Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March 24, 2009
When Shoot magazine went out of business last year, we took over their subscription list to honor the remaining issues owed to subscribers. I received this email from a former Shoot subscriber:

On Mar 23, 2009, at 9:00 PM, Hugh Macmillan wrote:

Dear Bob,

64 years ago, in England where I was born, I fell in love. Which may seem a little strange as I was only 10 years old at the time. The object of my affection was Western movies. Every Saturday morning I would climb onto a Number 13 bus and pay the conductor my fare of one penny. Clutching my sixpenny-piece for the movie ticket, I willed the big red double decker along the Edgware Road to the Odeon Cinema just as speedily as traffic would allow. Many trades used horses to power their deliveries in those days, and often a coal-monger or brewery cart, drawn by their magnificent teams of Shires or Clydesdales would slow my progress. But beautiful as they were, it was Silver and Trigger I really wanted to see.

Cowboys have always been my heroes, my role models, and the age-old conflict between good and evil that has been the basis of staged entertainment for millennia appealed enormously.

The war ended, my father went to live in Africa, and in 1948 I followed him. 60 years went by, and although I was able to collect and shoot a variety of guns, there was no call for 44.40 or 45 caliber single action sixguns, or Winchester 73s or simple side-by-side coachguns. Africa was all about self-protection, hunting the Big Five, and following visits by the late great Col. Jeff Cooper - practical pistol shooting. Then came the birth (rebirth?) of Cowboy Action, and from 13 thousand miles away I joined SASS. In my spare moments I would take out my SASS badge, pin it on my shirt, and take my Ruger Old Army cap and ball pistol to the nearest range. Alone and in my seventies, while shooting round holes in a piece of paper supported by bits of wire in the center of an old tire, I relived moments from many decades earlier, priceless moments with Gene, Roy, The Lone Ranger, Tonto and the other heroes of my youth.

I'm now 74 and LIving in San Antonio, where my wife and I hope to spend the rest of our lives. I belong to two CAS clubs. I have a beautiful pair of USFA Rodeos in 45 cal., a Uberti replica of the 73, and a TTN coachgun. I'd love a single shot rifle in 45-70, but my pension won't allow it. The fact that macular degeneration has robbed me of all central vision in my right eye is a nuisance, but I'm fine with the Rodeos. Folks do comment about my stretching my head across the stocks of my long guns to enable left eye sighting and right hand shooting! I explain that I'm way past trying to become left handed - especially with a lever gun.

Why this letter? Well. I wanted to subscribe to a magazine that supported my favorite past time, and took a year's worth of Shoot! You know the rest of the story. I just want to express my gratitude to you for taking over Shoot subscribers and for giving us a more comprehensive magazine. Your sense of history, depth of knowledge, scope of coverage, and the fine illustrations in True West go way beyond guns (without excluding them) and offer all who love the Old West precious moments of peace! Yes, peace can come even from action filled times. The peace of a simpler life. A time when the good guys wore white hats and a little boy on a London bus found joy in The Cowboy Way.

Thanks for all that you do. Best regards,

—Hugh, aka Longshadow SASS#70099

"The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes."
—Benjamin Disraeli

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