Cowboy Action Shooting Aftermarket Gun Parts Slix Springs

The History of SliXPRINGS

TK4B, Enterprises, LLC  (originallyTK4) is a joint partnership corporation dedicated to the discovery, design, development, production and marketing of aftermarket parts and systems to enhance the technology and comfort of Cowboy Action Shooting firearms and their related accessories.  TK4 was initially formed in 2006 by Ol’ #4, SASS 41004L, and Tillamook Kidd (TK), SASS 65274, to market a replacement, and far more effective, set of side lever springs for Winchester 1860, 1866 and 1873 rifles that had been designed by Ol’ #4.  We marketed the spring sets under the name of  SliXpring”  and began sales in March of 2008.  Also in 2008 we designed and tested a replacement single piece firing pin that was longer and made of a stronger, more dependable metallurgy, than original parts.  This firing pin was marketed under the name of “SliX-Pin”.  Neither of these parts, or any of our others, are advertised as absolute “drop-in’ replacements. Every firearm dimension and clearance for which they were designed varies way too much.  Therefore everything we produce may require fitting for proper results.

Later in 2008 we initiated research and development of a revolutionary main spring system that provided faster “lock-time” and more dependable primer ignition.  At this time a third partner, Big Iron Buster, SASS 9361L, joined the company and with his time and investment, final design, prototyping and manufacturing began in earnest. At this time the partners incorporated as TK4B Enterprises, LLC (TK4B).  The ‘TK’ representing Tillamook Kidd, the ‘4’ representing Ol’ #4, and the ‘B’ representing Big Iron Buster.  In June of 2008 TK passed away from a blood clot, so the company is now run by Big Iron Buster and Ol’ #4. 

Spring of 2009 saw the final testing and analysis of the new “SliXpring-Main” proving the system was viable and met the standards for faster, smoother and more a dependable main spring system and was then introduced to the market through the SASS Cowboy Chronicle.  In 2010 Ol’ #4 decided to turn his shooting style to the Frontiersman category and quickly found that loading 5-1/2” 1860 Colt’s was a palm gouging experience and developed a loading lever assist handle. Turned from aircraft aluminum and machined to fit most popular cap & ball pistols the loading lever helper was named the “SliX-Hand”. 

While working with Shalako Tucker, SASS #27964, at ‘ST Machining’ he designed a simple ”Slotted” wrench to address getting those sticky 1866 and 1873 magazine tube screws out.  He had a good idea and wanted to partner with TK4B to market his idea and product so the “SliX-Slot was introduced in 2010.  Later in the year a SliX-Slot II was developed that included a three pin wrench capable of removing the firing pin bushing for both Browning BSS and Stoeger shotguns and a recessed fitting that accepts hex headed drivers or sockets.  A really versatile tool.

Also during 2010 while shooting Frontiersman Ol’ #4 experienced several conditions that he thought he could improve upon.  Namely inconsistent cap ignition, errant cap removal, premature nipple degeneration, cap blow-back and heavy hammer tension. After several months of testing and development a new nipple was produced and went on the market as the “SliX-Shot in 2011.  During 2011 we had occasion to watch several shooters scramble for a screwdriver for a quick repair at the loading table. While most returned with some kind of “set” none really fit the gun screws.  After looking at our own repair tools in our cart we decided none of us had anything close to what might be handy ‘on-the-line’.  It took a mere five weeks working with our producer to design and develop an “X” handled, hollow ground screw driver unit which is sold as the “SliX-Driver

With the success of the 1878 “TTN” side by side shotgun in Classic cowboy category in 2012 we designed a replacement  spring for the top lever on the popular TTN Shotguns called the “SliXpring-TTN. Then followed up with a coil/torsion replacement springs for the sear bars in the TTN’s.  A main spring replacement design still evades us!

An additional item for 2012 was the new style pistol case that carries a pair of pistols and provides some unusual opportunities for the traveling shooter.  This item is called the “SliX-Sok”. It carries two (2) pistols in a thinly padded, hook & eye closure seamed case that allows up to three cases or six pistols to fit into a USPS large Flat-Rate box to be mailed to ones-self anywhere in the U. S. A..  It also hangs nicely on any convenient hook and a guncart.

Following the success if the “SliX-Shot” nipples for Ruger Old Army’s, Remington 1858 and Colt style percussion pistols we attended to the many requests for a nipple that would fit the Uberti Dragoon and Walker model pistols.  Final testing and market availability was achieved in the fall of 2014.  They became available soon after testing.

Our next specialized product to hit the mainstream market was the “SliX-Ram”. This is a drop-in, extended loading ram for the Ruger Old Army.  Its added length allows for the shooter to load the cylinders, while in the frame, with a reduced powder charge without needing to use any additional spacer between the ram face and the “ball” yet still seat it firmly against the lighter powder charge.  No filler, No hassle, lighter charge, reduced recoil and more economical shooting!! It went on the available list at dealers in 2015.

In early 2015, while at the SASS convention in San Antonio, Texas, several shooters and gunsmiths approached us with the idea of producing larger sight beads.  After a preliminary market analysis it was indeed discovered that a full line of easily replaceable larger beads was not available. Working feverishly with one of our manufacturers initial design and testing for a variety of beads was completed within three weeks of returning.  The result was a set of three different replaceable inserts for Marbles and Williams front rifle sights and two larger shotgun beads.  The products are collectively called “SliX-Beads” and are differentiated by “T” for threaded shotgun, and “S” for stemmed for the rifle replacements.  The bead sizes for rifles are .150”, .175”, and .190” and for the shotgun beads they are .190”and .220”” in diameter. They became available after Winter Range 2015.

Also, during the Fall of 2015 a shooter brought us the situation of “ejecta” collecting in the front of 357 chambers when using 38 Special length brass. This condition resulted in the rifle not chambering a different bullet design and hard chambering of other bullets with any different ogive.  A remarkably short review resulted in seeing nothing reasonably available to correct the condition.  So, quick planning and several brain-storm sessions got us to the design for a “ Chamber Scraper” that would work for both rifle and pistol chambers.  You can see the detail in out “Announcements” section.  Needless to say, our “SliX-Scraper” has been well received.

During EOT that year we heard several conversations about straight triggers.  After some research and later discussions with some SASS RO/Rules committee members, we started prototyping several designs.  After EOT 2016 we had a working sample that appealed to many shooters who tried it.  Thus, the origins of the “SliX-Trigger” and the results have been most positive both in terms of ease  and efficiency of shooting and significant reduction of the famous “73 Finger” and subsequent bleeding on the rifle.

Although our next product didn’t exactly fit our goal of improving something, it did have a measure of efficiency for re-installing a magazine spring that had been cut to reduce tension.  The beautiful shiny brass “SliX-Cap”, though not necessarily a competitive enhancement, most certainly contributes to the decorative quality of any rifle.

Our 2018 offering for new a product did not come from our fertile, creative minds, nor a direct challenge from a neighboring shooter.  Rather it was the idea of another Cowboy shooter who was willing to allow us to take the design from manufacturing to a wider, larger market.  After any initial use any shooter, especially SxS users, will readily appreciate the benefits of the “SliX-Sizer” as it re-forms the nose of 12 GA shotshells and eliminates the distortion that can lead to either stuck or reticent fired hulls. 

Today, we are still trying to dream up new parts, pieces and components that will further enhance the shooting pleasure, convenience, durability and efficiency of Cowboy Action Shooting.

And, like the Cowboy with the idea of the “Sizer”, if you have a product, or genuine idea, let us know. 

God Bless America, and thanks for the constitution. 

Big Iron Buster & Ol’ #4