February 2016 Journal

January 29-31, 2916

This was my costume for the Military Category at the 2015 End Of Trail Best Dressed Costume contest.

It was mislabeled in the January 2016 Cowboy Chronicle as an 1860-1870s Texas Ranger uniform Texas Rangers never had uniforms. I'm sure there are at least 2 people in SASS who read the caption and said, "Huh?"

What it really was:

Captain in the 8th Texas Cavalry, CSA. informally known as "Terry's Texas Rangers" April 19th 1865

The story behind it.

This is from my presentation to the judges:

(I started the presentation wearing a Confederate Cavalry greatcoat over this uniform.) It’s April 19th 1865, near Greensboro, North Carolina. The 8th Texas Cavalry has been ordered to formation. Here are a couple of photographs of some of us in uniform. Few photos exist. (The next two photos in this album were given to the judges)

You will note that the fourth man from our left in the first photo is wearing a cavalry greatcoat... like this one. I’ll start by taking mine off to reveal the rest of the uniform.

In 1861 I enlisted as a private in what became the 8th Texas Cavalry, popularly called Terry’s Texas Rangers.

Recruits were required to provide our own Colt’s pistols, a carbine or double barrel shotgun, a Bowie knife, and our saddle, tack, spurs, and mounts. 1170 of us were sworn in at Houston on September 9, 1861. Except for the original officers, we were all issued private’s uniforms, but not until we got to Kentucky.

You will notice that no two men in this photo are dressed alike. The man on the left with the kepi is an officer with a regulation officer's frock coat. But the other men are wearing shell jackets with one row of buttons and cavalry yellow cuffs and collar. I’m wearing one with captain’s insignia on the collar. When I was first promoted to lieutenant, the quartermaster handed me lieutenant’s collar insignia and told me to sew it on, and he handed me a yellow officer’s sash and told me I needed to wear it so troops could recognize me as an officer from a distance. Eventually we ran out of captains in our company, and I was promoted to fill the slot.

I’m wearing a hat similar to the one the second man from the left is wearing. We were given Texas star pins for our hats in Houston.

The trousers were not what I was issued. These came from Yankee supply when mine wore out. They are held up with Yankee issue canvas and elastic suspenders. A lady I had to leave behind gave me the scarf much like the one worn by the man in the great coat. She had embroidered cavalry sabers on it in gold colored thread.

My sword belt came from the San Antonio Federal Arsenal. The buckle is a Texas militia buckle. Except for some of the top officers, none of us wear swords. We were not issued swords. We carry Bowie knives instead. My uncle gave me this one. He said he got it from a Mexican soldier at San Jacinto. And we carry as many pistols as we can.

I carry two pistols, a Colt Army 44 in the right holster and a Yankee colonel’s really nice nickel plated Remington in the other. The holster on the right was issued in New Orleans, and it and the cap box and cartridge box came from the Confederate Arsenal in Baton Rouge. The holster is stamped with this. The other holster I acquired used after I got the Remington. Used in this case means a sergeant said, "nice pistol, captain. Here's a holster that won't get you hung." meaning it didn't say US on it.

I'm wearing Confederate gauntlets.

Along with the pistol I got a spare cylinder pouch from the Yankee colonel. (The worn cylinder pouch had one Colt and one Remington cylinder in it).

I’m wearing worn cavalry boots, similar to the third man in the photo of the 5 scout)s These have Yankee enlisted spurs.

Lastly, I keep my last $10 in my cartridge box.. I don’t think it will be worth much. We were just told that General Lee surrendered and our commander, General Joe Johnson was going to surrender. 248 of us were in formation when it was announced outside Greensboro, North Carolina. The highest surviving officer was a captain who resigned and turned over command to another captain so he wouldn't have to surrender the unit. On April 26th 1865. 90 surrendered. The rest of us never did.

01-29-16 One of the photographs used in creating (and presenting) the costume. These are 5 scouts from Company C in the 8th Texas Cavalry. The man on our left is an officer, wearing a regulation officer's frock coat. The cuffs and collar are yellow, and the sleeve has officer's braid. I can't tell the rank of the officer because of the blurred photo. He is wearing privately purchased high top riding boots..

The next man is an enlisted man wearing a shell jacket. He has fringed leggings over his boots. His hat has a Texas star on it. This was the hat chosen for my impression.

The center man has cavary boots and is wearing an enlisted shell jacket and a white shirt underneath. He is wearing a telescope crown hat with a Texas star on it.

The fourth man from the left is wearing a hat with th brim curled up in the front and attached to the crown by a Texas star pin` He is wearing a Confederate Cavalry greatcoat. Around his waist is a sword belt from the San Antonio Federal Arsenal, where the unit got some of its equipment. An 1851 Texas militia belt buckle is on it with an "upside down" Texas star. It was designed that way. Some early Texas flags used the 5 pointed star with a point pointing straight down. He has either boots or leggings. Under his coat he is wearing a cavalry yellow scarf with embroidered crossed sabers.

The last trooper is sporting a porkpie hat with a Texas star pin. He wears a buttoned up enlisted shell jacket. It has yellow cavalry cuffs, and yellow collar. His boots are knee high with a fold down knee protectorl.

Two members of the 8th Texas with Texas 1851 belt buckles. Ignore the ties, probably a photographer’s prop. Yes, they''re wearing different hats, both cattlemen crease (the crease first appeared in photos during the war), but one is black, one grey.

Close up of one of the 1851 Texas militia belt buckles.

Close up showing the scarf with embroidered crossed cavalry sabers

Don Troiani's painting of an 8th Texas Cav trooper

Display of gear at Texas Civil War museum

Different view of the gear at the Texas Civil War museum

A portion of the San Antonio Federal Arsenal sword belt with Texas Militia belt buckle, Yankee cylinder pouch, "used" holster with Yankee nickel plated Remington, Alamo bowie, CS cap pouch, CS Cartridge pouch, both from Baton Rouge CS Arsenal

The Yankee colonel's nickel plated Remiongton and the Alamo Bowie

"Upsoide down" Texas Star belt buckle (1851 militia)

Rear of Texas Star buckle

Cylinder pouch with spare Remington cylinder

CS Arsenal Baton Rouge holster with 1860 Arny Colt's pistol

"CS Arsenal Baton Rouge LA"

$10 Confederate note, kept in cartridge box

Cavalry boot (worn, resoled, etc.) with Yankee enlisted spurs and spur strap

Not shown 1857 U S Army suspenders.

Terry's Texas Rangers Flag. I carried one to the judging

Since this is a Civil War uniform, someone will, no doubt, complain that I got something wrong. I probably did. Confederate uniforms are difficult because of the variety involved and the lack of photos. I'm still of the opinion that "Confederate" and "uniform" shouldn't be in the same sentence.

January 28, 2016

The Redhead took George S. Patton to the vet then took me. 3 hours wait, a shot, a prescription.

Prescription Margaritas

January 22, 2016

practice at Cowtown, like I did yesterday...and Tuesday and Sunday
Flat on my back with heating pad on lower back. Standing/sitting/walking is not unbearable... But close.
This seems to happen in January when I practice a lot. Probably just a coincidence.

January 18, 2016

Getting In Shape For Winter Range
A lot of shooters PRACTICE for Winter Range, but that only takes care of part of the problem. Winter Range is a grueling week-long test of shooting and conditioning. However, there are some exercises you should be working on before attending.
1. Gun Cart Load/unload—take your fully loaded gun cart out of the garage and put it in the truck. Take all gun cases out of the garage and load into the gun cart. Take the cart out, assemble it and take guns out of their cases and put them in the cart. Now take the guns off, repack them,, disassemble/fold it, and put it back in the truck, then put it back in the garage. That is one “rep.” A set is 10 reps. Work up to 10 sets.
2. Gun Cart push—Load your gun cart and start pushing, wearing guns and your shooting boots. The parking lot at Winter Range is about 2 miles from stage one, and stage 12 is 2 miles from stage one, not counting side and shotgun matches, so push for at least 4 miles, twice a day. Also simulate pushing the gun cart to each of the 100 vendors, spending 10 minutes at each vendor. Vendors are half a mile apart.
3. Balancing your arms. You need about 15,000 rounds of practice ammunition the month before WR according to the guys who actually win. So reloading it your right arm gets considerably more weight-bearing exercise than the left. So, for each round you load, raise a 50 lb. dry box of ammunition or a 50 lb. barbell once from the floor to over your head. If you use case lube on your brass, you may substitute 25 lb. weights.
4. Pick up your expended ammunition after practice without using a brass picker or other labor saving device. Duck walk between rounds to get to them. Yes, I know that Boy Scouts pick up ammunition during the match. What’s your point?
5. Winter Range has a lot of running, usually about 50 yards per stage. So, in full costume with boots and guns do twelve fifty yard dashes twice a day for 6 months before the match. You may take match weekends off.
6. Duplicate parts of the “draw” motion by picking up a 12 oz. adult beverage and putting it back on the table several times until empty. Repeat at least 10 times per night. You may substitute this for all 5 of the other exercises. Your competitors will appreciate it.

Now, before someone on the Winter Range Mafia puts a horse head in my bed, it should be noted that this article included exaggeration for comedy effect. Get the hell over it.

January 17, 2016

NOTE ADDED: I will note that this method is not the final method, but the final method requires a custom machined part. I'm working on getting that done.

Long ago in a galaxy far away, the aging captain searched for a better way to load large amounts of .38-55 for Plainsman. A big battle looms in the near future. Even with the ammunition the odds of him winning the battle are somewhere between slim and none, and slim is on another planet. But he soldiers on. In chapter 1 he used an RCBS Turret Press but discovered the Empire-designed primer feed had the durability of a storm trooper in a battle with Han Solo. In chapter 2 he adapted a Dillon XL650 to load .38-55s despite the lack of a conversion kit for the rare, obsolete round. This worked, but the casualty rate among the expensive, occasionally hard to find brass was too high.
For readers not familiar with Plainsman, it is an action shooting mini-match utilizing percussion revolvers, a double or lever-action shotgun, and a single-shot black powder cartridge rifle. Black powder or substitute is used in all firearms, meaning the dark side rules, and the force is needed to see targets, Since the rifle, like the shotgun, starts empty and ends empty, loading the rifle quickly is a prime skill needed.
Our story continues on the unforgiving southwestern desert where the captain works to make enough .38-55 ammunition so he can practice every available day...

The problem was Dillon did not have a conversion kit for 38-55s. The 30-30 Winchester kit worked for the shell plate and case feeder. But the powder funnel adapter did not. Attempts at adapting a .357 pistol powder funnels worked, after a fashion, but the tall, unsupported case could easily get out of alignment, resulting in a crushed case.

Photo 2- NOTE: THIS SET UP IS FOR AMERICAN PIONEER POWDER, NOT BLACK POWDER. Black powder requires a black powder measure for safety. Neither Lee nor Dillon nor Hornady recommend using black powder in this equipment.

Having used the Lee Auto Disk powder measure to add filler on .45 Colt loads he realized the Lee accessory list included a powder through expander die for .38/.357 that would keep the brass centered so it wouldn't crush brass--if properly adjusted. The Lee Auto-Disk Powder Measure Riser was also needed to raise the measure above other dies for clearance.

Several problems. It would work in station 2 or 3 if properly adjusted, but it couldn't be adjusted with the primer tube in place. Eventual solution was to move it to station 4.


Photo 3-The Lee Auto Disc Powder Measure with Double Disc adapter is needed to fill the case to the base of the bullet.

Photo 4-The RCBS Cowboy expander die with the larger insert that comes with it was placed in station 2. The H & R Buffalo Classic needs .380 dia. bullets, and they won't go into a .38-55 case without it.

The RCBS Cowboy expander die had to be adjusted to the point it expanded the case sufficiently for the big bullet to go in, but with only a slight flare. Too much flare would prevent the round from fitting into the Lee Powder Through die. Then the powder measure height had to be carefully adjusted to the point where the powder disc operated fully and added slightly to the flare but didn't crush the case.

Station 3 was left empty.

Photo 5-SAAMI specs. Overall length used: 2.495-2.500.

Photo 6-Desperado Cowboy bullets work with American Pioneer Powder and wholly black. They are soft lead with a flat base and a proprietary lube.

Photo 7-This setup eliminates the powder check die. Fortunately the load is near the top of the case. You can see it. If you can't see it, readjust the discs until you can. This level results in slight (1/16"±) compression when the bullet is seated.

Note there is a slight bell in the case. This is necessary. Otherwise the bullet will crush the case.

Photo 8-The bullet is seated and crimped in Station 5. If the bullet doesn't sit up on its own, the flare is too small. Crushed cases are another sign you need more flare.

Photo 9-This is nature's way of telling you that the Force is not with you. This is a result of insufficient flaring of the case.

Photo 10-Dillon Case-feed Plate Large Rifle
Stock Number: 21075

Photo 11-Casefeed adapters from .30-30 Winchester Caliber Conversion Kit.

Photo 12-The Lee Auto Disc powder measure leaks a few granules of APP, so compressed air or vacuum is needed occasionally.

Photo 13-At Station one the long case does not always self-align. You can feel it.

Of course you know a big case like this needs case lube. If you don't, you will immediately. The Force is with Hornady One Shot, or, to be more accurate, less force.

Photo 14-Using the force on the round until it goes in the full-length resizing die at station 0ne.

Photo 15-Cartridge on left as it came out of the press. The Desperado Cowboy bullet has soft lube, and it collects on the bullet. The one on the right was wiped off. All are wiped off and inspected.

Photo 16-After everything is adjusted correctly, lock all of the dies down, and results will be consistent. The aging Captain cleans and checks every round and put them in a 50 round box for QC purposes. 50 will also fit in a shot-shell box for you Rugged Gear cart users.

This system should be considered experimental, and thus you use it at your own risk. It is not approved by Lee or Dillon or Darth Vader.


January 15, 2016

Loaded a few .45 Colt, 200 gr Polycoated bullets. I only use them for WB. So I won't have to make any more for a while. All were chamber-checked.

January 10, 2016

If the Obama administration was set in “Game of Thrones.”
Scene: the camera pans in on the throne room. King Barak is sitting on the iron throne with his feet up on a priceless antique desk with a petulant look on his face. Lady Michelle is sitting in her throne flexing her muscles. Lords and ladies and other palace groupies are standing in front of him
King: Yes, what now? Not another bother. I am bored with this place. I want to get out of the palace and play golf.
Lord Boehner, the King’s Hand, or chief administrator, the head of the “small council”: Your Grace, a messenger has arrived from the Night’s Watch in the north. He brought a message of great importance.
King: Does he have word on global warming?
Lord Boehner: No, your grace. Winter is coming. Everything north of Winterfell is deeply frozen, and there is no life. Soon all of the realm will be frozen.
King: No, there is global warming. My soothsayers have prophesied it. It is settled science.
Lord Boehner: But your grace, since you banned all wood fires the peasants are freezing while you keep the castle toasty warm.
King: Careful, Lord Boehner. You can be replaced.
Lord Boehner: Forget global warming for a minute. The messenger has an important report Your Grace.
King: Go ahead.
Lord Boehner: Bring him in.
Two guards in full armor escort a terrified man dressed in black.
King: Yes, speak.
Messenger: Your Grace, the White Walkers have come out of the north over the wall. There are millions of them, and they destroy everything in their path. All of our men in the Knights’ Watch are dead. My Lord Commander ordered me to bring this message with his dying breath. Every village is destroyed. They are torturing and killing everyone who is not a White Walker unless they convert to White Walkers. They reanimate the dead to act as their foot soldiers. They are almost here.
Lady Jarrett, the king’s chief of staff: My King, you cannot permit lies like this. White Walkers are innocent victims of White Walker-phobia and deserve our love and financial support. We need to raise taxes on all of the workers in order to give them food, shelter, and free medical care.
King, turning to the messenger: Lady Jarrett is right. How dare you make a White Walker-phobic statement like that!
Messenger: Your Grace, I only speak the truth.
King: Guards, take him to the dungeon. I’ll have his head tomorrow. There are too many executions today to fit him in.
Lord Boehner: But Your Grace, some White Walkers have already reached the outskirts of the kingdom. You have ordered the gates open for two hundred thousand of them. They are killing all the men and raping the women.
Former King Bill, off to one side: You mean there are women I missed?
Lady Hillary, on the far side of the crowd from Former King Bill. To herself she mutters, “can’t the son of a whore keep it in his pants for a few more months till I become king?
King: I heard that, Lady Hillary. I am king. You will not become king as long as I live. Get over it.
Lady Hillary, whispering to herself: That’s what I have in mind. If you are dead and Lord Trump’s troops are defeated, I can become king. I should be king now. I am the rightful king. King Barak usurped my place.
Varys the Eunich: You cannot be king, m’lady. You must have balls to be king.
Lady Hillary: I have balls, Eunich. Yours are stuffed and mounted in my collection along with Chris Mathews and other scribes.
Varys: Point taken.
Queen Michelle: My king, the problem is the people are eating too much salt.
Eunich, to himself: Speaking of balls…
King: Silence. This is happening because there are too many swords. Lord Carter, Commander of the King’s Guards, take all of the King’s Guards, gather enough troops, and force the honest people to register their swords. Then once we have a list of all of them, take the swords. Kill anyone who resists.
Lord Carter: Yes Your Grace.
Lord Boehner: Your Grace. Only free men have arms. Without these swords and the Knights who know how to use them we will be slaughtered like your enemies, the house of Rino. We are doomed without the knights’ swords. We have enemies. We need strong, armed troops.
King: Guards, take Lord Boehner to the dungeon. Tomorrow’s executions are getting booked up.
Lord Boehner: (sputtering) But wait. We are doomed if you do this.
King: Nonsense. We will negotiate with the White Walkers. They are reasonable men.
Lord Boehner: They are monsters bent on killing anyone who is not one of them.”
King: Silence. Guards, torture Lord Boehner until it’s time to execute him. I know who my real enemies are, the Kingdom Swords Guild, the members of the Republican clan, and the bitter clingers in those uncivilized areas we call the Red States. We will have to kill them all.
Scene fades to a scene of White Walkers attacking unarmed villagers. Beheadings, dismemberment, and torture scenes are interspersed with 42 minutes of rapes involving PG13 to soft R female nudity of a string of young, shapely Medieval women with Brazilian waxes. A row of severed heads on pikes is panned, including, anachronistically, one of George W. Bush’s head. A character looking up at his companion says, “It was all his fault, you know.”
Scene fades, replaced by a scene of total carnage, every building burned, and bodies littering the scene. Only White Walkers remain. Slowly the camera pans to the top of the hill where the King, the Queen, and Lady Jarrett are sitting on dead horses with glowing blue eyes, surveying the scene below. All three are all white, skeletal, and with glowing blue eyes.

January 9, 2016

This was a photo of our cat Emerald sometime before 2007. A friend of mine just sent me a link to this picture in 2012. The website icanhascheezburger.com had stolen it from my website and captioned it.

January 7, 2016

People complaining about Obama's latest gun control efforts don't realize how effective one of his little known efforts was.
Before Obama, BATFE allowed gun companies to make guns available to journalists, the infamous group known as GUN WRITERS, without a 4473. The gun had to be returned within 60 days.
Under Obama the rules were changed, and now gun writers have to fill out 4473s and get FBI approval in order to test a gun for a publication, even though it still has to be returned within 60 days.
This has been wildly successful. Since this rule came into effect no GUN WRITER has committed a mass shooting.

January 6, 2016

From 2013, Arthur Pendragon


Loading a box of .45 ACP Ammo

Loaded all afternoon and only loaded one box

Now you know how many .45 ACP rounds will fill a dry box...

...and what it weighs.

January 5, 2016

January 3, 2016

If I had a dollar for every match I'm 1 round short of a clean match...

January 2, 2016

The question for today: "What do men think about 99% of the time?"

Considering my resolutions, someone asked, "Vegetables?"

I get vegetables

January 1. 2016

Now I can say I've practiced every day this year.