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I first met Robert Smythe over 35 years ago.  A national shooting magazine had done an article on my Dad and some of his reloading inventions. Robert wrote to us inquiring about them.  From that early meeting a friendship grew that lasts today. I had a lot of good times on the Heart Bar Ranch near Saguache, Colorado, where Robert homesteaded.  We shot, talked guns and faith and politics and family.  Those days are pleasant memories. Robert passed over the Great Divide to be with his Maker 1988.  He still is my friend, though no longer on this earth. He was a true gentleman, a patriotic American, a Shootist. He influenced my life, John Taffin's, John Linebaugh's, my Dad (Allen Taylor's) and I imagine most everyone he ever met. I give you Robert Smythe, in his own words, leading you to


Robert Smythe

Guns have been one of the most enduring hobbies of my life, for few other interests have given me the pleasure they have. I count myself as being most fortunate in having lived in a time and place which permitted me considerable hunting of both small and big game and being privileged with the opportunity of shooting many different guns; such experience standing me in good stead during the years I served in the United States Marine Corps. Even so, this experience I consider as only a drop in the bucket as compared with the experience of some who lived before my time. However, since an interest has been expressed in some of my firearms activities of the past, I will herein set down a few of these experiences as I recall them.

All in all, I have spent a good many years "playing" with guns of various kinds and poking into their history, mechanics and philosophy, in an endeavor to find the best guns and loads for the different uses to which they were to be put. I realized years ago that I would never finish the job of learning everything there is to know about guns but, I have been, and am certainly enjoying trying to do that very thing.

I never lose an opportunity to learn something from the other fellow, be he sage of sourdough. Remaining a curious student throughout life renders one’s life interesting and progressive. With the hope that the following brief sketch of my activities may be just that for you, I set down these experiences.

First, let me (in part) pay my tribute to our great sport and hobby. In my estimation, firearms are among the greatest tools and offer more sport, thrills and health-building recreation and make more people happy, than most anything else on our globe. There are the Skeet shooters, the clay pigeon enthusiasts, the great annual rifle and handgun shoots, along with the thousands of rifle and pistol clubs which go on the range for practice and there are the millions of hunters who take themselves out into the clean, fresh air in the great mountains, fields, streams and prairies and meadows, and into the most remote parts of the world where land and water unmask their beauty, with game of every type, from the small rabbit to the great elephant. All of these things work magic in one’s soul.

The sunshine, fresh unpolluted air, vigorous exercise in a rigorous country, works wonders in one’s health. It strengthens the muscles, restores brain, and makes life worth the living; and it is the firearm that is responsible for it all. Show me a man who does not care for guns, shooting matches, game shooting, who has never received the rewards of the great out-of-doors, and I will show you a man whose life isn’t worth while. No one who has not had the hobby of guns and followed the outdoor life can fully realize just how important firearms are, in the way of building men (and women), both morally and physically.

The love of firearms developed in me at an early age, and ever since I have striven to increase my knowledge of them and their proper use. I do not know of any hobby which offers more in the way of relaxation and recreation, or a more fertile field for experimentation, that in loading ammunition and then shooting it, whether in hunting game, or shooting inanimate targets. The degree of skill necessary for one to be proficient at this is a constant challenge for improvement. It calls for, in the highest degree, the development of one’s full physical and mental capabilities. In my humble opinion, no other sport excels that of hunting for developing a person in the most complete manner a person is capable of attaining. In this, I am in full accord with the philosophy of one of the greatest Americans who ever lived – President Theodore Roosevelt.

A part of interest in firearms has developed as a result of my collection of guns. This collection has given me much pleasure, and is very interesting to the historian in me, for a part of the history of the United States is attached to each of them. Then, too, a large part of the pleasure which may be derived form a collection of firearms, is to handload ammunition for them, and then experimentally shoot the guns. I am aware that there are many collectors whose only pride is in the immaculate condition of their collection and they would "shrink in horror" at the thought o0f shooting any of their guns. But, my interest is the other way – my greatest pleasure is in determining how they perform. To me, "Beauty is as beauty does". However, I have no quarrel with anyone who is more interested in the "Mint" condition of their arms collection. As has been so aptly said: "Let every dog scratch his own fleas in his own way".

Collecting and shooting "hard to get" guns is a most fascinating hobby. The "Collector-shooter" can have as his goal, thousands more models and patterns that those of current manufacture. Gun collectors are of as many varieties as the guns they collect. Some collect only models of a given manufacturer, some pure antiques, some only moderns, some all types. Some never shoot the guns they collect; others shoot them all regularly. To my way of thinking, collecting and shooting guns can be a most fascinating diversion. Rest assured, you will never bring the subject to a conclusion in a life-time. If you are looking for a long-range hobby that will last, you need look no further.

Perhaps a few remarks on safety in handling firearms may be fitting here. I believe that all youth, girls as well as boys, should receive a through groundwork in the safe and proper handling of firearms. Then most so-called firearms accidents could be avoided. For most of these accidents are the result of sheer carelessness, and the way to eliminate this carelessness is by through training in the safe and proper handling of firearms.

One of my earliest experiences pertaining to firearms came about in this manner: (This episode was recounted to me many times during the years of my youth). One evening as my mother was preparing to feed me my supper – I being at the time some 3 years old and sitting in the "high-chair" awaiting my meal – my father walked into the kitchen having returned from hunting quail. He had his favorite Parker Bros., double-barrel, 12-gauge shotgun in his hands and as he walked in and closed the door, I, (according to the story), started to yell and pound the tray of the high-chair to get his attention. Thinking that I wanted him to come over to me, he leaned the shotgun against the wall and walked across the room to where I was. But, this action on his part did not cause me to stop my yelling and pounding on the tray. I kept looking at the gun and pointing towards it. Then, my mother said, "I believe he wants the quail gun". As I continued to yell and pound the table, calling, "gun, gun", my father went back and picked it up and returning he laid it across the tray of the high-chair, whereupon; as the story goes, I immediately stopped my yelling and started to pat the gun, gurgling all the while and with a most happy smile upon my face. Then I spread my arms over the gun as if to prevent anyone taking it from me, laid my head down on the stock and went to sleep. I no longer had any interest in my supper. My father had to awaken me so that my mother could give me my supper, but then I would not eat until the gun was laid on the table near by where I could see it while I ate. Ever after this, my parents said, anytime I cried, all they had to do to get me to stop, was to show me the gun and let me place my hands on it; I would then be overjoyed. Some children want their "teddy bear" in bed with them when they go to sleep – in my case it was a gun

Perhaps a psychologist could give a scientific (?) explanation of such child behavior, but to me it has meant only one thing: That some ingrained personality trait, "born and bred in the bone", has come down to me through the generations of my ancestry. Perhaps too, this may explain, at least in part, my great love for firearms of all kinds.

Incidentally, this same beautiful and sturdy Parker Bros. Shotgun, years after the above mentioned episode, stands in my gun cabinet, with its smooth bores as clean and as burnished as the day it left the proud hands of its maker. And today it still comes to cheek as smoothly and as comfortably as it has in the past in bringing to bag the thousands of quail and other upland game which have fallen when its voice of authority spoke. Even after digesting thousands of field loads it is still so tight that the insertion of a sheet of thin tissue paper between the barrels and the standing breech, will render very difficult its closing. Truly a magnificent masterpiece of the gunmaker’s arts.

I was about 9 years of age when my father permitted me to hunt with the Parker Bros. 12-gauge double, with light loads and then only under his personal supervision. I shall never forget my first rabbit taken with this gun if I live to be 100. I had jumped this bunny and as he swung around to my left, my father said, "Hold a gun length in front of him and shoot". Doing just that, the load of No. 6 chilled shot bowled "Peter" over neatly and with dispatch. I don’t know who was more proud – my father or myself.

About this time my father gave me my first rifle – a Winchester Model 1890, chambered for .22 Shorts. This rifle had had an interesting history prior to this time. Father had obtained it shortly after the Model was first introduced and had used it considerably as a squirrel rifle. While he was away from the farm going to College, he had loaned it to a farmer who wanted to use it for killing butcher stock and who had subsequently failed to clean it properly (if at all). Those old loads were poison to the .22’s of that day. Of course, we now know it wasn’t the powder that caused the trouble, but the priming composition. Be that as it may, when my father received the rifle back, the bore was ruined. Wanting me to learn, firsthand, the evils of neglect in the care of firearms, he had me attempt to clean the rifle. Nothing he could have said would have impressed me as did this procedure. So much so, that, to this day, I make a point of thoroughly cleaning my guns following their use, and periodically thereafter.

Following this experience, my father sent the Winchester Model 1890 rifle to the factory with instructions to replace the barrel with a new standard barrel, and further, to go through the entire rifle and replace any parts as needed and otherwise put it in like new condition. When the rifle was returned by the Winchester people, my father gave it to me. Since then it has remained my favorite.22 Rimfire rifle for hunting. Over the years, it ha brought to bag many cottontail rabbits and such pests as magpies, snakes, etc., around the Ranch. This is the rifle I learned to shoot with. It will still drive tacks at 50 feet, and altogether, I have a great fondness for it. It has served me well. A fitting representative of the accuracy, sturdy reliability and neat design that I have found in all of Winchester products. In all fields of human activity there seems to be a certain product that stands above all others – in the rifle field that one is – Winchester. At least that has been my experience over years of shooting many types of rifles.

I spent my 14th birthday with my parents on the Island of Cuba (pre-Castro) in the West Indies. While in Cuba, I had the opportunity to engage in considerable shooting, mostly with the Parker Bros. 12-gauge double. Using it to bag many wild guineas which were quite numerous in some areas at the time. I also did considerable hunting (at least one day a week) with the Parker – using buckshot loads on deer and round ball loads on wild hogs, there being no closed season on any of this game during the time I spent there. Incidentally, the shotgun loads I just mentioned – the field loads of No. 6 shot, the buckshot loads and the round ball loads were loaded by myself and were the first ammunition I had ever loaded. As I recall, it was necessary to spend at least two evenings prior to each hunt to load enough shells for the proposed day’s sport, as I had only the simplest hand tools for the job. But, I learned a lot and what a thrill it was to bag the game with shells I had loaded myself!

During my residence in Cuba I also had the opportunity to shoot the Model 1903 Springfield .30-06 rifle. It came about in this way: On several hunts, both for deer and wild hogs, a couple of Rurales (Cuban police) joined us. They were armed with the ’03 Springfield rifles and 150 grain, full-jacketed bullet loads and were quite willing for me to try the combination out, both at targets and on game. I recall one of them tying an empty .30-06 cartridge case to a branch of a shrub and asking me to try hitting it. And hit I did, after firing a clip of cartridges to "get the feel" of the rifle. I earned too, that I had better keep my right thumb straight along the right side of the stock it I didn’t want a bloody nose!

On one hunt after wild hogs I had the opportunity to use the .30-06, when the hounds brought a large boar to bay. I shot him in the ear. Most any gun would have done the job as well in this instance, even my little Model 1890 .22 Short, which we used so much to drop stock when butchering, My father had taught me that the proper way to shoot butcher stock was to draw an imaginary cross (X) on the animal’s forehead by drawing said line from the right ear to the left eye, and another from the left ear to the right eye, and where these two lines would cross (forming the X) was the exact spot to hit with the bullet. This will put any animal down, and then it should be "stuck" and bled out immediately. On butcher stock this always gave the best meat as it would be well bled out; no meat would be destroyed and the meat would keep better. But this should not be done with a heavy caliber; heavily loaded; as the bullet would then penetrate back into the animal ruining much good meat.

I also shot several deer with the .30-06 and the same full-jacketed bullets. Not the best for game shooting, admittedly, but they seemed to get the job done satisfactorily. Since then I have paid little attention when someone would "chant" about the evils of using full-jacketed bullets on game animals. I used them with good effect then (and other times later), and if nothing better was available, would use them again. However, my experience over the years has taught me how to alter these full-jacketed bullets into first-class hunting bullets, so if time permitted, I would now so alter such bullets before I used them on big game.

Most of the game I hunted in Cuba, however, was brought down with the 12-gauge Parker gun, using No. 6 shot on the birds, and either buckshot or a round "punkin" ball on the deer, and the ball on wild hogs, All of this ammo that I used, was loaded by myself as mentioned above. Components were all bought locally, with the Winchester Ranger shells, wads and primers being imported from the States, while the shot and powder came from Spain. The balls were molded on the Plantation from lead obtained locally.

In this hunting of both deer and wild hogs, packs of hounds were used to drive the game in the jungles, the hunters being placed on "stands". The jungle growth was so thick that otherwise, the hunter would never have a chance at seeing game, and one had to get his shot off "muy pronto".

The Rurales (police) "frowned" upon the idea of me packing a handgun of any kind but I had the use of several nevertheless. I became acquainted with a couple of Rurales who kind of "adopted" me (and El Jefe, who looked the other way. Thus I was able to get familiar with the side arms they carried: the .45ACP. (Remember: I was only 14 years of age). I shot several wild boars with the .45 ACP, but, that was nothing to get excited about since the hogs were brought to bay by the hounds; a heavy load was not really necessary.

Also in the handgun category I became acquainted with two Americans who had taken up permanent residence there and who had large land holdings. Since they were both avid hunters also, we got along well. They both packed sixguns every day: Clyde Jewett using a Colt New Service, with the .38 Special on the .45 caliber frame. He used the heaviest .38 Special loads he could get, but he was not a reloader.

My other hunter friend of those days was Sumner Pingree who grew up on a large cattle ranch in Camaguey Province. He learned the cattle business from A to Z and later obtained a large tract of land in the eastern part of Cuba -–Oriente Province. Sumner preferred the Colt Single Action Army model. He had three different calibers in these, .32-20, .38 Special and .45 Long Colt. As he explained it to me; he found the .32-20 somewhat on the light side for general use and preferred the .38 Special in heavy loads. But, when he traveled deep into the jungle where he might have need for a heavier load, he would choose the SAA in the .45 Long Colt caliber. He never took a rifle with him. Sumner also was not a reloader. Both men packed their sixguns in open – top holsters with leather thong over the hammer spur.

On those "social" occasions when, for obvious reasons, it was inadvisable to carry one of the bigger guns, they used their "hideaway" gun. Clyde carried a small .25 ACP which even he admitted might not be adequate in an emergency, but he couldn’t speak from experience. It didn’t appeal to me either, so I gave it "short shift". However, Sumner’s hideaway was a light frame Colt D. A. with 2" barrel and the grip cut down. It had a length of only about 6" over all and weighed only a little over a pound. It fired the .38 Spec. cartridge so it was a fairly potent package. When he could wear a coat, he carried it in a shoulder holster, but, at other times, he carried it in a small belt holster.

I was, indeed, most fortunate in having the opportunity to use these guns of my friends. We engaged in informal target practice and had several hunts after the wild hogs were I had some good shoots to bag a number of these critters. I owe a lot to these men as they were the ones who actually get me interested and started on the trail to sixgun hunting. They put a fever in my bolld that nothing since has been able to cure.

Before closing my remarks on this first Cuban experience, I would like to describe a couple of other incidents, not directly related to guns, but distinctly a part of my life.

From early boyhood I had wanted to be a "cowboy", so when an opportunity came along to become one while residing there, I jumped at the chance. So for several months I was in the saddle all day and every day, riding line most of the time, but also rounding up horses and mules, stock cattle and oxen (most of the heavy hauling was done with oxen).

It was on one of these rides that an interesting incident occurred. I was riding along the trail which at a certain point passed under a tree; the lowest branch of which would barely clear a horse’s head. But, upon approaching the tree, my mount shied away and refused to proceed. While I was trying to get Jeff to take the trail (there was no other way to go unless I turned back down the way I had come), I studied that tree for anything unusual. Finally, I thought I saw the limb move and then looking closer, saw it was a large snake (Boa Constrictor) looped around a limb. I didn’t have a gun with me (and it was sure badly missed), but I did have a long Machete on the saddle. (Everyone carried a Machete when riding in those jungles). I drew my blade and finally persuaded Jeff to get me close enough to take a long swing at it. It’s head hung down below the branch and my swing took its head off as clean as whistle. Its convulsions soon had it on the ground and as soon as I could I skinned it out for a trophy. It skinned out to some 8 feet long and 6 inches wide. When I returned to the Home Corrals, I showed it to my friend Sumner and he was quite impressed and promised to send the skin to a tannery in Guantanomo. When it was returned to me, I displayed it in the Lobby of the American Club where I lived at the time. Later, when I returned to the States I was able to get the skin through Customs and I still have it – displayed on the wall of my Den.

Following the above incident and in talking with my friend, I remarked that I should have had a sixgun to take that Boa. He agreed and said he would take care of it. Next morning he met me at the Corral before I rode out with a little Colt Army Special in .32-20 caliber and a box of ammo for it. But, no holster. He said it wouldn’t do to be caught packing the gun on me. He said, "keep it in your saddle bags and then it a Rurale meets you, you wouldn’t get in trouble". Out of sight, out of mind, I reckon. I carried that fine little gun for the rest of the time I rode for the outfit, and I used it. My friend was quite liberal with the ammo supply.

I certainly had some varied experiences during this period of my life. So many, they would fill a book. But, because of space limitations I can not cover them here. One other incident, however, even thought also not connected with guns, I must mention. If even just to indicate how really varied my life then was.

One day after I had been riding for the outfit for some eight months, the Boss called me into the Office and said they had a problem. It seemed that the Sugar Corporation had lost their locomotive fireman and could I pinch hit until another fireman could be brought down from the States? I hesitated as I was pretty well satisfied with my riding job and the opportunity to keep that .32-20 smoking. But finally, after being promised a big increase in wages, who could turn it down? Engineer Goodrich kind of "took me under his wing", so to speak, and proceeded to teach me some of the many aspects of railroading. Maybe you don’t know how thrilling it is to ride a buckin’ 40 ton Baldwin locomotive down a narrow pair of tracks at dawn with a long line of sugar cane cars strung out behind you! We were told to keep that cane coming – and that we did!

It was during this period that I contracted Malaria. Despite all the quinine I could take, I couldn’t break its hold on me, so, as soon as a replacement fireman arrived (some months later), I decided to leave Cuba and return to the States, hoping to stamp the disease out of my system.

After returning to the states, taking up residence at Longmont, Colorado, (where my parents resided), I continued my shooting and experimenting. Wanting to do some black powder shooting, I obtained a Colt Model 1860 Cap & Ball sixgun in .44 caliber. I was only 16 at the time, but I did much shooting with this gun and learned a lot

Soon after I had settled at Longmont, I met an old cowboy – Shorty James – who had rode for ranchers all over Eastern Colorado. He now was ranching for himself and had a small spread West of town, out in the foothills.

Shorty was a real sixgunner and he packed an old "Peacemaker" in .45 LC every day when he was on his Ranch. He had quite a collection of the old Colts in various calibers, but the .45LC was his favorite. So he proceeded to convince me that I should make it mine also. He shot mostly blackpowder loads, reloading his own using the load "Ideal" tools. Much of what I have learned about loading and using blackpowder was gained from his unselfish teaching and coaching. I had returned to school but spent every weekend and the summer vacation months with him learning the many jobs on a working Cow Ranch - building and repairing fences, corrals, sheds and other buildings; putting up hay; branding; dehorning and vaccinating calves, etc., etc., and hunting and shooting at every opportunity. Hard work, but, a lot of fun along with it.

Perhaps some who read this may be interested in a few of the "kinks" in using blackpowder that were passed on to me. (Others, of course, always have the opportunity to "skip" over them if they so desire. But, not experiencing the pleasures of shooting blackpowder will cause one to miss a lot in this grand game of shooting).

For the 1860 Army Model .44 and charge of 20 grains FFg was recommended for a steady diet at targets and such small game we had in the area. And if I ever wanted to use this gun on heavier game – such as deer – a somewhat heavier charge would be advisable, in fact, one could safely use all the FFg blackpowder the chambers would hold and still seat the bullet.

Pure lead was mostly used for these bullets, but he found that a mixture of 1 part tin to 25 parts lead would produce a bullet of about the proper temper. In the old days, a lubricated wad between bullet and powder charge was rarely, if ever, used. However, a well lubricated wad of felt placed between powder and bullet will cut down on powder fouling. The wads are cut with a .45 caliber wadcutter, from hat felt, or similar material, which had been soaked in a hot mixture of 1 part beeswax to 2 parts tallow.

Another stunt to cut down on powder fouling (blackpowder must be compressed) is to use yellow corn meal over the powder. After loading the reduced charge of FFg, follow with the cornmeal, leaving room to seat the bullet. This cuts down on fouling and the corn oil in the meal gives some lubrication.

In some of the smaller calibers, powder of a finer granulation – say – FFFg will perform more satisfactorily, as it burns quickly and is entirely consumed before leaving the barrel. Before loading, run a copper wire of the proper diameter through each tube on the sixgun to make sure that each is clear.

If the screws that hold the trigger guard and back strap to the frame loosen, remove each screw, put a drop or two of linseed oil on the threads and set up snugly. The oil will congeal, effectively preventing the screws from loosening, yet they may be removed at will with a heavy screwdriver of the proper size and shape.

After several years of this idyllic life and having completed High School, I had to look for a full-time job. As fate would have it, about this time, I received a letter from My old friend of Cuban days, Sumner Pingree. In it he said that the Sugar Corporation there had been reorganized with him as President and General Manager and would I come down and join him. Well, the school was over, it seemed that I had pretty well licked the Malaria, the salary offered was great, and I was 18 and out of a job! So what could I lose? So soon I was on my way South.

I was asked to take the position of Livestock Manager which kept me busy and most interesting work it was – all except the daily reports I had to make – sometimes writing them up until 10 P.M. But, on week-ends – that was set aside for hunting. And hunting we did – the Boss wouldn’t let anything interfere with that! We hunted deer, wild hogs with the hounds and occasionally I was able to slip out for a short shoot for guineas.

My old friend had advised me not to attempt to bring any firearms with me from the States, but he had, in his own collection, enough to take care of my requirements. I chose a fine Fox Sterlingworth double, in 12 gauge, with 28" barrels bored Modified and Full. It fitted me better than some of the others in my friend’s collection. I used factory loaded upland game loads with size #6 shot, imported form the States.

In hunting deer and wild hogs, I chose to pack a .45LC in the Colt SAA. The cartridges were all factory loads (also from the States) as my friend he just didn’t have the time for reloading. Since I didn’t have the spare time either, I had to take the easy way out and use what I could get in the way of ammo.

After two years of residence, I had a severe attack of Malaria, which may have been a recurrence of my previous trouble with it. Finally, it became so severe that I came to the conclusion that the Tropics were no place for a White Man to live in indefinitely, so I decided to return to the States permanently and try to forget the lure of the Tropics.

Returning to Longmont, Colorado, I spent the next several months under the best medical care I could get, fighting the Malarial I looked up my old friend, Shorty, and spent as much time with him as possible, working, riding, shooting. I think that last did me more good than all the medicine I had to take.

By the following Spring, I felt recovered enough to take a "scouting" trip to the South-central part of the state, on the look-out for a ranching location. I found what I liked in the Northwest corner of the San Luis Valley and returned home to talk it over with my father. He liked the idea so as soon as he could get away for a few weeks we left for the Valley. Since the location looked good to him, we obtained 1500 acres of ranching land there. During the following months, I hauled several loads of belonging (including my guns!) to the Ranch and started "Batching", my parents continuing to live at their Longmont residence

During the next several years I continued to build up our herd of cattle, and, along with fence building and repairs and, that too of corrals, buildings, etc., occupied me – except for hunting and fishing.

In the decade following, I traded, bought and borrowed every kind of gun, rifle, shotgun and handgun that I could get my hands on. These were all put through their paces, principally with reloads (using factory loads for "controls") ever experimenting to find my "ideal" gun. I never did determine, to my satisfaction, which was the best gun, but did learn they all had some advantages, and some disadvantages, as compared to others. The principal criterion I used was: "What particular use do I want the gun for?" Of course, there are some guns which can be used fairly well for several different jobs, especially with handloads, but there is always one use to which they are best adapted. Thus, I was never much of a "on-gun" hunter, but rather preferred to find the gun best adapted, under my conditions, for the specific kind of hunting I wanted to do at the time and then I chose that gun. Consequently, my gun collection, or "battery" has been larger than many other hunters would care to have.

As the newer calibers, and the guns for them came on the market, I tried them out to determine how well they were fitted to my kind of hunting. Most of them were traded off, or sold outright, a few others were added to my collection and still fewer became my favorites.

During this period of time, it was my custom to spend Christmas with my parents who were still residing in Longmont. I recall one Christmas day when Dad and I went out on our usual cottontail rabbit hunt some miles West of town. He used the Parker 12 gauge double while I used a beautiful little Parker 28 gauge double with 26" barrels (both barrels ½ choke). I had a couple of boxes of (21/4 – dram, ¾ - oz. #7 ½ shot) shells. Man, it was heaven! I found I was shooting the sweetest little cottontail gun I had ever had in my hands. The way it rolled those bunnies was a revelation. I had borrowed this gun from a friend of my father for this hunt and he wouldn’t sell it. I wouldn’t have either after I found out how it shot for me.

On another hunt I went out with Father to the Briggsdale country North-east of Longmont, where we tackled the jackrabbits there. Dad used the 12 gauge Parker, while I used an old Parker 10 gauge double in which I shot heavy loads of blackpowder behind #5 shot. These were some old loads I had picked up. I had the time of my life shooting this old blackpowder gun. It was deadly on those jacks. There were always several jacks in gun range all the time and as I shot until my shoulder said, "Enough"! These hunts were repeated for some years, until my Father having retired; my parents moved down to the Ranch.

Going back to the years when I first settled on the Ranch; my Father bought a new Colt .22LR Woodsman pistol, along with 1000 rounds of Super-X H.P. ammo and "gave me my orders" to, "thin out these prairie dogs or you won’t have any grass left for your cattle", I proceeded to do just that, not only with the 1000 rounds but several 1000’s after them.

Provided a good solid hit was made in the forequarters of the sod-poodles, a kill was made with the Long Rifle Hollow-points. But, I reckon I got too confident and started to take shots at them running. Sometimes, I (accidentally) hit them in the head and anchored them before they were able to get to the safety of their holes, but that was not always a sure thing with me.

One of the cowpokes on a Ranch some 10 miles South of me wanted a pair of fancy chaps more than he wanted his sixgun, so I traded him a pair of exhibition chaps for an almost new Colt Single Action Army sixgun in .32-20 caliber with 7 ½" barrel complete with holster to fit, cartridge belt and a box of factory cartridges with the 115 grain jacketed soft-point bullet. I had a great time using this gun on jacks and coyotes but, with the factory loads, it was a little more than necessary for the dogs.

Obtaining a Winchester "tong" reloading tool for the .32-20 and a bullet mould for the #3118 bullet from Bill Sprague of Portland, Oregon, I soon had a bunch of bullets run and loaded my .32-20 cases with all the FFg blackpowder they would hold and still seat the bullet lubricated with a 50-50 mixture of beeswax and tallow. This made a good load for prairie dogs, but very foul burning.

I then went back to my old cornmeal technique – using only 15 grains of FFg and balance of the load with cornmeal. This shot much cleaner and appeared to be equal in power of loads, with a straight 20 grains FFg. For a light load I used 10 grains FFg and balance of case filled with cornmeal. This mow made the .32-20 fine for prairie dogs – much better than any .22 in the sixgun.

When using my .32-20 rifle (Model 1892 Win.) on coyotes, I preferred using factory smokeless loads behind the 80 grain Open-point bullet. This load was quite affective out to 150 yards or so, but it wasn’t necessary for the smaller stuff. And for jacks, I preferred my reloads using either my ‘cornmeal" load previously mentioned or, using smokeless powder primers, I loaded 3.0 grains DuPont #80 smokeless powder against the primer, then 15.0 grains FFg black with the 115 grain cast lead bullet (#3118). This load made a full power load for the .32-20 and was even cleaner shooting than the cornmeal load. For full power loads in either rifle or sixgun, I preferred it; but in the midrange and low power range, I liked the "Smudgeless cornmeal loads best.

With the .45LC sixgun, I used a smudgeless load of 30.0 grains FFg and balance of load cornmeal behind the #454190 bullet. This made a good load for jacks. I obtained a sixgun from R.T. Frazer of Pueblo, Colorado. (They were well known over the West for many years for their fine leather work). This made a good outfit for an everyday "Ranch gun". I packed it whenever I went out on the Ranch and took a shot at everything I jumped.

About this time, on a trip to Denver, I stopped in to visit with Dave Cook, sporting goods dealer. Dave carried a huge stock of guns of all kinds along with reloading components of every kind and description. I spent many an interesting hour with him discussing our grand old game of guns and shooting. On this occasion, I was able to get a Model 1895 Winchester in .30-06 caliber. Learning that Dave had some surplus military .30-06 ammo at a bargain price, I bought 500 rounds of it for some experiments I wanted to make in altering the jacketed bullets for use on game.

Later, I altered the bullets by filing with a thin file, (a jeweler’s hacksaw is better), 3 notches in the nose of the bullet jacket. I made these notches 3/16" back from the point at right angles to the bullet and just short of connecting with each other and just through the jacket at the center of the notch, leaving a little of the jacket solid between the ends of the notches. After testing some 25 loads at the bench rest. I found that they shot as accurately as before and they fed through the magazine good. I shot quite a few coyotes with this altered bullet and found they gave prompt execution. Also using this bullet in the same Model ’95 Win., I shot my first, real good Mule Deer head. All in all, it was a good combination of rifle and load.

I shot the Model 1894 Winchester in .25-35 caliber and found it fairly accurate – at least enough so for hunting purposes for which it was designed. It would make a good gun for jacks and coyotes, but, I consider it too light for Mule Deer, the principal use I wanted it for. I found in shooting that there was considerable horizontal dispersion in a brisk cross wind such as we usually have here with the 87 grain bullet. On calm day, however, it gave a good account of itself on small game. The 117 grain bullet would be best for deer. However, I found it too light for my use so I passed it up. As our old friend Keith was wont to say about these light guns, "It has neither the velocity, nor the caliber, nor the weight of bullet, any one of which would make it a better killer".

Through the efforts of several cowpuncher friends who, knowing of my hobby of experimenting and shooting various guns all types and calibers, I was able to locate many that would otherwise never be available to me. As a result of this, I was able to have the opportunity of testing guns I would have had to purchase first. In this manner I obtained for testing several of the Savage lever action rifles in several different calibers. I know a lot of hunters who think these rifles are the finest every made. However, my trials of them failed to convince me of this.

In the shotgun category, my favorites have long been the doubles. I have shot a lot of them in testing for patterns, upland game, ducks, geese and some big game such as deer and wild hogs, as previously mentioned. All in all, I consider the shotgun a most versatile tool.

In testing the shotguns, I used the idea of super-imposing an outline (life-size) of either a rabbit, dove or a duck (depending upon the type of load being tested) on the 2 foot square of paper used for patterning in the center. With the duck target, I shot from 40 yards, with the dove from 30 yards and with the rabbit from 20 yards. After firing at the game size pattern, a sheet of heavy plastic (2’ x 2’), marked off to contain 64 3" squares, is super-imposing over the pattern and the number of hits per square, the number on the "game" and how many is readily seen. A minimum of 3 hits per 3" square on the game is needed for a killing pattern.

At one time I experimented with the idea of developing "sub-loads" for my big game rifles for use as grouse and rabbit loads when deer hunting . This was before I learned that when one was hunting deer, he shouldn’t "monkey" with grouse or rabbits. Anyway, taking the Krag .30-40 rifle as an example, I obtained a supplemental chamber to use the .32 S&W cartridge in. This worked good, especially if loaded with a good flat-point bullet for pot shooting grouse, rabbits and similar game. The factory loaded round-point can be greatly improved for game shooting by giving the bullet a flat point, a practice I follow with all round-point factory loads I use in sixguns for game. I do this by filing off 8 or 10 grains of the round nose, making it a plat-point bullet. When "flatting" the bullet in this way, care should be taken to have the flat as nearly level or "true" as possible. The best way to do this is to use a "jig" such as has been developed by my good friend, Allen Taylor. This works especially well with the .22 Long Rifle rimfires for use in both rifle and sixgun. I find them better than hollow points for small game.

I mentioned using the .30-30 Krag. I found the .30-40 cartridge a very good big game load, especially with the 220 grain bullet (when I could connect). I tried several "run-of-the-mill" Krags but never could get the accuracy I wanted out of them. There must have been some good Krags worked over by custom gunsmiths that were good accurate hunting guns as they were popular at one time. I heard that Winchester made a few Model 54’s in the .30-40, but none of them ever came my way. Also the Model 1895 Win. Was made in this caliber for awhile. All in all, I have a lot of respect for that good .30-40 cartridge – like the .30-06.

As one of the "giants" of the past, Colonel Townsend Whelan has said, "The .30-06 is never a mistake. This has been my experience with this cartridge and its many different loadings with bullets of many different types and weights from 74 grains to 250 grains. Much could be said about this cartridge and the rifles it can be fired in but space limitations again prevent my doing so at this time.

Early in my life I was fortunate to obtain a .33 Win. In the Model 1886 Winchester rifle. This rifle handled so well and gave such excellent results on all of our big game that I used it for years, only laying it aside for its great successor – the Model 71 Winchester or the .348 Win. Cartridge. For a timber rifle, the Model 71 can’t be beat. For that type of shooting it is easily my favorite to this day. (webmasters note: after Robert passed away I obtained the Model 71 from Mrs. Smythe.  Robert has purchased it new in 1938)

During my Marine experience, I became familiar with most of the small arms with which the Corps were equipped at the time. Here I will mention but two, the famous Garand (semi-automatic) .30-06 rifle M1 and the Marine’s long time favorite – the .45ACP. With the rifle, I made Expert, (this rating gave me a $5.00 per month bonus in my pay), while with the Colt Model 1911 pistol, I fired a 91 percent score to tie the record fired on the Pistol Range at Camp Mathews.

These, (and other) experienced with the .30-06 cartridge and the .45ACP purposes for which they were designed to be used, they were "tops" in the Marine armament. I used them effectively then and I consider them most effective now. May I repeat Colonel Whelan’s pronouncement, "The .30-06 is never a mistake. The .45ACP, in the Colt pistol, for combat or personal defense is also, never a mistake

After leaving active duty in the Marine Corps, I returned to my old "stamping grounds", Heart Bar Ranch, where I resumed my ranching operations, my experimenting and hunting activities. While not dropping all of my blackpowder shooting, my experimenting now turned more and more to smokeless powder and more powerful loads, especially for use in sixguns for hunting game – both small and big game up to Mule Deer, Elk and Bear.

Over the years and now from time to time, I do a lot of shooting with the .22 rimfires and the smaller .32 center fires. I still have a fondness for my old friend, the .32-20 and have developed some good loads for the same.

In working up some heavy loads with smokeless powder in the .32-20 caliber, I have had trouble with the inherent weakness of the cases in this caliber. To overcome this, I got a bunch of .32 semi-rimmed, and full-length resized them for use in my .32-20 sixguns.

One of the best bullets for heavy smokeless loads in the .32-20 is the old 80 grain jacketed open-point which I open up to 1/8" cavity, 3/8" deep, which cuts the weight to 76 grains. This bullet ahead of 3.5 grs. Bullseye gives fine accuracy and great killing power; gives one shot kills on jacks, but is a maximum load. A maximum load of 6.0 gr. Unique has been used, also 9.0 gr. Of #2400, but as a rule these loads do not burn cleanly. However, with a light booster priming charge of FFg blackpowder, with a decrease in the main charge load. (These old 80 grain jacketed bullets are no longer on the market but, although I have not used them as yet, I see no reason why the light bullets for the new .32 Magnum would not work as well).

With full power loads the .38 Special has some advantage over the .32-20. In performance and in light loads, the difference is slight. From a reloading standpoint, the .32 Special has the edge as it is a straight sided case, while the slight bottle-neck of the .32-20 creates some difficulties. In applying my "duplex" loading to the .38 Special, the same procedure is followed as for the .32-20. The same for the .357 Magnum.

The heaviest loads for the .357 Mag are obtained with #2400 powder. I never use over 14.0 grs. And 12.0 grs. Is a better and much safer load. After testing several different bullets in the .357, I have settled on the Ideal #358345, which casts out at 125 grains. I use this bullet for all of my cast bullet loads in the .357 Mag. And .38 Spec. loads.

With the #358345 bullet, for heavy loads, I use either 12.0 grains #2400 or 6.0 grains Unique. All bullets size to .358". These loads average 4" at 50 yards in my guns.

Lead-alloy bullets of 125 to 160 grains weight can be used with 3.0 to 3.5 grains of Bullseye, (the heaviest loads with the lightest bullets). All bullets sized to .358". The case is straight-sided and easy to reload for a gallery, basement of other indoor use with a round ball (size 000) or buckshot .358" to .360" and a charge of 2.5 grs. Weight of Bullseye. However, for this I would prefer a charge of 3.0 grs. Bullseye under Allen Taylor’s "Slip-in" bullet.

Any 120 to 160 grain .358" bullet can be used with the comparatively weak load of 6.0 grs. #2400 powder, but performs better if a booster priming charge of 3.0 grs. FFFg blackpowder is added next to the primer. Using the same gun I did some group shooting with 9.0 grs. #2400, using different bullets, cases and primers, without any appreciable change in impact at 25 yards. Results also improved when the booster of 3.0 grs. FFg blackpowder was used. Although #2400 powder burns best at higher pressures than that developed by these loads, the groups were consistently good and I scored above 80 on the Standard American target. I used any make .357 or .38 Spec. Case I had on hand, an any pistol or rifle primer that would fit the case. (I call it my "Clean Up" load). Yet the loads grouped consistently good. The load did so well I tried it at 50 yards for impact and core. The impact was 5" above point of aim at 50 yards, which was favorable for a 6 o’clock hold and I got offhand scores of 88 and 83 on the S.A. target.

On jackrabbits I found the .357 Mag. to be inferior in killing power to the larger bores but superior to the .38 Spec. and smaller sixgun calibers.

With the .38 Special, on one hunt, I had a 2-neck-hit kills out of 10 shots. The other 8 shots included 3 missed, 2 visible hits which escaped and 3 paunch-hit jacks which were recovered. (With the .32-20 sixgun, I had better results on 3 jacks out of 6 shots. The other 3 shots were misses and 2 of the kills were paunch hits). With the .357 Mag., I got 7 jacks out of 19 shots, all within 50 yards. With the factory (.357 load) I had 5 misses and 3 neck hit hills and 2 paunch hits which did not kill. With my handloads, I had 3 misses and 4 clean kills, of which 3 were paunch hits. I had 2 paunch or rear-end hits which did not kill.

With all sixgun loads, it is very important that they be used with the bullets sized right for the individual guns and not more than .001" over groove diameter in the .401 Mag., .44 Spec., .44 Mag. or .45 Colt barrels and the cylinder throats must be large enough to allow the sized bullets to pass through easily by hand.

In concluding my remarks on the .357 Magnum, I would add that I do not believe it advisable to hunt big game of the kind we have here in Colorado with the .357 Mag. For the smaller Eastern game, it may be just the thing, but this is beyond the realms of my own experience.

We come now, in my brief remarks of some of the sixgun calibers I have used, to a caliber that is not familiar to most sixgunners. It is a caliber that should have never been allowed to become obsolete, in my humble opinion. I have reference to the .401 Magnum (Herter "PowerMag"

I realize that some enthusiastic supporters of the .41 Mag., will likely berate me for even mentioning the two in the same breath, but, this sketch is supposed to be about my own experiences and I would be less than honest if I neglected to give those experiences, especially so when they pertain to the .401 Mag., so much more than to the .41 Mag. I will leave any differences to be pointed out by those thoroughly familiar with the .41 Mag.

The .401 Mag. uses a case of the same length as the .357 and .44 Magnums, with a velocity (with 180 grain, soft-point jacketed bullets in factory loads), of about 1500 fps. With lead-alloy and short (half) jacketed bullets in full loads, a velocity of sound or near 1100 fps for cast and about 1400 fps for the half-jacket bullets is near maximum. Factory loads gave an average of about 35,000 pounds pressure. It is necessary that this cartridge be used in a heavy (.44 Mag.) frame in sixguns. Recoil is some what lighter than that of the .44 Magnum.

I tried the Magnums up to 500 yards. My misses were all high until I cut down the amount of front sight held up over the rear sight bar in my sight picture. At 200 yards, I tried several 5 gallon cans, having little trouble in hitting them once I found out how little front sight to hold up. The .401 Mag. is much more powerful than the .357 Mag., Cuts a larger hole and throws more lead. Report and muzzle blast is, of course, sharp and fairly heavy with both the .401 and .44 Magnums.

Any bullet up to 200 grains (180 gr. Is preferable), that can be sized to .403", will be found useful in the .401 Mag. The bullet I have used most is Ideal #40188, 180 grs. It is well adapted for all loads up to 1200fps.

Hercules Unique power is, in a way, unique in that it is one of the most versatile of all propellants. Unique can be used for loading every – thing from the smallest to the largest cases (rifle or handgun), even finding its way into certain loads for shotguns. With a load of 12.0 grains Unique and the 180 gr. Half-jacket bullet (.403"), I got 1400 fps. Although in my tests, no signs of excessive pressure were noted, this load should be regarded as near maximum.

Bullseye powder, also of Hercules make, has its distinction too. While not as versatile as Unique, it is capable of producing more reloads per pound of powder simply because it is loaded in substantially smaller charges. Cutting the Unique charge weight in half, I settled on a load of 6.0 grains of Bullseye and the 180 grain half-jacket bullet. Velocities with this load run about 1100 fps and it is both easy shooting and accurate. Dropping to #30188 cast bullet at 600 fps for a good light load.

A good general purpose hunting load with target accuracy is the 180 gr. #40188 bullet ahead of 9.0 grs. #2400 powder, but better results were obtained when a booster of 3.0 grs. FFFg blackpowder was loaded as a priming charge. In this same sixgun, with a load of 12.0 grs. #2400, I did some good shooting. Here again, results improved when the booster of 3.0 grs. FFFg black was used. I have scored 95x100 at 25 yards with it. I killed a migpie in a tree some 60 yards away and 14 jacks up to 50 yards with this load. I also had 6 misses and 3 no kill hits (2nd shot necessary) up to 140 yards. In all, I killed 85 jacks with this load during my tests.

The maximum, full power, .401 Mag. factory load was 20.0 gra. #2400, giving 1500 fps. My full-power load is 18.0 grs. Behind the 180 pr. Semi-wadcutter, soft-point, jacketed, bullet. This load can also be used with the 180 gr. Half-jacket bullet as before noted for the load of 12.0 grs. Unique. Both of these loads give about 1400 fps and should be regarded as near maximum. They should NOT be exceeded by the reloader.

A good medium-power (Mid-range) load is a charge of 8.0 grs. Unique behind the #40188 180 gr. bullet. Two loads, also of moderate power, which I have found quite useful are: 3.5 grs. also 4.0 grs. Bullseye works good, with the #40188 bullet. If a supply of Herco Shotgun powder is available, 6.0 grs. is a good load – same bullet.

For light loads: the #40188 bullet with from 2.0 to 3.0 grs. Bullseye works good. (The exact charge for these loads depends a great deal upon just how the individual gun handles them - - - - keeping in mind always not to exceed maximum pressure levels). A full charge of FFg Blackpowder behind this #40188 bullet gives about 900 fps velocity.

I found that my load of 18.0 grs. #2400 powder behind the 180 grain .401 Mag. bullet, gives at least 25% greater destructive effect on live targets than the .357 Mag. load. I have never lost an animal hit with one of these bullets from my .401 Magnum.

In concluding my remarks at this time on the .401 Magnum, here are the results of its use on several head of big game. These are all shot with the aforementioned 18.0 grs. #2400 and the 180 gr. Soft-point, jacketed bullet. Deer – 3 shots: first shot, superficial wound in flanks, off hand from 75 yards. Second shot through both flanks at 230 paces. Animal put almost down, recovered, when about 200 yards, when down and waited for finishing shot at 30 yds. Deer – one shot through lungs at 100 yards; went about 300 yards and fell dead. Elk – one shot at 100 yards through lungs. Turned and went 30 yards. Fell dead. Bullet recovered – upset to over .50 caliber at nose – about 30 grs. loss weight. Elk – high shoulder shot passing through both shoulder blades. Second shot in flank. Animal went down after 400 yards. Finishing shot in the head. Bear – about 115 yards. One shot base of skull. Bear dropped, killed instantly. Bullet recovered under skin high on opposite shoulder. Upset and distorted by bone. About 40 grs. loss in weight.

In my experience, this caliber is very little short of the .44 Mag. in actual killing power, is flatter shooting over long range, and a bit easier to make hits with. It will also take big game if it is placed right, yet is not too heavy a caliber to work good on the smaller game with lighter loads. The .401 Mag., is a very good game cartridge, far better than the .357 Mag. for such game, in my opinion. If anyone out there in "sixgun land" has a sixgun made for this .401 Mag. cartridge – keep it shooting – is my recommendation. I only wish I had known enough to obtain one of Herter'’ Double Action guns in this same caliber when they were available. It would have been so much better than any of the .357 Mags in DA guns that have come along since.

Going up the "power-scale": I used the .44 Magnum for some time and bagged considerable game with it. I would be the last one to "down-play", "Maggie", and her accomplishments as a hunter’s sixgun. Although for my own use (and for many reasons), I much prefer the .45 Long Colt in a heavy Single Action sixgun, it would be hard to fault the choice of some other sixgun hunters who prefer the .44 Magnum as a one-gun choice.

As I have mentioned previously, this question of caliber, loads, type and make of sixgun, really depends upon the individual and the kind of country he hunts in. What would be suitable and preferable for me would not, necessarily, be suitable for another hunter. So we have to assess all of the factors that might apply to our use of the gun and make our choice accordingly.

Getting to some .44 Mag. loads I have used; the target load is 4.0 grs. of Bullseye behind the 240 gr. Ideal Keith #429421 bullet. The velocity of this light load is about 600 fps. I have made some good scores with this load. At 50 yards offhand, I scored (lowest) 90 x 100 and the highest 97 x 100. This also makes a good game load for rabbits, grouse, etc., also on such pests as prairie dogs, etc.

For mid-range loads (all with the #429421 240 gr. Bullet), 4.5 grs. Bullseye is good, also 6.0 grs. to 10.0 grs. Unique. Using Unique behind this bullet, 6.0 grs. gives about 760 fps at 13,000 pounds pressure; 9.0 grs. gives 1030 at 17,000 pounds and 10.0 grs. 1100 fps at 20,000 pounds.

Going up the scale, another good load in the .44 Mag. is my .401 Mag., duplex load, but behind the 240 gr. #429421 bullet, i.e., 3.0 grs. FFFg black as a priming (booster) charge and 12.0 grs. #2400 smokeless powder. This load will give about 1200 fps at 20,000 pounds pressure. Using this load, I have put 10 shots in 3.50" at 50 yards from rest. For comparison, the factory "control" loads made offhand groups just over 5.0" at 50 yards. From rest, the factory loads put 10 shots in 4.0" at 50 yards.

I use the .44 Mag. occasionally, if only to compare its performance with my favorite – the .45 Long Colt. Even that shooting of the .44 Mag. has been gradually diminishing now that so many improvements in .45LC guns and new heavy loads have been developed over the past several years. As has been so aptly said by friend John Taffin, "The .45 Colt is once again the King of the Sixgun Cartridges". My own experience with the .45LC (Old "Elsie") convinces me of the truthfulness of that statement. To date, no other caliber has given me the performance on game that it has. The old saying (while not with in ken of my own experience) that, "The .45LC is good for anything from mice to elephants", does indicate its versatility.

Getting to the loads I am now using in my .45’s; for plinking and general "fun" shooting, I have found nothing better than Allen Taylor’s "slip-in" bullet. Ahead of 3.0 grs. to 4.0 grs. Bullseye it is good for targets and plinking, while the same bullet ahead of 5.0 grs. Bullseye makes a good small game load.

For a mid-range load (all with the Keith #454424 bullet), 6.0 to 10.0 grs. of Unique (depending upon my needs and guns) gives good performance on game up to the smaller big game. A load that has given me good results on deer is the 250 gr. #454424 bullet loaded as follows: first against the primer load 3.0 FFFg blackpowder as a priming (booster) charge, then 12.0 grs. Hercules #2400 powder, with the Keith bullet crimped just below the front band. Use large pistol primers.

I have used the very efficient load of 11.0 grs. of Unique (with large pistol primers) behind the Keith #454424 250 gr. Bullet. Such a load in heavy .45 LC guns, does not have unpleasant recoil and yet gives adequate power for the lighter big game. At 1100 fps it develops about 700 pounds energy.

Another load I like for deer is the .45LC case with Large Pistol Primers and 18.0 grs. #2400 behind the Keith #454424 bullet in 250 grs. weight. I also like the same bullet over 20.0 grs. #2400 and LP primer.

After shooting these loads over the years at targets and such game as Jack-rabbits, I found that hitting game the size of deer at relatively short ranges was comparatively easy.

My best load (to date) for the heavy stuff (bear and elk) is one that my friend Jim Taylor developed for his Ruger .45LC. It uses the #457191 bullet cast of wheel-weights, sized .452" and heat-treated Rem. Cases sized full-length. Primed with Large Rifle primers (primer pockets require deepening to fit these). Powder charge is 18.5 grs. #2400 and bullet seated so it will crimp in top grease groove with a heavy crimp. This load, using rifle primers gives the cleanest burning of any load of #2400 I have used and is very accurate. In a couple of my guns (heavy single actions) it gives one-hole groups at 25 yards. It clocks in the neighborhood of 1200 fps and over 800 pounds of energy.

For just plain "fun-shooting’, rabbits, prairie dogs, pop-cans, etc. in all guns, I like the following: use any primer that will fit, any design bullet of desirable shape, of approximate standard weight for the caliber, having an adequate crimp groove; with #4759 (or Bulk Shotgun Smokeless if you can get it) for priming charge and FFg black powder for main charge. The priming charge next to the primer. A priming charge of 3.0 grs. smokeless is sufficient for any load.

Another (Smudgeless) load is: any proper size primer, a one-half charge, or a ¾ charge of FFg blackpowder and balance of space (to compress black powder) filled with medium-ground yellow cornmeal. Allowing sufficient space to seat bullet after compressing the meal. (This last mentioned type of load is fine for shooting the old blackpowder sixguns we all have or run into from time to time).

Such loads are easy to assemble. They give adequate power in each caliber for the purposes designed for, give normal pressures and are safe to use in any sixgun for which they were chambered. They shoot practically as clean as any straight smokeless loads, give long life to the cases, are accurate in most guns, and are more economical to load than any equivalent power, straight, full smokeless powder loads.

In concluding my remarks on the loads mentioned in this sketch, please note, I assume the risk and consequences of only such loads as I have myself assembled.

I trust that this brief biographical sketch will be found of interest by some and perhaps somewhat useful as well. It has been with considerable pleasure that I have recalled such experiences as I have recorded in these pages and it is my hope that you, my readers, may find them of equal interest.

Good Shooting,

Robert Smythe






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