July 2010 Journal

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass... It's about learning to dance in the rain. (Nellie Blue's signature on the SASS Wire)

Pushing your Luck:


You know the honeymoon is over when the comedians go to work...........

The liberals are asking us to give Obama time. We agree . ... and think 25 to life would be appropriate. - Jay Leno

America needs Obama-care like Nancy Pelosi needs a Halloween mask. - Jay Leno

Q: Have you heard about McDonald's' new Obama Value Meal?
A: Order anything you like and the guy behind you has to pay for it. - Conan O'Brien

Q: What does Barack Obama call lunch with a convicted felon?
A: A fund raiser. - Jay Leno

Q: What's the difference between Obama's cabinet and a penitentiary?
A: One is filled with tax evaders, blackmailers and threats to society. The other is for housing prisoners. - David Letterman

Q: If Nancy Pelosi and Obama were on a boat in the middle of the ocean and it started to sink, who would be saved?
A: America! - Jimmy Fallon

Q: What's the difference between Obama and his dog, Bo?
A: Bo has papers. - Jimmy Kimmel

Q: What was the most positive result of the "Cash for Clunkers" program?
A: It took 95% of the Obama bumper stickers off the road. - David Letterman

(Note: I didn't research these to see if these guys really did these lines. If they didn't, well, they're still good lines.)

June 30. 2010. Wednesday

Breakfast downtown. Found the range for Railhead tomorrow. Jim Bowie was parking his new vendor's trailer there where he can work on guns. Tows it behind his 40 ft. motorhome.

Took The Redhead to the only grocery store in town. Then I cleaned guns and restocked the gun cart, and she went to a laundromat that had more than 3 washer-dryers. Dinner with several Arizona people. One asked me how EOT was. He hasn't gone because of the jerks on the SASS Wire who are always badmouthing everything the Wild Bunch does, especially the California types who are still pissed that they left California. My response is that this is the best EOT I've been to, California or NM.

June 29, 2010, Tuesday

Drove to Williams, AZ. Right rear trailer tire blew. Nothing from the Pressure Pro. Flagged over by passerby. The Pressure Pro sender was GONE. Belt still there but not attached to the sidewalls anymore. One piece of inner fender bent. Hammer solved it. Took 2 jacks to raise the wheel high enough to change, one in front of the front tire to get the axle high enough to get the other jack under the axle in the back. Put the spare sender on the new wheel and programmed the Pressure Pro. Made it to Williams and to Railside RV Park. Dinner at Pancho McGillicuddies/ Saw several SASS people there.

June 28, 2010, Monday

Packed up and drove to Enchanted Trails. Still exhausted. Didn't even have Margaritas. Napped instead.

End of Trail 2010, June 20-27, 2010


June 19, 2010, Saturday

Please note the Margarita sessions have moved outside. Bring your own chair if possible. We have only 4 outdoor chairs. Putting the Duck in the window doesn't work with the shade on the windshield, so we're setting it outdoors at the front of the bus with the "IT'S 5 O'CLOCK SOMEWHERE" sign when Margaritas are being served. Circa 5 PM through EOT except for Thursday, when we shoot late and shoot early Friday. Remember, Frontiersman, all you can drink, triples!!

Went to Ace and got another riveting tool. Fixed the problem snap. Redwing, Shaky and Shirley Shooter, and Lieutenant Daniel Lee and his wife were among the people that dropped by at one time or another. Got my shooter's packet. Set up on patio so several people could sit and sip Margaritas. Dawgtooth Dave and Sagebrush Molly (and their 2 dogs) brought snacks.

June 18, 2010, Friday

When taking the shades off I needed to replace a rivet that had pulled out. Worked with my new handy, dandy Harbor Freight riveting tool--will be looking for a higher quality riveting tool. Faucet was leaking. Took bus to RV Sales, Moriarty, where Ralph and friends changed the faucet, as it was beyond help.

Then moved to Founders Ranch and set up in our pre-marked spot.

June 17, 2010, Thursday

Worked in garage. Got it ready to move.

June 16, 2010, Wednesday

Put the new bolt in the '73. Also removed the lever safety, since its only purpose is to lock the lever.

Old Bolt on top, new bolt on bottom. Old Bolt held together with .062 dia. cross pin. New bolt held together with BIG, thick cross pin (Didn't measure. Smaller than 1/8") The cross pin that attaches the links to the bolt is used. The little key (the part immediately above the bolt— UB:2500721 Uberti Firing Pin Extension Stop) is what attaches the bolt to the UB:240067/New Uberti Firing Pin Extension.

Everything in the bottom bolt, plus a new firing pin and firing pin spring are part of a $100 set, pre-fitted by Uberti gunsmiths, from VTI Gunparts.

Both bolts had holes for the cross pin that were one size too small. That's why I had to take them to Jack Diamond. He enlarged the holes with his drill press and numbered bits set. If anything the cross pin is looser than I like. I stopped it from falling out by putting a dab of lithium grease on it.

Then everything worked well. I tested it with dummies, and all worked well. I made sure, several times, that the firing pin was going forward and back.

New bolt assembly

Old bolt assembly on top. Note .062" pin through bolt, holding bolt extension on

I've pulled the old cross pin out so you can see it on the top (old bolt).

New bolt is polished on sides and on top of side extensions.

The old bolts are no longer available for liability reasons. Looking at the two bolts side by side I can't argue with the change. I feel a lot more comfortable with the whole thing held together with the big cross pin rather than one .062" diameter. If the little pin breaks, you get the bolt extension in your eye. I now have 2 of the new bolts. One is in my #1 gun. The other will go in the spare right after EOT. Won't change anything I don't have to before a big match. Haven't decided whether to shoot the #1 gun or the #2.

Get the new bolt assemblies now, so you can get them worked over (or do it yourself) before you need them. Then when the old bolt acts up, you can put the new one in, or you can put the new one in and keep the old one as a spare.

June 15, 2010, Tuesday

In the morning took both new '73 bolts to Jack Diamond, and picked them up late in the afternoon. Worked in the garage. MUCH work still needs to be done to move the trailer.

June 14, 2010, Monday

Why deadlines are sometimes hard to make:

Headed to Ace Hardware for new wheels for the gun cart. Right front tire on the ML hit a rock on the freeway, and the tire lasted a couple of miles before dumping all its air. Pulled into a Starbucks parking lot. Called MBrace, MB's new provider of emergency services. They said a technician would be calling me back in 10 minutes. Normally I can change a tire in 10 minutes. Did it in 2 during a rally once. Back of vehicle was full of gun cart, etc. Took all of that out, grabbed the toy wrench that apparently MB is buying from Lexus. Had to stand on the wrench and jump up and down to loosen the lug bolts. Put the toy wheel chock behind the right rear wheel. Then got out the toy jack and jacked the car up. Phone rang, and I couldn't talk outside the car because the Bluetooth was still hooked up. Got in the car. The car fell off the jack and rolled over the chock. It was the Roadside Assistance technician. He would be there in 10 minutes. Now I did need him. He arrived with real tools, pulled the backing plate away from the disc where it had been bent by the wheel when the car fell off the jack, and mounted the spare. He did a good job.

Bought the wheels at Ace and drove to the Discount Tire on Coors. Just for grins called the MB dealership about a new tire. They wanted $330 for the tire and $20 to install. Discount credited me with $103 for the remaining tread, making gross cost $183. They had to get the tire from another location.

When I went to put the wheels on the gun cart, I remembered (too late) the current axles are 0.519" or so, and the i.d. of the wheel bearings are 0.498". Had to go to Lowe's and get new axles. Used 1/2" steel rod. Easy to work. Put in the appropriate spacers, cut holes for cotter pins, and cut to fit. The new, improved wheels run very smoothly.

Discount called about 5. We got the tire mounted and went to Landry's for a seafood dinner.

Joe LaFives wrote, in the SASS Wire:

Packers are legal for CC. But not cowboy really. Stirrups are hell on laces. And since Cowboys are supposed to get there by horse and not walk, does really fit the fantasy. YMMV however.

Tell that to the guy wearing lace up boots.

This weekend a vintage Airstream group had a rally, complete with restoration classes. Some interesting Airstreams:

1954 model

more of the 1954

Rare Airstream cabover on a pickup pulling an Airstream trailer

Airstream Class A

Not a BIG class A by current standards, but seriously neat

The '54 again

Some Airstreams are shinier than others.

June 13, 2010, Sunday

Shot the High Desert Drifters match at Founders Ranch. One P, 1 miss because of an undercharged cylinder (i.e. no powder at all.)

Giggles helped immensely in marking the parking places for Camp Baylor and friends.


June 8-12, 2010, Monday—Saturday

Busy getting ready for EOT. Loaded, cleaned, etc. Wednesday shot the Renegades match Wild Bunch Traditional. Thursday practiced with Mr. Peabody. Friday went to VA. Came out with 4 braces, one for left elbow to cushion the ulnar nerve, 2 for hands allegedly to minimize thumb pain. Another one for right wrist. I'm supposed to sleep in 3 of them.

Troubles with the refrigerator. It worked. It didn't work. it worked. It didn't work. Many conversations with Ralph. As of Saturday it's not working, and he's calling Norcold Monday about replacing the cooling unit under warranty.

June 7, 2010, Monday

Took the bus in to Cummins for 1000 appointment. Technician started on vehicle about 1400. Stuck in the waiting room with a TV stuck on the Discovery Channel at half volume. Very tired.

June 6, 2010, Sunday

Went to Founders Ranch for the Buffalo Range Riders match. Not as hot, not much wind. Missed one, some decent stages. Basically we shot half of Buffalo Stampede with some modifications.

June 5, 2010, Saturday

Shot the Renegades' match. Avg. temp about 210°F, with wind into face. Hands, unprotected by sunblock got very dark. Back to usual re misses at Renegades, meaning bunches. Fun match anyway.

June 4, 2010, Friday

Last Night

Someone on the SASS Wire asked about the modifications needed to make a Colt percussion revolver work in SASS. Colts had a design flaw. The hammer slot was wider than the percussion cap, allowing the cap to fall into the action. Shooters soon learned to invert the gun when cocking for the next shot, allowing the cap to fall out. This would involve pointing the gun behind you, violating that pesky 170° rule of SASS. When the Remington '58 came out, they had solved the problem with a narrow hammer slot and hammer.

Modern SASS gunsmiths, like Rowdy Yates of Lee's Gunsmithing have mastered a cure, called the Manhattan modification.

I'm not claiming that this particular Colt was Rowdy's work. I don't know where the pictures came from (making it hard to give proper attribution.)

As Larsen E. Pettifogger's articles in The Cowboy Chronicle have illustrated, the current replicas need more work to work reliably. The Colt percussion replicas look like a cheap way to get into percussion. But when you pay a gunsmith to modify them to the max, they cost as much as a Ruger Old Army. Most of them work out of the box. Most of those that don't need gunsmithing that totals a lot less than a Colt would. Some years back I got the bug for a pair of '60 Armies, but before Rowdy could build me a pair, I came to my senses. Even with all of his magic, a pair of ROAs would work better.

June 3, 2010, Thursday

Went to the Renegades' range for practice with Lefty and Angie. The '73 problem returned. Now I'll explain. It was binding at full lever extension. Cause: the bottom of the bolt, (the ejector?) had developed a small crack and was opening up too much. Cody said it was from an out-of-battery discharge. I've had some of them with the OTHER '73, but this one has a functioning safety. I thought they were supposed to prevent that. Certainly none occurred that was noteworthy. Anyway, I need a new bolt. For those of you who aren't familiar with the '73, Uberti changed the design recently for safety reasons. The only problem is that you can't just replace the bolt. Now you have to replace the whole assembly.

Cody told me to call Taylor's, and his wife, Wanda, who works there, would bring one home, and he would polish it and send it to me. I called Carrie at Taylor's, paid for it, and arranged it. Later Linda called back and said they were missing one part, but Cody would look for it in his parts.

With luck...

Made another case of shotgun ammo. Probably have enough to concentrate on something else, almost 3 cases of new 40 gr. ammo. 40 gr. APP 3f or Cowboy, with a Remington Figure 8S wad and 500 gr. shot will take down any knockdown I've encountered and will switch barrels on both shotguns now that Johnny Meadows has worked his magic.

Found the Skiver:

The blurb from Ballistic Products:

Machined from tough aircraft aluminum, our Power Skivers attach to your drill or drill press and make quick work of any hull skiving or hull reshaping job. Just a quick touch is all it takes. This tool is Curmudgeon approved and guaranteed to reduce stress on your reloading bench.


Called the VA to get in their weight loss program. They're going to kidnap me sometime in July, and weigh me. If I haven't reached my weight goal, they'll fly me to Panama, transfer me to a chopper, fly me to a small clearing in the jungle, give me a Ka-Bar knife and a month's worth of water purification tablets, and tell me they'll pick me up in a month. If I don't weigh at or below my target, they'll leave me for another month. If that doesn't work, they'll just leave me there.

I'm not sure it'll work, though. I've been in jungles before.

June 2, 2010, Wednesday

Went to the Renegades practice session. Got in a little practice, not as easy as it sounds at a practice session. Then worked in the garage. The problem came back on the rifle. Redid the fix. Will explain when/if it works. Loaded another case of shotshells. I've used up all of the Dooley Gang hulls and am now into the 1000 STS Green from Papacharlie. They're pretty good hulls. I can't find the skiver*, so I'm having to do some fiddling. I also got lazy and didn't expect some of them as much as I should, and stepped on hulls got into the case feeder. That's as far as they go, of course, and everything comes to a halt.

Attempts to get the washer-dryer haven't gone well. Talked to Darryl at Splendide. The only authorized service in Albuquerque is Camping World. Ralph didn't return my call. Darryl emailed me the shop manual and parts list if I can get Ralph to work on it. There are 2 causes, according to Darryl, one costing about half the cost of a new unit, and one that isn't expensive. It just gets better and better.

June 1, 2010, Tuesday

Holiday's over, back to work. Went to Zia Rifle and Pistol Club with Lefty Rhodes. Took a couple of tables. Put up 3 targets and shot for a couple of hours. Then we went to The Bicycle Shop, where Lefty bought powder, primers, and wads. I bought wads, liking Larsen's suggestion of Remington figure 8 wads. Called Cody Conagher about a problem with my rifle. He had a suggestion for its cure before I finished describing the symptoms. Then we went to Jack Diamond and retrieved the Winchester '97. It's good to go until something else breaks. $29. Then to Sportsman's where I bought 50 lb. #7-1/2 shot and Hornady .457 round balls. With my VA discount, they're as cheap as The Bicycle Shop. Then home. Applied Cody's fix to the rifle. Will test tomorrow. Dinner at Lefty's place. Excellent.