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"We have it totally under control. It's one person coming from China. It's going to be just fine." -- Donald Trump, 1/22/2020

“We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here..and isn't it refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama."
-- Trump Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, 2/25/20

"I don't take responsibility for anything." --Donald Trump, 3/13/20

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bangity, Bangity

I went to the range this morning. The target, below, was shot with a Ruger old-model Vaquero in .45 at 21 feet. One-handed, of course, it feels funny to fire such a gun with two hands.


I also tried out a couple of rounds of Buffalo Bore .45 loads. They do recoil a bit more, nothing objectionable.

Anyway, a coupe of months ago at a library, I was perusing through a book of short stories by Lous L'amour. The librarian told me that if I liked his work, that I really should read a couple of the westerns written by Robert B. Parker. So I did, being "Appalosaa" and "Gunman's Rhapsody"

"Suck" doesn't begin to describe them. Parker did no research on anything other than maybe the life of Wyatt Earp for "Gunman's Rhapsody." In Parker's version fo the Old West, everybody carried Colt pistols and Winchester rifles. He has Wyatt Earp carrying a "four-pound Colt"-- a Colt .45 weights maybe 43 oz., and it is pretty certain that Earp carried a Smith & Wesson (.44 or .45) for the same reason many lawmen of the time did: They were considerably faster to reload than a Colt SAA.

Parker also has people carrying .45 Winchester rifles, which didn't exist.* Winchester had problems making one that would reliably feed and extract a .45 Colt cartridge, so the weapon was never so offered.

Parker also has a train stop at a station for water; the engine pulls up under the tank and the crew removes "the boiler cap" to add water. Lawd have mercy, what the fuck did he think was in that boxy-looking car that locomotives pulled right behind them? Water was kept in the tender and that was what was refilled. No sane person would attempt to "take a cap off" a steaming boiler at 100-150psi;** Parker must have thought that adding water to a locomotive boiler was like refilling his tea kettle.

So if you want to read a western and you don't give a frak about anything approaching historical accuracy, then go for it.
_________________________________
*He specifically said that the rounds were interchangeable with Colt revolvers (Yes, I know about the Winchester 1876 and 1886. I'm pretty certain Parker didn't.)
** No such "boiler cap" existed. People were not that stupid.

13 comments:

Stewart Dean said...

Have you seen Cowboys and Aliens? The guns go pop, pop and hardly make the aliens even stagger. I'm not much on the guns of the time, but IIRC, the loads and lead were substantial. What say the experts?

Comrade Misfit said...

The aliens seem to have a hardened exterior. You may note that when one had Emmett Taggart (sheriff's grandson) trapped in a tiny cave, the alien pressed its belly up to the cave mouth and opened its belly door, revealing a set of hands that apparently were used for micro-manipulation. Emmett shoved a Bowie knife into the alien's belly and killed it.


The movie is science fiction; whose to say what the slug from a .44 Colt would have done to the aliens? handgun bullets don't know people flying. If they did, then shooting a gun would send the shooter flying (Newton's Third Law of Motion).

Comrade Misfit said...

More worrisome would be the fact that the cowboys had Peacemakers in 1873. I don't know how soon after the Army's adoption that they were sold to civilians, but I'd have expected the Army to have taken the first few thousand or so produced.

Peter said...

There was, of course, a round for which both the Colt SAA and Winchester Model 1873 were chambered: the .44-40. However, Colt didn't chamber the Peacemaker for it for several years (late 1870's, IIRC - perhaps 1878?). So, Parker's description of the 'common round' as a .45 wouldn't work for the .44-40 anyway.

Later, other rounds were chambered in common, such as the .38-40 and .32-20.

Oldfool said...

Reading Lous L'amour cured Ms. Oldfool and I of reading westerns. We really got tired of multiple lessons in how to build a campfire that doesn't smoke.
I tried max pressure loads in my 44 mag once. I loaded them myself back when I did that sort of thing. Couldn't hit any part of the barn unless I was in it. The next time I used a target load and I could hit the knot hole in the barn. Hmmmmmmmmm.

I use light loads in big bores. Bring some big corks if you plan to surprise me bandaids won't work.

I shot some targets this morning but out of five shots I only hit the target once. I hit a brown dog at 100+ feet with a 1950 Red Ryder BB gun. You can always tell when you have reached out and touched them because they go into warp 8 speed.

So satisfying and no living thing was hurt. They do find my yard an uncomfortable place to crap.

Anonymous said...

21 feet? 21 FEET??

We shoot pistol, even rapid fire pistol, at 25 meters here.

And yes, I do know that in the West duelling was done effectively at point blank ranges, Hollywood notwithstanding.

Comrade Misfit said...

Mostly indoor ranges around here, Stu. 50' ranges are far more common than 25 yard ones.

FBI studied gunfighting a long time ago and found that the vast majority of such unsocial activities takes place in less than seven yards.

The Vaquero isn't a target-grade gun. It has fixed sights and they are 19th-Century style ones, to boot. I'm near-sighted with presbyopia, the fact that I can even hit the damned target says something.

Comrade Misfit said...

Oldfool, some people prefer dog shit in their yards over having their yards chewed up by ground hogs.

Eck! said...

Having had the chance to shoot that Vaquero It's not a target shooter with fixed sights but at distances I can barely see without glasses and indoor low lighting hitting the target was fairly reliable. Its a fine shooter and plenty accurate for those unsocial types.

I'd say thats pretty good looking target. Way better
than mine.


Eck!

Comrade Misfit said...

Well, that was your first time ever shooting one.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I liked that series, and I liked the movie Ed Harris made from it. But I like Parker's stuff.

Yeah, he doesn't care about getting his gun stuff right. Even in his modern novels, Spenser has four firearms, a S&W .38 snubbie, a Browning 9mm, a S&W pump shotgun (which they might have made, but I would have expected a Mossberg or Remington) and a lever action rifle of unspecified caliber.

That's not the point, the point is the relationship between Hitch and Cole (or Spenser and Hawk). I like them. But chacun a son gout.

Eck! said...

Yep and every time I think about I smile, a lot.

Eck!

Firehand said...

Depending on the gun and your eyes and available light, 21' is a nice 'general practice' range. The indoor range I use has a 30-yard section rated for rifles, but with some sights I have to use it for 'general shooting' only; I wouldn't dare test a load for other than general functioning and an idea of accuracy because the light just isn't good enough.

Stewart, the .44 and .45 cartridges of the time threw a bullet of 200 to 250 grains at around 800-900feet per second; even if they don't penetrate, that's a fair amount of energy to soak up