Journal of a Gypsy Cowboy
formerly Combined Fulltime RV
and Cowboy Action Shooting Journal
NOTE: I LOST MY EMAIL ADDRESS BOOK IN A HARD DRIVE FAILURE. IF YOU THINK YOU MIGHT/WOULD HAVE BEEN ON IT, PLEASE EMAIL ME SO I CAN REBUILD IT
January 31, 2008
Took the bus to RV Superstore. They fixed the awning, warranty. Took all day to diagnose that the inverter/battery problem was the batteries. "We've been with the techs at the factory all morning, and they've concluded the inverter's working fine. That just leaves the batteries. We don't have a hygrometer to test the batteries."
"If I go get a hygrometer will you test the batteries?"
"Well, yeah." Went and got a hygrometer. It was 2 pm before they tested the batteries. 2 with cells in the red. 2 almost. Obviously the cure was 4 batteries. They didn't have any, but if I'd go get them from Interstate, they'd just pass on the cost with no markup. An hour's drive to Interstate, where The Wicked Witch of the West went berserk that a retail customer was there from RV Superstore. Tried to charge retail--for 6 batteries, not 4. Got that handled. Almost an hour's drive back. Batteries put in. Gas cap replaced. Out by 4. Meeting Hipshot at the Splash Bar at 6. Barely made it. The above was the short version of the story. Got the badge for the SHOT Show from Hipshot.
January 30, 2008
Went to the HUGE Bass Pro Shop. Nice place. Some prices: Remington #10 percussion caps, $5.99/100. Bought all they had. Lead shot: $62.99/25 lb. didn't buy any. Jim Shockey's Gold (APP) 3f: $19.95/lb. bought 4 lb. They had Pinnacle, but only 2f. I need 3f. Winchester Featherlites: $8.99/box. 10% off ammo sale making it net $8.10. Didn't buy any. Wal-Mart, at their outrageous $7.57/box are still cheaper. Why Featherlites cost more than shells using more powder and shot I don't know. Winchester Light Targets were $7.57. Primers: seemed to have everything, but only a few hundred of each, at $3.99/hundred for Winchesters. Saw Winchester 777 209 primers, designed to work well with 777 and Pyrodex pellets for muzzlestuffers.
Nice place. Nicer than the big Cabelas in Phoenix.
The Greenie Search
George S. Patton, Jr. gets one Greenie a day. A Greenie is a brand of dog treat that cleans their teeth. This is his reward after the last walk of the day. He sometimes wants to go on the walk just because when he gets back he knows he'll get a Greenie. He would eat them all day if we'd let him have them. That, however, has proven to be harmful to dogs. Anyway, last night we gave him the last one in the bus. So one of my errands was to get another bag of Greenies.
WalMart does not stock Greenies. I use WalMart pharmacies for my "civilian" prescriptions. The VA doesn't give me everything prescribed. Their pharmacy is limited to about 6 cheap drugs, which is what you'll be facing under Hillary Care in a couple of years. But by then most US drug companies will be offshore because she'll outlaw private prescriptions, no doubt. WalMart hires a lot of Vietnamese women pharmacists. My experiences with Vietnamese women were not good while I was in Vietnam. They either wanted my money or to kill me or both. I'm probably the only GI who didn't rent one while there. Anyay, getting 2 prescriptions filled was a 2-day ordeal involving negotiating with a Vietnamese woman By the time I'd finished, it was 3 pm, and I still had to find a PetSmart. But, of course, The Redhead had given me a list of all the Petsmarts and Petcos in Las Vegas. It would have been nice if I'd actually brought it with me as I thought I had. I called The Redhead. Her phone, of course, didn't work in a casino. This meant going to the backup method of finding PetSmart: wander aimlessly until you see one.
Amazingly this worked, and I was able to find a big bag of petite Greenies. Then all I needed was diesel for the ML. 13 gas stations, 2 hours, and 20 miles of searching later, I found a station that sold diesel. The on-board navigation on the ML will find gas stations that were there in early 2006, but it doesn't differentiate ones that actually sell diesel, and, amazingly, about 5 of the stations it led me to, in increasing traffic, didn't exist anymore.
I didn't get back to the Circus Circus KOA until after 6. The Redhead, of course, was waiting for me with Margarita in hand--not.
George did appreciate his Greenie, though.
January 29, 2008
Visited several local gun shops. Total waste of time. Called Coyote Calhoun re the new Wild Bunch category for EOT. Left message. No reply.
January 28, 2008
Went to the Peppermill for breakfast--closed until 10 am tomorrow?! Went to Kady's at the Riviera. As usual, great food. Strange to not see a bunch of Gus hats at other tables. We've never been there when it wasn't the SASS Convention.
Went to the local Newmar dealer and ordered another fuel filler cap, $5+ shipping. Made an appointment for Thursday to check battery/inverter. Batteries go dead in 1/2 hour on inverter. Getting the awning adjusted, too.
Worked in the shop, reloading.
January 27, 2008
The Western Cup, Shootoff and Team match day
I won everything. Actually the high winds caused nearly everyone to stay away, and the club people just took everything down. Too bad. Was looking forward to it. Too windy to move the bus. (Gusts of 35mph+.)
Scratch that. The batteries stopped holding a charge for more than half an hour, and we decided to head for Circus Circus KOA. Had problems retracting the driver's side front slide. The wind was blowing the awning enough that it didn't retract properly. We turned the bus around to the lee side of the wind, but no help. I got the Little Giant ladder out of the trailer and used it to guide the awning as The Redhead closed it. Got it straight.
We thought the high winds would be a problem. Silly us. We drove into a cloud. The wind was still up, but visibility was 50 yards or less. We slowed in the right lane, lights on. Most vehicles passed going 5-10 mph higher, except pickups, of course, that continued at 80 mph.
Went to Flying J in Las Vegas. Dropped the fuel filler tank cap. It rolled into the next lane, and an 18 wheeler rolled over it. I can't make this stuff up.
Got to the KOA. Dee Dee got us into a 70 ft. space. The 64.5' rig sticks out in the back 3-4 ft. They put up a pylon. It's a wide lane.
Margaritas were a little late. Life is good.
January 26, 2008
The Western Cup, main match day
10 stages!!! Didn't start well for me. 2 pops, one from each pistol. Can't figure it out. I know there was powder in there. Put more through the nipple hole, and fired them out. Switched to Pinnacle. No problem. Swiss 3f no problem. 777, problem. That's been my pistol powder for some time. No good reason. Several pop-bangs on one stage. All hits, but unnerving. Pinnacle worked.
Smoke was a bitch. After yesterday's wind, the air was stationary. Much bobbing and weaving, slow stages. When the wind went away, down to 31 sec. None under 30, though. Little glitches.
This was the Lady Gunfighters posse. Daisy Mayhem shoots Lady Gunfighter, so she put them all on one posse, 5 or 6. All quite good. Nice posse. Much interest in the necromancy I was doing with the pistols at the unloading table much of the time. I was referred to as "the cap and ball expert." Uh-oh. All vets know what an expert is. X=unknown. Spurt= a drip under pressure. Didn't make too much of a fool of myself at least.
Good posse. Had to tell one timer operator I wasn't leaving the stage until he told me the time. The shooter's time is not a secret. It should be called out in a LOUD VOICE as soon as the shooter finishes. That way if an errant shot from another stage registers, the poor shooter won't get a 47 instead ofa 22. Whispering it ot the timer is not appropriate. Ran the timer one stage. Tried to make a good example. A couple of stages ended with rifle fire, a no-no. I was hoping my rifle wouldn't register. No such luck. One stage had 9 pistol shots. We worked hard to keep anyone from loading 10 with resulting penalties. One shooter loaded 10 in his rifle on a 9 round stage. It happens. All stages used all 4 guns. A couple of aerial targets. Missed both, of course. Just don't have the eyes for it.
Lunch break after 5 stages. I cleaned all the guns in the shop. Finished all 10 at 3:30 or so! Impressive!
The party was at the local casino's restaurant. This is not Caesar's Palace. One room of old slot and video poker machines, a bar, and a café that closed for us. Good buffet. Fried chicken. Got buckles for 1st Frontiersman and 1st Military costume (Confederate colonel). Interesting awards program by Daisy Mayhem. Above average SASS awards party.
January 25, 2008
The Western Cup, Side match day
Windy. Great black powder weather. Shot fastest pistol, rifle, and pocket pistol, precision pistol and rifle, mediocre scores. Fastest rifle and pistol both about 3 seconds slower than par. The shotgun match was a 25+ round monster. 7 flyers, 6 knock downs, 12 hanging targets. Waited too long. The sun was behind the flyers. Only got 2. Couldn't see most of them. Went back to the gun cart, and a box of Winchester super-light target shells was gone. Never found it. This sort of thing has never happened to me at a SASS match.
They had a Plainsman match--AT NIGHT! I was conned into shooting it. There were flares lighting up the rifle targets--at first. Then they went out. My left eye really doesn't work at night, and I couldn't see the sights most of the time. Freezing cold. Couldn't have Margaritas till afterwards. Had Daisy Mayhem over for same. She told of the card that's been going around among Lady Gunfighters. On one side it says, "CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR LADY GUNFIGHTER WIN." On the other side it says, "BITCH!" Winners of it covet it.
January 24, 2008
Backed out of our spot (!), got propane at outrageous prices, (paid for convenience), and went to Indian Springs. Their website is wherethehellisindiansprings.com for a reason. Nothing there but a little casino and a couple of convenience stores/gas stations with fuel at market +75¢/gal. But the road to the range was easily negotiated, and Mad Dog met us and guided us to a spot. His wife, Daisy Mayhem had wanted us in another spot, but a short rig had parked there. Level spot, no complaints. Nice range with view of mountains.
Test fired the '73. Had troubles with it getting sticky at Yuma. It doesn't like the match ammo. Not sure why. Tried the practice ammo, no problem. I'll use that in the match. Now 1,000 rounds of match ammo becomes practice while I try to figure it out.
January 23, 2008
Parked at Circus Circus KOA. Expensive but well located. Had 2 real meals. The Redhead gambled. I slept. The cold is still there, probably in stage 4 out of 5. Coughing. No sneezing. Called the folks at the Indian Springs match and made sure--again--that we can park this rig there. The RV park there said their pull through was booked. Mad Dog Mike assured us that they would leave a spot for us.
January 22, 2008
Got the Bus back in time for lunch. $112 for clogged fuel filters. Ron Hoover RV told me they needed changing at 15,000 miles. The Cummins people disagreed. Should have been done with first oil change. Got on the road after lunch, still without a place to spend the night. Had a flat on the left rear trailer tire somewhere on the Yuma Proving Grounds. The Pressure Pro warned me this time, and no damage was done, other than the tire. Looks like the belt separated, but it could have been cut. A big man in a pickup truck with gumment plates stopped and helped. Works at the Proving Ground training GI's for the Sand Box. One spare down.
Discovered Quartzsite. If Yuma is RV Hell, Quartzsite is not quite RV Heaven, but certainly RV Something. Thousands of RVs are boondocking in the area. Some pay $40 for 14 days at long term camping. Short term boondocking is free. The town is one big RV flea market, part Star Wars bar, part multiple dealerships. with some incredibly crowded and junky looking RV parks. Everything RV-wise seems to be available. "RV Pit Stop: water, propane, dump", "Solar Bill," "Fitted solar sunshades", "Dish TV," "Motosat", "Be an RV Hooker, ask me how!"
The free camping is anarchy at its finest. "Just find a spot." RVs are driving around in all directions, both sides of the "road."
First Margarita since Friday. Very good.
The biggest, most orange full moon ever rose over the desert this evening. All of this is stuff we wouldn't have seen if we weren't RVing.
A friend wrote me recently,
"Your trials and tribulations have quenched any desire I might have ever had to go RVing. With the exception of the renewed closeness with Debbie, it sounds like more trouble than it is worth. Hopefully this is just a teething stage and it will all settle down as you do it longer. I wouldn't have had the patience to make the Margaritas, I would have just drunk the tequila straight from the bottle."
Obviously I've failed at conveying how much fun this lifestyle is. Every day is an adventure. My stress levels are far below what they were working. We understood when we started that you can't move a 42,000 lb. load over roads and streets without something going wrong. Compared to most of our RVing friends, SO FAR we've been below average in troubles. The learning curve is steep, but we're taking one step at a time, avoiding disasters by the skin of our teeth. Do that a lot and you have skinny teeth, but you also have a lot of fun. It's not for everyone. If you're easily angered or frustrated, well maybe you should just stay at work and drive in Houston traffic 12 times a week. Oh, I forgot, THAT'S frustrating and provokes anger. By comparison, this is a drive in the country in an RV from one CAS match to another, one casino to another.
Anyway, what did I start the index to this journal with?
"It may be that your role in life is to serve as a bad example."
January 21, 2008
Called the Cummins Customer Service line. Got a very helpful young man. Gave him the fault code. It took a while, but he found it, insufficient fuel pressure. He gave me the phone numbers for Yuma Diesel, a Cummins warranty center, and several other Cummins centers further away in case they weren't a CoachCare center. Lots of shops just work on trucks, not RVs, as they need a lot of expensive tools, jack stands, that sort of thing. Called Yuma Diesel. They're CoachCare. Wayne told me they probably couldn't get started on it today, but I could park it in their lot until they could. Fair enough. Did a recon run in the ML to make sure, after what we've been through. No problem.
But getting out of the RV Park was going to be fun. A neighbor in an Alfa, a retired truck driver, offered to help me get out. It took a long time. Meanwhile a Yankee came up to the front and told me we were doing it wrong. Got it backed out of the spot, and a coach drove in, blocking our exit. Waited until he got the hell out of the way and followed The Redhead to Yuma Diesel. All codes disappeared, and the warning light was off. Wayne said the computer stored codes in it. I know that if they can't duplicate a problem in the shop, they can't fix it. I've been screamed at by customers for 29 years and been explaining that for 29 years. Went to Cracker Barrel for lunch, and toured the Yuma Territorial Prison museum. Came back to the coach. As expected, the technician hasn't knocked on our door.
Feel too bad to have a Margarita. Colds always take forever with me.
Yuma Territorial Prison notes: This was a hellhole, alright, crowded, unsanitary, filthy, miserable. But one cell had 6 bunks set up in it, and I reflected that they had more room than sailors in the USS Texas. Lots of escape attempts, 40 something successful. I wondered how their recidivism rate compared to modern prisons.
January 20, 2008
Snot the last 3 stages, poorly. Still exhausted from the cold. Got everything into travel mode, stayed for the awards presentation, and went to an RV Park The Redhead had called about staying the night. Got in, barely, to their registration lane. The lady behind the desk denied all knowledge of our call and said they were full. Called the man in charge. He came and complained we were blocking his registration lane, very argumentative. Denied that anyone at his park had talked to us. Tried to pick several fights with The Redhead (not really a good idea). We refused to leave until we had a place to go. The Redhead called several RV Parks, most of which didn't have backins. Some of these places have 12' wide parking places. Put 2 slide-out units together, and they'll hit each other! I suggested we just go to the nearest Wal-Mart, which we did. Just about parked when The Redhead saw the sign prohibiting overnight RV Parking. The Redhead flagged down the security guard, who said it was a Yuma city ordinance (probably put in place by the local RV Parks, who want everyone staying in their overcrowded, dingy parks). The Redhead started calling RV Parks again. It was too late to drive somewhere else, like Quartzite. Finally found one that said they could take us. It was getting dark. Followed The Redhead in the ML. Made a right turn, and a God awful screaming alarm came on, and a light on the dash "Check Engine." Momentary loss of power. Followed her to the park. It took more than an hour to get the big rig into the little, narrow, tight parking place, with most of the inhabitants of the park watching us with suspicion. We'll deal with everything tomorrow.
January 19, 2008
Yuma Territorial Prison Breakout
The cold was no better, but I shot all 7 stages, 2 decently. Too exhausted to go to the dinner on the range.
January 18, 2008
THE GREAT HARD DRIVE FAILURE OF '08
The hard drive of the Mac failed last Friday night. We got it in the shop Monday morning and paid extra to get them to start on it next. The hard drive had failed, and they couldn't recover the data but knew a company that could for time and $1200. We chose not to. The hard drive was under warranty. (Yes, a short-stroked, prepped '73 is about $1200)
BUT it took them 2 days to get the hard drive. We got it Wednesday PM and thus couldn't drive to Yuma until Thursday. To make things worse, I came down with a cold Wednesday. I was exhausted after the little 200 mile drive. The Santa Anna winds that made the news out west were going strong, great when we were going south, but a PITA when we were going west. We got to the club's RV parking area. We were in the process of parking when we were told the rig* was too long, and we would have to separate the trailer and park it elsewhere. I was about to ask where nearby off-range RV parks were when a second suggestion was made, that we park on the side of the one way perimeter road. I wasn't too cool on it, but we did, dropped jacks, leveled, put out slides, and did all the things to transition from travel mode to living mode. I had salted the rims of the Margarita glasses, and The Redhead had filled them with frozen Margaritas when the lady in charge knocked on the door and told us the range person in charge decided we couldn't park there after all. BUT we could park in the corner of the RV parking area with the trailer attached.
By then it was almost dark, and my night vision is nonexistent. We did all the things to move the bus and now had to make a REALLY tight turn. Windy Norm (not sure of the name now) ground guided me through complicated backing and going around a tree to widen the turn. Then, instead of going in and backing into the parking spot--in the dark, we removed some rocks and drove in. Then we put the rocks back, with help. Instant pull-through.
It was 7 by the time we started on Margaritas again. TV dish back up, internet dish on, cats out of their cage.
*Before I park this 65' rig, I call the match contact person and reserve a space, explaining in my best English that this 65' rig is 65' long, that it consists of a 40' bus/coach with a 25' trailer attached. If we'd gotten here Wednesday as planned, we would have parked at the nearest RV park and made a recon run in the ML.
In the loss of the hard drive, we lost some things, despite a backup. We lost the Entourage Email Address Book. We lost Dreamweaver, the program I use to write html documents. I downloaded it from Adobe. This caused Motosat to invoke the Fair Access Policy, making us as slow as dial up.
Anyway, it's Friday, side match day. I'm not shooting in them unless I feel better, in order to get my strength back for tomorrow's 7 stages.
So what else happened that was lost in THE GREAT MAC CRASH OF '08?
Helped the folks at ACSA set up their stages the Friday before their Saturday match. Shot the match--badly. I was really trying for sub-30 second stages and had been almost there a few times (31 with a shotgun fumble, 25 with a miss, etc.) So I had the last stage down and was, for me, going fast, so fast I missed the holster reholstering the first pistol, the easy strong side one. I have never done that practicing or at a match, not dry-firing, nada. Have now.
Reloaded that Sunday. The Redhead had the ML to go to a poker tournament. Got a lot done, including 1,000 rounds of match ammo. Match ammo uses new Starline Brass. 500 rounds used the last 500 Federal primers I have. I didn't run them through the PF100 primer tube filler because I have a hunch that could be a problem with those soft primers. I used a primer flipper and picked them up manually. This takes way too much time. I can load 100 rounds in under 5 minutes, and I don't hurry. Anyway, it does help avoid upside down primers.
One day I went to Dillon to buy primers, getting low on same. The most they'd sell me was 5,000 (Winchester). Found 2,000 Federals at Sportsman's Warehouse. Running low on powder, though.
Feeding this practice habit is difficult.
January 6, 2008
Shot the match at Cowtown. This club shoots first Sunday and third Saturday. Good, intelligent stages, always using all four guns, always with some movement. Targets are close to medium, no long range, no cowboy bullseye. Smackwater Jack had signed me up onto his posse. Hell's Comin' said shooting on this posse was a lesson in itself. Yep. I was clearly the slowest shooter on the posse.
I had a couple of good stages, a 28.31, my first under 30 seconds in competition (on a 4 gun, 3 position, non-dump stage. If you compete, you know what I mean. The kind of stage major matches have).
Half-a-Hand Henry was posse marshal. She shoots barefoot:
Fastest Frontier Cartridge shooter around these parts is Nine Toe Joe. Very fast, very smooth: Pyrodex, 105 gr San Juan bullets. 900 ft/sec.
January 5, 2008
The match was at the Rio Salado Rifle Club at Usery Mountain Park. The instructions on the club's website said if you knew where the Phoenix arrow on the mountain was, you knew where they were. Fortunately the Rio Salado Rifle Club had an address, so I could get there. Not being "from around these parts," I had no idea what they were talking about. When I got there I understood.
Smackwater Jack and Hell's Comin' have adopted me, and Jack had me on their posse. Watching them is good training in itself. Both very good.
Hell's Comin' does the usual stage in 15 seconds or so. 49er World Champion.
His holsters are unique, gamy, ugly, and functional. Only one gun because this was a shotgun and one pistol stage
The match itself consisted of 6 gimmick stages. Some didn't use all 4 guns. One only used the shotgun.
As an example, one that used all 4 guns went like this. There were 3 pistol targets and 4 rifle targets, with 2 shotgun targets in between. All 4 guns were put on the table. At the buzzer you shot the 2 shotgun targets with the shotgun, then did a Nevada sweep of the pistol targets with one pistol and put it back on the table, then engaged the 2 shotgun targets with the shotgun, then did a Nevada sweep of the rifle targets with the rifle, then engaged the 2 shotgun targets with the shotgun, then did a Nevada seep of the pistol targets with the other pistol and holstered it, then engaged the 2 shotgun targets with the shotgun,
On the last stage, an 8 round shotgun stage, my shotgun stopped firing the left barrel. It just needed a good cleaning.
Long drive back. Tired. Got ready for the Cowtown match Saturday.
January 4, 2008
Practiced again, mostly stages. All were below 30 seconds raw time, low 24 something. All 3 location 4 gun stages, different scenarios.
Went to Dillon to replace a primer tube that has a Winchester small pistol primer stuck in it sideways. Nice to be able to go there instead of waiting for the mail. When I got back a previous order of Dillon parts was there. Put them in. The PF100 drops primers right side up now, best I can tell. The SL900 produced 5 perfect rounds, enough for testing. By then I had cleaned all 4 guns and put everything into the car for tomorrow's 60 mile drive to Rio Salado for their monthly match, and it was time to open the bar.
January 3, 2008
The Redhead realized that when connected by ethernet cable to the satellite, she had internet access. This also worked with my Mac, so, after practicing at Cowtown I went to an electronics store and bought a long Ethernet cable. Interestingly enough, I get access using the cable, and now her computer will work wirelessly. Thus we have defeated the insidious way overpriced rvwifi. WiFi should be included as part of basic rent at an RV park. Charging extra for that and extra for cable TV just shows the park to be overtly greedy. At least their cable doesn't interfere with our satellite TV (but they're working on it).
Speaking of practice, I went to Cowtown early. Hell's Comin' was there, and Smackwater Jack showed up not long after. I've seen both of these guys nearly every time I've been practicing. Yes, they are very fast.
Much slower I practiced exercises with each gun for a couple of hours then started doing stages. Did 28.10 and quit. I haven't done below 30 seconds in competition. This was not a dump stage: Double tap Nevada Sweep 3 pistol targets, retrieve rifle from vertical gun rack. Double tap Nevada Sweep 3 rifle targets. Replace rifle in rack. Move to opposite end of stage. Retrieve shotgun from vertical rack. Engage 4 shotgun targets.
Went to Cabelas. HUGE place. Couldn't find any BP or BP subs, though. Did I mention this is a BIG place?
Back at the shop a primer stuck in the tube in the PF100. That means a trip to Dillon tomorrow after practice. (Those of you not within driving distance of Dillon, eat your hearts out).
January 2, 2008
Having trouble with our satellite internet. It keeps coming and going. The Redhead worked on it yesterday and today. She'll get it going for a while, then it dies. RVWIFI is available here at outrageous rates, and we think it's interfering. The Redhead, our designated internet tech, doesn't want to call tech support.
I, on the other hand, called Dillon tech support after fighting the big blue shotgun hull crushing machine.for too long. Parts are on the way, also for the PF100, the primer tube filler, which is throwing in too many upside down primers. The XL650, however, popped out 500 rounds in a little more than an hour, with probably five minutes spent fiddling with the PF100.
Since I showed the shop prepared for moving, i.e., neat, here's what it looks like when I'm loading:
January 1, 2008
Happy New Year
Moved the coach to the Pioneer RV Park, one exit north of Ben Avery and Cowtown. Big, easy to navigate pull through. Right off the freeway.
To get here I had to get the trailer into travel mode, even though the trip was so short that I followed The Redhead in the ML. It looks fairly neat in travel mode:
The day before both loading machines were working, and the gun cleaning station was on the floor, along with brass drying and tumbling. Several hundred shotgun rounds were in "factory style" boxes ready to be stowed away. 8,000+ 105 gr. LFP bullets had been boxed in boxes of opportunity as they arrived in big coffee cans. This is what happens when you by bullets from the lowest bidder. I still have 4,000+ 125 gr. bullets to load. The locals all use 105s (OR SMALLER) and consider me an aberrant warthog for the 125s. This was compounded when Judge Harshly had a chrono out one day, and 5 of my rounds averaged 750 ft./sec. These are with a minimally legal Triple 7 load from a 4-3/4" Cimarron Evil Roy. I could lower the velocity by switching to APP 3F, but shooters of black powder soon learn we must make a louder ding than shooters of smokeless. Spotters who can't see the target wiggle through the smoke count hits that don't sound like Big Ben as misses unless they're experienced. The spotters encountered here have been very good, by the way.
I will be (shudder) shooting (gasp) cartridge pistols at the Yuma match later this month because they only have one "Blackpowder" category. When that's over I'll go back to shooting with one hand.
I've been trying to get ahead of reloading. This isn't too much of a problem with .38s. The XL650 has few problems. The PF100 (primer tube filler) has more problems than the 650. But the SL900 isn't keeping up. With the price of components being what it is, I can't load rounds for much less than I can buy smokeless. If I find a deal, the smokeless is cheaper. I use them in practice a lot, netting once fired AA hulls at no extra cost.
The goal is to practice 3 times a week, 300 rounds rifle/pistol and 75 rounds of shotgun. Then 2 weeks before Winter Range it goes to daily practice.
And if you're wondering why I go to all this trouble, this is the typical posse:
Yes, the average woman shooter in SASS does look like this.