August 2014 Journal

American Pioneer Powder Premium Grade Test —American Pioneer Powder has announced a new, more accurate powder—designed for Cowboy Action Shooting. I used it in EOT and shot clean. After EOT I had time to do a chronograph and Ransom Rest test session against all of APP's powders and the most accurate wholly black I had, Goex Cartridge. Check it out.

Special brass for sale


Patron Member package arrived. Pronounce like Patron Tequila. Saying it wrong means buying a round of something using Patron Tequila.

Loading .38-55 on a Dillon XL650


Dillon doesn't make a conversion for the .38-55 Winchester, but I was tired of dealing with an RCBS Turret Press and weekly calls to RCBS for broken parts, mostly primer feed. So I put in a .30-30 Winchester conversion kit...


On top I used RCBS Cowboy .38-55 dies

The .30-30 powder funnel will not work with .38-55 brass. Lacking a machine shop to make a proper .38-55 powder funnel, I used a .38/.357 powder funnel. Since it's designed for much smaller brass, I had to raise the powder die considerably to adjust it correctly. At stage 3 the powder check die was adjusted for .38-55. If I leave the die adjusted I can remove the top and use a different .38 rod for .38 Special and there's no adjusting when changing cartridges.

The powder funnel is adjusted to ever so slightly bell the case.

The 5 stations. Station 1 is depriming and full-length resizing. Brass must be lubricated--thoroughly. Station 2 is priming and powder drop. Station 3 is powder check die. Station 4 is the expander die. The .380 diameter Desperado Cowboy 260 gr. bullets require the larger expander insert in the RCBS Cowboy Dies kit. It's still a little small for the .380 bullet, hence the need to bell. At Station 5 the bullet sits inside the belling. If it doesn't, it doesn't end well.

The bullet is tall and narrow and tends to tip over unless you hold it in place.

Station 1 requires finessing the tall narrow cartridge case or it won't be lined up.

After finessing

.38-55 calls for large rifle primers. Winchester large rifle primers are unreliable with the Johnny Meadows tuned H & R rifles. I could tell them apart from Federal Large Pistol primers by the color. I didn't want large rifle primers to get into the pistol ammunition, so I used Federal large pistol primers. They work very well.


Since this is a rifle round, the case insert slide must be in the rifle position.


The result of not belling the case sufficiently

Working slowly and carefully this is 15-20 minutes work, slower than pistol ammunition, but not bad

I have a tool head and a powder measure for every caliber I load

High Desert Drifters Match at Founders Ranch July 12, 2014

Amber Ale

Amber Ale

Texas Tiger's Texas surrender starting position

shooting pistols...

Moving to the rifle and shotgun...

transition from rifle to shotgun.

English Lyn

Just got another powder measure so I have one for every load, eliminating adjustments.

Bob Mernickle is now making an expanded line of buttstock covers. Finding your guns on the rack is easy now.

The Pickup Magnet arrived from Midway USA. An absolute necessity when using a rotary tumbler and stainless polishing media





My Ruger Vaqueros after Slick McClade and Colt Faro finished with them

Shotgun Boogie's revolutionary Game Changer short stroke kit. Must be installed by a gunsmith. Colt Faro has done several hundred. Average installation time under one hour per gun. No welding. The hammers are made this way

The mainspring base doesn't have a lock in it. Horrors.

What's missing? Oh, yeah, the transfer bar. The rear sight notch was, long ago, widened.

New firing pin spring, much lighter than stock, part of the reason this short stroked hammer doesn't require a lot of pressure to cock

Different pawl, of course

Hammer back, hammer down. If you "short stroke" these, just cock it again, and it does not skip a cylinder. There is a half-cock notch, and it will "catch" the hammer. To load, go to half-cock. Then the chambers will line up in the center of the loading gate cut out. If you rotate backwards, it will stop with the chamber in the middle, making loading very easy and precise. The "Load one, skip one, load five" method works, but I spin the cylinder to check for high primers and count 4 from the empty chamber and full cock, hammer down on the empty. Note the trigger is pretty far back.

Slick McClade's Slick Hit front sight

Fits over stock front sight, ground/sanded/filed to same height

Straight back edge