Woulda Shoulda Coulda…


The snow has started right on schedule, probably inaugurating the three days of unpleasant weather promised by the weatherman.

Shame, too, because the past couple of days were very pleasant by January standards. And yesterday I really wanted to go out and shoot my pistol, which I haven’t been doing very much for reasons related to the obvious: Ammo and frickin’ winter.

I didn’t do it, though, because yesterday and the day before my stump really hurt. I didn’t even go for a walk yesterday morning: I took the Jeep to morning chicken chores and while briefly moving around I felt like I was walking on the mother of all bruises. Came back and did something I very rarely do in the middle of the day…


…I took the thing right off and spent the remainder of the morning in a chair or on crutches. It’s been almost a year on the new leg, and I regret to report that it’s never been as comfortable as the old one. Hoped we’d get used to one another, but it’s not happening. At least it’s newer: After 20-plus years the old leg was literally falling to pieces and I was happy for the opportunity to change it out. I’m not immobile by any means but the new one has proven a disappointment. I’ve taken to using a walking stick on longer walkies, and the annoying thing doesn’t always help.

I had to put it back on and get back up, though, because a glance at the weather forecast said I’d better use my last sunny day more profitably…

I was nearly out of bread, and we’ve established that the new oven is best used on a sunny day. Especially if the next several days may already be hard on the batteries.

And I must say, except for that unexpected complication I like the new stove very much. If only because…


…it’s so much easier to keep clean. I don’t know how old my old Gaffers & Sattler was, but it was very old indeed and newer machines are made without all those 90o folds in the stampings that hold grease to be burned in permanently. Wipe it down and you’re done.

Also, I’m finally getting over the habit of reaching for the matches every time I want to light a burner. This one has these very convenient clickers…

Speaking of annoyances…


I anticipated that my live-fire practice would be reduced or curtailed for the foreseeable future, and I’ve never been entirely convinced that a hard diet of dry-firing wouldn’t have consequences for the mechanism on my beautiful new-to-me S&W. So I sent away for some .44 snap caps, and for some reason I haven’t figured out yet these particular ones are causing the thing to bind up at least once around the cylinder. Pistol works fine empty or with live ammo, but not with the caps – and that’s irritating as hell considering that the whole idea of buying them was to allow trigger practice. Wonder if fired cases wouldn’t work as well? Any shooters out there have similar problems?

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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15 Responses to Woulda Shoulda Coulda…

  1. Anonymous says:

    Never had the problem with my .44 but maybe the tolerances are tighter on your S&W than on my Blackhawk. Try (gently) filing on the bases of the snapcaps. Or just put them in the cylinder and eyeball whether any of them are slightly more prominent? I don’t have snapcaps for my .45 LC Vaquero or my .38 S&W Chief’s Special but empty hills have been an adequate substitute (so far) YMMV. New Idea! Use a caliper to check for snapcaps protrusion with the cylinder swung out. Good luck

  2. Bear says:

    Set the caps upright on a flat surface and eyeball them to see if some tilted from a protruding “primer.” No fancy tools needed.

  3. Zack says:

    I gave up on that particular brand of snap cap; the plastic gets brittle after a while and when it fails the springs and innards go flying out the barrel.

  4. Mike says:

    Joel, I’m sorry to hear about the leg issue. I was hoping that the new prosthetic would work out better.

    BTW, if you want to trade weather, I’m up for that. The local weathertainers are predicting a half yard of snow over the next few days, thanks to a polar vortex and winds off Lake Huron/Georgian Bay.

    As for the snap-caps, I don’t have any and don’t use them. Anonymous was right when he wrote that you should check the snap-caps with a calliper from your reloading rig. It may be just a case of a little judicious use of some fine-grit sandpaper.

    I’m surprised you didn’t take some shell casings and turn them into dummy rounds to train with. That’s what I use.

  5. Mark Matis says:

    Lows around here will be in the lower 60s for the next few days, with highs in the upper 70s/lower 80s…

  6. Alfred E Newman says:

    Snap caps—- make your own
    Size and deprime a case
    Fill primer pocket with silicone sealant.
    Add a bit of something for filler , oatmeal, cream of wheat., sand and a bullet
    Repeat as needed.

    Mine last several hundred of rounds before the sealent needs refilling.

  7. Joel says:

    Yeah, that’s just what I’m going to do.

  8. Jeffersonian says:

    I’ve used that kind of snap cap. The brass insert for the primer/shock-absorber tends to crater and peen into a raised structure that can bind on the recoil shield. Might have to sand or file them down.

  9. Beans says:

    Contact the leg-maker. It should fit better, and they have the responsibility to make it fit.

  10. Klaus says:

    I use these in 629-1 and a speed loader and they work great. Not plastic craptastic.
    https://www.amazon.com/Zoom-Magnum-Snap-Caps-Pieces/dp/B000MITQ1Y

  11. Nick W. says:

    Hey Joel, while on the subject of ammo shortages have you heard any reason https://www.unammo.com/ shut down? I happened out of the blue, I bought a ton of ammo through them, they used to have very good prices!

  12. Joel says:

    Nick W: Seriously, you’re looking to me for inside info? I’m a penniless cedar rat. Inside info on ammo sites is not really my thing.

  13. KurtP says:

    Re: Nick W.
    Well you ARE friends with Gun Jesus……….

  14. Nick W. says:

    Re: KurtP
    I can’t claim any communication with Ian. I enjoy watching his channel, fantastic history and a ton of great information! But no contact. I wondered if Joel might have heard something because of the Arizona connection.

  15. Joel says:

    🙂 Gun Jesus is one of my two very favorite people, and on the short list of people to whom I’d give my last handful of flour. But we don’t live near one another, he’s busy and I’m isolated, so if we get a chance to actually chat three times in a year it’s a good year.

To the stake with the heretic!