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Sunday, March 26, 2017

The return of Walt Ames

Peter Grant, the author of The Ames Archives, has debuted the title and cover of the second book in the series, the sequel to his very well-received revival of the Western, BRINGS THE LIGHTNING, on his site.

I think perhaps a brief excerpt from ROCKY MOUNTAIN RETRIBUTION would be in order:

As the half-light of dawn began to spread across the eastern horizon, Walt arranged himself into his prone shooting position, tucking the stock of the Remington Rolling Block rifle more tightly into his shoulder. Its powerful .50 Government cartridge would kick back like a mule if he wasn’t positioned correctly to absorb its recoil. He put his eye to the full-length Malcolm telescope sight mounted over the barrel, but the shadows were still too deep and too dark to make out the carcass in the field below.

He waited patiently as the morning light grew slowly brighter. Looking downward from his hide in a rocky outcrop, he began to make out a dark mass against the green grass of the field. It looked larger than it had the evening before, when he set up this position… and, yes, it was moving! He grinned triumphantly and bent his head to the sight once more.

The big brown bear was soon breaking its fast by ripping chunks of meat off the dead cow, eating quickly. Walt reckoned it had probably already learned the hard way that, while farmers’ cattle were easy prey, the farmer would express his resentment of their loss with burning powder and hot lead. Even as he watched, the bear took a last mouthful, then turned, looking up past the rocks as it prepared to climb the hill to the safety of the tree line.

He took a deep breath, let it half-out, and held it. Aim low, he reminded himself. You’re shooting downhill. You’ve got to make allowance for that. He’d already pushed forward the set trigger until it clicked, adjusting its pull weight to mere ounces. He set the sight’s crosshairs on the bottom edge of the bear’s body, to the left of its head, as it walked towards him on all fours. His finger tightened on the trigger, gently… slowly… gently…

The rifle boomed in the still morning air, sparks and white gunpowder smoke erupting from its muzzle. Walt immediately reached up with his right hand, re-cocked the hammer, and flicked open the breech to remove the fired case, then withdrew another fat .50-70-450 cartridge from the box at his side and slid it into the chamber. Closing the action, he pushed the trigger forward to reset it. The whole sequence took no more than three seconds before his eye was back at the telescope sight.

The first round had slammed into the top of the bear’s left shoulder and raked downwards into its chest, rocking the beast’s massive body. It roared aloud in pain and anger as it reared upright, standing on its hind legs, looking to see where the unexpected attack was coming from. It spotted the cloud of smoke drifting away on the light morning breeze and roared again – just as Walt’s second bullet smashed into its breast, piercing its heart. It bellowed once more in anguished fury as it fell forward onto all fours. It started up the hill towards him, but within just a few steps its gait grew unsteady, and faltered. With a final groan, the bear toppled forward onto its snout, then slid back a few feet on the dew-wet grass.

28 Comments:

Blogger Jack Ward March 26, 2017 10:38 AM  

Been waiting for Peter's next. Ready to buy; ready to read!

Blogger VD March 26, 2017 11:03 AM  

It's very good. I daresay it will be even better received than the first.

Blogger Dave March 26, 2017 11:08 AM  

Vote for CLFA Book of the Year 2017

There's still time to vote for Grant's Brings the Lightning if you're so inclined.


SPOILER ALERT: This was a two-horse race between Castalia House authors but Corriea's fans just pushed Monster Hunter into the lead. Grant is probably the only one author that can overtake him.

Blogger Chris March 26, 2017 11:09 AM  

Castalia house continues to impress.

Blogger Dave March 26, 2017 11:17 AM  

I just looked at the cover and I like it but no hat? for a Western?

Anonymous MendoScot March 26, 2017 11:17 AM  

I'd say that I can't wait but truth be told, I'm so backed up on my reading that it'll come out long before I've cleared it. Both Iron Chamber and Souldancer are sitting there waiting for me. So...

...looking forward to it.

Anonymous Hesiod March 26, 2017 11:32 AM  

The Return Of Walt Ames

Noice! Stage dive!

Blogger Were-Puppy March 26, 2017 11:53 AM  

Looking good. I'm so backed up too, I haven't even got to brings the lightning yet - can't wait to dig into these.

Blogger VD March 26, 2017 11:59 AM  

I just looked at the cover and I like it but no hat? for a Western?

It's a freaking Remington. He don't need no hat.

Blogger Chiva March 26, 2017 12:30 PM  

This is good news. Just finished listening to the first book on Audible.

Blogger Jon D. March 26, 2017 3:48 PM  

I can't wait for this. Brings the Lightning still holds my top 2016 book slot. Love it so much.

Blogger Pteronarcyd March 26, 2017 4:34 PM  

Why would anyone put a scope on a rifle chambered for .50-70 Government? It's a short-range cartridge with a rainbow trajectory.

Anonymous SciVo de Plorable March 26, 2017 5:36 PM  

Honestly? Kind of gun fetishistic. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Anonymous Peter Grant March 26, 2017 5:39 PM  

@Pteronarcyd: So were all blackpowder cartridges of the time, including the .50-70's successor, the .45-70. That didn't mean they weren't capable of reaching great distances. Hits were recorded with the .45-70 at over 1,500 yards during Army tests: look up the Sandy Hook tests of 1879 for details.

Civil War snipers used telescopic sights with muzzle-loading rifles such as the Whitworth and Enfield, as well as some fitted to Berdan Sharps rifles (linen cartridge, .52-64-350). The Malcolm scope and others were successfully used by buffalo hunters and others with both the .50-70-450 and .45-70-405 rounds, as well as more powerful and more specialized cartridges. They simply had to be better at range estimation by eye, with none of the technological devices on which we rely today (e.g. mil-dot scopes, laser rangefinders, etc.)

Blogger SmockMan March 26, 2017 6:18 PM  

Looking forward to starting this series soon.

Blogger Dave March 26, 2017 6:26 PM  

Hits were recorded with the .45-70 at over 1,500 yards during Army tests: look up the Sandy Hook tests of 1879 for details.

And that, Mr. Grant, is just one of the reasons why I'll be buying the next installment of the Ames Archives as soon as it's available.

Blogger VD March 26, 2017 6:31 PM  

Honestly? Kind of gun fetishistic

Only kind of? Mr. Grant will clearly need to step up his game.

Why would anyone put a scope on a rifle chambered for .50-70 Government? It's a short-range cartridge with a rainbow trajectory.

(laughs) You definitely asked the right author.

Blogger Beau March 26, 2017 7:49 PM  

Is that a double girth drover saddle? A watering bit?

Blogger Jack Ward March 26, 2017 9:51 PM  

The rider is in hot pursuit; the hat blew off. Time to go back for it after business concluded.
You folk knew from Brings the Lightening that Mr. Grant knew his guns. I've read that at lease twice now and will reread going into the sequel.

Anonymous A Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents March 27, 2017 2:25 AM  

@12
This is just a movie. But this shot has been made.

Quigley Down Under Sharps

Anonymous A Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents March 27, 2017 2:26 AM  

Shooting a Whitworth muzzle loading black powder rifle at 1,300 yards.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pW6UQyzaGZc

Anonymous SciVo de Plorable March 27, 2017 2:46 AM  

VD wrote:Only kind of? Mr. Grant will clearly need to step up his game.

Okay, I just laughed myself into a coughing fit. That's funny.

Blogger maniacprovost March 27, 2017 9:48 AM  

So far I've enjoyed three of Mr. Grant's novels, including Brings the Lightning. A lot of attention to detail and a little bit of a different perspective that make things interesting.

His weakness IMO is the somewhat slow / stilted writing style and the relative simplicity of the plots. The excerpt above is a pretty good representation of his writing. If you ever liked a Western I'd recommend trying out Brings the Lightning.

Blogger Pteronarcyd March 28, 2017 10:22 AM  

Peter Grant wrote @14:
"So were all blackpowder cartridges of the time, including the .50-70's successor, the .45-70. That didn't mean they weren't capable of reaching great distances. Hits were recorded with the .45-70 at over 1,500 yards during Army tests: look up the Sandy Hook tests of 1879 for details."

The Sandy Hook tests are irrelevant in that they were inspired by reports that rifles had been used to some effect as long-range artillery in a recent Russo-Turkish War. In today's military terminology, the distances involved were area targeting, not point targeting. (The effective point target range is that at which a typical soldier is more likely than not to hit a man-sized target; for the M-16 that's 600 yd. The effective area target range is that at which a typical soldier is more likely than not to hit a vehicle-sized target; for the M-16 that's 875 yd. The idea of area targeting is that massed fire has the potential to cause casualties on distant enemy troop concentrations.)

The Sandy Hook tests used targets that have no relevance to a grizzly bear. The Army started out using targets that were 12-ft x 12-ft, but ended up using targets that were 22-ft x 44-ft. (A grizzly is less than 10-ft x 5-ft when standing; ie, the Sandy Hook targets were about 20-times larger than a grizzly.)

Even with such large targets the hit rate was appallingly low at the distances of interest -- 1,500 to 3,500 yd. For example, at 2,500 yd, the .45-70 hit only four times out of 70 shots.

At point target distances, the .45-70 had a benchrested precision of 4 minutes of angle (moa). Good enough for a grizzly, although sloppy by today's gold standard of 1 moa. Point blank range (+/-3 inches from the line of sight) for the .45-70 (.45-70-405), using smokeless powder, is only 143 yd. (The .50-70-500 would have a substantially shorter maximum point blank range -- wider, heavier bullet with same powder charge is going to have even more of a rainbow trajectory.) A poor quality telescopic sight doesn't buy you much performance at such distance. And, a poor quality telescopic sight (ie, any telescopic sight from the 19th century) is going to be hard if not impossible to use under low light conditions (such as dawn), and considerably limits the field of view (a big problem if your target is mobile and dangerous).

I have nothing against the fantasy western genre (I liked "Wild Wild West), but the use of magical rifles is a bit offputting.

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Anonymous Peter Grant March 30, 2017 10:02 PM  

@ Pteronarcyd: I don't propose to go into a whole lot of detail in a mere blog comment. Suffice it to say that, by 1876, approximately a quarter of all Sharps rifles shipped by the factory had Malcolm-type scopes mounted to them. A similar proportion of Remington Rolling Block rifles destined for the buffalo hunting population could say the same.

These hunters routinely took shots at up to 500 yards, sometimes beyond. The US Army's standard for acceptance of .45-70 service rifles was 4" at 100 yards, and that the rifles should put all their rounds onto a 6'x6' target at 600 yards. This was a standard for production rifles, for general issue, not designed for particular accuracy. Many of those original 1870's-vintage Springfield rifles will shoot at 2.5-3 MOA with modern ammunition loaded to blackpowder specifications.

For more information about the Malcolm scope and modern reproductions of it, see:

https://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/2010/8/16/old-school-glass-malcolm-scopes/

For more information about the British Davidson telescope sight, as used on Civil War-era Whitworth sniper rifles, see:

https://springfieldarsenal.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/davidson-telescope.pdf

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Blogger DaisyParker April 04, 2017 3:00 AM  

Good to know about his return.
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