However, I've not been all a dull boy and have been able to accomplish some reloading and shooting fun.
One of my big projects was to break down and reload a large quantity of .35 Remington ammo that I'd loaded for the Contender. It FINALLY dawned on me that all my .35 Rem ammo should be loaded for the weak sister, my Dad's (Granddad's, Great Uncle George's) Model 8 Remington. The load that works best in that gun is 38.5 gr. H4895 under the Hornady or Remington 200 gr. RN. I used the Hornadys this time. It took a while but I broke down about 200 rounds and got them loaded fairly quickly. It helps that they were loaded with the 200 gr. Hornady so new bullets were not a requirement. I also had another 100 cases to load and got those loaded as well. Now I have plenty of practice ammo for both guns. Only a re-zero of the Contender is required. Velocities are (IIRC) in the 2200 fps vicinity with pressures low enough to avoid beating the old Remington to death.
Remington M8, a good, old, deer gun
Another project was the loading of all my accumulation of .44 Mag brass. Since I have enough full-on .44 Mag ammo I decided to load the remainder with 8 gr. Unique under the 240 gr. Hornady LSWC (a swaged bullet) or my remaining stock of BullX 240 gr. SWC. Either load is accurate and shoots to the same POA in my revolver. This is mostly what I use anyway. They are a great practice round in the Contender pistol and suitable for 99% of the targets that I'm likely to encounter with my M629.
That M629 S&W is another project that I'm carrying on. I finally received the rig I ordered from Levergun Leather Works and a fine set up it is. The belt is particularly comfortable and will work with other leather. You'll note that it isn't adorned and that is my style. Basketweave is OK, but the floral carving does nothing for me one way or the other and I certainly won't pay for it.
Levergun Leather Works holster with belt and S&W M629 with new Hogue wood monogrips
I've also been shooting the New Vaquero and found that my technique needs refinement. However the gun is comfortable and fun to shoot. I think it handles better for me than the M629 and I think it will be more comfortable to carry.
For the New Vaquero (NV) I've ordered a Sourdough Pancake, belt and cartridge slide from Simply Rugged which should serve well for daily carry/wear. I may also get a Threepersons holster from some other maker to ride on the LLW belt for this gun and use while hunting. We'll see.
I've also been reloading for the NV. I first tried the Winchester Cowboy loads in this gun. At 7 yards, they are right on POA. That's pleasing but, let's face it, these aren't the most energetic loads possible in this gun. Now, I know that the NVs aren't up to the New Model Blackhawks and Vaqueros built on the larger Super Blackhawk frame but they can handle Colt SA level loads (SAAMI approved) which do run a bit over the cowboy stuff. So, I tried 9 gr. of Unique under the Cast Peformance 265 gr. WFNGC (I'd already loaded this for my M92 EMF/Rossi) and this worked well but because I load the very similar Beartooth 300 gr. WFNGC over 23 gr. of H110 for the M92, I REALLY, REALLY, don't want to be in a position where I confuse the loads. With this as a consideration I looked about for another bullet to use as standard in the .45 Colt revolver only loads and I think I may have found it.
The Mt Baldy Bullet Company located in Cody, WY is one place to get the original Keith 250 gr. bullet with a hardness of 11 BHN. Prices are reasonable and Frank ships in the USPS flat rate boxes. That really cuts down on what could be expensive shipping of the heavy bullets. I bought 400 of the Keiths which I intend to load over 8-9 gr. of Unique. I was also able to score an uncataloged bullet, the "collar button" for use in light .45-70 loads!
Thanks to Frank "Sore Shoulder" S_____, without whom I wouldn't have known about the collar buttons, I placed an order and these are good quality bullets. It will be real fun to shoot these in my .45-70 Contender rifle with scope.
250 gr. Keith on left, "collar button" for the .45-70 on right
The collar button is lubed with liquid alox and loaded over about 9 gr. of Unique in the .45-70 case. I don't have velocity figures as I've not loaded or shot these yet. I've been too busy to even weigh the bullets! However, I can tell the 100 that I got are well made and very consistent. If this works out I may need to order another 400. They would make great training/play bullets for young folks using the .45-70 for the first time. Lots of fun to say you shot the .45-70 without having to nurse a bruise.
I've also been busy processing a bunch of range brass. I got started because I wanted to use some of it. However, not all of it is of interest to me. What is interesting is the cartridges that you find from what are, presumably, non-reloaders. By far the most common case is the good old .30-30 followed by the .243, .30-06, .270, .260 Rem, .25-06, .35 Rem, .44 Mag, and 7mm Rem Mag. What is surprising about this year is that some cartridges that showed up that I would have assumed would only be owned by reloaders. These include the .460 S&W, .22-250, and .270 WSM. Of course, there are hundreds of .38 Special, .357 Mag, and .45 ACP. I also get a few .32 ACP, .380 ACP (quite a few of these), .40 S&W (I don't think ANYBODY even bothers to pick these up, I know I've stopped), .45 GAP, .357 Sig, 7.62x25mm Tokarev, 10mm Auto, .308 Win, .300 Win Mag, .280 Rem, and .30 Carbine. There are also lots of Russian made and Berdan primed brass and steel cases mostly in 7.62x39, 7.62x51, 7.62x54, 9mm Makarov, and .223 Rem but also in 5.45x39, .30 Carbine (!), and .45 ACP. One sees the 8mm (7.92x57) stuff sometimes but it is pretty spotty. I even found 6 .50 AE cases. I'm tempted to put the brass cases I don't use in the recycle drum and cart them to the metal recycler's for the few bucks I can get for scrap value. All the steel cases are trashed. There is zero market here for those cases. Most can be easily IDed and left on the range.