Sunday, March 12, 2006

Overslept And Missed The Shoot.

I overslept this morning, I woke up about the time of the mandatory safety meeting. Since I am about an hour's drive from the shoot I said shucks, plus several other colorful expletives and comments. There is something wrong with a world that requires a retired guy to buy an alarm clock but it seems we need a new one.

I really wanted to make this shoot, too. New boots, new rear sight on my rifle, even a new stampede string on my hat. I'm tired of my hat flying downrange in the mild Texas breeze. The rule is that the Pards are allowed to shoot holes in a hat that goes downrange. Fortunately they missed. I went to Shepler's for the stampede String. I got it home and found that it too was made in China. Seems that it's damned hard to find American made cowboy gear. I haven't been to that part of the world since the late sixties. Maybe I'll bleg some to see if my multitude of readers will send me back to check out the Chinese Cowboys.

Oh well, now that I'm here, let me tell you about the trip to Arkansas. The main reason for the trip was to go to Powder, Inc. We got there just fine, I drove right past it because there is no sign but we doubled back and found it. There is no sign because the feller that runs the place runs it as a wholesale business and not a store. Oh well, we found it and I got my thirty-five pounds of FFG.

On the way there we stopped for lunch at a diner in Hugo, Oklahoma. I don't bemember the name but it was a little bitty place across the street from the Ford Dealership. Linda Lou wants to go back, the cheeseburgers were real good. There were like ten stools and no booths or tables. Still, if you ever get to Hugo, the cheesburger and fries at the Busy Bee Cafe, Linda Lou remembers the name.

We stopped in Sallisaw, Oklahoma to go to this Indian store. It was too late in the afternoon to go to Sequoyah's Home, that is the feller that came up with a written language for the Cherokee Nation. Good thing, too. A lot of the Indian languages are already lost, more are in danger of being lost. Note to the Politically Correct: I don't care if you want to call them "Native Americans". I'm native American, too, only I'm not an Indian. Anyway, don't bother me, I have a gun. Several guns. Anyhow, we didn't buy much, they had some real pretty watches but, since we hardly ever leave the house we have enough watches.

We spent the night in Fort Smith, I would like to go back and spend a couple days there. The town is the old stomping grounds of Judge Parker who was in the business of hangin' outlaws back when Oklahoma was the Indian Nation. Deputy US marshals would ride out of Fort Smith and return with the outlaws either in handcuffs or slung over their saddles and nobody much cared which. John Wayne played the role of Rooster Cogburn in two movies where he was a Deputy Marshall out of Fort Smith.

Anyhow, George the German Shepherd behaved in the motel so he gets to go to Arizona and California with us. He got bored riding in the van, though, and chewed on Linda Lou's umbrella handle. And he is eating the couch, too. I am begging for the day he reaches two years old and stops eating the whole house.

This brings us up to the trip to Powder, Inc. Jerry, the feller that runs the place, had a few acres, maybe more, just outside Clarksville, Arkansas. While he went to his house to process my Visa Card I talked with the man who started the Black Dawge Cartridge Co, who was visiting. He sold the company to Goex but still messes with loading black powder cartridges. Anyhow we talked loading BP rounds for a while. He convinced me to avoid shooting the "Big Lube" bullets and just keep on loading my ammo with a grease cookie, instead. Seems that the Big Lube bullets, with that one huge lube groove are balanced wrong and at longer ranges, tend to tumble in flight. That does not matter much for the vast majority of cowboy action shooting, the ranges are too close. There is the odd stage, though, that ends with taking shots at a hundred yard gong. Actually, let me rephrase that. I am not going to buy the mold for the Big Lube bullets before I order a couple hundred of the bullets and give them a thorough test on paper at a hundred and two hundred yards. The Feller that warned me about them was in competion with the Big Lube bullet folks, and, if he kept stock in in the new company, may still be in competition.

What is a Big Lube Bullet? It is a bullet cast with one huge lube groove, it holds about ten or so times the lube that ordinary cast bullets carry. I have been looking at buying a batch to test. What has held me back so far is that the bullet molds only come in six cavity. I use a two cavity mold, normally. My little ten pound melting furnace is fine for a two cavity mold. A six cavity takes so much metal that it won't melt the ingots fast enough to keep up. It sounds odd but I can get a faster rate of 'keeper' bullets with a two cavity mold than a six cavity. The melt gets cold, while waiting for the melt to heat up, the mold gets cold. Then I run maybe ten cycles heating the mold up to make good bullets, run about three cycles of good bullets, then I need to add more ingots and the whole process starts over. Dang! So, in addition to buying a seventy plus dollar mold, I have to buy a twenty pound furnace, too. Too much money. What I can do is spend $18.00 for 250 of the bullets. Since I am going out to my niece's wedding in June to the California branch of the family, I'll drop into San Jose and buy a batch from a feller that does that, in addition to making gunbelts and holsters. Anyhow, if the 250 shoot well I start bombarding my pal Dick Dastardly with E-mails demanding that he order two cavity molds as well as six cavity. If the other guys are right, then I just stick with my two groove Lee bullets.

Fortunately, the 35 pounds of Black Powder fit very well in the space under the floorboards of the van for the drive back. Linda lou still smokes like a defective chimney. We would STILL be on the road trying to make it home what with stopping every three miles for her to smoke. The middle row seats fit under the floorboards when folded down. Good spot to hide stuff when the seats are up.

Ooops, it's time to get off the net, I need a nap and then it's time for the NASCAR race.

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