October 2014 Journal

September 30, 2014, Tuesday

Email of the day, from Dan Varner

Great Hat! Both you and it are the right color for an officer of the 10th cav. Some how felt and beaver just go together much like peas and carrots. Confusing can't remember if all felt should be beaver or all beaver should be felt. Mom's Altzheimers must be rubbing off.

September 28-29, 2014

Just saw the results from Sunday's Rio Grande Renegades match, which had 6 aerial clay birds, which I usually can't hit. Despite that I was credited with a clean match, including all 6 birds, as did Whiplash Whitey, but he usually hits the birds.
So there!

Monday, among other errands needed before we move, I calle the VA to change my address for the winter. We had problems because last fall not every part of the VA changed our address. The nice lady at the local VA hostpital benefits dept said she could only change it for the hospital, not the rest of the VA. She gave me the 800 number and mentioned eBenefits. The phone # said they were too busy and hung up. Your gumment at work. Signing into eBenefits took over an hour, and I had once gone through the ordeal of signing up. They kept asking me security questions and telling me my answers were wrong. I kept giving the same answers. Eventually they let me in, but I had to change my password. That took over 15 minutes. The password must be 200 digits, with no dictionary words, at least one but no more than 2 capital letters, 4 dingbats, every symbol on a standard keyboard, and 6 different one or two digit numbers that total 91, plus the squareroot of today's date. Then you have to type it again to confirm it, by memory.

When I finally got in they had my new address in for me, but our Phoenix address for The Redhead. I tried to change it to mine, and the system kept telling me it wasn't in a form acceptable to the post orifice. Fifteen more minutes. Did you know that there's a page with extended zip codes, not 10 digits, but 30?

I have no idea where important mail will go from the VA now. I believe their new excuse will be, "We sent him a form, and he never returned it." Or they'll blame it on Bush.

September 25-27, 2014

On Friday I put this picture on Facebook as my profile picture:

When I got to the Wild Bunch match at Founders Ranch on Saturday I was immediately asked questions about it, including "Where did you get it?" I told the story a few months ago on Facebook, but I'm happy to repeat it.

It was inspired by this hat:

This hat is in The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. It is captioned as being an original "Privately Purchased Officer's Hat." The U S Army never issued a white hat. Most aficionados of 19th century military think the white campaign hat was an invention of John Ford's cavalry trilogy. Despite that a lot of SASS shooters wear white campaign hats. Clearly at least one existed.

Inspired by that hat I gave the photo of the museum hat to David at D Bar J Hats. I also gave him the acorn hatband and 10th Cavalry sabers that I got from Coon Creek Old West. I asked for the crease that is on the crown rather than the one that is on the original. Both were common in campaign hats, so both are "correct." I like them both. David made this hat. It is 100% beaver and "bone" color. It was fitted on the machine that measured my head, and it fits very well. It will stay on in Albuquerque winds. As expected of a 100% beaver hat, it is holding its shape very well.

Angelique likes shoulders


September 24, 2014, Wednesday

And Now For Something Completely Different:

Welcome to the exciting, sexy world of RV Water Heater Maintenance

Your water heater needs annual maintenance. You will need a replacement anode (See your owner's manual. Lacking that read the numbers on the heater and go online. Amazon.com had the factory replacement for mine.)

Plumbers tape

Appropriate socket. On my Suburban heater it is 1-1/16. It needs a 1/2" ratchet wrench. You probably need a big one to get the anode loose.

Step 1:

Find the heater switch. In this example the electric switch is on. Turn it off. The Propane switch is off. Both should be off.

Step 2. Make sure water pump is turned off. Turn on hot faucets in the coach and run them until water is cold. THIS IS IMPORTANT. You will be sprayed with water from the heater at one time or another. Then turn these faucets off. THEN Turn water off.

Step 3: Find and remove the heater cover. If you have had trouble with any of these 3 steps, stop and schedule service with the nearest trustworthy RV service shop. This probably involves a 500 mile drive, so try to work it out.

Step 4: Find the anode plug. Turn counter-clockwise to loosen.

Step 5:Remove the anode. The one below was overdue for replacement. The anode is sacrificial to keep scale from the walls of you water heater. You are very likely to get sprayed. If you didn't run the faucets until cold water came out you might be scalded. You've been warned.

Step 6: TURN WATER ON and let it run for 4-5 minutes to rinse the water heater. Then turn the water off.

Step7: This gadget is by Camco and available from Amazon.com. It is designed specifically for spraying the heater to help remove debrise and scale.

Step 8: Insert the sprayer and spray the interior. Do this until long after you have soaked your shoes, jeans, and shirt.

Step 9: If you just discovered you never ordered the anode, you're screwed. Maybe there's one at Camping World only 125 miles away. Otherwise, take it from the package...

Step 10: And wrap the threads clockwise with plumbers tape

Step 11: Insert the anode into the hole

Step 12: Tighten

Step 13: Tighten with big wrench

Step 14: Turn Water On. Go inside and turn on hot water faucets and wait while the pipes make strange, scary noises and eventually water is flowing smoothly from the faucets. Then turn them off.

Step 15: Make sure the anode isn't leaking.

Step 17: Put cover back on and secure it.

Step 18: Turn water heater power on, clean up, and put your tools away. Once the hot water is available again you can take a shower. You probably need it.


September 22-23, 2014

Inline Fabrication's "Factory" Dillon Bullet Tray Mount

Since I moved to the bus the XL650 has been mounted on bhe benchtop because there is not adequate clearance for the strong mount, which raises the unit a foot or so. The bullet tray mount I had mounted on the Strong Mount and couldn't be used without it. So I screwed it to the benchtop. Not perfect. Then I saw Inline Fabrication's "Factory" bullet dish support bracket for 650 anb benchtop mounting

This mounts the factory bullet tray at an ideal location using one of the 650's mounting bolts.

In loading 10,000 rounds it has to eliminate a mile or so of hand and arm movement.

Septembnre 20-21, 2014

RGR Matches, Cowboy on Saturday,

Today's Crossdraw Holster Test—Which of these 3 holsters is legal, and which are illegal under SASS rules. If you don't know, you need an ROI class ASAP:





WB on Sunday. Slipnoose Brand and Roxie West from SASS shot.

It was windy


September 16-19, 2014

I haven't seen this before. Decapping pulled off half the primer.

XL650 Missed Live Primer Upgrade
(Ski Jump Fix)

When I put the other XL650 mods on Facebook this product was mentioned as being available only on eBay. I'm not a fan of eBay but bought anyway. When it arrived it came with a link to the real source. http://dillonupgrades.com

Here's their blurb:

I've been selling my Spent Primer Upgrade for years which solves the problem of spent primers all over the floor.... but the only thing worse than spent primers on the floor is LIVE primers on the floor. This New upgrade I designed will replace the original missed primer chute (better know as the Dillon Ski Jump) with my new primer catcher and completely eliminate any missed primers from jumping off onto the floor. Like my spent primer upgrade this upgrade also creates a closed missed primer system so there is no way for the missed primers to exit the system and jump onto the floor. This system uses a Plastic Primer Catcher to contain missed primers as soon as they fall out of the Rotary Primer Disc and funnel them into a small plastic reservoir bottle which can then be unscrewed to transfer the primers back to primer tubes.

This upgrade will not affect the operation of the press in anyway, it does not need to be removed to change over the primer system from small to large and it will work with either primers. The upgrade can also be used in conjunction with my spent primer upgrade but will also work with the original spent primer cup too.

September 11-15, 2014

HDD Match at Founders Ranch

The last 2 stages required a little running. Lawless Lil shooting

Lawless Lil still shooting. Only the targets on the right of center were in play.


Visit to SASS

So how much does a Sport Utility Dry Box full of .38 ammo weigh?

ROII CLASS at Founders Ranch

Several graduates of a spring ROI class asked me to do the class that had been tentatively scheduled for Sept. I enlisted Jack Diamond, another instructor, and we had 9 students. We used a PowerPoint presentation that Blackjack Zak had done. It worked very well. Current versions of ROI and ROII presentations are about to be on the Instructor's Wire page. They make it much easier. My only change, if it hasn't been done on the latest versions, is to change on my copies the blue print for emphasis to something I can see against the red background.

Everyone passed the test. After this we did a range session that went very well. Motivated, inquisitive students helped. Congratulations to the graduates. They now have ROII pins with 2014 shields.

Eagle Grips

Raj at Eagle Grips is an old friend, very nice guy, and a great guy to do business with. I was talking to him about Gunfighter grips and asked if he had anything new and different. Well, these Kirinite grips are definitely different. They're designed to be striking, and they are. They come in at least 12 colors. Great for your barbecue gun. Yes, they would go very well with Bob Mernickle's wild colored buttstock covers.

The stock Ruger Grips are very much like Colt's standard grips. In the 1880s they were made from hard rubber called Gutta Percha. Now they're plastic. They're textured and quite grippy. They're probably the best standard grips on the market as a result.

Stock Ruger grips. Here's the flare toward the bottom. If you have big hands, you might consider them too small, but for most of us they're about right. Hard act to follow. But...

Eagle makes two kinds of grips that are definitely competition oriented, Gunfighter Grips on the top, and Evil Roy grips on the bottom. These are on new Vaqueros.

The Gunfighter Grips were really a necessity on the old Vaquero (and Ruger Old Armies) because their grip frames were about 110% the size of a Colt.

Gunfighter Grips are the result of a long collaboration between Joe Bowman and Eagle Grips. They're designed to enhance your grip. If you want presentation grips, they have a lot of really pretty grips. SAA grips have reverse taper to the bottom, because they're designed for the gun to rock up under recoil. This was especially useful in percussion Colts because to allow the spent cap to fall off, it was best to cock the hammer while the gun was almost upside down.

But we want the gun to stay where it is so we can see the sights for the next shot.

Checkering is optional, but not really if you're in SASS competition. They're a necessity. The checkering is very grippy. The tops of the little pyramids that result from checkering have been sanded lightly. I would be even happier if they hadn't. If the checkering doesn't cut my hand, it's not sharp enough. The checkering on that 30 year old 1911 on the frontstrap and mainspring housing is 20 lines/inch and very sharp. Other people who have shot if complain about it cutting their hands. I don't.

Evil Roy grips are the result of Roy's work developing the Evil Roy pistols with Cimarron. He took the flare off his development gun's grips, either with a band saw or a belt sander. The result was they're pretty flat on the sides. This works very well, too. The front and back contours are the same as stock, which is good for recoil absorption. The flat sides are checkered.

Gunfighter Grips have a thin section where your thumb goes, almost a finger groove. Below that there's a slight palm swell to fill your palm. You can get a very good grip on the gun. This is REALLY important in duelist/gunfighter categories because you're cocking the gun with your thumb. If you don't have to "re-establish" your grip after cocking, it's faster. These are very good. As gppd as the stpcl Ruger grips are, these are better.

Evil Roy Grips" The profile is unique. They work very well with medium sized hands, too. I can find little functional difference between the 2 Eagle grip styles, but both give me a quicker, more stable grip than the stock ones, which, as I said, are very good. It comes down to which one feels and/or looks best to you.


September 6-10, 2014


George S. Patton says he's starving.

New spare tire cover for the Jeep

Buffalo Range Riders Match at Founders Ranch 09-06-2014

Garrison Joe shooting Rifle knockdowns, definitely no clean match buffalos.

Pepper Jack Anderson handled the "running" stages impressively

Why cowboys turned to watchfobs instead of full-length watch chains

Doc Rankin's gun cart

Tex, you're wanted at the match director's office for a smoke standard check. We can still see some of there targets.

"Now, before you turn around there's something you should know. You shot the entire stage with your pants unbuttoned."

"So, Kid, how many rounds did you leave in the rifle?"

Copper Queen from Bay 9


The closest I've come to this years EOT belt buckles. Very nice! (and the closest I'lever come to one again)

Lawless Lori Sue, Cattle Baroness World Champion

SASS Wagon Museum.

SASS Wagon Museum.

New Aftermarket Accessories for Dillon XL650

From Unique Tek I got a 650 Spent Primer Chute.

It replaces the mount for the factory primer bin, which usually results in 1-2 per hundred on the floor. Thus sometime back I put a wide, shallow plastic storage bin on the floor to catch primers, both live and dead, dropped bullets, dropped brass, and, on rare occasions spilled powder when I fail to tighten the powder measure mount. (DON'T DO THAT!)

Easy Installation:
Remove the Spent Primer Cup and Spent Primer Cup Bracket.
Install the 650 Spent Primer Chute™ using the original screws.
Attach the tubing to the 650 Spent Primer Chute™ and route to any convenient container on, or under, your reloading bench.

It includes a 3' tube.

Routing it to the floor in front of the tool chest is a little iffy.

However, 3 ft. of tuping is not enough. Note that pulling the handle down pulls the catch bottle off the floor. I've taped it in place and used a bucket to catch the inevitable. Unique Tek recommends using a 5 gallon bucket with a hole in the lid for the tube.

The bottle does catch the primers

However http://dillonupgrades.com sells 2 similar (but different) kits. One, for those using Strong Mounts, has a short piece of tubing and a spent primer bottle that attaches to the Strong mount, another one, for those not using strong mounts with 4' of Hose, Bottom Hose Fitting & Zip Tie, Pre-drilled Soda Bottle Cap (cap colors may vary, usually white)

"Skylight" LED Lighting Kit

From Inline Fabrications http://inlinefabrication.com/collections/lighting
I got their "Skylight" LED Lighting kit for the Dillon 650. http://inlinefabrication.com/collections/lighting/products/skylighttm-led-lighting-kit-for-the-dillon-650
There's a high output light in the center of the toolhead, and there's a 4" 6-light strip on the inner front side of the press frame

Iighting is pretty well distributed on the shell plate.

The strip light comes with double-sided tape, and there's a Scotchbrite pad to "roughen" the surface of the frame for this and the 4 clips with double sided tape that are used to route the wire to the back. Both wires plug into a 2 to 1 wire that plugs into the power wire, which has an inline on-off switch. On my 15 year old press no amount of Scotchbrite and alcohol prep (one comes in the kit. I used a lot more) will make the clips stick. In desperation I searched my tool chest and found some thin Velcro mounting strips and stick-on dots. I managed to get them to stick and stuck the clips to them. So far, so good.

It's hard go get really good photographs to see how well the lights work, but they do.

Things are very visible from the right side, too.

The light I used to use to light the shell plate is on a flexible tubing mount and can now be used for other things, such as lighting case heads when I'm trying to sort by brand or look for splits, etc.

September 1-5, 2014

I still need to do a test of Ringer Bullets and their performance with black powder in desert conditions.So I'm loading some .45 Colt


FYI 38.0 gr./weight Goex FFg is that high in a modern .45 Colt case. You might be able to stuff in a bullet, but that would be a fairly compressed load. Of course, that won't keep guys on the SASS Wire from claiming they put 40 gr. and a 255 gr. bullet in for their SASS loads.

This is 35 gr. of Goex FFg. With a 200 gr. bullet it's compressed 3/32 to 1/8".

9-5-2014 Ringer sells 2 types of 200 gr. bullets. The left are a smokeless mold. The right has a big lube groove, better for BP. Both average 205 gr., probably because they're softer lead which is heavier than bullets with smokeless type hardening alloys, .

At this point we're waiting for time and weather to do a torture test to see if the bullets will foul out in a normal day's match. Stay tuned.


First, the important stuff

Answer the question many of the readers are asking: "What's with the wallpaper? You've always had a cowgirl for wallpaper."

And your point is?

If this offends you, you must be an ISIS terrorist.