Journal of a Gypsy Cowboy

Formerly

Combined Fulltime RV

and Cowboy Action Shooting Journal

May 2008

June 2008

May 31, 2008

Saturday

Shot with the Renegades, 4 stages, and a 2 stage Plainsman match, all done by Edward R.S. Canby (who shoots under the alias Crosstie in this club). Finished after 4 PM. Good match. Notable was Cowboy Clay, a buckaroo, shooting Plainsman with his own percussion pistols. Of the contestants in Plainsman, only 3 shot proper Plainsman guns, him, Canby, and me. I grabbed full-charge .45-70 rounds by mistake and did a lot of damage to 5 targets. I wasn't the only .45-70, fortunately. I was the only .45-70 shooting smokey stuff.

May 30, 2008

Friday

Another wonderful day with the VA. I'll avoid the gory details. Let's just say that I have PTSD from the treatment by the VA, and I have yet to see a urologist. It should also be noted that the medical records of the surgery and aftercare by trhe civilian, and thus competent doctors, which we spent considerable time and effort getting into the VA system, are now nowhere in the VA system. This, of course, is my fault.

But on to other incompetent organizations. We went to Best Buy for some speakers for the TV in the garage. Eventually we got waited on by a blonde incognito. She has dark hair but is blonde underneath. The best she could offer was a $99 speaker, not a pair, one round speaker, wireless with a transmitter, and it was obvious she was being paid by the hour, not on commission.

So we went to Circuit City. I tackled one employee after being avoided by several for half an hour. He offered $499 speakers and amplifier. Finally he said something about computer speakers working, so we went to the computer speaker department. The one and only geek in that department was tied up with a couple who took half an hour to buy nothing. Within about 2 minutes he pointed to a pair of $19.95 speakers that should plug into the audio output jack. We'll see.

Nice to no that profit-making organizations can be as incompetent as a government run concern.

May 29, 2008

Thursday

Took the ML in for a hatch motor on order. Left it. Got 2007 C240 for a loaner. This store is a class act. They called at 3:30 and said it'd be ready by 4:30. I do suggest they provide loaners with navigation and Sirius Satellite radio. Our marriage is in danger when The Redhead has to navigate. Like most women, she doesn't have the map gland, or the directional gene. Her directions tend to be "That was the turn back there," or "Left!" when I'm in the right lane. Not a problem. Half the time she means right anyway. GPS Navigation units have saved more marriages than counseling.

Returned a DirecTV HD receiver/DVR I'd bought on Memorial Day after trying to see the Indy 500 on the recording. Got gibberish. Couldn't cure this problem, so I bought a new unit. They only do HD now. But before we tried to install the new unit we figured out it was a dish problem. When we got back from the Newmar dealer The Redhead turned the TV on, and it worked, so she didn't tune the dish. When I checked, it was at 75%. Anything below 92-93% on both tuners is a problem.

Anyway, we'd like to go HD. Don't know if the TV Dish is HD Ready or not. The build date was right on the cusp. Will have to do research. Ditto the TVs in the coach. The little TV in the trailer is HD capable but is an analog TV, so it won't get off the air signals next year. No problem. We don't do of the air much if any.

Ate at the Margarita Factory at Coronado Mall. Service was unbelievable. Ordered veggie fajitas, got steak. Took so long I accepted them. That was about the last time we saw the waiter. Had to get the manager. Never got our sopapillas. She comped the meal, which is the right thing to do.

May 28, 2008

Wednesday

Practiced with Renegades. Good session. These guys don't practice much, though, a couple of hours and they were ready to put the targets up. Can't shoot by myself, range rules, so I was done earlier than I'd have liked. Very happy with the new SKB100 shotgun. 4 rounds in 5+ often. I could do that with a Stoeger, but the median time was in the 8s. With this one it's in the 6s or 7s. Few boo-boos.

May 27, 2008

Tuesday

So what does a combat vet do the day after Memorial Day? Spent it at the local VA hospital getting wonderful tests done, follow up on the cancer, which, of course, was service related. Could be worse.

May 26, 2008

Monday

Memorial Day

During most of my career I've had to work on Memorial Day. I took off to march in the 1987 "Welcome Home" parade, but not much after that. So what does a combat vet with memories of several fallen friends do on a free Memorial Day?

This one went to a range and shot a case of shotgun ammunition. Call it a 250 gun salute to my friends. Edward R.S. Canby/Ted Simmons is a member of the Zia Rifle Club and head of their cowboy action shooting club. I was to meet him at 0930 at the gate. The road was closed, however. The road, which had been lined with burned out cars on both sides, was in use filming the latest Terminator movie. (Yes, after Terminator 3 being the worst movie since Plan 9 from Outer Space, they still made another one.) Albuquerque Studios are at the end of the road to the range, with the largest sound stage in the US and much lower costs than Hollyweird, plus tax rebates to the production company.

A cop blocking the road gave me a map of the detour, and we all got there. Ted/Canby's wife was with us learning her shotgun, too. We started shooting clay birds thrown from throwers. The wind was in our faces. I fired up half a case of shells before I began to get it, finally hitting them most of the time. Canby is very good with birds. His wife was hitting them well with her Norinco 99.

Then we moved to a berm where the wind wasn't quite so unfavorable and shot pop-ups. I kept missing trying to hit them at the top of their arc. Finally I started chasing them with the muzzle as they went up, and when the muzzle covered the bird, I fired, thus giving enough lead to hit them solidly. At the end we'd shot up all of Canby's clays (forgot to bring mine), and all my ammunition. 2 shotguns were quite dirty from the BP, but I can now have a reasonable expectation of hitting pop-ups and some chance of hitting birds thrown crossing and going away.

Shot the SKB 100 I'd gotten from Johnny Meadows. VERY GOOD! Worked like a charm. I believe I'm hooked.

It was a very good session.

I went to Sportsman's Warehouse and bought a fresh box of clays to give to Canby.

May 25, 2008

Sunday

Shot with the Renegades. Shot Wild Bunch category wearing 1916 US Army private's uniform. The hat was miserable. The pants have 2 hip pockets and a watch pocket only. trousers have buttons down the sides at the bottom, so they can be tight over boots I suppose. Leggings are worn over them anyway. A bitch to put on, those leggings are. The plan was to wear a captain's uniform, but none of my silver captain's bars made the transition to motorhome life, and I don't think I had any cavalry crossed sabers that didn't have a tank in the middle. Ordered captain's bars from an eBay site and cavalry crossed sabers from Buck at Coon Creek, officer's hat cord, too. I haven't tried finding any leather officer's leggings.

Everything worked. The uniform is comfortable considering. The guns all worked. I racked one round out of the '73 on one stage and had one brain fade. Times in 30s otherwise, probably about 1/3 off the winning pace. Couldn't see the front sight on the pistol from a firing position in a window frame. Black sights on black targets weren't all that easy anyway. I explained the rules to the peanut gallery before shooting the first stage.

One spotter thought I should get a safety for moving with and staging the empty 1911 with a magazine in it. The 1911 is never reholstered in this category, always restaged unless it's the last gun fired.

The regs say:

The 1911 must be restaged safely at the end of each shooting string with the slide locked open, unless the 1911 is the last firearm engaged. It may contain an empty magazine or no magazine when restaged. (Failure to comply, SDQ. per current SASS rules the shooter has until engaging the next firearm to correct without penalty)

Moving with the empty magazine in the gun was criticized. Again, the regs:

Changing magazines on the move is allowed as long as the slide remains locked open and the trigger finger remains out of the trigger guard until at least one foot reaches the shooting position. (trigger finger MSV, slide closed SDQ)

This a really fun category. I'm looking forward to it at EOT.

May 24, 2008

Saturday

Shot "Action Pistol" with Canby/Ted Simmons. Strange shooting a match (a) using my own name (b) without wearing a costume. One guy was in a costume, camo of undetermined origin with cap of Wermacht origin.

Had dinner with Shirley and Shaky Shooter. Excellent food and hospitality. 3 neat dogs. Nice people.

 

May 23, 2008

Friday

The Redhead gambled. I worked in the garage. Probably have enough shotgun ammunition now to get through the summer season, 60+ boxes.

May 22, 2008

Thursday

The Redhead and I went to see the new Indiana Jones movie. As good as the third one, better than the second. There's nothing to equal Raiders of the lost Ark. I'll give it 4 stars.

I'm reminded on the Indiana Jones influence on art:

Artist's concept of Captain Leander McNelly

McNelly's Raiders, an original oil painting by Clyde Heron. This painting hangs in the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum with the title, Leander McNelly, Captain, Texas Rangers.

This painting seems to have been painted after the artist viewed an Indiana Jones movie. The hat looks more Indiana Jones than Texas Rangers, as does the jacket.

I'm also fairly convinced the US Army wasn't issuing the A2 Pilot's Jacket in 1875. But I could be wrong.

The case of Goex Cowboy came in, along with the anti-static kit. The low powder sensor doesn't fit in the aluminum tube of the anti-static kit. I see this as a problem. I have difficulty seeing through aluminum, and I really don't want to load shotgun rounds that are primer powered.

Today the President of Shell faced off against an almost incoherent liberal Congresswoman. It ended with her threatening to nationalize the oil industry. Glad to hear her come out of the closet and admit it.

May 21, 2008

Wednesday

John Hofmeister, CEO of Shell Oil Company, told the US Senate talking heads today, exactly what the cause of high fuel prices is:

"In the United States, access to our own oil and gas resources has been limited for the last 30 years, prohibiting companies such as Shell from exploring and developing resources for the benefit of the American people. It is not a free market. According to the Department of the Interior, 62% of all on-shore federal lands are off limits to oil and gas developments, with restrictions applying to 92% of all federal lands. The Argonne National Laboratory did a report in 2004 that identified 40 specific federal policy areas that halt, limit, delay, or restrict natural gas projects. The problem of access can be solved in this country by the same government that has prohibited it. Congress could have chose to lift some or all of the current restrictions on exploration and production of oil and gas. Congress could provide national policy to reverse the persistent decline of domestically secure natural resource development.

There is simply no way to keep up -- let alone get ahead of demand -- except by producing more oil and building more refining capacity. That's because of the makeup of the barrel of crude. Only a third to a half of a barrel of crude oil can be used to make these products. We can't use more than half of a barrel of oil to make diesel and aviation fuel. To meet this demand we need more capacity. So we need policies that enable both more crude supply and more refining. Higher taxes would only serve to diminish the expansion capacity of this critical capital investment. I urge you on behalf of American consumers to resist such punitive policies."

Went to the Renegades practice session, but by elevenish everyone else had wimped out due to the high winds. Only two of us remained, and he wanted to leave, so we put the targets and tables up and shut down.

I discovered this morning I had left the green Dillon range bag at the range Sunday. It was in the shed, but the magazines I think were in it weren't. Ordered 4 McCormick's (without base pad) from Brownell's. Blew the wholesale savings by having them shipped 2nd day so I can have them for an action pistol match Canby invited me to on Saturday.

Shot the Wild Bunch guns during the session. My reloads are too slow on the 1911. Practice is required. First round from the holster in under 2 seconds including racking the slide (using the Israeli method) were attained after a little practice. In my IPSC days I could reload shot to shot in 1.5 seconds. Below 3 was tough today.

The '97 went better. 4 hits from the table in under 4 seconds was consistently attained. I practiced reloading it, too. The rules allow you to stoke it to capacity or to the number of targets, but the first match I shot required 9 rounds. This means I have to wear a shotgun belt. I've finally gotten mine arranged so it doesn't interfere with the acquisition of the spare magazine for mag changes. Tried putting the mag carriers on the shotgun belt, but didn't like the result. I've been pulling spare mags from the same place since the sixties. I believe they probably should be in that place.

I's occurred to me that I should get some hot shotgun loads for the WB match at EOT. Aerials. There will be 3 popups.

Got an email from Coyote Calhoun telling me my SASS University Costume seminar is 1 PM on Wednesday, which is side-match day. Probably means no Plainsman match. Can't tell from the schedule. T-Bone and Nuttin' Graceful are giving a couple of classes on Tuesday, Duelist and double-barreled shotguns, with range time of course. Would love to take them, but the warm-up match is that day. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

May 20, 2008

Tuesday

Took the bus to Aloha RV for minor work. $333. AC fixed, digital keypad for door lock ordered. Awning adjusted. Out just after noon. Not terribly impressed by Aloha RV. Wouldn't want to try them for major stuff. They only work on the house, anyway, nothing chassis. Couldn't even check the transmission fluid level.

The mechanic came across as good, though.

Saw the ophthalmologist for follow up on the laser work. It went well. No swelling. Both eyes are as good as they're going to get considering.

Dropped off the "backup" '73 at Jack Diamond's. Nothing wrong with it, but I neglected to tell Cody to put on a Grabber sight. I'd gotten one from Manatee, but, with the tools I have, I couldn't get the installed front sight to move. Just about wore out a brass punch trying. Picked up the plated Stoeger, which was misfiring on the left side. He had only found some crud under the hammer, not visible until complete disassembly of the innards.

Got back to the RV Park, backed the coach into place, dropped the jacks, plugged in the powder, and extended the slides. Sat down and took off my new lace-up, not broken-in boots while The Redhead ate chocolates and watched me do it. When I finished taking off the boots, I said, "I believe the bar's open."

"Aren't you going to hook up the plumbing?"

May 19, 2008

Monday

Worked in the garage. Getting ahead on shotgun shells. Used up all of the Goex Cowboy in stock. Made some rounds with Triple 7, out of red hulls. Cowboy goes into Gold hulls. The Triple 7 is for popups. Hitting the knockdown harder makes the bird go higher, and a hotter load spreads the shot a bit more. Don't know if it'll help, but...

May 18, 2008

Sunday

Shot with the Renegades, a practice session in costume/demonstration for the spectators at the hunting-fishing expo. Lots of people practicing, lots of people showing kids how to shoot .22s and women how to shoot .38s and 12 ga. One lady got a REALLY good, detailed tutorial on SASS guns. I just tired to find unused spots so I could practice. Edward RS Canby and I shot pop-up clays. He hit them. I didn't. Must practice that more. Shot till 3 and came back to the bus. Canby brought by the box of clays I forgot and stayed for a Margarita.

Baylor shooting the Pioneer shotgun

Shooting the Pioneer shotgun. NICE gun!

Last night I received a remarkable email. If I ever had doubts about doing the CAS website and this blog, this letter allayed all doubts.

Letter from a Deployed Soldier:

I want to thank you for your posts/blogs. When I was on my first tour in Iraq, I heard about cowboy action shooting. Researching led to your How to Get started in Cowboy Action Shooting and other articles. They helped me think/focus about something else when I got down time. I would lie in my bunk and plan what to buy to get started and even dreamed of matches. Now I’m serving in Kosovo and your journal of fulltiming in the RV is great! Now to escape, I’m planning to try the “lifestyle” when I get back in the States. Not fulltime like you, but at least doing a lot of traveling with my fifth wheel (I’m planning on buying one) and visiting as many matches I can with my built up leave.
 
Words can never repay you for all your writings have done for me. Maybe, just maybe, I can meet you some day and try one of those margaritas. LOL
 
SFC Maury Schuh
TF Griffin
Camp Bondsteel

Having once been a soldier and in need to read about something to take my mind off the situation at hand, I know how SFC Schuh feels, and I'm grateful I could help. Thank you, SFC Schuh for your service to our country.

May 17, 2008

Saturday

Went to the Rio Grande Renegades match. There's a Fish and Game Expo going on at the range, so we were part of the entertainment. All of the props were up. They painted the targets, and the mayor wore a coat. We got a prospect or two.

I, on the other hand, have yet to shoot decently at one of their matches. Not sure why. I know why I messed up one stage. When I drew the left pistol, the range officer was right behind me on that side, and what you would expect happened. I didn't lose the gun, but it did screw up my draw. By the time I'd figured out what happened, I'd already missed the first target. Then my mind was blown, and I missed 3 more. The stage ended with 2 popup targets. At best I have a 50-50 chance of hitting popups. With my mind blown, the cans were in as much danger as the spotters.

I take full credit for screwing up the other 3 stages. Two had Texas Stars, which normally I love, but they were in little danger, too.

Yep, 2 Texas Stars, 2 pop-up targets, 42 clean matches... not.

Anyway, we're going back tomorrow to practice in costume as a further part of the Expo.

May 16, 2008

Friday

Worked in the shop while The Redhead went to "work" at the casino. She's doing well at poker.

Made shotgun rounds until I ran out of wads. I have nearly 1000 rounds made up. I've ordered a case of Goex Cowboy for shotgun and pistols, probably .45-70 too. I'll sell off half of it. Just wanted the case lot price.

After having trouble with the latest batch of once-fired AA hulls, resulting in 35 crushed rounds out of 300 or so, I spent about an hour sorting my once fired rounds. The Remingtons work like a charm, about 2 total failures out of 300 and a box of practice rounds. Emailed Edward RS Canby, who knows of a local source for cheap Remingtons. Bought 1600 for 4¢ each. He's offered to pick them up and deliver to the match tomorrow.

May 15, 2008

Thursday

Raining, 50° high. Took the ML to the MB store and got the third brake light replaced this time without the highly factory trained technician breaking it. LED brake lights are a good thing. They're brighter, come on quicker, and last longer. When one element of a panel of them fails prematurely, however, they're a bitch. Ideally the rest of them should last their rated hours, which is longer than most people own the car.

Went to Hilson's Western Wear for some gamer boots. The guys who can really shoot all seem to be wearing some form of lace up work boots. If you take the kilti off, Justins look (from a few feet away) just like US Army issue boots in that era.

M1904 Marching Shoe

M1904 boots

M1917 Pershing boots:

M1917 "Pershing" boots

Justin Work boots:

Justin work boots

 

Note that the tops of the boots, in "Wild Bunch" military uniform usage, would be covered with leggings, so the height of the boot is immaterial.

The lace-up boot was also used by cowboys:

The second cowboy from our left is wearing lace-up boots.

But, of course, the fast shooters aren't wearing these boots for authenticity. They're wearing them for comfort and support, meaning they can run faster in these than in pull-on boots, and most of them are old enough to suffer some foot pain. I fall into that category even if I don't shoot well enough to be called a gamer (which I consider a badge of honor).. Had I known that the Army was going to destroy my feet, I might have joined the Navy. I don't know how much running in combat boots they did, but they probably didn't jump out of helicopters into jungle clearings nearly as much. I broke 5 or 6 bones in my feet during my time in the Army.

At the western wear store I saw Howling Henry buying some B-Western boots and ordering some Wah Maker clothes. I didn't see any SASS stuff there, but apparently they're the SASS western store in Albuquerque.

May 14, 2008

Wednesday

Shot with the Renegades. 4 stages on a Wednesday. Fun match. Useful practice.

May 13, 2008

Tuesday

Got the right eye done in the morning. That left me with a dilated eye for a good while. Didn't accomplish much after that.

May 12, 2008

Monday

Much of the day at the VA. Then work in the shop.

May 11, 2008

Sunday

Shot at Founders Ranch with High Desert Drifters, shooting stages 1-6 of Buffalo Stampede. Much better than match day.

Afterwards showed Laramie Jack the Pioneer hammer double. Compared it to his TTN and my CC1887. He thinks they're all too big and too heavy. I've gotten used to the CC1887 and like it.

Three Hammer doubles, TTN, CC1887, Pioneer

Three hammer doubles: Top CC1887, center TTN, bottom Pioneer

Laramie Jack shooting Pioneer

Laramie Jack shoots a double all of the time in Classic Cowboy, so I solicited his opinion of the Pioneer. He liked the action, didn't like the size and weight.

Chambers of Jack's TTN-modified

Chambers of the TTN, as modified by Jack, with the chamber mouth's edges removed and rounded off for easier, quicker loading. I shot the gun and found a sharp edge jutting up and forward in the back of the trigger guard. It went into my trigger finger, drawing enough blood to keep me far away from the blued guns until I could get a Band Aid and get the blood washed off.

Chambers of CC1887

The chambers of my very dirty CC1887 (after 6 stages), showing rounded edges of chamber mouth

Chambers of the Pioneer

Chambers of the Pioneer. About the only modification (I think) it needs is the edges rounded on the chamber mouths, something the manufacturer can't do, since the gun is proofed for 3" Magnum shells. Laramie Jack pointed out that we don't need guns fitting 3" Magnum shells. On the other hand, a manufacturer does. The gun will be available in sets with the 18-1/2" barrel and a 24" barrel, for people who want the gun to do everything.

Another Item I forgot to put in at the time

Last weekend was the first time I got to use my new SportEar CS210s. I had sent in my old SportEars for repairs in February. They lost for them, fortunately after signing for them. They promised to replace them, but I had to go to a SportEar dealer to get my ears remolded. These were the in the ear models adjusted to my audiogram, the one done by civilian doctors, not the VA, so it showed some hearing loss in the left ear.

SportEars

 

Anyway, it took a LONG time to get SportEar on track, to admit they had a problem, and to authorize replacement. It took longer for me to get to their dealer in Phoenix.

Fortunately they did send me a pair of loaners:

behind the ear SportEars

These are behind the ear models. They are an invention of the Devil or Sarah Brady, assuming there's a difference. Not shown are little bitty foam inserts that replace the clear plastic tip shown. You stick those in your ear canal, deep in your ear canal. The first time I got them in it took fifteen minutes. I shot much of Winter Range with 50¢ ear plugs because I couldn't get these things in. I got better at them in the 2 months before the real ones arrived. At one time or another my shooting glasses knocked one off, and a stampede string did the same thing. If you're prospective customer, get a pair of the in-the-ear models molded to your ears.

Then, when I ordered the new ones the gentleman who had sold me the old ones in the first place, promised to call and get a mailing address before shipping them because we were leaving Phoenix. It should be noted that Escapees Mail Service, our permanent address, won't accept parcels with Lithium batteries in them, so I figured they'd lose them or send them wherever they send my Playboy subscription, or reject them. About a month later, UPS called asking where I'd moved to. They had a package sent to the old Phoenix address from Harris Quest. Yep. The new ear protectors.

It's MAY, folks.

SportEar 210

Anyway, the new CS210s are about half the size of the old ones, and they have a tiny little button in addition to the volume control. It puts the unit into one of 4 modes:

1. Shooting

2. Normal conversation

3. Enhanced conversation (or eavesdropping mode)

4. Fast attack/Machine gun mode

I did most of the shooting in mode 1, switched to 2 to hear the match description, and enhanced conversation mode when eavesdropping. Then I tried Fast Attack/Machine gun mode.

That mode was worthless. I didn't shoot a bit faster with them in that mode than in regular shooting mode.

But, since these retail for a lot more than the original pair I bought in '06, I'm happy with them. They're easily installed, comfortable, and easily adjusted.

May 10, 2008

Saturday

Went to Founders Ranch to help set up for tomorrow's High Desert Drifters match. Bogus Deal and Howling Henry were the only others there. Wind was about 40 knots. They didn't bring any guns to shoot after we finished, messing up my plans to practice there. All 3 of us shot the Pioneer shotgun and the Coyote Cap Commemorative 1887 that I'm comparing this jewel to.

The Pioneer failed to fire a few times with the left barrel. Henry and Bogus caught the rub mark the hammer was making on the stock, maybe 1/16" wide and the length of the hammer fall. That would do it. I would guess the wood has swollen since it was made. Put empties in and dry-fired both sides a lot. Shot it again. No problems yet. Probably won't shoot it in the match tomorrow because I haven't modified the gun cart to fit it, and I don't want to scratch it up throwing it down on props.

After that we went to lunch at Chili Hill. Still have gastric reflux at the time of writing.

When I got back I realized section of the RV Park had been given over to vintage RV's:

Route 66 Rendezvous

SWVCA

Vintage RVs

 

1937 Pierce Arrow Travelodge

1937 Pierce Arrow Travelodge

1950 Fireball and flamingos

1950 Fireball and flamingos

Teardgop

Teardrop camper

Teardrop interior

Teardrop Interior, complete with cat

Vintage Airstream

Vintage Airstream

Caddy with Airstream

Caddy with Airstream

1949 Greyhound bus

1949 Greyhound bus

This was a small sampling. Interesting display.

May 9, 2008

Friday

Worked in the garage while The Redhead went to work at the casino 9-5. The Dillon 900 managed to come apart at the little 1/4 x 20 x 3/8 screw that holds the wad seater and shot dispenser. The screw and washer disappeared. When I lowered the handle, the rising hull pushed the whole mechanism out the top, spilling shot. Called Dillon and got Gary Keift (Mogollon Monk). I bet him he hadn't heard that one before. He hadn't. Jury rigged it while the replacement parts come in. Reinforced the view that the 900 needs perfect hulls to make perfect rounds. Tried to load some AA's with burned/melted edges. Wasted expensive shot, powder, and primers. Perfect hulls gave perfect results most of the time. Finally got the machine to quit throwing primers on the floor. It's been a long negotiation with the machine's agent. If I feed it and lubricate it often and deposit X$ in a numbered Cayman Islands account every week, it won't throw primers on the floor.

That doesn't mean it won't throw 1/4x20x3" screws and washers into the far corner of the shop when it thinks I'm working it too hard.

May 8, 2008

Thursday

Took the ML in. The third taillight was in. After the tech put it in, he noticed it was broken. Put the old one back in. Reordered. This is a high-tech LED brake light. They're supposed to last for years. One element burned out.

Grocery store, shop, Margaritas.

May 7, 2008

Wednesday

Went to the Renegades practice session. Shot the Pioneer Arms shotgun. Really nice. Light hammers. Easy to open. Every round fell right out. Polished chambers. The splitter between the barrels seems a bit thick, but you'd get used to it loading all the time. I would imagine a gunsmith would polish the chamber edges to soften the edges. That's about the only complaint. I think I could shoot it in competition without any gunsmithing.

Tried all of the methods of cocking a hammer double, with heel of hand just after firing, one as you shuck the rounds, one as the shotgun comes up from loading, with heel of hand as the gun comes up after loading. Everything worked. At best I was approaching hammerless times. This is just for test. I have a SKB coming from Johnny Meadows. I love hammer guns and wish the rules for Frontiersman required them, but since they don't I can't handicap myself by shooting one. I'm handicapped enough with my vision.

Picked up The Redhead's new glasses, bifocals and wraparound shades. She really likes the shades. Found another Mexican Restaurant, Gardunos Margarita Factory, trying to impress us with how hot their salsa is instead of how good their food is. Their food is pretty good, so they didn't need to kill our taste buds. I've eaten Vietnamese food.. They needed all the hot salsa they could pour on.

May 6, 2008

Tuesday

Took the bus to Cummins Rocky Mountain. Now there's a class act. The mechanic taught me several new things, such as how to check the transmission fluid level from the driver's seat. Got a chassis lubrication and generator service. Punch list was small, check "ABS Fault", and adjust what HWH thinks is level. He showed me how to adjust it for the future. Very tedious, but he got it perfect.

Spartan has started telling people to get a chassis lubrication every 5,000 miles, even though it's not in the book. We'll use Cummins Rocky Mountain for chassis/engine maintenance where possible. That's 2 Cummins facilities that have been impressive. Makes sense. Most of their clients are commercial truckers. When the truck's down, it's not making any money. I saw a car hauler trailer full of cars in the lot at Freightliner recently. I'll bet he wanted his truck back ASAP. Same thing with Cummins. In at 1, out at 5.

Picked up a Pioneer Arms hammer double from Diamond J Gunsmithing, sent by Pioneer Arms for test in the Chronicle. Beautiful shotgun. More later.

May 5, 2008

Monday

Took the Time Capsule back to the Apple Store. Got a 500g La Cie hard drive and a refund. Time Machine won't work with it, but Backup does, and its own backup program works well. Backup can be scheduled automatically. Backed up the entire hard drive didn't take very long. Backing up using .MAC and Backup is a royal pain. I have broken the important things into small bits, about 2 Gigs each, and schedule them at different times for backup. It takes hours and hours, and then it fails. Nothing has been backed up in one pass. I'm putting the photos on it for obvious reasons, and it's taking forever. I got the Word, Excel, and Power Point documents done, but not without pain.

Dealt with two impressive organizations:

Went to the VA. They had mis-scheduled me. "New" patients need an hour with the primary care physician, and they had scheduled 30 seconds or so. I got testy and refused to leave without getting a PSA (politely). Got the PSA, but they took another quart or so in order to get the whole list of blood tests. They'll have to do the lipid panel again when I go back, because, of course, I hadn't been fasting due to my failure to read minds.

Scheduled the AC repair with Aloha RV. May 20th. They don't service AC units if they need recharging. They replace them. They don't know if it's in warranty or not.

Called the local Spartan repair place (the Dutch Star has a Spartan chassis), a Cummins facility, to get some things checked out and the chassis lubed. They're taking us tomorrow afternoon. That's the good news. The bad news is they can't check the "ABS Failure" message. Stewart and Stevenson can, and can do the chassis lube, but can't work on the HWH leveling system.

Jim Diamond called. The Pioneer Arms hammer double arrived for test. This is a $2500 shotgun. At the SHOT Show the people selling it came by the SASS Booth and asked Coyote Calhoun if they could get it tested in the Chronicle. He pointed at me. They handed it to me and asked me what I thought. Ignoring the beautiful wood and craftsmanship, I tried to cock both hammers with the heel of one hand, and I couldn't. I handed it back and said, "The hammers are too stiff." I explained how we use them. They told me the hammers were authentic, based on a 19th century original. I explained that we do internal tuning of all of our guns, and if they want to sell them to us, they need to be very easy to operate. The gun shipped is the result of that conversation. I'll pick it up tomorrow. (No, I don't get to keep these guns.)

Catching Up

Things I forgot to put in:

George the Wonder Dog

On Friday night just as we were going to bed George S. Patton, Jr. began barking at the ceiling vents in the living room. He doesn't like the Fantastic Fans (brand name to you non-RVers), so we paid no attention at first. But he wouldn't stop, and the fan wasn't on. We noted a strange smell and shut the AC/heat pump off in the living room just as it started making sounds like a tin can full of nuts and bolts. I wound up on the roof at 10 PM checking the AC. George gets full credit and double treats for warning us about the AC failure. Who knows what could have happened if we didn't turn it off when we did.

Arthur Pendragon, of course, watched the whole spectacle with disdain.

Of course, the appointment to get the AC looked at by the local Newmar dealer, Aloha RV is for May 20th. Fortunately it's still reasonably cool here (but hot late in the afternoon).

Reloading Stand:

Capt. Baylor's Loading Setup

Capt. Baylor's Loading Setup

I used to charge my percussion pistols at the unloading table. When I got to Arizona non-Frontiersmen started harassing me about it. The unloading tables at some of the events are inadequate and merged with the loading table of the next stage. The loaders usually crowd over into the unloading table. There was little to do but build a charging setup. Eventually I screwed both loading stands onto the box on top of the gun cart. The Dixie Gun Works stand works by itself if I'm loading the cylinder on the gun. If I'm using the cylinder loading stand, I still put the frame in it to clean the recoil shield, which I've started doing in an OCD manner.

I had considerable trouble with the cylinder loading stand, wearing out two main bearings pretty quickly. I knew other shooters didn't seem to have this problem, but I couldn't figure out what was wrong. The new bearing was very tight, and I needed it to work the next morning. Lapping compound would have been nice, but I had only coarse rubbing compound. In working the lever up and down I found that with the tight bearing I could only work the lever when the horizontal locating plate was down close to the cylinder, just high enough to clear the ball. So I tightened into that position. The blowing dust is so bad out here the first time I took it out, the dust locked it up tight. I used a gun sock on it between loading episodes during Buffalo Stampede. It worked. I do have to clean it off every day now.

If not kibitzed, I can load each gun in about a minute. I don't hurry. Using Wonder Wads or equivalent with Goex Cowboy adds 15-20 seconds.

May 4, 2008

Sunday

Went to the BRR match at Founder's Ranch. We shot 7-12 of Buffalo Stampede. If I'd shot like this at the match instead of like a half-blind old guy...let's rephrase that, instead of REALLY BADLY, I'd have won. No train wrecks. I guess if I could practice all match stages multiple times I'd be almost competitive with the half-blind old guys.

One big posse. Result was we finished the 6th stage at nearly 4 PM. Some of the stages were overly long. When Krazy Kurt did one in 38 seconds I began to understand it wasn't just me. Came home exhausted to a red-haired buzz-saw. The Apple Time Capsule had been misbehaving. The Time Capsule is a combination router and back-up hard drive that, in combination with Time Machine, a built-in program in Leopard, the operating system, continuously backs up the MAC, and you can go to whichever back-up you wish to restore your system after a rare crash. Since I'd had a crash in the hard drive of the previous MAC, the Macbook, I thought this was a good idea.

The only problem is it doesn't really work, not with Hughes Net. It has been kicking her off online poker sites. Reinstalling the old router solved that problem, but it doesn't backup. According to the owner's manual, you should be able to use the Time Capsule just for backup, but we were unable to make that work. Visiting the online Apple forum, we discover that we're not alone in having problems. The owner's manual is a joke in small print. I gave up after a mere 35 hours of trying to decipher it. Will visit the Apple Store in town tomorrow.

May 3, 2008

Saturday

Went to Founders Ranch to help with setup for tomorrow's Buffalo Range Riders match. They're using the stages from Buffalo Stampede, so it was mostly setting buildings that had been blown over back on their foundations and the like. Have I mentioned it gets windy out here? It gets this windy in Houston, too, but usually only half an hour before the hurricane hits.

We also set the bottom half of the shooting gallery into its trailer, recently built by Laramie Jack.

Then we were able to practice on the stages. I've come to the conclusion that some of these stages are HARD.

May 2, 2008

Friday

Worked in the shop while The Redhead worked, er played poker at a nearby casino. Removed the lock-open notch in the Coyote Cap hammer double and practiced loading same for some hours. Worked on the .45 Colt '73 carbine (Wild Bunch match). Finally decided that it pretty much had to be the extractor. Removed the old one. Discovered the groove under it was full of gunk. Removed same. Replaced the extractor with a spare, polished to match the one Cowboys and Indians had put in years ago. Reassembled the firearm and tested it with dummies. It worked. Other shop work until The Redhead returned from another successful raid with booty.

May 1, 2008

Thursday

A day of errands, starting with taking The Redhead for her eye exam, then breakfast, then finding a Lens Crafter's and ordering her glasses, then going to a "BAD HAIRCUTS HERE" place for one bad haircut, mine, one good one, hers. Then bank and cleaners run, FedUP store for a box. They had every size in the catalog except the one e need. So I got the next larger and $10 worth of bubble wrap! GEEZ THAT'S EXPENSIVE!! Then wunnerful WalMart for a script for her eyes, groceries, and a Gopher. CAS shooters know what a Gopher is. We pick up brass and hulls with them.

April 2008 Log