The Good Guys Gazette
“Very Little That’s Fit to Print”
Version 1, Series 2, Number 4
End of the Line
Well, for this year. And what a year it’s been. Highs and lows all over the place, ‘nuf to make you feel you’re on a roller coaster at Great America.
We started the year with high hopes for a successful year of shooting at a range that was, unfortunately, showing a lot of hard use. It had been “rode hard and put away wet”
Most particularly, the berms were in terrible shape. The Rough Riders had made an effort to shore them up by placing cable spools on top. This had, in some cases, raised the berm height to passable levels, but in others just went to show how low they had gotten. There had been much talk of how to address this issue, but no solution appeared readily at hand.
Then came the gut-wrenching cancellation of the shooting season after only one match! We won’t dwell on the issues, but suffice it to say that it was a difficult time for your Board. There were so many angles from which to look at the situation, and so much to take into consideration, that the ultimate decision to suspend the remaining season was a most difficult one. It certainly sapped the Rough Riders of all their energy. Yes, there was a certain amount of emotion involved, but the overall sensation was one of depression. Rough Riders love to cowboy shoot as much as anyone, and maybe more than at least some.
Then out of the darkness came the unsolicited offer to consider creating another range. It was met with much discussion, and certainly with some skepticism. This was a path that had just been taken with uncomfortable consequences. Going there yet again was, at the least, dangerous. Again, much soul searching was done, and the exchange of opinion weighty with issues and worries.
Despite all the problems and difficulties, the Posse now has another Home Range. And what a range it is! It has shade, rustic setting, panorama, engineering, variety … and absolutely fantastic potential. What all can be done here is limited only by the imagination. Indeed, it is no small thing that the range itself took considerable imagination just to envision and create. For that we have to thank the owner, Rob Arentzen, who first considered the possibility, the original “survey crew” from the Rough Riders, that came out and looked over the land and imagined how and where stages could be created, and the land-working genius of Larry Brooks, alias Huckleberry. If it weren’t for that man’s bulldozing skill AND understanding of what was desired and, more than that, needed in terms of earth moving to form that reality, there wouldn’t BE a new range. Hats off to Huck!
Then there were the problems. Things like the discovery that the limestone berm bounced the bullets instead of sucking them up. What to do! Then, the “solution” and all the work and engineering that that entailed. Not to mention the little things that came along in the process. Once again the answers came from unsuspected sources. The fact that Asleep at the Wheel is, in his other life, a master craftsman was the driving force in solving things that the rest often didn’t even know were problems. Things like the fact that the “drapes” had to alternate on top and under in order to hang straight while not letting bullets escape behind them unimpeded. Certainly THIS city boy wouldn’t have understood the issues and why things weren’t working out right on his own.
Now, after all is said and done, the basic range is done. Yes, there is still much to do, and plans are afoot for “improvements” as the time and ability for them arises. But we have a range for the Posse. And beauteous it is, if I do say so myself – and I do!
The Cowboy Way
The “cowboy way” is a much discussed topic, often referred to in the Chronicles as a gold standard or testing line for this, that, and the other. Well, perhaps what it really IS, is nothing more than what folks back then HAD to do, seeing as the government wasn’t so intense on invading all of our lives with rules and regulations on what and how we are to live. In those days, most people had to rely on the help of neighbors for numerous difficult jobs. Things like raising a barn were clearly not a job that a homesteader could do by himself. So his neighbors came together and pitched in and made the new barn. They took time off from their own work and land to help erect this kind of structure, knowing that they, too, either had, or would need to, benefit from similar largesse. You can talk about the Good Samaritan example, of the teachings of Jesus and the basic Christian philosophy that this country was founded upon and developed under, and when you add in simple common sense of how to treat people and expect to be treated in return, you get “the cowboy way”.
Well, we of the Good Guys Posse saw just this kind of generosity come through while creating this new range. All manner of people came out on their own free time and pitched in to do the myriad of tasks necessary to set up a range from scratch. From Huck, who donated his time and expertise, to Dakota Rose, who was out there with a lowly rake, moving stones, and all the way in between, men and women came out to participate and help in the “raising of the range”. THIS is what happens when one doesn’t have the government interfering – you get a wonderful final product made by hand, with love. In the USA I might add.
Remington Model 1858
I probably wouldn’t risk much by saying that everyone in this shooting venue loves the Colt SAA. Certainly for some of us “older” members, the recollection of the days of the westerns, on TV and in the theatres, brings to mind SAA’s and Winchester Model 92’s, now that we’re old enough and wise enough to recognize them for what they were. In many of our young minds, these two weapons were the weapons that won the West. Every cowboy had them. Every gunslinger used them. Only in recent times have any of the western cinemas shown anything OTHER than Colt Single Action Armies and Winchester Model 92’s.
Today many of us recognize that the Colt was patented in 1873, and while it was present at such a momentous occasion as the Little Big Horn, and Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson actually DID own one, they were hardly as ubiquitous as we would have been led to believe from old time flicks. Annie Oakley used (among a fair number of rifles) a Winchester Model 1873 in .44 WC.F. in the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show; this is a show that only began in 1885, and Annie herself was only born in 1860. For all of Hollywood’s efforts, the real west was tamed by guns other than those shown on the silver screen.
That bit of “heresy” out of the way, let’s talk a touch about the Remington Model 1858. Today these interesting pistols are beginning to show up at SASS matches as replicas in slowly increasing numbers. Those that shoot them generally like them, usually because of the grip-to-frame which corresponds fairly closely to Biseley models. The most common model seen today is the 1872, but that is mostly an adaption of the 1858 frame to cartridges.
The original 1858 came out just before the Civil War (obviously from the date). Its single biggest feature was a solid frame. That feature had originally come from a pistol called the Beale, made in the 1850’s (I believe). It was a little known firearm, and was generally unsuccessful mainly because it was sold via a firm that was well known for producing junk items, so people didn’t trust the weapon. It, and its patent rights, were bought up by Remington and incorporated into what we know as the Remington 1858. In point of fact, the Remington 1858 was three different models, but they have come to be lumped together into the single “1858”. Interestingly, it was one of the most sought after pistols in the Civil War, and was produced by both sides in that conflict (usually with a brass frame in the South as they lacked steel). That reason for this popularity was largely from several facts. First, its solid frame allowed it to have repeated and consistent accuracy over time. Whereas the Colts of the period were two part guns, with the barrel assembly attached to the remaining frame with two pins and a wedge through the central pivoting pin, the Remington introduced a solid frame for the cylinder to rotate in. This allowed a far stronger frame, and it allowed some manner of sights to be consistently presented for the shooter – no rearrangement of the sights every time you reinserted the wedge. Second, the loading lever and cylinder pin arrangement that the Remington had allowed for very quick removal and replacement of the cylinder. This allowed a shooter the advantage of procuring additional cylinders, which he would then load prior to engaging in shooting. When in a fight, he would then be able to reload with a fresh cylinder very rapidly. Those of you who have seen Clint Eastwood’s movie Pale Rider might remember that he carried a Remington 1858 in the last big shoot out, and reloaded several times very quickly and easily with extra cylinders from his belt. Third, Remington introduced a “hammer groove” on the back of the cylinder, between each chamber. Cap and ball guns have the “cap”, the primer of the day, on a nipple on the back of the cylinder corresponding to the loaded chamber. Therefore, loading all five or six (depending on the model) chambers of a black powder pistol would end up with the hammer ON one of the caps – not a good way to actually carry the weapon around. Remington introduced a groove cut into the back of the cylinder between each chamber for the hammer to rest in, thereby removing the problem of hammer-on-cap, and so allowing for the first time loading of all six chambers. While the Single Action Army would have a half cock notch to solve this same issue with metallic cartridges, it wasn’t nearly as safe and carrying with one cylinder empty was common – even as we do in SASS, and for the same reason. Colt would respond to this challenge with a pin between cylinders for the hammer to rest on, but it was relatively thin and broke easily, and so not very reliable. While “open top Colts” of the cap-and-ball variety were popular, they would continue to have the issue of carrying a fully loaded cylinder/hammer position.
Some versions of the 1858 would have a modified cylinder pin that did not allow the nifty easy removal of the cylinder (it was a government complaint, as one might suspect), but most continued to keep this nifty characteristic. Today replicas generally have that available. If one then purchases one of the conversion cylinders for the pistol, made to look like a cap-and-ball cylinder but with the back split so you can actually load cartridges, you now have what appears to be a cap and ball pistol that allows you the ease of loading with cartridges. For those so inclined, it is a great way to avoid all the fuss of loading a cap and ball (I know – some will claim that that is the whole point but fortunately we’re not all such masochists.)
Invitation to War
In all the national hoopla that is being generated by the Democratic Party about the war in Iraq, it is generally missed that we have been at war since 1970. It’s just that we have attempted to decline the invite.
Beginning in 1970 through 1975 there were several American diplomats murdered in Sudan and Lebanon, while others were kidnapped. Perhaps one of the more dramatic events in this, the beginning of “jihad against America” was the assault of the Saudi Arabian embassy in Khartoum, with the kidnapping of the Saudi Arabian Ambassador, the Jordanian Charge d’Affaires, the Belgian Charge d’Affaires, the United States Ambassador and DCM. These hostages were held captive for a period of time while numerous ridiculous demands were made, and then ultimately the murder of the two United States diplomats and the Belgian diplomat. The arabs were released. This action was done with the full approval of the “beloved” (to the Left) Yasser Arafat, as head of Fatah, the group that executed the action.
In 1979 there was the Iranian storming of our embassy in Teheran. In April of 1983 Hezbollah sent a homicide bomber truck that blew up in front of the United States embassy in Beirut, killing 63 employees and wounding 120. In October of 1983 another homicide truck bomber blew up the barracks at Beirut airport killing 241 Marines (for which I will never forgive them!). In December of the same year, the same set of misanthropes kidnapped and ultimately killed the CIA station chief, William Buckley. Many others would suffer kidnapping between ’82 and ’92 although not all were tortured (for REAL) and killed. September of 1984 saw the repeat bombing of the US embassy annex. December of the same year saw the hijacking of a Kuwaiti airliner and the murder of two Americans that were working for the US Agency for International Development. June of 1985 saw yet another airliner hijacking and the killing of an American Naval Officer. October of 1985 was the Achille Lauro and the gruesome murder of the elderly Leon Klinghoffer. December 1985 saw bombs in the Rome and Vienna airports killing 5 Americans, and in April of 1986 there was the bombing of a discotheque in West Germany frequented by US military personnel.
FINALLY, in response to the last attack, which had been orchestrated by Muimar Qaddafi, US jets attacked several points in Libya, including one of his residences. Even that drew a retaliation execution by Abu Nidal of 3 Americans that worked at the American University in Beirut. And then in December of 1988 Qaddafi again struck with the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
During George H’s presidency, Americans continued to be attacked by Islaamic terrorist organizations in Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon. February of 1993 saw the first bombing of the World Trade Center, now in the Clinton presidency. April 1993 saw an attempt to assassinate George H on a visit to Kuwait. October 3-4, 1993 saw the (First) Battle of Mogudishu, in which 18 Rangers were killed and 73 wounded (although US estimates were that 3,000 to 4,500 Somali militiamen died in that fight overall – the piper WILL be paid!) March 1995 a van of the US consulate in Karachi, Pakistan was shot up and two American diplomats were killed and one wounded. November 1995 five Americans died in a bomb blast in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. June of 1996 Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia killed 19 airmen and wounded 240 others. June 1998 saw grenades hurled at the embassy in Beirut, and August 7, 1998 saw the bombing of our embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, with 12 Americans dead among more than 200 total. October 12, 2000 the USS Cole, a modern destroyer able to defend herself in all ways but political correctness, was bombed and resulted in 17 seamen dead and 39 wounded and quite severe damage to the ship.
And then there was September 11, 2001.
?How did we respond to these “requests for war”. By mostly ignoring them. Every effort was made to NOT respond to any of these provocations. President Clinton attempted to deal with these issues as a police matter, to be prosecuted by US Attorneys when and if any of the perps were caught. President George H Bush went to war in the Gulf War against Iraq, but then allowed Saddam to remain in power – the classic State Department approach of never upsetting the “balance of power”.
The invitation to war is clear, especially when one lists the events in order, like I have done. It is only that we, as a liberal western democracy, are really averse to war. We would generally rather let people live as they may, each in his own way. We simply haven’t been allowed to hold to that concept.
Next issue: Change of Course, and its implications for us.
“Reductions in enemy attacks, fewer U.S., coalition and civilian casualties and improvements in Iraqi military and security forces have driven news from Iraq out of the front pages of our papers and off broadcast news. Publicly, U.S. commanders describe the situation as ‘cautiously optimistic’ and say ‘the momentum is in the right direction.’ Privately, they say, ‘We are putting them (al-Qa’ida and the Shi’ite militias) on the ropes.’ Though disappointed by the lack of ‘good news’ being reported in the U.S. media, the troops’ sense of humor is undiminished. When Secretary Gates was in Baghdad this week, it was announced that lack of congressional funding could result in ‘pink slips for up to 200,000 Defense Department employees.’ Hearing the story, one young soldier heading out on patrol commented, ‘Somebody call me if I get laid off’.” —Oliver North
Quote of the Moment
“I want to believe that some of our politicians are just blinded to the truth of what we are facing, but reality tells me that there are some in politics who hate everything that this country stands for and want to see us defeated, again, by our enemies. But this enemy is unlike any that we have ever faced. May God help us to stand for what we believe, or we will certainly fall before the onslaught of radical Islam.”—Sgt. Roger Helle (USMC Ret.) (This is copied from The Patriot Post of 9 November 2007. If any of you don’t subscribe, you should. It is e-mail based and totally free, and does a wonderful job of informing you of the news that the Main Stream Media don’t want you to know. http://patriotpost.us)
I sincerely hope that the whole posse had a wonderful Thanksgiving, with as much turkey and stuffing as you could possibly eat. All of you have my and all the Rough Riders most fervent wishes for a Merry Christmas and most Happy and prosperous New Year. May God grant you health, peace, and tranquility; may Santa bring you TOYS!
Disclaimer: I hardly claim to be correct in everything that I say, and welcome corrections, comments, additions, and other interesting oratory by the collected cowboys of the area (or elsewhere) – just be civil, unless referring to Liberals.