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

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Wagon Crossing

A home in the West was an appealing idea. The news of successful crossings of the Rockies spawned great excitement in the Northern and Eastern states. Late each spring the emigrants gathered at prearranged spots along the Missouri and moved out in caravans of anywhere from a few wagons to several hundred. For six months they would drag along at 15 to 20 miles a day until the survivors reached an unfamiliar destination some 2,000 miles away.

Although the favored time of departure from staging points along the Missouri was late April or early May, it was already June in 1849 when Josiah Royce, his wife Sarah and their two-year old, Mary, left Council Bluffs with a wagon train of strangers. Near the end of August they reached Salt Lake City. Snow could block the passes through the Sierra Nevada range anytime after mid-October, so the company broke up, each man making his own arrangement to get to the mountains as quickly as possible. On August 30, their solitary wagon drawn by a three-yoke team of six oxen pulled out. They followed directions to the lower end of the Humboldt River, known as the Sink, hoping to meet a band of Mormons returning from a summer gold hunt in California and get further directions. They had traveled only a few days across the Great Salt Desert when they met two young men traveling with only a horse and mule. The new members of the party had very little food and, although they hunted every day, food was scarce in the desert.

In mid-September, the Royces met the band of Mormons and their leader carefully explained how to get to the Carson River. But the Royce party traveling at night missed the turn and had wandered miles into the desert. To keep their oxen alive they fed them the straw from their mattress. They had to turn back. “Turn back,” Sarah wrote in her memoirs, “What a chill those words sent through one. Turn back, on a journey like that; in which every mile had been gained with most earnest labor. And now for miles we were to go back.” With only a few sips of water left, they found a grassy meadow with water. They packed the wagon with water and hay and resumed their trek across the sea of sand, “this time to cross or die.” Two days out, two oxen died. They traveled though the night with the remaining oxen, as dawn approached the animals drank the last of the water. They traveled on. For several miles, as the sun rose higher, not a word was spoken. Then finally a low, dark line appeared on the horizon. It was the Carson River. The desert had been conquered, but they still faced the Sierra Nevada range.

Progress toward the foothills was dishearteningly slow. On October 12, the travelers gazed up the steep incline and wondered how they could possibly ascend it. Then in a cloud of dust two “heaven-sent messengers” came cantering down a mountain trail toward them. They were from the Relief Company “sent out by order of the United States Government to help the late emigrants over the mountains.” The two men gave them clear instructions for the safest route and helped repack the party’s gear on the animals. Abandoning the wagon, the Royces needed to make all possible speed while the spell of clear weather lasted. A week later they crossed the summit and began their descent down the western slope. Exultantly, Sarah looked down, “down far over the constantly descending hills, to where a soft haze sent up a warm, rosy glow that seemed to me a smile of welcome. She was gazing down on the Sacramento Valley

Fighting Eagle

Source: The Old West by Time Life Books

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

$1.83 + $9.95

I lost the ejector housing screw from one of my Rugers on Saturday. Last night I placed an order for the screw from Brownells. $1.83 for the screw and $9.95 for shipping....The term screw just took on a whole new meaning!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Work has picked up to the point that I don't have the motivation to post a coherent topic, so I thought a few quick notes a la Grant Cunningham would suffice.

I ran my first match last weekend, I think things went well overall. The scoring system gave me fits until I restarted the software. Helluva way to run a "Cowboy" match. The stages were quick because of the heat, I didn't want to keep people out or confuse them any more than need be. I did find that an a ascending sweep is heap bad mojo, it looked great on paper, but in practice ended up being a turd (yes I proceedured on it). All in all, it was a good experience and with Judge, Smiley and Sadie/Kentucky helping, everything went well and fast. We were wrapped up and on the road by 4pm.

I bought a new gun last week, in anticipation of shooting a Wild Bunch category, I bought a Rock Island 1911A1. I shot it while at PVR on Friday and it promptly failed. Seems the firing pin was soft and peened. Back home, I had the pullout from Judge's Rock and it'll run again, but I think I'll pick up a tool steel variety pin to be sure. I added black rubber grips to be period and get away from the awful stocks that come with it.

My 1873 Uberti rifle is running now after changing the carrier. I still like Marlins better, but hope to speed up with the '73.

A little progress has been made on getting smokeless to work in the brass shotshells. I got 4 of 10 to light using Clays powder and opening up the flash hole to 3/32. I bought some different powder (Green Dot) to see if that helps and opened the flash holes to 7/64" more on a couple of extra. TVR will provide the next test. I WILL get this working, I've spent too much money on it now for it not to work. Over $300 so far not including powder, primers and shot. That's a lot of AA, I know.

That's enough for now...

Sunday, August 05, 2007

PVR Cabins

When PVR opened they made the decision to allow members to put up cabins or period correct tents on the range. I love the look and feel of Hooten Old Town and I’ve always wanted to have a place to go and camp and play cowboy. So I’ve occasionally brought it up to Copper and Jose about chipping in on a cabin, and of course the wife isn’t all that keen on the idea…not the camping part, but the having it at a cowboy range part.

So, it’s always bounced around in the back of my mind, but that’s been about it. Recently me and the misses have been talking about family camping as our daughter gets older so I’ve been looking at tents. Today I stumbled on Davis Tent and Awning and they gave me an idea.

We could put up a semi permanent tent at PVR. We could throw down decking and a quick frame then stretch a tent across it for that miner camp look. A 10’x12’ wall tent runs about 416 dollars. Another 300 bucks for the decking and framing and you’ve got yourself a campsite. Now I just have to get Jose and Copper to cough up 250 dollars each and a couple of days of hard labor. Go to the Davis Tent and Awning site and check out some of the photo's in the photo gallery and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Thunder Valley Newsletter – July 2007

Howdy Cowfolks,

Our July 21 Main Match was blessed with one of the best weather conditions for this year. An unbelievable day for the middle of July. It was 83 degrees, sunny to partly cloudy, very low humidity, and a slight breeze for the entire day. 54 shooters attended the match, and 83% of them achieved their rifle bonus shot at 50 yards. Sixteen classes were represented. Several new shooters and faces were present, and all had a great experience in the CAS family for the day.

Congratulations to Black Tom for his awesome total time of 99.85. He has broken the previous club total time record of 110.00 set by Vaquero Hayes. Congratulations to Black Tom, Nomore Slim, Buffalo Bud Harden, and Redneck Rebel for their “Clean Match” for the day.

Happy July Birthdays to High Sierra Rose, Indy Kid, Pee Wee, Redneck Rebel, Rosedale Kid, and Sadie Jo.

Our newly completed parking area, behind the Long Distance lane, at range level was welcomed, and provided a much easier exit for those individuals that parked there. We were able to get 16 full size vehicles in the lot. Several folks parked their gun carts at Long Distance at the end of the day, and then drove down to the new parking area, loaded their equipment, and then attended the awards presentation. Our recently implemented scoring sheet procedure has greatly reduced the time required to provide scores at the end of the day, and has made collection of scores at lunch a much easier task.

Upcoming events are the Regional Match, at Big Irons, Middletown, Ohio on August 9, 10, 11, & 12, and the Indian State Match, at Deer Creek, Marion, In, September 21, 22, 23. Even if you don’t shoot one of these matches, it is an educational and fun experience to simply observe. One can learn a great deal about equipment, accessories, gun cart styles, shooting techniques, and all related CAS issues just by watching. Lots of good deals on firearms, equipment, etc.

The September 15 match at Thunder Valley will provide our regular six stage main match, and will also have long distance & all side matches available, before & after the match, for practice and preparation for the Indiana State.

A big “Thank You” to everyone for showing up to shoot each month. Each match this year has exceeded 50 shooters, and our April match had 68 Cowfolks present. Looks like we are well on the way to setting a new record for attendance this year. We’ve implemented several improvements this year. Some new targets and stands have been installed, the storage shed for range equipment has been erected, and the new parking area is complete. The old mower for the range died last month, and has been replaced with a new John Deere. Your continued participation each month and membership support will provide the funds to continue making improvements and offer a well maintained and efficient shooting facility. If you have any suggestions for improvements or changes to our operation, please do not hesitate to bring them to our attention. All suggestions will be considered, and any reasonable/workable suggestion will be implemented.

The season standings for Top Cowboy, Top Cowgirl, and Top Shooter in each class will be posted at each match for the remainder of the year. We will also send those standings out by email each month. It will be interesting to see how the rankings change as folks are able to drop their lower scores after the completion of six matches. If you are planning on competing for one of the Top Shooter positions, you must complete six matches in the same category, and then you can drop the lowest scores of the year for your final average time per stage. All Top Shooter awards will be presented at our December 1st Main Match.

The monthly Cowboy Reading, “Women Who Lived as they Pleased,” provided by Fighting Eagle, is attached to this newsletter.

See ya at the firing line

Redneck Rebel