October 2011 JOURNAL

September 27-30, 2011

Outlaw Trail

Panhandle Cowgirl

Shot the WB warm up Tuesday and WB Wed & Thurs. Good match. Challenging, but not impossibly so. Didn't see anyone shoot clean. Missed 4 myself. Slow,of course. Friday shot 6 stages of main match-Frontiersman, then 4 more stages of Plainsman!

Main match has excellent stages, simple, reasonable target distances. That didn't keep me from missing a pistol and getting a fatigue P on the last stage. I blame it on the @#$%@!! Mandatory lunch break. I know, we've gotta have it. We have the El Comedor people here with food, but I don't like to stop and lose focus.

The Plainsman match was excellent. Tex started by saying, "This is a gunfight, not a memory contest!" Wonder where he got that?

The rifle targets were at the back berm on 3 of the 4 stages. The instructions were simple, shoot these 5 pistol targets once each with one pistol, these 5 (regular rifle) targets once each, shoot 3 each on the rifle targets with the rifle, and knock down 4 shotgun targets. The rifle is staged in one place, the shotgun in another, and you start in another. Shoot in any order. People were running up to the distant pistol targets.

Finished cleaning guns after 6 pm, so we missed the chicken fried steak dinner at the Belle Union.

Outlaw Trail will continue in the October Journal

September 26, 2011, Monday

Moved to Founders Ranch, getting propane and diesel along the way. Set up at our usual place next to the old Waddie Shack. It's not the closest to the Belle Union, but I can drive in and out with no backing up, and if it rains, it's high ground. It's also level.

Got things ready for the WB Warm Up tomorrow. Methinks I'll have to load some .45 ACP right after this match.

September 25, 2011, Sunday

Today's match at RGR, written by J. W. Calendar, was much harder to shoot clean than yesterday. The only make up was for an aerial, the last shot of the match. I shot FC and managed to shoot clean, but the last 3 stages were v-e-r-y s-l-o-w in an effort to remain clean. I was the only clean shooter, making me wonder what the hell happened to everyone else.

September 24, 2011, Saturday

Shot the match at RGR. Texas Tiger did the course, 5 very simple stages, one intended to be simple. You could make up misses with the shotgun, so everyone was expected to shoot clean. Most didn't because of the usual, safeties and procedurals. I shot Frontiersman and needed 3 stages to get to where I could shoot the pistol clean, but I got a clean match because of making up the pistol errors. No great times, though. Fewer than I expected shot clean.

After the match the thumb started hurting, so I don't think I'll shoot FM tomorrow. Might or might not at Outlaw Trail.

September 23, 2011, Friday

Wild Horse John and wife Anna arrived in their Class C. John's shooting the 2 RGR matches this weekend, then Outlaw Trail. They took us to dinner at Rudy's Bar-B-Cue ("World's Worst Bar-B-Cue" according to the sign on the building). Actually it was quite good. Reminded The Redhead and me of the original Goode Company in Houston, but not as fancy. Aficionados of Goode Company are no doubt wondering how it could be any less fancy, but, trust me, it was.

September 22, 2011, Thursday

A neighbor's RV had this sign:

Took the bus to Cummins for a generator service and chassis lube. $371. They found a coolant leak in the generator, coolant recovery tank, $440.

September 21, 2011, Wednesday

Received in this morning's Emails:

Lamarr Shellnutt, AKA Coyote Calhoun, passed away about 9pm tonight in Edgewood, NM of an apparent heart attack. No other information is available at this time. If you would like to send a card, the address follows.

Mrs. Lamarr (Kay) Shellnutt
8218 Winston Way
Jonesboro, GA 30236

As more information becomes available, I'll let you know. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.

In shock,
Justice Lily Kate, SASS 1000

This is terrible news. Coyote Calhoun did a lot for SASS that most people didn't know about. He was a tireless worker. This leaves a big hole in SASS leadership. He was also a nice guy.

September 20, 2011, Tuesday

Took the Jeep to the dealer for a campaign. Took less than an hour.

September 19, 2011, Monday

Email of the day:

As a MAT team leader in the Mekong Delta in 1971-72, I am really appreciating your book Common Valor. Thanks for writing it. I'm about halfway through it right now. The last Vietnam book I read was Karl Marlantes novel, Matterhorn and Valor compares very well in telling the story of a specific group and their missions. I'm just wondering why I'd never heard of your book until I just happened to stumble across one of your websites while surfing. Just a suggestion but I'd do a Facebook page ASAP and get a PR guy and get this story out there. It's a Vietnam story that most Americans have never been exposed to and it's especially topical right now with all the US advisory efforts going on in the mideast. Heck you might even make a few bucks on the deal too. Your stuff is golden and I'm recommending it on my own FB page and to my circle of us old MACV types right away.

Bob Blair


September 17-18, 2011

Shootout at Old Magdalena

Fazzt Tazz on her way to 1st Buckarette. She's 9 and shot a '97, insisting on making up targets that didn't go down. 12 ga. '97. Did I mention she's 9?

Got up at 0400 to go to Magdalena. Picked up Vaquero Luna, and we arrived at the Bates Motel just after 0700. They had told him we could check in then if we wanted to. We did and went to the range.

For those of you not familiar with Magdalena, it is a small town that used to be a railhead for cattle. The population seems to consist of law enforcement, all equipped with radar, and all on patrol all the time.

It doesn't consist of any restaurants. There is one cafe, which was closed most of the weekend, and a drugstore with a cafe, also closed every time I saw it. Saturday night we ate in Socorro with Tex and Cat and others. Sunday morning the Bates Motel had breakfast from 0640 to 0650. When I arrived at 0651, 9 minutes before their advertised opening time, the food was gone, and there were no coffee cups. There was no place open for breakfast in Magdalena. One of the vendors at the range was selling coffee cheap, but since I had been told that the vendors weren't doing dinner Saturday night or breakfast Sunday morning, I didn't know to go looking for it

When you go to Magdalena, you know you are going to do things that are different. Half-A-Hand Henry, who wrote several of the stages, compared it to the Siege at San Juan. Stages were long and complicated. I had last shot there in 2009, and this event had closer pistol targets and slightly less complicated shooting orders (No 4-1-3-2-4 stage). Most stages had at least 4 shooting positions, sometimes with a fifth position for starting. You had to do things you wouldn't during a gunfight, such as shoot at a flying charcoal briquette that came over your shoulder, or putting saddle bags on a 1 ft. high toy horse. One time the shotgun shells had to be retrieved from the rear end of a wooden cow. The hole was very small. On another time the shooting order was determined by a chip with either a "R" or a "P" written on it with Magic Marker. The chips were retrieved by reaching down a busty mannequin's blouse. On one stage a swinging plywood bartender swung back and forth between you and the targets. (It was an expendable prop. Tex later told me how to shoot fast with it there. Ignore it.) Two stages had a target on a zip line. You pulled a rope, and several seconds later it came into your field of view. Shooters experienced with the prop did something counter-intuitive. They pulled the rope then retrieved their rifles and got into shooting position. Shotguns were often split, 2 here, 2 there, 2 another position. Once you shot one on one side, opened the shotgun, and shot 3 from the other. On one of the stages the charcoal was the last shot, and you were to make up misses on a stationary shotgun targets if one or more of the spotters said "Makeup."

No one shot the match clean. Mica McGuire (1st OA) and Texas Tiger (1st Lady) both had one miss each. Marshal Cotton said he had one. I'm sure others did. I had 3 and felt pretty good about it. My times were in the 30s or worse. Mica McGuire averaged 27.995 seconds/stage for first overall. His times in most matches are closer to 20, sometimes in the teens.

I missed last year's event. The results for same were not on the club's website, so I don't know how many people attended. 2 years ago I think it was 100 or so. This year it was 57.

Sandoval Kid won JB and placed 11th OA despite a pistol with a loose barrel on Saturday. His second stage Sunday was 22.97, fastest time on the stage.

As with the other recent NM annuals, the ABQ crowd dominated events they entered:

Mica McGuire, 1st CB, 1st OA

Texas Tiger, 3rd OA, 1st LWRA, 1st lady (1st Ladies Traditional, WB)

English Lyn, 4th OA, 1st S

Rio Grande Glenn, 10th OA, 2nd S

Sandoval Kid 11th OA, 1JB (One of his revolvers had a loose barrel the first day, fixed that night with Loctite. Despite that he was 11th OA. He won fastest pistol)

Garrison Joe 13th OA, 2nd CCB (Half-A-Hand Henry won CCB.)

Vaquero Luna 16th OA, 1st GF

Tex, 17th OA, 2nd GF (1st Trad and overall in the WB match) Luna won by 0.58 seconds despite Tex's kibitzing on Luna's last stage, which he flubbed and had 3 or 4 misses, finishing that stage 14.13 seconds slower than Tex on the same stage. Luna had no procedurals. I believe Tex had two.

Baylor 19th OA, 1st FC

Mr. Peabody, 24th OA, 1st SD

EzGz 38 OA, 1st CG

57 Shooters

FC had 5 entrants, and FM had 4. And, of course, Tex shot black powder in GF. So 10 out of 57 were shooting the smoky stuff. I went there undecided between FC and FM and picked FC because of the thumb problem. I guess it was a good choice as Led Foulin, who I hadn't heard of before, finished 15th OA 1st FM.

September 16, 2011, Friday

Saw the audiologist at the VA today, a different one from the lady who did the audiogram. This was because of my raising hell about the December appointment, and I was happy to take what I could get. She was quite nice and helpful. She fitted me for an in-the-ear hearing aid (those of you who use molded ear plugs know the drill) and talked the company that makes them into getting it done quickly enough for me to get it before I leave. The appointment is for October 4. We'll adjust the leave date so that if they're a little late getting here we'll be okay. Probably leave circa Oct. 10.

September 15, 2011, Thursday

Latest rig from LoneRider Leather. Jack Houston describes it: "Holsters are my version of the Tom Threeperson holsters except they have backflaps. Trigger guards are easy to grab and looooow cut fronts. Holster stands away from body and canted away in back."

Making Match Ammo

Started working on another 1000 round batch of major match ammunition. I use new Starline brass for major match ammo. Normally I define Major Match as being "not a monthly local match." Using new brass eliminates a lot of possible problems, such as a split case. Additionally the primer pocket is going to be clean and the correct size. Some brass always turns up in range brass that has undersized or military primer pockets. Loading new brass goes faster without those problems. I've done 1,000 rounds in 2 hours while working at "careful" speed. Normally I follow Evil Roy's advice and put practice ammo into bullet boxes (I bought a supply of 6" x 6" x 5" boxes some time ago, and I use bullet boxes.) It's not sorted or checked for upside down primers, etc. Roy said he realized he was taking more time sorting and boxing than loading on his 1050. This made sense. It does take more time to put a round in a 50 round box than it does to make it. But for major match ammo it's worth the time.

Match ammo first goes into a chamber checker. For .38s I use a Vaquero cylinder. This catches dented rounds, uncrimped, and upside down primers. Then the rounds go into a MTM ammo box for a second visual check, primarily for upside down primers. I get very few upside down primers from my RF100 primer tube filler. (Trained by the machine's inventor at Dillon). But one got through into the '73 at EOT, meaning I didn't catch it in sorting or in the loading strip. It cost me a buckle, and I deserved to lose it. So I added the MTM box. Then the ammo is put into shotshell boxes for the Rugged Gear gun cart. 100 rounds per box. The boxes are labeled with the load and date of manufacture. I seal the boxes with package sealing tape so that if dropped I don't have a shop full of loose ammo.

September 14, 2011, Wednesday

Went to the City/State range for the 2nd Wednesday RGR match. The place was full of cop cars and signs advertising a big police shooting match, and our berms were rented out to them. English Lyn and several others were there, having been told we couldn't have the range on Saturday, but not including today. So we BSed a while, and I came home and cleaned guns for Magdalena. The Redhead took the Jeep casino hopping.

Talked to Grizzly Adams at Magdalena last night. He's still trying to talk me into shooting Frontiersman instead of Frontier Cartridge. Both categories have enough to have a category. I'll take both sets of guns and the Frontiersman "stuff." FC does hurt the thumb joint less.

September 13, 2011, Tuesday

From Happy Jack:

Capt. I found the RULE pertaining to this situation. You did it right!! WBAS RO/MD guide under shotgun requirements (page5??) Under shotgun range operations: "If the shotgun sequence is split the shooter may only load the number of rounds required for the first target string." I thought I remembered writing this somewhere after I sent you the reply this morning while still in a fog.

I should have caught that before writing the stage, but I didn't.

The VA called. A cancellation in Audiology is available Friday at 1:30 PM. This means Vaquero Luna and I won't be at Magdalena until Saturday morning, missing the warm up and Wild Bunch matches. Could have been worse. Could have been during Outlaw Trail.

September 12, 2011, Monday

Worked in the garage getting things ready for the trip to Magdalena.

September 11, 2011, Sunday

On September 9, 2011, The Redhead and I spent the night at the Sconce with Jeff and Janelle Cooper. The next morning we drove to Williams, Arizona and checked into the large rail side hotel, the plan being to take the Grand Canyon Train the next morning. On the morning of September 11th we didn't have the TV on. We were on vacation. The Redhead took a shower, and I turned the TV on. The first thing I saw was a fire being reported. It was the Pentagon, but I didn't know it from the TV report. I switched channels, and the World Trade Center was on and burning. Before The Redhead came out of the shower the plane hit the other tower. We knew then we were at war.

In those 10 years the American economy has lost trillions of dollars, 7500+ service people, and 40.000+ wounded. The country is bankrupt. True unemployment is over 20%. Only 58% of the adult population is employed. The president has decided to cut and run from Iraq, leaving only 3,000 troops. This is too few to fight, and too many to die. He has told the Taliban when they can regain power in Afghanistan. There are those who compare Afghanistan to Vietnam. They're right. When I left Vietnam we were winning. Then Congress threw the war by cutting off the South Vietnamese military's funding. This time it's the President throwing the war(s). (He calls it 2 wars. It's one, against lunatic Moslem Fundamentalists bent on destroying us, just multiple fronts.)

To happier things. Went to Founders Ranch for the Wild Bunch match. Great weather, but the guy who wrote the stages is an idiot and doesn't know what the hell he's doing.

Oh, yes. I wrote the stages. Never mind. Actually they went okay. There were two stages DQs and a lot more train wrecks than I expected. I got so busy with the running the match duties I didn't clean the 1911 between stages, and it malfunctioned on the last stage. I was using the Les Baer, and it doesn't malfunction often.

And I seem to always attract controversy. The stage shown below was the most controversial. Texas Tiger described the most efficient way to shoot it. At the beep grab the rifle and take it to the right table, exchanging it for the shotgun. Shoot the right two shotgun targets and restage the shotgun, action open. Shoot the rifle, restage it on the table, shoot the pistol targets (one giant step to the left required for short shooters), restage the pistol, and shoot the left shotgun targets.

The main problem was the shotgun. If you loaded 4 rounds, you were restaging a loaded shotgun. The Wild Bunch Handbook is unclear on the subject.

• Rifle

Safe to leave the shooters hands.

• Action open

• Hammer fully down on an empty chamber or spent round, action closed (restaged for further use)

Safe for movement rifle in hand only

• Hammer fully down on an expended round, action closed

• Shotgun

• Safe to leave the shooters hands.

• Action open

Safe for movement shotgun in hand only

• Action open, round in chamber or on carrier

• Hammer(s) fully down on empty chamber(s) or expended round(s), action closed.

This left us all confused. For the purpose of completing the stage without massive discussion, I decided the safest thing to do would be to load two and restage the shotgun action open and empty and to load two for the last two shots. I emailed Happy Jack for his opinion.

Happy Jack wrote:

Capt. I will have to dig a bit to be sure. Right now my first guess is it would be OK to lay it down open with a round on the carrier, but that isn't final. Let me look some more. I certainly have no problem with your call to reload the final 2. I just got back at 11:30 last night and have to unpack the truck. Been at a long range modern rifle shoot.

Also on stage 3 Tex's last pistol round hit a buffalo instead of one of the stars. The star was in front of the buffalo, but I'm pretty sure he just lost concentration and shot 4 on the buffalo. Texas Tiger was TO and gave him a procedural and a miss.

By then my feeble brain, already overloaded by the shotgun problem knew he couldn't get both, and I left the miss and took off the procedural. My ROI Handbook was in the iPhone, and in the light, I couldn't see it. After I got back to the bus I consulted the Miss Flow Chart. It would go like this (I think):

Did the shooter hit all the correct type of targets with legally acquired ammunition?


Assess no misses.

Did the shooter engage the targets in the correct order?


Assess procedural.

Did the shooter gain a competitive advantage by shooting the targets in an incorrect order?


No further call.

So the correct call would be no miss but a procedural if I've interpreted that correctly. I read through it for about half an hour and changed my mind several times. I THINK the correct call would be procedural and no miss. It can't be both because a miss can't cause a procedural. If he had hit a rifle target with round 10 then the correct call would be a miss, no procedural.

Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?

September 10, 2011, Saturday

Went to the HDD match at Founders Ranch. Again Shaky and Shirley Shooter put together a good match. It was cold with a little rain in the morning, and there were several beginners. We finished after 3:30. Tired.

Caught some errors in a couple of my WB stages and rewrote them.


September 5-9, 2011

I didn't write this week because I spent most of it dealing with the VA. I went in for the appointment with the ENT doctor. He's okay, but the guy in charge of scheduling, one Allen Lamb, ridiculed me and other vets who have lost their hearing due to combat and other military noise. This incident was proof I've managed to control my temper. Going over the whole incident just makes me mad and depressed, so you'll just have to guess what it would take to make me that mad and how the VA could have someone working with vets who obviously hates us all. Later I went to the patient advocate and waited over an hour to talk to her. Within 2 minutes she was handing me back to Lamb's superior. The treatment was better there. I'll eventually get a hearing aid. I will probably have to fly back to ABQ from Phoenix in the dead of winter--twice. On the other hand, it might take so long I'll be back to ABQ in the summer. Until then I have a left ear that is like living next to a jet engine that occasionally makes other interesting noises, and all hearing is through my right ear, which isn't that good and could go like the left one without notice.

On Wednesday I met Shaky Shooter and Tijeras Pete at Founders Ranch, and we set up[ 6 stages. Shaky and Shirley Shooter will be doing the Saturday HDD match, and I've written the Sunday Wild Bunch match. On Sunday you can expect a gunfight, not a memory contest. Since it's Wild Bunch, there will be semi-difficult pistol targets, and a couple of stages will be free style enough that planning your strategy will make a difference in your time. But if you get a procedural, you will have earned it. You weren't trapped into it.

Here's a preview:

Yes, you might have to move a little. No, I don't tell you where to shoot from or where to restage your firearms. Figure it out.

September 2-4, 2011

EzGz sent this. I'm not sure who that is.

Vaquero Luna and I drove to Roswell for their annual match, Shootout at High Lonesome (Chisum Cowboys). Stayed at the Roach Motel. The range, at a Trap and Skeet club 10-15 miles from town, was very good, with facades at most stages. Imitation flying saucers and imitation aliens were everywhere. At least I thought they were imitations.

The ABQ gang took everything that we contested:

1st OA, 1st Cowboy Mica McGuire (Fastest Shotgun)

2OA, 1st 49er Grubstake Charlie (The extra 2 misses described above didn't alter his overall position.)

7th OA 1st Young Guns Sandoval Kid (Fastest Pistol)

11th OA 1st Duelist Vaquero Luna

17 OA, 1st Frontier Cartridge Baylor

25th OA, 1st Cowgirl EZGZ

65 Shooters.

US 285 is already the most over-policed road in the US for the traffic volume, but this is a holiday weekend, so they had a "Unreasonable Search and seizure without probable cause" checkpoint.

I had no idea Luna was wanted for the murder of five ex-wives. Had to drive home without him.

September 1, 2011, Thursday

Got the MRI. Glad I'm not too claustrophobic. I was the first appointment, so mine was on time. Then, amazingly, after noon Dr. Pickett called and told me the MRI showed nothing. I have an appointment with him to start the process of getting a hearing aid, and he mentioned another option he wants to discuss with me. If not good news, it is at least acceptable news. Good would have been "we've found something, and we can remove it, and your hearing will come back." Bad would have been bad. I've been expecting to eventually need hearing aids. The left eardrum was ruptured when a tank fired out of position in Germany. It bled inside the middle ear, and that got me a medevac ride and 3 days in the hospital in Frankfurt. In combat I endured a lot of loud noises. I can remember at least one time when my bell was rung bad enough that my ears rang for days, and I didn't hear anything out of the left ear for a while. I was pretty sure the eardrum was perforated again, but for an officer to go to the rear under your own power for medical reasons was frowned upon by LTC Price, so I stayed put. I was stunned when the VA said I had only a 10% hearing loss in the left ear when I got my entry physical. It was a 3 profile when I got my discharge physical.

I just hope that the hearing aid can cancel out the static symphony going on in my ear.

I'm hoping that today indicates the month from hell is really and truly over. August started with the angel kitten incident and ended with most of my time spent going to and from the VA hospital and the front bus AC out for over a week. The poor Redhead was stuck here for three days while I was gone to Hobbs, so it was even worse for her.

The RV guy got the AC installed, also put one can of coolant in the dash AC. He'll put in another tomorrow and fix the brake controller and work on that piece of crap washer/dryer, which has never worked 100% correctly and has been down more than it has been up. Good Sam authorized another $200 work instead of replacement. They'll regret that when it fails again in a few months and has to be replaced, unless, of course, it burns the bus down. Then Progressive will regret it.

I put guns and gear in the car for the trip to Roswell. Easier this time, no Wild Bunch guns, and no Frontiersman guns. I added my derringer and pocket pistol, but they're small. It's also a 3 hour drive instead of 5+.

This month's wallpaper was stolen from the Facebook Page of Tombstone Bitc. No, I didn't misspell it. That's how it's listed on Facebook. She is a re enactor in the Tombstone Renegades. She has a bunch of such pictures of cowgirls, some I can use, at least one I can't. I may steal more. I think she stole one from my page, the "Naked Cowgirls Shoot Clean" flag design. I got it from True West with written permission from Bob Boze Bell, so I didn't steal it. And no, I don't mind her using it.