Saturday, May 02, 2009

"Windage and elevation, Mrs.Langdon. Windage and elevation..."
— John Wayne
The Undefeated

Talk about sleeping like a rock...I closed my eyes early last night and when I opened them it was 9AM.  Am tending toward feeling human again after a week of my road infection...couple of more days at the range and I'll be back to normal, such as it is. 

I've been wrestling with my left-hand cowboy shotgun wit, since my right eye crapped out I've had to flip myself over, so to speak. Most of my focus in the last couple of years has focused on getting myself up to speed with the handgun — right hand, left eye. I'm now feeling pretty comfortable with that, and the speed's starting to come back. Left-side with the long guns has been a bit tougher, but the rifle is also coming along pretty well.

The bear has been the shotgun. I first threw a shotgun to my right should when I was six years old, when, much to my grandfather's delight, I knocked some hapless songbird out of the air. There have been, as you might imagine, quite a few repetitions since then. I've been trying to catch up with my left side.

I used a '97 pump in cowboy action shooting, a Chinese version overhauled by Coyote Cap. single feeding the pump, either over the top cowboy style or rolling from underneath SWAT style is the fastest way to keep a shotgun running forever (and, in effect, a better system than ultralong tubes...I had an 8-shot tube at a GUNSITE class, and the deal was keep the tube filled all the just a speck heavy...easier a side bag full of shells and the ability to keep thte gun running forever).

Sadly, there were no left-hand Winchester '97s, so my standard style of reloading over the top with my weak hand doesn't work. I've been experimenting with different loading styles for the '97 (Holy Terror uses one that might work), and, if all else fails, there's always the double.

Still, I love trick guns, so I got hold of an 1887 Winchester lever action replica (actually, a gun Coyote Cap built for my old friend, the late China Camp). Of course the most famous '87 is the one Arnold used in T2: Judgement Day, and darn, he made it look so easy! I gotta tell you, this thing kicks like a living, breathing mule! And that's in 12 gauge...I can old imagine that the 10-bore, the standard caliber, was a real whumper-thumper.

I'm assuming it's a stock design issue, but it makes one pine for those old Remington reciprocating barrel recoil-operated thumpers.

The lever action itself is pure blunt trauma, more like some device you'd use to crankstart a Curtis Jenny biplane than lever a shotgun sell into the chamber. A must-have accessory is a leather wrap around the forward part of the lever, because otherwise in fast levering a slip of the trigger finger places it in line to have the trigger itself driven right through the finger...hey, it has happened!

The guns are a hoot to shoot....if you get a chance, you owe it to yourself to put some rounds downrange through an '87 (go for UltraLights rather than, say, #00 buckshot). I've been working on dropping two rounds into my competition-modified gun. When it works, it's chain saw fast. When I don't do it exactly right, I'm left looking like a poorly trained organ-grinder's monkey.

I'm getting there, though!  I'll keep you posted...

Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and  Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) Introduced long overdue legislation to reform and overhaul the BATFE...It'll be a bear to get through this Congress, but I'm glad to see us on the offensive in any arena. BTW, Mike Crapo is one of the very few politicians who is exempt from my general distaste of pols — a nice guy to hang around with!

Here's an interesting piece from the Brillianter blog on mental conditioning for self-defense. It echoes Col. Cooper's Principles of Personal Defense, but is a pretty good expansion and worth reading. Here's an excerpt: 
Disregard the irrelevant. Mindset is less about adding attributes than it is about stripping away the irrelevant. Most of our daily lives are spent focusing on things that don’t really matter. Paying the rent seems really important, unless you put it up against something like breathing. Embarrassment, fear, and other emotions are just that - emotions. Get back to thinking about the mechanics of the situation.


commoncents said...

Great post!

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Charlie Foxtrot said...

Wolf, I've had pards tell me my '97 is a lefty's gun. You can watch the receiver port while you stuff the shells in with your right hand. I've seen lefty pards run the gun really fast like that.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the gun-fight: I've been in many fist-fights over the years, but never a gun-fight. I've trained for the latter much and found a few parallels. In a fist'er, you have to focus on the one you're fighting off and watch both hands and both feet, and the eyes. In a gun'er, you have to watch the whole other shooter.
In both cases, you have to pick the exact spot that you want to "plant one on", before you plant it. When the other guy exposes himself, you "plant it", all the while covering yourself. In both cases, you also have to avoid getting "hit". Also in both cases, you need to watch for other "hitters" to surprise you!
In the movie "The Quick and the Dead", there was a line that said it well, at least to me. It went: "The gunfight is in the head and not in the hands". I guess that this is true no matter what kind of fight you're in.
Life Member

nj_larry said...

So what happened to the Ithaca 37? Not fancy enough?

Dspig said...

I have the same problem (right-handed, crapped out right eye). I tried learning to shoot long guns left-handed, but I never got comfortable doing that.

Instead, I started lowering the comb on the stock so I can hold right-handed, but use my left eye on the sights. Seems to work much better for me.

I still practice left-handed, because I want to be able to shoot both ways.

Michael Bane said...

Cowboy only allows shotguns prior to 1900, or replicas thereof. Other than doubles, that means the Winchester '97 pump and the '87 lever action. Yes yes, I know there were other manually operated shotguns before 1900 (Marlin comes to mind), but the powers that be in cowboy action shooting have ruled that it's the 2 Winchester clones or a double.

Charlie F., I believe once I quit fighting the thing and get the repetitive motions down, it'll work great as a lefty gun. I'm taking it out this afternoon and putting a bunch of live rounds through it, and I'm planning on shooting a local match Saturday AM with it. In truth, it takes a while to get up to speed on the '97, too.

An Ithaca 37 is a great little shotgun that is ambi from the ground up, but from a personal defense standpoint I've spent a LOT of time with 870s...

If I absolutely can't get the left-hand thing down, I'll start carving up long guns...but I am darn stubborn!


Tam said...

"I gotta tell you, this thing kicks like a living, breathing mule!"

Yeah, half a foot of drop in the stock will do that. ;)

Still, do want.

Aaron Geisler said...

One of my all time favorite movie lines.

Anonymous said...


Left handed is not bad, I do it all the time! I would try to master it before I tried left eye right handed, does the word fat lip mean anything?

RB said...

It can't truly work, I believe like this.