December 2014 Journal

November 26-30, 2014

A trip to the VA pronably gave me a bug that struck on Thanksgiving. I was sick. Then The Redhead was sick. Then I was sick. That pretty much killed the rest of November.

Oh, yes, the RV toilet did the RV toilet thing, and the flapper valve stuck. We got it open enough to use it while I was only able to stand up for 15 seconds at a time, a feat in itself. That was Thanksgiving. When it's open like that, you can smell the black tank all over the RV. Then on Black Friday we made 3 trips to the nearest RV dealer for the parts. Should have been 2, because I only got the gasket the first time. The second time the parts guy, Gus, convinced me to get a new toilet for a few bucks more than the parts. Then we took it to the RV and discovered it has 2 holes for studs, and our mount has 4 studs, 45° off. It would require replacing the mount with one of three, only to be determined after taking that one off. And they only had one anyway. So we took it back and replaced everything that moves when you push or pull on the foot pedal, pretty much. Getting them all in was a bitch this time. But eventually it all works perfectly.

The Redhead getting Pet Therapy from George S. Patton and Angelique

Therapy Dog

"Don't F$#@ With Me" Cat

November 24, 2014, Monday

Modifications to the Unique Tek Spent Primer Chute™

Before: (as shown in the September 2014 Journal)

The kit came with 3' of 1/2" tubing, but with my setup, that wasn't enough. It also got in the way when drawers needed to be opened, and it just didn't look neat.

So, a visit to Home Depot solved the problem. I bought 10' of 1/2" PVC tubing and a 3/8 in. ID Brass Hose Barb adapter (plumbing), and a small bag of 1/2" two hole clamps (electrical dept.)

I used a 32 oz. jar of Deluxe Mixed Nuts. (Only Deluxe works) to catch the spent primers

I first attached the tubing at the machine end and ran it under the counter-top.

The clamps leave room for the tubing to move around. I didn't want it locked in place. I ran the tubing to the side of the tool cabinet where it won't interfere with opening the drawers

Now the drawers can be opened without interference.

I adjusted the tubing so it has enough slack that I can pull the handle down, which raises the platform and pulls the tubing up.

I inserted a 3/8" brass hose barb adapter into the lid of the former Deluxe Mixed Nuts jar. The tubing comes in 10' rolls. I cut it to fit. If in doubt, cut long. You can always take more out. It's hard to put it back in.

 

November 22-23, 2014

Eva's latest outfit in "Hell On Wheels"

I saw this and immediately thought of several SASS ladies who could wear this costume and rock it (with temporary ink, of course). I'm putting it here and on Facebook for future reference

 

Remington Fig 8S wads. Scored a couple of bags at Sportsman's Warehouse today. Hadn't seen any in months. These are probably the best 1-1/8 oz. wad for loading BP (or subs) in a Dillon SL900. The petals of the wad are connected (stitched) at the end. When fired these little connections will split, so it works like a normal wad. But the wad rammer won't catch one of the petals and fold it in, trapping the shot on top. If you spread the petals in a normal wad with your thumb before putting the wad in the problem is avoided. But if you don't have an arthritic thumb when you start, you will after a few thousand rounds. These cost 50% more than the Claybuster Winchester Orange or White copies, but when you're trying to dig out that stuck pedal you think it might be worth it.

Bin Barrier,increases capacity of the loaded rounds bin. About 300 in there now. Also available without logo.

November 21, 2014, Friday

Back to work

 

November 20, 2014, Thursday

Had an appointment at the Phoenix VA evaluating a claim that we've been fighting over for 4 years. The claim is on hearing loss. they have ample evidence my ears were damaged on active duty. They have ample evidence that my hearing is almost gone, and that they've given me hearing aids. You would think this would have been a slam dunk. I guess we'll hear in a couple of years.

November 19, 2014, Wednesday

At the ACSA match on one stage I picked up the rifle, and the big bead was gone. There was enough left for me to hit the rifle targets, and I got my other rifle out of the car. Contacted Slick McClade and got one of his Sure Hit Front Sights:

The original front sight, a Big Bead was based on a Marbles front sight. The big bead broke off. I have spare Big Bead front sights, so I could have put one on.

But I had wanted to try the Sure Hit front sight, so I got one. Installation is terribly complicated. First, get it "started over the ridge on the original sight. In this case it meant filing some "edges off the front edge where the big bead had been.

Then tap it on. I used a hammer for the knock off hubs of a 1957 MGA. If you don't have one, use the small brass hammer you have in your gun maintenance tool kit.

Other than that I'm not doing much. The neck and shoulder are slowly getting better.

November 13-18, 2014

Cowtown was still closed for the 3rd Saturday match. A work party happened instead. Lots of people have been working on it.

I'm not one of them. As I write this I'm not doing much of anything. Hurt my neck and shoulder somehow. I have things to do in the shop I can't get done. I did get some done.

At Comin' At 'Cha my 30+ year old Wilson Master Grade Colt Series 70 1911A1 broke its 30+ year old extractor. I had never replaced it because (a) it had never broken, and (b) the rear of the slide was serrated 30 lpi. So was the extractor. It would be impossible to match that on a new one. When I got back from CAC I consulted with Wild Bodie Tom about replacing the extractor since it's been a long time since I've changed one. I've changed them on some other 1911s, but not this one. He reminded me of how to test it. Ray Chapman had taught me how to adjust them. Before ordering one I checked my 1911 spares boxes, and lo and behold, there was a Wilson Bullet Proof Extractor in stainless steel. It is probably 20-25 years old. There was also a bullet proof firing pin and an extra power firing pin spring, so I changed those, too. The other 1911 part that breaks, the slide stop had been replaced with a Bullet Proof slide stop.

The slide stop didn't need adjusting. I would say it's a "drop in" but the tolerances at the back are very tight, so it's a "drop in when everything is lined up" part.

Both '73s needed cleaning after shooting a lot of full-charge black powder rounds through them. It makes you understand why .44-40s were used in Winchesters when they were new and are still used by a lot of BP shooters.

Other Things I've Been Doing While Recuperating:

I've been a cat scratching post

I've listened to George S. Patton's reasoning why he should be fed on Central Daylight Time

And I've been a cat bed

 

And I got the January column off ahead of schedule

November 12, 2014, Wednesday

Went to Cowtown to do some shooting for a Cowboy Chronicle article on Ringer's Bullets with black powder in desert dryness. 39% humidity probably qualifies.

Some excerpts from the upcoming article:

Ringer’s Bullets, Black Powder, and the Desert
         Lead Ringer, SASS 87957 Life, with his wife Miss Behavin’ SASS 88511, own and operate Ringer’s Bullets (http://ringersbullets.com, 270-331-2386). At EOT he mentioned he had been using a lube that worked with black powder and smokeless and could be shipped in bulk. 
Black Powder Fouling
         Black powder leaves a residue in the barrel that will get hard if it dries out, essentially turning the barrel into a smooth bore.  If it is kept wet, this will be delayed or eliminated.  Waxy bullet lubes cause the fouling to get hard quickly, destroying accuracy and making gun cleaning difficult.
         The trick is to keep the fouling soft. This is naturally easier in a damp climate. It’s also helpful to run a wet patch down the bore occasionally. 
Black Powder Bullets are “Different”
         Generally bullets that work with black powder have a lube that is very “runny.” This makes them difficult to ship.  Put them in a bullet box and stick them in a flat rate shipping box, and they arrive a gooey mess with the lube in a blob on the bottom.  Consequently, bullet makers who use SPG, the most common commercially available black powder bullet lube, normally put them in Styrofoam cartridge box inserts. This is labor intensive and adds considerably to the cost. Very few bullet makers do it, so the selection is limited.  Mike Venturino coined the term UPS bullets for bullets that could be shipped in bulk boxes.
         Lead Ringer’s bullets qualify as UPS bullets.  The melting point is about 20°F lower than the most common commercial lube, but it still stays solid when shipped. They worked with black powder where he lives in Kentucky. He didn’t know how well they work in a dry climate, like, say, Phoenix.
         So he asked me to test 5 different bullets. This meant loading 100 rounds with each bullet using black powder.
Test methodology
         The test was designed to see how long you could go without cleaning the bore before it “fouled out.” 6 stages was the goal.  Normally that’s the most you shoot in a day at a SASS match. The test methodology made it more demanding than shooting 6 stages at a match.  You might shoot a stage every 45 minutes at a match, and the gun cools between stages.  I shot 10 rounds at a 15” x 15” SASS target at 25-30 yards through one rifle, picked up the brass, and shot the other rifle. So 5-10 minutes between stages was max. The barrels were often still hot when I started the next string.  When fouling occurs, you know it almost immediately.  Center hold, perfect sight alignment, slow fire shots start missing.  Each test stopped when I was convinced the barrel was fouled or after 60 rounds.
         The barrels got very hot, which contributes to hard fouling. I didn’t run any patches or Windex (with Vinegar) through the barrels until a test was done.  Then I sprayed Windex down the bore and ran a wet Bore Snake through the barrel until it was clear of fouling.  I started each test with a clean barrel, chamber, and shell lifter.
         Black powder also causes fouling in the chamber and the action. This occurs sooner with straight-wall cartridges than bottleneck such as .44-40.  If you can’t work the lever, it’s hard to shoot the rifle quickly.  Cleaning the chamber was a separate issue.  I spray a little lube on the shell lifter after every stage in a match.  If the action gets sticky, I do a quick cleaning with Windex and a little more lube. In this case the lube was Ballistol.
         The .45s were tested on a Cimarron ’73 carbine with 19” barrel. The .38s were tested on a Taylor’s ’73 rifle with an 18.5” barrel. Longer barrels would become fouled faster because the fouling will be at the muzzle end.  The lube runs out in long barrels; hence the need for “Big Lube” bullets.
         The test took place in November at Cowtown in the Phoenix area.  The temperature was in the low 70s, and humidity was 39%.

.45 Colt 200 gr. Big Lube RNFP Bullets
         Big Lube bullets, strangely enough, have a big lube groove to hold more lube.  This is really important with .45 Colt. The case holds a lot of powder, and fouling is common. In the old west, of course, Winchester used bottlenecked .44-40 or .38-40 cartridges to keep fouling from the chamber and the action. 
         The load was 35 gr. Goex Cartridge.  All loads had a good roll crimp. That’s a compressed load, about 1/16th to 1/8th inch. This is hotter than necessary (or desirable) for SASS, but my theory is if it works, then lighter loads will work.
         On the fourth string the action became very gritty. On the fifth the lever became very hard to move, and the shell lifter was black and sooty. So I cleaned the shell lifter with the Windex/Ballistol routine until the action was slick again.  On the 6th string the last 2 shots missed, indicating fouling was beginning. 
         Verdict: Acceptable. If I were shooting this load, I would clean the chamber lifter every stage and run a Ballistol-lubed patch down the barrel at least every other stage.

200 gr. RNFP .45 Colt bullets
         This is the same shape and weight bullet but with a normal lube groove.  The difference in lube showed pretty quickly. The lever was sticky during the second stage. I did the Windex/Ballistol routine. On the third stage the last 4 rounds were misses.  I decided this was due to fouling and terminated the test.
         Verdict: Use the big lube bullets for real black. Use these for smokeless and American Pioneer Powder and Triple Seven.

158 gr. RNFP .38/.357 bullets
         The load was 15gr. Goex Cartridge, another slightly compressed load with this bullet.  On the fourth stage misses started, 8 on this stage. Despite this I tried one more and had 6. After that I terminated the test.        
         Verdict: Acceptable but not the best of the Ringer .38/.357 bullets for CAS.  If I were using it I would do the Windex/Ballistol routine after every stage (I do on all my loads), and run a wet patch down the barrel after every stage. Most .38 shooters keep 158 gr. full power loads in their gun carts for knockdowns. These would be excellent for that. My knockdowns are 158 gr. Ringer bullets over full charges of American Pioneer Powder FFFg.

105 gr. TCFP .38/.357 bullets
         I used 17.5 gr. Goex Cartridge. Misses started on the 3rd stage, and I terminated the test. This wasn’t surprising. The round has a short bearing surface and small lube groove. It also allows room for a lot of powder. So there’s a lot of powder without much resistance. This leads to a lot of fouling, and there’s no lube to soften it.
         Verdict: This is an excellent bullet for smokeless and American Pioneer Powder. Ringer sells it in 4000 round bulk packs in a flat rate box, making it economical.  But don’t use this for wholly black.  Use:

125 gr. TCFP .38/.357 bullets
         The load was 17.gr. Goex Cartridge. The lever was really sticky during the fourth stage, so I cleaned the shell lifter with Windex with Vinegar but didn’t use any oil. The fifth and 6th stages were good, and there were no misses.  The bore was very hard to clean, leading to the conclusion that a 7th stage would have been a stage too far.  Even though it went 6 stages I would run a wet patch down the bore every other stage or so. This is an excellent all around .38/.357 bullet for SASS, whether using black or smokeless or substitutes.  Ringer’s offers 3500 round bulk packs in a medium USPS Flat Rate box.
         Current thinking on lead hardness is that cowboy loads should be “softer” than full-power loads such as IPSC.  The Brinell hardness of these bullets was 12.  Lead Ringer said his 9 mm, .40 cal., and .45 ACP bullets are harder at 15.
         Ringer’s Bullets are all priced competitively. Online ordering is simple, and credit cards are accepted, making purchasing easy.
         This test also reminded me why I use American Pioneer Powder for cartridges.  It works with smokeless bullets. It also works with this lube. All of my APP loads will go 12 stages in practice with nothing but spraying the shell lifter with Windex, and I wind up much cleaner. It’s all smoky.

Cowtown

Cowtown was destroyed by floods this summer. But the club is rebuilding.

It should be ready for Shooting in the Saguaros in December. Lots of work.

Moving the firing line back several yards leaves enough room for rifle targets on "this" side of the "navigable waterway," the wash that has water in it for a few hours every decade or so. There was water when we got here in 2007 long enough to screw up Shooting in the Saguaros and give the inevitable anti-gunners videos of water rushing through there for their attempts to close it. It's still open.

This is very impressive. The workers who have done this have really accomplished something, and everyone who shoots here will appreciate it. I know I do.

Larsen E. Pettifogger wanted a 4-gun Rugged Gear cart for Frontiersman. I picked on up for him at Cowboy Shooters Supply on the CAC trip. He took out the bag in front and made this wooden support for his charging system. The cylinder loader is one of a kind he made a few years back when he was shooting ROAs. Ditto the powder measure, a Dillon unit modified to drop about 25 gr. of powder.

Note the second shelf holds balls and wads. I'm anxious to see how well this set up works. I won't be trying to build one. I don't have enough room in the cart as it is.

November 11, 2014, Veterans Day

I put an album of 79 Vietnam photos on my Facebook page (George Baylor1) for Veterans Day. I always get depressed on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Tried to avoid it this year. Got out of the house. Went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast because they WEREN'T offering a free meal for vets. Didn't want to stand in line. It turns out they gave a free dessert, a piece of chocolate Brownie cake about the size of a loaf of bread and ice cream. We took the cake home.

A lady stopped at our table and said she was an elementary school teacher, and she had her class write thank you letters to veterans, and she wanted to give me one.

It's a wonderful letter, and I put it somewhere I can look at it when I want to. I definitely didn't get anything like that in 1970 when I came home.

Then we went to Danny's Car Wash and got the Jeep washed. It turns out they gave a free basic wash. The Jeep appreciated it.

Then we went to Cabela's. Sportsman's Warehouse has given a 5% discount to vets for some time, and Cabela's didn't. Now they do, and 10% on Veterans and Memorial Days.

They had supplies Sportsman's hasn't had lately. Part of the reason is they're charging more money for things like Federal primers...

Just in case you haven't bought .38 Special brass lately, Starline sells 1000 rounds for about $115, no tax, no shipping costs.

And Cabela's sells Remington caps for $7.99. They have actually been higher in the past. That's one way to have them when supplies are tight. Makes me really glad I have 6,000.

To absent friends. I remember them on Veterans Day, but I never forget them.

November 9-10, 2014

Put the windshield shades on and the tire covers. The trailer is also supported by scissors jacks in the rear, making it almost level (1°).

November 8, 2014

ACSA Match

Larsen E. Pettifogger preparing to shoot Frontiersman.

Larsen E. Pettifogger shooting the first stage. Judah Maccabee timing. Larsen is shooting a Winchester '73 in .44-40 (Miroku 2013 production). He'll be doing an article for the Cowboy Chronicle. I'd probably hold off buying one until you read it. It's a lot different from Uberti's.

Gawdawful charging his Ruger Old Armies. Wonder where he got the idea for the table? He won Frontiersman and is now the Arizona State Black Powder Shootout Frontiersman Champion. There's a story behind that. ACSA scheduled the Black Powder Shootout, Smoke In The Valley, for Fri-Sat. They also scheduled Smokeless in the Valley. The plan was 6 stages BP in the morning, and 6 stages smokeless in the afternoon, and you could enter both. They didn't get enough early entries and canceled. But they already had the awards, the sanction from SASS, etc., so they had Smoke In The Valley Saturday. I wondered why they asked me if I was shooting Black Powder when I registered.

I shot FCD, clean

I won FCD and was clean. I'm not the Arizona State Black Powder Shootout Frontier Cartridge Duelist Champion, though.

November 6-7, 2014

The mishap on this trip was fairly minor. A motorcycle had crashed and was lying across parts of 2 lanes. This caused a lot of people to do emergency stops. When we did the heavy braking apparently we lost the water heater door. Additionally a door to a compartment in the bedroom flew open because of a lot of heavy pet food stored in it. It was not visible because the bed blocked access. When I started bringing the slide in, the door caught on it. I stopped. The only damage was to the lower hinge of the door, something I can get from a hardware store.

Until we can get it painted, we have a naked door on the water heater now.

A friend left a bottle of Tanqueray in my gun cart during CAC. It is being put to good use. Thanks.

November 3-5, 2014

This is the dirty brass from the 2 events. Had to pack the shop before heading to Phoenix.

Angelique at a rest stop on the way to Phoenix

Made it to Phoenix Wednesday

November 2, 2014, Sunday

Left Paris, Texas at oh dark 30 and had breakfast at local diner. Headed west. Flat tire near Deming, New Mexico, in the rain, on the left side, on the freeway. A NM State Policeman stopped with lights flashing, scaring most of the matador drivers to the left lane.

Stopped at first Stop N Rob in Deming looking for a tire pressure gauge and air. They had a gauge. It showed 15 psi in the spare. Their air didn't work. Went to 5 or 6 stations looking for air. Finally found an air machine that worked. Continued on.

The van at arrival in Tombstone Territories. 2300 or so.

November 1, 2014, Saturday, Comin' At 'Cha

Billy Boots and friends awaiting the afternoon flight's start time

Sawyer, Sheriff Joe would like to speak to you

Sonora Blaze won the B-Western costume contest. First prize was a Dillon 650

Baylor won the Military costume contest. Texas John Ringo and Cowtown Scout wore stunningly good Confederate costumes.

The line for dinner. Excellent Dinner from Taco .

In lieu of a Dillon 650 I won a 1 oz. copper coin for winning the Military costume contest. Got a buckle in a tough Frontiersman field.