September 2011 Journal

Black Powder Smoke Standard Test (on separate page and in this page)


August 31, 2011, Wednesday

Another trip to the VA for the blood test needed for the MRI. I got the redhaired tech again, and she snuck in the PSA test needed for my October 3 appointment with the urologist.

AC still out in the bus. Glad it's the last day of August, The Month From Hell.

Texas Tiger sent this photo of the Renegades at the Fandango with their loot, left to right: Tex, 1st Gunfighter, Vaquero Luna, 2nd Duelist, Grubstake Charlie, 1st Overall and 1st 49r, English Lyn, 1st Senior (clean match), Baylor, 1st FC (clean match), Texas Tiger, 1st Lady, 1st Lady Wrangler, and a lot of side matches. She even won the best dressed lady award

August 30, 2011, Tuesday

Back to the VA. Saw the ENT Dr. Pickett. He believes I have an inner ear problem, not middle ear, and the only treatment will be a hearing aid. But he did request an MRI. He said 99% of the time audiograms like mine show nothing on the MRI, and it's inner ear failure, virus, loss of blood supply in a small artery, or auto immune disease. Of course, I thought, yeah, and there were the ear traumas I received in my misspent youth. I figure that could just possibly have something to do with it. I went to the MRI office and talked them into scheduling it September1st!!! Then I called Dr. Pickett's office and asked for an appointment ASAP after the MRI. Got one Tuesday the 6th, which is the first possible day. Every time I get really pissed at the VA I meet nice people who pull me back from the brink.

Worked in the garage in the PM, Sorted practice ammo to make into ammo for the upcoming Roswell and Magdalena annuals. I'll need more bullets, and I need another batch of Starline for upcoming major matches. Shooting a match with ammo made from new Starline brass makes life easier. Said ammo gets chamber checked, which SHOULD find all the upside down primers. At EOT I found that not to be true. The 1 upside down primer found in that batch of 1000 rounds got into the rifle. Considering the OCD checking I do, I have no explanation other than sabotage by aliens.

August 29, 2011, Monday

"Obama has done for the economy what pantyhose did for foreplay." Kinky Friedman

Went to the VA twice, psych in AM. This is typical VA. The shrink wants to see me in a month. I went to the appointments desk, and they said Nov. 1 was the earliest available. PM was eye clinic. They do a good job. The young lady mentioned that glasses could improve distant vision by 1 line in the left eye, and they'd provide them. So I have glasses on order now. Left eye 20/40, Right "a soft" 20/25. So 20/30 and 20/25 is expected with glasses. Makes sign reading a little easier. (Ischemic optic neuropathy is the problem)

August 28, 2011, Sunday

Shot the last 4 stages. Results:

1OA 1 49r Grubstake Charlie
3OA 1LW Texas Tiger (& most ladies side matches)
4OA 1S'English Lyn CLEAN MATCH
8OA 1GF Tex
14OA 2D Vaquero Luna
42 shooters, 3 clean matches

Grubstake Charlie won the Wild Bunch match overall, and Texas Tiger was top lady.

This was a fun match. The stages didn't have the usual small match mistakes. I found them entertaining. The targets weren't too far away in the main match, and there were no really strange shooting sequences. Stage 10 caused some consternation. You were told you had 10, 10, and 4+, to put at least one round on each target in any order, and to knock down the one shotgun knockdown. The other 3 were swingers, etc. Some smart people realized there were 5 rifle targets, 5 pistol targets, and 4 shotgun targets, and you had 10 pistol and 10 rifle rounds. So the fast way was something like: shoot the 4 shotgun targets with the rifle-with enough power to take down the knockdown (oh, like a 125 gr. bullet with a full .38 special case of 777 3F), then the 5 rifle targets and one pistol target. This leaves 10 pistol rounds to put 1 round on each of 4 targets and dump the rest (or, say, 3 on 1, 2 on 2, 3 on 3, and 2 on 4. #5 was hit with the rifle. This is the one where I was faster than Texas Tiger because she couldn't knock the knockdown down with the rifle or the pistol and had to use the shotgun. 7 of the other stages were conventional. 2 used a Texas Star, one with shotgun, the other with a pistol with shotgun backup.

Nice people running the match, and they were working hard.

Drove back to ABQ. Note to anyone coming to ABQ from Roswell: Fill your fuel tank in Roswell. It's a long way to Moriarty, and that's the first reasonably priced fuel. 86 octane was $3.97 in one place, $3.79 in another. It was $3.47 in Moriarty.

August 27, 2011, Saturday

Main match. Shot 6 stages. Good stages. Very few problems. I was shooting in low to mid 30s in Frontier Cartridge until stage 6, and suddenly I couldn't hit a Texas Star with the pistol and had to shoot makeups with the shotgun. Horrendous 42 second stage as a result.

Lunch was barbecue at the range, excellent brisket. Among the best range meals I've had, right up there with Founders Ranch green chili cheeseburgers.

Old Scyene was vending. I had just gotten some lightweight khaki cowboy pants from Wild West Mercantile. Frontier Classics. Got some grey ones from Old Scyene. They look like wool but are lightweight and comfortable. At this point in SASS costume contests, the judges aren't counting stitches or weighing fabric, so these are good for hot weather matches even if you're trying to win a costume contest. If you don't care about costume contests, they're still comfortable and look good.

August 26, 2011, Friday

Got up at 0400. Drove to Vaquero Luna's, leaving at 0500. Arrived at Tex's place 0615. Followed Tex and Grubstake Charlie to Hobbs, NM for their annual "Shooting Fandango." Arrived 1100. Tex's Cadillac SUV cruises at near the top rung of the Jeep's speedometer, so keeping him in sight was a lot of fun. Had lunch at Tia Juana's, about 3 days worth of calories, carbs, and sodium, then dropped Luna off at his hotel. The rest of us were staying at the Holiday Inn Express. Put on the rest of the costume, and we went to the range for the Wild Bunch match. They only had 2 categories, male and female. Some very hard stages, with distant rifle targets. The last stage had 10 pistol shots on the distant rifle targets. The average shooter had over 10 misses on that stage. I had 2. I did see someone shoot it clean. Grubstake Charlie won. Tex was 4th. I was under 2 seconds behind, and English Lyn and Texas Tiger were 6th and 7th.

Tex, Charlie, and I went to dinner at Chili's. Charlie mentioned he won. After Luna entertained me with horror stories of guns being stolen from the parking lots of hotels at previous matches here I brought in all of our guns on a clothes dolly.

LoneRider Leather Wild Bunch Rig

Yes, this is the same rig as the bottom of the page. LoneRider Leather Wild Bunch rig, size 42. Apparently the deal fell through, and it is for sale, only $375! (See what that buys at the big leather makers.) That's with 3 double mag pouches. He'll make one without the carving for only $225. Yes, he makes the other things you'll need, such as a shotgun/rifle slide or belt, as desired. His work is high quality, and, because he's not a big shop with lots of advertising dollars, his prices are low. Contact LoneRider Leather

August 25, 2011. Thursday

Jason came back and came to the conclusion that we had exceeded our deductible and still had things to replace on the AC, so he contacted Good Sam to get pre-approval of a new AC. This, according to the Newmar Diesel Pushers Forum, seems to be the usual outcome. He fixed the HWH unit yesterday and charged the dash air. More things still to be done.

i started putting stuff in the car for the trip. Wouldn't want to drive 6 hours and find I left something critical at the bus. I haven't done this kind of trip since I retired. The fact that I am taking guns, ammo, and loading stand for Frontiersman, Vaqueros for Frontier Cartridge and an extra 150 rounds of BP .38 special for them, and 250 rounds of smokeless .38 and 75 extra rounds of 12 ga. smokeless in case I have to switch to Silver Senior doesn't make things any easier. That's not counting the Wild Bunch ammo, guns, and equipment--and costume. Tex said something about shooting in full uniform, so I have to bring mine. That means 2 hats, 2 sets of boots as well. Fortunately Luna packs light.

LoneRider Park Ranger Rig

Jack Houston told me he had a special order that was really special. A park ranger who carries a 1911, a shotgun, and a baton wanted a rig that "would look at home on a Texas Ranger's hip in the old days" and would protect the magazines and hold spare shotgun ammunition. The shotgun is for grizzly bears. Jack studied rigs like the Threeperson's rig from pre-WWII.

LoneRider Park Range Rig

LoneRider Park Ranger Rig shotgun ammo loops and mag pouiches

LoneRider Park Ranger Rig

August 24, 2011, Wednesday

Yesterday's earthquake which was felt from Georgia to New York was centered on a previously unknown fault line near Washington DC. After consultation with the U.S. Geologic Service and NOAH, President Obama was allowed the privilege of giving the new fault a name. It henceforth will be known as Bush's Fault.

The front AC went out yesterday, so Jason Quinn came over this morning. He's been chasing parts since then. It's repairable. He also fixed the HWH panel for the jacks and put R134A or whatever in the dash air.

Talked to the registrar at the Hobbs match. I asked how many entrants she had for Frontiersman and Frontier Cartridge. She said only one in Frontiersman, a Captain George Baylor. No FC's. They're anticipating 20 entrants Saturday morning, so entrants could show up in either category. So I'm taking guns and ammo for both. Or none could show up, and I don't want to shoot in a category of one, so I dug up enough ammo to shoot Silver Senior.

August 23, 2011, Tuesday

Worked in the garage getting stuff ready for the Hobbs trip.

August 22, 2011, Monday

For Wild Bunch Traditional 1911s:

From August 16th's "The Tactical Wire":

10-8 Performance has their popular 1911 National Match style rear sight back in stock. This sight features a .140" wide U notch, set screw, and rounded corners for improved comfort over the factory rear sight. It is a direct replacement for the rear sights on GI format Colts (1991A1 and Series 70) and Springfield GI and Mil spec models. You can use your existing front sight, or try a .175-185" dovetail front sight.

It's not fancy but it's like the old fixed Micro I had on one of the first 1911s I carried. I like the wider notch and rounded corners of the new edition. Check it out at

This is a legal sight for all Wild Bunch categories. The dovetail front sight doesn't come in plain blue, which is required for Traditional, but Tritium is okay.

1916 Wristwatches for Wild Bunch costumes:

In 1904, the Brazilian pioneer aviator, Alberto Santos-Dumont complained of the unreliability and impracticality of using pocket watches while flying to his friend Louis Cartier. Cartier designed a flat wristwatch with a distinctive square bezel. This watch was not only a hit with Santos-Dumont, but also with Cartier's many clients. Thus, out of this timeless design, the "Santos" was born. This was the first men's wristwatch (Patek Phillipe made the first wristwatch, but for a woman and as a one-off).

Replica of a modern Cartier Santos watch. The real thing is in the $12,000 range. Even the replica, at close to $200, is more than most of us want to spend on a "minor" costume accessory.

Women were the first to wear a wristwatch: Victorian men thought a watch tied with a ribbon to the wrist was too effeminate. However, after seeing a number of comrades shot as they fumbled with their pocket watches, legend has it that a German Army officer tied his pocket watch to his wrist with a piece of cloth so that he could quickly glance at it. Later, he was said to have had wire lugs soldered to the case and thus the men's wristwatch "craze" was born.

We might not think of the wristwatch as a tool of war, but it was invaluable for coordinating attacks and the like. The Trench Watch was born.

1916 Elgin Trench Watch

1916 Elgin Trench Watch, sterling silver case. It shares the features desirable for a Trench watch of the era, big, easy to read numerals, and a second hand.

J. W. Benson watch of the era. Gold, leather band, big numerals, second hand.

Omega Trench watch

An unusual Omega trench watch.

British recruiting poster

A British recruiting poster with a J. W. Benson trench watch as a centerpiece.

Longines watch made for Tiffany

Longines made this watch for Tiffany & Co. American companies were making wristwatches by then.

Unusual Zenith Regulateur with separate dials for minute, second, and hours. You're probably not going to find a modern watch that looks like it.

Rolex 1916

This was made by Rolex before they started putting their own name on their work. It has Roman numerals, and the sweep second hand is co-axial with the hour and minute hands.

WWI IWC Trench watch

The point of showing all of these is not to encourage spending thousands on an antique Trench Watch, but instead to encourage finding a (cheap) watch that looks right, like this (brand name removed with PhotoShop):

The Watch with no name

American Army officers served as military attachés, so they might have purchased a European wristwatch while in Europe, or they might have bought a European or an American watch in the States. Some, like 2nd Lieutenant Patton, were wealthy, so they might well have bought a Cartier or Tiffany quality gold or silver watch. I saw gold Rolexes in Vietnam on the wrists of senior sergeants, so that sort of thing could happen. I spent $26 on the watch above, which is appropriate and takes my pocket watch with Eagle Head fob by Redwing out of harms way.

Most costume contest contestants don't bother to take off their digital wristwatches before going before the judges. They also wear modern eyeglasses and SASS badges to go before the judges. Modern shooting glasses and a SASS badge and name tag shouldn't hurt you when roving judges come around to judge shooting costumes. They're required there.

Yes, the watch above is a Timex, but you knew that. You're not going to shoot your first gen Colts. You're shooting Rugers or Ubertis. Same thing.

August 21, 2011, Sunday

Shot the Buffalo Range Riders match (badly). I had no really good stages, 1 P, 1 MS (Lever closed), multiple misses. Good stages. Not their fault. It rained, and when the heavens opened up, I was next in line. Last stage, as a result, was very slow as the smoke obscured everything. The match had 2 pop up targets. Several targets were broken on launch. Unfortunately only one of mine was. Afterwards the conditions looked good to finish the Smoke Standard test. Smoke was very visible due to humidity and low wind, also overcast. The smoke standard was changed with the latest revision of the rules because Goex Cowboy is no longer being produced. Too bad, because it was the lowest smoke per volume on the market. Results below:

Black Powder Smoke Standard Ammunition Test
Location; Founders Ranch
Date: 8/22/2011
Ammo Maker, Operator: Captain George Baylor
Judges: Shirley Shooter, Shaky Shooter
Conditions: 75-80°F, 0-5 mph wind, humid, just after rain
Procedure: Load Smoke Standard and test round alternately in Ruger NM Vaquero, 4-3/4" barrel, .38 Spcl.
Judges did not know which round was smoke standard, and which was test.
Fire rounds alternately. Judges were told to choose which round smoked more, or if they were the same.
Test was repeated until consensus developed.
One Judge stood approximately 6 feet behind shooter, the other 5 ft. to left of shooter and 6 ft. to rear

  Volume Bullet Bullet      
Powder CC Gr. Lube Filler Pass/Fail Remarks
APP 3F 1.0 105 Smokeless   Pass more smoke
APP 3F 0.7 105 Smokeless   Pass  
APP 3f 0.5 105 Smokeless   Fail  
Pyrodex P 1.0 105 Smokeless   Pass darker smoke
Pyrodex P 0.7 105 Smokeless CBR Fail  
777 2F 1.0 105 Smokeless   Pass  
777 2F 0.7 105 Smokeless CBR Fail  
Goex Express 3F 1.0 147 SPG   Pass more smoke
Swiss 3F 1.0 147 SPG   Pass more smoke
Elephant 2F 1.0 147 SPG   Fail  
Cowboy 1.0 147 SPG   Fail

Old Std

CBR= Caulk Backer Rod filler-does not increase smoke as some fillers do.

Volume was standardized to CC's because of variations in density of powders. Lee dippers were used.

Due to the subjectivity of the test, the inability to calibrate absolutely, and the variations due to weather, light, and conditions, no guarantees are offered or implied that any marginal load (the one below which failure occurred) will pass at any given time. Do not extrapolate data and apply it to similar but not exactly the same powders. For example, Swiss 3F passes with 1.0 CC in the test load. Swiss 2F might or might not pass. if in doubt, increase minimum passing loads by 10-15% margin.

August 20, 2011, Saturday

Went to the RGR match. Good match by Mica McGuire, but I got back into missing, six I think. I started off well. A tiny bottle flipper was a bonus for the pistols. Got it with each one for two, and shot clean. Three clean stages, two 28s and a 35 after missing a shotgun and jacking a round out of the rifle. One stage was a 26, but with 2 misses. Two of the misses were aerials. I'm about 50% on those despite a lot of practice. They even used Coke cans, my favorite aerial target, if it's possible to have a favorite. I think nearly everyone else got both aerials. I think I need a sports hypnotist to convince me that I can hit them. While he's at it he can convince me to get a good flash sight picture and not jerk the trigger on the pistols and to shoot the rifle about twice as fast as I do without missing. Now if he could hypnotize me into being 20 years younger and healthy...

August 19, 2011, Friday

FINALLY got the audiogram from the VA. Now I desperately need to see the ENT doctor as the audiogram discovered that the problem is in the middle ear. That could be many things, some of them actually treatable. The problem is now ALL veterans are allowed free hearing aids, maintenance, batteries, fittings, and exams for life. That's great. What would have been greater would be if they had hired more personnel and added facilities to handle it. Everywhere in the country is impossibly backed up. But if your hearing is going bad slowly, this isn't a crisis. If your ear went to hell in one day and is continuing to get worse, then getting timely treatment is impossible. The audiologist was great and promised to get the word through to the doctor that he needs to see me ASAP. i'm just afraid their ASAP is my mañana, or "Whenever your turn comes after we deal with all of the non-urgent cases."

Got the gear ready for the RGR match tomorrow and the BRR match (rescheduled due to the Ruger Rimfire Challenge) Sunday. Next weekend the annual at Hobbs. The next, Labor Day weekend, the annual at Roswell, then the second weekend HDD and the Founders Ranch Wild Bunch match, which I've been volunteered to write the stages, then the Magdalena annual, then Outlaw Trail. All of this assumes the VA doesn't have to have me on one of the days that would kill an annual. Needless to say any surgery needed will change plans for the October move and events after OT.

Mernickle Evil Roy Wild Bunch holster with muzzle forward cant

Bob Mernickle sent me a muzzle forward WB holster for an upcoming article. With my hand problems I've converted completely to muzzle forward holsters. This one works well just in front of the point of the hip bone (allowing me to get my hand in my vertical slit pocket as a side benefit). Very quick, very easy draw.

The new holster is on the left. The old one is an excellent field holster. You can drive a car with it on. It's comfortable. It works best at or just behind the point of the hip. The farther you move it forward, the less it works because of the wrist angle. you have to "break" your wrist, then move it to the firing angle. Your wrist moves little or none using the muzzle forward version. The old holster uses 4 screws on the back. The new one uses 3 but is so tight I had to take the screws out and open it up to put it on the belt. (Being left handed, the belt buckle is in the way at one end, and the rifle loops in the back are in the way on the other. Once I got it in place and adjusted, I screwed the screws down to lock the holster in place.

August 18, 2011, Thursday

Email Wisdom:


1. Money can't buy happiness but it’s more comfortable to cry in a
Mercedes than on a bicycle.
2. Forgive your enemy but remember the bastard’s name.
3. Help someone when they're in trouble and they'll remember you when
they're in trouble again.
4. Many people are alive only because it’s illegal to shoot them.
5. Alcohol does not solve any problems, but neither does milk and cookies!

Went to the civilian orthopedic/hand surgeon, Dr. Pribyl, for another cortisone shot in the left thumb joint. I asked him about artificial joints for the thumb. There are some out there. But they don't work well. The bone is so small if the artificial part isn't put in deep enough, it comes out. If it's put in too deep, the bone breaks. Eventually it has to be removed,and the "old fashioned" method is used to replace it. But then you don't have enough strength to cock a pistol. But there are promising units out there that might be better, but neither he nor I want me to be a beta tester. So I'm not getting any surgery as long as I can put it off.

August 17, 2011, Wednesday

Day By Day Cartoon for today

So, is it Darth Vader Bus, or, as Rush Limbaugh said, "Debt Man Driving?"

Went to the RGR range to do chrono and Ransom Rest testing. No one was practicing. English Lyn, Vaquero Luna, and Dollar Bill were doing carpentry on bay 2's buildings. These three seem to be doing a lot of the hard work improving the place. They're there every Wednesday. Impressive!

Anyway, I was testing primarily Evil Roy ammunition from Powder River Cartridge Company. I used this at EOT, and it is good stuff. At EOT everyone using it was getting power factors of about 170. I got higher numbers today. Don't know if it was the heat or what. I use an Oehler 35P printing chrono with a third screen for a proof channel. If the readings from the regular (long) channel and the (shorter) proof channel aren't pretty close, it doesn't give a reading. I got readings every time, and everything else was right as expected.

I also tested the first load of Tin Star powder. Tin Star is out with very little in the way of loading data. I got a starting load from Rattler John, who is also researching the powder. I'll be upping it and testing again until I get one that meets the power factor and is still accurate.

I threw in some other loads for comparison, the Trail Boss .45 ACP load I use, and the APP load I use, plus an APP load from 2007. APP has changed its look, but it's about the same power. It's also very accurate, as the chart shows. For grins I did the Smoke Standard loads I made up recently. They're quite good loads, mild, and accurate. I might make some to use in matches, assuming I can afford the bullets.

The .45 ACP loads had 2" groups, both Roy's and mine. I used my Colt Series 80 Government Model, and it has no accurizing work, so it's not going to give really tight groups like some of my really accurized guns. But after shooting EOT with the Evil Roy ammunition I only had 15 rounds of .45 ACP left. If I had had, say, 50, I probably would have put the Les Baer Thunder Ranch Special into the rest. It does 3" groups at 50 yards with Federal Match ammo, or at least it did once. Practically speaking, though, 2" groups at 15 yards is fine for WB matches. Even that occasional 6" plate at 15 yards is doable with these groups. On the other hand, both Evil Roy's .38s and my APP load (and I used practice rounds, not match ammo) both did sub 1" groups.


August 16, 2011, Tuesday

More shotgun loading. If you do things right, much of the time isn't spent at the loading machine. A lot is spent getting the hulls ready.

First check the hull for roundness (throw flattened ones away. Trying to salvage them isn't productive.) Look for burns, corrosion on the base, etc. Then wipe dust off with a shop towel.



The hull on the left above is likely to catch the wad at station 3 and screw up the crimp part of the hull. The solution is skivving, using a special skivver in your electrical drill


Once skivved the crimp is wide open, and loading goes a lot faster without wads catching an edge at station 3.

But after you have a bin full of completed rounds, unless they're for practice only, you need to put them into boxes. (World Champion Hells Comin' brings a big Tupperware container full of reloads to a practice session and turns it into empties.) That means inspecting every round for a good crimp, no wrinkles, and a properly seated primer. I wipe them with a shop towel with Break Free on it. They tend to come out easier. I tried Armor All on my EOT match ammo and had 4 stuck hulls. Since I lost a buckle by 7 seconds, that was important.

Sent in my column before midnight. I actually wrote 2 columns, one planned for October, and this one planned for November, but I never made the other one work.

August 15, 2011, Monday

Worked in garage, started loading shotgun.

August 14, 2011, Sunday

Shot the WB match at Founders Ranch. Tested a WB rig from my friend Coho Kid of Ted Blocker Leather. Coho Kid is a Vietnam veteran. The First Cav Stetson he wears he earned the hard way.

You can see the early IPSC heritage. I bought at least one Ted Blocker holster at Gunsite in the '80s. Beautiful leather work. The holster is very fast. The gun almost clicks into place. It would have no problems with the old IPSC holster test. But when you pull the gun an inch or so, it's free. The angle is perfect for those of us whose arms/hands/wrists don't want to bend like they used to. You don't have to "break" your wrist, eliminating one movement. It's a very fast and easy to use holster.

The mag pouches are unique.

inside are clips that hold the mag in place firmly, but they release easily when you pull, making the pouch fast and secure. The rig only comes with 4 mag pouches (2 doubles)., and you need at least 6. It also needs a shotgun/rifle ammo slide. Evil Roy taught me that a second belt for the mags is faster for men, and after using one I agree.

World Champion Wild Bunch Ladies Traditional Texas Tiger shooting a stage

Left: Start position, Right: Grabbing the shotgun

Left: Working the action of the shotgun like she stole it. Right: Picking up the rifle while restaging the shotgun

Left:Shooting the rifle quickly, then Right: running to the pistol shooting position

Left: Shooting the pistol, Right: Beating the bad 1911 for not chambering an oversized round. I'm sure English Lyn was soundly chastised for not catching it when loading.

Left: Back to shooting the 1911 quickly. Yes, she has an unusual pistol shooting style. She's world champion. You tell her she's wrong. Right: Showing clear

Found at the Phillips 66 on Route 66, a motor home towing a Jeep towing a Jeep:

August 13, 2011, Saturday

The cowboy on the left is an 1880s Texan wearing a Boss of the Plains hat, wild rag (probably about 31" x 31"), 6 button bib shirt, no suspenders, Colt revolver in Cheyenne style leather, shotgun chaps, spurs, and boots. On the right is Captain Baylor wearing a D Bar J Boss of the Plains, 31" x 31" wild rag, 6 button bib shirt (River Junction Trade Co.), no suspenders, Mernickle leather and Ruger revolvers, DocsOldWest shotgun chaps, OK pattern spurs, and Earthwalker boots

Right side view showing OK pattern spurs

Rear. showing spurs

Shot the High Desert Drifters match at Founders Ranch. The club's leadership had gotten burned out, moved, etc., and the club almost died. Shaky and Shirley Shooter took the club over. They did a really good job with these 6 stages, none of the beginner mistakes, and not too complicated. (COMPLICATION IS A BAD THING IN A STAGE. When I was new one stage designer told me "I wrote it to slow down the gamers." It didn't work then. It doesn't work now. At that stage Tequila shot it in the 20s, and the average shooter was over 50. It SPREADS OUT the scores between the hotshots and the average shooters.)

I managed to shoot clean, the first time I've done it at Founders Ranch. Averaged 29 sec./stage. 30.33 24.13 36.09 31.28 34.11 23.26, total 179.20. Yes, the 36 was the last stage I shot, and it included several shots at the swinger, so I took it easy. Was faster than several people who "always" beat me. Felt good. Texas Tiger averaged 22/stage, but she didn't have smoke to contend with. It was calm enough for the smoke to to slow me on 3-4 stages.


August 12, 2011, Friday

Jack Houston's at it again, his latest Wild Bunch rig for a client:

Jack Houston (Lone Rider Leather)-Wild Buncch rig of carved leather

That's a rig you want to keep in a protective case, less it get damaged in use. Wow!

A LoneRider Leather concealment holster fro 1911s

And this is a belt slide holster for a 1911.

and an IWB holster for a 1911.The reinforcing strap at the top has Kydex inside to keep it from closing up when you draw the pistol. Reholstering with one hand without taking your eyes off the bad guy(s) is important to the self-defense gurus.. Methinks that Jack has figured out that there are more customers for concealment rigs than for cowboy rigs.

Sent the End of Trail article in. Still working on the column. Got things ready for 2 days of shooting (HDD tomorrow, FR Wild Bunch Sunday). I have a new Ted Blocker WB rig to photograph and test. I do like the holster.

Made more rounds for smoke standard testing. I switched to Lee dippers rather than weighted charges. Faster, and less confusing. I have 1.0 cc rounds of Goex FFg, Elephant FFg, Goex Express FFFg, 777 FFg, Pyrodex P, APP FFFg, and Swiss FFFg. I have 0.7 cc and 0.5 cc. of several, and bullet weights from 105 to 145, all labeled (color coded). Now I need good atmospheric conditions and time at matches where some good witnesses are present. Methinks experienced BP shooters should be the witnesses.

August 11, 2011, Thursday

Jack Houston (LoneRider Leather) sent me a picture of a Wild Bunch loading strip he made because the customer asked for it:

LoneRider Leather Wild Bunch Loading strip with slot for a 1911 magazine

Outside view of LonRider Leather Wild Bunch Loading Strip

I thought this was a good idea. A lot of us realize we haven't put the magazine in the 1911 when it doesn't go bang. Having the magazine holder in the loading strip will remind you to put it in the pistol.

Day By Day Cartoon, 0811

August 10, 2011, Wednesday

Went to the RGR 2nd Wednesday match. 14ish people there, well, until I ran one off. At the first stage I asked what the line was, and the timer operator said, "that's the line, stand by." I said, "no, I'm not ready," and he repeated, "That's the line," and stuck the timer in my face. I said, "I'm going to go back to the loading table and let someone else shoot. I'm not ready." Call me crazy, but I won't be hurried on the line. The timer operator left in a huff, or maybe a pickup.

Another shooter left when the match director described the second stage. We're not sure why. Anyway, in 2 matches I've run off 2 old time shooters. I guess I've got to stop going there. Obviously I'm a bad influence.

But the match was good. Some of the stages had "difficult" shooting orders in preparation for the Magdalena Trail Drivers' Annual match in September. Examples: 4 targets, 1-2-1-3-1-4-1-3-1-2, and 3 targets, 1-3-2-3-1-3-1-2-1-3. I had 4 good stages, low 23 and two 25s, and a 28. I had 2 stages with one miss each. Things went to hell on the last one. I missed a shotgun. Then I couldn't get one hull out. Then I missed a pistol. 36+5. Gotta stop doing that. 6 stages in August desert heat really wore me out. Can't imagine why. I'm hoping the caffeine ban gets lifted after the next VA visit. I've had one caffeinated Coke (McDonald's on the way home from Magdalena) since the ban, and the caffeine worked. So-o-o if I can reserve caffeine for when I need it, like after 5 stages, it might work.

Tex brought several percussion pistols he's going to loan out to prospective Plainsman shooters. I hope all of the Plainsman shooters except me uses them. One Colt (Pietta) broke completely. One kept dropping its lever. (40 gr. Pyrodex might have something to do with that.) The Remingtons were sized for .454 balls, and he had .451s that popped out under recoil.

August 9, 2011, Tuesday

More work on the EOT article and the column.

August 8, 2011, Monday

Took the Jeep in for service. The steering wheel controls had stopped working all at once, as if the wire had been disconnected. We had an appointment with Greg, who wrote it up well, called the Extended Service Contract people to get pre-authorization for them to pay for the rent car, and called Enterprise to pick us up. A few minutes an absolutely gorgeous young lady picked us up and took us to Enterprise. There we were given a Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, freshly washed. The Grand Cherokee and the ML share the same chassis, and boy, this was an ML without the breakable parts (well, it does have the battery under the passenger seat that requires 2 hours labor to change). The ride was superb. The power was impressive. That engine is in the 2012 Wrangler. It figures. 5 speed automatic was very smooth. Seats were comfortable. It had the Mercedes key (and Keyless Go, a $1000 option with MB). So if you must have a Mercedes ML, buy a Grand Cherokee. This one was 2 wheel drive, but they make 2 WD ML's now, too.

Greg called a bit after 2 and said it was fixed, and they did some "quick response" items (we called them campaigns at MB), and one required ordering a part, so we'll have to come back for that. One of the quick response item was to update the vehicle's software. The cause of the lost controls was, indeed, a wire had come loose behind the airbag. Okay, one QC item on the whole car. Considering it's Chrysler, I'm actually impressed. I expected more.

We dropped the Grand Cherokee off at Enterprise, and the lovely young lady drove us to the dealership in the GC. The cashier at the dealer was also an underemployed supermodel, and the Jeep was brought out quickly. She gave me a questionnaire to fill out. When I turned it in she gave me a $5 discount coupon for my next service. Having lived and died under questionnaires like that, I gave them 100. The whole experience was good.

August 7, 2011, Sunday

Worked on the EOT article and my column.

August 6, 2011, Saturday

Went to the Magdalena monthly match with Vaquero Luna. We're exploring sharing the Jeep to the Hobbs, Roswell, and Magdalena annuals. He's a nice guy without too much stuff to fit into the Jeep, so it seems to be working. I took the new lightweight chaps and wore them for the match, which started at 1 PM in the high 80s. Everyone was commenting on them and asking me if they were hot, but I don't remember anyone offering me water or inserting IV's, so they must've worked. Come to think of it I don't remember anything after stage 3 until I woke up on the side of the road naked and hog tied.

Just kidding. They were no problem. I probably won't wear them at a 105° Texas match in 100% humidity when surrounded by wildfires, but they're fine for regular weather. They fit. They're comfortable, they're easy to get on and off FOR STOVEPIPE CHAPS. They're well priced and authentic. With some wear and weathering they'll look even better.

Capt. Baylor wearing the lightweight chaps at the Magdalena monthly match

The eagle eyed pickers of nits might notice I've reverted to my Evil Roy Slim Jim holster rig (Mernickle). The new rig was made for Ruger Old Armies, but the condition of my thumb dictates shooting Ruger New Vaqueros, and, while they fit and retain well, I noted I was having trouble drawing the weak hand gun. I draw it with thumb over the top strap and fingers wrapped around the trigger guard, leaving the grip free for the left hand. But I couldn't get a good top strap grip because of interference by the holster lip. The New Vaqueros have shorter cylinders than the ROAs and shorter frames. The ROAs don't present this problem. The Evil Roy Slim Jim's, though made for ROA's, too, don't have that high a lip (and it bends out further allowing easier reholstering), and I have no trouble. Also I like this angle the best. I had no problems drawing the gun from this rig. BTW, the LoneRider Leather rig is a ROA rig, and the ejector rod of the right pistol makes the draw difficult. Rather than keep wet-molding it to this gun, I'll use the Mernickle rig. The LoneRider Leather rig is excellent with the ROAs, and it's at the right angle, too.

FYI Costume Details: Rand Boss of the Plains (museum copy) (picked for its light color in the heat), 6 button bib shirt, available from River Junction Trade Co. Originals were blue with white buttons. Red wild rag with white dots. 17" boots with knee guards and walking heels (Earthwalkers).

Joe Ming, Helena, Montana, 1887

Here's Joe Ming, Helena, Montana, 1888, wearing the same hat, shirt, similar chaps, a wild rag, color unknown, and a Smith and Wesson. Hmm, he's wearing it higher (while riding!), but it's at the same angle. Hmm.

Left 1000, and got back about 1930. They start shooting at 1300 and shot 5 stages on 2 bays so the gun carts could stay under cover of two tents that had their covers on. One posse. Over 200 miles round trip. I must love this stuff.

August 5, 2011, Friday

Practiced at RGR.

Another neat chaps picture (check last month's Journal). Commodore Perry Owens. Neat costume ideas. But the leather gear would cost a bit.

I found out what the super lightweight chaps shown last month would cost from DocsOldWest. $300. They look a lot like Commodore Perry Owens' chaps, don't they?


August 4, 2011, Thursday

Cleaned guns, made ammo. Took The Redhead to lunch and dinner. Recovery. She is very depressed.

August 3, 2011, Wednesday

The vet called this morning with the lab results. The kitten's kidneys had essentially been destroyed by anti-freeze, and the damage was beyond treatment. Much tears and pain. She died peacefully and painlessly in our arms at the vet this afternoon. She was still purring to the end. I could write a lot about this incident, maybe later.

August 2, 2011, Tuesday

Last night I was walking George when we came upon a kitten on a bench. This park has feral cats, so I wasn't surprised, but the kitten came up to me when I got close to the bench and didn't run at the sight of George. She rubbed up against me, and I picked her up and put her on my shoulder, where she purred. I went to call The Redhead and get her to come out, but I'd left the iPhone in the bus. So I went to the bus and called her to come out. She took one look at the kitten, and I knew we were about to be adopted again. A hunt was made for people looking for a lost cat with no results. We fed and watered her. She drank a lot but threw up all the food. She was very friendly and purred a lot. She slept on The Redhead's pillow, kneading her neck in the middle of the night. She looked like she was about 2 lb, which would make her 2 months old.

The new kitty, sleeping beside George

The new Kitten. That's George in the background

Angelique did not like her, going into a long hiss mode and staying away from her. Arthur didn't care, and George was very curious.

This morning we took her to the vet. Ca-Ching $347 for the exam, stool sample test, blood tests, and first round of shots. According to the vet her teeth make her 3 to 3-1/2 months, but she weighs only 2 lb. 8 oz. She's either very small or has been malnourished.

Sitting in the waiting room at the vet with a cat on my shoulder

At the vet's waiting room. The vet accused me of having a fuzzy parrot

The Redhead catsitting

The Redhead spent her afternoon this way

The kitten

Meanwhile, back at the shop

I continues making test ammunition for the smoke standard test article. It was all substitutes. Making 5 rounds of each load is incredibly tedious. I started with the 1.0 cc. load and adjusted all of the rest on the scale. Since I just spent $347, the planned powder trickler turned out to be my thumb and 2 fingers. The design needs work.

I made up 5 rounds each of:

Pyrodex P, 11.1 gr. (weight) (1 cc vol), 145 gr. SPG bullet

Pyrodex P 9.0 gr. (weight), 145 gr. SPG bullet

Pyrodex P 8.0 gr. (weight) 145 gr. SPG bullet (caulk backer rod filler)

Pyrodex P 12 gr. (weight) 145 gr. SPG bullet (compressed load)

777 FFg, 11.4 gr.(weight) (1 cc vol.)., 145 gr. SPG bullet

777 FFg, 11.4 gr. (weight (1 cc vol)., 105 gr. bullet

777 FFg, 9 gr. (weight), 105 gr. bullet

777 FFg 11.4 gr. (weight), 158 gr. bullet

That pretty much wore me out. Came back in to play with the kitten, but she's still catnapping.

August 1, 2011, Monday Monday

Made a batch of Smoke Standard Test rounds. I have 300 bullets, but I ran out of the little bit of Goex FFg I had at 200+, so I'll finish later. I have a can of FFg coming in a couple of weeks from a friend. I don't use FFg normally

Black Dawge 145 Gr. 2 groove SPG lubed bullets

Black Dawge bullets come in styrofoam to keep the lube on

Black Dawge SPG lubed bullets come in styrofoam to keep the lube in place. SPG is a soft, gooey lubricant

Black Dawge SPG lubed 145 gr. bullets

If you're shooting real BP this is the sort of bullet you need to carry the lube to the end of the rifle barrel. I saw a world champion who used smokeless bullets whose rifle barrel fouled out on the tenth stage of shooting through a 10 stage Regional, 10 misses.

Loading the smoke standard rounds

Loading the Smoke Standard Test rounds. You'll note the bullets have a lot of excess lube on them. You need to clean out the seater and crimp dies frequently.

Ammo in the bin

The ammo came out looking pretty good. I wiped off excess SPG when putting the rounds in boxes.

50 rounds of test ammo

I've been in a couple of situations where we needed to test a dubious load, but no one had ammunition made to the regulations. Now I'll have some with me at any event I've been at. Tex has pronounced it acceptable, so we should be able to use it in any disputes. Since I don't have an FFL, I can't sell the ammo to the match, but we'll work something out.

Just as an FYI, I really liked the ammunition that resulted. Using it for a main match round you could do a lot worse. I'll do some group and velocity testing next time I have the Ransom Rest and chrono set up for the other tests online. Probably more muzzle flip than 105s and APP 3f. Definitely more expensive because of the bullets. 300 bullets were $45. It would've gone down in price with more volume, but still, at $110+/1,000 vs. $50, APP wins the price war. It's also easier since you don't have to work around Dillon's prohibition of using BP in their machines. I'm still looking for a news article about someone blowing up his reloading shop using BP in a progressive. Bird Shot, of Hodgdon, says it happens all the time.