April 2010 Journal

Guncart Update

March 31, 2010, Wednesday

Went shooting at Cowtown. Lots of people there. Then went to Sun City RV and got the ballast for the flourescent light. Looking at it The Redhead was right. I should have just paid the extra and gotten a new light. Oh well.

Worked in the garage.

March 30, 2010, Tuesday

We spent a couple of hours planning the summer, calling Enchanted Trails and setting up there, working out where we'll be in October, etc. Then I worked in the shop. It's chaos there. Jimmy Spurs sent the rest of the parts needed to put in the hammers and triggers in the ROAs. I put one in, 5 lb. trigger. Dug around in my "stuff" and found a Wolff trigger spring. That brought it to 4 lb. Talked with Jimmy. It may have to go to him to work on the hammer/sear engagement. Didn't get to the other gun. It's the one with the good trigger of the two.

Jimmy sent boxes for the return of his guns. One worked for the 2 Bisleys, but the other one wasn't big enough for the SASS Vaqueros box.

Straightened the shop a little. Barely made a dent. Much more to do. For example, I found 23 .45-70 rounds. I'll need more than that. I have the components, just need time.

I added a page: Guncart Update as promised.

March 29, 2010, Monday

Angelique dominating my cabinet

Went to the range to test the Handi-rifle. Had a round stick in the chamber, a light load (36 gr Cowboy). I almost put it back in the truck, but I kept going. Kept the chamber clean and wet with Murphy's Oil mix. No more problems. Shot up all the loaded .45-70 without further problems. Still need to work on the gun.

The bus screen door handle broke, and the device to keep the screen door attached to the door has a rubber flap that the screen door handle slips behind has torn open. So it didn't work. Additionally The Redhead discovered a while back that when the middle ceiling light (fluorescent) is on, the power panel flickers. Additionally, on these hot days the AC wasn't getting the job done. Saturday she figured out that when that light was on, the AC didn't come on. So I took the light and door locks down and went to the RV dealer. They had everything but the ballast for the light, which they ordered, allegedly tomorrow delivery.

Then I went to Cabelas, which would have been in the neighborhood if it weren't for road construction. I found Remington 209 primers. Didn't find anything else I was looking for. If you want .223 or 7.62 x 39, you can get all kinds. If you want .45 ACP, good luck.

When i got back I put the door stuff on. The new one wasn't the same as the old one, so I had to use pieces of the old one. Everything took 10 times what it should. Margaritas followed.

March 28, 2010, Sunday

The Redhead wanted to go to Sedona, so we went to Sedona. did a 3-1/2 mile trail in Red Rock Canyon, all uphill, (everything in the west is uphill and against the wind) then went to town looking for T-shirt shops, 4,000 artists, turquoise jewelry, and overpriced crap. Couldn't find any, so we had lunch at "Open Range Grill." Good salads. No Coca-Colas. My late friend Arizona Chris Masden would have said that the place was taken over by the rubber tomahawk peddlers. Still, the views were good. They seem to have added 312 traffic circles since we were last there along with the entire population of Arizona, mostly drinking Margaritas at the grill.(We weren't with a 90 mile drive home.)

Back in the shop I used the flex-hone on the chamber of the H & R Handi-Rifle. I'm tired of having matches destroyed by rounds sticking in the chamber, which requires dropping a brass rod through the bore to knock it out. Rounds that stuck in the chamber before popped out under ejector pressure. We'll see if it has any stickies tomorrow. Also switched the rear sight to a flat-topped Marbles rear sight.

Johnny Meadows had given me a list of things I could do to cure the problem. The next step involves removing the ejector and smoothing the edges, maybe even putting in a stronger spring.

Problem solved:

I had been receiving correspondence from a customer of Lee's Gunsmithing (Rowdy Yates, one of my oldest friends in SASS, and one of my mentors). He had been unable to contact Rowdy and wanted his revolver, which had been given to Rowdy over a year ago. That didn't sound like Rowdy. I contacted Rowdy and got this reply:

I received your e-mail regarding Mr. --------'s Rugers and was overjoyed.
I lost his info in the crash and was waiting to hear from him again since
his guns were finished a long time ago.

I'm still not for sure back up and can't even answer mail sent to the Cowboy server. Fortunately I can receive mail there.

I learned a whole bunch in this crash and 2 lessons top the list.
1. No matter how good a techie your son may be, he may not be the best choice to get things done.
2. Allowing att to talk you into bundling with their u-verse technology may not be the best choice either.

Anyway thanks again for being the intermediary.

Now everybody is happy. :)

March 27, 2010, Saturday

Went to Cowtown. Got there about 0900. Hells Comin' was just finishing up and chided me for being late. He's the world and national champion. He should know. Just got to practicing good when another shooter showed up (forgot his alias.) He said he had a problem with his Taylor's Comanchero, .357. He said he couldn't get it to feed, had gotten help from two other shooters, and they tried all kinds of ammunition, and nothing worked. He sent it back to Taylor's, and they returned it with a note that they had shot 53 rounds through it with no problems, and Cody Conagher couldn't find any problems. He still couldn't get it to work. I told him to unpack it and get his ammo out. When he did I walked up with 3 different bullet types that worked in mine, a 105 gr. Rattler TC, a 125 gr. LRNFP that was too short to work as designed, so I had crimped it on the lube groove, and a 160 gr. LRNFP that should feed in anything, even recalcitrant Marlins (well, not my last one, and I do mean LAST).

He had 3 loads. 1 should have worked. one should work if crimped more. One was too short. When he demonstrated them, they all worked. All three of my loads worked.

Problem solved. Next.

I did tell him where I get my bullets and how to crimp them. Then we worked on drawing the pistol from cross-draw. Then I went back to work. I was having fun shooting stages with the ROAs and conversion cylinders. Shot a lot of transitions, too. Then, when I ran out of .45 Colt BP ammo, I shot a NM Vaquero from the concealment holster, eventually getting a single in 1.04 (compared to .94 using the Jimmy Spurs Bisley and my competition rig.) and a pair in 1.50.

Oh, yes, the shotgun. I shot a box of practice grade shells then switched to cheap Federal field loads. Instant double. Tried again. Another double. !@$~$! Before putting it away I checked the barrel selector. It was on the right barrel. Switched to the left. Shot the rest of the box, no problems.

Meanwhile, back in the shop... I loaded more match grade shotshells.

March 26, 2010, Friday

Jack Houston is still at it, a new Wild Bunch Rig:

From the Brownell's newsletter:

THE MAFIA GODFATHER
An e-mail from Rich Grant

A Mafia Godfather finds out that his bookkeeper, Enzo, has cheated him out of 10 million bucks. His bookkeeper is deaf. That was the reason he got the job in the first place. It was assumed that Enzo would hear nothing that he might have to testify about in court.

When the Godfather goes to confront Enzo about his missing $10 million, he takes along his shyster lawyer who knows sign language. The Godfather tells the lawyer, "Ask him where the 10 million bucks is that he embezzled from me."

The lawyer, using sign language, asks Enzo where the money is.

Enzo signs back, "I don't know what you are talking about."

The lawyer tells the Godfather, "He says he doesn't know what you are talking about."

The Godfather pulls out a pistol, puts it to Enzo's temple and says, "Ask him again!"

The lawyer signs to Enzo, "He'll kill you if you don't tell him."

Enzo signs back, "OK. You win! The money is in a brown briefcase, buried behind the shed in my cousin Bruno's backyard in Woodbridge!"

The Godfather asks the lawyer, "What did he say?" The lawyer replies,

"He says you don't have the guts to pull the trigger."

Friday:

The plan this morning was to meet Catlow at Guns Plus, a gun store allegedly in the Phoenix area but actually 2 hours 30 minutes of crawling through traffic away. Catlow is buying the test '73 from Jimmy Spurs. I had the guns on a 60 day loan, which the wunnerful BATF allows for gun writers to have guns without doing a transfer. So to transfer it to Catlow he had to get the FFL of the transferring dealer to Guns Plus. But Jimmy Spur had transferred it to Wayne's Guns to get it to Phoenix via Deuce Stevens. So Wayne's Guns had to get an FFL to Guns Plus. Catlow and I walked in and were immediately told that they had 2 FFLs from Wayne's, one expired, the other with no signature. And the fax at Guns Plus was out.

Called Jimmy. Got the machine. Kept calling until Wendy answers. She scanned the FFL and sent it--with the left half off the scan. Had to get it resent. Then Catlow had to do the 4473 twice, having crossed an I and dotted a T. I believe it was 1130 before we got it all done.

So I cancelled plans to go shooting, went to Sportsman's Warehouse for stuff that wasn't at Guns Plus. Most of it wasn't at Sportsman's either. Then Home Depot for more parts for the gun cart refurbishing. (Photos later. No, I didn't refinish it, which it desperately needs.). Back at the shop I put the parts on the gun cart and loaded shotguns, using up, I THOUGHT, all of the 2x fired hulls. When I got out one of the boxes of once fired STS (Dooley Gang) hulls I found ANOTHER box of 2x fired. No, I don't mean a shot shell box of 25, but a box of 1000 or so.

Loaded up 3-4 boxes of the good stuff. Went much faster. For one thing, picking hulls to load from 2x fired takes a while. I wipe them clean, sckyve the hulls needing it, straighten out ones that were only mildly stepped on, etc. I threw away badly burned or stepped on hulls. With once fired, clean, round hulls, it doesn't take too long to select, and I think I rejected 4, at least for match grade use.

Then they ran through the loader in record time with mostly perfect crimps and edges. No rejects. Will count and box tomorrow. Margarita was waiting.

March 25, 2010, Thursday

Gave The Redhead the ML and worked in the garage. Much of the time I was looking for a tool or something. Having wayyyyy too much stuff in the tool chest is a bitch. In the house I had like 15 drawers of tools, and that was crowded.

Worked on the gun cart. Will take photos for later. That'll be easier than explaining. Did some storing and straightening. The place is a chaotic mess.

Then loaded shotshells. Still loading practice rounds. I've about figured out how bad off the hulls can be and still make a usable round.

I hope to start on the Dooley Gang hulls tomorrow.

Jack Houston sent these photos of a ladies' rig he just finished. He thinks it needs some spots, but this is the way the lady ordered it. It fits women's anatomies. They can get away with the shotshells on the pistol belt a lot better than fat old men can.

As usual, Jack does exquisite work for too little money. Thick, high quality leather, all hand made.

March 24, 2010, Wednesday

 

 

Went to the range. Catlow wanted to try the Jimmy Sours '73. He liked it and offered to buy it. I called Jimmy Spurs and arranged it. The usual FFL swapping between him and the local shop will take place, and I'll take the gun to the shop. Catlow sent him a check.

Shot the Bisleys. Very nice. About 2 seconds faster on a 10 shot drill than the ROAs with conversion cylinders. It's all in the light cocking pressure.

I also tried out the concealment holster Bob Mernickle supplied for the upcoming Gunsite Ruger Single Action Self-Defense course. It has 2 front slots, one putting it in a muzzle rear cant, the other vertical. I used one of my new Vaqueros. Normally I shoot 1911s at the muzzle rear cant, but this hurt my wrist like crazy. I tried it vertical, and it worked well. Single shot draws got down to the 1.20s, but I never got a double below 1.65--7 yard 15" circle. The standard at Gunsite was 2 hits in 1.5 seconds. I'll need to practice before going. Test fired a box of APP 12 ga. rounds I made up yesterday to verify that the recipe still works. Works fine.

In the shop made 12 ga. ammo using rejects from the WR STS purchase. They were rejects for match grade but not for practice. I did have to reject a few from that task. The problems I didn't have yesterday I had today. A wad got stuck in the final crimp die in such a way I couldn't get it out without removing the die. The primer mechanism got fouled with 100 primers in it. I had to remove the primers, clear it, and reinsert the primers. That combined with the slowness of using hulls that needed to be cleaned and skyyved made it kind of slow. 'Bout time to make some Dooley Gang rounds with the good condition once-fired Dooley Gang hulls.

March 23, 2010, Tuesday

Nice conversation with our new financial advisor. The old one got promoted. We like this one. Of course the bottom line looks better every month now than it did in '08. Still not up to our starting balance (mine is, but we're not touching it yet.).

Took The Redhead to Cracker Barrel to breakfast in exchange for help at Target to find plastic storage boxes for the small cabinet thingie where I keep my SASS accoutrements and 8,000 T-shirts. Threw away 7500 including all of the black EOT ones with the big decal on the back that makes them about as comfortable as wearing a wetsuit on a marathon. Note to Coyote Calhoun:Quit wasting money on black T-Shirts. I have.

The cleanest the cabinet will ever be.

Arthur helped out a lot. Both cats crawled in and out of the cabinet and the storage boxes but ran from the Paparazzi, so I have no photos.

In the shop I cleaned up some then started loading shotshells. Hmm. making practice rounds, APP 3f and 2X fired STS hulls. I made enough that at least one should have been a throwaway. But they all look good. Shh, don't tell the machine.

March 22, 2010, Monday

Gave The Redhead the ML for the day, and I worked in the shop. Finished up the last .38 spc. bullets on hand (more on order). Started straightening up the shop. Spent some time labeling bins for some of the Ruger parts in one of the bin organizers.

March 21, 2010, Sunday

Wild Bunch Match at Cowtown—good stages. I did well except on 4th stage when the ;97 cost me a bunch of time. One miss on last stage. Won Traditional.

Left 1911 with Wild Bodie Tom for some minor tweaks.

March 20, 2010, Saturday

Angelique helping The Redhead make the bed

Angelique giving me her opinion of my flash photography

Cowtown match—despite the fact that Gathering of the Posses is going on this weekend we had 4 posses. We had a Black Powder posse with Larsen, Dan Diamond, Weaver Gal, etc. 3 Frontiersmen! Didn't catch one's alias. M T Stetson shot '51 Navies.

I had 4 good stages, one rifle jam, and 2 misses through smoke on the last stage. Best 29, and a 31. Not too bad for a one eyed fat man.

Tomorrow is the Wild Bunch match at Cowtown. Changed guns and gear in the car to get ready.

I note the shop is full of empty brass and hulls. I think I have 3 boxes of BP shotgun left. Time to reload next week.

March 19, 2010, Friday

Mallard Fillmore:

Talked with Jimmy Spurs. I need a bolt and hand (cylinder latch and pawl in Ruger speak) to match the hammers. Those parts were modified for the short stroke. Makes sense. I ordered same, and later Jimmy called and said he'd gotten some and would send them after he checked them out. I really should tell him he's getting a good review and doesn't have to do this, but if you take another look at the hammer below you'll understand why I'm not hurrying.

Went to Cowtown. Got there too late to beat the Friday range preparation session. Helped a little, stood around and talked, and when it was over I shot the ROAs six stages each without a bobble and pronounced them match ready. Back at the shop I cleaned them thoroughly, I'm still looking for a quicker, less painful method of cleaning the nipples. Sweetshooter seems to be making the cutouts easier to clean, but the nipples still need a lot of scrubbing. Cowtown match tomorrow. Got everything ready.

March 18, 2010, Thursday

Shot the cowboy guns at Cowtown. Good practice with the conversion cylinders on the ROAs.

ROA hammers and triggers arrived from Jimmy Spurs. I've decided to put regular stroke hammers in to lighten hammer pull. The thumb is going bad. Detail stripped one gun and put one in. Didn't work. Detail cleaned the innards. Overdue. Put the regular parts back in. Detail stripped and cleaned the other one. Sweetshooter in the ultrasonic cleaner, heat gun, etc. There was a lot of hard crud in both. This helped lightness and smoothness in itself.

 

Jimmy Spurs' version of a Ruger Old Army hammer. The trigger is equally jeweled. Wow! Impressive!

March 17, 2010, Wednesday

Shot Wild Bunch guns at Cowtown. Worked in the shop.

March 16, 2010, Tuesday

Mallard Fillmore:

Went to Cowtown before 0900. Uncle Sam is visiting Phoenix and wanted to see it, so I told him to come on out. He showed up about 0930. I shot the ROAs with the conversion cylinders without any problems. They do need to be hosed off every couple or three stages, which is no problem. I did have to work to hit anything with them, just an acclimatization thing I guess. Methinks I was just exceeding the speed limit set by my front sight. No malfunctions, and I did get to hitting everything with practice.

I took some .38 ammo with Winchester primers. The Jimmy Spurs '73 had had trouble with Federals. I tightened its mainspring adjustment screw. This stopped problems with the Federals, but I still had a failure to fire or two with Winchesters. Eventually I got the screw as tight as I could. I wouldn't want to shoot a match with them--just as I wouldn't with the '73 Deluxe. The test pistols all shot them fine. Hells Comin showed up. Much conversation, not enough shooting.

Back at the shop I loaded some 125 gr. lrnfp that have been laying around since before I retired. If loaded in the crimp groove it loads at about 1.37. It takes about 1.43+ to work in a '73. My normal rounds with Truncated Cone 105s and 125s is 1.47 or so. I loaded a box and labeled them "Revolver only."

March 15, 2010, Monday

The Redhead took the ML to the casino (and brought it back.) I worked in the garage catching up on ammo production a little, actually it was just a little. I switched over from .45 Colt BP to .38 Special BP and loaded a hundred with Winchester primers for gun testing (so I can say whether the tested gun will fire Winchester primers, of course), then 400 with Federals for local matches. Would've done considerably more but was having problems at station 2, cutting a chunk out of the edge of the case. Finally used the big alignment tool, the one that requires taking the shell plate and primer mechanism off, the primer ram off, and putting the tool in the station 2 die, and aligning the platform so the tool fit in the primer ram hole. This helped a lot. Had enough little problems to keep me from doing the other 1000 bullets on hand, 500 160 gr. lrnfp, 500 125 gr. lrnrp that proved to be too short for the '73 some years ago. If I can't make them 1.45 in long they'll be restricted to pistols.

Jimmy Spurs called to talk about the guns being tested. He offered me the rifle for $1600. I'd go for it if I had $1600. Blame the VA for cutting my pay. Of course, another .38/.357 '73 I don't need.

March 14, 2010, Sunday

Went to Cowtown to try out the cartridge conversion cylinders again. Found a considerable percentage of my .45 Colt ammo made for this session has high primers, just a thousandth or two, but enough to prevent the cylinder from turning. Additionally getting fired rounds out required punching them out with the screw knife much of the time.

Shot the Taylor's Runnin' Iron. Excellent shooter. The only minor complaint is the ejector feels rough and stuck in the out position sometimes. But the gun is easy to cock, and the wide, smooth trigger is quite nice, Ruger-like.

Tested the 2 rounds that didn't shoot in the match yesterday in the rifle. The rifle couldn't fire either one. I put them in the Runnin' Iron, and they both went bang. Will adjust the trigger on the '73 before the next session. I'll have some Winchester primed rounds for that session.

Back at the shop I used the Flex-hone on the chambers of the cylinders. Noted that the cylinders and backing plates have the last 2 digits of the gun they're adjusted for stamped in them.

Cleaned the percussion cylinders in Sweetshooter in the ultrasonic cleaner, on for 15 minutes. Good, not great.'

Ran the .45 Colt rounds through station 2, seating the primers as deeply as possible. Then made 200 more with deeply seated primers.

Let's see, I load .38 Special APP loads, .45 Colt Trail Boss (WB) loads, .45 Colt APP loads, and .45 ACP Trail Boss loads. I think life will be simpler if I standardize on the 200 gr. LRNFP bullets for all of the .45 loads. Simpler logistics. Using something closer to 144 gr. for the BP practice .45 Colt loads would be closer to the percussion load of 144 gr./15-25 gr. APP 3f, but 200 gr. and 15 gr. (12.8 gr. wt) APP 3f doesn't recoil significantly different. Then I don't have to readjust anything. To go from 200 gr. WB loads to practice loads I just switch powder measures. Only one bullet to stock.

March 13, 2010, Saturday

Got some photos from Omaha John of High Noon at the Tombstone Livery and Winter Range:

Why men become cowboys

El Pueblo

The Redhead and Patti at Tombstone

The Redhead and General Lee at the Saturday night party at WR

Smokin' Iron

Patti and Omaha John

Ringo Fire and T-Bone Dooley announced their engagement

Don't know what category this guy shoots in. Funny looking gun.

Shot the ACSA match at Ben Avery, 7 stages. Posse 4 is the BP posse. It always fills up quickly. And, for those of you who think a BP posse slows things down, this one goes quickly and caught up to the next posse 5 times or so.

The first stage I jacked two rounds out of the Jimmy Spurs '73. The rounds had primer hits, Federal primers. Will investigate. Additionally one ROA didn't fire a cap first time. With 2 rifle reloads, a fiddle to make the ROA go off, etc. I got a 60 second stage. Oh, well. Went and got my '73 deluxe and the backup ROAs, which have stock hammers. All 3 weapons worked fine for the rest of the day. Shot with Juan on several stages, including one in the 20s that became 32 with the miss.

Had lunch with 15 close friends at Chili's. Much talk about the AZ BP Shootout at Payson, how to get there with the instructions on the website, where to park the bus, etc. Silverado Cid is going to add GPS coordinates in the website and rewrite the instructions. I'm looking forward to it.

March 12. 2010, Friday

Drove to Prescott. The scenery is beautiful, especially after all of the rain. The Prescott VA is a collection of buildings that would make a good set for a 20s army base. Big white buildings. The main building looks old but is in immaculate condition, clean as a whistle. It was not crowded. Not one dead body in the halls, and no one was getting arrested. I checked in at 0915 for a 1015 appointment and went to sleep in the waiting room. About 1030 my name was called, and the people involved were very nice and professional. They gave me a couple of drugs but didn't put me out. The procedure got uncomfortable once or twice, but I didn't want to be put under, so I didn't complain. I could watch the screen as the probe did its thing. The last time i got one I was put under. Results were good, no problems found. Come back in 10 years. Just what I wanted to hear.

The entrance to Gunsite as seen by my cell phone camera

We had lunch at an Olive Garden, stopped at a Petco at The Redhead's request, and checked out the only RV park in the area big enough to fit the big rig. I'll be going to Gunsite May 3-5 for a "Ruger Single Action Defense Course" thanks to Michael Bane. Then went to Gunsite looking to see if they had a RV park. When I used to go there you had to know where to turn as Jeff was paranoid enough to keep the place a secret except to those in the cult. Now there's a big green sign, "ATTRACTION" and a Gunsite emblem. The road is paved for a bit then unpaved but much smoother than before. Still rough. As we drove in we saw the RV park to the right. Plenty of spaces, but probably not long enough. Went to the office and talked to the nice lady. She said if we could get in, we could park there, and if the rig was too long we could park the trailer in one spot and the bus in the next one. Then Ed Head walked in. He's the operations manager. We were in 499 together back when the earth was flat and dinosaurs ruled.

It was Friday, so the class was going to the Sconce to see Janelle. We went there after they had already gotten there. Janelle told me she really missed my newsletter. I told her I was still doing it, but it was online and all about guns and RVs now.

The Sconce is what The Redhead calls "Gunsite Church." It's all a shrine to Jeff Cooper. Everything is just as it was then, with the study and library seemingly untouched. The gun room is even more so, but it was when Jeff was there. It's lined with Jeff's guns, and signatures of famous warriors, Joe Foss and Bud Anderson for example.

Had to tell Janelle we'd see her in May as we had to get back and walk the poor, starved puppy. Got there at 1830.

found in the camera, the first photo of Angelique as we left the vet to bring her home. The captivating eyes were evident then and still dominate.

March 11, 2010, Thursday

Tomorrow I'm getting a colonoscopy in the Prescott VA, so today is prep day. At 0900 I take 4 pills and start drinking a gallon of water in 2 hours. At 1400 I start drinking a gallon of some vile substance with Crystal Light added to keep me from gagging. 8 oz. every 15 minutes. The water makes me very cold, so I stop drinking cold water and drink warm. I'm allowed broth, and a cup of that helps. Nothing helps with the gallon of vile substance. The effects are what you expect.

March 10, 2010, Wednesday

R & D Conversion Cylinder Adventures:

Took the ROAs with the conversion cylinders to the range. Loads were .45 Special with 144 gr. round balls and 15 gr. APP 3f and old .45 Colt with 160 gr. lrnfp and 15 gr. APP 3f. One cylinder was binding. I tried it on both guns and tried switching backing plates. I determined the problem was the backing plate. The .45 Special rounds proved to be problematic. First, when loading them I had trouble with the balls getting stuck in the crimp die, and when I got to the range one ball had fallen out of one case. Others were loose. Most shot okay, but I had 2 squibs. Very mild load, seemingly milder than the same load in the percussion cylinders.

The .45 Colt loads were okay. Mild loads. Should be able to practice with them without damaging my wrist any more than it is. Having one gun not work prevented any speed testing. To complicate that I left the CED 7000 timer at the bus, and the other timer's battery went dead. Continued practicing with the SASS Rugers and my #1 rifle and shotgun. The problems that occurred with the rifle and shotgun at WR have not recurred. Shot 2 boxes of Federal field loads. No practice BP loads left, and I don't want to use up the few match loads left. Yes, I need to reload shotguns. I have everything I need to do that but time.

Called Larsen for help. Went to his place. He measured everything and confirmed the backing plate was about .003 off level. He faced it on the lathe, taking off a little of the high side. It works now. Larsen is DA MAN!

As I don't have any 160 gr. bullets, I loaded a hundred 200 gr. bullets in .45 Colt cases with 15 gr. volume APP 3f for next practice session, which won't be till next week. I've come to the conclusion that, while tempting, the .45 Specials aren't the solution. If you're shooting real BP, they would be good practice loads with the 155 gr. big lube bullets. No fillers would be needed. But with APP, I can just put the same load in a .45 Colt case. I have thousands of them, and they don't get confused with .45 ACP rounds with disastrous results either way. A .45 Special stops up the case feeder tube when loading .45 ACP, and a .45 ACP gets stuck in the sizing die, a more serious problem. Both are solvable, but it makes volume loading difficult.

I'm looking for cheap 155-160 gr. bullets. I'm spoiled by shooting cheap 105 gr. 38s. Nobody seems to be selling cheap 155-160s. I'm looking for these because they're the closest to 144 gr. round balls in weight.

Cat called, assigning me to write up Buffalo Stampede, EOT, and Outlaw Trail for the Cowboy Chronicle.

March 9, 2010, Tuesday

Went to Larsen E. Pettifogger's place so he could disassemble the Burgess rifle, photograph the innards and the process, and reassemble. since it's a Uberti product, one screw had to strip, the mainspring screw. I called Tammy at Taylor's and asked her to send one. She said they didn't have parts yet, so she'd have to get one from Uberti.

Larsen fiddled with thread gauges and decided it was a 10-32 with a Fillister head. We went to Ace and found they only had 10-24 Fillister heads, so we got a socket head and a round head. He cut the round head down in the lathe and used it. Looks good. I called back and told Taylor's to keep the part when they get it and install it when I send the rifle back.

Larsen photographed reassembly, and we went to lunch. I left my camera at his place, so I'll have to go there tomorrow.

By the way, it's cold, cloudy, occasionally rainy, a normal winter—for HOUSTON. It's @!@%!#!ing PHOENIX!

March 8, 2010, Monday

Omaha John gave Aspen Filly a fist full of money and a '73 and wanted some serious bling. (It's a Dooley Gang thing. T-Bone Dooley must spend more money on engraving than I do diesel.)

 

 

Now she's done it. Now the other gang members will want theirs decorated like this.

 

 

 

Aspen Filly supplied the photographs, showing she is an artist with a camera, too.

Ammo Carrier for Wild Bunch

You need to be able to take 6 shotgun shells and 10 rifle rounds to the loading table at a Wild Bunch match to load your shotgun and rifle. Your pistol magazines are already loaded. This, from Jack Houston at LoneRider Leather, takes care of it:

Front: 6 shotshells, the most you can put in a '97, and 10 rifle rounds

 

Back: Just slip this flap over your belt in the back, and it keeps your carrier with you and out of the way

The ROAs and conversion cylinders arrived today. The Redhead saved me from a really dumb mistake. I opened the box. The guns were in Ruger boxes. I'd sent the one conversion cylinder in one of the Ruger boxes along with the gun. I opened the box and played with that cylinder then took the two boxes to the trailer. I told The Redhead the box was trash, but I hadn't thrown it away because of the packing materials. You guessed it. She found the other cylinder in a little box in the bottom of the big box and put it on my computer. Then she threw the big box away.

I have 100 .45 Special cases, so I loaded them with my cartridge APP 3f load and round balls. Loading the round balls isn't perfect. The crimper has been known to capture the round balls. Then you have an empty primed case in the bin for loaded ammunition and loose powder. Cleaning the crimping die helps in this problem. One .45 ACP round got in the mix and wound up stuck in the decapping/resizing die. I had to pound it out. I'll test these loads in the next practice session, probably Wednesday.

March 1-7, 2010

Very busy. John and Patti and Master Guns Scott were here till Wednesday. Dinner together Monday night at El Encanto Dos on Carefree Highway at Cave Creek. Excellent food, drinks, service.

Master Guns Scott has finally retired after 32 years in the USMC as an E-9 Master Gunnery Sergeant. He has acquired 5, count 'em 5 Ruger Old Armies, 2 stainless 5.5" with white grips, 2 with an extra high gloss finish and wooden grips with Red Ruger emblems (?), and one 7.5" with adjustable sights bought by mistake from Gunbroker.com. That one isn't usable for Frontiersman. Though he is a SASS World Champion in Precision Pistol, he has only shot one SASS match, EOT (!)

He acquired a dog in Death Valley. The dog was standing on his hind legs on the side of the road, hungry, matted, with $500 worth of dental problems. He was listening to Art Bell (a neighbor in Pahrump, Nevada) on the car radio, so he named the dog Art.

Art in the pose that got him a nice, new home with Master Guns Scott

Art was so matted that Scott had the groomer give him a Marine Corps haircut. He had the dental work done, and now Art could do commercials for doggie dental care products with whiter teeth than mine. Art had no collar, no tags, no chip. Now he has all and has been duly registered at a Marine base.

"Drop In" Cartridge Conversion for ROA

I'd bought 2 R & D Cartridge conversions for ROAs from Taylor's & Co. at WR. One was there, so I took it with me. The other is being shipped. I decided to try the one I have. It didn't fit in any of the 4 I have. Scott brought over his, and it didn't fit them either. John had an old one. It fit my gun just fine. Called Taylor's. To make a long story short, if you have a problem that needs their gunsmith, talk to Tammy. Their gunsmith either was having a bad day or has no people skills. To make the story shorter, I had to send the guns (the spares, without engraving) to them. FedUp, 2 day air, $63 with my usual over-insurance. They arrived Thursday, and a couple of hours later they called for more money for return shipping. I know, I could have probably gotten them fitted locally for less, probably a lot less by Larsen E. Pettifogger, but I try to save him for real emergencies.

Tuesday night we all went to the Italian restaurant in Anthem. Tuesday night, a one hour wait for a table. Who knew? But the bar was comfy. Excellent food.

Wednesday morning John and Patti left, and Scott left late in the afternoon.

Thursday went to Cowtown and shot the Rugers from Jimmy Spurs. I didn't think I'd like the Bisleys, but they shoot very well. They have his 4-click half-cock hammer with transfer bar removed and hammer welded up. To open the loading gate you need to move the hammer to the first click to clear the hammer. This eliminates the one part that usually breaks on Vaqueros, the transfer bar. These had 1 lb 6 oz. triggers. Again, I thought I would have trouble with triggers this light, but I got used to them quickly with only a few "early" hits (and sometimes misses). The other 2 guns are SASS Vaqueros with half-cock hammers with transfer bars intact. Trigger pull was 1 lb. 11 oz. The low hammers on all 4 guns are imminently easier to use than high hammers when shooting duelist. Two handed it's no big deal, but there's no downside I believe. With my current thumb problem it's a lot less painful to shoot them vs. the ROAs, especially the ones with short-strokes.

The rifle is just a delight to shoot, with only the white front sight instead of a brass or gold bead being a problem for my eyes. The trigger is welded up and has no overtravel or undertravel. When you cock the weapon the hammer doesn't move,and when you pull the trigger it resets when you retract 0.060 in. I don't remember jacking any live rounds out.

Friday I went to the Cave Creek Barber Shop. This was recommended by a reader. I've been going to stylists since I left the Army. This was the first time I'd been back to a barber shop. I left with a haircut that would've passed inspection in a combat unit in Vietnam. It was inexpensive ($15) and didn't take too long. I don't need long hair. I probably won't be playing General Lee until next-year's WR (I'll keep entering till I win. I've won EOT and the Convention, 2 of the big 3 in costume contests. I want to win WR with that outfit. Then I'll retire it except for special occasions. I've won WR in Colonel Baylor's uniform.)

Saturday was a beautiful cool, clear day, and I took The Redhead to Arizona II Casino and kept going to Rio Salado. Shot FCD shooting the Jimmy Spurs SASS Vaqueros and his rifle. Despite 4 misses on the last stage with pistols I managed to win against Cactus Cris's malfunctioning ROAs with self-fitted conversion cylinders. (Hmm.) The 4 misses were because I couldn't see the front sight in the side light. The targets were shot up and all grey, making the sight disappear to my eyes. I'll remember that and keep a black Sharpie in the kit.

The Redhead won at poker.

Sunday was a miserable day with 80% chance of rain. Went to Cowtown. Judah Macabee wimped out and went home. We shot 5 stages. The rain got worse and worse. Only got one clean stage. Mr. Smoke is not my friend. Lots of cleanup tomorrow. Guns covered in a lot of Break Free till then. Took The Redhead to El Encanto Dos for dinner. Thus I'm up at 0100 with gastric reflux.