Cooler Cowboys & Brass Pickers

One of the aspects of Cowboy Action Shooting that you either love or hate (maybe tolerate is a better word than hate here) is the requirement that all participants must be attired in clothing typical of the late 19th century or of that found in a B-western movie or western television series’.

Now, I’m all for playing by the rules, but when temperatures approach triple digits—like they do in my neck of the woods—my enthusiasm for dressing and playing cowboy, shall we say, “somewhat wanes.” Jimmy Murray, aka “Six-String Jimmy,” founder of J. Hornady Dry Goods, apparently felt the same way. For the past couple decades, Murray’s Greensboro, North Carolina company, Revi Technical Wear, has been producing durable, breathable, activewear for cyclists, the motorsports, and the competitive pistol shooter. His garments are made from a special poly blend, Micro Euromesh fabric that wicks away sweat almost immediately, preventing overheating while looking quite “cool” in the process. This material is wrinkle-free so it travels well, never needs ironing, doesn’t retain odors, and will not shrink or deform after multiple washings.

Cooler Shirts

Luckily for the Cowboy Action Shooter, a few years back Murray got bitten by the CAS bug and immediately recognized the need for a cooler, yet authentic-looking Cowboy shirt. From that, J. Hornaday Dry Goods, a division of Revi Technical Wear was born.

Now available in a multitude of colors, paisleys and stripes, the Cooler Cowboy Shirt features period-correct construction, has a four-button Henley-type collar and a long drop-tail in the back to stay tucked in during the rigors of protecting the brand and thwarting bandits, bushwhackers and hostiles. It was in the mid-90s the day of our last local Cowboy shoot and shade was a scarce commodity. My usual Cowboy shirts are made from 100-percent polyester, and I’m sure they would have been sweat-soaked and clingy by the end of the first stage, but this wasn’t the case with my new Cooler Cowboy Shirt. Now, mind you, it was still hotter than high noon in Hell’s Kitchen, but gone was that damp, uncomfortable, sweat-dripping-down-the-small-of-my-back feeling I’d normally be experiencing in my old garb, replaced with a noticeable increase in comfort and coolness that I’d have to attribute to the wicking properties of the Cooler Cowboy Shirt.

The fabric in the Cooler Cowboy Shirt has the feel of silk and the stretchiness of polyester. Available in sizes XS through 4XL to fit all you buckaroos and buckerettes, the Cooler Cowboy Shirt is well proportioned and nicely assembled. Machine washable and dryer safe, they’re priced from $39.99 and would be a worthy addition to one’s warm-weather Cowboy wear. See these and the other Cooler Cowboy wear—like their Wicking Cowboy Scarves, Cooler Cowboy Socks and Cooler Cowgirl Skirts—at or call 877-289-7384.

Brass Wizard

Started by Lee Love back in November of 2003, UniqueTek is a firearms-related website specializing in “unique” products for the shooter, reloader and competitive marksman. From enhancements for your Dillon loader to AR-15 tools and accessories, from CAS products to target and range supplies, UniqueTek has assembled an extensive line of specialty products and hard-to-find accoutrements designed specifically for the needs of the shooter.

One such product is the Brass Wiz-ard—a cartridge case “pickup tool” that allows the gathering up of spent cartridge cases easily and efficiently without the drudgery of bending over and retrieving them by hand one at a time. Comprised of a rolling wire basket attached to a handle, one simply rolls the Brass Wizard over the cases and they literally jump into the basket. No—really—they do. I tried the Brass Wizard on several surfaces and, as expected, it worked best on a concrete firing line and almost equally well on hard, even ground devoid of stones, sticks and other trash. As suggested in the instructions, a gentler approach and roll of the tool worked more efficiently than a hard, jabbing motion, and when utilized appropriately the wizard quickly gathered up any spent cases in its path. When tried in a gravel-covered shooting bay, results—as expected—are not quite as sterling because stones and other debris present often accompanied cases into the basket, but from a flat, hard surface, no empty case is safe.

Cases are easily removed from the Brass Wizard via the use of the wire “Dumper” that comes with it. The Dumper clips to a pail or bucket, and to empty the Brass Wizard one simply inserts the wire Dumper between a pair of basket wires, twists slightly, and it spreads the basket wires allowing the cases to fall into the bucket. Priced at $49.95 with a solid wooden handle or $54.95 with optional aluminum telescoping handle (my choice), see this and the other unique offerings from UniqueTek at

Additional Brass Wizards designed and optimized specifically for picking up shot shells and rimfire cases are also available. Learn more by calling 480-507-0866 or visiting

Shell Sorter

Now that you’ve got all that empty brass gathered up with your Brass Wizard, here’s another nifty product to help you sort them all out. It’s called the Shell Sorter and it, too, came to me by way of UniqueTek. Made in Burns, Kansas, the Shell Sorter is a series of three pans made from tough ABS, a very strong plastic, with slotted bottoms sized to catch certain cartridge cases while allowing others to pass through to the next pan or to the owner-supplied five-gallon plastic bucket they’re designed to sit on. Each pan is color-coded and engineered to catch cases within a specific range. The yellow one is for .45 ACP pistol-sized cases and similar body-sized rifle-like cases like the .243 or .308.

The blue is for brass in the .357 to .40 range, and the black one is for 9mm and .38 Super-sized empties and rifle cases like the .223. To use, simply stack the pans according to color—yellow on top, blue in the middle and black on the bottom—place them on top of your five-gallon bucket, pour in the mixed brass and shake. The cases will quickly separate according to size, while the smallest of casings like the rimfires and pocket-pistol empties along with unwanted dirt and debris will find its way to the bottom of your bucket.

I tested out my set with all the Cowboy calibers and found that yellow catches everything from the .38-40 to .45 Colt, while the blue traps all your .38 Special cases from the .38 Short through .357 Magnum, and the black stops the .32s from the .32 S&W to the .32-20. These sorters can also take the place of your media separator.

Priced at $38.95 for the three-piece set, it really does make short work out of an otherwise dreary, dirty job. Learn more at or call 855-507-0866.

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