Smoke Signals

Mar/Apr 2012


Staff Writer



Here's a little history on "Buckhorn Rendezvous", we operated this 900 sq ft store just outside of Loveland CO a few miles from Estes Park CO. We lived on the family farm that worked out for the store, only 100 acres was under plow while the other 200 acres was our private shooting range.

We started a Buckskinner Club - the "Buckhorn Skinners" the first sanctioned "Small Bore Muzzleloading Shoot" in the nation per the NRA in 1973. The club membership was 100% NRA members with that Association's blessings. The club held monthly shoots, mountainman runs, encampments, anything that was 1800-1840 we tried it. No paper punching here folks we shot primitive targets including a "Running Bear" that was released off a 75-100 foot cliff running at a 30 degree angle across the shooting range back stop (cliff). PRIMITIVE ... The club would have invitational contests with other buckskinner clubs in North Colorado and Wyoming, some driving for several hours for an event. 


We would have camps setup for these groups to stay in or stay over night. Boy - some long nights and your head would be splitting the next morning with some damn drink called "Tacos Lighting"......

  • Oh, the club was the 1st NRA Muzzle-Loading Club to receive the "NRA Award For Outstanding Performance" in their history since starting in 1937. This NRA Group has over 5,000 entries each year trying to win the title.

  • Get this I sent in the paperwork the second year and we won again; the 1st shooting club to ever win the Award back to back. Folks "we were standing in tall cotton".

In the mid 80s Wal-Mart and K-Mart built new stores in Loveland, they started selling Thomas Center Firearms, my business associate goes crazy "they'll put us out of business". These stores doubled our business, they sold the guns, the kits and NO Accessories, we were ordering three times a week as the word spread for 30 miles around that we had the stuff to make their T/C's work.

Here's were the term "Customer Service" came into play. These fine folks had the guns, we sold each of them hundreds of dollars of accessories and they didn't have a clue what to do next. It hit me one night, let's have Saturday Morning Classes to teach "Muzzle Loading 101", got the club to agree to help and started running an ad in several local newspapers for two months before Colorado Muzzleloading Season started. The club had built an acre parking lot just off the paved road for their events (never got that full) until this project started. You had better come early or you park in the ditch on the paved road. It got so busy after the first season we took another 5 acres which was needed for the club and made a larger parking lot, then started taking names and giving the customers a time frame for their class. This lasted until January 1990 when I moved to Denver when transferred with my real job at the phone company.

Here's an example of real Customer Service.

A small group started shooting competition with custom built muzzleloaders, hand held and shoulder held. These guns can be very "touchy" when shooting (5 shots in the 10 ring - "5-10X") targets at 25 and 50 yards. We started getting request for different items to help, here's one example.


These are the specs. measured on 20 different caps per maker (to get an average of each manufacturer) for diameters as well as height on Remington and CCI.

(20) Rem #10 0.167 diam. 0.168 height.
(20) CCI #10 0.160 diam. 0.160 height.
(20) Rem #11 0.166 diam. 0.145 height.
(20) CCI #11 0.165 diam. 0.162 height.
As you can see the diameters are close on #10's as well as #11, only the CCI #10 had the smaller diameter. If I had got another batch of caps out they would probably measure slightly different than the ones I checked, have never found American percussion caps to be right on the money.
The hottest and most uniform percussion caps I have found in the 50 plus years of shooting this system have been RWS (German Manufacturer), they can be purchased at Dixie Gun Works in Union City, TN. - they are on the Internet.
When we got a new supply of percussion caps from our supplier we would do a random check of the height of the different brands because some of our customers wanted a specific heights for their revolvers/pistols. I kept a list of the different shooters we had as a customer base, when we got caps that filled their needs we would set them aside with their name on the measured caps.

What the hell ever happened to "Customer Service" ?


Time to end this and let you fine folks go to the next page.




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