.... December 2009 ~~~~ Editor:  Cliff Hanger ~~~~
"Thunder Valley" 2009

Well we had a turn out of about 25 shooters with several shooting two categories. The match director and stage writer (PFB) survived the day. The stages were not your conventional cas stages by today's standards. There where things to do reminiscent of years gone by.  Close targets,. Far targets. Flying targets. Nothing that couldn't be had by everyone. Well there was one clay bird that was only 12 feet out when it appeared about 10 feet in the air. There were stand and shoot stages. There where stages with moving but again nothing that would leave you breathless if you went all out on the stage and you could choose to not go forward if you wanted. Shoot from where you were.

Lion's Club put on their $5.00 lunch. Spaghetti, cole slaw buttered bun and a soda or bottle water. They even had ice cream for dessert. All for $5.00. 

Well planning for next year's "Thunder Valley" will get under way in a month or so. As always the information will be updated as it is received. So keep an eye on the Brimstone Pistoleros Main Page. 

Scores if you're interested

THUNDER VALLEY by Madd Mike <sassmaddmike@yahoo.com>

 The word waz out, that there was fighten to be had, at a place sometimes known as Thunder Valley.  That fact: had inspired the 3 hour, high speed drive, in the modern day covered wagon (Saturn). This drive was after, Early Dawn and Madd Mike crawled out of their warm cozy bed, on that very early Sunday morning.

 As they opened the front door of their homestead that predawn morning, after first peeking out of the shooting cross slots, built into the heavily timbered plank door (that's a lie), they waz, gazing for the tell tale signs of lurking saddle tramps or bush whackers, as are often spotted in the remote desert where they try ta hide. Instead they were greeted with cool crisp air, and a sky, still clutching its black background, a background that was enhanced with the twinkle of a vast universe full of stars. The ominous 10,000 ft peak on the horizon, showing a white capping of beautiful virgin snow, highlighted by the dim light of the starry night. What a start: to what would become a great day in life, of the every day CAS shooter.

The heavily braced pair was apprehensive yet excited, knowing full well they were headed for one of the greatest little western towns known to man, located in the southwestern rock and brush country. The slight apprehension was due to the reputation of the destination. A sometimes hot and dusty speck, in the territory of Californian known for it's, rip roaring 1800’s, Tombstone like gun fighting reputation.

The town was full of what looked like, all bad hombres, as they pulled up to the hitching post out front. They soon found badly needed hot coffee and old friends. One of the deadest fellers known to man signed em in, but the pair, refused to give up their guns. After many hello's to old friends and the introduction to new ones, they were fully geared up, and ready for action. Would they. could they.. possibly survive, what was about to transpire.

The town soon erupted into an almost steady echo of gunfire, as the stages were announced as fair game, to the dozens of outlaws on hand, placing them under siege with heavy smoke, and lead flying towards their intended targets. There were birds hiding behind wood piles ta shoot, nasty peach cans on fence posts for pistol practice, of course there was the usual saloon that needed clearing out. (we paid the posse leader to “NOT”  demonstrate the proper use of the brass dance pole by the real piano). Perhaps the Best of all? waz a great rifleman stage. “Start standing like Chuck Conners” with rifle horizontal at yer waist, then yere turned loose, to blast yer rifle from the hip (bonus) as you walked down, the path in front of you, looking fer them dirty low down varmints, that waz needin extermination. (Actually one huge target) what a hoot, the smoke got thicker on that stage with the rapid fire going on. 

When it was all said and done, the day turned out to be a 10+, hosting perfect weather, super duper stage writing and magnificent folks. 
This was soooooo….worth the trip, that them two gun tote-in Nevadans, not only survived the festivities, but they will be returning to this western town, for the all shotgun match, planned, to clear the town of bad hombres again: sometime in the near future. 

Thank you to all that put this shoot on, as that takes dedication. 

And thank you, to those that showed up to enjoy the fruits of their labor, and the making of new priceless memories. 
Madd Mike #8595

"Long Guns Of The West.  Part 1. The Henry"  by Tom "Forty Rod" Taylor

 Down the years we've seen The West “won” hundreds of times.  No matter the time period depicted, it was a good chance it was being won with Colt single action army six-shooters, trapdoor Springfield rifles or carbines, or lever action Winchesters…usually 1892 pattern carbines.

I cut my teeth, as many of you did, on movies and TV programs of this type, and I fell in love with the rifles of Oliver Fisher Winchester’s companies.

I have collected an example of the eight lever action rifle systems introduced between 1860 and 1895, those being the Henry (model 1860) made by the New Haven Arms Co., and Winchester models 1866, 1873, 1876, 1886, 1892, 1894, and 1895.  The first four are based on Henry’s designs, the last four are all designs of John Moses Browning.  My ’94 is a real, live Winchester from 1921, the rest are replicas, reproductions, or clones depending on your choice of terms.

I am going to go through the history of the originals one at a time, by year of introduction, most likely one each month until all eight have been covered or until the mob comes to drag me out under the big tree in the town square for a necktie party.  Not being an expert, I am relying on my extensive reference library of three or four books.

Ill start with the Henry rifle.

The Henry is a direct descendent of the Hunt, Jennings, and Volcanic.  To learn more about them you're going to have to do your own research.  I will tell you that Winchester was a major stockholder and eventual owner of New Haven Arms and owned something like eight hundred patents…including those of Plant Manager B. Tyler Henry.  Henry’s greatest contribution was the invention of a fully self-contained ‘cartridge’ comprised on a copper (later brass) cylindrical case with a ‘lip’ all the way around the closed end which held the priming substance called fulminate of Mercury.  This was then covered by 26 grains of powder and a 216 grain conical bullet.  While not totally waterproof, this first successful cartridge was considerably more so that any previous design.  It was also more powerful than any of its ancestors.  It is in honor of Mr. Henry that all Winchester rim fire cartridges bear the letter H to this day.  Mr. Henry also took the previous action designs of the Hunt, Jennings, and Volcanic and improved upon them, adding and extractor to pull either loaded or empty cartridges from the chamber, and devising a way to eject them away from the rifle once clear of the chamber.

Being a rim fire and being housed in a “brass” frame of a bronze alloy called gunmetal, the rifle was limited in its power.  Even the few made in (or converted to) center fire showed no performance improvement over the rim fire round. 

Standard barrel length was 24” with a butt stock of oil-finished walnut.  There was no fore stock due to the barrel-magazine design, which left the magazine open on the bottom for virtually its entire length.  Cartridges were loaded one atop the other by pulling the follower handle all the way forward until it stopped and then rotating the front of the barrel sleeve approximately 1/6 turn counter-clockwise.  To ready the rifle for action, the sleeve was turned back clockwise being careful not to let the follower ‘slam’ down on the cartridges in the magazine.  The cycling of the lever loaded one round from the magazine where it could be fired or ejected at the shooters choice.

The relatively weak rim fire ammunition (subject to being set off by a blow from the side), the awkwardness of loading, the fact that all the debris in the world could enter the open bottom of the magazine, the follower handle moving rearward to sometimes strike the shooters front hand stopping the feeding of the remaining ammunition, and the fact that rapidly firing the black powder ammunition heated up the un-insulated magazine and barrel to the point of pain were all negative attributes of the Henry.

Stability of the ammo, the ability to lay down a veritable blizzard of fire, and rapidity of reloading pretty much offset the other problems.

The ‘1860’ used in the rifle's identification may lead some to believe the weapon was on the market in that year, when it was in fact not in widespread use until 1862.

There were several variations of the Henry, including several iron framed models and at least two different frame shapes.  A very small number were fitted with prototype loading gates and even fewer with wooden fore stocks.  A few have been found with longer or shorter that 24” barrels, and finished other than the standard bluing.  A surprisingly large percentage were engraved, fully or partially plated, and some found with elaborately carved or checkered stocks.

Many came equipped with a swivel on the left side of the butt stock and a loop on the left side of the barrel-magazine about a foot behind the muzzle.

The Henry rifle was made from 1860 until replaced in 1866 by a New Model Henry rifle by the new Winchester Repeating Arms Co.

Very few modern replicas have been chambered for the original cartridge.  The vast majority were chambered in .44 WCF (.44-40), though more and more we are seeing .45 Colt and .38/.357 guns appearing.  A few are seen occasionally in even other calibers, but so far .44WCF is still king.

My personal rifle is a Uberti/Santa Fe Arms 24” octagonal barreled, .44-40, serial number 025xx.  It has ‘military’ swivels and a brass frame.  I bought it in March 1987 from Winston’s Sporting Goods of Upland, CA for $539.99 out the door.

Rowdy Yates did his magic it to slick it up, but aside from springs and polishing it is mechanically stock.

I added a brass inlay made and installed by Russ N. Hound. 

I wish all of you Merry Christmas and hope to see you next year.

Forty Rod

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