September 2014 Journal

August 28-31, 2014

Rio Grande Renegades shoot August 30, 2014





Finally found some Original Lemi-Shine and used it on the brass in the rotary tumbler. I like it.

August 25, 2014, Monday

Wild Horse John has gotten a 2 wheel tow dolly for his "Toad." It works for his Toyota Echo and his Sienna minivan, both front-wheel drive. Dollies are a lot less money than flat towing and easier to park than trailers.

John and Anna headed back to Cheyenne

With luck we'll meet again at Tombstone in October. Tombstone is a great place to be in October, unless, I suppose, you're part of the Clanton gang, and it's 1881.

August 24, 2014, Sunday

Back to Enchanted Trails. Lunch with Wild Horse John and Saginaw Sue, and The Redhead at the Owl Cafe. Excellent. Their mushroom Swiss burger might be the best burger I've ever had (with bacon!) Michelle Obama would not have approved of anything we had, which made it all the better.

August 23, 2014, Saturday, Outlaw Trail

The spring and summer rains meant we were parked in deep weeds. But no stickers

The scoring crew on Posse 5.

Loadan B Fast

Marie Laveaux

Marie Laveaux's really fancy leather rig by Slickbald. I believe it cost more than my first new car.

Posse Marshal Johnny Meadows reading stage description. The stages were simple, with a lot of movement and semi-close targets. About 10% shot clean. I figure a few percentage points were lost because of the weather Friday.

Mad Dog Too, B-Western

Johnny Meadows

Trigger Happy Ted

Wild Horse John

Posse 5

Food Vendor Sky's had excellent food and long lines

Chickaroo's has a permanent shop at Founders Ranch.

Inside Chickaroo's...Hmmm...

Chickaroo's does custom clothing, both men's and women's

Old Scyene, excellent clothing vendor

EMF is represented by Diamond J Gunsmithing in a permanent shop

"I'm looking for some diddly squat. Are you responsible?"

Once upon a time a match at Founders Ranch didn't have great awards due to low entries. That cannot be said this year. The plaques and trophies were quite nice. I like wall plaques because I have no place for trophies. On the other hand, a nice belt buckle makes me happy.

The awards dinner was excellent bar-b-Que served by nice people, and it was included in the entry fee.

Misty Moonshine and the SASS staff hosted the awards program. Some things of note: The prizes that were given away by raffle were done BEFORE the awards. The most PAINFUL aspect of SASS was avoided.

There are events there every can of Ballistol is given away by drawing, for hours and hours, and then the awards are given out, sometimes slowly. These were done right. Then the awards were done right, and it didn't take too long.

This is another reason that, if I were king, no one would be allowed to put on an annual SASS match unless 60% of the committee had attended the nearest Regional and EOT and WR. We've all been to the events with horrendous awards dinners after matches with more procedurals than shooters and no clean matches. Usually those matches have committees who never go outside of their own club and thus don't know how good events are run.

This event was a good role model. If you're putting on an annual in New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, or Arizona, you should really attend this event annually. End of soapbox speech. The only thing wrong with OLT is, with 110, it was about 100 short of entrants. Ironically, I know of several people who weren't there because the event wasn't big enough. If they'd been there, it would have been big enough.


August 22, 2014, Friday, Outlaw Trail


Friday it rained on and off all day. So everyone was in rain coats except for shooting, and with no wind and 100% humidity, the smoke from black powder was like East Texas. Shoot one smoke standard round, and everything downrange is covered by a white sheet for 2 minutes, 30 seconds. Played hell with stage times. Wild Horse John got a procedural for shooting the wrong target because of it. I lost my white buffalo after 4 stages. Very tiring, too. I had the "raincoat" on the Rugged Gear Gun Cart, and an umbrella and my fish slicker on me. The slicker caught on everything, including the stool when I sat down to charge pistols. And then...

Plainsman Match

After 6 stages of main match we had a 3 stage Plainsman match. I might suggest it should be done on Thursday afternoon after the cowboy warm-up. I think they didn't in order to not conflict with the Wild Bunch match, which, as expected, took a lot longer. On Thursday sanity prevailed at Wild Bunch, and the field was broken into two small posses. It still took till 2 or so because they took their mandatory lunch break, the only day that was actually done.

We didn't take a lunch break on Friday, but several people had lunch after the match, and the long line at Skye's made several shooters late to Plainsman.

Above Edward R. S. Canby is shooting a Plainsman Modern H & R rifle.

Tex won Plainsman Traditional shooting a Rolling Block. Here he's putting it down to shoot the next gun, and the ejected round is in the air. Traditional rifles don't have automatic ejectors.

This stage started facing up range. In the photo it appears my cross-draw holster is at 45°. I think it's a camera angle thing. The holster is bolted to the belt at 20° from vertical. Normally it's way below my belly so doesn't suffer from th "as worn" problem. Anyway, it's something I'll check out. The rule is the cross draw must be within 30° of vertical.

By the way, that's my best smile.

I'm in Plainsman Modern with an H & R with an ejector. The round has been ejected.

I put this one in because the photographer, Tex, caught the pistol almost at the point of ignition. Smoke has just exited the barrel.

Six, another Texian, won Plainsman Modern. He's ejecting a .45-70 round. He also won Frontiersman. I have beaten him, but through most of our 12+ years or so of shooting against each other, he has won most of the time.

Texas Desperado, shooting a Remington New Army. He was shooting loaners from Tex. Once upon a time Tex addicted me to Plainsman the same way. "First one's free, kid."

Black Diamond Bob shooting an H & R without an ejector. Ejectors were discontinued a few years back. That puts him in Plainsman Traditional. He found that .45 Colt is not a good cartridge. It's harder to handle reloading than the bigger cartridges.

Tex also loaned guns to... I'll think of it, or somebody'll tell me.

That '51 Navy has been used a lot. The loading lever latch needs a good gunsmith. Tex is using a rubber band to keep it from opening.


August 21, 2014, Cowboy Warm Up

Sonora Blaze, serious

Sonora Blaze after using half of her shotgun ammunition on the last 2 targets, not so serious

The gun cart equipped for Frontiersman, about 200 lb. heavier than for smokeless cartridges.

The RVs at OLT are allowed to park down in the town area, making it extremely convenient. Free, too.

Happy Jack and Copper Queen have a rare Airstream with a slide-out.

August 20-21, 2014, Outlaw Trail Wild Bunch


Goatneck Clem


Tex shoots hostages

Military contingent

Wild Bunch had a posse of 25 or so, and 5 stages went from 0900 to 1600. Even the guns were tired.

The Redhead's name tag

August 19, 2014, Tuesday

On the left Wild Horse John's new bus. On the right is Camp Baylor. We're at our "usual spot" for Founders Ranch matches where camping is allowed "in town."

Practice and matches before OLT

On the way to Founders Ranch practicing for OLT. There goes the car wash

Okay, I'm practicing and shooting local matches with the ROAs again for OLT. Let's see, powder, wad, ball, in that order, right?

Celebrating the arrival of my Patron badge, The Redhead and I had Patron Margaritas at Chili's

Mr. Peabody wearing a Founders Ranch Clean Match White Buffalo as an earring.



I just acquired a pair of blue 5-1/2" Ruger Old Armies that were "new in the box," well, except for the owner's alias on the back-strap. I plan to keep them "new in the box" for the foreseeable future. This has already come in handy. I could use some springs that are no longer available. I sent the appropriate NIB springs to a gunsmith who can make precision springs so he can measure them and copy them. More on that later. Stay tuned. BTW, these have serial numbers higher than what we previously thought was the highest serial number built. Hmm...

Midway had a sale on gun cases just after I got to a practice session with a wrong gun because the cases were the same color.

Why I use a brass sorter

Brass from a practice session and a monthly match. It should be all .38 Spc.

Sorted the .38 is in the middle. On the left is a .32-20. On the right are .45 Colt.

Annual bus maintenance at Cummins ABQ

The generator requires an oil change every 150 hours. I had marked my logbook as needing another service at 1988 hours. After EOT it was 1992. Cummins Rocky Mountain in ABQ is an excellent, trustworthy organization for maintaining some very expensive equipment.

We took the bus in on a Monday Morning and picked it up on Tuesday, spending a night in a hotel. We forgot cat treats and had to make an emergency PetSmart run.


I have just told George S. Patton that we forgot his treats, too. Not really.

Separate maintenance issue on the bus. 3 pneumatic struts on basement compartment doors had worn out. I took them to Myers RV to get replacements. But they, and all but 2 of the struts on the bus had lost their identification. It had faded off. I found a couple I could read. This is a 80 lb. vertical strut. They had 80 and 60 lb. The 80s were the right strength for all the vertical struts. The lightest they make now is a 60 lb. That's really strong for the side-opening strut. I guess the lesson here is to photograph as many parts for part #s as possible.

A separate trip to Myers was for this, the connection to which you attach a water hose. That part with the white disk is is. It's supposed to have a check valve in it to prevent water from going out the hose when the water pump is used. That valve had failed. Replacing the connection did not solve the problem. I bought what the parts man told me to get, but something tells me the gray plastic piece is where the check valve is. I have a connector with a switch on it on the water softener. It serves the purpose of shutting off the water when dry-camping until I can get the correct part. RVing is an adventure.

Modified guns bother you? Is that your problem?

Though I don't know anyone who shoots stock guns in SASS competition, there are people who complain about other people's modifications. I don't know how old this American Rifleman photo is, and how old the gun is. It's at least 2nd Generation. Note the front sight and the hammer. Short stroked hammers existed when SASS started.

Bat Masterson ordered his guns to his specifications. A letter survives on the letterhead of the Opera House Saloon, Dodge City, Kansas, dated July, 1885.  He ordered a Colt SAA, “Nickel plated…; 45 Caliber…. I am willing to pay Extra for Extra work.  Make it very Easy on trigger and have the front sight a little higher and thicker than the ordinary pistol of this kind.  Put on a gutta percha [hard rubber] handle and send it as soon as possible.  have the barrel about the same length as the Ejecting rod is….”

That gun still exists, having sold at auction a few years ago. A 1904 production Colt SAA was in "Wild West" magazine a few years ago with a Bisley hammer and stock grips. This was illegal in SASS until recently. The point is people often have their guns modified to fit their tastes. Get over it.


ROA Hammers

The hammers came back from Slick McClade. Actually they came back from his partner in this, Gunsmith Frank.


On top is one of my ROA hammers after modification. A stock Vaquero hammer is in the back. I no longer have any stock ROA hammers.

At EOT I gave Slick McClade the hammers from my match ROAs and the Super Blackhawk hammers removed from my Vaqueros when Colt Faro inserted the Shotgun Boogie Game Changer kits. Far left, the removed ROA hammer spurs, next the decapitated Vaquero hammers, on the right, the ROA/Super Blackhawk Spur hammers. The jeweling was unexpected but very nice.

Above, one of my match Ruger Vaqueros. Below, one of my match ROAs with the new hammer

Both guns at full cock. It's easy to see the short stroke of the Vaquero compared to the full-stroke ROA

Hammer down and hammer back

Hammer down, unobstructed view of the sights, but then the stock hammers already allowed that. The new hammers are easier on my arthritic thumb.