2007 End of Trail



I received the following press release in the emails. It's a pretty good description of END OF TRAIL from a non-shooter's perspective.

True West in the News  <http://www.shop.truewestmagazine.com>


The Single Action Shooting Society Recreates the Old West in New Mexico on June 24
Written by SJ Reidhead
Published June 19, 2007 Blogcritics.org Any fan of the Wild West will recognize the classic line, “You sons of bitches have been looking for a fight, well now you have it.” Once upon a time in the far away never-land of Tombstone, those immortal words were uttered by Morgan Earp on October 26, 1881. The Earps - Wyatt, Virgil, and Morgan - and Doc Holiday were getting ready to face off with the Clantons - Ike and Billy - and Frank and Tom McLaury in the most famous, or infamous, gunfight in American history, and arguably in the history of western civilization. For its time, the aftermath of the shoot-out made Wyatt Earp something of a celebrity and media darling. It also fated him to be portrayed time and again on the silver screen. And, just like in any self-respecting Never-Land, little boys never really grow up. They just get taller, have a bigger allowance, and their toys become more expensive and more lethal. Some of the little boys sorta’ grown up like to dress up like Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and miscellaneous Klingons. Still others play knights in shining armor and stroll around with their lady fair to the tune of a roaming minstrel. There are a few who constantly fight the Civil War, while others battle the Redcoats. Then there are the guys who still want to play cowboy complete with 10-gallon hats, spurs, boots, a horse or two, and six shooters. When the adult boys and girls want to have a responsible grown up outlet for their fondness of the Wild West, there is a responsible grown-up organization for them – The Single Action Shooting Society. Not only do they promote responsible gun ownership and highly competitive shooting events, but they also work to secure the 2nd Amendment rights of all gun owners. The group is dedicated to history, the Wild West, and the glorious legend and lore that has come out of Hollywood. Members must create an alias and a very detailed, accurate period costume from the late 19th century or Hollywood westerns. They call it “The Spirit of the Game” where members must, like their counterparts in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism), adopt an alias, which is in play during a sanctioned SASS event. They become their character. And – they play with guns, big guns, little guns, fancy guns, Hollywood guns, historical guns – as long as the guns are accurate. And, they sponsor shooting matches “drawing” some of the finest shootists in the country. These shooting matches occur locally, statewide, and then on a national level. Every summer they gather about forty miles east of Albuquerque, New Mexico for the annual End of the Trail, which attracts well over a thousand participants that include costumers, shooters, merchants (well over 100 vendors), movie stars, musicians, and authors (which is where I fit in). This year’s festivities, which begin on Thursday, June 24, will include a special appearance by TV’s classic Wyatt Earp – Hugh O’Brian, and a display of six gun choreography by World Champion marksman and fancy draw expert Jim Dunham. His name may not be familiar, but if you’ve ever seen the movie Tombstone, you know his work. He is the expert who choreographed the Oriental Saloon scene where Johnny Ringo and Doc Holiday were trying to one-up each other, Ringo with a gun and Holiday with his sterling silver sippy cup. Even a person who isn’t interested in guns and gun play will find Dunham’s reenactment of the scene to be fascinating. If you are interested in attending the event, festivities get into full swing on Friday, June 25, at the Founders Ranch in Edgewood, some seventeen miles from Moriarty. Currently all lodgings in the nearby area are booked. The nearest available rooms are in Albuquerque. The usual event food will be available on site as well as in nearby Moriarty, but the culinary highlight is the Chuck Wagon Cooking and Judging. And, trust me, people in New Mexico take their chuck wagon cooking seriously, so plan on BBQ! Bob Boze Bell of True West Magazine will be showing his art. There will be cowboy swing music, mariachi, and free margaritas! Hurdy Gurdy women will can-can and Soiled Doves will strut their stuff. For the un-informed, ‘soiled dove’ is the polite, Wild West euphuism for prostitute. Basically it gives women an opportunity to wear something other than the ever-tacky and always-constricting bustle. The dirty little secret about Wild West costuming is men look great in historic fashions that were popular from the 1860s until the turn of the century. When you add the macho look of the cowboy, guys who are just a little mediocre looking don spurs, jinglebobs, cowboy hat, guns, vest, and a great-coat and even they look like they could buckle a swash or two. But women’s clothes (sigh) post-bellum were just plain old, downright ugly. Imagine living in the southwest where summer temps like to hover in the high 90s (and don’t give me that old quip, "but it’s a dry heat"). Imagine lacing up a corset, over light-weight woolen long undies, stockings, then a petticoat, camisole, and finally topping it off with a long-sleeved, high-necked blouse and long skirt. Now you know why women in those old photographs look so grim and men look so good. Founder’s Ranch, where the event is being held, is one of the premiere movie sites in New Mexico. The event is open to the public Thursday, June 21 – Sunday, June 24 from 9AM to 6PM. Evening events are for members only. Admission is $10 per day. Future events include the national convention at Las Vegas, Nevada in December.

© 2007 True West Magazine

June 26, 2007


We left Monday morning and went to an RV Park in Albuquerque since I have to fly back to Houston for medical tomorrow. Filled the tank on the bus. RVing at EOT isn't cheap. It's $75 for parkng, which sounds cheap until you realize it's dry camping. It was VERY hot during the day there, and most of the RVs were faced west. 12 hours of generator usage was 4-6 gallons of diesel a day. Emptying grey and black tanks was $20, and we spent $40 on water fills. The SASS people gave us the wrong paperwork to post, and, as a result, we didn't get water until after we had run dry and discovered the problem. The Redhead chased down the driver of the water truck multiple times until he filled the bus. It takes half an hour to fill it with his low pressure (25 psi) rig. He blamed us. The second time he only half filled the tank and left. promising to come back. He didn't, of course.

Next year we'll probably point the bus east if we can get a flat spot. Our parking spot was flat, but the trailer was going down hill pretty steeply.

At one of the events we heard two guys with long, silver hair discussing what kind of rinse to use to prevent tangles. At the same table a lady was discussing the care and feeding of black powder weapons. Only in SASS.

As happened last year, I was stopped often by people who had either gotten into CAS because of the website or black powder or frontiersman. A couple told me they had avoided making mistakes on equipment due to the website. I saw a lot of old friends and made several new ones. Shooting with the Europeans was great. One morning I noticed a Vietnam Service Medal ribbon miniature on Arizona Tom's hat and discovered he was in the 173rd Airborne during the battles Mel Gibson made famous.

The Redhead's Margarita Recipe

For those of you who liked them and for LayLow Curly, who said he came by 5 times for Margaritas, but I only saw him once. I was frantically looking for the water guy, and The Redhead was in the truck looking for him, and I didn't have any Margaritas. I presume the other 4 times were when we were down the hill or unconscious. Curly came out okay, though. He not only won the best Waddie award, he won the $2900 engraved Sharps rifle from Taylors in the SASS Scholarship drawng.

The Redhead's Margarita Recipe

2 oz, José Quervo Gold or other premium Tequila
1 oz. Gran Marnier
3 oz. Orange Juice
6 oz. Sweet & Sour mix
Add ice for on the rocks, or blend with ice for frozen.  Salt rim to taste, add Lime wedge to rim.
Serves 2
Repeat as necessary

We went out Monday night to a nice restaurant in Albuquerque, one with a page of Margaritas. We chose the one that sounded best. Mediocre. I felt like sending it back and telling the bartender to make 2 of these, but I try to be nice at restaurants and didn't.

Odds of our coming back to EOT?

What do you think? Of course we'll be there! We'll be back for all of the Founders Ranch events. Great place. Great folks.

June 24, 2007


No pictures of the shoot offs. If you've seen one, you've seen them all, and I've had enough sun.

The Dooley Gang, which initiated me into its ranks Friday night, leaving me with a headache all Saturday, got our pictures taken for Shoot Magazine. By my calculations every SASS Shooter will be a member by 2104.

The nice man at Dillon took parts off their SL900 so I can get mine working again. Now I need some WT12 wads. I have a lifetime supply of Claybuster copies of the WAA12R. The 36 gr. load that works with the WT12 seems to be the way to go for most knockdowns. Some of the hot shots are using less. One talked about a 18 gr. load! Considering that I started with 70 gr. of 2f, that sounds amazing. Might have worked here, but not every club has perfectly adjusted knockdowns.

I went to Coon Creek and expressed a desire to fine tune General Lee's fancy sword belt and to put the proper buckle on a black one that I already have in case I want to wear his uniform as it appeared in combat. The nice lady immediately went to a page in a coffee table book showing General Lee's uniform, sword belt, buckle, and all. She had one and only one high quality Virginia belt buckle. The fancy belt already had one, of course. Now it has proper fancy sword hanging paraphernalia as well. This sort of service is why I go to Coon Creek. They haven't failed me yet.

I talked with Coyote Cap. He was high on Cimarron's Texas Brush Popper, a '73 with a 18" half octagon, half round barrel. He went next door to Cimarron and bought one.

Taylor's has a new pistol similar to an Evil Roy but without the signature. They call it the Smoke Wagon. The gunsmith is Cody Conagher, and the action on the one I saw was perfect. It has the slim checkered grips similar to Evil Roy, and a fat front sight and wide rear sight notch in addition to the action job and some redesigned parts inside. $575. Looks like a bargain. I should be getting one or two for testing, thanks to Spur Roberts. I'll put it on the Ransom Rest and chrono and shoot it in some matches, the usual, and write about it in the Cowboy Chronicle. Now that I'm retired I have time to do that. It'll be a winter project.

After many years of buying guns, then having gunsmiths do them, I find the ability to buy a ready-to-go race gun like a Codymatic, an Evil Roy, or one of these Smoke Wagons to be a boon to the sport. The Evil Roys I got were certainly race ready on arrival—even if I'm not.

T-Bone Dooley and Ringo Fire were the MCs of the awards presentation, and it was a lot better than most, going pretty quickly. Moving everything but main match awards to other times was a great idea. We were out a bit after 3. I missed a buckle by less than one miss. Reinforces the advice to avoid missing.


June 23, 2007


Crowdrd streets at EOT

Last year I took pictures when the streets were almost empty, and this caused much conversation on the SASS Wire by people who don't want the match to be in New Mexico. This year I took this Saturday picture to show what it was like on weekends. The trams were full of spectators all weekend. I saw long lines at the ticket booth. Vendors were happy with the size of the crowds.

We shot early in the morning. Early in the morning is usually death on black powder shooters. I went down to 15 gr. loads for the first stage. 15 gr. equivalent is the legal minimum, but 15 gr. of Pinnacle 3f will exceed the smoke standards handily. I'm sure some were down to 10-12. The sun cost me one miss, an aerial bird I never saw from the glare. The eyes still haven't recovered, but most of the people in our posse suffered the same fate. so I presume it was pretty bad for all. Every posse has a morning shift, of course. They looked pretty equal this year, equally painful.

No problem with knockdowns with 25 gr. loads. Arizona Tom, using Tex's 40 gr. powder spout knocked them down with the flames. The concussion knocked them down on other stages.

Saturday is the Best Dressed Costume contest. No good pictures this time. The Redhead didn't attend, and I was a contestant this year.

Some Suggestions for the Best Dressed Costume Contest:

1. Leave your wrist watch in your room. Take off your modern glasses with designer frames.

2. SPEAK UP. 2 contestants used the microphone that was offered, and a few spoke up. Part of the reason for the contest is to entertain. Having someone describe their costume in a whisper that goes unheard in the din of the Belle Union isn't entertaining.

Velvet Glove and friend

Here's a mediocre (blurry) picture of a spectacular lady, Best Dressed Lady Velvet Glove, SASS 50276. She made the dress herself based on a 19th century designer's work. She told me the name, but, as they say, a short term memory is a terrible thing to … what was that again? She can be reached at wolfcreek@aristotle.net. Also in the picture is General Robert E. Lee, who can dress himself with help. Best Dressed Military against a strong field.

The number of contestants was up, as was the quality. The ladies, as usual, had some fantastic costumes. A lot of couples entered, some with quite entertaining presentations (if you could hear them). B Western was light in entries in both men and ladies. The "Classic Gunfighter" category brought some real originality. I was most taken by Tom Foolery's absolutely dead on Hipshot Percussion costume, and it only took third! (Okay, for you young 'uns, I'll say that Hipshot Percussion was a character in the classic comic strip, Rick O'Shay. It was in the late fifties through early sixties. (I've been corrected. It ran from 1958 to 1977 according to Tom Foolery.)

Judging gets tougher and tougher as contestants get more and more creative.

June 22, 2007


Shot in the late afternoon and finished at 4:50!!! THAT'S A FIRST! It was hot, hotter since I was in full Texas Ranger Captain outfit for the shooting costume contest. That's an all black 3 piece suit among other things. But it wasn't too hot. "It's a dry heat."

The Shooting Contest Awards was disappointing. Most of the winners weren't there.

Velvet Glove in her shooting costume

Velvet Glove in her award winning shooting costume. Must have been difficult to shoot in that, but it looked great. She makes her costumes herself and sells others.

June 21, 2007


First Main Match Day

I shot in the international posse, Italians, led by Alchemista, Australians, Virgil and Mrs. Earp, a German-American, Arizona Tom, and Texans, led by Tex. Shooting with Tex is always a fun experience. He runs an efficient, safe, fast posse, but everyone has fun. I've been on posses with posse marshals who took things, including themselves, too seriously, and I don't want to again. If you aren't doing this for fun, you're in the wrong place. The only one leaving with the new Mercedes is the person who drove up in one.

Grumpy in the Morning

Grumpy in the Morning took the Evil Roy Shooting School then shot well in the match. She's 16, last year shooting as a junior girl

Tomboy Jeky

One of the Italian Contingent, Tomboy Jeky

Arizona Tom

Arizona Tom has gotten SASS going in several European countries. He couldn't get his guns in the US. Thus he borrowed from Tex. He wanted 1851 Navies in .44. Tex had a pair. Tom used paper cartridges. Tex had Treso nipples on the guns, and Tom couldn't put a needle through them. A lot of misfires resulted. Finally he tried Tex's Ruger Old Armies--much more reliable. But Tom wanted his own guns. Then the hammer double Tex loaned him broke. We don't know if Tom just breaks guns, or if Tex just loans guns that break.

Kentucky Tom and the boom box

Here Stage Marshal Kentucky Tom starts the boom box. Bob Boze Bell recorded the stories of the 12 classic gunfights and the stage instructions for each stage. This added a lot. Unfortunately, the cheap boom boxes lasted one day in the elements, and by the next day they were nowhere to be seen.

Hugh O'Brien and Bob Boze Bell

That evening among the activities was Hugh O'Brien and Bob Boze Bell. Hugh received the Buckaroo Bronze Award. Here the painting of Hugh as Wyatt Earp was unveiled. O'Brien told great stories.

Billy the Kid painting by Bob Boze Bell

The True West Gallery had several of Bob Boze Bell's paintings on display. This one shows Billy The Kid in magnificent detail.

Soiled Doves display their wares

That evening Soiled Doves displayed their wares and hawked for business. Some were helped by their pimps and madams. T-Bone Dooley and Ringo Fire were the MCs and kept the tone just right to have fun without offending the easily offended.

The next day a lady asked me if they were tastefully dressed. I said, "Yes, dammit!"

The Winning Soiled doves

These three ladies bribed the judges more than the others and were rewarded with plaques. I didn't write their names down. The usual method of photographing their name badges didn't work because they weren't wearing any. I took a lot of pictures of their chests looking for name badges. Judges were Billy Dixon, Rattler John (Chief judge), and some ne'er do well.


June 20, 2007

NOTICR: The Al Quaida Suicide Bombers Reunion has been canceled due to lack of registrants.

Wednesday is the day I visit vendors ar EOT

these ladies were selling corsets

These nice ladies were selling corsets. Since I don't need a corset I left after a couple of hours

laced corset shop

You can find these ladies at this shop


Chiappa firearms. Yes, they're real

Blacksmith shop

This is the Forging West display

An experienced blacksmith makes a hoof pick

The blacksmith, 10 year old Morgan Ware

The hodgdon display

Birdshot, Mike Daly, and wife at the Hodgdon display. Birdshot let it slip that Hodgdon will be coming out with a reduced power 777 called Cowboy Cartridge, which will have the same power ad BP. 777 is the best of the substitutes for loading because it has less dust and meters better. It's just HOT and has a lot of restrictions that keep you from reducing the charge without going off the instructions. Reduced to match BP will make it dominate the cowboy market.

The folks at Brownells

The folks at Brownells. Every time I went in I've been greeted warmly and pleasantly. If you have a booth at EOT, go to the Brownells booth. This is how you're supposed to greet people if you want them to buy something.

Cimarron is having a scratch and dent sale

Cimarron is having a scratch and dent sale. Look at your guns after a year of competition. Aren't they scratched and dented?

Dillon Precision booth

Mogollon Monk demonstrates a Dillon 1050 at the Dillon booth. The Dillon people bring a supply of parts for people, like me, with a broken Dillon. They didn't have the part I need for the SL900, so they'll take it off the 900 on display Sunday morning for me. Great folks.

Tonto Rim

Tonto Rim Trading Co. has a new permanent building at Founders Ranch. Quite a commitment.


TeePees greeted people walking in the main gate

General Store

False advertising. I couldn't find any generals for sale there

Yes, Wednesday was side match day. No pictures, though.

The first activity of the evening was a bust, the SASS Wire Gathering. Jack Houston and I were the only ones there. Several of last year's SASS Wire stars, such as Allie Mo, BJT, and Badlands Bud weren't at EOT this year.

Very disappointing.

But, as usual, the opening ceremonies were cool, with a lot of special awards for well deserving people, regulators and the True Grit Award and a few life memberships.


June 19, 2007-Bonus

DQ Forward

A friend of mine won't shoot the warm up match because of the DQ Forward rule. If you earn a stage DQ or Match DQ it counts for the main match. I shoot it for the ability to shoot under match conditions at the same shooting bays of the real match. It gives me a feel for the way the stage marshals think (at least half of them), what the targets look like (mostly SASS Marshals that look pretty big, but you have to think of them as a square or circle in the middle. The arms and legs count, but misses occur that would be hits if the target were a rectangle the size of the target), etc. etc.

Well, two people received DQs that I know of, one a stage DQ when a gun fell out while he was running, the other a match DQ when the relatively new shooter ran up to a window, drew the pistol, and hit the barrel on the window sill. The gun tumbled downrange.

But, then, some really good shooters, such as Kanada Kidd, have received Match DQs at EOT. It's a risk you take when you shoot a match.

June 19. 2007

Tuesday. Now that I'm retired it's hard to keep the days of the week straight.

Warm up Match

No photos. I couldn't find the little pocket Nikon when I got caught up enough to take pictures. I assumed I had left it in the shop. I began to worry when I couldn't find it in the shop when I got back up the hill. Then I took off the gunbelt and noticed a bulge in my left front pocket.

We shot six stages. For those who haven't done an EOT warm up match, it's just a well-organized practice session under match conditions. There were 12 posses, so you shot 1-6 or 7-12, but NOT THE SAME SCENARIOS as the real match. Also we didn't shoot the bonus targets or the dreaded knockdowns. Last year I did well in the warm up and lousy in the match. Hopefully, since I've done lousy in the warm up, I'll do well in the real thing. Who knows? The eye has another couple of days to get into focus.

Good posse, very quick and problem free.

Afterwards we were told we could shoot knockdowns calibrated the same as the match knockdowns at the Colt Speed Shoot area. Indeed, there were 10 tombstone shaped knockdowns. I noted while waiting in the long line that most people were having trouble with them. Cole Younger was poo-pooing their difficulty, saying he knocked them down handily with 105 gr. bullets over 3.6 gr. VV320 and, I believe, a magnum primer.

Well, my 20 gr. Goex Pinnacle 3f under a 147 gr. round ball didn't faze them. 25 gr. knocked down one. Much kibitzing (by people not shooting, I noted) followed. I dug around the cart for the biggest powder spout I had, allegedly 35 gr. It would knock them down with a hit 2" from the bottom of the target. I'm not sure I'd want to shoot a match with those loads, though.

I watched one top gun come back three times with hotter and hotter loads before they went down. Later I talked to a shooter with the elbow equivalent of carpal tunnel syndrome who had to switch from ROAs to .32s for FCD, and none of his loads would knock them down.

Very interesting.

Much of the afternoon was consumed getting water and black and grey tank emptying. First, the nice people at SASS had given me the wrong pieces of paper to put on the bus for those services. Second, the guy doing it had gotten behind the curve because he hadn't had much business over the weekend. Now he was overwhelmed. He was still working at 8 pm. Methinks he'll be ahead of the curve soon. He plans to have more people out working for him. Seems better than last year.

June 18, 2007

A day "off"

The warm up match starts tomorrow, so I didn't have much planned, and I didn't get most of that done. Walked The Redhead down to the SASS office to get her packet and badge (Conventioneer), realizing at the bottom of the hill I had left the rifle I wanted Jim Bowie to look at up at the bus. Walked back with it, and he fixed it (stuck mag tube plug). I had been unable to get it loose with standard screwdrivers, and everyone on the SASS Wire told me I needed to put the tube in a special vise and use an impact driver with a screwdriver slot ground down to fit the insanely thin Uberti screw slot. So I figured he would have that setup. It's a common problem on Uberti rifles. Well, he fixed it, hitting on the plug with a brass hammer a few times and sticking in what looked like a standard screwdriver. That didn't work, so he got out a small set of Vise Grips and worked on it, saying it was the worst he had seen. See, if nothing else I can serve as a bad example. Eventually he wiggled it loose. The spring wouldn't come out because of a burr that he called pretty common. So he took the burr out. No charge. This was a '73 SRC, .45 Colt, that he did the action job and short stroke on some years back. Once I got a front sight on it that worked it became my prime rifle. The front sight on the carbine is on the barrel band. On a .45 Colt the barrel is too thin to cut a dovetail. First I got a barrel band with a 3/32" bead from Nate Kiowa Jones, later a bead made from a '52 Moon hubcap by Manatee, it became my prime rifle until I joined the Wimpy Gang and switched to the Codymatic '73 that burns .38 Specials. I got it from the cute blonde at the Taylor's booth last year at EOT

Cute blonde at Taylors Booth at last year's EOT

The Cute Blonde who sold me the Codymatic at last year's EOT

West Fargo was at the next desk, working on some Rugers. I asked him about how the new Vaqueros were doing. He said that the ones coming out now were right. The early ones came out too soon. After the negative comments I'd gotten over the weekend on them it was good to hear something positive. Since I wrote the CC article on the gun, everyone who got a problem child blamed me and has demanded triple damages. (Come back after Ruger gives me the engraved pair with serial #s BAYLOR 1 and BAYLOR 2 for the double page spread in the Cowboy Chronicle, then we'll talk.)

West also pushed my wintering in the Tucson area and shooting at Tombstone. Last night Mason Stilwell pushed Phoenix near Cowtown, where I could practice during the week. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

I was waylayed by several people and didn't get back to the bus until after noon (this is a pleasant problem at EOT. I enjoy it. I'm not complaining). Went to work in the trailer, cleaning the 4 guns from the school, then arranging things for the warm up match tomorrow, and finally getting to the SL900 to make shotgun fodder. it had gotten out of adjustment in the 900 mile drive, and I never got it working right before I broke part #16683. The XL650 Online manual gives names to parts. The SL900 online manual doesn't. I called Dillon, knowing my shot shell making was over for EOT. I'll be lucky if I get the part on next Monday's mail forwarding. I also ordered the primer chute that was broken on the XL650. Forgot the Tinnerman clip. Mentioned that the small primer system didn't come with a primer seater. Now, it was after 5 here, after 4 in Phoenix, and the guy who answered the phone was probably counting the minutes until his Margarita equivalent. But he said I would never need a primer seater because one came with the machine. It did, in 2000, when I bought it, several primer seaters ago. He said I could buy one for $1642.50 or something like that. So I got out the MC. Actually it was $16 something.

I didn't mention that it came with a primer system, too. I figured it was late in the afternoon, and maybe his air conditioning wasn't working as well as it was in the trailer. With luck I'll get the parts next Monday. I'll probably need shotgun ammo by HOW.

Mail for Full TIme RVers

Since home is the 40' coach, you might ask how a full timer gets mail. In our case we use Escapees RV Club for mail forwarding. Our address is just a mail forwarding service. It's in Texas. There are others in other tax friendly states. None apparently exist in Massachusetts, New York, or that state that cannot be mentioned. This address keeps my coveted Texas drivers license and Concealed Handgun license and keeps my residence in a state with no income tax or personal property tax on motor vehicles. That and the bus plates cost $3 because of the Purple Heart plates. (A blonde did ask me how I got the Purple Heart plates. "Did you donate a lot to Purple Heart?")

The Only Continuing Problem at EOT

Once more we're waiting for the pumping truck and the water truck. When dry camping eventually you run out of water and storage spaces for "Grey" water and "Black" water. The way it works at EOT is you post a properly colored piece of paper you get from the SASS office down the hill. One color gets the water truck to stop and fill your RV's tank. The other gets the pumping truck to empty your other tanks. Each costs $20. You tape an envelope to each with cash if you're not going to be there. We've had both pieces of paper up since yesterday, and neither has been handled. We're just about out of water. Behind us is a coach that has already been refilled and emptied once and needs their services again, with no luck. The owner of the coach talked to the truck driver at 2:30, and he said he would come up. Nope.

This happened last year, and we were without water for 24 hours or so. The locals doing the watering and pumping don't exactly have a job equal to being a Playboy photographer, so it's hard to get them to hustle in the hot weather.

June 17, 2007
Evil Roy Shooting School, day 2

Evil Roy shooting a Browning BSS

Evil Roy demonstrates SXS loading using his Browning BSS

Evil Roy demonstrating grab 2, load one on a '97

Here he demonstrates "grab 2, load 1" for a '97

closeup of the loading technique

With the photo enlarged, you can see that the bottom shell has been placed in the chamber. The top shell awaits

Today we learned and practiced rifle techniques and shotgun techniques. You do a lot of shooting in ERSS. The course is quite intense (not to mention hot where there is no shade. There is not enough sunblock in the world to protect us light, fair-skinned types. My left hand is burned. Cowboy clothes protected the rest of me. We did a lot of one shot drills with the rifle from port arms and off the table. I could see significant improvement in my case.

Shotgun work is complicated since there are essentially 3 types of shotguns used. Since no one in the class admitted to using a hammer double, we concentrated on '97s and SXS. Roy has recently switched from '97 to Browning BSS because of just too many '97 failures, and because more horizontal staging has equalized the SXS. "If you had asked me this time last year, I would have said the '97 is the only way to go." he said. But he has bested some of his best '97 times with a double now.

With both his loading techniques utilize as little movement as possible. He prefers loading the SXS with the strong hand, but he teaches both methods. It's a bit too late for me to change to it for this match, after all. He did help me with that technique. Emptying the gun, by the way, is as important as loading, and his techniques empty the gun with a minimum of motion.

Gun Handling

Gun handling is the easiest way to take huge chunks off your time. Techniques involving doing two things at once and arranging things to minimize reach and motion are the key. This means a lot more planning than most shooters do. Most shooters want to shoot the strong side pistol first, but, for example, if your order is pistol, rifle, pistol, then shooting the weak side gun first makes sense. While you're reholstering it with the weak hand you can be picking up the rifle with the strong hand. You almost never want to have to pick up the rifle with the weak hand. The reach is too far.

Shooting aerial shotshells

The plan was to shoot a shotgun target that launches a charcoal briquette. But Roy forgot the briquettes. Someone suggested using shotgun hulls, which, by now, were plentiful. It worked. This is about my weakest skill in shooting. In my defense I do mention that in the firefights I was involved in during my misspent youth, if someone flew away, I let him.

But I managed to hit one out of two, so the techniques do work.

We ended with supervised practice until our arms fell off or we passed out.

Good school. I'll definitely take it again. Very little wastage. Time well spent. Intense. I think I'll get something more out of it on a second pass.

June 16, 2007
Evil Roy Shooting School, day 1

T J Wylde, Wicked Felina, Evil RoyI

The school started with a couple of hours of lecture. Evil Roy has a very pragmatic style, and he doesn't waste too many words. I felt as though a voice recorder would have been useful. It's clear that he came to this sport to win, and he spent a lot of time looking for a quarter second here, a tenth there.

Students in rapt attention

Students ranged from beginners to very experienced. Each got something out of it at their own level. Graduates can attend again for half price. This sounds like a good idea. I'll probably take it again in a year or so (now that I have the TIME).

Evil Roy and Holy Terror

Here Evil Roy and Holy Terror show off their holster rigs and explain each part of them. Most of the morning Holy Terror was relegated to gun cleaning duties. She would pop out of the trailer every few minutes with a disassembled gun, spray it with Break Free, maybe use a Bore Snake, some WD40, and then return to the trailer. 3 shooters, 4 guns equals 12 guns. They hadn't cleaned guns since Winter Range. Obviously they don't shoot black powder.


Evil Roy on the range

Evil Roy demonstrated, and then we fired pistols--a lot. I ran out of ammunition. around Good, intelligent drills taught good techniques.

I've been to a lot of shooting schools, a lot of GOOD shooting schools, so I'm a tough audience. This doesn't compare to 5 days at Thunder Ranch or Gunsite, but it's not supposed to. It's specifically for Cowboy Action Shooting, no tactics, nothing extraneous. It also doesn't cost like they do. It's $250, which seems reasonable. The class was large but was well controlled. Enough assistants were around to keep anyone from doing anything stupid. But then this was a good group, and I didn't see anyone doing anything resembling stupid.

I shot the new Evil Roy pistols from Cimarron, which seemed to make sense to me. I couldn't very well shoot the Ruger Old Armies without a squad of loaders and about eight guns. They worked very well.

I ran out of smokeless ammo. Tomorrow the assembled line will just have to put up with smoke and noise as I use up my non-match worthy practice ammo and a couple of hundred with too short round nose flat point bullets that don't feed in the '73 rifle but work fine in the pistol.

At 4 the class ended, but ER was tutoring several people who still had ammunition and wanted to shoot more.

June 15, 2007

I went down the hill, walked around, and got the registration packet at the big tent. I asked where the Evil Roy Shooting School was, and they said it was in the packet. Walked up to the bus, opened the packet, spent half an hour looking for the fine print. Nothing. Went back down. Oh, they neglected to put it in any of the schedules. Wild Shot and Chisler came in and told me when and where.

I went back to the trailer and reloaded. To be more precise, I darn near rebuilt the XL650. I had ordered a spare small pistol primer system and a new spare parts kit that I had paid for, and some parts I ordered on warranty. As usual, a part or two was missing from the warranty parts, but most surprising was the small primer system didn't come with a primer seater. Fortunately I had ordered one warranty, as the old one had become peened and wouldn't retract. Plan was to have one and a spare. I got all that working and spent another hour or so getting the case feeder electrics working again. The key part had been stuck in the mailing tube. It was the electrical switch that causes the case feeder mechanism to turn and keep feeding brass until the tube is full. I had asked for new mounting bolts for same, with nuts. They sent one. Normally I would just drive to Lowe's and get some. But the nearest Lowe's is God knows how far from Founders Ranch. So I improvised.

The powder check die started squawking. It took a while to figure out that the failsafe thumbscrew was missing its Tinnerman insert. This was a brand new thumbscrew from the spare parts kit because the original one had disappeared in the drive up. I'm learning. After rummaging around in Dillon parts hell, better known as the top drawer to the Craftsman tool drawer, I found one with its Tinnerman. A call will be made to Dillon, and they will send the parts requested, or most of them. The secret of Dillon's success is their lifetime warranty. The machine is 1999 vintage, and it's been completely rebuilt once. Being an idiot, I'm pretty hard on my Dillons, but if I can maintain an adequate supply of spare parts I can keep them going. The 900 needs a lot less than the 650.

One guy came buy and asked what I was doing. I thought it was obvious I was working on the Dillon XL650, but he was of the opinion that after a couple of hours some rounds of completed ammunition should be coming out of the machine. Other people came by to look at the trailer. One told me how defective the roof design was and how much better his would be when he built his, which would happen when he found a trailer company that would build a roof the way he wanted it built. I got everything going and loaded 500 rounds and quit for Margaritas. Blackey Cole came by just as I was shutting down, so we invited him in. No one else stopped by, and he only wanted Coke, so The Redhead and I had multiple Margaritas.

June 14, 2007

The bus at Founders Ranch

The Bus at Founders Ranch. If you're looking for us around Margarita time, (fiveish to sevenish, depending on what's happening in town) look for the only Motor Home with a 25 ft. trailer behind, and, most of the time, a white Mercedes SUV behind that. Knock on the door. Margaritas are currently served in the air conditioning.

The town at Founders Ranch from RV Hill

The view of the town at Founders Ranch from RV Hill

Arrived at Founders Ranch. Successfully found a space long enough for all three vehicles with the aid of the guy with the pickup truck who met us as we came in and pointed to some long spaces and to Old Man Meadows, who let me in a spot next to his RV. There were a lot of people there already. The Founders Ranch guys were nearly all there already. Pecos Clyde and Silver Heart came by in their Jeep. Currently sipping Margaritas in the air conditioned bus. I'll check out the town tomorrow.