Saturday, April 15, 2006

Still Here.

I have been writing a lot, and then deleting, I just haven't had much to say. I've been somewhat depressed.

Last Saturday was another Cowboy Action Shoot, smaller than usual as there were a couple of really big shoots happening within a couple hundred miles. A lot of our better shooters were traveling to those. I did unusually poorly, I just kept getting "Procedurals" over and over for messing up the target order. A "P" is a ten second penalty, over and above the five second penalty for each miss. I had more misses than I should have, plus one of my revolvers kept seizing up. Oddly, with all those troubles, I won my Frontier Cartridge Class. I would be happier with the certificate had there been, oh I don't know, one or two others shooting black powder cartridges.

I am not sure exactly why my performance was so bad, I slept very poorly the night before, I guess that is as good a reason as any. At any rate, the revolver that was giving me trouble is back in the Gunsmith's shop. This is it's last chance, if it isn't fixed this time I am getting a new shootin' iron. My 'smith is putting a bushing on the front of the cylinder to hold it back where it belongs and is recutting the forcing cone. It seems that as I shoot the revolver the fouling builds up on the front of the cylinder and then drags against the back end of the barrel.

This is the second time this revolver has been in the shop for the same problem. Now, with smokeless powder loads it does not give any trouble, just with The Holy Black. Both my revolvers are Italian clones of the famed Colt Single Action Army, one is the Cimarron. This is the one that has never given me any trouble one that gives me the trouble is the Millennium revolver. Both revolvers are made by the Uberti outfit, the Cimarron is assembled in Fredicksburg, Texas, it seems there is much more attention to detail there. The Cimarron is some hundred and fifty bucks more expensive than the Millennium, trouble is I have spent some eighty bucks on the millennium at the Gunsmith already and now I have this new bill coming up.

On the positive front, I bought a pair of Brownells Colt Single Action Hammer Spring spacers installed them, one per gun. In the old days cowboys would put a piece of leather between the mainspring and the frame, this lightened the trigger, a lot. The trouble is that leather absorbs moisture for the air and the mainspring and frame rust, eventually the mainspring breaks. Considering that Murphy was an opimist, that mainspring would only break when a cowboy really needed his shootin' iron to go BANG. Brownells has updated the concept and is using neoprene instead of leather. Since neoprene is not hydroscopic, nothing rusts because of it.

I bought the pair of spacers for $4.97 and a Wolff Spring kit for $23.99. The plan was to take the revolver that was least improved by the spacer and put the spring kit in. After running both revolvers through a match, the new plan is to wait until something breaks and use the new spring kit for a spare when it does. Those spacers really work, and they're real cheap. I fired the whole match and I used ammo that I had loaded with PMC primers and some with Winchester primers, plus a few with Remington primers, they all went BANG. I had planned on backing the mainspring set screw out some after this match to further lighten the trigger, I am not sure I am going to bother. The triggers are both very light, now. I may just leave them be. I don't need a loud noise from breathin' on 'em.

I also had the rear sight on the millennium opened up so, I could not see any light on each side of the front sight against the black-paited targets. After opening that rear sight up a few thou, the front sight was easy to see.

Assuming that Koenig, my 'smith, is able to fix that millennium, my revolvers are done. Race ready.

I worked on my shotgun chambers some, my empty cartridge cases did not fall out. I got on the SASS Wire and asked the Pards about that, there were all kinds of recommendations, from sandpaper to toothpaste to smooth the chambers out. The least radical seemed to be putting toothpaste on a bore mop, chucking the bore mop in a drill and just polishing. I regret to say that the toothpaste trick did not work with my black pwder shells in brass cases. So, on the way home I bought some automotive rubbing compound, smeared some of that on a bore mop and ran that in the chambers. Then I fired a couple rounds out the back door and the empties fell right out. I shall see how it does in a match. If it nneds more I'll do it. Thing is, though, the first law of gunsmithing is that it is easy to remove metal, very difficult to add metal. I suspect that I will have more to do, if ony because the black powder fouling builds up so fast. I also put a Marble's 5/16 "ivory" bead on the front of my shotgun, it is a lot faster than the brass pinhead-sized bead it had.

So, my rifle is done, my shotgun is either there or almost there as is one revolver. The other one, we'll see. At any rate, within a couple more matches I will have removed all the equipment problems and if I have any more trouble at a match it will be because of the loose nut behind the buttplate.

In other news, it is one month and counting until Linda Lou and I are on our way out to the Gold Rush country of California. One of my neices is getting married. We will spend about a month out there. If anyone cares we will be mainly in Sutter Creek, that is just a little south of due east of Sacramento, about fifty miles. I am also going to be meeting a couple of Cowboy Action Shooters and hope to get a couple of matches in out there. I'm going to meet Springfield Slim, a bulletmaker and leathersmith. He is going to use my rifle as a pattern for a leather recoil pad and I am going to try a batch of the Big Lube Boolits, a cast bullet with an extra large grease groove. This is supposed to eliminate the need for a grease wad to keep the gun from tying up due to fouling. This would give more room in the case for powder if I want some T. Rex loads and for mild loads I can fill the empty space with dry grits or that fancy Puff Lon stuff. I have a can of Puff Lon, I haven't tried it yet but the folks that make it say it works fine with Black Powder.

Anyhow, I am loading a bunch of extra ammo in hopes of getting to a match or two out there.

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