July-October 2013 Journal
End Of Trail 2013

August 26, 2013

I have caught up a little. I'll be getting back to writing the journal soon. As I'm recuperating from surgery and won't be shooting until late October at best, I probably won't be doing a daily blog. I'll be doing the Outlaw Trail article for the Chronicle. Don't know if I'll be able to put pictures on the blog on it or not. We'll see

A note as to why this is way behind:

July 17, 2013

I've gotten way behind here, primarily because of the arm problems. The main problem turned out to be diagnosed (on July 16) as a torn biceps tendon. The pain is in the forearm because the biceps controls rotation of the bones in the forearm as well as flexing the arm at the elbow. It means typing hurts like hell, too.

The best cure is surgery, scheduled for July 24. A civilian (non-VA) surgeon is doing it on Medicare, not the VA, which would probably get around to it around December.

It means no shooting for 3 months. Depending on how physical therapy goes, it could knock me out of Bordertown. Outlaw Trail is definitely out, but I plan to be there to write about it at least.

I've ordered a new MacBook Pro with dictation software (mine's too old for Dragon). That should make writing possible with the left arm immobilized.

I have EOT and Railhead photos and will get around to posting them eventually. My typing has been limited pretty much to writing the EOT article, and I'm still working on the September column. Deadline is soon, so I'll be done before the surgery. I will note I shot EOT clean and got a buckle and shot Railhead Wild Bunch clean (6th) and the main match at Railhead (12 stages) clean and finished second and for an extra treat shot the HDD match July 13th clean, 6 more stages, 34 stages clean. I also shot Buffalo Stampede with one miss and won the Plainsman match with 3 more clean stages (4 counting a reshoot)—with a torn biceps tendon on my shooting arm.



Brett at American Pioneer Powder called and asked me to post this on the SASS Wire and Facebook:

American Pioneer Powder will be unable to attend End Of Trail this year due to unforeseen circumstances.

To make up for it they are offering a special EOT promotion on American Pioneer Powder.
The delivered price including all shipping and Hazmat for 1 case (12 bottles) of American Pioneer Powder is $17.50 per bottle.
The delivered price including all shipping and Hazmat for 2 cases (24 bottles) of American Pioneer Powder is $16.00 per bottle.
The delivered price including all shipping and Hazmat for 4 cases (48 bottles) of American Pioneer Powder is $15.00 per bottle.

Anyone who is interested should call toll free 888-423-2310 and mention the promotion code - TRAIL13.

The promotion should run through July 15, 2013.

These are really good prices. You won't see them at stores.

June 9-20, 2013

The left arm has been giving me real problems, and one of the things that really hurts is typing, and I had to get in the Buffalo Stampede article and the August Dispatches. Thus this has suffered. It may suffer some more unless the arm gets better. Nothing'll be done until at least mid July. Don't expect to see a lot here.

June 8, 2013, Saturday

Went to the HDD match. Excellent match. Well written, simple stages. 2 were in bay 7, where targets are still at Wild Bunch distances. The other 4 were at appropriate distances for EOT main match. Good practice combination.

Afterwards used the Chrony chrono that's stored in the club office.

I had made up some Tin Star loads for .45 Colt for WB based on data from Mica McGuire's loads. His:

Based on these I made some using 7.0 gr. Tin Star and my 13 year old Uberti '73 Carbine. I expected something in the 160s.

Okay, 7.5 gr. averaged 879 in Mica's rifle. 7.0 gr. averaged 925 in mine! This, I suppose, is why you should chrono your own loads in your own gun. Clearly these rounds aren't likely to get me disqualified on chrono day. I have enough for the summer, especially since I may not be able to shoot WB because of the arm problems. If I use this up, I'll make some test loads to see what it takes to get to 160-170PF.

I also chronoed two loads in my Buffalo Classic. The match load is APP 3F to the base of the bullet, or about 30 gr. vol./23.5 gr. weight. Nice load, 1196 ft./sec avg., with a ES of 54. I also ran a couple of "early morning into the sun" loads and got 815 ft./sec. average. 17 gr. Goex 2F, corn meal filler compressed.

June 7, 2013, Friday

Called Coon Creek Old West. Needed to send them a pair of Confederate cavalry trousers for repair. Discovered they won't be at EOT! First time in 23 years. Buck needs surgery on his arm and can't do the heavy lifting. He's getting the surgery in July.

Made more .38-55 ammo. It goes slowly on the turret press. The primer disposal system on the RCBS makes the one on the XL650 look really good. The real primer disposal system is the big plastic tub to catch falling primers. A lot of them get stuck in the ram innards requiring efforts to remove them.

Got the guns and gear ready for the HDD match tomorrow at Founders Ranch.

The arm is not getting any better.

June 6. 2013. Thursday

Worked on .38-55 Plainsman ammo:

RCBS Turret Press using 5 stations: 1 Lee decapping resizing die, 2 RCBS Cowboy expander die with the large expander (0.379) 3 Dillon powder measure 4 RCBS seating/crimping die, 5 RCBS resizing die with decapping parts removed so completed round is resized. This makes the case mouth just below the crimp .005 smaller than it comes out of the seating/crimping die


Dillon powder measure for APP (Dillon does not recommend their powder measure for black powder, but then they don't want you loading wholly black in their machines at all). Since there's no pull-rod the spring is used on too, and a screw and nut secure the return mechanism


After powder is inserted in stage 3 I pull the case out and check powder depth. This gauge has a mark equal to the depth of the seated bullet so that powder is even with the bottom of the bullet, appropriate for American Pioneer Powder. If using wholly black, add enough powder for mild compression -1/16 to 1/8". I also check the primer at this point. Then the case is reinserted and the turret rotated to 4, where the bullet is seated and crimped.


Desperado Cowboy Bullets 260 gr. .380 dia. RNFP bullet with their BP compatible lube. This is a flat-based bullet. The case must be ever so slightly belled at station two.


This is what happens if you don't bell the case mouth enough


This is what happens when you bell too much. The WW brass is very thin and splits very easily after a few firings. I don't expect extra long life out of the brass. I haven't tried Starline because of non-availability


The bullet on top, a properly completed round below, properly crimped into the crimp groove. 2.515 was the measured length of this round

The case before seating and crimping the bullet at station 4


Seating and crimping the bullet at station 4


The round after seating and crimping. Theoretically the round is ready to shoot. If ejection wasn't so important when shooting a Buffalo Classic in Plainsman, it would be ready


But then the round goes through full-length resizing


The completed round, now .005 thinner behind the crimp and less likely to stick. All match grade rounds are chamber checked. To chamber check I remove the barrel from the rifle and drop rounds into it. If they fall out, they're match grade. Don't try chamber checking in the assembled rifle. The ejector sticks out unless the breech is closed, and closing the breech over a loaded round 100 times or so in the workshop is asking for an AD.

June 5, 2013, Wednesday

Took the bus to Cummins. They had it all day. We had the cats and dog all day—in the Jeep. The stuck window magically worked for the mechanic. It hadn't worked for a year or more. The dash AC was out of coolant but passed all pressure tests, and he put new coolant in. Much cheaper than my worst nightmare. He worked on the hydraulic leveling system. He did the generator and chassis service. Cummins continues to impress me. They've never tried to up sell me or to do an expensive fix when a cheaper one would work. Got home after 6, exhausted.

June 4, 2013, Tuesday

VA--primary care semi-annual. The new growth is benign. Cholesterol was low. Blood pressure was in the normal. Everything else was normal except B12, and one of the many drugs I take lowers B12, so a supplement is in the mail. Appointment made with orthopedics for the arm problems, and with dental now that I'm eligible.

June 3, 2013, Monday

Spent the day in the shop making Wild Bunch .45 Colt ammunition using Tin Star powder. I've had the powder for a couple of years for a potential article, but there's no data published. I had worked up a decent load for .38 Special, 4.0 gr.-105 gr. Didn't know where to start with .45 Colt. Mica McGuire had made some .45 Colt (and some with 5744):

I fiddled with those numbers some. The 6.3 gr. charge varied from 691 to 888 ft./sec., with only 3 rounds. If you deleted the 888, you got a power factor of 142. The 7.5 gr. charge gave a low ES. Extrapolating from that I figured 7.0 would be comfortably above 150 in all conditions. So that's what I used. If you, too, have a bunch of Tin Star, you can start there and CHRONOGRAPH before you load up 2000 rounds or shoot in a match. I'll chrono these next weekend with luck.

Loading didn't take long. The powder doesn't spill out at all. 10 charges weighed 70.7 gr., but random single round weights varied from 6.9 to 7.3. Could be the cheap scale.

What took a long time was sorting brass to use. I have a big plastic tub full of .45 Colt brass. I picked headstamps that I could trust, mostly Starline. Some of my Winchester and RP are 10 years old and who knows how many loadings. Starline, Ten-X, and Top Brass are probably once fired. But I had to read each headstamp and check each round for cracks. I don't have any excess primers, so I couldn't just make 1,000 rounds and sort out the good stuff for match use and put the rest in a practice box. I found several .44s of varying types. Some of the brass had been stored a long time, so I tumbled it all again. Each round went through a chamber checker before going into shotgun boxes. None failed. I checked a lot for overall length, but I can tell by looking that they're okay. If I can see much crimp groove, they need to be checked. But the dies stayed adjusted to the front edge of the crimp groove. I still have some to load to reach 500 rounds. but the next two days are pretty booked up.

June 1-2, 2013

This photo of a new brass screen at an unloading table at Founders Ranch was very popular on Facebook. I first saw them at Rio Grande Renegades range, and now Founders Ranch has them. Good idea. Not hard to make.

Saturday went to Founders Ranch for the Bighorn Vigilantes match. Good match. Target setup leftover from the Wild Bunch match at Buffalo Stampede was used for 2 stages, so I don't think anyone shot clean. Then Sunday went back for the Buffalo Range Riders match. Had one miss, a couple of decent stages. My left arm continues to plague me with considerable pain.