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Friday, April 29, 2011

Simply Rugged’s ‘Range Master’: A Solid Working Holster

For anyone not familiar with the company, Simply Rugged is an Arizona holster outfit owned and operated by Rob Leahy . Rob has solid background in actually carrying guns and his designs reflect a practical approach to keeping a heavy sixgun within easy reach, keeping it secure and accomplishing it all with comfort and style.

In early 2010, Rob and I discussed the perfect working holster for single actions, via email. To my thinking, a working holster should cover enough of the trigger guard to prevent brush, etc. from getting into/under it when cutting brush, etc. or plowing dirt, if you get tossed by a pony or dirt bike.

Retention is also important and I got reminded of this awhile back. While clearing fence rows and piling brush, I hooked my plowhandle and flipped it out nose-first, right into the mud. You'd always rather not do that but I had to laugh a little as I stopped, poured some motor oil on an old napkin and poked it down the bore with a green sprig. A rawhide hammer loop solves this problem perfectly and I have yet to see a field holster retention device that I like better. A tug on the bottom adjusts it, the gun is held securely, yet it is easily and silently brushed off by the thumb when drawing.

The belt loop is a critical element of a hard-use working holster. It should snug the gun into the body with the cylinder centered on the belt, keeping the gun up out of the way but still allowing fairly quick access. At this height, a 5 ½” SA is easily covered by a barn coat or medium-length jacket.

My short-list list of good working-holster attributes is embodied in the Range Master. I made my usual adjustments, as I do with any new holster. I wet-mold them to whatever I’m going to carry in them, so the gun can be drawn quietly by simply lifting it out. I also roll a slight flare in the outer edge, so the gun can be replaced with equal ease. Good quality leather lends itself well to these improvements and the leather used in the Range Master is top-notch. Afterward, the holster got put right to work. Here are a few photos of it after a full day of chores & mowing. 

As friend and fellow blogger Hobie has noted, Rob’s work just keeps getting better and better. The value/price ratio of his leathergoods is high in favor of the consumer, particularly considering the quality of the product. I recommend his holsters heartily and suggest you visit at your first opportunity.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Full Circle...

My tag-along gun for the day was my Old Vaquero in .45 Colt. Almost as an afterthought, I realized I hadn’t shot it much since the previous fall, when I killed the last of its ‘zero gremlins’. So after mowing was done, I walked down to the backstop to discover my hard-used target board had succumbed to the last wind storm. Great… I grabbed the biggest chunk, stapled a target to it (none too neatly I might add) and walked back to the 50 yard stake to confirm this old .45 was shooting where it looked with my most used load; a Missouri Bullet 250 grain RNFP over 7.2 grains of W231, for about 825 fps.

Lacking a suitable rest, I plunked down on the ground and shot the six loads in the gun from sitting, rested over one rickety knee and pressing the trigger when the front sight touched the little red dot in the middle of the target. In retrospect, I probably should have held six o’clock.

Now gentlemen, I realize in the grand scheme of accurate sixguns a four-inch group won’t start any ticker-tape parades. The shooter, as usual, is the weak link in this chain because the Vaquero will hold under an inch at 25 with loads it likes. Still, I am pleased as can be. I take much comfort in a fixed sight .45 Colt I can shoot this well after ignoring it for six months, from a not particularly solid position and taking no great care to produce a photogenic group. This old Ruger is the one handgun that would stay, if all the rest of them had to go.

I guess that makes me a single-action man and I’m good with that, too. It’s where I started out and there’s worse things in life than coming full circle to something really good.