April 2009 Journal

The Lone Ranger's Last Request

The Lone Ranger was ambushed and captured by an enemy Indian War Party.

The Indian Chief proclaims, "So, YOU are the great Lone Ranger" .... "In honor of the Harvest Festival, YOU will be executed in three days. Before I kill you, I grant you three requests. What is your FIRST request???'

The Lone Ranger responds, "I'd like to speak to my horse." he Chief nods and Silver is brought before the Lone Ranger who whispers in Silver's ear, and the horse gallops away.

Later that evening, Silver returns with a beautiful blonde woman on his back. As the Indian Chief watches, the blonde enters the Lone Ranger's tent and spends the night.

The next morning the Indian Chief admits he's impressed. "You have a very fine and loyal horse", "But I will still kill you in two days. What is your SECOND request???"

The Lone Ranger again asks to speak to his horse. Silver is brought to him, and he again whispers in the horse's ear.

As before, Silver takes off and disappears over the horizon.

Later that evening, to the Chief's surprise, Silver again returns, this time with a voluptuous brunette, more attractive than the blonde. She enters the Lone Rangers tent and spends the night.

The following morning the Indian Chief is again impressed. "You are indeed a man of many talents. But I will still kill you tomorrow. What is your LAST request ???"

The Lone Ranger responds, "I'd like to speak to my horse, .... alone."

The Chief is curious, but he agrees, and Silver is brought to the Lone Ranger's tent..
Once they're alone, the Lone Ranger grabs Silver by both ears, looks him square in the eye and says, "Listen Very Carefully!!!!" FOR... THE... LAST... TIME...I SAID ..... BRING POSSE"

March 31, 2009


Went to the VA for my 6 month cancer checkup. PSA <0.03, which is good. This means I still qualify as a cancer survivor rather than a cancer patient. Got a chest X-ray because of the tiny spot seen on my chest last fall.

In the afternoon went to Harbor Freight and bought a few things. Didn't buy some I should have. 25 lb. walnut media $25. They have fine and coarse, blast media. Didn't know which would make good brass cleaning/polishing media.

Looked at their Dual Drum Rotary Rock Polisher:

I was looking at it as an alternative to a Thumler's Tumbler. This one is $49.95, built in China by slave labor to keep the costs down. Couldn't inspect it because none was on display, just in sealed boxes.

Thumler's Tumbler

These run $150-$200. I know BP shooters who use them to polish brass, which, as you probably know, gets more stained than from shooting smokeless. My Dillon CV500 is on its 3rd motor and runs most of the time trying to keep up with my shooting. The trick to these is to use ceramic media and a cleaning compound such a the stuff available from Buffalo Arms:

As I'm cheap, I haven't gotten one yet. If you've used the Harbor Freight version or the Thumler's Tumbler Model B or both, I'd like to hear from you about your experiences.

Then I went to Los Ranchos Gun Shop, which had been recommended as a place to buy primers. Indeed, they had Winchester Large Pistol Primers, at $33.90+Tax per thousand. I'm thinking next time I need primers I'll buy 10,000 and put a sign on the gun cart, "Primers for sale" and sell what I don't want at the time.

Received in email:

March 30, 2009


The Redhead went to Route 66 Casino, and I stayed in the garage and loaded shotgun shells. I'm down to my last few hundred hulls, and the SL900 is humming, so I'm trying to load until I run out of hulls or powder. Got more Remington primers at Sportsman's Warehouse, also another bag of Claybuster wads. So I have more of both than hulls. I used up 200 Winchester and 100 CCI primers and noted something. The Winchester almost always fed properly. The Remingtons wound up on the floor with greater regularity than either Winchesters or CCIs. I could have gotten CCIs at Sportsman's, but I've never used them. I didn't know where the 100 I had came from. Additionally they had 209Ms, and I REALLY don't know what they'd do, probably nothing notable, but I got another 1,000 Remington STS.

Ran out of shell boxes.

March 29, 2009


Rio Grande Renegades 5th Sunday Match

FIrst, at 0900, or, in reality, once the range workers opened the range, took our money, and let us in, Irish Jack Clary taught an RO1 class. I audited it to keep up with rules changes.

By the way, this meant joining 2 more clubs, the City Range, $85, and renewing Rio Grande Renegades, $25. If I didn't join the City Range, it would be $6 every trip. With practice sessions every Wednesday, one Wednesday match a month, and one Saturday match and one Sunday match, plus a 5th Saturday or Sunday match where applicable, that's at least $36/month, so buying the annual pays off if we're here until October.

The match was well laid out, reasonable stages, targets within SASS guidelines. So why did I have 6 misses in 4 stages? I've never had a decent match at this club. Every time I think something's going well, I have a miss. Beats the heck out of me.

March 28, 2009


Ted Simmons invited me to the Zia Rifle and Pistol Club's Action Pistol match. (They're not affiliated with USPSA or IDPA, so they use the rules they like and ignore the rest.) After it the club was having a new member orientation, required for getting a key to the range, which I need to practice during the week other than Wednesday with the Renegades.

I got put on a different "posse" (Don't remember what they call it in action pistol) from Ted. So there I was with a bunch of people I didn't know. It came my turn to shoot, and I was standing in the shooter's box waiting for permission to load and make ready. The RO started asking me all of the beginner questions, but not the right ones. "Have you shot action pistol before?" "Yes." "When was the last time?" "Last fall." He went on at that point with the beginner lecture, and I listened carefully, smiling on one side of my mouth. I thought the right question was, "When was the first time?" I would have said "In the 70s," but The Redhead reminded me that no, my first action pistol match was in 1969 when the starting signal was my sighting a guy trying to aim an RPG2 at my APC.

In any case, my USPSA life member # is 507.

Fortunately I didn't make a fool of myself.

Of course, all of the kids with 43 round magazines shooting itty-bitty bullets and 60 oz. guns with mudflaps, turbo chargers, and curb feelers coming out of space age plastic holsters that held them a foot away from their bodies were a lot faster. What did you expect?

The rules they operated under pretty much require 10 round magazines for "Limited 10" guns, which is a really silly class. No one carries a 1911 with a 10 round "Bureaucrat" magazine in it under his coat. When I was still shooting USPSA you could have them on the belt but had to start with a flush-mounted magazine. I had one with me and borrowed one from Ted. Next time I'll take all of mine.

The targets were generally a lot further away and often a lot smaller than SASS targets. We were shooting at 25-30 yard targets Strong Hand Only on one stage. All had distant targets. Great marksmanship training, but if someone is 40 yards away and a threat, and I'm only carrying a pistol, I'm going prone or whatever supported position is available. If there are 5 assailants at 20-30 yards, and I'm only aimed with a pistol, I'm definitely (a) in trouble, and (b) going prone behind cover, either that or running like hell because most bad guys can't hit diddly at 40 yards. One of Clint Smith's tenets is to back up to get distance when threatened because anyone can make a hit at 3 yards (well, there are exceptions I can think of...), but anything past 7 yards is tough for people who don't shoot all the time, and 15 yards or more and movement makes the odds really in your favor. If you can turn around and make a snap shot and hit the assailant, the problem is usually solved.


After the match the club had a new member orientation. I think they were expecting up to 100 people. They had a lot more. Their room was definitely occupied by more than the fire marshal would have liked. Someone noted that this was another Obama contribution to gun ownership in the US. Several of these people voted for "The One" and then decided they needed to arm themselves while they could, and, while they were at it, some instructions and a place to practice made sense. Despite what Sarah Brady tells you, these things don't load, aim, and fire themselves. They take a lot of work, especially pistols. Of course the good news is the marksmanship part of self defense is usually pretty easy. The hard part is everything else, starting with situational awareness. If your last words are something like, "He came out of nowhere, and I didn't see him coming," then your heirs are going to bury you in the cheapest cemetery they can find in a cardboard coffin, and none of them will come to the funeral. "Poor Uncle Al. What an idiot." Not the obituary most of us want.

The orientation was difficult. There was no PA system, and I could barely hear the speaker. People would ask questions, quietly, from the front of the room, and he would answer them in a voice appropriate to an intimate discussion. But eventually the simple club rules were covered, and we got our coveted keys and membership cards. Mine said, "RICH CURTIS." I mentioned this to the ladies doing them, and they put a comma in the envelope, not on their records. I'll have to deal with that. You can call me a lot of names, but the only one I'm likely to pop you in the chin for is RICH CURTIS. I've been putting up with that since the town librarian in Texas City Texas did it on my library card, and, like these ladies, refused to change it. The difference was she still refused to change it when my mother went to the library and asked her to---nicely, just before the brawl started.

March 27, 2009


It got considerably colder than forecasted, 27°F. As a result, we hadn't disconnected the water line. Additionally, the electric heating element for the faucet had been turned off, not by us. When we got up, we had no water. I did a recon run and plugged in the faucet heat. When that warmed up the connection enough to disconnect the frozen hose I did and took the hose and water softener into the now heated garage and put a trouble lamp on it. I also used a hair dryer to speed things up. When it was thawed, I put the hoses back in place, without the still icy water softener, and filled the tank in the bus. I could have gotten a heater for the hose, at $43,95, but there's only one more night of freezing in the forecast.


March 26, 2009-Added

When we left Phoenix it was 80°F or so, beautiful, clear blue skies, and enough wind to blow the BP smoke away. Then we came to Albuquerque. It's 40° with hurricane force winds and dreary grey skies.

What were we thinking?

Memo: next year, don't leave Phoenix until April. No VA Appointments in March.

March 26, 2009


Went to the VA for blood drawing per the doctor's request so it'll be ready for next week's appointment.

Then, driving to breakfast a red warning came on the dash of the ML: DRIVE TO WORKSHOP WITHOUT SHIFTING GEARS A call to the local MB dealer elicited a response that the cause was a glow plug relay or something, that it had nothing to do with shifting gears, but it didn't take long to fix and they could do it if we came over. We did. Their shuttle driver took us to the nearest Cracker Barrel. When we got back, it was ready. This was also the cause of the COMAND system shutting down and restarting at random in high altitude areas. It took MB engineers setting up in Santa Fe for some months to figure it out.

Later I went to see Boggus Deal at Petersen's Gun Shop. It was a zoo, with customers all over the place. Like everyone else, they're selling everything they can get and could sell three times as much. They had some smokeless for my WB guns, no large pistol primers, though, except for magnum match. We had lunch together and talked about the state of the local clubs, etc.

Went to Sportsman's Warehouse. They were worse off than the one in Phoenix.

Called the VA main number to change my VA address to the summer one. If I don't do that, they send me to Houston for "evaluation" periodically. Getting to a human being requires a special technique, learned through trial and error. There is no number for "Change my address". Punching "0" does not work until you get into one of the other numbers. As to which one, I'll keep the secret.

SASS Wire response (to my 3-24 comments):

Capt Baylor,

Thank you for offering that advice to the un-named female shooter. Apparently some women just can't make up their mind on "what to wear"...... (or not!!!). I have had hours of enjoyment viewing the in home WB fashion show as Silver Heart tries on the different WB outfits (or not) that you described/identified to her. You were right about that subject as well..........two outta three ain't bad!

yor frend

Pecos (who thinks the WB rules is just fine and they don't need to be changed at all, especially the costuming) Clyde


March 25, 2009


Moving day 2

Did the usual once-per-trip uh-oh. Exited Exit 96 instead of 102. Result was about 15-20 miles off course excursion trying to get going east again. Oh, we could have gone East as soon as we exited if we could do a U-turn in a 20 ft. Radius.

Finally got to Enchanted Trails RV Park. Deja Vu all over again.

We've stayed there 2 summers. We made reservations when we left. We reconfirmed them last week. "Our rig is 65 ft. long, 40 ft. coach, 25 ft. trailer. We need one of the spaces on A row, facing east."

"Let's see. We had you in A-9 last year. Did you like that one?"

"Yes. That's fine."

"Okay, I'll put you down for it."

She even offered to pencil it in through mid-October, which is normally booked by the balloon festival.

So we arrived at 4 PM and registered with the owner, got A-9, paid, and, just as we were leaving to go park the bus, she said, "Of course you'll have to disconnect the box trailer."

"We didn't last year."

"Of course you did. That's always been the rule here."

"We didn't last year."

"You had to. I've been here 22 years, and that's always been the rule."

(See December 2008 Journal)

The Redhead gets angry when called a liar. I'm used to it now that I own an RV.

We were exhausted after a 2 day drive, and we had just been told we would have to find another home for the summer.

Unlike the "nice gentleman" at Pioneer, we were able to convince her that letting us stay attached would be a good idea. Additionally she actually gave a reason for the silly rule, to allow fire truck access. However, we fit in the spot, and big RVs can get in and out, so there is no fire truck access problem.

March 24, 2009


Moving day 1

Drove to Holbrook and spent the night at the KOA.

Encountered a 3-Card Monte scheme at the Meteor Crater rest area. Allegedly a trucker had just gotten $160,000 at Vegas and was playing 3-Card monte with all comers, and he was too drunk to tell that the red card had a corner turned up, and everybody was winning big time. Watched about 30 seconds and forced my way out and got back to the car. I figure the RVers invited to the "Celebration" were the ones not in on it.

By the time we got the bus started and moving the "celebration" was over, and all were gone.

Late Night on the SASS Wire

The subject was the Wild Bunch Rules. The usual non-shooting suspects were complaining about the usual. I wrote this just before midnight.

Okay, it's late at night. I have a splitting headache and insomnia after driving the big rig all day, and I figure I have nothing to lose. I'm going to answer some of the questions raised here, divulging secrets heretofore known only to 4 people who drink Margaritas in a bus.

1. Why don't they allow base pads on magazines? A. So all shooters of the Wild Bunch can recognize each other by waving with our weak hand, thus displaying the blood blisters in our palms to each other like a secret handshake without the germ transference. B. Bill Wilson doesn't advertise in The Cowboy Chronicle.

2. Why don't they allow Lugers and Broomhandle Mausers? Neither Uberti nor Pietta make any.

3. Why do they require big bore rifles? To give contestants an excuse to buy another gun, more loading dies, brass, and bullets and to allow manufacturers to sell same. It also allows Classic Cowboys to have another use for their rifles. That and it's cool to hear BANG CLANG instead of pop ding.

4. Why don't they allow early double action revolvers? Because it's the SINGLE Action Shooting Society. DASS will have to do those matches.

5. As to why we have Wild Bunch matches at all? To add another costume category, Wild Bunch Lady. A very good lady shooter asked me what kind of costume she could wear that would be faithful to the movie. I watched it again that night and gave her three choices, semi-nude Mexican soiled dove, totally nude Mexican soiled dove, or black clad temperance lady. I figured two out of three was pretty good odds. Maybe that'll take off. They won't all choose to wear those hot, high-necked temperance lady outfits.

I'm sure revealing these secrets will result in a price on my head as I was sworn to secrecy, or at least I think that's what he was saying. He had had about a pitcher of The Redhead's Margaritas. Come to think of it, so had I. I just hope it's not as embarrassing as the last one, which was 50,000 Piastres. I thought this was impressive until I realized that was about $3 U.S.

March 23, 2009


Worked in the shop, cleaning it out to prepare it for the move. I used the magnetic sweeper looking for the small steel parts that have gone to little part heaven during this sojourn. Not one. Vacuumed the floor carefully, then dumped the contents of the vacuum into a pan and ran a magnet through it several times, picking up 342 small springs, a 4-40 locknut, and 228 shotgun primers.

Cleaned the windshield and side glass. Invisible Glass in the spray can is THE best windshield cleaner I've found.

The Redhead and I worked on an edge molding on the curbside front slideout that was loose. I crawled underneath and discovered that some of the screws securing it via an aluminum angle had broken. Resecured same with new drill screws. Not perfect, but it shouldn't get worse. Metal secured to wood. Not great. Did manage to secure the end piece to metal.

The trailer was disconnected from the bus in order to level it. That meant I had to raise the front end back up, using a bottle jack. To lower it enough to level it meant supporting the trailer jack with a 8" stack of 2 x 10s. That wasn't enough to raise it over the trailer hitch. Inserted 5 more inches of height. The bus had been moved for servicing and returned, leaving it a bit out of line, so we'll have to attach the trailer in the morning after pulling in the slides and jacks. Then we can put the ML in.

March 22, 2009

Worked in the shop all day, straightening up. Found some armored knee pads I'd gotten for Thunder Ranch years ago. I needed them because I was putting stuff in the basement, which means going under the slide outs. The left front is the worst, being the widest. The left front compartment is where I keep bullets and shot. The right side has .45 Colt ammo, among other things. Lots of room there since I shot up a lot of .45 practicing. I'll keep doing same until most of it's gone. Moving boxes of 1500 rounds of bullets into the hardest compartment to get in and out of was exercise.

While cleaning up found the firing pin for the '73 Carbine. Until then I didn't know I hadn't put it back in. So I had to take the carbine apart again and put it in. Lost the lever screw and never did find it. Used a spare side plate screw as a "placeholder" until I get another. Ordered a set of hardened screws from VTI Gun parts.

By 4 I was tired. The shop is 90% ready to travel. I'll finish tomorrow--After I take the ML to Discount Tire.

Results from Cowtown: Larsen was 28th OA with 229.34. I was 29th with 232.41 (they use total time here). Judah was 35th with 244.04. They scored Larsen in Senior by mistake. Larsen is going to shoot Frontiersman at Buffalo Stampede and EOT. He probably won't miss as much there. I did my best to encourage him to shoot FCD.

March 21, 2009


Cowtown Cowboy Shooters Association Match

The #@%! tire pressure monitor red light came on again. Right rear 25 lb. Pumped it up. Went on to the match. #!%!#!

Great club, shoots twice a month, 7 stages or so a time. I'm going to miss Cowtown this summer. It's a great place to practice, and their matches are extremely well done, and the competition is fantastic. At this one Larsen E. Pettifogger, Judah Macabee, and I shot Frontiersman in the same posse.

Several shooters were away at Casa Grande for Gathering of the Posses. I just didn't want to move the bus there. Last year we got it on the way back from "Life on Wheels" in Tucson. The match was great, though.

Anyway, I had 2 misses, once because I tried to remember where a target was in the smoke, and once because a cap didn't go off the first time. I spun the cylinder until I found the shiny cap and fired-and missed. As one guy said, "I hate it when that happens." Lost 7-9 seconds on that mess. Very close between me and Judah. Larsen had some smoking times but a lot of misses. Judah only had one miss, because he couldn't get one of the pistols to fire, but he spent a lot of time trying to make it fire. That was our last stage, naturally, screwing up his clean match. He usually shoots clean or almost clean.

Larsen and I went to lunch at Chili's, skipping waiting for results. I'll get them off the website when they're posted.

After the big lunch at Chili's The Redhead didn't want to cook, so we went back to Chili's for dinner. It's close.

March 20, 2009


Worked in the garage more on the WB guns. Found the spring from the original Plunger tube and put it in. Now it feels right. Don't know why the Wolf was so damn heavy. Not like them. Then changed the extractor on the '73 carbine and tuned same. Got everything working, and the rear sight fell off. This is a 10 year old Uberti, built either Monday morning or Friday afternoon, and the rear sight dovetail has been a problem since day one. I was using a short-base Marbles flat-topped sight that had been drilled and tapped for a set screw. I couldn't get it back into the dovetail. I needed to loosen the set screw, but it needed an Allen wrench that wasn't in my metric set or my inch set. Finally I gave up and took the rear sight off the Handi-Rifle I shoot in Plainsman. It has a usable set screw. I have a call in to Cowboy Shooters Supply to get another sight. No brand name on it, and I haven't seen it anywhere else. All of this took till noon! That blew the plans to go shoot the WB guns.

Then got the guns ready for Cowtown tomorrow, last match in Arizona before the fall, or perhaps the winter. Did some cleaning in the garage. It needs a lot more. Fatigue overload and took the rest of the day off about 4.

Finally, Stuff about the LoneRider Rig Jack Houston made for me:


All the reasonable gamy stuff. There's a little chip in each one that reads my thoughts and hands me the gun, aimed at the correct target, and cocks it. I have to pull the trigger myself.


Actually it does have all the modern conveniences of an 1889 rig as interpreted by a master leather crafter for a 2009 SASS competitor (okay, wannabe competitor), such as a gizmo to keep it pushed out away from my body and in a good position for access. I've taken a liking to the in-front-of-the-point-of-the-hip, slightly muzzle forward position because I can see the holster for re-holstering on the clock. Missing the holster is one of those things you don't want to do--ever. It's molded out of stiff leather, low cut front and rear so I can grab the weak hand gun by the trigger guard and top strap. It fits the guns well. When the gun is inserted firmly, it holds firmly until the gun is pulled up an inch or so. This makes it resistant to klutzy gun dropping.

Jack made the rig out of the finest leather he could get, with high quality thread for the stitching. I keep telling him he needs to raise the price of his premium line. The carving, as usual, is exquisite.

The belt, 2-1/2" wide, is suede lined so it sticks to my hips rather than sliding down to my knees. The holsters, with their gizmos to keep the guns out from my body, are hard to slide around the belt, meaning they stay in place. This one was designed at my request to use trophy belt buckles, which, eventually, I'll get over. It's really hard to tighten a belt with a trophy buckle, and some of them don't hook very well into the hole. Neither Evil Roy nor John Wayne wore trophy buckles.

The matching shotgun belt holds 12 shells in 2s and 10 .38 cartridges in each side. The tongue is a removable piece and can be adjusted in or out in case you gain or lose weight. The shotgun belt, of course, holds the rounds I wanted it to hold in the places I wanted them. He makes them to order, so you could get one to your specs.

Klutz Testing

We worked on this one after Winter Range 2008. 12 or 13 people dropped loaded guns at that event, including two world champions. Jack worked on retention through proper sizing and molding. If you shove the gun into the holster, it is grabbed pretty firmly around the bottom of the cylinder. Pull it up an inch or so, and it is completely released, so you can draw quickly.

At Defend Old Fort Parker I walked into a dark set and tripped, doing a 3/4 face plant. While other shooters were walking over me or trying to pick me up or questioning my sobriety, Jack was saying, "Look, the guns didn't fall out!"

Fast forward to Winter Range. Stage 10 or 11, not sure which. Saturday morning when the great wind came through, knocking over sets, putting vendors tents into the next county, blowing away the Cadillac that was supposed to go to First Frontiersman. It was my turn to shoot, and I picked up the long guns to carry them to their places. A nice man wanted to stage my rifle. I said, "No, I'm a gamer, and I want to stage my rifle." There was also the fact that being left-handed, I was going to shoot from right to left on the ambidextrous stage. But he really wanted to stage my rifle, and he was talking as I walked. I was looking at him when the wind blew a hay bale over, and I went over it doing a one and a half gainer, worrying about where the long guns were pointing, but not thinking about the pistols. After they picked me up and ruled it a prop failure, Jack was there saying, "Look, the guns didn't fall out!"

So now his latest holsters can wear a tag reading, "Klutz tested and approved." Now, do keep in mind, like bullet-resistant vests, and water-resistant watches, these holsters are not Klutz-PROOF, just Klutz-RESISTANT.

They're also very good holsters

March 19, 2009


Started on the way to Festival of the West. Tire pressure monitor came on. Went to Discount Tire. They found a screw in one tire. They lectured me again on my choice of tire pressures. I use 32-32, which is what is called for on the fuel filler door for normal usage. 32-39 is for max loads. They wanted to do that. If I do that the rears wear in the middle. I don't load it that much, anyway. The guy told me with a straight face that the tire pressure monitor was set for 32-39, and if I didn't put that much in I'd have trouble with it and have to go to a dealer to have it reset to 32-32. Gee, if that's the case, why is that "R" button and instructions for resetting the monitors when you have set in the pressures you want? Wouldn't they have taught me what he said at Mercedes instead of what I just described?

Then, after feeding The Redhead at Cracker Barrel, we went to Festival of the West. If you haven't been, imagine End of Trail without shooters and 600 people wearing guns and in costume and without the gun and leather vendors, just a few clothing vendors, Coon Creek, Buckaroo Bobbins, Redwing Trading. Inside the really big exhibition hall/tent imagine a gun show with no lighting to speak of and no guns, just the Sham-Wows and schlock jewelry and nothing worth stopping for except mesquite furniture with turquoise epoxied (I suppose) into the voids. Really good stuff, from San Angelo, Texas. Now I remember where I'd seen it before, at a furniture and woodworking show in Fredericksburg.

Talked with Buck and Leta at Coon Creek and Redwing and Karen at Redwing Trading, walked around the mountain men and 9th Cavalry buffalo soldiers and went back to the bus.

The plunger tube staking tool and plunger tube and innards were here from Brownells. The staking tool worked like a charm, putting the plunger tube on in 5 minutes or so, fortunately on correctly instead of backwards. When I put the springs and plungers in the safety was way too stiff. Cut a coil off the Wolf spring (got a Wolf, a Colt, and a Brownells just because I was bound to lose something. Still too stiff. Used the Colt. Less stiff but stiffer than I like. After I got into the house and had a Margarita I remembered where I'd put the old plunger tube spring and tube (lost one in the crash).

Put on a pair of double diamond Rosewood grips I'd gotten with the Colt Government Model. They're thick enough to protect the plunger tube and extend over it.

Hopefully will get the rifle extractor changed tomorrow and go to Cowtown to test it.

Prairie Mary sent out Buffalo Stampede entry information. Despite what they were saying on the SASS website, they're doing a 6 stage Wild Bunch match--on Friday after 6 stages of regular match. 12 stages, then 6 more the next day (and 9 on Thursday, 6 warm up and 3 Plainsman). All action matches are included in the $95 entry fee. Love it. They've gotten the message. Lots of shooting, no extra charges. Reasonable price.

The fact that it's almost midnight and I'm writing this tells me something, not sure what though.

March 18, 2009


Went back to Discount Tire. They hadn't properly torqued the tire pressure monitor/tire valve.

Went to Cowtown and practiced extensively. Didn't break anything. Using up .45 Colt ammo in the Ruger Vaqueros. Got a few good times. Bad ones weren't usually very bad by last year's standards. Noted my weak points, the usual, transition from left to right pistol and from rifle to shotgun, reloading the shotgun. If I can get that down I can make a big dent in my times. Speeding up switching pistols will save .5-.75 seconds, which is a lot, but I should be able to take 2-3 seconds off the shotgun if I can ever get past the wall. Anyway, good stages 26-28.

Shot the carry .45 Officer's ACP again. Loved it. Draw and fire 2 on 4 plates 3.55 with all hits. First shot under 1.3.

Loaded more shotgun shells using APP 2f and Winchester AA hulls, practice stuff. More rejects with Winchesters vs. Remingtons. Put everything in boxes. Counted 50 boxes. I'll keep going until I run out of something.

Tuesday Addendum

Forgot to add went to Legendary Guns. Didn't seem busy. No one waited on me. Left.

I believe I neglected to mention last Thursday we went to Debbie's choice of restaurants, Carvers. Excellent. Classy, quiet, understated decor, excellent food and service. Under priced.

March 17, 2009


When I started to go to Cowtown the tire pressure monitor went off. Left front tire was low, down to 26 from 32. Pumped it up and continued to march. I'll go in tomorrow. Getting a bit pissed, though. Shot up .45 Colt BP ammo in the old Vaqueros. Did several stages with goofy shooting order in order to prepare for shooting in Albuquerque. Example: Pistol 1, 1-5-2-4-3 Pistol 2, 3-4-2-5-1, rifle 1-5-2-4-3-3-4-2-5-1, shotgun 1-4-2-3

When I finished and put the carry gun back on, the Colt Officer's ACP Earl Long built for me and thought, "I haven't shot this in a long time." I scrounged some WB ammo from the WB box and loaded it. Drew from concealment at 7 yard plate, 1.65 for 2 shots. First one at 1.35. Worked like a charm. I might have to shoot it some more.

Went to Sportsman's Warehouse and asked if they had any shotgun primers in 1000s. The kid came back with a box of CCIs and one of Remingtons. "I'll take the green one."

Couldn't buy anything else. They have very bare shelves. This is one of the Sportsman's that's not going to be shut down. What's it like at those?

March 16, 2009


Went back to Discount Tire because the left front tire was leaking. Waited 45 minutes for them to put new seals in the tire pressure monitoring system.

Then I went to Cowtown to shoot Wild Bunch guns. Opened a box marked ".45 ACP Practice." It was filled with .45 Colt. Used the match ammo in the gun cart box. Put the Thunder Ranch Special down once and noted something came off. The plunger tube had broken off. This hadn't happened to me in 25 years or so. Shot the Colt. Was running '73 exercises when the extractor broke. Decided it was time to quit before I broke the '97.

Ordered appropriate parts from Brownell's including a Plunger tube staking tool. Probably won't need that too often.

Jack Houston, on the phone later, reminded me that the grips are supposed to cover the plunger tube and protect it. The Thunder Ranch Special has thin Thunder Ranch grips that don't protect the plunger tube. My dim memories of previous plunger tube failures make me think the last one was when I was using Pachmayr rubber grips that don't protect the plunger tube. Time to switch grips.

March 15, 2009


Went next door to Pioneer Village Living History Center where a Civil War reenactment was going on.

Yankee cannon fires at rag tag line of Confederates

Watched the rag tag band of Confederates route the larger, better dressed and equipped Yankees then went on to look at the Living History Center. The Undertaker's wife asked us if we would like to dress up as old west characters and get our pictures taken. The jailer was a SASS person gone bad.

Arthur stayed home and relaxed, dreaming evil cat thoughts about getting even with the dog

March 14, 2009


ACSA Monthly Match

ACSA shoots at Ben Avery. This month the Game and Fish people mistakenly told them they couldn't shoot at the new Fort and General Store. It was straightened out, but too late. We shot 7 stages, Then 3 Wild Bunch stages. Thus I missed the lunch at Chili's with the BP gang. In fact, we didn't finish until after 4.

ACSA has the biggest Frontiersman contingent I've ever encountered. Seven out of the top ten Frontiersmen at Winter Range are members, and Larsen E. Pettifogger, who shot FCD at WR, shot Frontiersman this week. (He was scored in FCD as winning, but he would have been third in Frontiersman. Frontiersman is tough here) If this isn't a great place to shoot Frontiersman, I don't know one.

The Wild Bunch match was pretty much decided by malfunctions. In my case it was mental malfunctions on the last stage. I was just tired.


Bad! Bad 1911!

Johnny Meadows had a lot of 1911 problems...

a lot.

Maybe Silver Heart's 1911 caught it from Johnny Meadows'

Arizona Redneck demonstrated the proper use of the Screw Knife to clear a jam in a '73

Drawing from Condition 3:


Pecos Clyde demonstrates the draw from condition 3 (hammer down, empty chamber, loaded magazine) He acquires a good firing grip and pulls the gun straight up almost to his armpit. His weak hand is near his solar plexus

The strong hand shoves the gun forward with the arms in tight, close to the body for maximum strength. The weak hand grasps the slide. He grasps it at the front.

As the gun comes up to eye level, the weak hand comes into position

By the time the gun is at eye level, the weak hand has acquired its position for a good two handed grip

Arizona Redneck has just put his rifle down and already acquired a firing grip on the 1911

Again, his arms are in close to the chest for maximum strength, and the weak hand grasps the slide. He grasps it behind the ejection port. He is punching forward with the strong arm


He's now in position. Drawing from condition 3 shouldn't take more than 0.25 longer than from condition 1, less with practice.

Ol' Short Tom shoots left handed and Traditional (one handed). He is putting his rifle down but already on the move, and his strong hand is reaching for the 1911

Since he is running to his strong side, he can draw and cycle the gun on the move, planting one foot in firing position before chambering a round

The strong hand punches forward, cycling the slide, and going to firing position. All of his hand and arm muscles are clinched, and he has a good control of recoil. Note the angle of the gun and the fired case in the air.

March 13, 2009

Friday The 13th came on Friday this month

The Redhead went to the store. I worked in the shop. Cleaned all of the guns for this weekend, including Wild Bunch. ACSA has a Wild Bunch match AFTER a 8 stage monthly match. After that everyone who shoots both matches goes to the emergency room for treatment.

The Wild Bunch Screw Knife

First came the Screw Knife from Redwing Trading Co. You saw all of the cool shooters had one on their belt or their strong-side holster. You wondered why. Then either someone told you to get one, or you saw someone use it. I was practicing next to Penny Wrangler, and a split case got into the shell carrier of the '73. Using the Screw Knife, she reached down through the carrier, pushed the split case back into the magazine, opened the loading gate and ejected the bad round, and kept shooting. 15 seconds or so. Better than 45 if there are 9 rounds in the gun. Been there, done that.

But now the cool shooters in Wild Bunch matches have one of these. Damascus blade, so you can put some torque to the screwdriver part without breaking it. An edge on one side that'll open up taped ammo boxes and the like but won't cut your fingers off. But what the hell's that thing on the top?

I showed it to The Redhead, and she knew immediately. "It's a bottle opener." Well, indeed, after a few stages of Wild Bunch match a cold Coke sounds good. (No alcohol around guns, of course) No, that isn't it. It's a 1911 bushing wrench.

When you clean a GI 1911A1 you UNLOAD AND CHECK TO MAKE SURE IT'S CLEAR, then take it down to slide, barrel, slide stop, and frame assembly using your hands and start cleaning. If you need tools to field strip it, you probably shouldn't count on it in a combat zone. But match grade 1911A1s have tight match barrels. Getting the bushing to turn requires a wrench.

Put the wrench on the barrel bushing and push to the rear

This retracts the bushing, allowing it to turn freely, but the plug is under 18.5 lb. of pressure.

Turn the wrench clockwise to release the plug

Now, if you have a Colt recoil spring plug, everything looks like this. If you don't, the recoil spring plug just went SPROING across the room. The Colt or Mil-Spec plug has 2 little indentations that capture the spring. Cylinder and Slide also makes one with the 2 little indentations. IF you don't have one of these plugs with the safety indentations, GET ONE!

Now you can remove the slide and take the barrel out for cleaning, etc.

Are you going to be disassembling your 1911 on the clock? No, but the wrench is handy. Anyway, all of the cool shooters have one. If you don't have one, well...

New Michelins

Went to Discount Tires and had the new Michelins mounted. Much better ride noted immediately, and the dartiness is gone. Let's hope they last longer than 18,000 miles.

Nearly all of the tires designed for the high performance SUVs (Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche) are V, W. or Z rated. In Europe they're either not governed or governed to 155 mph if needed (ML63 AMG, for example). Here most are governed to 130 (I don't believe Porsche governs anything). H-130 mph rated tires will normally outlast V, W, or Z rated tires 2 to one.

My previous ML was a ML55 AMG, a screaming monster easily capable of doing 155 mph and stable as hell at all speeds, also THE most reliable car I've ever owned. But it used 2 things, brake pads, and tires. The OEM Dunlops were gone at under 20K miles, the rears being bald while the fronts weren't (ROTATE!). I replaced them with Pirelli Scorpion Zeros. These, too, were 155 mph rated. But they lasted 35,000 miles!!! I called The Tire Rack for another set, and they didn't make them anymore. I guess not, with mileage like that they probably cut their sales in half! I went to Continentals. Michelins were always backordered, and I wasn't having any more Dunlops.

Scorpion Zeros are out now, more expensive than the Michelins and W rated. The ML320 is governed to 130 mph for what it's worth. I no longer go that fast unless someone is chasing me or I'm rushing to an emergency room.

Wanted: Remington #10 Percussion Caps

If you have a good source for Remington #10 Percussion caps in lots of 1,000 or more, please let me know. I prefer 5,000 lots.

Margaritas at 5

Old Short Tom and Two Sons came by for Margaritas and conversation. They're going back to Yankeeland Monday, delayed a week because it was 17°F up there Monday.

March 12, 2009


Went and tested the '73 with the new firing pin spring. Still misfiring. Well, I did loosen the mainspring yesterday. Tightened it back up, and no more problems--with Winchester primers.

Did something I don't remember doing before in practice. I was shooting stages similar to those shot at the last CCSA match. Standard 10-10-24 stuff. Shot one in 25 seconds. It was a pretty quick stage, progressive sweep on pistol targets (1-2-2-3-3-3-4-4-4-4), move to rifle, progressive sweep, make rifle safe, move to shotgun. Engage 4 shotgun targets, any order. Was surprised at the 25, as I wasn't hurrying. Shot it again, all stops out, still 25 but 2 misses. I haven't shot a clean 25 second 10-10-4 stage in competition and never expected to shooting one handed, smoky, and percussion pistols. Now it's possible. Practice, practice, practice.

The range was pretty full. Half-a-Hand-Henry was giving lessons to Judge Harshly. Blue Ridge Ranger was giving lessons to someone else. Arizona Gambler was practicing a little and talking to everyone. Larsen E. Pettifogger was testing a pair of Uberti Navies for Frontiersman at EOT, also an AWA Lightning he's pretty much redesigned and rebuilt. Everything worked, 12 stages with the Navies. The only problem was the conicals didn't work, so he's stuck with 80 gr. round balls. He tried full chambers of Triple 7 3f, probably close to the SASS max velocity, so a power factor in the 70s. That'll be his knockdown load. A British couple was shooting at another bay. WR is over. The place is still busy. Hmm.

No malfunctions with the rifle. Shot the old Ruger .45s to use up .45 Colt BP ammo. Tired of carrying it on the bus. Good simulation of the ROA. More recoil than the ERs, stiffer cocking, more Ruger-like.

March 11, 2009



Took the bus to Sun City RV for the door awning. Last summer at EOT the wind blew it off its mount, leaving it hanging by its electrical wires. I took it down and stowed it in the basement. Later I took it to the Newmar dealer in Albuquerque, and they ordered the cap that was broken. They told me it was in three weeks after I gave up on them and told me I had to bring the bus in so they could get the paint numbers. My offer to read them the paint numbers and bring in the awning was dismissed. So I had Sun City order the cap and paint it and the awning. This was all done before WR, but I wasn't going to go in until WR was over. So they mounted it, adjusted it so it worked, wired it up, etc. $355.

While they were working on it we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast and the jewelry store called saying The Redhead's Rolex is back from Rolex. So we went and picked it up. $800+. Note: If you have a Rolex, have it checked annually. It's cheaper.

Non RV Stuff

When we got back to the RV park I realized I hadn't properly saved the blog after doing yesterday, and the computer shut down when closed. So I had to re-write yesterday.

Then I went to the shop and took the pistol grip '73 apart to replace the firing pin spring. Long Hunter had told me it was too strong at Winter Range and gave me a couple of thinner springs with instructions to try one and cut off a coil at a time until it felt like the other gun. When you get the firing pin out of a '73, you've taken it pretty far apart. The spring that was in there was probably recycled from a '58 Chevy half ton pickup truck. Eventually I got the spring adjusted to feel about like the one on the straight grip gun and put the gun back together and adjusted the trigger to about the same poundage (2 lb. 10 oz.) While it was apart I cleaned the gun, of course. Brasso made the brass carrier pass Army inspection. (You Air Force and Marine guys may not know how to polish brass. Army vets, you can be assured, do.)

I'll test it tomorrow.

March 10, 2009


Ordered tires for ML from Discount Tires in Anthem. I got tires from them last March, run-flat Michelins. The OEM Michelins went 26K miles, bad enough. The replacements, same model, became run-flat tires. I didn't want run-flats, but that was the OEM replacement. I was right. 18K miles later they are at 3/32" and 4/32". I have seen customers wreck cars because they tried to get "one more month" out of their bald tires and wrecked their cars, blaming the Electronic Stability Program.

Now Michelin has an OEM model tire that's H-Rated (all of the competition is Z, V, or W rated). After about 3 hours of price negotiation I ordered them (payback for all of the cheap !#%!#! I dealt with over the years). They're not run-flat, either. The Discount guy, Paul, confirmed what I knew about run-flats when I sold Mercedes and these. "They're horrible. They're selling one thing at the expense of everything else. They don't handle well and the ride is terrible." Agreed. They made this stable, 5,000 lb. Mercedes darty. The ML has the adjustable suspension, so I just keep it in the "Luxury" mode to counter the ride degradation.

When I got back I went to Cowtown to test some experimental ammunition. I had loaded 100 rounds of 105 gr./17.6 gr. Goex Cartridge loads and 125 gr./15.6 gr. Goex Cartridge. These were my normal smokeless bullets. I wanted to see if I cleaned the barrels like I normally do between stages if they's work. I shot them compared to 105 gr./10 gr. 777 2f loads. First I'd shoot 10 rounds and run a Bore Snake through the barrel. That worked. Then I just sprayed the carrier with Windex and sprayed some down the barrel and oiled the carrier after 10 rounds. That worked. Then I extended the intervals, looking for the barrel to foul out. Before that happened the lever got sticky (the carrier was dragging.)

Both smoked more than the 777 loads, but the smoke was blue and easier to see through. And, of course, they went BOOOM instead of bang.

But boy was that gun dirty. My hands were black. The shell carrier was black.

March 9, 2009


Went to Cowtown to practice. Opened sealed big box of ammo clearly marked "38 Special,105 TC, APP, Practice". Inside was 200 rounds of 200 gr. .45 ACP. Discovered this after taking everything out of car and putting everything on. Left gun cart with Two Sons, who was giving a beginner lessons. Drove back. Got ammo. Returned. Shot a couple of stages and new, fancy CED7000 shot timer died dramatically. Probably too late for 30 day return. Not happy. Practiced without it. Several stages in the teens, 4 shotguns in 2.5, that sort of thing. No timer. Who can argue with me?

March 8, 2009


Went to Cowtown. Shot Frontiersman. One miss, 2 stages in the 20s, 4 in the 30s. Naturally I peaked a week after Winter Range.

March 7, 2009


Went to Rio Salado match. Decided to relax and shoot cartridge pistols with both hands. Had to have the spotters yell "BOTH HANDS!" when I drew my pistols. Let's see, 5 misses, one safety, one procedural. Then on stage 2... Last 2 stages okay.

March 5-6, 2009


Sent in May column and Smoke Wagon test.

March 4, 2009


Took The Redhead to Cliff Castle Casino. Nice drive.

March 3, 2009


Had talk with our financial advisor. Spent the rest of the day in deep depression.

March 2, 2009


Got the poor, neglected ML320 detailed. There's a white Mercedes under there. Went to Sportsman's Warehouse to use $25 gift certificate. Bought all of the lead shot they had. I presume they're staying in business selling cocaine in the back. They're not selling much gun stuff. You have to stock it to sell it.

March 1, 2009


After Winter Range

Mostly we slept a lot. Did have people over for Margaritas.