.... February 2010 ~~~~ Editor:  Cliff Hanger ~~~~
Double R Bar Drawing to raise money in Old Scout's name.

Remember 100% of ticket sales goes to Happy Trails Kids. 


Though often referred to as the first discovery of gold in California), the 1842 discovery of gold in the creeks and washes north of the Mission San Fernando near the present location of Santa Clarita postdates the initial discovery by some 61 years. (read this article for more about the earlier gold minig) The Placerita Canyon State and County Parks commemorate the gold discovery made by Francisco Lopez, Domingo Bermudez and Manuel Cota. Placer mining eventually was conducted throughout the area, the canyons which were worked include Santa Feliciano (or Felicia), Palomas, Haskell, Mint, Texas, San Francisquito and Pico. On March 9, 1842, Lopez, Bermudez and Cota found gold in Placerita Canyon at the eastern boundary of Rancho San Francisco while pulling wild onions for a after-siesta snack. This discovery sparked California's first gold rush.

Immediately after, on April 4, 1842, Lopez petitioned Governor Alvarado at Santa Barbara for mining title to the land. However, the site was within the Rancho, and title was not granted. The first gold produced was sent by Lopez to the Governor, who had it fashioned into earrings for his wife. Ygnacio Del Valle, owner of the Rancho, was required by the city council of the Pueblo of Los Angeles to request authority to collect charges for the miner's use of his firewood, water and forage. He received that authority on May 3rd.

In June, Del Valle reported that due to a shortage of water the number of miners had dropped to 50 from 100, but most miners were making more than a dollar a day. Over $60,000 was extracted in 1842 and 1843, some gold being shipped to the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. The diggings were actively worked at least until 1845, however, Mojave Indian raiders are reported to have driven miners from the canyon.

With the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill and the excitement of the Kern River rush in 1855, the area attracted new interest.

The placer mining activity was dependent primarily on rainfall; it suffered during drought and expanded during floods, not only from the increased water in rivers and creeks, but from landslides which exposed unworked gravels. Elaborate attempts to construct water ditches were made and limited attempts at hydraulic mining were also made but failed due to lack of water. In 1875, with completion of the Southern Pacific, Chinese laborers fanned out to work the deposits. Dry placer mining was first conducted around the turn-of-the century. Intermittent mining was conducted up through the turn-of the century and during the 1930s.

Gold Mining at Castaic and northeast

Francisco Lopez, co-discoverer of gold at Placerita Canyon, is also credited with discovery of gold in Santa Feliciano Canyon, a branch of Piru Creek and a tributary of the Santa Clara River, situated about 12 miles northwest of Newhall. This location may have even eclipsed the Placerita Canyon diggings, for it is referred to as "the great center of activity" shortly after its discovery in 1843. In 1854 Francisco Garcia reportedly made an end-of-season clean-up of $65,000. Mining drifted eastward down Palomas Canyon and regarded Jose Espinosa with a $1,900 nugget found at the junction of Palomas and Sheep Creek Canyons in the early 1850s. The area became known as the Las Palomas Mining District. W. M. Jenkins who settled here around 1862, was very active in mining in the area. The Mining and Scientific Press on October 1, 1881 reported that Jenkins was planning to construct a 14 mile water ditch from Sespe and Adanis Creeks to the Santa Feliciana placer mines at the cost of $100,000. This same reference gave an exaggerated production of the mines at $6 million. The fate of these plans is unknown. 

End of the Era Match - a Proposal by Prof Fuller Bullspit.

Cowboy Action Shooting is fun. Or at least it should be! Fun is why we put on the annual Brimstone Pistoleros Thunder Valley black powder match. The basis for that match is a more retro style all black powder match with some categories that hark back to an earlier period in the cowboy era. But something I have noticed is that the Monte Walsh category, which requires a
big bore lever rifle is always popular. Part of the reason seems to be that the Monte Walsh category gives folks a chance to shoot a gun that they don't get to use much in regular SASS categories.

That got me to thinking, which is always dangerous. You see, I have a few cowboy era, or near cowboy era guns that I just don't get to shoot enough! Since Thunder Valley is an all black powder shoot that is set more towards the beginning of the Cowboy era, what about a shoot that is more towards the end of the Cowboy era? 

The purpose of this article is to introduce an idea for this type of match to see if there is sufficient interest to give it a try. 

The spirit of this match is 1890-1900. The cowboy era is passing and the Spanish American War (1898) is in the news. There are still cowboys to be sure, but there are a lot more cowboys than cowboy jobs to be had. These tough men of the Cowboy era are aging, but still up for a fight or a hunt, joining Theodore Roosevelt in his Cuba campaign or whatever else comes their

Here is what I have in mind: A fun shoot that features the use of just one handgun and one rifle. I want to keep it simple so let's have only a few categories:

Category 1: Rough Rider
Requires one single action handgun and 1 pistol caliber lever action. This is the category for your regular main match cowboy guns. 

Category 2: Top Hand
Requires one single action handgun and 1 big bore rifle caliber lever gun. This is the same as Monte Walsh at Thunder Valley minus the shotgun. The lever gun needs to be in .38-55 or larger rifle caliber. Here is where you will shoot your straight wall big bore caliber lever guns.

Category 3: Sharpshooter
Requires one revolver and 1 rifle. This is the category for your 1894 Winchesters in rifle calibers like the .30-30, the 1895 Winchesters, 1899 Savage lever guns, Krags, 03 Springfields, Mausers or even your .351 Winchester self loader. Note that this category doesn't require a single action revolver. To be sure you can use a single action, but the idea here is to also allow some of the early double action revolvers like the various top breaks, Merwin Hulberts, Colt Lightning or Thunderer (if you can keep them working!), Webleys, or even Nagants (only loaded with 5 rounds of course). And yes, you can shoot your double action gun in the double action mode if you want.

. Lead bullets only. 
. Gas checks allowed on rifle caliber bullets.
. Keep your rifle velocity below 1500 fps to be kind to the steel.
. Maximum of 40 of rifle shells.
. Maximum of 50 pistol rounds. 

. Revolvers must be loaded with 5 rounds and the hammer must be down on an empty chamber.
. Revolvers may be holstered or staged per the shooters preference.
. Rifles will staged with the magazine loaded but the chamber will be empty until the stage begins.
. All rifles must use iron sights.
. An extra gun might be shot as part of some stages. The gun and ammo would be provided. 

Remember, the time frame is 1890-1900. You can get by with a pair of jeans or even overalls and a cotton shirt along with a pair of leather work boots and a wool stocking cap. A kilt is always appropriate. Of course a full cowboy outfit would work too. Or you could sport dress pants, black shoes, ascot and beret for a more artistic look. Just leave the ball caps and tennis
shoes at home. Anyone daring to wear a derby had better be darn good looking, charming and rich enough to get away with it.

Course of fire
Stages will be set up similar to a cowboy shoot, minus the shotgun.  The emphasis won't be so much on speed as most cowboy shoots, but this isn't really a true long range accuracy event either. Rifle targets will be set from 30 to 100 yards with any targets closer than 50 yards most likely being paper or a clay bird or something similar, again, to preserve the steel. Pistol shots will range from 5 yards out to 40 yards. Expect a range of sizes, heights and distances. You aren't likely to find a stage with a single dump target! You can expect some non-shooting action on the clock. 

Final Thoughts
As with Thunder Valley this match would allow you to shoot in two different categories if you want. I expect we would be happy to provide a ladies category option in any of the categories listed above. Black powder is certainly permitted, but not required, keeping in mind the time-frame this match is aiming for. 

Now you may be wondering why no auto loading pistols and no shotguns? The reason for no auto loading pistols is simple, just to make some room between the concept of this match and the Wild Bunch matches that are already around. As for shotguns, you need to save all your shotgun shells for the all shotgun match that Cliff Hanger is going to run!

On another note, this would be a great match to bring someone who has some shooting experience but isn't equipped for a cowboy match or maybe aren't quite ready to put on cowboy boots and a cowboy hat. Have them bring an old double action revolver and an old iron sighted rifle they have in their gun safe along with lead ammo and they are good to go. This match won't be one that requires a lot of speedy transitions or even a holster. Plus the dress options are easy to meet. 

If you are interested in attending a match like this, or have some suggestions let me know and if enough interest exists I'll work on it.

"Long Guns Of The West.  Part 3. The The Winchester Model 1873  by Tom "Forty Rod" Taylor

Although the ‘Yellowboy” was very successful it still had its faults, chiefly the under powered rim fire cartridge.  The dovetailed side plates were inconvenient to remove for cleaning and the open top of the receiver allowed dirt into the action. (Though this was never corrected on the Model 1866.) 

Enter the Model 1873 with a steel frame, easily removed side plates, a ‘dust cover’ over the ejection port, and chambered in the new .44 Winchester Central Fire cartridge, also known as .44 WCF and .44-40 Winchester.

There was also a new safety device incorporated in the design.  A spring-loaded piece was placed in the lower tang that prevented the gun from being fired if the lever were not held closed, thus ensuring that the bolt was fully forward.  The gun would not fire “out of battery”. 

The new cartridge was soon joined by .38-40, .32-20, and .22 rim fire.  There were a surprising number of the latter made (19,500) considering its size and weight, but the time was right for a small caliber, repeating rifle for small game.  This rifle is easily identified by a lack of a loading gate and a port for loading at the front of the magazine.

The ’73 was offered in the same barrel lengths and styles as the ’66, including muskets.  Standard finish was blued with oil stained walnut stocks, but color casehardening, nickel plating, and other finishes were common, and the ’73 is one of the most engraved rifles in history.

The rifle was an immediate winner and accepted across the country and abroad…for the most part.  A surprising note: The Model ’66 continued in production for a quarter century after the introduction of the ’73.  I guess some people won't easily accept change. 

Again, this gun's internal workings were essentially identical to the Henry and ’66, utilizing the now-familiar “toggle link” system.

The .73 Winchester, because of its excellent design and high quality, .44 and .38 (actually a .40) center fire cartridges, and the luck of timing, became arguably ‘the gun that won the west”.  Nearly ¾ million of them were made from 1873 until 1919

Reproductions of the 1873 very nearly dominate the CAS scene in some areas and are available in all the calibers mentioned in the previous two articles.  A few .22 versions have been made and are collectible in their own right.

My 1873 was a gift from my wife for Christmas, 1982, and the left side plate is so inscribed.  She paid $400.00 for it and it became the first of my ‘collection’.  It is also is a Uberti /
Santa Fe Arms 24” octagonal barreled .44-40, serial number 47xxx. 

Rowdy tuned this rifle in his usual way.  Russ N. Hound made and inlaid the first phoenix he did for me, this one of faux ’ivory’ in the right side of the butt and I added hook-and-eye Winchester swivels for a sling. 

Forty Rod

All articles submitted to the "Brimstone Gazette" are the property of the author, used with their expressed permission. 
The Brimstone Pistoleros are not responsible for any accidents which may occur from use of  loading data, firearms information, or recommendations published on the Brimstone Pistoleros web site.