Friday, November 17, 2006

Guns I have Sold

This is a sad, sad thing to say but I have actually sold guns and let them out of my hands. What foolishness sometimes possesses us. What and why you ask? Well...

The first is truely heart rending. This was my first centerfire rifle, my first deer was killed with this rifle, and it was a gift from Dad. The latter I did not know until I told him I'd traded it. I thought I'd paid for it out of my savings. Truly heart breaking that.

I'd been wanting a centerfire for a loooong time like every other boy I knew. I'd been putting money in my savings account (but I didn't hold the bank book) for that gun. Now, it was approaching another deer season and I had my safety certificate and could get a license. Dad and I made the rounds of gun shops and found the 336 in the Western Auto just off Court Square in Harrisonburg, VA. Talk about excited! That season I got my first deer, with one shot and it was a buck (it pretty much had to be!). Still excited. But I've always been a gun nut and a couple of years later I was wondering what OTHER guns might be "better". Oh, I truly regret losing this one and can't find the serial number anywhere. The follow-on was this gun...

Marlin 1893 .38-55 rifle. The 26" octagonal barrel had been cut-down to 19 inches and a bit, the magazine likewise shortened and a later 336 ramp front soldered (not silver soldered and not well at that) onto the barrel. The mag spring had to be replaced as it had been cut somewhere in the middle and welded back together to make the spring the correct length. The stock may have been taken from the same 336 donor rifle... You get the picture. But it did have a Lyman #2 tang peep which worked well. I found out later that that sight was correct for the Marlin 1892. Oh it was a mishmash but with a new buttstock and some cleaning of the solder job it was a treat. That rifle was able to hang around until my divorce when it "had" to go to pay the lawyer (or for food for the kids and me, depending on how you look at it). That was a great gun.

Of course, at about the same time, I was enamoured of the .44 Mag cartridge but too young to own a revolver. I found instead a "great deal" on a post-64 M94 Winchester in .44 Mag. I never managed to save up the money to install a Williams Foolproof, I think they were about $25 at the time, quite a bit of money to me in 1973, but that rifle was accurate and I killed crows (on the ground), groundhogs and other vermin. It was quick to the shoulder and while the Remington SWC (a half-jacketed round) didn't feed all that well it was accurate as was the more expensive 240 gr. SJHP. That last round became my ammo of choice until I started reloading. Unfortunately, this gun had one fault. It would, sometimes, feed a second round under the carrier. What a pain to correct that fault. Of course I was too stupid to know how to fix it by repairing the cartridge stop although I had access to all the equipment needed to effect the repair. I kinda wish I had that gun. Unfortunately I traded it for...

A Marlin 1894 in .44 Mag. These were "new" on the market at the time and had a few good write-ups in the gun magazines (yeah, I know, but I was 18). Now, I had the money for the Foolproof for that gun and although it never managed to be in my hands when there was a deer in front of me, it did get a few hogs in the FT Hunter-Liggett hills. I also loaned the gun out to similarly impoverished junior enlisted and they took hogs and goats with the gun. None of them managed to damage it (was I just lucky?) and I was able to bring it back from California just before shipping overseas to Korea for 3 years 9 months. Load of choice? Remington 240 gr. SJHP. Killed everything with a minimum of muss. However, there came a time when the wife decided that another fellow was more to her liking (he's gone now, too) and the gun was one of this group which went to pay the lawyer and feed my kids. I do indeed miss this gun but it could have been better. How?

Well, if it had been the Sporter version or the two band version I'd have liked it even better. It was fully as accurate as the Winchester it replaced and it never fed two but I've never really warmed to the rifle style forearm cap paired with the muzzle barrel band of which Marlin seems so fond. Looks dumb to me.

Sometime in this period I found an 1891 Argentine rifle that had been bubbaized. Still properly chambered in 7.65x53mm Belgian/Argentine, the rifle was the equivalent of the .308 but nowhere near the price. No matter, I supported the gun industry more than adequately in my attempt to feed the gun. I remember buying one box of Norma ammunition for $22 or over $1 a case and this was in 1973! Fortunately a Lee Loader came with the gun or I'd have been impoverished very quickly. Even a box of brass was over $15.

Still in the cut-down military stock and with a cobbled together combo of Weaver bases and cheap, cheap telescopic sight, this gun needed work. I bought a Fajen sporting stock, a Williams Foolproof, and Jon Ritenour installed a Remington 700 ramp and Williams front bead. The bolt had already been altered for scope use. While I was gone to Korea the first tour (12 months) my dad fit the stock to the gun and I was ready to go. I took the gun deer hunting several times but ammo was expensive and it didn't get loaned out for hog hunts. I did carry it to Washington on a visit to a friend at FT Lewis but a hoped for elk hunt didn't materialize. This gun, too, helped to finance the big "D". I'm still looking for it even though I now have a very nice 1891 Argentine Engineer's carbine.

While I was in Korea the second time I started to save quite a bit of money. Living cheaply on the economy and having little to do but play with the kids and read gun magazines/books I started to spend on my passion. After much consideration I bought, through my Dad who actually did the transaction while I was gone, a Ruger Security-Six in stainless steel with 4" barrel. A .357 Magnum, this gun was everything that one would expect. I shot it quite a bit with reloaded .357 Mag ammo and .38 Special wadcutters. I managed to kill a groundhog or two with it as well as a squirrel and wrote up the gun and my choice thereof in "The Sixgunner", the official news of JD Jones' Internationl Handgunners' Association (I was charter member #500).

The Security-Six wasn't just a hunting gun, it also served as the bedside gun and rode along on the seat of the car when I was out and about. At the time, that was the only way for me to carry and size was unimportant. Unfortunately, this fine gun also was sacrificed on the altar of divorce.

There are more but the emotion of the moment prevents continuing this "saga". I'll do so later...

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