Journal of a Gypsy Cowboy November 2011

Clearing the '66-'73 Jam With a Screwknife©

October 31,2011, Monday, Halloween

Halloween in an RV park is always scary, what with hundreds of rambunctioua kids trick or treating aggressively, the wild parties, the zombies...

not. We have a lot of Halloween candy left. I have no idea where it is. Strangely enough, it's the stuff The Redhead likes.

October 30, 2011, Sunday

Talked to a few vendors. Too worn out to do any of the "fun" matches going on in the AM. Awards started at 1130.

48 shooters (out of 308) shot clean. Winners:

49er—Frederick Jackson Turner

Ladies 49er—Stormy Shooter

BW—Gil T Azell

Ladies B Western—Sly Puppy

Classic Cowboy—Gilley Boy

Cowboy—Colt Faro

Cowgirl—Echo Meadows

Duelist—Wylie Yankee

Lady Duelist—Lacy Ann Leather

Senior—Hells Comin'

Ladies Senior—Lefty Jo

Senior Duelist—Johnny Meadows

Silver Senior±—Blue Ridge Ranger

Ladies Silver Senior—Claudia Feather

Elder Statesman—Rowdy Otis

Range Boss (75+)—Wrangler Ron

Grande Dame—Stagecoach Sally

Frontier Cartridge—Joe McGlue

Ladies Frontier Cartridge—Squeaky Hair

FCD—Big Iron Buster

Ladies Frontier Cartridge—Leadville Lil

Frontiersman—Capt. George Baylor

Wrangler—Mogillion Drifter

Ladies Wrangler—Hatchet Molly


Ladies Gunfighter—Lady Bulldog

Young Gun Cowboy—Slinger

Young Gun Cowgirl—Sugar Cookie

Buckaroo—Rattlesnake Wrangler

Buckarette—Miss Gypsy Belle

Top Lady—Echo Meadows

Top Man—Hells Comin

Notes: Buckaroo Rattlesnake Wrangler was 4th OA and won several stages. His daddy Colt Faro won Cowboy. Larsen E. Pettifogger had several problems, including gun problems, and left for CAC thinking he wasn't in the top 10 SD. He was 4th. I was 30 seconds out of first F after the first day and won by 20. It's hard to compare when you're shooting different stages in different weather conditions.

Frederick Jackston Turner and me with our trophies

October 29, 2011, Saturday

Bordertown Vendors

Shot in the afternoon, so I got pictures of some of the vendors at Bordertown. Mostly it's the same people you see at a lot of major matches, supporting our sport and selling things we can use in the sport.

The main tent at Bordertown, home of registration, Saturday night party, and awards. Well done.

Vendors on one side of the street

Tammy Loy at the Taylor's & Co. display. Lots of good cowboy firearms

Redwing Trading Co.

Mernicke Custom Holsters

Handlebar Hank's was the only food vendor. I ate there on Wednesday, when the only thing going on was registration, and it took 15-20 minutes to get a cheeseburger. During the match the lines were too daunting for me. They do excellent burgers, fries, onion rings, and cheese steaks, etc.

Earthwalker Boots and Earthrider boot chaps. Some SASS shooters wouldn't be able to shoot this sport without them.

D Bar J Hats. They gave away a hat to one shooter.

Lady T's A. D. D. (Artistically Deviant Designs)—Bullet Splat Jewelry, really nice silver watch chains. The Bullet Splat Jeweler uses bullet splats to make the molds but are all silver. She also does "Badges with attitude".

Jimmy Spurs Cowboy Gun Works on a 3 month trip around the country from SASS match to SASS match.

Ear Shop

Doc Kendrick Spice Co.

White Wolf Trading Co.

New RV Park row at the top of the hill, 50 amps, full hookups. I'm afraid our rig still won't fit.

I checked the scores from Friday. Hugo Bear was in first. Wander N Star was in second. I was in third or fourth, all because of the first two stages. The afternoon stages, 1-6, were the "easier" stages. They had 4 shotgun targets, and some looked like they would be faster. All I could do was try to make up time by shooting as fast as I could. The first 3 stages had minor glitches, sticky cylinders and the like, but they were in the 30s. Then I got into the 20s. The last stage was 35 including my second miss. Probably not enough to catch up, but the competition is all on different stages at different times of day.

Went to the banquet. Good BBQ for $15. Winter Range, take note. Frederick Jackson Turner was the entertainment. Very good. Side match and costume awards. Didn't get anything. Solicitor General won Plainsman, of course.


October 28, 2011, Friday

Bordertown Main Match

Started to leave the park at 0645. The "Low Tire Pressure" warning came on. I spent about 15 minutes checking the tires and pumping them to 32 psi. It was just the cold weather. The "low tire pressure" warning came back on. I would find out later that I should have pumped them to 35 psi.

Shot the morning shift, starting at 0800. Sun in our eyes. Only 2 Black Powder shooters on the posse. Both of us had problems. My first stage was a disaster. Even at 7 yards, the rifle targets disappeared after the first round. I entertained the posse bobbing and weaving to see. Took forever, and I had a miss. Next stage was almost as bad but 12 seconds faster in raw time. The next stage was 11 seconds faster than that. But the smoke was a problem even at 1140 on my last stage. A vertical bank of targets, totally invisible after the first shot. All in all during the morning the smoke caused one miss and 2 shotgun reshoots. To that I added one rifle round jacked out. 3 lousy stages, 3 mediocre stages.

Hopefully the other Frontiersmen had the same problems. Not all were on the morning shift, though, and at least one was shooting 7-12 in the afternoon with a 10 mph wind. one of the reasons I lobby for Black Powder posses is so we all face the same weather conditions. 7-12 had 4 stages with 6 shotguns. Not what you want in conditions that make a shotgun smoke like a Napoleon.

In my past visits to the Tombstone Livery it all evened out. i'm hoping it does this time... that and I'm hoping I stop missing shotguns... or anything else.

Good posse. Larsen E. Pettifogger is posse marshal. We finished 5 minutes early. 26 members on the posse. We managed to have the next shooter on the line well within 30 seconds after the shooter finished. I needed to take a gun to Lassiter, who shot in the afternoon, and I watched him run a few shooters through. He's a master at it. Not picking up brass, as painful as that is to all of us, is a major speed factor. We all used expeditors, and that's a big help, too. If all of our shotgun targets could be reset with ropes, we would have had only one delay. A target fell down. Most of the shotguns could be reset with ropes much easier than at the WB match. Don't know what they did to make them work better.

October 27, 2011, Thursday

The Plainsman match was in the morning, 4 stages. The rifle targets were moved to the back berm. Solicitor General was in charge, modifying the stages only slightly from the main match, meaning 6-8 rifle shots at targets at the berm instead of 10 at 7 yards. 9 contestants. Solicitor General won every stage, dominating. His first stage was 40 something (48?) plus 2 misses, and I was second with 63 clean. He spotted me 10 seconds and beat me! I missed a rifle on the next one (smoke and bad sun angle), and he extended his lead. I think Jack Wilson was second on that one. The closest I got was stage 4, with 59 clean vs. Solicitor General's 51 clean. Pretty sure I was second and Jack Wilson was third. A few clean shooters I think.

When we moved from bay 5 to bay 6 for the last 2 stages they noticed the targets had 7 really bad divots on them. Solicitor General got Pecos Clyde to get some armor steel targets for the next two, and we each were asked to shoot at a target to see if our loads were the problem. Most of the loads were very light, 300 gr. bullets with 40 gr. or less. I had used up the last of my 25 gr. APP loads and fired a 50 gr. APP stick/300 gr. bullet load. It rang very well and shook the target, but no damage. That was the hottest round fired I believe. One did have a 400 gr. bullet, but light powder charge. There was no further damage on the last 2 stages. Solicitor General is of the opinion that someone damaged the targets during the Wild Bunch match, and the divots got painted over. Then we took the paint off.

Then I shot the Bordertown Blast, 3 stages, each using 2 or 3 guns. The first was 10 rifle, 4 shotgun, a 12 second stage for me. The second was 10 rifle, 10 pistol, 17 seconds. The third was 10 pistol, 4 shotgun. That took me an inexplicable 20 seconds. By then I was exhausted. No misses. Lots of fun. Time to clean guns and recover for the match tomorrow.

So far everything has been well done by the committee, and the workers have been very nice to the paying customers.

October 26, 2011, Wednesday

"I didn't come here to win. I came here to have fun." Winner of Top Shot.

The third season of Top Shot ended tonight and was the best finale yet, with 4 good guys vying for the title. The winner displayed some phenomenal shooting and gun handling (and rocks and recurve bow). If you haven't seen it, The History Channel usually runs a marathon in the weekend. It's the best season yet.

Before that, at 0800, I was at the range to help T A Chance and Dirty Bob with the ROI class. Due to the fact that it wasn't in the entry blank, just in a "Bordertown Blast" email, no students showed up. At 1300 the same occurred with the ROII class. I was disappointed because I wanted to learn from two of the best instructors in the program, things I could pass on in my classes.

I registered and got my packet at noon. Everything looks really good for the match.

Dollar Bill came over for drinks at 5. In his case, water. He's at Tombstone Territories. Because we're 8 miles from the range I don't expect people to come over for Margaritas.

October 25, 2011, Tuesday

Bordertown Targets

They said the targets would be BIG and CLOSE, but look at these! Why, those shotgun targets are at least 4 paces out. The next bank of targets is 5 paces, and the ones on the right are 6-7 paces, but look at those white targets out at the berm? They're w-a-a-a-y out there. What's that? They're not targets; they're tombstones? Never mind.

Then there's this stage, 6 shotgun targets real close, with hay bales for protection and the other targets are... hmm, they're close. And Big.

Does this mean even the Plainsman match will have 7 yard rifle targets?

October 24, 2011, Monday

Picked up the shotgun from Johnny Meadows. Then we went to the range to test fire it and another shotgun he was working on. The stages had already been set up for Bordertown. Mine worked. The other one still had sticking firing pins. I fired off 6 quick rounds, and Pecos Clyde showed up at flank on his Match Director's golf cart to see what was going on. Function firing is okay. Practicing on the stages isn't. If you're coming, work on your long range shooting skills. Those targets are way out there. And they're tiny.

Yesterday's test post was successful. 2 people found the mistake and emailed me to tell me that Silver Heart won Ladies Modern. Lily Long was second despite having two Cylinder and Slide magazines disassemble themselves during a stage. They get free Margaritas. The rest of the contestants from the WB Match can buy their own Margaritas. So there.

October 23, 2011, Sunday

Last 4 stages of Bordertown Wild Bunch

Started off clean first stage. Then things went down hill. One miss next stage. Then on a 25 round pistol stage with 5 plates the last 5 pistol shots, the front sight of the 1911 flew off during the first 5 shots. It's hard to hit plates without a front sight. Borrowed a pistol for the last stage.

Gave the 1911 to Wild Bodie Tom for fitting a dovetail front sight with a set screw.

I went to the awards presentation with no expectation of getting anything, despite the fact they gave 10 in each category. Surprised. Got 9th Traditional. I think I was 16th OA. Amazing.

First Traditional was Two Dot. First Modern and OA was Silvertip. First Lady Traditional was Dixie Bell. First Lady Modern was Silver Heart. Good match. One of the biggest WB state championships. No one shot clean. (No surprise. Not an easy match by any standard.) I do wonder how many they would have had if they had advertised a "Bordertown of Wild Bunch Matches." Bordertown sold out in 13 days.

Gave the #1 SKB to Johnny Meadows to fix a cocking problem. He called later in the afternoon saying it was fixed.

October 22, 2011, Saturday

George S Patton, Jr,. with his latest fashion accessory for really cool dogs. He is saying "How could you?" to The Redhead

First 6 stages of the match. Took F-0-R-E-V-E-R. Only 15 on the posse, but we had problems getting people to shoot.. The posse marshal, Wild Bodie Tom, would finish the stage description, and it would take a few minutes to get one to the line! Then we had to reset the shotgun targets by going down range. The ropes would hang up, and the arms would stick. It was nearly 2 before we were done.

Out of that I had one good stage. That's when the guy taking the official video (More or Les) quit to get batteries, of course. But I wasn't the only one with problems. Joe LaFives, who was smokin' in Traditional failed to shoot the 5th magazine of a 25 round pistol stage, getting 35 seconds for that mistake counting the procedural. After that my 1911 decided it was a good time to fail to feed the fifth round on two consecutive magazines. Could have been worse. One lady, whose husband had just taken Cylinder and Slide's 1911 building school, had 2 new Cylinder and Slide magazines dump their welded-on bases, which leaves an empty tube. A 30 round (!) pistol stage was a disaster for several. You shot 1 on 1, 2 on 2, 3 on 3, 4 on 4, and 5 on 5, then 5 on 5, 4 on 4, 3 on 3, 2 on 2, and 1 on 1. More than one neglected the second 5 on 5. Yep, 35 seconds.

Wild Bunch stages take longer than CAS because of "THE GREAT SEARCH FOR !911 BRASS" after each shooter. 1911 brass is about $0.20 per round, and we're shooting as many as 30 ROUNDS of 1911 per stage, so I'm loathe to suggest a lost brass match where it isn't necessary. But lost brass matches go a LOT faster in WB. In cowboy they just go a little faster.

The stages were well written and not complicated. Targets were not too far out in context with other WB matches. Still a couple of people on our posse were whelmed by shooting rifle targets with 1911s.

2 MDQs of note: one Modern category shooter was DQed because when his pistol was weighed Friday, it was overweight. It was overweight because he had a tungsten guide rod in it. He was given the opportunity to change guide rods, offered a legal guide rod, and offered legal guns. He refused and wanted to be able to shoot but get no score. This was refused because it's a state championship.

The other, after shooting 6 stages on Saturday, was chronoed, and the first rifle round was chronoed at 1800 ft./sec. .44 Mag using factory ammo, apparently not factory cowboy ammo.

On my way back to the car, while going over rough terrain, the Rugged Gear cart toppled over backwards, causing me to tear up my left knee, damaging a rather expensive pair of uniform trousers and leaving them bloodstained. I had used up all of the ammo in the forward compartment, and I was carrying 3 long guns. The remaining ammo was in the pouches in the top rear. The mesh bag was full of brass and 12 ga. hulls. I'll be loading front-heavy now.

I didn't make it to the dinner at the range.

October 21. 2011, Friday

Bordertown Wild Bunch Match, the AZ State Championship, started today with side matches and a RO course. I registered early, and Clyde assigned me to run the chrono station, which I did till about 1 PM. Also shot the side matches (badly) and ran a few people through them (speed rifle, speed pistol, speed shotgun).

Then we needed to take George to the nearest vet, about 200 miles away in Sierra Vista. Waited about 20 hours to see the vet, who gave him about $1000 worth of drugs and a plastic anti-lick collar. All of those #s are in dog miles, hours, and $.

October 20, 2011, Thursday

This morning I got out of the shower, and the floor was wet, very wet. It wasn't coming from the shower. Investigation led to an overflowing toilet, clear water fortunately. The Redhead ran outside and drained the tanks, assuming they were full. I fiddled with the fill/drain lever on the toilet. Apparently the toilet water switch had stuck open slightly. I cleaned the floor off. Life is always exciting in a motor home.

Worked in the garage. All match guns are clean now. I even had time to polish my 1916 Army boots, both the M1904 Marching Shoes Replicas and leather puttees and the Officer's stovepipe boots.

More or Les and Giggles dropped by. They were getting water on the way to dry camping at the Tombstone Livery. Yesterday we noted the upper level there has been re-done and looks like a real RV park now, with new electrical/water pedestals and pull-through sites.

12 Gauge Check Gauge

From TL (phone # above) and Cowboys and Indians Store (714-210-2720) a Go-gauge for 12 ga. shells. A couple of people told me how as many as 1/3 of their FACTORY ammo failed this test, and eliminating them from their match ammunition eliminated a lot of '97 functioning problems. So I got one. Above is a shell that passed the test.

This shows one of the rare oversized rounds. I've done about 150 rounds and had 2 pure failures, and a few that were tight but went in all the way and popped out when pushed. One was a B & P Subsonic 2-5/8" round. The other was a very old Featherlight from a box of "miscellaneous leftovers." Peters and Remington Light Target had no failures, as did Winchester Dove Loads and Fiocci Little Rino loads won at a match. Interestingly enough, all of my Black Powder loads, made on Remington or Peters hulls, fail. They also wouldn't go through the Mec Go-Gauge. Some time back I worked most of a day trying to adjust the sizing die to get them to pass that gauge, with no success. I came to the conclusion that either: (a) that's the way Dillon SL900s make them, or (b) I missed something. On the other hand, I've been using them for several years that way, and they feed and fall out of my doubles just fine. So I'm not going to worry about it.

October October 17-19, 2011

Most of the time was spent working on my December column. Part of it included Clearing the'66-'73 Jam With a Screwknife©, which I've put on a separate page so it'll be easier to find in the future because I can list it separately.

On Wednesday we went to Big Nose Kate's and had Reuben sandwiches. Good food, slow service, incredible noise. A musician was there entertaining people in Bisbee, or at least I think the noise was bearable there. I turned the new hearing aid off, and it was still hurting that ear.

Not one, but 3 signs banning guns or "weqpons" at Big Nose Kate's. I guess we have to take our boots off an leave them in our cars

Sign in the Men's Room over an old fashioned urinal filled with ice

October 15-16, 2011, Saturday & Sunday

Went to the Los Vaqueros annual match at the Tombstone Livery, 2 separate 5 stage matches that were very good warm ups for Bordertown. I believe the targets were smaller, but the rifle and pistol targets were pretty close. 4 big posses Saturday, sixtyish I suppose, down to 48 on Sunday. The courses of fire had few P-traps. A couple were left-handed. All were safe. Lots of movement. There were a lot of clean matches, and a good time was had by all. I shot clean both days. I missed the awards presentation Saturday because nobody told me it was at the lunch up the hill at the dining room. I won FM and got a clean match award. Then on Sunday I got the word and went to the lunch. (Pretty good hamburgers). They called my name for a clean match then for third place, which was quite a shock since I'd seen the other Frontiersmen shoot and knew I had won. But T A Chance new I had and got it straightened out. This was a necessary confidence builder since the competition was some of the guys I'll see at Bordertown. Wander N Star had beaten me at EOT, but he had a lot of shotgun problems this weekend. He had a nice pair of Frank Lehman prepared and engraved Old Armies that are even lighter cocking than mine (not by much). Hugo Bear had a pair of multi-colored Old Armies and shot well. It was all Rugers all the time in Frontiersman.

I do admit to shooting Stage 5 on Sunday about 7 seconds off the pace, but I didn't want any misses. Low for the weekend was 28, high 38 (a 26 round stage with lots of movement). Also shot their Wild Bunch warm up Saturday afternoon. I had a couple of misses there with the targets out there, but so did everyone else.

Good group to shoot with. Shot on Dirty Bob's posse both days, always an excellent place to be. The Tombstone Livery is a good place to shoot. The light's in the wrong direction early in the morning, and the Black Powder shooters were bobbing and weaving during the first 2 stages. In February for High Noon at the Tombstone Livery the bad light lasts all morning and is really awful. The targets are further away then, and that, of course, makes it worse for the rifle. Sunday Dirty Bob said something about if you weren't bobbing and weaving you weren't making the smoke standard. He got that right.

Since I'm to be on the RO committee at the Wild Bunch State Championship (with Pecos Clyde and Nellie Blue) I printed up the match director's guide and RO handbook and put them in document protectors in the notebook with the WB Handbook in it. Did a little studying. Will reread the whole thing. They're trying to get a ROI and/or ROII course for Bordertown, but we have a surplus of instructors and a shortage of students. If we can get 5 students, it'll be a great course with T A Chance, Dirty Bob, and me as instructors. So if you're going to be there, sign up for one of the courses. You need a refresher every year. Rules change, and interpretations change.

October 14, 2011, Friday

Had lunch at the Crystal Palace. The last time we were in Tombstone this was just a very noisy, poorly lit saloon. Now it's a very noisy, poorly lit restaurant/saloon. We had the Crystal Palace burgers, and they were quite good, about 3 days worth of calories, 4 if you count the fries.

October 13, 2011, Thursday

Okay, the unknown location is Tombstone. We're at Tombstone Territories RV Park outside of town between 2 Border Patrol, Customs/Immigration checkpoints. Nice RV Park. If you like desolation, this is it. The monthly rate is cheap, too.

Yesterday we went to Tombstone for breakfast. Nellie Cashman's has become a Mexican/Italian restaurant, Cafe Margarita. Nice name, but I'm not sure about the combination. Do I want Jalapeno's on my spaghetti?

So we had breakfast at the Longhorn. Good food, limited breakfast menu, slow service. It's consistent. It was that way two years ago.

Tombstone Signs:

Big Nose Kate's Saloon looked inviting until...

we noted this sign. Wonder what they define as a weapon?

This was at a store.

October 12, 2011, Wednesday

We went to the nearest town for breakfast. Then I tried leveling the trailer, being tired of the 3° list to the rear because of the terrain. Using jack stands i got it to almost level. All 4 wheels are off the ground. It's supported by the trailer hitch in the front and jack stands in the back.

I cleaned several guns and decided to do loading practice on the Plainsman gun. The dummy rounds, having been beaten up a lot, tended to stick, so i remounted the RCBS Turret Press, removed the decapping pin from the full-length resizing die, and tried resizing the rounds. The Lee Factory Crimp die resizes the case as it crimps, giving the same result. It worked. I used Hornady One Shot case lube. That gave me an idea. I can't find a .45-70 case gage, and you can't check the rounds in the chamber of the Handi-Rifle because the ejector sticks out. Closing the chamber with a live round inside is not something I want to do in the shop. So I would have to go to a range to test fit the rounds. On the other hand, every dummy that i ran through the full-length resizer fit fine, so I ran the completed rounds through the resizer die. Some were pretty tight and might not have chambered in the match.

I received an interesting phone call. The head of the Audiology department at VA ABQ called. The story she had been told about my complaints about the hearing aid repairman/appointment scheduler had nothing to do with the truth. When told what the real problem was the lady was very apologetic.

October 11, 2011, Tuesday

Another day in the shop. I tumbled the completed rounds just enough to get the case lube off, 15 minutes, a horrible sin according to Birdshot, of Hodgdon, who insists if I tumble completed rounds for 0.5 minutes or more, then the pressure will go off the scale, killing me and everyone on the posse. So you've been warned.

Then every round is run through the case gage:

Those that go all the way in and fall out go into the "Match" boxes, 100 per shotshell box. The others go into a "practice" box. I had very few of those.

The fact I had any encouraged me to order Lee Factory Crimp dies (finally) for .45 ACP, .38 SPC, and .45-70. The .45 Colt dies were backordered.

October 10, 2011, Monday

Despite the beautiful view spent much of the day in the shop making .45 ACP match ammunition. This is a bitch using Trail Boss. But I have a lot of Trail Boss and intend to use it up before buying something else. One plan is to use N320 and Evil Roy's loads, but I want to use something I can buy locally one pound at a time instead of an order involving hazmat fees, and Sportsman's doesn't seem to carry N320.

The reason it's a bitch is Trail Boss is so light and fluffy it tends to fall out of the cases. I use case lube and work slowly to minimize shaking, but still globs of powder will fall out of the powder level checking rod at random intervals. When this happens I have to weigh the charge. I weigh a lot of charges anyway. This slows things down, of course. One solution is to overload, using 5.3 gr. when 5.0 will make a power factor in the 160s. But if one of the 5 rounds chronoed at a main match is low, then I could get a MDQ, so 5.3 is the minimum. This gets close to 170. 150 is minimum.

October 9, 2011, Sunday

Drove from Las Cruces to a place we described on Facebook as Nowhere, The Middle Of.

The View

The RV Spot

I'd tell you where it is, but since I didn't on Facebook, I'd have to kill you. Later.

October 8, 2011, Saturday

Drove to Las Cruces and parked at the KOA, which has about 2 spaces long enough to fit the bus and trailer. The drive was pleasant and pretty much trouble free. I noted the trailer tires ran a bit lower pressures than previous trips, possibly due to the lighter weight of the Jeep vs. the ML

October 7, 2011, Friday

Running errands was a bitch. The nearest post office is 8 miles away in a neighborhood I don't want to go unarmed, but, of course, only disarmed sheep are allowed in post offices. The usual: 20 minutes in line. One person who could have gotten the role of the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz without makeup slowly waiting on everyone. I used a credit card for the first time ever at a Post Orifice. That added 15 minutes to the transaction while the witch berated me because the credit card, in the signature block, read, "PHOTO ID REQUIRED". That card is almost worn out and has been that way since I got it, and no one ever complained. She also wouldn't accept my US Government issued ID card and required my driver's license. It's the last straw with the Post Orifice. I'll be using FedUp even when it costs more and requires a longer drive.

Got the last case of Peters light target 12 ga. shells at the bicycle shop. They've switched to heavy target, which are not the best rounds for SASS. I use the Peters in Wild Bunch. The rest of the errands just took a long time, and it's 40°F outside.

Cleaned the shop floor and put the Jeep in for the relocation trip tomorrow. I had to wait until the temperature was in the 49s and it's raining outside to put the Jeep in:

The Jeep is easier to get into the trailer and tie down than its predecessor, narrower, more ground clearance for attaching the tie down straps. The smaller door makes getting in and out easier, and climbing in is easier because of the door handle design. It also weighs about 400 lb. less.

October 6, 2011, Thursday

Once more we got up at 0400 and went to the Balloon Festival. They started putting the balloons up (Shape day), and announced it would be a static display only, as the wind was excessive. They didn't even get that complete before they started putting them down again because the wind was too high. A good thing. If they'd launched, with the 50 mph wind out of the west it would have been the Amarillo Balloon Festival when the balloons landed.

POW-MIA balloon, sponsored by Minnesota 8th District American Legion

Darth Vader Balloon--the crew dressed as Star Wars characters. No sponsorship noted

I wonder why they call it Shapes Day

This is about as high as Smoky the Balloon got. The daisy is already going back down.

I had to grab the shot of the Creamland Cow, probably the biggest balloon there. It never got fully inflated and went down quickly. We watched the Wells Fargo Stagecoach inflate partly but never got a photo before it went down.

Pretty tired after that, not to mention two bunged up knees from a fall due to a pothole in the paved walking trail at the festival. Not enough injuries to sue. But I needed to get the trailer ready for travel. I still need to vacuum and sweep the floor in the AM. Then we can put the Jeep in Friday afternoon and leave Saturday AM.

October 5, 2011, Wednesday

We got up at 0400 to go to the balloon festival. We were on I40 when it was cancelled due to weather. Cracker Barrel wasn't open till 0600, so breakfast at IHOP. I worked in the garage making .45-70 rounds. I had tried doing it on the XL650. Not good. Pulled out the RCBS Turret Press. When it was new I broke the primer feed, so I've been priming with a hand primer. Moved the dies from a Dillon Tool Head to the Turret Press. Everything had to be re-adjusted, of course. I full-length resize .rt-70s for Plainsman to make sure they'll go into the Handi-Rifle's chamber, and that means definitely lubricating the cases before resizing/depriming. Then used the hand primer. The thumbs aren't going to let me do that much longer. I need to get a new primer feeder. What's left of the old one I haven't seen in a couple of years and have no idea where it is, so it'll be expensive.

Using American Pioneer Powder 50 gr. Sticks for Plainsman .45-70 rounds

APP makes compressed sticks, rectangular in cross section and tapered vertically. They'll just fit in a .45-70 case, sometimes tightly at the corners. Plainsman doesn't USUALLY require 500 yard accuracy. If it does I can't see the targets anyway. APP sticks make rounds that are very consistent and more than accurate enough for 100 yd and closer targets. They might be great for 500 yard targets. I won't be trying them at that range.

I set up the turret press with the decapper/resizer, then a Dillon powder measure just for the belling feature, then a seating die, then a crimping die (actually crimping/seating, but I just use the crimping part to get a good roll crimp to make sure the case doesn't hang up in speed loading.

Inserting the 50 gr. APP stick into the .45-70 case at station 2 (case belling)

When you push the stick in with your fingers, it usually looks like this. If it doesn't want to go in, push the case up into the case beller again, and it'll push the stick down into the case

Now there's room for the bullet. Yes, you can push the stick down with the bullet, too.


Then rotate to the seating station and insert the bullet (300 gr. LRNFP Chey-Cast in this case)

The round under the seating die

The round after bullet seating

After the crimping station the round has a good roll crimp.

We went to Thunder Road in the Route 66 Casino for dinner/ my birthday. The food and service were as excellent as the first time we went there, meaning the waitress was really cute, and the food was really good. When she found out it was my birthday she brought an unasked for complementary dessert. So now you know what they do for birthdays. We overtipped more than usual.


October 4, 2011, Tuesday

Got the hearing aid installed at the VA. It'll take some getting used to. Like having FM squelch with loud noises. (Vets of the Vietnam era and before understand what squelch is. I don't know about current military radios. It's background noise that can be tuned out with the squelch switch, but you still get it when someone starts talking and when they stop. If I plug the other ear, still can't hear much in the left ear, but when they're both open I hear better. Could lower TV volume to the point The Redhead thought it was too quiet.

The hearing aid has a button to make speech more intelligible in high background noise situations (would have been useful at the Friends of the NRA dinner). I can't tell any difference, though.

The Redhead fixed the bus's furnace, which was out all week at Founders Ranch. Now it works. While I was working in the garage she removed the furnace, disassembled it, found the problem was a fragulated mapulator, which she obtained from Camping World and installed the new one, cleaned and reinstalled the furnace, and recalibrated the mapulator.

Either that or she found the hidden 5 amp fuse under the refrigerator (!) and replaced it with a working fuse. Now it works. We're still awaiting the repairman to install the recall part for the refrigerator. Apparently he's at the Balloon Festival. His new Mercedes is in, and he needs to pay for it. A week there will do it. But we can't leave until he installs it. The part was ordered for our serial #, and we won't be able to get one elsewhere.

October 3, 2011, Monday

Went to VA for 4-1/2 year cancer checkup. PSA still 0.00something. That means no prostate cancer has recurred. It doesn't mean I can't/don't have any cancer elsewhere. The urologist emphasized that they don't usually cure cancers with a Gleeson score as high as mine. That's reassuring. He's not the fan of the DaVinci robotic surgery that I've become. He thinks its good results are because the number of surgeons doing it is small, but they do a lot, as many as 10 a week! That means they get really good at it, and if they did that many open surgeries, they might be that good. But, of course, they don't. I find this just another reason to use the robot. The recovery period is markedly better. Whether open or robot, survivors mark the day they took the catheter out in their memory books along with wedding days, birth of children, or they day they came home from war. And you have the catheter in longer after the open surgery. You also have a big scar. Recovery from the robot is 2 years minimum, and nerves continue to repair themselves for a time after that, so you're better after 4 years than 2. Since the robot magnifies things dramatically, the instances of nerve damage should be lower, and this should be accentuated by the experience levels of the surgeons who do this all the time.

October 2, 2011, Sunday

Excellent (free) breakfast at the Belle Union, done by the SASS staff. This has been a fixture of Founders Ranch events and has always been well done. Then came a subdued awards presentation. These had always been done by Coyote Calhoun, and he was missed. If I copied correctly, the results were:

Wild Bunch:

Ladies Modern Wicked Felina
Modern Evil Roy
Ladies Traditional Texas Tiger
Traditional Fast hammer

Main match:

Junior Boys Sandoval Kid
Grand Dame lawless Lori Sue
Elder Statesman Dollar Bill
Ladies Frontier Cartridge Shirley Shooter
Frontier Cartridge More or Les
Ladies Frontier Cartridge Duelist Mist Chance
Frontier Cartridge Duelist Fast Hammer
Senior Gunfighter Gunz Brokus
Gunfighter Vaquero Luna
Senior Duelist Mr Peabody
Duelist Estancia Kid
Frontiersman Baylor
B Western Deputy Dangit
Frontier Cartridge Gunfighter Tex
Ladies Silver Senior Wicked Felina
Silver Senior Evil Roy
Ladies Senior Cant Recall
Senior English Lyn
Classic Cowboy Garrison Joe

Cowboy Mica McGuire
Ladies 49er EzGz
49er Aberdeen
Ladies Wrangler Texas Tiger
Wrangler Crazy Kurt

TOP LADY Texas Tiger (5th Overall)
1st Overall Aberdeen

Hipshot thanked Coyote for the excellent weather, and the whole thing was over by 10:30. Nice wall plaques.

I couldn't copy the side matches fast enough, so this is from memory. Texas Tiger had never shot a 1911 with two hands before and came to me at the Plainsman event to ask how to hold it with two hands. Then she borrowed Hipshot's 1911 and won Ladies speed 1911. Hipshot won for men. Mica McGuire won speed shotgun, and, I think, speed rifle and pistol. Texas Tiger won most of the ladies events. Lawless Lori Sue won Ladies Long Range Lever Action rifle. I won Plainsman. Tex was second, and English Lyn was third. Tex wants to move the targets further out, using bays 17 and 18 to emphasize rifle marksmanship. I'm pretty happy with the way it was done this year.

We packed up and went back to Enchanted Trails. The furnace had been out all week. We're glad to be back on shore power. The heat pumps work in this temperature, but they only work on shore power.

October 1, 2011, Saturday

Shot 6 more stages. Not wild about the mandatory lunch break. I don't eat any of the vendor food during those breaks, but the 45 minutes off leaves you tired and unfocused. Ended up with 3 misses for the weekend, and the brain fade procedural. Not stellar. Aberdeen was the only one on the posse to shoot clean. Excellent stages, about the best I remember at Founders Ranch. Excellent weather, too, minus the bit of rain Thursday. Really fun match.

Tex, shooting FCGF, doesn't make the smoke standard.

Tex, shooting Frontier Cartridge Gunfighter, needing to be checked for possible violation of the smoke standard

T A Chance, FCD

T A Chance, Frontier Cartridge Duelist

Mist Chance

Mist Chance, Ladies Frontier Cartridge Duelist

Shaky Shooter

Shaky Shooter, Frontier Cartridge Gunfighter

Cat Ballou, LSS

Cat Ballou

Aberdeen, 49er


Panhandle Cowgirl

Panhandle Cowgirl. Her costume needed a little bling

Panhandle Cowgirl

…Something like, maybe, a skull with turquoise stars for eyes


…or a belt buckle with a turquoise skull. "Live like you mean it."

Amber Ale escapes from Jail

Amber Ale escapes from jail

Tijeras PEte

Tijeras Pete

Shirley Shooter

Shirley Shooter, Ladies Frontier Cartridge

Estancia Kid

Estancia Kid, Duelist

Texas Desperado

Texas Desperado

Scoring crew

Part of the scoring crew

In the evening was the Friends of the NRA Dinner. The food was very good, but they did run out. It was catered by a movie catering company. Perhaps actors don't eat like cowboys. They ordered pizza. We were early in line, so we didn't need any.

If you haven't been to a Friends of the NRA Dinner, it's a fund raiser. So bring money. They have a bunch of raffled items and 31 live auction items (at over 2 minutes each) and a bunch of silent auction items. If you like watching a live auction for an hour and a half, you'll love it. There were a lot of nice items. I didn't win any, but, then, I didn't buy a lot of $20 tickets. One of the $20 tickets comes with a pocket knife that says "NRA" on one side of the blade and "China" on the other.

The SASS staff and a lot of volunteers did a really good job of keeping things going.