The Jug Johnson Saga
January 03, 2011
On a fateful day in 1975, Skeeter's response to this letter began the entangled web of correspondence with the annoying, irrepressible, and always entertaining Jug Johnson. Their "friendship" went on for years. Here's how it all started. --The editors
Over the years, Jug Johnson had some strange questions and some wild money-making schemes that he felt compelled to run by Skeeter. Topics included everything from handloading to rattlesnake wrangling.
Persimmon Gap, Tex.
Jan. 12, 1975
Mr. Skeeter Skelton
c/o Shooting Times
They save old copies of Shootin' Times for me down at the Ranch Barber Shop, and I been readin' the stuff you write about sixshooters and about half of it makes sense. I don't like the stories with a lot of numbers in them.
I was workin' in the cinnabar mines over at Terlinguas, and my Uncle Rat Thomas died and left me his section of land with that old adobe house on it, so I quit my job and moved in. Uncle Rat, he thought a right smart of his sixshooters, and they are all mine now, I guess.
I got to make a livin' and I'm goin' to stock this place with heifers and sell the fat ones and keep some for mother cows. Rawjaw Wheeler, he's a trucker, says he can get me a real good deal at the sale in Montgomery, Ala., so I mortgaged this place for the cash and told him to bring me a truck load.
But that ain't why I'm writin' to you. It's about these guns. There must be 40 of them. While my heifers are out there just makin' me money, I'm goin' to have lots of time to shoot. I got Rat's reloadin' machine--it's a Pacific or RCBS or C&H or Star or one of them.
I been readin' pieces about loadin' shells and I reckon I can do that. But I want you to tell me what to put in the shells. I got bullet casters and it looks like everything else.
I don't want to bother you too much, so let's start with just a few like the two kinds of .45, .44 Magna, .41 Magna, .357 Magna, .41 Long, .38 WCF (what does that mean?), .455, .38 S&W, .32 WCF (don't know what that means, either), .38 Special, .38 Super, .380, .32 ACP (?), .22 Magna, and .22 Long Rifle. Can you use rifle shells in the .22 pistol?
They's a whole bunch more guns here, but I'll write about them later. Just tell me what to put in these.
Also I seen where you wrote a story on holsters, and I would like to buy holsters for these guns. I lost the story, so where did you get the holsters and how much did they cost?
Also don't like the handles on any of these guns and want new handles. Where can I get them?
I wanted to ask you about somethin' else, but here comes Rawjaw's truck and I better help him unload. Looks like I'm finely in the cow business.
(they call me Jug)
May 5, 1975
Mr. Clyde Johnson
Persimmon Gap, Tex.
Dear Mr. Johnson:
Many thanks for your interesting and detailed letter, and please forgive the long but unavoidable delay in my response to it. My writing activities leave only a small amount of time to handle correspondence, and I am hopelessly behind.
But let's get to your inquiry about handloading. It would appear that your uncle's handgun collection is quite extensive. Each of the calibers you mention does, of course, require a different powder charge and sometimes a different primer (Large Pistol or Small Pistol). Weights of powder charges will vary according to the type of powder used, the weight and diameter of the bullet to be loaded, the muzzle velocity desired, and the caliber being loaded.
You will find it an invaluable aid to acquire one of the excellent loading manuals published by Speer Inc., Lyman Products, Sierra Bullets, Hornady Bullets, and others. Their addresses accompany their advertisements in Shooting Times. If, after having read a good reloading manual, you still have specific questions, I would like to refer you to my old friend, John Wootters. John is our handloading editor and a real expert. Just tell him that Skeeter sent you. I know how pleased he will be.
As for the holsters, you were not very specific as to which attracted your interest. There are any number of good holster makers, including Allen's Saddlery, Silver City, N.M.; Bianchi, Temecula, Calif.; Don Hume Leather Goods, Miami, Okla.; George Lawrence Co., Portland, Ore.; Roy's Custom Leather, Magnolia, Ark.; S.D. Myres, El Paso, Tex.; and Safariland, Monrovia, Calif. Write for their catalogs and prices.
You did not stipulate whether you wished to change the stocks on your handguns because you didn't like their appearance or because they don't fit your hand. For cosmetic changes, there are several firms that can supply replacement stocks of ivory, staghorn, and mother-of-pearl. For custom-fitted stocks, write to companies like Herrett's Stocks, Twin Falls, Idaho; Mustang Grips, Temecula, Calif.; or Dave Wayland, Corte Madera, Calif.
My congratulations on your inheritance, and I hope you prosper in the ranching business.