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Old August 22, 2012, 08:50 PM   #1
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Old Timers

Old Ranchers, Hunters and Marksmen

While growing up I had the privilege of knowing several Old time shooter's from a variety of Fields. First across from our home in Arizona was Bob Caldwell who had a small ranch and was a real life cowboy from all definitions. In the early 1900's he broke horses for the US Cavalry at Fort Huachuca. He could Ride , Rope and Shoot. His quick Draw may not of been as fast as Bob Arganbright or Ernie Hill , But I've never seen them try their handiwork from the back of a horse either. But he never missed a rattlesnake. It seemed that in the summer all of the rattlesnakes would converge at the base of the Randolph mountains and hang out there. He always carried a gun for snakes and thieves. Rustling wasn’t a problem but he did have a couple of times where someone had killed a head or two and butchered them on the spot. As kids we would walk over to his place and if he wasn’t busy we could generally coax him into putting on a sort of wild west show for us. I have never mastered shooting a pistol off of horse back and I don’t think that I will ever be as good as he was at it.

Second Was; Wister Weeden who hunted extensively in Africa and favored his collection of Double rifles. He taught me that the quicker you have a second shot ready the safer you were; as well as more humane the kill in case of a first shot wound. To take the time and be patient and selective about hunting did you need to? And are you going to eat it? Is it causing harm to people or livelihood. These were just some of the criteria that he said a good hunter goes by. Never hunt and waste he would say. And never let off of the tracking after the shot. If you shot it you found it.

And last but not least was Mr. Ralph Peters; who was part of the USAMU Rifle team that were the National Match Champions in 1963. He shot Wimbledon matches and won the President's 100 also between 1963 and 1966.

Each of these fine gentlemen taught me everything I know. I soaked up everything they told me like a sponge. From Bob I learned that if you don’t care for leather it won't take care of you. That a fast draw isn’t about speed its about accuracy. And that it a lost art. And in the past was seldom done against another man but most commonly against animals . Hate to kill the myth but that was a fact given to me by A Cowboy whose father was a Cowboy.

Mr.Weeden taught me that animals can hunt you. Something I relearned on a Mountain Lion Hunt in Arizona. And with black powder he taught me that dry is good and caps should be sealed as well as the lead. In fact he told me that failing to keep both ends of a black powder rifle or handgun sealed is an invite to moisture. And with moisture comes misfires.

Mr. Peters taught me the art of Iron Sights; The sling and breathing and the value of them. That has saved me and my guys more than once down range.
I am not an expert nor anything close to it. And I hope that I can keep learning from all of the old timers out there. They are getting fewer they are. And me and my generation are at the apex of our lives. Soon we will be the old timers. And what we pass down will be the tips and tricks we know. I won't let what has been taught to me go to waste. I will share that information to those who want it. I remember the stories from all of those Gentleman and I am writing it down for all to read.

I have learned nothing in War either OIF or OEF that contributes positively to shooting and thus I will not write of it or those conflicts. I do hope to learn more about writing so I can retell what the old timers have told me and taught me.
When I was young I had an extensive firearms collection. And I squandered it. Oh that I could regain it I would!!

180 years of firearms history gone. Never again I hope to build my collection more carefully and with more discipline than the last time.

© 2012 Phil R. Snider
To all Fire,Police and Armed Services. Thank You
OIF 05-06 08-09
OEF 10-11
VFW Life Member

Last edited by Whetstone70; August 22, 2012 at 08:52 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old August 23, 2012, 11:47 AM   #2
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Thanks for sharing!
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Old August 23, 2012, 01:01 PM   #3
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This is good stuff.

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. Thomas Jefferson
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Old August 23, 2012, 01:31 PM   #4
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Document your experience

I would encourage you to write a book, in order to document your experience. I thank you for your post. ....

Be Safe !!!
'Fundamental truths' are easy to recognize because they are verified daily through simple observation and thus, require no testing.
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Old August 23, 2012, 04:41 PM   #5
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Writing a book

I am going to do that as soon as I have the time . And take the appropiate english classes at college all over again.
To all Fire,Police and Armed Services. Thank You
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Old August 23, 2012, 07:45 PM   #6
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Your few paragraphs made me want to hear the stories of your mentors. Write it down, people need to know of these tough, independant men. These stories must not be lost. There are few of these "old timers" left, preserve the knowledge they possesed. I encourage you to write it as you know it.
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Old August 27, 2012, 10:21 PM   #7
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We lose living historical documents every day.
"Ted" had an apartment two doors down from me in Clarkston, Washington in 1997. He was born in Cody, Wyoming in 1905. He was 92 when I met him.
My old cat introduced us, walking over to Ted right after I'd moved in. I guess the cat recognized a good man when he saw one.
Ted knew Buffalo Bill Cody. Ted's father was the stock manager on Cody's ranch. Ted was 12 when Bill Cody died, but he had many fond memories of the old frontiersman.
At the time, I wrote for the local newspaper. I begged Ted for nearly a year to do a feature on him, or just to do a series of interviews. He begged off.
He was the real deal, though. He had a 1905 letter from Wild Bill's Wild West Show, mailed from Paris, France, written by Bill Cody to Ted's father.
Within that letter is a comment, "I guess by this time you have added another to the family" or something similar (can't quite recall precisely).
That's in reference to Ted's birth!
I moved to Utah in 1997. Ted died about 1998.
I'll always regret he wouldn't let me interview him. God knows what history was lost with his last breath.

In 1965, when I was 10, I met a man who was 104. He'd been born in 1861. Don't recall his name, or where he was raised, but I had the presence of mind to ask him his earliest memory.
He paused and said that he was about three, and could recall holding his mother's hand in the front yard of their house, as soldiers in blue uniforms marched by on the road.
Those must have been Union soldiers!

I've interviewed six World War I vets in my life. Gone. All gone. One had terrible stories of being a litter-bearer and going into a battlezone covered in poison gas. It lay in pools, like greenish-yellow puddles, he said.
My guess is that it was chlorine gas.

Get out there. Talk to the old folks. It's just amazing what you'll learn if you show a little interest and introduce yourself -- or have a cat introduce you!
"And lo, did I see an ugly cat. Smoke. Brimstone. Holes in parchment. And this ugly cat was much amused." --- The Prophesies of Gatodamus (1503 - 1566)
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Old August 27, 2012, 11:10 PM   #8
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The world lost a gold mine of history this past spring. Bob Edgar of Cody Wy passed. He built Old Trail Town in Cody Wy, a collection of original frontier buildings, collected numerous old guns, indian artifacts, dead people, old wagons, and he knew just about everyone worth knowing all around the area. Bob was also an exhibition grade shooter with a Colt Single Action 45. He shot things out of peoples hands, mouths, etc, shooting coins thrown in the air, all shooting one handed, and was quite capable of making first round hits at 300 yards and better, shooting one handed. He also hand engraved Colts, doing very fine quality work. Bob was a truly amazing shooter, and remarkable man.

His obituary is interesting,

This was his lifes work,
"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." -Theodore Roosevelt-

Last edited by Malamute; August 27, 2012 at 11:19 PM.
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Old August 28, 2012, 08:57 PM   #9
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Great post and I really appreciate you learning and passing on from some of the old masters. Never met him but Peters was a personal hero of mine.
Good intentions will always be pleaded for any assumption of power. The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern will, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.
--Daniel Webster--
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Old August 28, 2012, 09:52 PM   #10
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Don't worry about the English classes for now. Your post proves you are good enough to get our attention. Just start writing it all down. You can edit later. In fact small inperfections can be appealing in the type of writing you intend to do.

Never ever pass up an opportunity to learn from an old timer. Sometimes the new ways are better. Usually not..

Last edited by shafter; August 28, 2012 at 09:58 PM.
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Old August 28, 2012, 10:06 PM   #11
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Fergit the english. Git it down on parchment first. Someone else like an editor can correct the grammah.

BTW, I read a lot of 18th Century things written by British officers. Their spelling, if anything showed that they were not in possession of a dictionary. I guess Al Gore didn't invent the internet then.
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!
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