The Good Guys Gazette
“Very Little That’s Fit to Print”
Version 1, Series 2, Number 2
Well, as has been noted on the site, the count-down clock is “ticking”. Some shooting has already started, and the initial reports are all positive. We have had news that Beloit has finally solved their legal wrangles and will again be available for us as yet another venue to shoot at. These are all very positive signs, not only for our sport, but for us local shooters.
The first shoot for the Good Guys Posse will begin yet another cycle of fun, interesting shooting, lunch that’s more than a burnt burger, and just a chance to see everyone again after the winter hiatus. There are plans for a new “prop”, being created by our master builder himself, the “Noah” of the range, Push-The-Button-Wyatt. If Bella Union is any example, this new one will be a doozey. I can’t wait to see it myself, and I am sure it will bring many years of interesting shooting to the stage.
I am sorry that I will not be able to make the first match myself. My daughter is graduating from college on that weekend in Boston, and that’s a once in a lifetime event that just can’t be missed. So, instead of shooting stages, I will be shooting digital pics of her graduation, eating lobster on every occasion possible, and overall enjoying watching the fruition of my $160,000 investment. Hard to believe how much money you spend on college until suddenly the payments come to an end! HOLY COW! We should all quit our mundane jobs and get together and start a college. We could teach REAL subjects, see that the students come out with REAL world knowledge (just when to break a shot, what a good trigger feels like, how to recover for the second shot, and so forth), and make a pile of dough in the process. Anyway, I will be thinking of “all y’all” from time to time, and eagerly await the reports afterwards.
I know, I know. It’s not your Mom. Still, another reminder that you need wrap-around eye protection this year to shoot. A good polycarbonate set of glasses would be the best choice, but there are several ways to achieve the needed result. Just make sure that you are ready when the match starts.
Ears are another integral part of any match. So far the Wild Bunch hasn’t threatened any “standards” on how many decibels your ears have to attenuate, but take it from us old geezers, you want the best you can get. (I can just picture it – right next to the chronometer there will be a hearing booth where we will check your “ears” ability to attenuate noise! What fun!) Once you have lost your hearing, it doesn’t come back. Just look at how many of us old geezers wear hearing aids – it ought to come as an eye opener. Back in the bad old days, you were a shooter, you hearing was gone. Now there are better answers, and only if you should not be allowed to continue in the gene pool should you disregard them. (If you get my double negative.)
Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy
I suspect that most of you kind of got into this the way I did. I had these old six-shooters and grew up watching John Wayne, and thought shooting them would be kind of a gas. But I wasn’t all that enthused about “dressing up”. So my initial gear was very minimal. Still, I shot, had fun, liked the people, and pretty soon got into the spirit more. Now I think more on the dress part and find it to be part of the overall interest in the sport.
Like just about any sport, this one isn’t cheap. Nor is it easy on time. Still, it’s a gas to do, and we need to keep adding people to our ranks who are like-minded. That means recruiting. That can be a dirty word. Sure, there are cowboys that have had their kids out shooting, and it’s nice to see the young ones taking part. Still, getting young adults (with discretionary cash!) to come out may be more to the future of the sport. And let’s remember that they didn’t grow up watching John Wayne and Robert Mitchem and Roy Rogers. They probably need some help finding us.
So, since I hardly put myself forward as having any, much less all the answers, I would simply suggest that we all spend a little time thinking on the subject. Maybe when we are cleaning guns – well, OK, maybe a little more often than twice a year – we spend a little of that time thinking on the issue and how to entice them young ‘uns to our sport.
Guns to the Cash Register
“All y’all” may recollect an earlier section on modification of guns to gain an edge – the “gamer” concept. I mentioned at that time the idea of shooting converted cap ‘n ball pistols. The idea behind that would be that the frame doesn’t get in your way and you can sight it like a shotgun – a mite easier than actually using those pesky sights front and back to shoot a target (the Marines in the crowd can sit back – we ain’t in Quantico here). Well, herein is the saga of a pair of same, just so one can “appreciate” what can go into trying to set up a competitive open-top pistol. Life for these two critters started as Uberti Navy 1851’s, as fine example of cap and ball pistol as there is. Consecutive numbers, too. To the historically minded, one will recollect that the grip on the Navy pistol is a tad smaller than on the Army .44, not to mention that the barrel is that sexy octagon. The frames are steel, although the grip frame is brass. The nominal calibre is .36, but that in real life is actually about .390. Seems nothing in that “.38” calibre is what it says it is except .357 Magnum. You will also remember that I mentioned a gunshop of sorts called R&D Gunshop. It is in the Beloit area, owned by a guy named Ken Howell, who happens to be the one that built Tom Selleck’s guns for his series of movies. He produces basically two products. One is a replacement cylinder for the likes of Remington 1858 cap and ball pistols that looks like a cap and ball cylinder but actually allows you to load cartridges. Very neat. He also makes a Richards-Mason adapter kit for the likes of Navy ‘51’s that allow one to shoot .38 special. Technically he states that one is to shoot .38 Long Colt, but .38 special will do fine IF you take care to load short enough (4.475” OAL). He also will reline the barrel, so that .357 bullet you are shooting doesn’t rattle around banging back and forth off the sides while meandering down the tube.
All this is great, but Kenny marches to his own drummer, and if you choose to have him do all the work, don’t expect to see those puppies any time in the near future. Mine took all spring and summer to come back. Even then, one gun shot fine as assembled, while the other one would only get about 2-3 shots off before it bound up. Seems there wasn’t enough clearance between the barrel and the cylinder, and that entailed having the barrel cut back to make the clearance. A good piece, too.
Next was a trip to the 19th Century Gunsmith for an action job. Those beauties are really nice to look at, but the springs and action that comes stock was another story. I have a relatively large hand (don’t want no smartass comments, JJ) and I had trouble cocking the guns with the stock hammer springs.
When they finally came back, they were a sight (and feel) to behold. Beautiful looking guns, smooth as silk to work, with a great sight picture. Then they started binding up when you worked the action. Turns out that the black powder Ubertis aren’t made to all that strict a standard. The opening for the hand is substantially wider than the hand itself and the pin on the hand is not a fine fit to the hole in the hammer. This allows the hand to wobble. With the regular cap and ball cylinder there is a huge star on the back and it makes little difference. But with the R-M conversion one gets a small star on the cylinder, and all this play allows the hand to fall off the star, causing the gun to jam. So the fix is to weld up the hand to the right width and then “install” it properly. HA!
And the moral of all this --- The Enemy of Good is Better. You have a good shooting iron, might be a better idea to pra---ce (we don’t want to mention that word in polite company) with it rather than look for something “better”.
Bank is Open!
It’s here! And up! And just as expected, it is beautiful. It looks like a bank. Even has the right kind of understated sign over the door. Not “First Regional State Bank” or “Federated Bank of Nogales” or even “Ma & Pa’s Bank”. Just “BANK”. You have business there, you will know what it is. Has a teller’s window, and scales if you should be depositing gold, and a safe. Look at the pictures on the website. It is going to be a wonderful addition to the range. Many thanks to our gentleman carpenter, PTB Wyatt, for wonderful work and dedication.
Hats off to the Three Monkeys and their wonderful moralistic pose of those fine Oriental Brothers, Sayno Evil, Hearno Evil, and Seeno Evil. I expect to see lots more of them this year, miming other great literature and art for our edification.