The Good Guys Gazette
“Very Little That’s Fit to Print”
Version 1,Series 1, Number 4
Been and Gone!
Well, the first match is over and done and in the record books. Old Man Weather sure didn’t cooperate none in setting any records other than perhaps inches of water. Still, it was great fun, even if the weather was dismal, cold, damp, gray – I guess kind of like out on the range in spring, now that I think of it.
It really was great to see all the familiar and not so familiar faces again. There was enough ‘Member that kind of catching up after a long winter of isolation. As the Sagacious Tooth has said,
“Most people don’t come to a cowboy shoot to win. They come to socialize.”
And socialize we did. We even were shocked with the situation of WBSE being there before the last possible moment! What wonders will this year bring!
It was also great to see new shooters come out. No sport survives long without new blood, so seeing new shooters is always a welcome sight. I sincerely hope that they felt welcome – we are usually a friendly bunch.
Unfortunately the rain kept some of us from completing all the stages. Personally I am simply amazed that even with missing a stage I still managed to outscore some of my past “performances”. Gotta’ look at the bright side of everything.
The Rough Riders want to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to all who have supported this organization and this nascent range so far. As you are all aware, this is a group that doesn’t have any regular dues, so we have to manage to cover all the usual and unusual expenses with money from shoots, from what is bought from the website, and of course from all the wonderful generosity by way of donation, of time AND money. That we have managed to continue to operate is due in no small part to all the help we have gotten from all of you. We sincerely thank you for your help so far and hope that you will see fit to continue to support this range and group with your participation in the shoots and purchase of whatever items you see fit. Muchos Gracias, Amigos! (No comment about Illegals intended.)
1851 Navy .36 Cap ‘N Ball
As many of you may know, Longdrink, one of our pardners, is ill. He suffers a serious condition, and is fighting for his existence. To help him out, Waco Curly has been generous enough to donate an 1851 Navy .36 by Uberti (I believe) as a drawing prize, ALL proceeds going to Longdrink. Tickets are $5 each, 5 for $20. The purchase of whatever tickets you can is appreciated – it goes to a good cause.
Famous In Wisconsin
While many of you probably already knew this, I, of course, being pretty unconscious, had no idea we had a famous gunsmith and inventor just a hop, skip, and jump from the range. Ken Howell of R&D Gun Shop lives just a short way away, a bit east of Beloit, just off Hwy 43 on X. He lives in a very unpretentious home, with horses in pasture about, and a barn full of what appear to be CNC machines. Inside his home there are pictures all over of Tom Selleck and the rest of the stars of Selleck’s several westerns. See, Ken is the guy that made all Tom’s guns for the movie. He also sells a really nifty conversion for a Remington ’58 cap ‘n ball so that it can shoot cartridges and still look like a cap ‘n ball. If you can recollect Clint Eastwood in Pale Rider, he had a Remington ’58 cap ‘n ball with a whole bunch of cylinders loaded on his gunbelt. When he reloaded, he simply swapped out the cylinder. From the neat design of the gun, it really is that easy. What Ken has added is the ability to shoot regular cowboy load cartridges and still have the gun look like cap ‘n ball. His cylinder has a backplate that has 6 firing pins in it, thereby giving the appearance of the cap tits. This plate comes off easily once the cylinder is removed, allowing the empties to be removed and new cartridges to be loaded. The plate is then replaced and the cylinder loaded into the frame – and Voila! (pardon the French!) You are ready to shoot!
Ken also makes a somewhat different conversion for the Navy ’51. It allows you to load the gun in the standard way, making it look more like one of the conversions that were made for old cap ‘n ball guns back in the day. If you are interested in what they are like, look me up when I get mine back. Be glad to show you.
Gaming (continued from last edition)
Having covered the fact that Americans are by nature innovative, let’s look at a couple of the issues before SASS and see what in them seems to be the problem.
Leather wraps. Here I have to feign total ignorance. I have absolutely no idea why SASS is concerned about the thickness of leather wraps, etc. Certainly leather was generally available in the West, and widely used for all manner of items, including ceremonial, work, dress, shelter, etc. Just how thickness of a wrap comes into any play is beyond me. A cursory examination of old photographs of Indians shows most to have had some form of leather wrapping around their spears and bows, and various ceremonial and decorative leather do-dabs on rifles. Wonder if they cleared the thickness and type with the Wild Bunch.
Lever movement. There are certainly any number of kits out there that have shortened the throw of the 1866 and 1873 Winchesters that we shoot. These modifications are made at least in part for a little smoother action, but mostly to cut down on the time that it takes to reload the rifle from shot to shot. If you look at pictures of the real 1873 and the Uberti copy, recently published in Guns of the Old West, you will find the conformity uncanny. Indeed, almost scary just how well copied that old rifle is. So decreasing the throw of the lever, as recently pictured in Cowboy Chronicles, definitely gives the owner an advantage over someone with an original throw length. ?Is this important. Well, perhaps on the speed stage an argument can be made that the advantage is worth enough time to possibly win the stage. This is only because on that stage you don’t have to acquire a new target but just hold on the same one for all 10 shots. Over the rest of the usual course of fire, it can certainly be argued that any time that you might save you lose to simply swinging the weapon to the next target.
Holster. Most of the cowboys shows that we “elders” grew up with had heroes that wore gun rigs that were steel lined. Fast draw proved that holding the holster shape allowed a quicker draw. It also allowed more unusual rake angles and front cut-downs, and if you tied the rig down, it kept its shape despite that tension. Today in CAS there are plenty of examples of steel lined holsters. Those who are more demanding for period correctness will often wear non-steel rigs. Those who simply love the old cool cowboy rigs of Lawman, Cheyenne, the Virginian, Colt .45, and so on, will still love the rigs of some of the original maker like Alphonse of Hollywood, or the newer copiers like Mernickle., not to mention numerous small leather makers. ?Is it an advantage. Once again, if what you are doing is Fast Draw, where winners are measured in 0.001 seconds, it probably does. But with what the average SASS scenario shows, it hardly seems an issue. And then there are always leather makers who make period correct holsters that act like they’re steel lined. Check out some of Longtooth’s work.
Bolt roller. There is little doubt that this, as an externally visible alteration, and one that was clearly not available in the Old West, is illegal in SASS. Yet stop and contemplate it for a moment. ?Just what advantage does it confer. It hardly makes the reload faster although you might argue it is smoother.
Short stroking pistol hammers. Back in the bad old days of fast draw, in was discovered that if you short stroked the hammer of a Colt, you could save 10 – 11 thousanths of a second. In a sport where winners were measured in 1 or 2 thousanths of a second, it was kind of a no brainer. BUT as a secondary finding, it was noted that the guns were a lot more durable, not breaking nearly as much (hard cocking of a hammer in a single action is actually quite hard on a weapon). So not only did you get faster cocking, you made the gun last longer. Today people like Bob Graham and West Fargo will be happy to short stroke your pistol if you are so inclined. Indeed, in a recent talk with West Fargo, he mentioned that he does a lot of guns out here in the Midwest. I could mention a name or two, but it might not be nice to them. ?Does it help. Well, in Traditional, where you thumb the hammer with one hand and shoot with the other, it definitely would. In duelist or gunfighter, it probably has little or no effect. ?Spirit of the Game. You decide.
This was a short stroll through a little of CAS “race gun” technology. Hope it was interesting to read and think on.
As ya’ll have probably noted, I’m a loquacious bird. Still, this is meant to be kind of a newspaper for everyone. In that mind, I have asked a few people to think on and write up articles that might be interesting for the rest of you to read. Meantime, any of you that think you have something that you want to say, let me know and we’ll see if we can work out something.