied and uploaded Copper's pictures from the Indiana State Shoot to my flickr account.

Thanks for being the Amigos photographer Copper.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Range Time

Last week I got some much needed range time. You would think that I would get plenty of trigger time being a firearms instructor, but the reality is much different. When instructing I rarely get to shoot at all and I have spent an entire week at the range without ever pulling the trigger myself. This time I got to the range about an hour early and managed to put in some solid work.

I started with the 87. Since I have decided to make the 87 my new main match shotgun I figured I better learn how to shoot it. I managed to get a 4 shoot string starting from the gun placed horizontally in 8.64 seconds. That was my fast time with times usually in the 10 – 12 second range. The drop 2 isn’t very reliable and the gun sometimes doesn’t want to feed properly. It’s still fun to shoot and I’m going to finish the year out with it so I hope to get consistent times around 6 – 7 seconds by next spring.

After going through about 50 rounds of shotgun I moved to my Glock and the 10-8 pistol test. I didn’t have an IDPA/IPSC target so I used an 8” paper plate for the body and an index card for the head. I’m not sold entirely on the test, but I did have fits shooting it in the 5 second par time. After a few practice attempts I did manage to bring the first half of the test in the 4.5 – 4.8 second range with no misses, but then the students showed up and I had to stop.

I will have to find some time to run these drills again. Lord knows I need the practice.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Little things

I had last week off from work and managed to piddle a bunch in the garage doing reloading stuff. I sure wish Grant would have posted his reloading post a week ago... ain't that always the way?

I like the cat food bullet dispenser idea of his as well as the brass storage bins. I'll have to get some of those.

Basically, I spent the week rediscovering what a pita reloading is when you do it in bulk. I like the developing loads and figuring out a better way to skin a cat, but when it comes down to cranking out a couple of thousand rounds at the 550B or processing brass, my stomach for it fails. I keep interested by trying new stuff that I don't really need to do, like new powder measures and decapping dies and tumblers... you get the picture. My favorite thing is to buy something that saves me time, like the new Thumbler's Tumbler I bought, it holds three times the brass and does the job in the same amount of time, I LOVE that.

Reloading costs, as some of you know I'm sure, are going through the roof. My component cost (bullet/primer/powder) has gone up nearly 30% this year, that's insane! Oh well, its kind of like gas, you gotta have it. I've just taken a step to mitigate it somewhat by placing a bulk order for primers and powder via Powder Valley Inc. The thing about ordering those things online is that you have to pay a hazmat fee, so you have to order a bunch to spread the cost of the fee out. I ordered enough to bring it down to around a dollar per brick of primers or 1lb of powder and PVI's prices are good enough to make it worth the while. I just have to find a place to store all that stuff!

Now if I can only find a place that sells bullets cheap, those are the real killers in this equation, going up by $15/1k this year or 31%. Anyone know of a cheap place to buy good bullets? I've got some feelers out and if I find someone, I might place a big order so I don't have to buy for a while.

Other things I did? I put a true commander hammer on my Kimber Eclipse CLE II, not one of those skeletonized jobs, the real deal. I like it. I also bought some new ammo for it, Hornady's TAP 230g hollow-points, 950fps; 461lb/f. That should do the trick.

I bought some of the Blue Wonder gun blueing kit to try and protect my S&W 19-3 from rust. It didn't go well as I got even more rust!!! I must have done something wrong, but as I followed the instructions to a "T", I don't know. I may look into getting the entire gun refinished, there's a local guy with blueing tanks, but the gun really isn't worth it.

That's it, that's how I relax on vacation.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Some of the songs were lullabies learned as a child, some were hymns learned at church and some were made up. A good night horse was important to the night guard. Its eyes need to be sharper than those of a day horse. It needed to be calm, not inclined to shy at shadows or sudden noise. It needed to be able to gallop at night without putting a foot into a prairie-dog hole. And, it needed to be able to handle cattle boldly in case of a stampede. This was critical for on the trail nighttime was stampede time.

Nights of lightning and rain seemed to tighten the cattle’s nerves to the point of stampede. Then the cannon shot of prairie thunder would set them off. But even on clear, tranquil nights ordinary things, such as a coyote’s yelp, a horse’s whinny, or the flare of a match as a cowboy lit a cigarette could start a stampede. On one drive a shred from a cowboy’s pouch of tobacco lodged in a steer’s eye setting off a raging charge that resulted in the death of two riders and the loss of 400 cows. Occasionally the herd would take off for no apparent reason at all. A herd that had broken once or twice was always likely to go again and again. Joseph McCoy wrote that in a number of herds a half a dozen troublemakers might take a “chronic fright from which they never recover. They would rather run then eat, anytime. The stampeders may be seen close together at all times, as if consulting how to raise Cain and get off with a burst of speed. It is actually economy to shoot down a squad of the vicious stampeders.”

Oddly, when cattle stampeded they uttered no sound at all. A trail hand sleeping off-watch would suddenly be aware of a deep rumbling, a trembling of the sod beneath him. The longhorns ran with surprising speed. Their hooves pounding the ground and their horns clashing as they thundered along. Two or three cowboys, usually the best riders, would spur hard to get out in front of the stampede. Then depending solely on “the sureness of the horse’s feet to keep from changing hells,” they reined back to try to slow the charge. Other hands would ride at one side of the point pressing in to turn the herd. Sometimes they flailed their slickers in the faces of the leaders, or fired their six-shooters near their ears to get them to turn. The leaders might dodge and go down, trampled to death. After three of four terrifying miles the cattle usually began to circle, then mill. For the hands this was the most dangerous time with the cows jammed together so close that a trapped horseman might be jostled from his horse. At the end of one stampede near the Blue River in Nebraska, the horrified cowboys came upon the remains of a comrade who had fallen to the ground. Nothing was left but a gun butt.

Usually the only harm done on a stampede though was to the animals and the cattleman’s profits. In a four-mile run on a hot night a beef could lose up to 50 pounds and the spooky herd would arrive at the railhead looking mighty stringy and unpalatable to the buyers. Worse yet were the number of cattle lost. In the thunder of a stampede cattle bruised, crushed and gored one another. In the worst stampede in history, in July 1876, a big herd plunged into a gully near the Brazos River in Texas, the leaders crushed by those behind. When it was over 2,000 steers were either dead or missing.

Edited by Fighting Eagle

Source: The Old West by Time Life Books

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Thunder Valley - September Newsletter

Howdy Cowfolks:

The September Main Match was given another excellent day of weather. The temperature was 70 degrees, low humidity, and a nice breeze passed through the range during the day. 58 shooters showed up to throw lead down range, 18 classes were represented, and 60% made the bonus rifle shot at 52 yds. Congratulations to the eight folks that had a “Clean” match: Nomore Slim, Buffalo Bud Harden, Longshot Tom, Abu, Cole Coffee, Flintlock Fields, Dingo, and Lorenzo Lain.

Folks were geared up and ready to practice for the upcoming Indiana State competition. Lead was flyin’ and smoke was rollin’ down range all day. Repeated Yeehaa ‘s and other assorted yells were heard throughout the match. We had four brand new shooters, and total of six new faces at the match. Sunset Sam, Batjack Shootist, and his wife Paulette Brown joined as club members. We thank you folks for signing up to support our club.

Reminders: (1) October is the month for our 3-way match competition at Knob Creek, on the 1st Sunday, Pleasant Valley, on the 2nd weekend, and Thunder Valley, on the 3rd Saturday. Come on down, shoot at all three locations, and see how you stack up in an 18 stage competition. Awards will be given for the main match at each club, and then final awards at Thunder Valley for the eighteen stage event. Should be interesting !!. (2) The November match at Thunder Valley will offer camping and a pitch-in dinner Saturday immediately following the match. Our shootin’ pards from Illinois, Missouri, and northern Indiana already have their bags packed, and the meals planned. These folks can only join us a few times a year, so bring your favorite covered dish and drinks, sit around the campfire to hear some tall tales with lots of braggin’, and enjoy some Kentuckiana hospitality at it’s very best. It’s a hoot !!!!

Happy September birthdays to : Baron Von Csco, Christian, Cumberland Drifter, Don’t Know Diddly, Dutchman Swart, Longshot Tom, Marshall Spencer Owen, Nomore Slim, Smiley, and Woodchuck Willy.

We have been very fortunate this year to have lots of new faces show up at our range. Some have been new shooters, and others have been experienced shooters that just came to visit and check out our facility. We try hard to make an extra effort to cause folks to feel at home and have a fun day.

I would also like to offer a few comments that may make your day at the range a little more efficient, demonstrate proper range operation for new and less experienced shooters, and improve the overall operation at any range that you may attend.

Timer Operation – Larger numbers of shooters requires a larger number of posses, and then we often find a posse shooting at the adjacent stage. It is very important for the timer operator to immediately cover the receiver of the timer, as soon as the shooter has finished, and immediately report the time to the score keeper, audibly and visually. Visually noting and immediately verbally reporting the score will reduce the chance of picking up a shot from the adjacent stage and giving the shooter an erroneous raw time. Spotters should be polled after the raw time has been reported to the score keeper. Polling spotters prior to verbally reporting the score provides a substantial risk of picking up the sound of an unwanted shot.

Score Keeper – The score keeper should be in a position near the timer operator at the conclusion of the stage. When the timer operator reports the raw time to the score keeper, he/she, should then audibly repeat the raw time and any penalties/bonuses to the timer operator. This will reduce the risk of an incorrect recording of the raw time and penalties/bonuses.

Spotters – This is one of the most important job assignments in the posse. Spotters should position themselves at different places behind, but near, the firing line. Spotters should be able to clearly see all targets while the shooter progresses through the scenario. It may require the spotter to change position in order to maintain a clear view of each target while the shooter is engaging each one. Both visual and audible skills must be used by the spotter in order to provide an accurate accounting of the target strikes. Calls made by the spotters will determine the outcome of any match, and each spotter should provide their undivided attention to the task at hand while the shooter completes the scenario. Final match results can be drastically incorrect if the spotters are not giving their full attention to the job assignment.

These comments/suggestions are intended to assist each of us in improving our general range operations skills, and will be an aide to providing more accurate accounting of the event at any CAS range that you may attend. Hope it is helpful to you. In future newsletters, other posse duties, firearms usage, ammunition reloading tips, tips on other accessories, building or improving your gun cart, costuming, and a nearly endless list of hints, tips and suggestions can be forwarded to shooters. Many times following a match we all gather at the range or at our vehicles to discuss what could have been done better. If you have any comments/suggestions that would be useful as instructional material, or general information, please sent it to me, and I’ll post it in the newsletter.

The Indiana State competition for 2007 has come and gone, and the folks at Deer Creek Conservation Club deserve a huge round of applause. This was a very well organized match that presented a challenge, with lots of fun and excitement. The scenarios offered lots of movement with a great variety of targets. The shooter books were well written, and range officials provided concise and accurate descriptions to the shooters prior to beginning each stage. Food and beverage arrangements were excellent. The camp grounds were excellent. The operation for sign-in, and all office operations were excellent. The awards presentation was excellent. Darn, I guess the whole thing was excellent . Thanks to all of you folks at Deer Creek for all of your hard work, long hours, and another G R E A T !!!, State Match.

Deer Creek has decided to take a break from the Indiana State event and the 2008 Indiana State will be held at Cutter’s Raiders, in Etna Green, Indiana, approximately one hour north of Deer Creek. The folks organizing this event are experienced shooters and match organizers. All should look forward to attending and help promote the 2008 Indiana State at an awesome facility. Checkout their website via the SASS website, Cutter’s Raiders Paradise Pass. We will keep you posted on the specifics related to that event as they are made available.

The members and regular shooters from Thunder Valley, Pleasant Valley, and Knob Creek went to the 2007 Indiana State ready to blaze away with their cowboy firearms and equipment. The following is a summary of the awards presentations. Monthly reading, “Stampede” is attached.

Indiana State 2007 – Main Match

Results listed are for awards presented to members and regular shooters at Thunder Valley, Pleasant Valley, and Knob Creek. See the Deer Creek Conservation Club website for all detailed scores.

Indiana State Top Cowboy - Doc Molar, Indiana State Top Cowgirl - Two Sons, Top Gun – Three Gun Cole

49er: Vaquero Hayes 1st place & Indiana 49er Champion, 7th overall, Indy Kid 3rd place, Fighting Eagle 4th place

B-Western: Judge Mint Day 4th place

Duelist: M’Bogo 4th place & Indiana Duelist Champion

Ladies Duelist: Calamity Kelly 1st place & Indiana Ladies Duelist Champion

Frontiersman: Nomore Slim 2nd place & Indiana Frontiersman Champion, Smiley ( Sheep Dip) 4th place, Pee Wee 5th place

Frontier Cartridge: Randy Atcher 3rd place

Ladies FC: Lizzy of the Valley 1st place & Indiana Ladies Front Cart Champion

Front Cart Duelist: Abu 5th place

Front Cart GF: Hardscrabble 2nd place & Indiana Front Cart Gunfighter Champion, Manatee 4th place

Gunfighter: Max Montana 1st place & Indiana Gunfighter Champion, 11th overall, Jose Gigante 4th place

Modern: Leadville Clyde 2nd place & Indiana Modern Champion, 9th overall

Ladies Modern: Short Fuse Ruby 1st place

Seniors: Redneck Rebel 4th place

Ladies Senior: Hesibah Hawke 3rd place

Silver Seniors: Drew First 1st place

Traditional: Black Tom 5th place, 8th overall

Clean Match: Nomore Slim & Lorenzo Lain

Redneck Rebel

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Monday, September 24, 2007

Hoosier Ambush 07

Well, the shooting has stopped and everyone got home safe and sound and had a good nights rest in the comfort of their own bed. No listening to Jose or Judge snoring and an air conditioner that works properly. Amen!

I didn't shoot my best or worse, so I guess that's a push. I'd be happier had I not had a proceedural on a stage, but then it didn't matter as far as scoring goes. To my surprise, there were only four gunfighters at the shoot and so I got fourth place since Max Montana, Lassiter and Frenchy Yukon were in the category and they're pretty good. Judge ran into the same issue with B-Western, only four competitors, it appears that people are heading towards the black-powder categories. Its funny how categories grow and shrink with each state match as people look to either new challenges or to get away from better shooters and score a victory.

I put some of the pictures I took up on my Flickr page and will add Copper's pictures when he gets them to me.

No scores yet, so I really don't have an idea of exactly how badly I was beat by Frenchy, but I figure its not close. Other members of the two clubs we are members of did well with at least two Indiana State Champs and a couple of firsts and seconds. In all, something like 40 awards, good I suppose, but getting an award for showing up isn't much to be crowing about, so I doubt you'll see me and Judge beating our chest.

It was fun and the weather was infinitely better than the previous three years, so that's good. There were plenty of stages with lots of movement on them and a challenge here or there. In all I think I had five misses on ten stages and the forementioned proceedural, not bad, like I said, I'd be happier without that proceedural because that's a severe lack of concentration.

Now on to finish unpacking and processing brass.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sickness and the 87

Saturday was beautiful and a perfect day for CAS. Unfortunately I wasn’t feeling the same. I had been struggling with a sinus infection for several days and when the alarm went off I almost called Jose and told to him to go on without me. But, no matter how attractive the thought of using a movie line in real life was I decided to tough it out and shoot anyway. I would pay for it on Sunday.

Two things made me decide to shoot. Next week was the state match and I had just picked up my 87 earlier in the week. So I took lots of medicine, packed my gear and off I went.

Overall the shooting was horrible, but I really couldn’t expect much with how I felt. On the other hand I really had a kick shooting the 87. It’s tons of fun and I really enjoyed every minute of it. I don’t know how competitive the weapon will be, but it’s just gratifying to be throwing a lever on a shotgun and watching those big ol’ shells shooting out the top. My plan was to shoot the gun and get it out of my system then use it for fun in the future, but after the match I played with the drop 2 and started to get a handle on how that worked and now I’m thinking of shooting it again. I wanted the 87 from the first time I thought about CAS and I’m glad I finally picked one up.

Of course I didn’t get out of bed on Sunday, and now I’m just praying I get better before the Hoosier Ambush this weekend, but that’s another story.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Time to make the doughnuts go bang

Apologies to the fine doughnut makers at Dunkin.

I've recently tried the relatively new gun powder specially designed for the larger cases cowboy shooters are often utilizing, .45 Colt, .44 Special/Magnum, 44/40, 38/40... Trail Boss powder is made by IMR (under Hodgdon) and is basically a fast burning powder that is more volumous due to its novel doughnut shape (see pic). Gunblast has a nice article on this powder and I won't bore you with details on its benefits. Suffice it to say is it will nearly eliminate the possibility of a double charge and offers more consistent velocities at lower load levels than a normal powder.

My experience with this powder started at my Dillon 550 in the Dillon powder measure. It metered very poorly in my opinion with the doughnuts trickling out after the casemouth of the cartridge pulled away from the expanding die resulting in little doughnuts of powder all over my press. It wasn't enough to alter the charge significantly, but it was very annoying and messy. After reading the gunblast article, I bought a Lee Pro disc powder measure and it works great on my Dillon press without throwing doughnuts everywhere. I liked it so much, I bought another since they're only $20. I've since heard advice on using the Dillon measure to change over the the larger rifle charge bar, but I won't bother since I've found something that works well.

Last weekend, I shot the trailboss loads out of my rifle and its very accurate, if I took my time, I could put a cloverleaf on one of the rifle targets, as it was, all the hits on steel were touching at CAS rifle distance, so I'm very pleased. The other thing I noticed was that it didn't seem to have as much blow-by as the other smokeless powders out there, its not a big deal to the function of the rifle, but its a bit of a bother when you're shooting to have puffs of hot gas in your face. I was hoping TB would be a little cleaner than Clays or Tightgroup, but it really isn't, at least not in my '73.

Anyway, I'll most likely start using this powder in all my CAS loads so I can have the little added reassurance of safety even though it costs more than other powders. The one other thing I want to try is the grits/clays load to see what it is like to shoot and how much trouble it is. As much as I hate cranking the handle, I'm guessing its too much trouble, but if they shoot like they are claimed to shoot, its at least worth a try. I just have to find some grits.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Katana vs Ma Duce

This is pretty cool, a Japanese TV show pits a katana vs an M2 .50cal machine gun.

The katana loses (of course) but its pretty impressive that it splits several bullets before breaking.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Wild Bunch Guns [update]

This is an update to part one of Wild Bunch guns.

So I'm in one of the local gunshops the other day and come across yet another 1911A1 mil-spec clone. This time from Thompson (Auto-Ordinance) and it might be the perfect Wild Bunch pistol. Its a faithful reproduction of the 1911A1 and has the added benefit of having the government markings on it. They have two parkerized models, one with wood grips, the other with plastic wood imitation (yuk!). Thompson also offers two stainless non-WWII models.

Perhaps the best thing overall about these pistols is that the example I saw at the local shop was $449 (plastic grips). That's pretty good for a 1911, not as cheap as my Rock Island, but it may be made of sturdier stuff. For those wondering about the quality, these are made by Kahr arms who bought Auto-Ordinance and are producing new guns and not assembling them from spare parts. $449 for an American made 1911 is outstanding if you ask me, I might have to look into getting one.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Buy! Buy! Buy!

So what's a single gun-head supposed to do when you don't have a car payment and just got a nice raise? Buy guns of course. Over the last month, I've picked up a couple of new guns. First of all, I traded in my SW99 that I don't carry anymore on a new Rock Island 1911. I wanted a mil-spec 1911 for the Wild Bunch matches so's I could shoot it no matter where the WB match was or the rules involved. I also wanted to have it so I could present, at some point, a Wild Bunch category to one or both of the clubs, perhaps next year.

I was going to wait for a range report on the Rock before posting, but in its first outing, the firing pin peened and stuck (CHEAP Philipino steel!). After getting a tool steel Ed Brown in it, I took it down to TVR and the damn slide stop kept engaging, grrrr... I think I have everything ironed out for this weekend, but then you never know. Anyway, it bites my hand, so I ordered a commander hammer for it and I'll try that to see how it goes, I got one of the Swenson original commander hammers since I love the look of it and want to keep it as period as I can. The other thing I want to do is experiment with the trigger to see if I can improve it. If I can, then I'll look into my Kimber's trigger as well since it's got some creep in it.

The other gun I just bought is one of the Norinco 97 pumpguns. Like Judge, I got it through our pard Vaquero Hayes who I had do an action job on it. He suggested I get the 26" model and have it cut to 20" instead of getting the 18" model. What sold it was that the distributor didn't have any 18s in stock. I just got word that it was ready and need to go pick it up along with Judge picking up his 87. My thoughts on that are having a spare 97 for the matches and a 97 with nice wood on it. I may get walnut furniture for my first 97 and work on it even further if its not as smooth as the one I get from Vaquero. We'll see.

Other things I've been working on are the brass shotshells with smokeless powder, I'll get them one day, one day... I've also loaded up some 45 Colt with Trailboss powder to see if it works any better than the others I've tried. I'd like to get a clean powder that doesn't give a lot of blowby in the rifle like I get with Clays or Tightgroup. I might try the Clays/Grits solution at some point, but I'm not a real fan of doing things that manufacturers say is unsafe.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

AK’s and .45’s

I had to do a little range training today and got a special treat. One of the guys I work with is a big AK fan and even though I had never fired one before I had been bugging him for months to sell me one of his AK’s. Well we were at the range and had some space to play around and this guy brought out his AK-47 for our use.


Obviously with it’s bigger bullet it was going to have more of a muzzle rise then the M4 and you could clearly feel the bigger bullet. It didn’t take me long to realize why this gun is liked the world over. Smooth, easy to use, quick on the target, and packing a nice punch. The one drawback I noticed was how quickly the gun overheated. A magazine or two on quick fire had the stock smoking and I wondered how they kept the things from burning them in battle. It made me long for an AK and a place to shoot it. I don’t think he will part with the AK but maybe I can get him to give me a deal on his MAK-90.

As for the .45, well every time I get to shoot the thing I like it more. I still have a tendency to anticipate when I lose concentration, but it’s a sweet shooting gun. I love to make a point with it at the range. Like today, after everyone was having a little difficulty with a drill I just stepped up, and nailed the shot, first time perfect. Sure maybe it was luck, but they don’t need to know that.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Real Fast

Mr. Completely has a video of "Quick Cal" at a Cowboy Fast Draw competition.

.368 is the time, which if I recall correctly is the time from when the light in the center goes on to when the "bullet" hits the target. So yeah, Cal is indeed quick.

Thunder Valley August 2007 Newsletter

Howdy Cowfolks:

Another great demonstration of Cowboy Action Shootin’ at our August Main Match. 55 shooters, 18 classes represented, and 84% earned the bonus rifle attempt. The weather provided a break in the heat wave, and we saw a sunny day, and 86 degrees. A nice breeze throughout the day cleared the smoke away for the black powder shooters.

The newly installed patio umbrellas at each loading/unloading table provided a welcomed shade from the direct sun. We had three new shooters, and several folks came to observe, take notes, learn about the sport, and plan return to begin their Cowboy Action game next month.

Congratulations to Bad Aim Girl, Jose Gigante, Cumberland Drifter, and Sully Snakekiller for their “Clean Match” for the day.

Happy August birthdays to: Border Rebel, Ellie Mae, Hardscrabble, J.P, Loco Mateo, Nickel Blue, Poker Jane, and Two Jacks.

Especially for the new folks, if you have any questions about our range, or need assistance related to Cowboy Action Shooting, please contact any of the club officers.

They may be contacted via our website,

President- Redneck Rebel, Vice-President- Graver, Range Master- Abu, Asst. Range Master- Jose Gigante, Administrative Asst- Fighting Eagle, and Match Director- Vaquero Hayes.

Our Cowboy Action video production by Firepower TV is now showing 7,877 viewings with a 4.5 out of 5.0 star rating. If you haven’t seen it yet, go to, then enter, firepowertv cowboy shoot, in the search box. The full 40 minute video is also available on the youtube website. If you are on a dialup connection, it will require approximately 35 minutes to download.

The 2007 Regional competition has come and gone. Several Thunder Valley members and other regular shooters at Thunder Valley made an excellent showing at the Regional Match:

Speed Pistol - Clyde 4
Black Tom 5

Pocket Pistols - Indy Kid 2

Speed Shotgun Hammer - Black Tom 5

Speed Rifle - Clyde 14
Vaquero Hayes 13

49er - Indy Kid 1st & 6th Overall
Vaquero Hayes 2nd & 22 Overall

Duelist - M’Bogo 7

Front Cart Duelist - Marshall Spencer Owen 6

Frontiersman - Nomore Slim 5

Gunfighter - Max Montana 2 & 28th Overall
Zwing Hunt 6 & 41 Overall

Ladies Frontier Cart Duelist - Calamity Kelly

Modern - Clyde 2 & 13 Overall
Cumberland Drifter 8

Pale Rider Gunfighter - Manatee 3

Silver Senior - Drew First 3

The 2007 Indiana State competition is just around the corner, September 21-23. There will be a lot to see at this match, so even if you aren’t planning to shoot this event, head on up to Deer Creek and check it out. Mark your calendars for our September 15 Main Match at Thunder Valley. This will be your last chance to practice & get ready for the Indiana State. All side matches, and long distance will be available for practice at this match.

Our October 20 Main Match will be the 3rd leg of a combined 18 stage competition with Pleasant Valley, and Knob Creek. Knob Creek will host the 1st segment on October 7, and Pleasant Valley will host the 2nd segment on October 13th and 14th.

See Ya at the Firin’ Line

Redneck Rebel