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Old Ranger
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Posted: June 11 2018 at 5:10pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

At times I'd post a story about my uncle Leo but often
end up deleting it as I figure most of y'all are too
modern and involved in fancy blue presses. However, I've
received a few PM's asking if I'd post some of my great
uncle's moments on this earth. Here's one....

Leo was a contemporary of Elmer Keith and Ed McGivern. He
knew 'em both as he operated in Montana, the Dakotas,
Wyoming, and Idaho. Leo was a part time deputy sheriff
and a full time bounty hunter. He carried a BP framed 45
Colt SAA 4 3/4" with no trigger. He'd shoot by holding
fast with his right and slideing his left thumb over the
hammer. Called a "Slip Gun" he could fire five tight
shots in a blink of an eye. He loaded only black powder.
Wanted no part of that new stuff.

He loaded with what he called the "new" Ideal loader, the
310. His was a 1945 or 46 plumb color steel handled unit.
Cast his rounds in a small iron pot mostly over a fire or
at times, my mother's stove. Had a single cavity 454190
mould with no vent lines. [Pre 1940's and likely from
around 1925 or so] Lubes with beeswax and mutton tallow.
Sized with the 310 as well. His entire casting and
loading rig was usually kept in a saddlebag and ready at
all times.

He'd settle in under a shade tree if my mom didn't want
him loading inside, and load 45s. She'd usually fuss if
he cast on her stove mainly about fluxing. She hollar he
was going to burn the house down! Using Kiwi shoe polish
for sizing wax and an old Colt 1860 vintage powder flask.
He preferred WW cases and primers. Said they were good
all around stuff. He'd pull a bunch of cases outta the
saddlebag that were hung on a thin copper wire in a loop.
See, after shooting those BP loads he'd wash em after
depriming, then string em all together through the flash
holes. Either hang em on a tree limb or a saddle horn, or
later sitting atop the aircleaner cover in his old Ford
to dry.

He'd undo his cartridge necklace and wax the first 1/2"
of the cases with neutral shoe wax. Size em in the 310.
Bell the cases and prime. Then a quick twist of a rag
around the case and ready for loading.

He'd often have his rounds ready to load stacked neatly
in an old saddlesoap round tin, usually two layers
separated with cardboard and waxed paper. With the
seating/crimping die in the 310 he'd take one case at a
time and load the powder from the flask. With the case
near full he'd insert a sized and lubed bullet into the
case and ease it into the 310. He'd keep his thumb on the
cartridge head as he'd rotate the off handle pushing the
case further in as he did. Then the bullet was partially
seated and the other handle was soon in place to finish
and crimp. It was a pretty slick operation. So slick in
fact that 60 years later after watching him load I do it
the same way. Only I mostly use that newfangled powder
and the lube is different. And I throw in a 1903 made
Ideal No.5 powder measure. Bullet's the same though.

So there's how I learned to load a 45 Colt. Watching
uncle Leo for a while and later with his rough old
Montana cowboy bounty hunter hands guiding my young hands
across those well worn tools.

Leo had a reputation back before WW2 as a gunfighter that
didn't mind dropping the hammer on an armed opponent. He
did kill 17 armed felons in the line of duty and
defending himself or others. They all went down facing
him and he never backed down. He was a tough old man.
My childhood heros were my father, John Wayne, and my
great uncle Leo. From them I learned much about how to
stand my ground and treat people fairly and with decency.
And I don't back down either. Family trait.

Edited by Old Ranger on June 11 2018 at 5:15pm


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Rex
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Posted: June 11 2018 at 6:06pm | IP Logged Quote Rex

Great story, Wade.
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doghawg
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Posted: June 11 2018 at 7:28pm | IP Logged Quote doghawg

Good read Wade...keep 'em coming!

Your uncle reminds me of a rancher in S. Dak that I met years back and became friends with. We shot dogs on his ranch and earned his trust. He used to ride horses in rodeos and was a genuine cowboy. He smoked them stinkin' Camels right down to where they had to be burning his fingers. He died in his early 80's and I bet if he wouldn't have smoked he'd have lived to be a hundred. Probably weighed 140 lbs. soaking wet but every ounce was wire. The man had class, character and honor and I was privileged to know him.

Randy

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nhblaze
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Posted: June 12 2018 at 9:57am | IP Logged Quote nhblaze

Glad to see you are willing
to use some of that new
fangled powder, Ranger.

Great read !

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Old Ranger
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Posted: June 12 2018 at 10:10am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

I was using too much of it. Cut down to 4 kinds and of
course BP! Gotta have that stuff!
Much easier now. Simple decisions.

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John P.
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Posted: June 13 2018 at 9:56am | IP Logged Quote John P.

Great post, Wade. I keep reading it over and over like a good book.
At times, I use one of those fancy blue presses, but I'd rather be
loading .45s under a shade tree like your Uncle Leo.


Edited by John P. on June 13 2018 at 12:12pm
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Old Ranger
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Posted: June 13 2018 at 12:29pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Thank you John.
Maybe in a bit I'll post about my first big hunt with
uncle Leo when I was a kid in the hunting forum here. It
was an adventure!

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John P.
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Posted: June 13 2018 at 6:51pm | IP Logged Quote John P.

That would be great Wade.

Reading those posts makes me want to sell something and pick up a
replica SAA and shoot only BP loads. By the way, I did score a pound
of Goex FFFG in New Hampshire last weekend. I will be shooting that
'51 Navy soon.

I'll tell you, after years of LE and shooting essentially most types of
semi and full auto weapons, being involved with SWAT and firearms
training, I get more excited about a '51 Navy than an M4. Maybe
because besides an interest in firearms, I'm a history buff too.

Thanks for sharing the Uncle Leo stories.


Edited by John P. on June 14 2018 at 4:21am
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Old Ranger
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Posted: June 14 2018 at 5:59am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Glad ya found some powder. First handgun I ever had was a
51 Navy from Dixie arms. My dad helped me get it as I was
a kid hauling hay at 3 cents a bail at a nearby
ranch.still got that 51 too. Today its cut down to 5" and
has no serations on the hammer and no trigger. Sound
familiar?

Go enjoy that charcoal burner, you've earned it!
We'll need a report on it ya know.

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steven
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Posted: June 14 2018 at 11:00am | IP Logged Quote steven

thanks wade- thats history you cant find in a book.

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John P.
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Posted: June 14 2018 at 12:03pm | IP Logged Quote John P.

Sure will give a report. Should be a couple of week, as I still am
gathering some things. I do have both number 10 and 11 caps now.
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John P.
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Posted: June 16 2018 at 7:14pm | IP Logged Quote John P.

Wade, I wanted to asked you before those 500 error messages hit us,
how did your Uncle Leo teach you to clean those BP weapons in the
field?   

I researched civil war cleaning, and all I could find was dropping the
stripped weapon into a boiling pot of water. After the weapon was
removed and dried, it was oiled with whatever was on hand, including
cooking oil. Is this correct?
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