The Good Guys Gazette
“Very Little That’s Fit to Print”
Version 1,Series 1, Number 7
End of the Year
Well, another year of cowboy shooting is over, come to an end with a highly successful Halloween shoot. It saw quite a proliferation of costumes, and possibly the rise of a new persona – The Padre. I mean, wasn’t he just what you have always seen in the movies, the little, honest, Liberal, goody-two shoes padre who always gets himself shot by the bad guys. Well, yes, the sunglasses were a little off. And the cigar. AND the gunbelt and two gun outfit. Kind of made you think of Two Mules for Sister Sarah. And the sale of Absolutions and such kind of harkened back to Martin Luther days. But never mind. It’s all in the mind.
Then there was the JailCow. We have had it on reliable sources that what we saw was a clone. Apparently the initial work was done in England, and somehow the specimen got loose and came to our shoot! And even did well. Just goes to show you, that Gunfighter Class is populated with a lot of ne’re-do-wells. I suppose that is why people have never liked gunfighters, despite that fact that John Wayne portrayed one often in the movies (well, sometimes he did!). And John was an upstanding guy.
The Turkey Shoot also seemed to be a success. Lots of cowboys came out to try their luck with riot guns (excuse me, that’s law enforcement weaponry to be politically correct) on trap targets. Even broke quite a few, much to this observer’s surprise. Just goes to show, you don’t need that fancy $2500 Browning Trap Model – but it sure helps now, don’t it. And it looks good in the safe. So if you’ve a hankering for one, go ahead and get it for Christmas. Never been a better excuse. And one more tree in that gun barrel forest in the safe is always welcome. (Makes it harder for the Mrs to know when you’ve acquired another one – you have to avail yourself of ALL techniques of self-preservation.)
The Annual Banquet, Beer Guzzling Opportunity and General Eating Fest was held in a different venue this year, as we had had some trouble getting everyone in the same room last time. That made for some trouble with socializing, one of the main reasons to get together other than to shoot. This time, the table and room layout was far superior to chatting and small talk. And I have to say, some of you cowboys really clean up good! And the Ladies! My, what a collection of handsomely turned out ladies! I can see where a cowboy’s $30/month salary could disappear real fast. The gnome graced us with his photographic genius. Just hope all you liked having your pictures kind of from a low perspective – we didn’t have any milk cartons for him to stand on. And we were lucky to have with us an Irish Undertaker, in case anyone overindulged and needed final fixin’s.
So all in all, one can say it was a great year for cowboy shooting. Some early weather issues, and some terrible heat, but it was all handled smoothly and with aplomb. One can only look forward to more good times next year.
We’ve been talking here for some time on issues affecting safety, both anatomic and physiologic. All you experienced shooters know that on just about every range it is pretty standard to expect everyone to wear “eyes & ears”. ?What exactly is the issue with ears.
Well, the human ear is designed to hear in a range of frequencies from approximately 2000 Hz to about 8000 Hz. Some animals hear in different frequencies, so some of the things that we can hear they can’t, and vice versa. This range actually allows us to hear a wide variety of sounds, not just the spoken voice, but other sounds that at one time probably had more to do with survival.
The volume of sound we hear is measured in decibels. The scale is logarithmic, so 80 decibels is 4 times as loud as 40. Somewhere about 60 or 70 decibels we start to have loud sound. Rock concerts are known to be in the vicinity of 110 decibels – about like a jet engine.
Loud noise actually causes damage to the nerves that transmit sound into your brain. It is a slow process, although if you have fine hearing, you can measure the change from only one shooting session, and that effect can last for many months. In the early stages, you generally recover most of the damage. However, over time, you begin to lose some of your ability to hear permanently. This is a characteristic loss, generally found initially about 4000Hz and slowly spreading out to either side. Kind of like if you stretched a string and then someone put his finger in the middle and slowly pressed down. The more noise you are exposed to, the worse your hearing gets. It’s why Peter Frampton is deaf – played too many rock concerts in front of those amps!
Wearing hearing protection can either stop further loss, if you already have some, or keep you from getting it. Numerous types of hearing protection are available. They range in cost depending on whether there are other features. Believe it or not, one of the best little hearing protection devices is the EAR foam plug. You roll it into a thumbtack like shape and stick it into your ear, and you get protection pretty much equivalent to a David Clark headset. Cotton is NOT a good protector!
There are several products out there that have the additional feature of augmenting sound so long as it isn’t loud. Peltor was among the first and still makes a great product called the Tactical 7 Headset. It has stereo microphones, and a switch that allows you to control how much increase in sound you want. For those a little on the deaf side, it is a great way to hear range commands in matches such as bullseye. The hunters, too, can use them out in the woods to hear game (deer) walking your way. Even if you are bow hunting, they are kind of neat. And, of course, when there is a shot, the headset clamps down and cuts off the loud noise to protect your hearing. A more expensive version is available that looks like a hearing aid. It basically does the same work that the Peltor headset does, but in a far less obtrusive way – for commensurately more money. You pay your money, you take your choice.
Lastly, remember that the noise simply has to be of a certain decibel level to cause the damage. That means that even if you are not personally shooting, but are out on the range, you are exposed and can have damage. That is why there is a range requirement for everyone to wear hearing protection, and why you should have yours on all the time, even when you are not directly shooting – those attending the rock concerts also have had significant hearing impairment.
In most lines of work there are courses to keep you updated on the latest, the best, etc. This year one such course came to Kocheese Kanyon, brought by Tequila, a multi-time national champion shooter. For two days an intense shooting school and clinic was held for those enterprising and wealthy enough to come up with the tuition. A fair number of rounds were put downrange, and critique was given on all manner of issues, from starting form, to specific technique with each weapon – pistol, rifle, and shotgun.
I get to do these kinds of things a lot in my profession. I have made myself a rule that if I can come away from one of these sessions with two new facts, I have been successful. I believe most people attending came away with at least two new facts about their shooting. While people paid money to learn the various techniques mentioned there so talking about them wouldn’t be appropriate, let me say at least one thing that caught my eye, even if it is kind of a generally known thing.
Matches are won with the shotgun, lost with the pistol, and the rifle is a wash
Now, if you contemplate how you shoot a stage, it really is kind of self-evident. BUT it is still true, and it goes to the heart of how to do well in one of these matches. If you watch someone shooting, you will note that generally the misses are with the pistol, and the bumbling is with the shotgun – reaching for rounds, dropping rounds, getting the empties out, etc. Not to mention missing the target and getting to shoot again.
So this winter you have something to think on for the next season.
Hope all you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and have a fabulous Christmas and New Year. Get a lot of new guns, tune up the old, give thanks to our Lord, celebrate all our good luck as Americans, and get ready for next year.
Gnome, gnome on the Range
Where the beer and the pizza’re prey
(not to mention hot dogs!)
Where sometimes you’ll shoot
A squib or a fluke
And the sky is not cloudy all day