As almost all black powder cartridge shooters and many long range shooters will already know, in the year of 1874, 28 men and one woman are all that inhabit the few buildings in the Texas panhandle, known as Adobe walls. Among them are several buffalo hunters including Bat Masterson and a certain Billy Dixon. Chief Quanah Parker, son of a Comanche war chief and a captured white woman, Cynthia Ann Parker, was waging war on the white man in response to the theft of his tribe’s land and had been persuaded by a medicine man, whose magic made them immune to the white man’s bullets, to attack Adobe Walls.
On the morning of June 27th the men were awakened around 2am by the cracking of a collapsing ridge pole and so fortunately were well awake as the attack was launched, after some fierce fighting during which the defenders suffered four dead, the Indians withdrew to a safe distance, and continued to sporadically attack the outpost.
On the second day of the siege a group of Indians appeared on a distant bluff presumably to plan their next attack. Feeling more than a little miffed by now, Billy borrowed a ‘big fifty’ (probably a Sharps 50/90) and let loose a single shot in the direction of the indians. Seconds later a figure was seen to fall from his horse causing obvious consternation to the Indians as they promptly withdrew to a safer distance after stopping only to pick up their fallen comrade.
Four days later reinforcements arrived in the shape of the US Army and, when it was deemed safe to do so, the distance was measured from Billy’s position to the bluff where the Indian was seen to fall, a total of 1,538 yards.
The Quigley Shooting association runs an annual competition based on Billy’s famous shot using modern replica firearms of the period, fitted with open iron sights and fuelled only with black powder. The competition consists of two stages. Stage 1 being two sighters and ten shots to count at a standard 500 yard bullseye target (small enough itself at 1000 yards) to get the range and sight setting. Stage 2 was ten to count on a two-thirds size mounted Indian figure target.
Traditional crossed-stick rests were permitted as the only aid, no optic sights allowed. The winner is determined by the number of hits on the Indian, followed by hits on the horse, one point being awarded for hits on the backer but missing the silhouette.
As luck would have it we were blessed with a clear bright day and, even though the infamous Diggle ‘breeze’ was ever present, almost everyone managed to score hits on the frame though only four firers hit the mounted figure. Phil Morgan scored two hits on the figure and five hits on the backer to take third place, Bob Hodson with his .45/70 Rolling block scored two hits on the figure and seven hits on the backer to take runner-up but guest shooter Ian Platts scored three hits on the figure, one hit on the horse and three hits on the backer to finish in first place – having never shot at this distance before. (We might see more of Ian, I think he enjoyed the shoot).
The competition was thoroughly enjoyed by all and any BPCR fans reading this report wishing to take part in future competitions will be made very welcome. Questions and comments please to firstname.lastname@example.org