How to Load Black Powder Blanks For Old West Re-enacting

So you want to load blanks for Old West re-enacting or for a video project? It's very easy and inexpensive to do. What you'll need are the following:
  1. Brass casings (spent or new)
  2. Black powder of your choice
  3. Primer punch 
  4. Hammer 
  5. Power drill
  6. Vice
  7. Hand priming tool
  8. Powder pourer
  9. Florist's foam
  10. Nail polish
If you are using new brass you can skip steps 1 and 2 below.

Step 1: Remove old primers from brass casings with a primer punch and a hammer.

Step 2: Drill out primer flash hole. This keeps the primer from backing out due to pressures created by there being no bullet on the case end.

Step 3: Seat new primer with a hand priming tool

Step 4: Pour black powder into case. The more powder you use, the bigger the "bang"!

(filled almost to the brim)

Step 5: Seal in the black powder with florist's foam. You can buy florist's foam at any craft or dollar store. This foam has been cut down to approximately the right depth for how much we need here.

(punching through the foam)

Step 6: This step is optional if you plan to use your blanks right away. If you are loading extras or they won't be used for a while it's a good idea to seal in the florist's foam with nail polish. This will give you a louder "bang" and help to keep the foam from disintegrating or breaking apart. We are using black here because it seems appropriate for gunfighters!

(Example showing a blank sealed with nail polish vs. a blank that has been left unsealed. The foam easily disintegrates when it hasn't been sealed.)

It's really that easy. But as always, safety comes first! Use caution when firing blanks, and NEVER shoot at a person. Here is the obligatory disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes, but anything that you may try is at your own risk.

Buy hand priming tool at Cabelas online

Gun Cart Umbrella Holder Design DIY

This low profile cowboy gun cart umbrella holder design was thought up by our good friend, Bear Bone Smith. Bear Bone is a Master Bladesmith, but his creativity doesn't stop there. I grabbed this video to show off his simple yet clever design. The umbrella holder is actually a fishing rod holder found at a local sporting goods store. There are plenty of different style rod holders out there that would work very well for this project, but I like this particular one with a twist lock feature, since you can turn it down and out of the way when not in use. Also, the umbrella fits perfectly in an empty long gun slot in your gun cart for easy transportation. Very cool idea, Bear, and thanks for sharing!

Check out Bear Bone's fine custom knives online at Bear Bone Knives

In the Spotlight: Lindholm Brothers Spurs

To break ground for our newest category, In the Spotlight, we would like to introduce you to the Lindholm Brothers. The Lindholm Brothers, Bill and Jim, are truly the finest cowboy spur makers around. We interviewed Bill (known by most as Wimpy) to find out a little more about their spur making business and how they came to be a part of the Cowboy Action Shooting community.

Cowboy Action Town: How and when did you first hear about the sport of Cowboy Action Shooting?

Wimpy: I know I had read something about folks dressing up in cowboy outfits and having shooting matches and something about them wearing spurs too. I remember telling brother Jim, we need to find out about this, " We could maybe sell these folks some of our spurs." This was in 1994 or 1995 I think. While out on the road, knocking on doors, so ta' speak, trying to sell our wares to stores, I happened into a store in Redmond, Oregon. The Lady that owned the store said she would order some things from me, but she wanted me to go into another store first. She said if the other store didn't want to buy anything from me to come back, but She thought the other neighboring store had more of the type of items in it that our spurs would go with. So I went into the other store that sold antique western items, some new western items, and old west type of guns. In conversation, the fella that owned the store told me about Cowboy Action Shooting and he also ordered a few pair of spurs from me that day. This was in the spring of 1997. 

I happened into another store a few weeks later, in Roseburg, Oregon and the store owner there told me there was going to be a big Cowboy Shooting Match in a couple of weeks just up the road at the Roseburg Rod & Gun Club. So, my brother and I attended the 1st Annual Match put on by the Umpqua Regulators. The President of the Club at the time was 'Brownie Nash' and the VP was 'Just PassinThru'. Brownie bought a pair of spurs from us that weekend, as did 5 other people. 'Judge Roy Bean' was also in attendance at the match. We also made friends with 'Marshal Chapped Hyde' that weekend, (later known as 'Guano'). He was shooting in his first Cowboy Match. We were given a couple of Cowboy Chronicles and we noticed that there was going to be a match in Cheyenne, Wyoming the next week. Our sister Sarah lived in Cheyenne at the time, so my brother took our inventory and attended the first Annual Match being put on by the Cheyenne Regulators over the July Fourth Holiday. He sold a few pair of spurs there and took some orders too. 

We had just suddenly found where we thought we belonged!! If we had joined SASS at the time, our numbers would be considerably lower. But we were just very HAPPY to have found a place where really nice folks were interested in our goods. And the story goes on and on.....

Cowboy Action Town: What was the deciding reason that you got into Cowboy Action Shooting?

I guess, as they say (or we say, and we stole this line), "Good Business is Where You Find It". As I mentioned earlier, just finding out about Cowboy Action Shooting for business was the start. Marshal Chapped Hyde (Guano) had told us at the Roseburg Match that a group of like minded folks were forming a club in the Medford area. And we did attend the Umpqua Regulators Second Annual Match in 1998. Guano was there again and told us the newly formed Jefferson State Regulators were having an Invitational Match in about a month at the Ashland Gun Club, "The Shootout at Lthia Springs". So we made it a point to attend that match as vendors. We had a great time, and watched a little more than we had before. It looked like a real fun time for those shootin' the match!!! 

lso, I might add that during 1998 we went ahead and joined SASS and started sending spurs to annual matches for prize tables, EOT, Mule Camp and others. We were delivering some items to a store in Jacksonville one afternoon in the fall of 98 and as it happened, it was on the same day JSR was having their monthly meeting, so we hung around in Medford that day and went ahead and attended their meeting that night. It was fun to sit in. We ended up joining the club and then we started to go to monthly matches just ta' hang out, too. Well, those wonderful folks in the JSR asked "WHY??? aren't you guys shooting?" Well, we answered " We don't have the right guns, etc.." We were picking up on clothing, but guns can be a little expensive. Anyway, while at a monthly match, we were kinda' cornered and told by Guano, Col Cornelius Gilliam and Just Bill, "The next time you boys are going to make it over, call one of us ahead of time and make sure you bring a belt that will fit you, and we'll have holsters, pistols, rifle and ammo for you to shoot." We did have a shotgun, found out that it was not a very good shotgun though. 

Photo by Gary Clark of Goldvein Photography
That was the beginning I guess. I think my first monthly match (where I shot guns & ammo loaned to me) was in October 1999. My first annual was at LithiaSprings in 2000. I had been able to buy a rifle from JD Walker, and my first pistols I bought from Just Bill. I had them for that annual match, but I hadn't paid them for them yet. What wonderful folks!!!!! Whiney had picked up a set of pistols in a trade for spurs in December of 99 at a CMSA event he had attended as a vendor in Arizona. (he had also been attending some other matches vending in that past year and a half, such as Winter Range, EOT, Bakersfield, and others) but he hadn't been able to shoot that much, so he didn't shoot the Annual in 2000, but he was the scorekeeper for our posse that year.

Cowboy Action Town: Have you always had an affinity for the Old West?

Wimpy: No, as any youths that grew up in the late 50's and 60's we watched our share of westerns on the TV. 'Twas about the end of the Roy Rogers TV era, and Laramie, Wagon Train, Wanted Dead or Alive, later Paladin, Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, Bonanza, and others. Of course, some John Wayne type movies, were being shown on TV some. We grew up in Indiana, and we did ride horses with some with friends of ours, but cowboy hats and such weren't in the mix at all (even though Whiney was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming). The Old West wasn't something we were into at all. All of this was just pure happenstance, I guess. I know, Whiney (Jim) and I have told more than one person, here or there, if someone had looked into the Crystal Ball 25 years ago, and said  "I see you wearing cowboy clothes and shooting old western style guns, and making cowboy spurs" well.... we'd a'thought this person is NUTS!!! This has turned out bein' kinda FUN!!! And interesting too!!!

Cowboy Action Town: The Lindholm Brothers, Bill and Jim, are better known as Wimpy Hank Yoho and Whiney Henry Yoho. What is the story behind your SASS aliases?

Wimpy: The name 'Yoho' is a Family name that dates back to the Revolutionary War. The names Hank (bein' a nick name for) Henry were both used quite often in our family tree. Brother Jim was called Henry quite a lot by our Grandpa (our Ma's, Pa) and I took Hank. Those were our aliases the first year of our membership in SASS. When it came time to renew our dues we had decided to add a little humor to our names and thus the addition of Wimpy and Whiney. Also our initials became WHY, just so folks could ask why? (My sister and some of my friends in school used ta' call me Wimpy)

Cowboy Action Town: You make the finest August Buermann and Old West spurs I've ever seen. Your spurs are world famous. How did you get into the spur making business?

Wimpy: Sometime in 1991 we were at an antique and collectable show as vendors, we were selling bells, door knockers, key chains and other knick-knack type items. We, at that time, would make replacement hardware, draw pulls, decorative accent pieces, chandelier pieces or... whatever job might come along. Another vendor that was there dealt in western type items, new and antique. He stopped by, looked at what we had, and then asked if we had ever made spurs. We told him no, but we'd be willing to give it a go. Over the next three years of so we made spurs for him. We ended up having a problem with getting paid, so we quit working for him, and slowly went out trying to find work on our own.

Cowboy Action Town: What is your most famous pair of spurs?

Wimpy: I don't know about famous, but I suppose the pair of spurs that the most people have seen were the ones Viggo Mortensen wore in the movie Hidalgo. They were shown off quite a bit. Kinda' cool really, as our spurs have been in other movies too, but never on the screen like in Hidalgo.

Viggo Mortensen giving a "Mexican Tattoo" with his Lindholm Brothers spur in Hidalgo

Cowboy Action Town:
Lindholm Brothers Spurs also makes modern riding spurs. When and why did you decide to add these to your catalog?

Wimpy: Well, in the past couple of years, the way things slowed down for a while, business wise, (and the economy I'm sure was a big part of it) we thought we should add some more styles that were a little plainer, more for daily use spurs, and not so much as the jewelry type spurs that we wear in SASS (some folks think we have too many choices, but, we figure more choices for the consumer is a good thing, all in all).

Cowboy Action Town: You are very involved with raising money for breast cancer research. What is the story behind that, and how much money have you raised?

Photo by Julie Owen aka Black Box Belle
Wimpy: Well, if you know me, you know I HATE CANCER!!! We lost our Father, our sister, a first cousin (he was a real nice fella' and pretty young), more good friends in SASS that I can even start ta' mention. Did I tell ya', I HATE cancer? Anyway, The Breast Cancer Research Fund is a really worthwhile cause, and we believe if a cure could be found for breast cancer it would go a real long way toward finding cures for other types of cancer. I am a cancer survivor myself. We've been lookin' for donations (with spur raffles) goin' on four years now. And it's really the generosity of the SASS folks that have made this happen. Cancer has touched us all - mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, youngins', other family members, and good friends in SASS. We all know and love folks whom have fought the good fight and lost, and those that are still fighting. This has been a joint effort with folks I've met over the past few years. I think collectively, with all those involved we've raised $30,000 or close to it. I must mention Alpine Lil here. She has been an inspiration to me, working very hard to raise funds with spur raffles and other fundraising efforts for the Breast Cancer Research Fund. She has become a very good friend over the past four years. I love her dearly. She is a Breast Cancer Survivor. We just had a raffle for a pair of spurs at Dry Gulch at Arroyo Cantua a week ago, and those fine folks donated $520.00 for a chance at winning a pair of spurs. As I said, it's not us, but it's all those generous folks that we've seen at matches that do the donating. I could never thank them enough.

Cowboy Action Town: In addition to raising money for breast cancer research, Lindholm Brothers Spurs has been involved in many other charitable efforts. Can you tell us a little bit about those?

Wimpy: Not all of these are charities, per se, but we believe all are very worthy of our donations. This is not in any particular order, and I have forgotten some, I'm sure, as someone will come by the booth at an event and ask myself or Whiney if we could donate a pair of spurs for this or that, and we'll take a pair of spurs off the shelf and give them to the person and tell them we're glad to help out. Most recent, and those are easier to remember, The Shady Creek Shootists of Monmouth, IL and the Illowa Irregulars in Milan, IL every year, Memorial Weekend have a Fundraiser Benefit Match and all proceeds go to St. Judes Children's Research Hospital. We've donated spurs to that a few times. They sell raffle tickets for some items, and have bidding on some items. All match fees go to the cause, and I believe even the dinners are donated so all monies that come in can be passed on to St Judes. 

Another match we have donated to that comes ta' mind is called Gateway to the West put on by the Gateway Shootist Society in St. Louis, MO. This happens the third weekend of September, with all proceeds going to C.H.A.M.P. Assistance Dogs. Dogs that are trained to help the disabled. Last year and this year too, we've donated 5 pair of spurs each year for raffles to help raise funds for the SASS Memorial Chapel to be built at Founders Ranch. We also donate to the local NRA Fundraising Banquet every year here in Klamath Falls, I think that happens in October. We've donated to the Motion Picture & Television Fund aka the Golden Boot Awards (Taking Care of Our Own). And another of our and our Ma's favorite charities is Roy Rogers & Dale Evans Happy Trails Children's Foundation. We've donated to them for quite some time to help with some fundraising raffles. As I said before I know there have been others, more than once we've heard a SASS member is hurtin' and needin' a little help, and we've run a raffle ourselves or sent a pair of spurs to help with raising some funds. I do know from my own experience, SASS Folks are the best, and they have sure helped Whiney and me through the years, so if we can help out a little for a SASS sister or brother in need, we are happy to.  

Cowboy Action Town: What are Lindholm Brothers Spurs plans for the future?

Wimpy: Well, in the immediate future, attending the 'Battle of Rogue River' in June, and we're tossin' around the thought of maybe Whiney making a trip back to Ohio in August and vending at 'Guns of August'. We've not made a for sure decision on that yet (we're collecting info right now). I'm also being pestered (Ha Ha) by some, ta' go ta' Texas again this year for 'Comin' at Cha' the first weekend of November.

We'd like to thank Wimpy and Whiney for allowing us to do this interview! You can check out their spurs catalog, read testimonials, and look at some funny Cowboy Action Shooting photos over at their site (linked below).

Visit the Lindholm Brothers Spurs on the web at

Beginning Shooter's Guide: Transitions

In this video article we will demonstrate some ways you can transition from gun to gun during a stage to increase your efficiency and speed.

Beginning Shooter's Guide: Shooting Shotguns

Demonstrating proper stance and how to efficiently shoot single barrel pump, double barrel single trigger and double barrel double trigger shotguns.

Next up: Beginning Shooter's Guide: Transitions

Beginning Shooter's Guide: Shooting Rifles

In this video article we will cover some tips and techniques for proper stance and how to efficiently shoot lever action rifles.

Next up: Beginning Shooter's Guide: Shooting Shotguns

Beginning Shooter's Guide: Shooting Pistols

In this video article we will cover some tips and techniques for traditional two-handed pistols, duelist pistols, double duelist pistols, and gunfighter pistols:

1) Proper stance

2) Drawing your pistols
3) Holding your pistols
4) Cocking your pistols
5) Efficiently shooting your pistols
5) Transitioning from one pistol to another

Next up: Beginning Shooter's Guide: Shooting Rifles