Journal of a Gypsy Cowboy

formerly Combined Fulltime RV

and Cowboy Action Shooting Journal

April 2008

How spot a Persian cat:

How to spot a Persian cat

Quote of the month:

"John McCain spent five and a half years in prison then went into politics. Most politicians do it the other way." Frank Luntz

May 2008 Log

April 30, 2008


Three Photos of the Wild Bunch Match

by Innocent Bystander

Sacramento Johnson

Sacramento Johnston, one of two ladies who entered the Wild Bunch Match, shooting traditional

Innoxwnr  Bystander

Innocent Bystander, shooting traditional (one handed, GI Spec gun)


Tex, shooting modern (your carry .45 probably qualifies for modern.)

Shot the practice session with the Renegades. The .45 cal '73 still isn't working. Everything else is. Shot the hammer double and dry-fired it back in the shop. Got it down as fast as my average hammerless time. Heavy gun. Looks like most of May will be in Albuquerque. Considered going to Open Range in Tombstone Memorial Day weekend despite the di$tance, but they don't have Frontiersman. My belated new year's resolution is not to go a long distance for a match that doesn't want me. I'm trying to help Frontiersman grow. It's hard to make it grow without a category at matches.

April 29, 2008


Worked in garage. Took The Redhead to La Placita at Historic Old Town. Good Margaritas. Good Fajitas. We've learned about Mexican food in New Mexico. Green sauza on the side.

April 28, 2008


Ran errands unsuccessfully. Got diesel for the ML at a place that limits credit cards to $50, which is less than half a tank. Went looking for FP-10, an apparent wonder lubricant recommended by Larsen E. Pettifogger. Sportsman's didn't have it. Upon looking, I noticed they had large empty spaces in the gun cleaning and lubrication shelves. No Break Free CLP, either. Went to Sears for tools. Took forever to find what I was looking for. Sears lighting is the right frequency to screw up my left eye completely, so I have to get my nose up to the packets to read the labels. At least they didn't limit me to 11 gallons.

April 27, 2008


Buffalo Stampede Awards Day

Texas Tiger and Amber Ale, Ladies Traditional

Texas Tiger and Amber Ale, Ladies Traditional

photo by Edward R. S. Canby

The awards ceremony was out in the sun because it was cold. It didn't take long. Scarf Slides are promised to all of the winners. Good ceremony.

Drove the bus back to Enchanted Trails in Albuquerque.

April 26, 2008


Buffalo Stampede Match Day 2

Miss Tabitha in buckskin

Miss Tabitha in buckskin

Miss Tabitha, star of the convention with her fashion shows and Victorian Dances, expert on all things Victorian, displays her latest buckskin outfit. River Crossing will sell you one just like it. Just remember for it to look this good you have to look this good.

Happy Jack picks up an arrow

Happy Jack grabs an arrow on the clock

Several stages had us doing things extranious to the gunfight on the clock. In the above we had to grab an arrow and take it to where the long guns were staged. In another we had to pull a dummy's tooth. In another we had to stab a dummy with a big knife (with no guard). No throwing tomahawks for bonuses though. I doubt these items changed any finishing positions, so they worked as designed.

Everyone I talked to, winners and losers, had at least one train wreck. I had 3 or 4 and shot WAY the hell below capabilities. Used the second backup shotgun, the Baikal, and missed some shotgun targets on the second day. Should never miss a shotgun target. The nickeled Stoeger failed again during the Plainsman match. I suppose it's time for a real shotgun. Bought an SKB 100 from Johnny Meadows. It'll be tough, though, shooting without a built-in excuse.

The Mexican dinner/Tequila party was good. The costume contest was for best bandito/bandita. The people with the Margaritas left too soon.

April 25, 2008


Buffalo Stampede Match Day 1

The stages were quite "interesting." Most were harder than they looked. We started with a stage involving the moving ore cart. The last gun fired was a revolver, either moving from one position to another and shooting 5 close, big targets, or standing still and shooting the ore cart at 15 yards 5 times. This got a 10 second bonus.

Another had you shooting a knockdown, then a stationary, then a knockdown, etc. with the rifle. Many procedurals.

No aerial targets, a good thing. No small targets, another good thing. No Nevada sweeps, but still a few memory tests. You decide if this is good or not. I liked most of the stages. Some will make it to EOT. Some won't.

April 24, 2008


Buffalo Stampede, Side Match Day

Wild Bunch Match

Evil Roy

Edward R. S. Canby's photo of Evil Roy shooting the Modern Wild Bunch category on the way to 1st place

Mass confusion. Some people came prepared for a team match. Happy Jack spent 5-10 minutes determining which magazines were legal and which weren't and another 20 minutes going over which 1911s went into which category, and how to deal with the safety procedures required for the 1911.

The first contestant was shooting "Traditional," meaning GI Spec gun one handed. He dropped the first magazine and inserted the new one with the left hand then dropped the slide with the left hand. This started a 20 minute discussion about that. A couple of people were insisting it was a one-handed gun back then and training was to drop the slide with the right hand. The problem is about 60% of the population doesn't have thumbs long enough to do that. Happy Jack demonstrated the Jeff Cooper approved method of dealing with that, flipping the gun in the hand so as to reach the mag release and slide release. He neglected to give the other Jeff Cooper approved method of pulling the slide to the rear or tapping the slide release with the left hand.

Please note that being left-handed, I have no dog in this fight. I can drop the magazine and slide release with my trigger finger without altering my grip on the weapon. For that matter, I can load, unload, and clear malfunctions with one hand and arm enclosed in 4" PVC pipe, either hand, but not both. To say that I've been a serious student of the 1911 for many years would not be exaggerating. I didn't name my first dog after Vietnam John Moses Browning for nothing.

I pointed out that Jack Houston, doing the flipping maneuver got a match DQ at Badlands Bar 3. Other people pointed out they were taught to use the left hand. Evil Roy pointed out that the Marines taught manipulating the slide release with the right hand.

Jeez. Finally it was decided that for today at least the slide could be released with the weak hand, but much discussion needed to be done before final rules for EOT were written.

Then someone asked, "If you insert the magazine and don't release the slide, is the gun loaded and ready to fire?"


"Then dropping the slide is part of loading, right?"


"Loading with 2 hands is allowed in the rules." I believe this is the way the rules will stand.

I think the Constitution was written in less time.

The stages were good. Evil Roy was the first shooter and locked up his '73 at the loading table and asked to borrow a '73. Stupidly I loaned it to him. It locked up and cost him any chance at the match. Boy did I feel bad.

I cleaned it and took it next door and fired it, no problem. I shot it in the stage, no problem. Second stage, problem. A really cooking stage went to hell with 6 rounds stuck in the magazine. Since my time was 24 something, it would have been circa 30, which wasn't a bad time for the stage.

Third stage was shot with my Marlin. It went well. Many of us were using guns we didn't use all the time. Too many malfunctions. I'll deal with mine before EOT. The pistol and shotgun worked flawlessly, and spectators got the mistaken impression that I can really cook with a 1911. I could once upon a time, but I was much younger then, and the targets were trying to kill me.

Plainsman Match

This went better. When I got there they were on their second stage. All of the REAL MEN who shot both Wild Bunch and Plainsman were held up at the WB match. We did get to shoot the missed stage at the end. 3 good stages. As usual, those who didn't have gun malfunctions jumped ahead of those who did. I had one shotgun click instead of a bang on the second stage and switched to the Baikal. Johnny Meadows mentioned my name was coming up on the waiting list for an SKB. He would know tomorrow. An SKB costs about twice what my first car did, but I'm getting tired of Stoeger problems.

I missed 3, one clean stage. Too many misses. A little slow. Working on it.

Potluck Chili Cook off

Wicked Felina won both red and green chilis. I had chosen the red one for my main course. It was indeed very good.

April 23, 2008



Finished the school, shotgun, one shot drills with each gun, attitude (as opposed to mental preparation, which he thinks is overthinking it.) We shot a few aerials. After the class some of us and Westphalia Phil from Germany shot popups until I ran out of ammo. The others were hitting them regularly. I'll be buying a box of clays for practice at the Renegades range.

This school, if you can get it, is highly recommended. You could spend $250 on 25-50% of a good SASS gun, or you could do a lot more toward shooting well in SASS matches by spending it here.

April 22, 2008




Long Hunter

Eleven students, one instructor, no helpers, It started, of course, with classroom instruction. Long Hunter, of course, is a World Champion SASS Shooter. He's also a very nice guy with immense patience. Several of the students were pure beginners. At the other extreme Laramie Jack is extremely experienced. I can find the men's room at most SASS matches.

Long Hunter broke the stage down to pistols, rifles, and shotguns, transitions, and attitude. Lots of good points.

Shooting consisted of each of us shooting an exercise, and Long Hunter critiquing it, catching things we didn't see ourselves plus obvious things like missing all of the targets. The school went from 0900 to 1700+, with a short lunch break.

April 21, 2008


Saw the ophthalmologist at 0745. Passed inspection. Right eye will get the laser zapping May 13th.

Then we got the bus ready to travel. I installed a 150 psi, 1.5 hp 6 gallon air compressor in the right front basement space in order to properly inflate the front tires (120 psi cold). With the amount of air hose I have, I can pump up any tire in the rig, including the trailer, from this lightweight compressor.

Drove to Founders Ranch following The Redhead in the ML. Parked in front of Tijeras Stage.

View from the windshield of the bus parked at Founders Ranch

Late afternoon view from the windshield of the bus. It doesn't get much better than this.

Got all the equipment ready for Long Hunter's school tomorrow--with the possible exception of my brain.

April 20, 2008


Went to Founders Ranch to help set up stages for the upcoming Buffalo Stampede. I expected someone to get injured by a falling knockdown target or falling off a flatbed or something. Worst injury was a staple cut Hipshot got supervising. He had the stage descriptions, which were kept as secret as possible considering we were setting up the targets and props and had to know the shooting position and order in order to make sure, for example, a pistol target doesn't block a rifle target.

New pistol knockdowns, 1/4" thick instead of 3/8" but considerably bigger. They fall with the same power factor hit as previous ones, but the "sweet spot" is bigger.

Lots of knockdowns. One stage is all knockdowns.

No complicated sweeps, unless you consider, "Shoot knockdown, then cowboy, then knockdown, then cowboy..." complicated.

Long Hunter was there setting up his school for Tuesday. 8 students, he said. It should be good. Lots of one on one.

I noted that SASS seems to have embraced CLOSE and BIG despite Tex's editorials in The Cowboy Chronicle. Coyote Calhoun said, "Do you see Tex here putting up targets? When he's here he can place the targets." Works for me.

The stages all looked good. If you're not entered, it's not too late, unless, of course, you're shooting Frontiersman. It's full.

Left at 4 in order to get a bushing in order to rebuild the cylinder loader. Finally got the old one out and the new one in and working. Didn't think I'd need a bearing press for CAS. Works now. I don't know if others using the Powder Inc. cylinder loader have cratered the main bushing multiple times or if I'm just the only one doing something wrong. This is the fourth, I believe.

Tomorrow is going to be a bitch. Eye doctor at 0745, then clean the shop enough to go to Founders Ranch.

April 19, 2008


Shot with the Renegades. I'd planned to shoot it in Wild Bunch category and asked if that was okay. They had to get a meeting of the minds and okayed it. Then I realized my 1911 was in the bus. I shot it Frontiersman, which was good.

4 very complicated stages. One had a Texas Star and 3 shotgun knockdowns, one of which launched a shoot target, one of which launched a no shoot target. Took forever to reset, not to mention the best time was in the 30s I believe. Shot pretty well by my normal standards.

Took The Redhead to High Finance Restaurant, atop Sandia Peak and accessible only by tramway, for our 26th anniversary dinner. Our anniversary is next week, but The Redhead kindly agreed to allow celebration this week.

A couple got married on the deck outside the restaurant, overlooking the valley. We were celebrating 26 years inside. A good omen for both couples.

April 18, 2008


More classified activities in the AM. In the afternoon Blackey wanted to go practice, so I went with him. Tried out the hotter .45 ACP ammo. I won't be worrying about any chronographing with this stuff. The 230 gr. loads are STRONG. I couldn't remember the load we used in IPSC (before WW452AA dominated IPSC in Texas, cleaner, more economical). Looking through the web via Google I find 5.5 gr. for IPSC usage, giving 177 power factor. Minimum was 170 then 175. I don't remember ever chronoing less than 185 at a match, so I probably used 5.7 gr. then. 5.0 shouldn't break too many targets, now with 230 gr.…, as the great philosopher, Paris Hilton says, that's hot.

Trying to clean out the trailer for next Monday's trip to Founder's Ranch.

The left eye is working much better now. It'll never work as well as I'd like, but it's better.

April 17, 2008


Thursday's activities were classified and took place in an undisclosed location.

April 16, 2008


The eye works in bright sunlight. Don't know how it'll work in low light yet. It was still dilated last night.

Shot with the Renegades practice session. I took the chrono, but English Lynn had one set up.

I had made up some 200 gr. LSWC .45 ACP loads from the Winchester loading data for WW231. It's been a long time since I used 231 in .45 ACP. The power factor in IPSC was 170, later raised to 175. I switched to WW452AA (now discontinued) by then.. The chart shows 4.4 gr. as minimum, with a power factor of 154. So I made some of them and some 4.6 gr. loads. The results show why you can't trust loading charts but have to chrono:

Bullet Bullet Wt Powder Wt. Gr. Hi Vel Lo Vel E.S. M.V. S.D. Power Factor
Silver State 200 WW231 4.4 715 670 45 689 16 138
Silver State 200 WW231 4.6 767 691 76 725 29 145

I gave up and made some 5.0 gr. loads. I have 500 230 gr. bullets, too. 4.6 should work for it. According to the chart 4.3 is enough.

Also chronoed 11 gr. 777 3f because I have a lot. The book says don't use 3f in cartridges. Avg. vel. 874. Power factor 92. I believe these'll remain PRACTICE loads.

April 15, 2008


Went to a local eye surgery center for the IAg laser treatment on the left eye. Six guys were in the waiting room with dilating drops in our left eyes. Finally the eye surgeon arrived from surgery, and one by one we went in for the treatment. Took less than 3 minutes per man. (Each of us had a "LEFT" label over our left eyes). You're strapped to what looks like the typical Ophthalmologist's torture apparatus, a lens is held on your left eye while you look at a blinking light with the right. The machine zaps the left eye several times, and you're done. Uncomfortable, but not painful. The eye is deadened with drops just prior to the procedure. Pred Forte is administered afterwards (anti-inflammatory drops) and you take them 4 times a day for a week afterwards.

I hate eye dilation, but as medieval torture procedures go, this gets only a 2 out of 10.

On the way we had stopped at the Apple Store to drop off the Macbook for them to retrieve a stuck DVD. Had to leave it. Went to get a hard drive for backup. Neither of my backup hard drives works anymore. Was told I could backup online at .Mac. Bought .Mac. At the bus upgraded to 30 GB storage for another $99. Spent hours and hours setting up the backup plan. Made more difficult by the instructions in ancient Geek.

Still need a hard drive to back up the entire computer, which I'll have to get when I retrieve the Macbook. The program Time Machine only backs up locally. Had to download Backup 3 for the remote backup.

April 14, 2008


Finally caught the DHL driver. He was new and had looked for this place by the casino 9 miles away on Friday. Got the computer. (Paid for with years and years of AMEX points. Amazing what you can get if you don't waste it flying to tourist traps in badly maintained aircraft flown by drunken, sleeping crews guided with ancient Air Traffic Control equipment and overworked Air Traffic Controllers, only to find that the baggage handlers stole your luggage.)

While walking George we noted the Propane dealer on premises also does windshield repair, so I had him do the bus, $35 for 2 chips, one I didn't know about. As a contrast, the MB dealer had found one, called me, and I authorized fixing it for $59.95. (Paying retail to get your car serviced is a bitch. The MB dealer, by the way, is very good. We got a 2007 C350 loaner car while the car was being repaired. They charge the same for the B service that Star does. The service advisor is the cashier. No standing in line. Had to wait while they were washing the car. Tipped the car wash person for a really clean interior--then noticed I couldn't see out the windshield. Had to re-clean the inside at the park.)

Spent much time working with the new computer. As set up it still had tiny print. Switched dpi sizes until I could read everything except some emails, which I have to "Increase font size" from a drop down menu to see.

April 13, 2008


Shot with the High Desert Drifters at Founders Ranch. Blackey Cole had foot surgery Friday, so I drove in his pickup. He shot his pistols on a couple of stages from his scooter. His second ROA came in, so he wanted to test it.

Shot 5 stages and had a lunch break after 3. It was 3 pm when we left. Complicated stages. 2 ended in rifle shots. One shooter was credited with an 11 second stage as a result. After checking the timer it was determined that 12 shots were recorded, the shotgun and the pistols, no rifles. He was given a reshoot, and he was credited with 17 seconds. The shooter believes they still missed some shots. This was a good object lesson on why you never end a stage with a rifle.

Good, enthusiastic club, only $25/year, $10 a match. The $10 goes to SASS for the use of Founders Ranch. Not bad.

Shooting at Founders Ranch is great. Compared to getting to shoots in the Houston area, the mileage isn't excessive.

Another great club.

April 12, 2008


Went to a new shooter's clinic put on by the High Desert Drifters at Founders Ranch. Very well done. After a briefing of what SASS and CAS are students were taken through some simple stages with loaner guns and equipment. Shaky Shooter and I were given 3 beginners deemed too beginner for that, 2 ladies and a 10 year old boy, accompanied by his father. We had a 22 pistol and a 22 rifle. After getting them through the loading, shooting, and unloading with the 22s, we let them shoot one of my 38s, and we demonstrated shotguns and let them shoot them.

April 11, 2008


Spent much of the day chasing the DHL driver with my new Macbook Pro. Finally, after talking to customer service was told he couldn't find this place. They'll try again Monday. !@#$!

April 10, 2008


Took the ML in to the local MB dealer for a B service. Went to the International Balloon Museum. Neater than I expected.

Went out to dinner with Tex and Cat. Got a tour of their really neat house. Great evening.

April 9. 2008


Shot with Rio Grande Renegades at nearby public range. They have a couple of berms with permanent prop "buildings", but targets are secured between matches. Members can practice there on off days as long as two adults are present. Not Cowtown, but at least practice is possible. Joined. $25. Even at that they only have 78 members.

April 8, 2008


Capt. Rich up a creek

We found this photo when we moved. I just got around to scanning it. Capt. Rich is on a Navy vessel, small, going somewhere up river to put his band of merry men ashore. Late 1969, III Corps Vietnam

Saw a local ophthalmologist. Eyes weir dilated, making me even blinder than usual. Scheduled IAg laser work for next Tuesday.

Forgot to mention that the Earthwalker boots worked decently Saturday and better Sunday. Can you say B-R-E-A-K-I-N? I was told to wear them nightly before wearing them all day. Didn't have time. Paid for it.

April 7, 2008


Cleaned the guns. The .45 cal. '73 was dirty inside. Pretty sure that was the cause. Couldn't duplicate after I cleaned it. Hadn't shot it in a year.

Found a case or so of .45 Colt smokeless ammunition. I guess I won't be needing to load any of that this month. I'll concentrate on .38 Special, .45 ACP, and 12 ga.

April 6, 2008


Buffalo Range Riders at Founders' Ranch. 3 posses full. Got on Tex and Cat's posse. That's always fun. Shot a Wild Bunch match after 5 stages. Learned some things, as expected. I need to solve the shotgun carrier problem. I tried my old San Pedro Saddlery 8 round snap-on on the belt. Too hard to get the shells out.

This match was different.

All guns were staged, along with 4 pistol magazines. At table 1 the 1911 was staged slide locked back, magazine on table. 5 shots into the Generalissimo, a big target. Drop mag. Run to table two. Pick up rifle, Stage pistol on table. 10 shots (3 knockdowns). Restage rifle. Take pistol to next table. Retrieve magazine. 5 shots on Texas Star. Drop mag. Take pistol to next table. Retrieve shotgun. Shoot the loaded 5 at another Texas Star. Then 4 more. Restage shotgun. Move to next table. 2 magazines. 5 pistol targets. Drop mag. Retrieve last mag. Move forward to engage 5 more pistol targets.

The TR Special performed perfectly, as did the magazines. The ;45 Colt '73 laid down with 3 left in it. The '97 worked great. However, after shooting 5, I need to load one each time I want it to go "bang."

April 5, 2008


Went with Blackey to the shoot at Magdalena, about an hour and a half away on a ranch. The match started at 1 PM (!) 5 or 6 stages followed by dinner at The Drug Store. Felt sorry for the little old lady and the young man waiting on 20 or so of us. Some of these shooters have never been waiters or waitresses, obviously. Good match. Got back about 8 PM. though. With a match tomorrow at Founder's Ranch that doesn't start at 1 PM I had a lot to do. Cleaned the guns. Replenished the ammo supply.

The Redhead had a VERY good day at the casino.

April 4, 2008


Arrived at Enchanted Trails RV Park, Albuquerque, $330 for the month--cheaper than 2 weeks and 3 days. 50 amp pull through. Toto, we're not in Arizona anymore.

Blackey Cole was parked nearby, here through Buffalo Stampede, too. (Non-cowboy name Mickey, so he spells alias Blackey.)

April 3, 2008


car hauler

car hauler

This was seen at the KOA in Holbrook, AZ. I believe someone has discovered an even more cumbersome method of accessing his run around vehicle than mine. Let's see, first you set up the 5th wheel and disconnect the tow vehicle. Then you move the tow vehicle to a spot where you can back the car out. Then you put all of those ramps in place (behind the cab on the front of the bed.) Then you back the flivver off the roof. Repark the tow vehicle. Now you can go to the store.

Drove to the KOA at Holbrook, AZ. Paid $3.99 (before discounts) per gallon of low sulfur #2 Diesel at the Flying J in Winslow, AZ. Flying J discounts the gas 6¢ for using a Flying J loyalty card (from FMCA), and the receipt showed them removing the excise tax, too. Don't know what the AZ rules are on taxes. We fill up at the truck pumps for obvious reasons.

Margaritas on time.

April 2, 2008


Among the things I did in getting ready for tomorrow's drive: Cleaned windshield, mirrors, and side windows with Windex go get the bugs off and Invisible Glass to make the glass invisible. Cleaned Diamond Shield, the plastic shield on the nose of the bus. Clean the chrome surfaces of the mirrors. Attempt to move the left mirror arm in toward the side of the bus as suggested at Life On Wheels (or, as The Redhead says, "Hell on Wheels, not to be confused with the real Hell On Wheels in Cheyenne in July.") I could move the arm, but not the mirror mount. Didn't want to break anything, so I left it.

The above required the use of the Little Giant Ladder, a 6' tall stepladder that extends to be a 12' tall stepladder.

Moved several thousand 105 gr. bullets to a basement slide near the front of the bus. Put some 200 and 230 gr. bullets for Wild Bunch matches there, too. The damn things are heavy as lead. Mounted one of the little foam fire extinguishers in the trailer. The automatic (Griot's Garage) extinguished in the garage needs recharging. It's just out of the green. Put another little foam fire extinguisher in the ML. Mounted the Life Hammer in a better location.

Finished stowing everything in the shop. Swept the floor in the shop about 6 times. There's still shot in the crevasses. Put the ML into the trailer.

There was more, but that was a few Margaritas ago.

In case you haven't already, note the date above the first paragraph on yesterday's blog.

April 1, 2008


Invested The Redhead's Monday poker winnings in a new Marathon Prevost conversion. Used some of the leftover money to have all my main match guns engraved 90%. The Redhead vetoed hiring a 25 year old blonde to drive the bus.

Drove across town to get my ears molded. SportEar had lost my "ears" when I sent them in for repair. This has been going on for some weeks. They're making new ones now.

Got the nickeled Stoeger back from Coyote Cap. He welded up the broken lug (normally breaking the front lug means the end for the shotgun. Most gunsmiths can't fix it. Stoeger won't and won't sell the parts to gunsmiths), The repaired section is harder than the rest of the lugs. These should be over 40 in the whatever hardness scale. The stock part is under 20. Gun looks great. The lugs and surfaces around them are damascened. Everything's polished. The chambers are mirror surfaces and bored to 11-7/8 gauge. He had gotten the shotgun just after it failed, and much of a day's shooting of the plastic wad residue was there. Not being a BP shooter, he didn't know how to get it out and wound up back boring the right barrel. If you ever get a BP shotgun that needs cleaning, lay the barrel in a tray and spray the innards liberally with Windex. Let sit or an hour or so. Turn the barrel over and respray. If you can leave it all night all the better. Then one pass with a Bore Snake will clean it out even if it was left for several days before cleaning. I cleaned the shotgun I used at Gathering of the Posses like that. The soaking is important. You can't just spray with magic elixir

Counting shipping the total charges were $218, not bad for a new lease on life for an old shotgun.

March 2008 Log