Yo, July!

Amazingly, there’s no snow left on the property surrounding the Secret Hidden Bunker in the Rocky Mountains! Ah…this must be what they call summer…I wonder how long it will last?

Had a great weekend…my Sweetie and I shot the cowboy action shooting regional, Hell On Wheels, up in cowboy world in Cheyenne. It’s always a great match, and we had a couple of good days pulling the trigger. My Sweetie shot the best match of her career (so far), dropping only 1 shot in the course of 12 stages…her times were about half what they were in last year’s H-O-W.

I shot the match clean with pretty good times. I did fumble a couple of shotgun reloads with my ’97 clone. I’ve been focusing my practices on marksmanship with the pistol and the rifle. Say what you want about cowboy targets being big and up close…the ability to deliver the shot is central to any shooting sport, not to mention the Real World uses of firearms. One of the tricky parts of cowboy action shooting is the different shaped targets — diamonds, spades, buffalos, the iconic cowboy, etc., like these from Action Targets. When we look at those targets, which are usually about 16 inches at their widest point, we tend to reflexively see a 16-inch diameter circle.

The Evil Little Shooting Demon in our head says, “Big target up close? Point-shoot that bad boy!!” Since we typically train on round or square targets, the Evil Little Shooting Demon gives us a nice 16-inch circle to shoot. Except it’s not a 16-inch circle, and those curving bullets my friend Todd Jarrett talks about slip between the legs of a cowboy or right through that little crease in the middle of the heart.

In my training I try to see the small circle in the center mass of the target, and that center mass circle is more like 6-8 inches. I also have to remember that sport shooting augments my Real World training, and in the Real World (to borrow a cowboy quote), “Speed is fine; accuracy is final.” Push the speed but keep the accuracy. Your results may vary…objects in the rear view mirror, etc.

Seeing the “real” target in the larger target obviously has major application in the Real World. Should we have to use our weapon to defend our lives, there will be a tendency to see our aggressor as a Really Big Target. However, the “real” targets — targets that will lead to incapacitation of the aggressor and a stopping of the threat — are much smaller.

Our close-to-the-match training sessions were on an MGM Targets “Whirlygig” — the MGM version of the Texas Star. These are great training targets because they’re designed to play against some of our hard-wiring. Our monkey vision is designed to pick up motion very quickly…we are drawn to moving objects. Comes from being purpose-designed as a predator. Hit the first 8-inch plate and the start begins to move…if, however, your vision gets sucked into watching the targets, you can’t hit them. Tricky tricky

I’m just glad I got through the match without my main match guns tanking. I ground on my Cimarron 1873 rifle’s ejector, which was acting up, and luckily I was able to get it running and ejecting, definitely a plus. My Cylinder and Slide match Blackhawks — I don;t shoot puffball loads — are starting to show the wear of tens of thousands of rounds, and they definitely need a minor overhaul.

Today being a holiday — or so I’m told — I’m going to finish up the leather rig for the Model 3 break-top .44 Russians. If I get real ambitious, I might eviscerate my 1866 .44 Special and torture it into running with the shorter .44 Russian, thanks to an Adirondack Jack .44 Russian carrier. Pass the Dremel and heaven help me…


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