February 2009 Journal

The Bailout, A Modest Proposal

Okay, they gave away $350 BILLION and don't know where it went, and it had no effect. That's $350,000,000,000. Yep. Three hundred fifty THOUSAND MILLION DOLLARS! Pretty soon they'll get to real money. Hoo, boy, those of us who still pay taxes are really going to get shafted on this one.

So they want to give away another 350 Billion Dollars, then maybe a TRILLION more. They're giving it to the wrong people. Any governmental entity will just waste its part, as evidenced by Las Vegas wanting part of it for a Mob Museum so they can get more tourists. Huh? The banks have shown they don't know what to do with it, other than more golden parachutes. The Porn industry wants $11 billion. At least they're honest about spending it on whores. Usually politicians do that with their on money, not ours.

I propose that we divide the next $350 Billion among disabled veterans. They'll make the most efficient use of it.

They've already proven their patriotism, and most of them have gotten only pain and suffering for it, so they could use the money. But more important for the country, they've proven their ability to take orders.

You want them to spend it on American products? No problem. They can do that. You think they should put it in the banks so the banks will start loaning money again, no problem. What percentage-SIR! Real estate? Good time to buy. Lots of foreclosures. The stock market needs investments? Give them a week, and the 10,000 mark will be broken again. A month 11,000, etc. Pay debts? They can do that. The ones who don't have any can buy things on time and pay it off, getting the retail industry going again. Anything you want. Save it? Just say the word.

They don't need golden parachutes. Many have already used real parachutes in places and conditions you wouldn't want to meet in your worst nightmares.

And finally, could they possibly do a worse job than the idiots in Congress and the financial industry did with the first 350 BILLION DOLLARS?

January 31, 2009



Went to Cowtown early because I was told they'd be setting up for tomorrow's match in the afternoon. Nope, 0900. Shot a little, then helped setup, then practiced more.

Shot the .45-70 APP stick loads. Very nice. Mild, consistent. About right for most Plainsman matches.

Spent the afternoon getting ready for tomorrow's match and cleaning up.

The Guns of Earl Long

I mentioned yesterday retired gunsmith Earl Long. Earl was well known in Houston but never got national recognition. He didn't want or need it as he kept busy. Apparently he kept busy for a long time. I was in Fountain Firearms in the Houston area (out of the city limits—they can sell real BP), and they had one of Joe Bowman's guns from 1957, a Ruger Blackhawk made to look like a Colt SAA with a fanning hammer. I noted Earl's EL signature on it. I called Earl and he mentioned the people he did such guns for, including Sammy Davis, Jr. Before that Earl was a lieutenant in the 101st Airborne and did a combat jump in Korea. He has a Purple Heart, among other medals. Being brothers in arms, he and I became good friends. I have a few of his guns:

1962 Commander (Lightweight)

This is a Colt Commander made in 1962. Someone had kept it a long time without shooting it much when I got it, gave it to Earl, and had him do his thing. I wanted a Bo-Mar sight with his neat installation, even though it's a carry gun. The usual accoutrements of a '80s-90s gun, match trigger, Wilson Bullet Proof slide release, beavertail grip safety with the bump to assure its deactivation when needed. Thumb safety is GI sized on the left side, extended on the right.

Hand Cut diampond checkering

Earl didn't use a checkering file. He used a 3-cornered file and hand cut the checkering on angles to make diamonds, sharp or not, your choice. No coffee before checkering.

Lightweight Officer's ACP, right side

Earl did 2 Lightweight Officer's ACP's for me. This one was a blued gun. It was initially finished in Black-T, but the finish was almost all gone in a few months. The guy at Black T said it couldn't happen, that he didn't make mistakes. Eventually Earl talked him into taking the finish off. I don't remember getting my money back, though. Then he had the frame matte nickled, and matte blue on the slide. After the Black-T, it couldn't be polished. The sights have 3-dot Tritium inserts.

Lightweght Officer's ACP

I'm left-handed, and my grip, thumb over the safety, could stop a 1911 slide, wreaking havoc with reliability. Thumb guards were popular and easy to install on the left side. He made me safeties with them on the right side. Yes, my guns have serial numbers, but I didn't exactly want them on the internet. Photoshop has a "blur" tool.

This was the first Series 80 gun he did for me. I was skeptical. Previous gunsmiths pulled the Series 80 parts and put in a spacer to keep the trigger pull light. He showed me. When I got the gun it had a crisp 2 lb. 12 oz. trigger. If I put that gun into my Summer Special, I know damn well Massad Ayoob would have me on the phone in fifteen minutes telling me how crazy I was to carry a gun the plaintiff's attorney would say had a "hair" trigger. I called Earl, and he told me how to raise the trigger pull. I put it above 4 lb. Mas relaxed.

Walther PP?KS

And now for something completely different, James Bond's dream gun, a Walther PPKS (one more round), in .380 instead of that even wimpier 7.65mm he carried, with hand cut checkering and beavertail. If you've ever had the slide cut your hand shooting a PPK, you know why. It also sports Smith & Wesson J-Frame adjustable rear sights. The Black-T finish on this gun stayed on as advertised. It was meant to be a concealment gun, so I left the stock grips on, but it does cry out for ivory. I didn't carry it much, though. I don't know why I felt it was underpowered. After all I saw Bond stop a Mercedes with it and make 50 yard snap shots. Those were documentaries, weren't they?

Hand cut diamond checkering

More of the beautiful hand cut diamond checkering

Stainless Lightweight Officer's ACP

I also acquired a stainless lightweight Officer's ACP. Another noted Houston gunsmith, Eddie Jiminez, had done a few things to it. I had Earl do the other things I wanted but didn't change the ramp front sight to a patridge. It works fine. The beavertail has "memory grooves." It shoots just like the other one. Note that the safety has been virtually ground off on the left side since that side is sticking out in left-handed concealed carry, and I didn't want it knocked off. The photo shows the beveled edges on the slide, part of the dehorning. Still, these guns did tear up the linings on my suit coats until I discovered suede elbow pads and had my tailor sew them into the lining of all my coats. I could have had one made with no checkering and wit smooth grips to minimize coat damage, but if you've ever shot such a lightweight Officer's ACP with 230 gr. +P hollowpoints, you'll know why I don't.

Lightweight Officer's ACP right side

Right side view, with the thumb guard on the Swensen Ambidextrous safety visible.

Saving the best for last, is a 1991A1. Earl told me he was going to retire. Panicking, as I had no full-sized 1911 done by him, I gave him a stock 1991A! and told him to do his thing. I wanted all of the bells and whistles and highly polished nickel frame and Colt Royal Blue slide, and a welded in Brown mag well. At one point I told him I wanted a Bar-Sto barrel, and he told me that he still welded up barrels and could get superb accuracy from the stock Colt barrel. If I didn't like the result, he would fit a Bar-Sto for free. Ray Chapman had told me that he and Frank Pachmayr had put Colt barrels into a barrel vice and got one hole groups. So I said go ahead. He put the gun in a Ransom Rest and got 2" groups at 50 YARDS! (Federal match ammo) I went 10 for 10 at the 100 yard line at Defensive Handgun 3 at Thunder Ranch. This was the last gun Earl made before he sold his machines. He took his time on it and commented how much fun it was to be able to do that and to aim for perfection. (serial number blurred out)

Brown mat well

The Brown Mag Well. This sure made magazine changes easy.

BoMar sight installation

I always liked the really fancy Bo Mar installation. Earl did it to perfection. Yes, the top of the slide is serrated. The back of the slide is checkered. All of the reliability mods are there. It works pretty flawlessly.

You might have noticed the grips, or, as Jeff Cooper called them, stocks, all exotic wood with MACV crests inset. I started with Zebrano wood because it was used on Mercedes-Benz dashes. But it almost killed the man who made the stocks. He didn't realize what the sawdust would do to him. So I tried other exotic woods.

I treasure all of these guns, and, of course, all of them are irreplaceable. Earl is still around, enjoying his well-earned retirement.

January 30, 2009



The road was marked closed but was open. When I got to Cowtown several shooters were there. Got a lot of shooting in. Shot the Handi-rifle for Plainsman practice, not enough. Didn't bring enough ammo.

Got back to the shop to reload .45-70. That uses a RCBS turret press. The decapping die was missing enough parts that I wouldn't be doing any decapping. Hmm. Found 30 rounds of factory ammo acquired over time, a box won at a match, some from Jack Houston. Pulled the bullets. Threw away the powder and the hollowpoints. Kept the Black Hills 405s.

APP had sent me a can of their .45/50 gr. sticks with instructions to put one in a.45-70 case and seat a bullet, no filler or wads. So I did. Easy loading. Used 300 gr. bullets won at a match, not the 405s. 50 gr. is enough for most Plainsman matches. For the @#$!%#! setting the targets out at Fort Mudge I have 72 gr. Cowboy loads, but, frankly, I've lost enough enthusiasm for Plainsman due to, ah, courses of fire that don't suit me, that if they do that, I'll probably pack up and go do something more productive.

I ordered the appropriate parts from Midway. They'll be in when we get back from Tombstone, and I'll load them accordingly. If the sticks work, I'll use them up. Otherwise I'll make mostly half-charge loads. My half-charge loads are hotter than most of the people I've shot next to. They're enough for the average stage.

Also ordered from Brownells a couple of mil-spec Cylinder and Slide 1911 recoil spring plugs that screw into the spring like the ones we used when the world was flat and dinosaurs ruled. Somewhere along the way somebody got cheap, and we started chasing sprung plugs all over our shops.

On the subject of 1911s

Parts that were made just to sell, not to use

Recoil spring guides—No positive purpose. Keeps you from getting the slide open when a case is stuck inside but won't quite chamber by pushing the plug against the edge of a door frame or table or your shoe.

Shock Buffs—Earl Long, a really great 1911 gunsmith, says they break frames. Jeff Cooper and Clint Smith hated them because chewed up ones lock up guns. The jury's out on frame saving. Matching recoil spring to ammo saves frames.

Extended, enlarged mag releases—If I had a dollar for every time I've seen a competitor drop a magazine inadvertently hitting one of these, I'd be retired. Oh, I am retired. Well, I'd be in a bigger motorhome.

Rubber grips with finger grooves—If you have a pair, cut the fronts off. Ray Chapman liked them but cut the fronts off, just leaving the side panels. The front strap was checkered on his guns, a nice item for sweaty or bloody hands, but not absolutely necessary. Shooting a stock 1911 one handed has reminded me of that.

There are hundreds more bogus 1911 parts. But then most parts and accessories are bogus in any sport. 99% of most things is just crap, as you know. Some things work. Some things sell.

January 29, 2009


Cause of crash of Flight 1549 Determined:

Suicide ducks--2 ducks with turbans

Suicide Ducks

Curses, foiled again!

Got up early and headed for Cowtown with a truck full of guns and ammunition. Got almost there and the pipeline laying crew had reached the road. Massive amounts of machines were blocking the road, and they were digging a trench for the 36" green pipe (water). Nothing to do but turn around and come back to the garage and work there all day, reloading, putting boxes of ammunition away in the side cabinet and bullets I won't be getting to until after Tombstone back in the basement, adding reinforcements to the gun cart, picking up trash, sorting, storing, etc.

I hope they're very efficient and are half a mile down the road by now. I'll be back in the AM to try again. Let's see, the plan was to get to the range about 0930 every morning this week and shoot. It's Thursday, and I haven't made it yet. Still, it beats working.

When I came into the bus one time The Redhead met me with one of my CAS shirts. It was hot--and dry. She's a happy Redhead.

January 28, 2009


The call from the financial guru came through, delaying shooting until 1030. Then I needed to be back pretty soon because the long awaited visit from Jeff's RV Repair was expected in the afternoon. Loved the new toy CED 7000 timer. I have trouble reading the split time unless I can get it in direct sun, but that's not the timer's fault.

When I returned Jeff was there. He brought in a long, skinny table top and jack stands and made a ramp and pulled the washer/dryer out to get to the back. He complained that Newmar had neglected to put in an access door on the closet side of the washer-dryer compartment. He enlisted my help in getting it out. Neither one of us do heavy lifting.

I went back to the garage. He came by with the old motor. He plugged it in to the garage power using an adapter. It turned and pumped water when water was poured in, but it was noisy. The same test, with the new motor, proved much quieter, and it pumped water further. He surmised that the old one wouldn't work with the weight of water from the tank on it.

He put the new one in, replaced the sensors for the dryer, put the unit back in place, cleaned up, and left. $335. The Redhead calls him "My New Best Friend."

January 27, 2009


Waited for a call from our financial guru. She didn't call. This kept me from going shooting until 1030. She'll call again tomorrow at 0930 and screw up tomorrow's shooting. Shot until the sun stopped me from shooting BP. Switched to the 1911.

January 26, 2009


After we spent the morning working on financial stuff The Redhead told me to get out of the house and go shoot something. I decided on something different. I took the .45 Colt Rugers, the .45 Colt Cimarron '73 carbine, and one of the big boxes from the basement of old .45 Colt BP loads. This one had test loads from a 2005 article. A lot of them were new, unfired Starline brass (!) Several more were well used nickel Starline brass. I'll have a considerable amount of once fired Starline to make match WB loads out of. The only problem was most of the loads were full case/200 gr. loads. Let me tell you, if you want to know how Wyatt Earp felt when he pulled the trigger, shoot full case loads of 777 2f. I looked up the old test. It averaged 873 ft./sec. That's a 173 Power factor.It sure got my grip straightened out on the pistols. After a few boxes I could shoot 5 without repositioning my hand. The Rugers have smooth grips, by the way, not the needed SHARP checkering. After my hands and ears both began to protest I switched to 15 gr. APP loads and flew through the stages.

All the Pretty Horses

I turned around once and saw a couple of beautiful horses running through the entrance gate toward me, with about 30 more beautiful horses behind them. No people, just horses. If these weren't wild mustangs, they could have played them in the movies. Lots of paints with a black and a bay swapping lead, dancing around the interior of the range.

Old Short Tom and Two Sons were shooting at paper targets down at the far end of the range. Two Sons saw them and warned Tom just in time to turn around and see them coming toward him.

We broke for lunch to make sure they had time to get completely out of danger from ricochets.

Smoke was way too bad by then. Switched to the 1911 and did 1-1 exercises. Since the new timer hasn't shown up yet, I could estimate 1 second reload times and .9 second draws from condition 3. I'll come to my senses soon. It's due in tomorrow.

Checked out the RV park at the clay targets range at Ben Avery. They're spending the winter there. Nice new range, 50 amp service, full hookups.

January 25, 2009


Went to the Gun Show at the fairgrounds. I do this every 5 years or so. Gun Shows never change. They even had the Shamwow booth and a guy selling Rolexes. Oh, yeah, I'm going to buy a Rolex from him. Massive crowd, all at the usual places. Saw a folding stock AK for $795. Thought that was excessive, but that was the cheapest one I saw. The rest were in 4 figures. There was a semi-auto Tommy gun in a guitar case--can't call it a violin case since this was a 16" barreled weapon and included a drum and a stick magazine. I think it was $1699. Those guys wanting to do Gangster Action Shooting (a SASS Wire topic of late) are going to have to pay the freight to do so.

I found absolutely nothing of what I was looking for. Did have pleasant conversation with Pea Patch at the Winter Range/SASS booth outside the show.

Sorted and counted the .38 ammo I loaded up last week. I need more brass. Everything's loaded that I can find, but it's not enough for my planned practicing. I put the Starline and Top Brass ammo into match-worthy boxes, and the other brands, which will be for practice only. (Just got 100 5" x5" x4" white tuck top boxes for bullets and ammo, ending a long shortage of same.) Only found 2 or 3 upside down primers.

January 24, 2009


The Dusty Bunch Match at Casa Grande

Every time I hear the term Casa Grande I keep thinking of the line in Airplane. "Over Casa Grande? I'll never be over Casa Grande."

Actually, the only thing I had to get over was the 88 mile drive EACH @$!#@!&*! way! The match was great. The range there is a little corner of a big shotgun club, with 3 berms, allowing forward motion and the like. They have 2 stages at each berm. They have an "Open" category that you can shoot in addition to your own category. You shoot your own category then shoot the stage again in open. We had a big posse and 10 shooters shot in Open, too. So it took a long time to do 6 stages.

I did NOT shoot Open. 6 stages of percussion pistols is enough. The SSROAs worked magnificently. I missed the first rifle shot then shot clean. One stage was ugly when I got to the shotgun and suddenly couldn't do anything right, using 6 shells and 10 seconds to handle 4 knockdowns. After that I got my act together. Half-a-Hand Henry was very helpful at that time with a critique of what I was doing wrong and what to do about it.

There were a lot of first place EOT buckles on shotgun belts in this posse, and a lot of really fast stages as a result. Hells Comin', Old Short Tom, and Two Sons had talked me into going there, but there were several other really good shooters. I got a lot out of watching the shooters.

Good stages. No procedural traps, targets close. Lots of fun.

But then I had to drive 88 miles back. I stayed awake because Jack Houston called while I was driving. The only problem that caused was I missed the turn from I10 to I17, then wound up on I17 South instead of north.

January 23, 2009


Went to see Gran Torino. I thought it was a masterpiece. The Redhead thought it was depressing. Clint Eastwood plays a Korean War veteran suffering from PTSD, though the term is never mentioned. He has not forgiven himself for something he did during the war and has survivor's guilt among other symptoms.

There was one convention I find a cliche. In a lot of movies about veterans the veteran has a trunk in the basement or attic. It has photos of him and his old unit, his medals, usually just one, usually a Medal of Honor, and it has his weapons from the war. In one I remember he had his M-16. Oh, yeah, we all took those home from Nam--right. Eastwood has his M-1 Garand as well as his 1911A1. The 1911A1 I'll buy, because there were a lot listed as "combat loss" and brought home (not too many from Vietnam. I was damn near cavity searched at the customs station exiting Vietnam and again at Travis AFB). The Garand took a little suspension of disbelief. Some explanation about him getting it from the CMP or buying it at a gun store when he was feeling nostalgic, etc. would have been nice.

It's also about the Hmong people who fought with the Americans in Vietnam and thus a lot of them were rescued and brought to the US. The North Vietnamese hated them as much as the South Vietnamese. All of them tried to kill off the Hmong. Eastwood's character, a Korean War vet, hadn't been given PC lessons, so he had other names for them. Those of us who "fought alongside our Vietnamese allies" as advisors have all been thoroughly brainwashed, er, indoctrinated in the politically correct terminology. Now if the wonderful gumment of the People's Democratic Republic of Vietnam or whatever they call the place now will send me a signed, notarized statement from the entire politburo (or whatever) that they've withdrawn the price on my head, I might be able to not go to condition Orange every time I see an Asian male I don't know. Maybe not.

January 22, 2009


Chronograph and Ransom Rest Session

I spent most of the day at Cowtown testing loads and guns. The guns were the Taylor's & Co. Smoke Wagon, the EMF Alchemista, and the Long Hunter USFA SAA. A lot of loads were chronographed and Ransom Rest tested, and some Wild Bunch loads were chronoed using my '73 Carbine and my 1911 Government Model.

Rather than try to convert from Excel to Dreamweaver, a nightmare, I'll just link to it here.

January 21. 2009


From the SASS Wire about the inaugural speech:

QUOTE (Diamond Dave Anthony @ Jan 21 2009, 07:03 AM)
Look, I'm just disappointed he didn't precede his speech by saying, "Excuse me while I whip this out..."

Lost Shot Timer

When I got to Cowtown I realized I didn't have my timer. I practiced anyway, making record time on all of the stages and exercises, at least in my head. That's why you should always exercise with a timer.

When I got back to the trailer, no timer. After much searching I came to the conclusion that I left it at the range Monday. I posted on the SASS Wire and tried to post on the CCSA board, but they haven't approved me to post there yet.

Ordered a CED7000 from Competitive Edge Dynamics. This is the timer used at Comin' At'Cha and Winter Range. It's also the smallest and least expensive. With the wrist strap I'm unlikely to leave it at the range.

January 20, 2009


Inauguration Day

I hope and pray Barack Obama is the best president since Theodore Roosevelt because that's what we need in a time of financial turmoil and a global war against fanatical Muslim terrorists.

January 19, 2009


Went to Cowtown early. Shot several stages with the SSROAs with no malfunctions. (sound of me knocking on cherry dining table). Then switched to ERs and practiced several exercises. Examples: pistols, draw-fire one, switch guns, fire one, target 3 seconds. Not there yet. '73 shoot-one-reload-one-shoot exercises (target 3 seconds, not there often), shotgun exercises (nothing esoteric there. 4 targets starting with the gun on the table, target sub-5 seconds, not there yet). Switched to Wild Bunch guns. Shot a few stages, then worked on one shot draws, change magazine, shoot one with the 1911, target 2.5 seconds, not there yet, several 3.+ seconds).

Left there at 1215 hours.

Finally reached Jeff of Jeff's RV Repair about the Splendide washer-dryer's most recent failure. Theoretically he'll call me back when he's ready to work on it. Something tells me if I need to earn money again I should go to Camping World University's RV Technician training course. Then I'll set up a mobile shop and rob RVers blind.

Sorted brass, started tumbler with a bunch of really bad .38 brass that should have been cleaned months ago. Let it run all night. Loaded .38s. The XL650 is really ginning now. It's a real pleasure to use when it's flying. My right shoulder is enough of a mess that I do use One Shot lube on the cases, not as thoroughly as you would with bottleneck cases, just lay a batch flat, spray them, and let them set until needed. Keeps the sizing die smooth enough. Did over 1,000 rounds between 1430 and 1700.

Fox News is all Obama all the time, of course. Tomorrow the Obamessiah will ascend to the heavens at 12 noon, and no one who voted for him will ever have to pay another mortgage payment or credit card bill. Their gas will be free, and he'll send them Gold cards that get them free meals at the Black Angus forever more.

Those of us who didn't vote for him will be paying for it. Our checks will go directly to the Obamaniacs and Obots, and the world will be wonderful.

Bartender, I'll have another Margarita before he bans those, too.

(Credit to Chris Muir's Day by Day comic strip for the terms Obamessiah, Obots, and Obamaniacs).


The following email was forwarded to me by Cat Ballou:

Hi There
God Bless Capt .Baylor I have at long last received my Treso Nipples my Ruger Old Army now shoots like a cartridge pistol ignition is all but instantaneous I would never have heard of them without his article of October ’08.
English Russ #63610

Yeah, and he probably does 19 second stages and will beat me like a Redheaded Stepchild at Winter Range, making me 11th again by 3 seconds.

January 18, 2009


Worked in the garage. Started cleaning up the mess until I had to do something enjoyable, like reloading. Tweaked out several more minor problems with the XL650. The primer wheel wasn't quite lining up right, and I was having to turn it a tad manually each time. Used both alignment tools. That didn't help. Finally replaced the primer indexing arm and spring. Everything was perfect until American Pioneer Powder clogged up the powder funnel. Got that all cleaned out, and it was Margarita time.

January 17, 2009


Went to the Cowtown match, a disaster of Biblical proportions. I started with 2 pops on one gun, five clean stages, but 3 of those were slowed by smoke, etc. Smoke got so bad on one stage I didn't see one rifle target, earning me a nice procedural. The good news was that, aside from the pops, which aren't the gun's fault, the SSROAs worked fine. I'm getting used to the hammer. One cap jam slowed one stage a bit.

Larsen E. Pettifogger showed up with one of the timers/remote display boards like Comin' At'Cha used Competitive Edge Dynamics CED7000RF

Winter Range has 15 of these units with the remote displays and an additional CED7000s without the big displays. These timers, not counting the remote displays, are smaller than the rest, have a lot of neat features, and they cost less than the competition.

January 16, 2009


Didn't go shoot because I figured they'd paint the targets for tomorrow two minutes before I arrived. Worked in the garage getting the guns ready and reloading .38 Specials.

January 15, 2009


Here is the Washington Post's annual Mensa Invitational, which once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. The 2008 winners:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus : A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxication : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation : Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone ( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy : Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti : Vandalism spray-painted very, very high

8. Sarchasm : The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte : To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Osteopornosis : A degenerate disease.

11. Karmageddon : It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido : All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.) : Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Got to Cowtown 2 hours late due to a post office run with other errands attached. Then I opened the back of the truck and realized the SSROAs were still in the shop. I had put new Treso nipples in 039, the problem child. Back to the shop, then back to Cowtown. 1230 by then. Cowtown in the afternoon is like Oakwood in the morning or Founders Ranch on the early shift. Fire one round of black, and it's Gettysburg for the next minute.

Shot several stages and several exercises with the SSROAs with no problems. Switched to the Wild Bunch guns and realized that the glare was so bad I thought I'd gotten BP rounds for the rifle by mistake. When the 1911 smoked like 30 gr. of black I realized that I'd stayed too long at the fair.

January 14, 2009


D Bar J 1916 Campaign Hat

Campaign Hat of the type worn during the "Wild Bunch" era

D Bar J made me this campaign hat to go with my 1916 Mexican Punitive Expedition Cavalry Captain's uniform. Dave Johnson of D Bar J knows the regulations of the era by heart. Brims could be 3" to 4", and crown height had some leeway, too. I'd seen one in a photo with a tall crown and a wide brim, so that's what he made me. It has the 3 rows of stitching on the brim that the specs called for. It has, of course, officer's gold braid. It's of the primary O. D. color. (An alternate color, because of fading of the O. d. models was more brown. See the Stetson "Doughboy" in Miller Hat's web site, and you'll know what I mean. I preferred the O. d.)

Now I need a pair of 1916 style goggles to stick on it for those long rides in the desert looking for Pancho Villa


Bottom view of the hat showing the chin strap

A view of the chin strap, not like the current D. I. hat. I ordered this after Dave gave me a dissertation on the campaign hat regs of the time at the SASS Convention. It fits. I'm ready for some Wild Bunch matches

Practice, Practice, Practice

Got out pretty early for me. Practiced with the Wild Bunch guns, then the cowboy guns to the point of near exhaustion. Practice consists of painful repetition trying to get the muscle memory to remove a tenth here, a few hundredths there. When I retired, 8 seconds was a good time for 4 shotgun hits. Now if I do things right, it's in the 5s. Attempts to lower it break down to analyzing each segment, time to first shot, split time, time to 3rd shot, split time. Right now I'm trying to get the split times down from .3-.4 to .2-.3. Smoke will alter that, of course, depending on how bad it is.

Lots of 1 shot pistol draws, switch to other pistol. 3 seconds is very good for me. It used to be 5. Lots of 1 shot rifle "draws" and reload one. Again, 3 seconds for the whole thing is about as good as I can get, and usually it's between 4 and 5. The first shot in 1.2-1.5 is usually no problem, but the reload is either very good or mediocre. A total time of 7 seconds happens all too often.

But it slowly adds, or subtracts, up. When I retired 40 second stages were my norm, and 30s were rare, 50s too often. Now 30s are normal, 40s are a screw up, and 20s are the holy grail. They do happen, though, occasionally.

Meanwhile, back at the Ranch

When I got back to the shop I got the XL650 switched over to .38s and loaded a few before the Margaritas called.

Got a batch of my novel ready to mail to SASS customers tomorrow.

January 13, 2009


Got the 1911 back together and took it to Cowtown to practice. Learned T-Bone Dooley, now that he has sold his business and gotten back from his Hawaiian vacation, has the following daily regimen: 1/2 hour exercise early in the AM then 3 hours of practicing Wild Bunch and 3 hours practicing Classic Cowboy. He's shooting the 1911 left-handed because it's easier to manipulate left handed.*

I was going there anyway, but I was somewhat inspired by T-Bone's practice regimen. I won't be able to do that much. My range isn't in my back yard, and I have to make the ammo to feed the habit.

Worked on drawing and changing magazines. Draw, rack slide, fire (hit), drop magazine. Insert new magazine. Drop slide. Fire (hit). Started with 4 second total times. Got down to 2.81, several below 3. Trying to get the reload below 1.5 and the draw consistently below 1.5.

Was working on that exercise + put the 1911 on the shelf, run to the shotgun, and shoot 4 when the timer went flying and wouldn't work anymore.

I hate it when that happens.

Practiced with the cowboy guns, emphasis on reloading the rifle and shooting the shotgun. The SKB patterns right on top of the bead, so the proper sight picture is with the bead on the base of the target. It's just hard to make myself do that. Worked on that 50 rounds worth. Lots of draw one pistol, fire (hit) one, holster, draw, fire (hit) other pistol. Then that, run to rifle, fire one, reload one, fire one, move to shotgun, fire 2.

Back at the shop fixed the timer. 10 years old and now it's getting delicate. Hard to get good stuff.

*The slide release and magazine release are actuated with your trigger finger. The hand doesn't have to be shifted, and the off hand is only used to insert the magazine, not to release the slide. Shifting the hand on the gun to reach the mag release or slide release with the right thumb takes time, and people have gotten match DQs for sweeping.

January 12, 2009


Worked in the garage on the project. Practiced mag changes on the 1911. At first everything dropped free. Pretty soon nothing did. Disassembled the gun and looked for the problem, smoothing everything inside the gun that might be dragging. FINALLY realized the problem was the trigger. Magazines, at their widest point, are 0.53-0.55". The width inside the trigger mechanism was 0.53". Don't know why it got that way. Opened it up. Reassembled. Dropped all of the mags then.Then I went to rack the slide, and it would only retract half an inch or so, not enough to get the slide stop out so I could see hat was wrong. Worked on it for about two hours without success. Put all of the parts in a bag and went inside. Figured I'd take it to a gunsmith tomorrow. Then I got the brilliant idea to call Master Gunsmith (retired) Earl Long, who built 4 of my best 1911s and was my mentor and guru for several years. Within a few seconds he had given me 3 possible causes. To get it apart he told me to try to unlock the barrel by pushing down on it and to try to retract the slide by beating on it with a rubber hammer. Worked in about 30 seconds. Couldn't find any trash in the slide, the most likely cause. Other possibility is a stretched link. Other possibilities were eliminated on inspection and didn't make sense in a relatively new gun. By then it was past Margarita time. I'll reassemble the rest of the gun tomorrow (it had been detail stripped in the diagnostic process.)

January 11, 2009


Worked in the garage. A goodie package from Brownell's came in. Worked on the Colt Government Model. Trigger was 5 lb. 15 oz. When I finished, it was 4 lb. 9 oz. Checked my carry gun, Baer Thunder Ranch Special, 4 lb. 3 oz. Close enough.

If I wanted to lower it below 4 lb. 9 oz., I'd get a match sear. The one on there looks GI ready.

Started a project. Details later.

January 10, 2009


Went to the ACSA match. Shot 8 stages main match and 2 stage Wild Bunch match. Finished up after 4. Exhausted.

January 9, 2009


Worked in the garage. Got the guns ready for tomorrow's ACSA match at Ben Avery.

January 8, 2009


LoneRider Leather Rig

Chick Brewster didn't forget his camera at the Rio Salado match last Saturday and kindly sent me the photos he took of my latest custom LoneRider Leather rig:

Everything black leather is part of the new rig. Everything brown is leftover stuff. Hmm, well, the scabbard for the Screw Knife came with the knife, and I attached it to the LoneRider Holster.

I like everything about the rig. The holster looks good but is probably as efficient as the rules allow. It's stiff, has a low front, a rolled edge, and it fits the ROA perfectly. If I shove the gun in hard, as I would for a running stage at Winter Range, it stays but just needs a moderate yank to get it up 1" or so, and from then on, it's free and quite fast.

Jack didn't want to do carving on this rig, but he does it so well, I can't resist. Anyway, I discovered most cowboys spent the extra $1,50 for a fancy rig. He charges slightly more than $1.50, though.

Close up of the beautiful floral carving

Jack wanted to make the color fancier, but I insisted on black because I'm hard on leather gear, fancy two-tone doesn't handle my abuse as well as black. It's pretty hard to stain black. Anyway, it looks cool.

The belt is suede lined, so it doesn't want to slide down my butt and embarrass me. The holsters stick out from the belt for easy access, and they don't slide around easily, meaning they stay put.

Chick didn't get a full frontal view of the shotgun belt. It's cut on a reverse curve, so it'll conform to my peanut butter belly. It holds 12 shells in double pouches, and 20 .38 rounds, ten on a side. Of course he'll make them to your specs.

The Reverse Curve: Shaky Shooter went to the TGs with a photo of one of Jack's reverse curve shotgun belts, and the TGs said, "So?"

Now if you put one of the reverse curve belts on your svelte 18" waist, with the shells sticking out from your body, that's a different story. Personally, I'd want to punish you for showing up to a SASS match with a 18" waist--if you're a guy. Only if you're a guy.

Letter to the Editor

This e-mail was sent to Donna at SASS, who sent it to Tex and Cat, who sent it to me:

The way that Captain Baylor started his article in the November issue of the Chronicle just rubbed me the wrong way.  His first sentence:  "I actually learned something from the SASS Wire.  (What a concept!)"  simply strikes me as arrogant. 

I realize the Captain is a veteran SASS shooter, and could probably be considered an expert, however, the way he started the article bothers me.  We all acquire new information, from a variety of sources.   

I am a relatively inexperienced shooter so I learn allot from the wire.  I read it each day and always pick up information that I didn't have before.  I appreciate the humor, the jokes, the bantering back and forth.  I have asked "stupid" questions and received immediate and thoughtful answers.  Everyone that I have run into both at the range and on the Wire seem happy to help a fellow shooter out. 

I'm never going to be a top shooter.  My goal right now is to have a clean stage.  I am in this to have fun, so please lighten up Captain, I imagine that many of us are grateful for the information that we get from the Wire. 
Frazee Ridge
SASS 54171

My response:

I’m glad to hear somebody is reading my column.  It’s been several months since a letter has gotten to me.  I’m sorry my dry sense of humor offended you.  In the past it’s gotten me into a lot of trouble, but since I’m retired and working for free, I figure the worst that can happen is some SASS Wire super vet shoots me in the back ten times with a load I gave him or a gun I recommended 2 years ago.  As you probably know, I’m active on the wire, not having a life of my own.  There is, indeed, a lot of good information hidden there.  The average question gets a good answer—and 39 answers that may or may not apply.  This is doubly true if the question involves black powder.  It frustrates me when I see new shooters ask questions and have to sift through the BS to get the gold nugget.  I’ve been known to spend an hour researching the correct answer to a question.  This is usually rewarded by at least one snide remark from someone who got his information from his posterior.

I figured my opening line would get a chuckle out of most SASS Wire users, but it’s not the first time I’ve failed to get the fact that I’m kidding through to everyone.  People who know me know that arrogance is usually not a word associated with my personality, especially in SASS since I usually have my head handed to me every other match or so—which is better than every match, so I’m improving.  I’m flattered you used the word “expert” in conjunction with me.  If it applies, it’s probably only in the military definition:  X= unknown.  Spurt= drip under pressure.  Thus an unknown drip under pressure.

Keep working on that clean match.  Join the SBSS, and Colonel Dan will reward you when you do.  I was working on getting a clean match this summer after a bunch of one and 2 miss matches.  Then I shot 4 matches, two 2-day matches, and 2 locals in a row.  This included a Regional.  In all I went 40 stages clean.  I thought that was pretty good, but Dixie Bell let me know pretty quickly that she does that all the time, with 1 or 2 misses per season.  Oh, well.

Needless to say, if you have any questions I can help you with, please let me know. Looking forward to seeing you on the circuit.   I’m easy to find.  I’m an old, fat guy in cowboy clothes.

Practice Session

Went to Cowtown to continue the test of the SSROAs. Didn't detail clean them after the last session. Wanted to see what would happen on the second day of the match. 039 had one click early on. Okay, I'll clean that one. Cleaned it. Oiled the works through the hammer slot. Oiled it too much, as oil goes down when you holster the gun. What's down then? Nipples. Oil went through nipples. Contaminated powder. Then I put on caps and tried to fire the gun. One round almost got out of the barrel. Squib rod. Another round hadn't left the chamber. Tried another cap. No, just cap pop. Pour powder through nipple hole. Reinsert nipple. Next time pour more powder. If the gun had had a 4-3/4" barrel the bullet would have left it. Squib rod again.

Reload. 5 bangs. Repeat 10 times. Last 4 or so switched from APP to Cowboy/Wonder Wads. All bangs. I'll detail clean both guns tomorrow and shoot them at the ACSA match Saturday, at least until one goes click.

It should be noted that in the afternoon at Cowtown the sun glare and lack of wind make for vicious black powder conditions. The Cowboy loads were clearly less smoky than the same volume of APP. APP smoke just hangs there, too. BP smoke dissipates more quickly.

Saw Pistol Packin' Grannie and Laramie Jack. Grannie was on oxygen. She had a bout of bacterial pneumonia, 10 days in the hospital. Serious stuff. She says she's recovering, though. Hope so.

They're staying at Pioneer RV Park--in a backup, with a trailer. Interesting. They were here a while and got a letter telling them to move the trailer or move out. Jack showed the manager the oxygen equipment in the trailer and convinced him to let them stay. They got a letter saying they couldn't stay next year. Yeah, piss off long time full timers who spend every winter in the Phoenix area. After all, they don't have more than 200 other RV parks in the area to go to.

No one explained the reason for this, apparently new, rule against trailers to them either. There are trailers all over this place.

Of course, if the Obama miracle doesn't happen quickly RV parks, including this one, will be happy to see anyone check in, and they'll ignore silly, exclusive rules.

January 7, 2009


Adventures in RVing, part whatever

Took the bus to Sun City RV in Peoria this morning. Easy drive compared to getting to Ron Hoover RV from Brookshire. We were about half an hour late because one of the jacks wouldn't retract completely. Finally it was high enough to drive without hitting anything with it, and I drove it to the shop. That added item 2 to the list. Item 1 was the front AC not working. Then The Redhead mentioned that the black tank valve leaked, giving us an unpleasant surprise when the cap was removed after driving with a loaded black tank. Checking that was item 3.

So we went to breakfast, then to Ross so The Redhead could get a new non-SASS wardrobe. She says Gloria Vanderbilt makes clothes for real women. The wardrobe, of course, is mostly (designer) jeans and such. She spends about as much for non-SASS clothes as I do, $12.99 for a pair of Gloria Vanderbilt Jeans, about what a pair of cheap WalMart jeans made in Bangladesh cost.

While she was there the mechanic called me and said I hadn't left the key to the door to the tanks. Went back with it. The service advisor, Ron, asked me if I was working on another book. He'd read Common Valor. HE'S THE ONE! A Vietnam vet, former LAPD. Lives at Prescott. Asked if I was familiar with Gunsite.

They were just getting started. So it was PetSmart, Sears, and Cabelas. I've got to stop going to Cabelas'. Haven't found anything worth buying at this store yet, at least at the prices they're charging.

Went back when they called us. The AC worked perfectly for them, $56 for checking. The Leveling system needs a $200 service, not done, $56 for diagnosis. Estimate for replacing the valves on the black and grey tank (they come together), $300. I'll put that off and probably do it myself. As for the leveling system, the service writer told me they had to order parts. Miscommunication. They could do it in 2 hours. So it was off to Bad Haircuts R Us and Lowe's. Got out of the RV shop after 4.

Tequila called to tell me the Shooting Gallery "WILD BUNCH" episode was on, and I looked good.

Got to Pioneer RV, got the dish set up in plenty of time to record the next showing. Who the hell is that guy they're calling Capt. George Baylor? Grey hair down his neck, grey handlebar mustache, deep TV voice (dubbed, apparently.) At least they showed my shooting in fast motion (several times!!). I got on the SASS Wire and called it the Best episode of Shooting Gallery ever.

I understand they edited out the scene with the naked women shooting 1911s for the later showing. Fortunately I DVRed the good one.

January 6, 2009


The Newmar dealer called early this morning. Appointment tomorrow.

Went to Cowtown WITH leather gear and timer. Shot several stages with the SSROAs. Lost count--8-10. Both guns worked flawlessly. I'll keep shooting them until I determine if we've cured the problem or not. They worked 7 stages last week but couldn't go 3 without malfunctions at the match.

When I got back The Redhead had me climb back on the roof and work on the AC. Nothing in there I can service.

Disconnected the trailer from the bus so we can get out early in the AM to get to the RV dealer.

January 5, 2009


Best Gun Control Ad I've Ever Seen CLICK HERE

Part 2

Other People's New Year's Resolutions:

Mike: Start buying lottery tickets from a luckier store.

Amy: Stop treating my roommate’s medicine cabinet like my personal candy store.

Sarah: Start playing office bingo during meetings so my boss won’t yell at me for falling asleep.

Charlie: Prove my dad wrong by genetically modifying a tree so it really does grow money.

Larry: Stop trying to get into drag races with cops driving unmarked cars.

Wanda: Stop exercising and gain 10 pounds.

Nancy: Help preserve the English language by beating anyone who says LOL in face-to-face conversations.

Adventures in Gun Testing

Beautiful sunny day. Went to Cowtown to test SSROAs and newly modified SKB.

Lesson 1:

Bring your gear. Got there and didn't have my leather gear or my timer. That reduced the planned practice session to a gun testing session.


Larsen's work paid off. It worked like a charm with light loads. 36 gr. Goex Cowboy no problem. 45 gr. APP no problem. 36 gr. APP 1 failure to switch barrels/box. Still I can use them for practice.


#039--Still not reliable even with stock spring. #017 reliable. No problem. Shot 11 cylinders through each.

While I was loading the pistols one time two horses walked across the range. I looked up to shoot, and there was a horse behind the targets. Another horse was just past me. They wandered past. I walked to stage 12, which angles almost 90° from the others, and much farther from the horses. They kept going east, and I didn't see them again.

Drove back to the bus. Walked in to news the front AC/heat pump isn't working, and someone (meaning me) has to climb onto the roof to check it out. Dutifully I did. Getting on the roof is a pain in the ass. I have to get the big ladder out of the trailer and climb onto the bus's folded up ladder from it. It's folded so the spare tire from the trailer won't hit it. No fun to climb, though. Consider ladders that have the bottom half hook onto the top when needed and store in the basement when not when you look at a Motorhome to purchase--if you're going to tow a trailer.

No problem on the roof. Checked everything.

Asked for a service appointment at the local Newmar dealer online. No response yet. Called a mobile RV Repairman. No response yet.

Called Wes. He said it wasn't the gun, that it popped caps in his shop. Finally told me to send it to him. Went to shop. Disassembled #039 and cleaned and lubricated the hammer, trigger, and spring strut at the appropriate places. Everything that could slow down hammer fall was cleaned and lubricated or greased. Reassembled. Trigger pull that was 4 lb+ yesterday averaged 3 lb. 3 oz. after this. Didn't do that to #017. Cleaned with Brake Cleaner and sprayed Break Free CLP into its innards. 3 lb. 8 oz. It works, so I didn't do the extra work.

Both guns feel the same now. Will retest tomorrow. Talked to Larsen. He'll look at it tomorrow afternoon.

January 4, 2009


Started out to Cowtown for the CCSA match but noted, once I got past the hill between us and Ben Avery and could see east, that it was raining ahead. Went back for my authentic, American made Fish slicker (as compared to the cheap, Chinese made copies most SASS members wear). By the time I got to Cowtown, the road in was a quagmire, and it was raining. A few shooters were there, mostly under cover. I registered. It rained harder.

Blackjack Zak gave a class on the changes to the rules made by the TGs at Las Vegas. Some things sneaked through I hadn't realized. I see more stage DQs in the future. It's getting as complicated as USPSA.

Then they gave out their annual awards and broke up. It was a cold, wet, miserable day, and few had a desire to shoot. I never got the gun cart out of the truck, a good thing considering the mud.

Came back and worked on the Rugers. SSROA 039 is the one that goes click. Opened it up and replaced the mainspring with a stock one--lot stiffer, and gives a 4 lb. trigger, which is too much. But I want to see if it goes bang all of the time.

Detail stripped the 2 ROAs and cleaned out the cap residue that had gotten into the trigger and hammer area. Hard stuff. Remington Shotgun Cleaner had some effect on it, but a wire brush was the most effective. Got all of the innards back together. One of the ROAs has a 2 lb. 5 ounce trigger. The other is 2 lb. 3 ounces. They go bang all of the time.

The other SSROA has a 3 lb. 8 oz. trigger, but caps go bang reliably.

I know, I could send SSROA 039 back to Wes again, but I'm tired of dealing with FedUp and UPEx. We'll see.

January 3, 2009


Went to the Rio Salado match. 58 miles, about an hour--each way. They don't have Frontiersman, but I shot it anyway. Deuce Stevens and his wife were there, visiting folks for the holidays. Fun watching him shoot.

Shot the SSROAs for 3 stages. One gun had 3 failures to fire first time. Fired second strike. Put those guns away and finished with the other ROAs. Getting a bit frustrated.

Used practice ammo. Bit me on the last stage. Split case. Lost 5. Of course, at the unloading table, using the screw knife, I had t cleared in about 15 seconds. Oh well.

L-o-o-o-n-g drive back after 8 stages. Good stages, but several were heavily right handed. Old Winter Range stages for practice for same. I hope they're a bit more ambidextrous this year. At least some were ambidextrous.

January 2, 2009


Went to Dillon in the AM, picked up the repaired case feeder and brought a batch of broken parts for warranty.

Bought all of the SASS useful lead shot that Sportsman's Warehouse had (1-25 lb. bag of #9).

Spent about 20 minutes getting from 101 to 17. Did I mysteriously wake up in Houston?

Then took over half an hour to get the car washed at the Chevron at the Carefree Hwy exit. When I went around the corner from the gas station to the car wash I realized 6 cars were in line. Fell asleep several times waiting.

Worked on guns some.

Put the case feeder on the XL650. The (NEW) case feeder tube was about 4" short! Called Dillon. Waited a long time to get to a tech, and he said they had redesigned the support tube. First he said he would send a long feeder tube, then he said he would send a new support tube. I'm hoping that's what he did because that might just lower the top enough to use the strong mount. The ceiling is a bit low for it now.

Then Larsen called, and I went to his place. He took one coil off the spring. If this doesn't do it, we'll need a spring that's in a Wolff spring kit that Brownell's sells.

He's working on props for WR. They're lucky to have him. He's building a very over-designed dynamite plunger. Lots of machining.

Got back to the shop and cleaned the guns and got the gun cart boxes ready for a match tomorrow (Rio Salado) and one Sunday (Cowtown.) Tired already.

January 1, 2009



I looked at the January 2008 journal to see what resolutions I have broken.

I didn't break any.

I didn't make any. It's easier that way.

Despite this evidence of previous sanity, I've decided to make some for 2009.


I will:

1. Drink at least 5 Margaritas a week.

2. Attend the SASS matches that are in range that I want to attend.

3. Practice when I can.

4. Play with the dog, the cat and The Redhead as often as possible.

5. Not eat Vietnamese food, or Thai food.

6. Remember--Don't sweat the small stuff.

7. Remember--It's all small stuff.

8. Be nice to waiters and waitresses and overtip.

Practice session

Went to Cowtown. Shot 7 stages with the short stroked ROAs (henceforth referred to as SSROAs to separate them from the other pair of ROAs). No failures to fire. 2 dragging cylinders from cap jams. That's more than there should be, but we'll see if it's epidemic. I wasn't cleaning the guns between stages until the 5th stage. The short stroked guns feel good but need practice to maximize their potential. Of course I expected them to take 5 seconds off my pistol times, 5 seconds off my rifle times, and three seconds off my shotgun times, but they haven't yet.

The SKB's new spring didn't work as well as the old one. It will only fire 45 gr. Cowboy loads. I'm running low on those and have over 2 cases of lighter loads. Practiced with the old Baikal. Boy, shooting that rattle-trap certainly makes you appreciate the SKB.

I shot a lot of 125 gr. 777 3f loads in the rifle and ER pistols. They're considerably hotter than what's needed for SASS. Low on the light stuff until I can reload .38s.

2 couples were at Cowtown from Tucson, saying this is the closest place they can practice. I knew there was a reason I'm staying in Phoenix instead of Tucson. That's one of many.