Special Interests - Groups & Societies > BROW

Some thoughts on a new sport

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Ranch 13:
 Dave read the accounts of some of those guys. The letters Sharps etc used in their catalogs from their customers on the plains. The stuff Leo Romiger puts in the BPCR News magazine is pretty interesting, as are his books about the buffalo hunters.
 One thing that always makes me think when ever going thru western Kansas and eastern Colorado, and the high plains of the Dakotas and Montana is how in the world did they get within decent rifle range of the herds.. Even here in east central Wyo, a person would have to be really lucky and play the wind right to get a 100 yard shot.

More than one kind of BUffalo shooter.  The difference is important

Smallest in number, but greatest in legend, were the Pros.  Billy Dixon and the like.  They liked 200-300 yards.  Bison and their lungs were a big target.  You wanted enough distance to mellow the crack of the rifle to a thunder like pitch, you wanted some elevation to overlook the herd, and you wanted enough distance to clear out should they stampede.  They were not going for quick kills, a Lung shot meant they would not go far.  Shot components were finite,  needed to maximize what they had.  These would be the Guys with Tang sights and heavy barrels.  I doubt they took more than one shot per animal.  They hunted meat for the railroads, or hides to make drive belts for the industrial revolution.  Sharps actually published range tables for their rifles, sight settings needed, once you understood the size of the animals, range was not that hard to judge.

Greater numbers, but less effective, were smaller/amateur outfits or simply someone wanting short term money.  One trip to the Buffalo grounds for a load of skins to pay for something else, '"getting a stake" as it were.  These were the guys in close with lighter rifles, and multiple shots for quicker kills.   

Then there were the day hunters, the railroad excursion shooters.  Dudes shooting a big animal for the thrill. 

One of the reasons I like the KVC shoot is it's basically "getting a stand" on a small group (15) of targets, spaced unevenly between 100-300 yards, got to knock them down.  Range is a guess, no sighters.  Adjust on the fly.  This last match the buffs were pretty hard to see against the dead prairie grass, open sights might have been an advantage.  Great fun.  The things weigh 60 lbs, need some serious bullet mass to get them down.

Ranch 13:
 ;D There was a 44-77 sharps equipped with a scope and all the trim in a case in one of the prestigious eastern institutions. Turns out it belonged to one of the big kahoona's at the school he had purchased the setup to go on one of those excursion train shoots. They go all set up on the flat car and he fired exactly one shot , the recoil tipped him and his shooting stool over and he fell off the side of the car , and never fired it again. ;D

  O.P. Hanna wrote that he and Jim White carried two rifles of identical chambered rifles each, that way when they got on a stand they would shoot the first rifle until the barrel got to hot and started shooting wild as the herd moved off, they would pitch the first rifle into the snow bank , pick up the second rifle and go to work, by the time the second rifle got to fouled and hot to be of any use, the herd was out of range, down, or the second rifle had cooled enough to go back into service.

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If you can find Marcots Volume 2 on Sharps rifles, the last half of the book (and it's a big book) is perhaps the best examination of the Buffalo Harvest of the 1870s.  The men, the rifles they used, and how they used them.  Fantastic stuff, worth the money.  All the Marcot Volumes are.  1 (Percussion guns) and 3 (Target rifles) are relatively easy to find, 2 (the 1874) is the tough one, though I believe they're setting up for a 2nd printing.  Shilohsharps.com has 1 and 3 in their website shop.  https://shilohrifle.com/accessories/books/

Yep, I have all three, and waiting eagerly for Volume 4 (The Borchardt)

went and looked, there's a Volume 2 on Amazon now, and whoo boy are they proud of it!

Montana Slim:
Great idea. I've been a proponent of & made suggestions over the years regarding bringing more people into shooting at "distance". By this, I'm talking about recruiting more folks & younger ones, too. Towards this, I've suggested setting hanging steel plates at various distances between, say 50 - 250 yds (side - match day!). Purpose is to mentor our "cowboy" shooters into thinking about hitting something beyond easy "pistol" distance with their pistol-caliber lever action. Targets would be such that everyone could participate using single shot & lever action rifles/carbines in rifle or pistol caliber as typically seen at NCOWS, SASS, etc "long" range side matches. For reference, I've been involved with all aspects of "cowboy" shooting at Milan, IL from the beginning, fledgling "long" range, buffalo matches, etc. Hoping to turn a few of our newer cowboys into "marksman". I don't mind offering coaching & revealing my "secrets" on loading (average SASS competition loads ain't gonna cut it), use of x-sticks, and adjusting or even adding sights. It's pretty ambitious, I know... but I find rifle shooting, whether with my pistol cal / rifle cal levers, or single shot to be most satisfying.

More people involved = more matches & possibly a variety of them. Plus, increased interest in other clubs or organizations (NCOWS, GAF, etc) which offer more choices & keep those games alive, too.



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