Cowboy up! Episode 4 features a Wild West theme. In this team challenge we are using an Uberti reproduction of the 1875 Remington in .45 Colt. This pistol was a bit more difficult to master for most of us shooters who were better trained with modern magazine fed pistols. The most challenging factor is the reload. First the shooter must find the “half cock” position (which is difficult in a stressful situation), then open the load gate and eject each empty cartridge one at a time with the ejector rod. After this you may load the cylinder, but if you aren’t loading all six chambers you must then “index” the cylinder so when you complete cocking the hammer you are on a live round. It’s not terribly hard at a target range if you are simply plinking with this pistol – but to use it in competition with speed and accuracy adds a new dimension to its difficulty. We also found that at 35’ the pistol shot 4” low – a very large factor when your targets are only about 3”. So to hit well, the marksman must remember to compensate and aim low, an easy thing to forget in the heat of competition.
The Challenge was elaborate. Six stations of dice style targets, each with a coinciding number of glass 3” targets within them, with a sliding closing door over the top. The object is to shoot all of your targets to close a door to shut out your opponent from gaining any more points. We were to choose where to position each marksman by their skill in order to have any advantage. We decided to put Jake on the single dice for a one point risk, and then Paul, Jarrett, Billy, Alex and my team choose to put me at the final anchor position. I wasn’t the most confident in giving me the most difficult and important station, but I finally accepted.
The marksmen shot it out at each station, giving our team a 3 point lead when I was up. This was a relief to me, whereas all I needed to do was shoot 4 targets before my opponent could shoot 6 and we would win and be safe from elimination. The red team had assigned Cliff Walsh an international revolver champion as my opponent. That was pretty intimidating. Colby gave the signal and as I lined up to fire I heard Cliff shoot before I was ready to fire. Turned out that Cliff cocked it with his right hand to “speed things up” and also had his trigger finger in the guard – it was an accidental discharge that startled us both. Yet we kept firing, taking turns knocking out our targets. I got my 4 points and my team cheered at our victory. At this point Cliff and I both needed to reload, we did so but he completed the course before I could. I was so close to beating a national champion with a revolver but he shut me down. I didn’t mind, he was a good guy and I won for my team and he won’t have to take a lot of flack for losing to a young nobody from Texas.
Red Team sent Mark and Michael to elimination and boy were they lucky. They got to shoot two 45.70 1877 Bulldog Gatling guns. The challenge was to cut down 3 telegraph poles (2x4s) with the weapons before your opponent could, in the end Michael beat Mark and we are now down to 12 contestants. Blue team didn’t get to watch the challenge, but we could hear it from our house about a mile away, we were so jealous. Yet it’s still great to win and not have to deal with the stress of elimination. Next week (Throwdown Showdown) will feature tomahawks, throwing knives and rocks. Yes, rocks. The elimination challenge will make up for it with the Hotchkiss Mountain Gun – a cannon!