If you are in Colorado on 8 April 2015 please attend a lecture I will give at the Ault, Colorado Library. Ault is about 70 miles north of Denver and 11 miles north of Greeley, Colorado. The talk will be a reading of my book, Comes A Pale Horse with details of the background and history of the setting. The book is a historical novel of the plains wars set in the west of 1864-65.

One book reviewer said this:

Burgess weaves a powerfull tale about the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre which occurred as the consequence of the 1861 formation of Colorado Territory out of Kansas Territory. Using fictional characters placed in the actual military units of such regiments as the 11th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, commanded by Colonel William O. Collins (the namesake to Fort Collins, Colorado), the 1st Colorado Cavalry, commanded by Colonel John Chivington, the 11th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry, the 7th Iowa Cavalry, the 2nd Missouri Light Artillery, commanded by Colonel Nelson Cole, and the 12th Missouri Cavalry, Burgess tells the story of the Plains Wars of the 1860's. Throughout the work he discusses the importance of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 and its influence on the military and political development of the American West. While 200,000 square miles of territory on the plains of the Rocky Mountain West now belonged to the Indians, the United States government promptly began a treaty process to clear the Indians' claim of title to these lands with the Treaty of Fort Wise of 1861 held on the Arkansas River in Indian Territory of the Cheyennes and Arapahoes. After Colonel John Civington's cavalry killed several hundred old men, women and children at Sand Creek on 29 November, 1864, Roman Nose led an attack on Camp Rankin and Julesburg in northeast Colorado Territory. The War Department then incensed retaliated by forming the Powder River Expedition as a punitive action to move on the Indians in the Powder River country of present day Wyoming.

Burgess tells his story in a way reminding me of Tolstoy's WAR AND PEACE. It's the story of Old Man Afraid of His Horses, Roman Nose, Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, the government, the War Department and many military units. Epic in nature and well written, it's a good read.

The event begins at 7:00 pm lasting until 8:30 pm. There is no admission charge and the public is welcome.


About the author

Robert O. Burgess was born in Carl Junction, Missouri, in 1934. The University of Oregon conferred the Doctor of Medicine degree to him in 1964. He attended Colorado State College of Education and the University of Wyoming. He received the Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Oregon. He served four years as a Hospital Corpsman in the United States Navy, the last two years with the 3rd Marine Division in Okinawa and the Pacific. For twenty-five years Doctor Burgess practiced medicine in Laramie, Wyoming. He now resides in Colorado with his wife, Edna.

Speaker's Bureau

Doctor Burgess is available for speaking engagements for many groups and organizations. He has addressed County and State Historical Societies; military groups such as the VFW, and American Legion; literary associations; county Medical Associations; Western Writers of America; high school, college, and university literature and history classes; service groups such as Lions and Rotary clubs and many other assemblies.

Subject: The History of the West of the Plains Wars Era

Length of Address: One And One Half to Two Hours

Honorarium: $500.00 to $1,000 Plus Travel Expenses

Libraries, Schools And Military Groups Require Only Travel Expenses

Robert O. Burgess, M.D., formerly of Wyoming, now lives in Colorado

To Make Arrangements For Doctor Burgess To Speak To Your Group

Send Email to: delist23586@mypacks.net

Bob Dawson drew this picture after shooting in the first National Shooters League match in 1975. Dawson was a superb pistol shooter from Huntington Beach, California. Following Dawson over the next five years were some of the world's finest pistol shooters from more than thirty states in the nation. On these pages I will tell you about this most prestigious match.

The Wanted Poster reads:




Above is a picture of the official buckle of the National Shooters League. It is numbered and limited to 500 being struck. It is of solid brass and was minted in London, England by Deane and Adams. On the reverse is: © COPYRIGHT 1976, PRIVATE EDITION, WARRANTED-FINEST MINTED BRASS

Doc Burgess and his brother, Giff present the first place prize of $5,000 in cash to the 1976 National Shooters League NSL pistol champion, Frank Green. A retired officer of the United States Air Force, Green is one of the world's masters of the pistol.. He coached the U.S. Olympic Pistol Team in 1968.

Below Are Some Conversations I've Had With Friends

For your bolt action get a 03-A3, Springfield, as issued. Doesn't need altered; shoot as is. Two-groove is just fine, just as accurate as the 4-groove. Good sights, one doesn't need a scope unless it's dark outside and then we'll turn to the 870 and call in air. I own many 03-A3s. They all placed 5 shots into 1-1/2 inches at a hundred yards the first time I shot them. I have one where a fine gunsmith fitted it with a Lyman 48 receiver sight with its 60-minute staff. It's 49 minutes to a thousand yards with my load. If one can shoot a 3-inch group, from prone, at 100 yards, one can shoot that same 3-minute group to 1000 yards with a little practice. Any wind, any direction, all day long, it doesn't matter. 3 minutes at a thousand yards is a 30-inch group and one doesn't want to be wearing a blue balloon for a cover out there.

Sticking with your bolt action configuration, if one insists on scoping it hoping to shoot slightly better groups in much poorer light, then buy a Remington Model 700, heavy barrel, and put a good scope on it and hire a gun bearer to tote it and a spotter to help you range ‘em.

Otherwise, and everyone here knows this is coming - buy a Garand, have a good gunsmith, as we have on this board, tune it to National Match specs and you'll never fire another rifle unless you're poodle poppin' and plinkin'. While I carry my Garand, my 03-A3 isn't far away. Why? Because they both shoot the same '06 load very accurately to way out there.

Years ago the we started shootin' 4x4 foot targets (half a sheet of particle board, etc.) at 1,000 yards. We painted the target un-blue. Next we painted a white 20-inch "V" ring in the center and then painted a blue helmet in its center. To qualify, iron sights only, we must put 20 consecutive shots in the 4x4 (that part's easy) with 10 of the shots in the "V" ring (not so easy). The helmet looks like a rat hole.

Tell your buddies you'll be needin' a 16 minute rifle, no scope, as you'll be shootin' in the desert with crosswinds of 16 mph and that bullet's goin' be blown 160 inches. Tell 'em boat tails and a ballistic coefficient well over .440 and you'll be shootin' from prone all day and you don't want 'yer rifle beatin' you to a pulp.

And they'll smile and tell you, "yer talkin' '06 country, pard. Buy you a M1 Garand."

I shoot in the desert, mostly.

As at any course of fire, any place in the country, there is always a wind even though it may be only 1 to 2 mph. One must move ones sights, into the wind. I have not shot from a bench in more than 40 years. It’s a waste of ammo. I shoot from prone with a sling, no sand bags, no bipod no support other than the sling. The sight picture is rock-solid. After firing at a target I always move to a different target, different distance, different wind. I never use Kentucky windage. I always move the sight.

I have shot with many fine riflemen all of whom were handicapped with a scope when the distances are great (I am not talking about the professional, the sniper, and I have shot with some of them). Most riflemen-scope shooters do well with shots less than 600 yards and shooting into the same wind. My brothers and I begin at 600 yards at targets at different distances and direction. A great confidence builder is seeing ones shot strike the target. One can see it using iron sights. Using a scope it is very difficult seeing the bullet’s impact.

Usually the scope shooter has sighted his piece from a bench, 100 yards to the target, on a berm-enclosed, wind-protected range. Say 1-1/2 to 3 inches high for deer hunting, extending his effective range to 300 yards depending on the cartridge. On the desert the scope shooter is often reluctant to move his sights, instead using Kentucky windage. At long distances (greater than 800 yards) he quickly tries something different, or quits shooting, his bullets all over the place sometimes 25 to 30 feet low and never in a line to the target. He then moves his scope’s sights and then is quickly lost as he can’t find his zero and must return to the bench.

With good iron sights one may quickly return to zero and quickly move them for any long distance shot. One may move the sight without looking if using the finest sights ever put on a rifle – the M1 Garand. Its sight is reliable, durable and almost indestructible.

Put your iron sights to the test and then invite your scope buddies out for a long-range shootin’ fest with shifting winds; winner takes the bear.


A conversation with a friend:

Doc, it is so neat to hear from another iron sight man. Like Elmer Keith, if it burns gunpowder I'm in favor of it; but the REAL test is in the use of iron sights and distance. A man who can make THAT sing is a Rifleman! I have NEVER started any of my kids off with a scope. First, they gotta be able to really use those iron sights, then I teaknow it's 800 yards 'cach 'em where and how glass is indicated.

Friend, t he only glass I use is a good pair of binocs; Zeiss, 10x40B and I use it only to locate targets I can't see otherwise. I use the glass to identify a helmet-sized rock, say 800 yards at the base of a clump of rabbit brush. It's 36 minutes to 800 yards. Wind at 15 mph from 2:00 o'clock. I move the sight 9 minutes into the wind. Like shootin' ducks in a barrel. I use I've taken that shot many times.

For the next shot, I pick a different direction and distance forcing me to move the sights, both windage and elevation. I don't mind the forcin', 'cause that's my game. Hit it with the first shot. The friends I shoot with have no patience otherwise.

I know you already do this, but for those who haven't fired the Garand much, fire most of your practice rounds from prone with the sling, and no sandbags, artificial rests, etc. Place the forward elbow directly under the piece and roll into your shoulder (left shoulder if right handed) locking the sights almost as tight as a machine rest.

Converesation with a friend:

Doc, I've used dummy and ball in training for myself as well as students, I think forever. It is so simple and so obvious. I've a young man I was able to help with this flinch problem who subsequently has been to Africa three times, bagged several buffs as well as a very nice elephant, and scads of plains game, Kudu,Bongo, etc.

He had gone from light calibers through .30-06 very well, but then graduated to an H & H double .450 without any instruction. He figgered if he could use a Springfield he could use anything! In watching him shoot both a .30-06 and his .450, I realized he was tryin' to hold the .450 like a heavy .30-06, cupping the butt in loosely and resting the fore-end on his flat left hand. I had gone down with my favorite -06, as well as a .416 Rem., .450 Ackley, and my .475 Ackley.

Suffice it to say, when he started holding tht .450 as though it were a King Cobra, pulling it into his shoulder pocket deeply, and hanging onto that fore-end for dear life,with his hand around the barrel, within an hour he was shredding wood blocks and went on to fabulous shots on big-game! That .450 was rotating around the fulcrum of his shoulder and beating hell out of his cheek! Hmph! I'da flinched too!

Always move the rear sight into the wind and set the elevation for the distance. Never use Kentucky windage for long shots, move the sights; and this is just one more reason not to use a scope.

All shots, all distances, will be inside 3 minutes.

The way we did it on the line for rapid fire dry fire practice with the Garand was this: Shooter in a sling, prone; fire team mate sitting facing aft who would, using the palm of his right hand, strike the operating rod, cocking the piece and rocking the shooter like recoil. The shooter would then roll back into his sight picture and squeeze. Repeat until the sun goes down, taking turns.

Next day, with live rounds, flinchers got to police up the brass.

apreciate the tips. I always use the sling, never use artificial rests, and I do keep the elbow in prone under the weapon but this is the first time someone has talked about "rolling into your shoulder". Can't wait to try that out, should steady me up proper.

I think my shootin' mate has a flinch with the Garand. I'll give 'im 2 choices, Doc's 'rock the boat' method, or Latigo's quarter trick. Either way, the flincher will be policin' the brass and cleanin' the latrine - hehe.

A good exercise with the Garand, is to tell your shootin' mate that for this next session you will load all clips without him watching. From time to time close the bolt on an empty chamber. Flinches show every time. He'll quit doin' it pretty soon as it's embarrassing showing off a flinch on an empty chamber.


One of my ongoing projects, using my arc welder, is making pull carts. I use angle iron and bicycle wheels and make the bed of a size that holds 4 of the 50 cal. ammo cans on one layer. It pulls just fine by hand or behind a bicycle. It's best to use 20" solid tires when the goin' gets tough, or make sure you carry along plenty of repair and spare tire parts. It takes a purdy good load and pulls easy over high brush. The desert rats make good use of 'em. They are take-down and store easy in a small space.

They leave a trail, but the rear guard's on duty. The rear guard gets to vote more'n once.

As to the high desert, say around Bitter Creek, you won't find any pilgrims. You will need your buffalo robes year 'round and on a still night you'll hear horses comin' in and that's a good sign 'cause the pack horses are carryin' 150 pound loads. The pull carts will carry that much, but they're overloaded doin' it. Best to keep the weight down under a 100 pounds.

From a friend:

To a friend: Y our 45-70 is most certainly big bore. It's a fine old army cartridge and it's good for huntin', but keep in mind that in present day Bighorn County, Montana on the Greasy Grass is where Custer and his men went under. Their rifle was the 45-70 trapdoor carbine. Each man had 40 rounds, big mistake. 20 rounds were in their saddle bags and the other 20 in their belt. Crazy Horse flanked 'em on his left, Gall flanked 'em on his right. They had arrows and very few firearms hardly any ammunition, contrary to Hollywood's portrayals. Flights of arrows from long range into the horse holders and horses and the troopers were down to 20 rounds each. Crazy Horse and Gall's troops had thousands of arrows.

Unlike Pondora Taylor, whose medium bore for African game was the .375 H&H, some call the .308 and 30-06 as ideal for desert recon. All shoot the 30-06 ammo for the M1 Garand and Springfield 03 and 03-A3.

Bring your 45-70 along, we'll use it for artillery.


To a friend: General Crook left Fort Fetterman in present day Wyoming with about twelve hundred men. His was the southern column in the three column hunt for the Sioux and Cheyenne in 1876. His companies had a total of 25,000 rounds. That sounds like a lot, but it's just under 20 rounds the man. Crook met Crazy Horse on the Rosebud about one week before Custer's disaster. After 3 hours of battle Crazy Horse left the field and Crook, now down to 12,000 rounds, or ten rounds the man, sent a runner back to Fort Fetterman for more ammo, left his assigned orders and marched into the footnotes of history.

In plains warfare with the Indians the only time the military won or drew in battle, the military had one or more cannon (On Sand Creek, 1864, where Chivington had more than 700 men and several howitzers, his men killed old men, women and children. Roman Nose and his Cheyenne warriors were to the east on the head of the Smoky Hill hunting their winter meat of buffalo. No warriors were in that camp). The Indians, on the plains, won all the other battles with arrows.

Looking at the numbers it's obvious. The soldier, out numbered with his 20 rounds, was no match for the Indian and his 40 arrows. The soldier, often in groups of 80 as in the case of Fetterman (Red Cloud had more than a thousand men), or 250 or so as in Custer's case, shot up their ammo and they were dead. Both Fetterman and Custer's men were wiped out, as the Indians say. In Fetterman's case, Crazy Horse decoyed 'em, Red Cloud killed 'em, with arrows.

It is argued endlessly as to how many Indian warriors, (some say many thousands) there were on the Little Bighorn, but on Custer's flanks there were at least 1,000 under Crazy Horse and 1,000 under Gall, each carrying at least 40 arrows. For the numbers, carrying an equal number of rounds, the soldier would have packed 3,200 rounds. Even the 45-70 with lots of ammo won't save you if you're flanked on both ends.

Carry a heavy rifle, .30 preferably, and only engage at long range. Fire no more'n 3 rounds, pick up your brass and bug out. Decoy 'em like yer Crazy Horse and get 'em into another 3 round shootin' fest with the only other non-commie in the county laying on the ridge line. The individual doesn't have an unlimited supply of filled .50 cal ammo cans.

To a friend: I like your solution. You look like you've got your M1 Garand ready and your cart ought to hold 4-50 cal. ammo cans with a little room at the top. Each can, empty, weighs about 5 1/2 pounds and will hold 192 rounds for your M1. You can get 420 rounds of 7.62 in one; 1,000 rounds of .45 auto and 820 rounds of that poodle popper, 5.56. The 5.56 makes good primers for artillery shells so you might bring along a few. We'll find all kinds of 5.56 layin' about.

Loaded with 192 rounds of 30-06 each can's gross wt. is about 19 pounds times 4 cans or you are pulling 76 pounds of cans and ought six. That'll get you in shape so I can see why you're sweatin and you'll be needin' water at 8 pounds the gallon. While it's desert those hills are long and the nights cold.

P.S. Don't fergit the bacon and beans. Don't need no oats with a pull cart, just lots of bacon.

I like to make knives

To reach me by email send to: delist23586@mypacks.net

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