New Page!!!

To both my readers,

If either of you wants to order a full-custom holster, I’m now officially taking orders. I’m going to be working on my brand-new Gunleather Page, to get it cleaned up to exhibit projects that I’ve done. I’d like to know what you think about it.

*Thank you, Instinct, for the thumbnail link idea. I like!*

Ruger LCR – First Impressions

In the update on my last post, I told about the family trip to the gun range where we shot .22’s nearly exclusively. What I didn’t mention is that I had the opportunity to put my hands on Ruger’s entry into the light-weight snubby market. I haven’t had the opportunity to fire this little beastie yet, but I’ll be working towards that, and thought that my readers might both appreciate my first thoughts on it.

H&H Gun Range is a great facility in Oklahoma City that promotes education and gun safety in a clean, family friendly environment. The owner, Miles Hall was one of the major promoters of CCW in the state of Oklahoma. H&H was the first facility to offer the Self Defense Act class, and remains a leader in this course. The gunsmithing department is led by a very knowledgeable smith who has 30+ years of experience in the art and science of gun repair and customization. They have a department dedicated to reloading, and the ammunition supply is reliable even now, in the time that superstores and sporting goods warehouses are nearly constantly sold out of stock. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and always willing to help in any way they can. The sales floor at H&H has had a full inventory of all types of guns, including EBR’s, even through the recent drought of such items, and has always charged fair prices for their goods. When there is a new firearm product to hit the market, it’s a pretty good bet that H&H will have an example of it early on. The Ruger LCR is no exception to this.

On Saturday afternoon, I went poking around the display cases, and headed over to the Ruger revolvers just to see if they happened to have a living example of the first polymer-frame revolver on the U. S. market. Sure enough, there it was – with a tag reading “FOR DISPLAY ONLY.” When the crowd cleared a little bit, I caught Larry and started chatting with him a little bit. I mentioned the American Derringer on the consignment rack, chambered in .45/70 Government, and commented that it would probably make one’s fingernails bleed if one managed to squeeze off both shots in one sitting. We laughed over that of course, and I steered the conversation towards the revolver section.

“You have a weird, plastic revolver in a case over there,” I commented, “What are the chances I could put my hands on it?”

Larry obligingly answered, “Pretty good. Please lead the way.”

And so, I got to handle the thing. I was impressed. I was far more impressed than I ever expected to be. The significance of this gun lies in its engineering and construction, and in its market value. I know a lot of folks who feel like Charter Arms makes a valid, light-weight revolver. I would have to courteously object to that summation. It is my humble opinion that Charter Arms products fall short of the threshold of what one should carry as his more-often-than-shoes companion. They are crudely constructed with gritty actions and poor ergonomics. Quality control is abysmal, and I see them as the modern Saturday Night Special. If you have a CA revolver and love it, suffice it to say that I haven’t seen every example, and would be willing to be wrong.

I say all that to preface my point that until now, if you wanted to get a well-made, light-weight, .38Spl, compact revolver, you had two choices: Spend the money and get the Smith & Wesson aluminum or scandium J-Frame, or save a little money and take the gamble on a Taurus equivalent. It hardly seems like a valid application of the free market. But, Ruger has now increased the variety of our choices by 50%. How did they do this? Enter the LCR.

This is a 13.5-oz revolver with a fully-enclosed hammer that fires five shots of .38Spl +p. They don’t achieve this through the use of space-age materials that jack up the production cost, only to pass along a high price to the end user, but rather by the creative application of time tested, economic materials. The frame of the revolver is composed partially of a glass-filled polymer in combination with a hard-coated, aerospace aluminum with the barrel being integrated into the aluminum portion of the structure. Mated to this aluminum and plastic frame is a stainless steel cylinder with deep scalloping around the chambers, rather than traditional fluting.

The gun balances and points beautifully, and the cylinder release is intuitively placed. A nearly effortless depression of the well-placed cylinder release is all it takes to swing out the stainless cylinder, which places the ejector rod neatly beneath your left forefinger. The ejector’s operation is similarly smooth and quick. I am looking forward to the opportunity to using it to eject some empties! The most impressive feature I noticed was the trigger pull. The DAO trigger pull on this weird little revolver is every bit what I expect from a Smith & Wesson and possibly even better. That’s coming from a S&W fan, too. The trigger is a smooth, light pull with little or no stacking, the action is palpable throughout the travel of the trigger with not hint of grit or roughness, and finishes with a crisp break. Touche, Ruger.

Comparing apples to apples, the consumer now has three choices in this market segment. There are only so many light-weight, 5-shot, .38Spl +p revolvers on the market. Let’s take a look at the most obvious three choices:

S&W 442
MSRP $600.00
Weight – 15-oz
Construction – Aluminum alloy frame, stainless steel cylinder and barrel

Taurus Model 85
MSRP $584.00
Weight – 13.5-oz
Construction – Titanium alloy

Ruger LCR
MSRP $525.00
Weight – 13.5-oz
Construction – Aluminum and glass-filled polymer frame, stainless steel cylinder

Prior to the release of this gun, if I were to pick up a weapon to fill this niche, I would have gone with the S&W, hands-down. Now, I’m not so sure. I’m looking forward to seeing how Ruger does with this gun in the marketplace, and I’m really looking forward to a test-shoot!

.22 Rimfire Options (Updated)

Both of you, I need your opinions.

As I said previously, the fam and I would like to go to an Appleseed shoot this Summer *insert drum cadence*. It looks like the boy will be using his Ruger 10/22 which we will fit with Tech Sights. I think I can get a discount on the sights now that we are officially NRA members. It’s starting to look like we’re also going to take Mom’s Winchester 69A Match. This is a sweet little bolt-action .22 with a match-grade, 25-inch, bull barrel, and a micrometer-adjustable rear aperture sight from Lyman. I’m probably going to buy several extra mags for the thing, and give them to Mom when I return the gun. That sounds like a good deal for all parties involved to me. So, that brings us to two rifles and three shooters. At this point, I’m deliberating how to get the third .22 rifle for us. The fact of the matter is that to shoot two AR15’s at Appleseed would cost about $500.00 just in ammo. If we could replace those with a couple of .22’s for less than $450.00, we could buy the best .22 ammo available and still come out cheaper – and get a gun out of the deal! And so, the search is on.

The idea of a high-quality, dedicated .22LR upper receiver that we could use on one of our AR’s sounds like a wonderful option. I particularly like the Spike’s Tactical with the A-frame front sight. These things will run the Black Dog magazines, and are reviewed very well from all that I can tell. Between the upper and three magazines, it commands a stately $700.00 price tag. OUCH! With the addition of a quality rear sight, I’m looking at around $800.00 – and that’s only if I’m lucky enough to be able to get my hands on the stuff prior to the shoot. It would be pretty sweet to be shooting the defensive rifle in question for this course, but that’s a lot of scratch to simply shoot cheap ammo out of the definitive EBR.

Then of course, there is the bolt conversion option for an AR15. I’ve read great things about the CMMG unit. These things come down to a far less lofty ~$200.00, and also operate with the Black Dog mags. Between the bolt conversion and a few magazines, that brings the cost to about $300.00. That’s not too bad, if you ask me. The pros are that I would retain the sight system already on the gun, the price is far more palatable than the full upper, and they look very simple and easy to use. The cons are increased fouling of the action due to running dirty rimfire through a centerfire-designed action, and using the 9:1 twist of the 5.56 NATO barrel with .22LR that does best through a 1:16 twist will yield slightly less accurate targeting. Bummer. Probably adequate for putting shots into a 1-inch circle at 25-yards for Appleseed, but I’m not going to be reliably knocking holes in Coke cans at 100-yards with the thing.

It has occurred to me that we could simply purchase another Ruger 10/22, extra mags for it, and install Tech Sights on it. The 10/22 platform is such a wonderful machine! I love the one that we bought for the kiddo. Heck, Jen and I love it as well! It really wouldn’t hurt to have another one like it. I’d probably get the cheapest one I could find, new or used. From what I’ve seen in my area, that amounts to $150.00 to $200.00. We can count on $50.00 for the sight system, and probably another $60.00 for extra magazines. That puts the cost somewhere in the $285.00-range. That’s really not all that bad, actually.

Then, of course there’s the thought that I could simply grab the first, cheap, pawn-shop, .22 I can find with a bull-barrel that still has a decent bore – especially if it has an aperture sight on it. I imagine that I could score something for the $100.00 range if I looked hard enough. Magazines be damned! This gun would go as-is, or I would improvise for mags, as I wouldn’t specifically be looking for a particular brand or action type. I know there are a billion high-quality .22’s out there that have no home. I could consider adopting one.

One way or another, I would really like some input from my readers. Please see below. Thanks!

*cheesy telegraph beeping sound* UPDATE:

I would like to thank both my readers for weighing in on this, and getting all your friends to do the same. I received an unprecedented FOUR votes that unanimously pointed the direction that I’ve been leaning anyway.

The choice is clear that The Evyl Robot Empyre will procure another Ruger 10/22. This gun will be fitted with Tech Sights and sling swivels, just like the one that belongs to the boy. After much thought an deliberation, the 10/22 option turns out to be a very economical one, and the option of getting another gun is always more exciting than the option of accessorizing an existing gun.

So, I’m going to be on the lookout for a Ruger. Hopefully, I can find one for <$100.00, but I'm not holding my breath on that one. If I can't find a good used one before too long, I'll just buy the base-line new model. Anybody out there have one they want to donate to the cause? *hee hee!* I have recently become aware of the carbon fiber accessories available for these beasties. EXAMPLE. Of course, the rice-rodder, mall-ninja in my head loves the idea of building a rifle that is nearly complete in shimmery, black carbon fiber, complete from stock butt-plate to muzzle. Chances are, we’ll just leave it a beater-gun – simply a functional piece for target practice.

Yesterday, we had Rimfire Saturday. The only think I shot that wasn’t a .22 was my 12-gauge. Even then, I only put 29-rounds through my scattergun. I had some extraction issues with some of the Fiocci #4 buck shells that I’ve had rolling around the house, so I was unsure whether the 00 Fiocci’s could be trusted in a TSHTF scenario. The 00’s that I ran through yesterday did so flawlessly, so I’m thinking that I must have gotten a bad box of #4’s. No biggie. They are gone now.

But, I digress. Shooting for a couple hours, nearly completely rimfire, was a unique and satisfying experience. The boy’s 10/22 ran flawlessly with all ammo fed with the stock, rotary magazines. The plastic-lipped Butler Creek ran fine with the ‘expensive’ CCI ammunition. It seems that the stovepiping, ejection issues that he experienced were due to a combination of crappy ammunition and a crappy magazine. Lesson learned – steel feed lips are good on 10/22 magazines, and even the more expensive .22LR is a fraction of the cost of the cheapest centerfire available.

Also, the Winchester 69A was an incredible shooter. I need to spend a little more time with the gun, but it performed really well. The action is flawless, the sights are easy, and it is a tack-driver supreme. With .22 Shorts, it is still as accurate as anything else to 30-yards, and the report from the 25-inch bull barrel is like an air-gun if even that. I’m thinking Red Ryder report. I was fascinated at how smoothly the gun would cycle either .22LR or .22Short, seamlessly with the same box mag. I’ve been tempted to tell my mom that the gun is dangerous and unfit to shoot, but I could find the kindness in my heart to dispose of the errant weapon so she wouldn’t have to go to the trouble.

Another lesson learned yesterday is that I didn’t have the frugal part of my brain tormenting me every time I pulled the trigger. The frugal part of my brain was stroking my ego and telling me that I was a good Evyl Robot with every trigger pull. I LIKE target practice with rimfire. It is really clear that we need some .22’s for target practice.

I’m not going to shoot the boy’s rifle without him because that’s just not cool. Jen and I need a rifle for our own usage. Furthermore, we need a few handguns. I see us having some kind of target semi-auto pistol, like a Sig Mosquito, or a Ruger Mark III. We’ll need a couple of wheelguns as well, including a long-barreled, steel, mid-size revolver like a S&W 617 10-shot and a small-frame, lightweight snubby like a S&W 317. We do still need a Sloth, afterall.

Conversion kits be damned! What we need is more guns! I do realize that I’ve just detailed some $2,000-worth of hardware that we can’t afford right now, but the stuff would pay for itself in ammunition costs and skill gained – that’s how I would justify it, anyway…

My Wardrobe Malfunction

I want to know when the razor blades were installed in my left knee and elbow! Here in the last couple of months, I’ve had the left knee of about six pairs of jeans and the left elbow of about three or four nice sport coats fray out. Granted, I’ve been wearing these garments regularly for some time now, but the fact that they all blew out all at once in the same place strikes me as very odd.

The most recent was yesterday, when I noticed the knee looking thin on the Diesel jeans and the hole in the elbow of the camel-hair jacket I was wearing. I remember seeing hemp jeans for sale in the 90’s. I wonder how those wear and if they are still available… Maybe I ought to get with a fabric mill and have them blend some material out of high-end hair (lambs wool, alpaca, cashmere, etc.) and Kevlar fiber. There’s probably a market for such fabric…

Anyhoo, I’m feeling a little P’d to the O that I am needing clothing at exactly the time that I don’t want to be spending money on clothing. It figures. On the other hand, I have lost a little around the waist, and gained a little around the chest (which has made the Jenni happy). My jeans have been a little big around the waist, and my jackets are starting to look a little snug through the chest. This may be an excellent opportunity to step-up my exercise and see where my sizing settles before replacing that portion of my wardrobe. It wouldn’t surprise me if I wound up quite a bit off from where I have been size-wise.

I just had to vent. Thanks for your patience, both of you.

The Short-Term Shopping List

I have a couple of firearm-related items on my short-term list. I’ve been pining for a big-boy coach gun. I’m talking about a 3.5-inch chambered 10-gauge made of modern steel so I can shoot ammo off the shelf from Academy or whatever. This Summer, we are planning to go to an Appleseed shoot, so I’ve been trying to get together whatever supplies we are going to need for that. So, there’s the background story.

At the local pawn shop, they have some Italian-made 10-gauge over/under. I plan on running by there this afternoon to take some better notes on the specifics of the gun. I have really been wanting a side-by-side, but 10-gauge doubles seem to be in short enough supply that I’m not going to get really choosy. I do want the full-length chambers, no hammers, and modern steel. Chances are, once I actually get a gun, I’ll shoot it a couple of times and find that the recoil cancels out the fun. When I’m curled up, crying in the corner of the range with my shoulder throbbing, I’ll make the decision to resell the gun. At that point, I want to make sure that I’ve shopped well enough that I don’t take a major loss on getting that out of my system. Therefore, I need to find out exactly what this gun is and what it is worth. Then, I can set a ceiling on what I would actually spend on the thing so that I don’t wind up eating a bunch of money just so I get to hurt myself. Why does that seem so reasonable, anyway?

Moving on… The three of us in the Evyl Robot Empyre would like to attend an Appleseed Shoot this Summer. Since we purchased the Ruger 10/22 for the kiddo, plus several magazines, I figure we’ll get him a set of Tech Sights for it, and he’ll be set for the training.

I had wondered about getting enough 5.56 or .223 ammunition for us to run our AR’s, but at ~$.50/round times 500-rounds for the weekend for each of us, that comes out to $500 in ammo! I figure that we can pick up a couple more rimfires and ammo for them for that price! Then, we would have some nice plinking guns after the fact. It looks like I’m going to borrow my mom’s Winchester 69A bolt-action for the event. I’ll probably buy a few extra magazines for it, and just give them to her afterwards.

Then, I’m kind of thinking about getting a bolt conversion and a few Black Dog magazines for one of our AR’s, or even a full .22LR upper. I really don’t think we would need more than one of those between the two of us.

Here’s the crux: I kind of hope I can find fault with this 10-gauge O/U that makes me not want to buy it. The reason is that I don’t think I can afford to buy the shotgun and still be able to get us outfitted with the equipment we’ll want to have for Appleseed. On the one hand, I’d love it if everything turned out perfect and I got my coach gun, but on the other, I’d like to be able to dismiss that so I can move forward on getting us set up for rimfire.

Oh, the joys of working within a budget!

*cheesy telegraph beeping sound* UPDATE:

We stopped by the pawn shop on the way home with my brother in tow. It’s an Armsport 2700, and it is chambered for 3-inch shells. If the gun was EXACTLY what I envision having, with 3-inch chambers, I would go for it for the price that I could get it for. But, since I’ve never once seen 3-inch, 10-gauge shells in a store, I’m leaning in the direction of letting this one go. It’s a sweet gun, and I may change my mind if it sits in the shop for long enough, but for the time being, I’m going to focus more on getting .22’s set up for Appleseed.

*cheesy telegraph beeping sound* UPDATE TO THE UPDATE:

Actually, when I measured the 10-gauge in question, I came up with right around if not just over 3.25-inches. I just performed the same measurement on Jen an my Winchesters (which are each marked for use with 3-inch shells), and both the 20-gauge and the 12-gauge measured just short of 3-inches. What does that mean? I must find my answers!

You Can’t Shoot a Wasp With a 12-Gauge.

…or a 20-gauge, or .38-shotshells, for that matter.

As I mentioned in my last post, we went out to the property on Saturday for some relaxing, shooting enjoyment. My brother had not yet shot his new-to-him Remington 870 Wingmaster, and Jenni and I are nearly always tickled to put some lead through our shotguns for some practice (yes, I love that woman more than you could possibly know – well except for her, who would be about half of my readership). Honestly, I had never before shot an 870, and now I can certainly see the appeal, although I’m not going to forsake my Winchester anytime soon. I’m glad that bro got the Remington, and I could see owning one in addition to my ‘1300’ 120-Ranger, but it would never replace my Win.

Jenni and I are very avid shotgunners. Neither of us has ever killed anything with our guns, but we love the target practicing, and we have taken defensive shotgun class twice. Most people find it hard to believe how quickly we can put shots on target, in rapid succession, even from a low-rest position. I attribute this in part to the rib and bead sight system. Couple that with the tritium night bead, and what you have is frighteningly fast, highly accurate sighting of the gun. One of the instructors in the last class reprimanded us for not taking our shots more slowly, carefully, and deliberately until he realized that we WERE taking careful, deliberate shots – just at a very rapid rate.

Jenni and I pride ourselves and each other on being… …efficient shotgunners. I think a friend in Ohio said it best when he said, “Between your wife and you, if somebody breaks into your house, they’re basically F’d.”

Yes, Joe. They’re F’d. I can confidently say that most people can’t put lead on target as rapidly as either of us with our shotgun alone. Combine our two forces against a common target and ‘F’d’ is a really good way to put it. I’m sorry, please allow me to leave this bragging tangent and get back to the point.

Over the course of our sun-burning Saturday, we shot lots of .22lr, .38 Spl, 9mm, .357Magnum, .45ACP.223, .410, 20-gauge, and 12-gauge. I’m thinking we need to invest in some more .22lr guns so we can free ourselves of the financial binds of higher-priced ammo. I love shooting with mid-to full-sized bores, but those hurt the finances! What hurts the finances hurts the enjoyment of the experience. I see myself having as many rimfires as centerfires once al is said and done.

On Saturday, I brought some 100 shotshells in a combination of #6 birdshot, 4-buck, and slugs. Jenni brought about 75 shotshells in heavy birdshot for her 20-gauge. My brother brought about 75-birdshot shells and another 25-shells of steel BB shot to break in his new-to-him Remington. With the shotguns, we shot at boxes, paper targets, water bottles, spots in the grass, and everything else we could think of. Eventually, we had run out of targets and we still had ammo…

There were these wasps that kept buzzing us. They didn’t seem aggressive in the least – just curious. Suffice it to say that they were a nuisance and not a threat. Still, there were quite a few of the buggers buzzing around the hollow, and they were big. They were large enough that we could easily spot them at 50-yards. The three of us were left with birdshot, so we started firing it at the wasps that we could see downrange. Every time the shot struck, the tiny pellets kicked up an oval of dust from the ground that haloed the targeted wasp. I’m not sure how many shots we took at them, but it was a bunch. Each shot was true, and made a perfect oval of dust with the wasp at the center, but not one wasp was injured or killed from the experiment. I tried the .38-caliber shotshells from my revolver to the same results. It was really strange, and quite eye-opening.

Apparently, the spread of the shot was so great that the probability of pellets directly hitting the wasp at that range was not in our favor. Needless to say, we were both frustrated and tickled by the experience. After a few minutes of giggling away our disappointment, I turned to my brother and said, “I knew we should have brought bug-shot.”

*chuckling at my own corny humor. bug-shot. huh, huh.*

Update 4/15/09

I know it has been a few days too long since I last posted. Let me start from the present and work my way back.

Jenni didn’t have choir practice tonight, but she did have a baby shower for one of the girls in choir. Apparently, I was welcome to come, but I have lost all taste in going to those things, so here I am, blogging. Besides that, I can’t risk making any more friends. The two that I already have keep me busy full-time!

I need to check and see if I can post from my BlackBerry. If so, I’ll do that from time to time in the future. I don’t even hold out stupid hope that I could post pictures that way, so I wouldn’t make it an all-the-time deal. The mean machine with an Intel, hyperthreading processor and 2.5-GB ram, that I frankensteined out of the remains of several dead machines is on the fritz (if you can believe that), but I managed to get another, albiet crappier machine, limping along well enough that I can actually use the sucker – hence my current keyboarding. This machine is a lot louder, it has a quarter of the processing power and about a quarter the ram. Es muy sucko. Even so, it will cruise the interwebtron, and seems to do alright with my website. Thus my current blogging. But, I digress…

Jenni took the car this morning since I had to work, and she took the day off to go to the tea party. I hitched a ride with my brother’s carpool since my brother lives about five miles away and works within a five-minute walk from where I do. At work, the boss called in from wherever he was and said that any of us that were interested should go to the tea party. I hitched a ride with a coworker and went to the tea party. I’m sure Jenni will blog extensively about that, so I won’t dwell. Suffice it to say that it was big. There were more people there than I could see from my vantage point. Without doing any actual research on it, I’ve heard estimates between 2,000 and 30,000 people. I don’t think it was at the low end or the high end. I would guess three to seven thousand attendees, but as I said, I couldn’t see them all from where I was standing. I figured it would be a few hundred people. I figured wrong by a zero or two. I was going to write a blog entry on lunch today, but the tea party consumed my lunch.

I was going to blog on my lunch yesterday, but that clearly didn’t happen. One of my coworkers decided that we should all get the updated version of Outlook (small company, no IT department). Yesterday, he installed Outlook on my desk computer on my lunch break so as to not consume more company time than necessary – annoying but understandable. Now that he’s got the new Outlook running properly on my machine, I’m resenting it less and seeing it as the tool that it needed to be for our company. Thumbs up, good deal, didn’t blog.

At lunch on Monday, I was going to blog about something that happened on Saturday, but what it was escaped me. I felt pretty dumb, actually. On Sunday evening, I had announced authoritatively in a ‘EUREKA!’ sort of way to my lovely wife what I was going to write about, but I couldn’t recall it the next day. I don’t know whether it was the alcohol, my age catching up with me, lack of sleep, other or all of the above, but it wasn’t happening. I spent my lunch break researching the Stevens Favorite .22 lever-action single-shot (of which my mom has a beautiful, early representation) and .22lr conversions for my AR-15 instead. For whatever reason, the idea of a nickle-per-round plinking appeals to me far more than fitty-cents-per-round plinking. To that end, I think I’m going to try a conversion bolt and move up to a full upper if I feel it’s necessary after the fact.

The service on Sunday morning was beautiful. The choir was on, and the Disciples of Christ know how to put on a holiday service. I may consider myself to be non-denominational and a-religious, but our current church feels more like home than anywhere else I’ve ever been.

Sunday lunch with my family was quite nice. The kids found eggs as they were supposed to. There are only ever so many places to ‘hide’ eggs. Once you breach a certain number of them, there’s nothing left to do but set them out in the open, in plain sight. The funniest part of that is that sometimes those are the last ones the kids find. Kids can be so dumb, and yet they paint the perfect picture of adults, don’t they? I don’t mean that as an insult to the little dudes, but seriously! Who will repeatedly not wash their hair when they shower and offer “I didn’t think I had time” as an excuse? YOU WERE IN THERE FOR FORTY-FIVE MINUTES!!!!!!!! HOW DID YOU NOT HAVE TIME TO WASH YOUR HAIR?!?!?!?!? My son is brilliant, he is growing up nicely, he is well-behaved, but sometimes he makes me beat my head against a wall. They all do to varying degrees. I have far more patience with my own than I do others, so I avoid the others as a general rule.

Saturday, we went to the family land for some shooty goodness. We somehow managed to convince my parents to come with. I won’t bore you with the details, but my memory has been jogged on what I was going to blog about. The general haps of the day are that my brother and sister-in-law and my parents came with us. Between us, we had five shotguns, three rifles, three semi-auto pistols, and six revolvers. We got some very fun and useful practice in, and I have avoided calculating the cost of the lead that we threw downrange. I wish the boy could have come with us, but we had a deal, and he didn’t keep his end of it. That sucks. But, that leads me to my next blog entry. Enjoy.

The Itch Is Back

I’ve found that every once in a while, I get an “Itch.” This is when I feel a grinding urge to spend money – usually money I don’t have. I have several responses to this. The initial response is to try to figure out how to pay for whatever it is that I’m wanting. The second, more sensible response is to try to ignore this feeling until I can get over it and go back to life as usual. The third response, which is kind of a split between the two, is to make a plan on how I can subsidize the cost in the future – i. e. save pennies and eventually get whatever it is that I’m pining after.

Every once in a while, I get the new car itch. There is a specific version of this itch that comes around which is the Sports Car Itch. Thus far, I’ve been able to keep that one under wraps. Analogous to the aforementioned master/slave itch would be the New Gun/Military or Military-Style Gun Itch. Recently, I’ve been feeling the latter half of that one quite a bit. Last weekend, the wife and I were lurking around the local pawn shop, and there was a beautiful M1 Garand on the rack for what may as well be a million dollars right now. Gorgeous! I’ve never wanted a period 30-06 so badly before! Of course, something else that has recently come back to mind is my shelved, Siamese Mauser project…

I posted about this about fifteen months ago. I shelved the project due to lack of funds – and the will to spend that kind of money on a project in which I didn’t really know what I wanted anyway. Now, I’m wanting a big-bore rifle more than ever before!


And, this looks like a darned fine start!


I’ve been once again looking at stocks on the intertoobz. I have been thinking about the conversations that I’ve had with local gunsmiths about reworking an action for 45-70, converting the bolt-handle, and grinding the sucker for a scope base and new sights. So far, I’ve been able to ward off the urge to look at barrels. I’m afraid that’s a losing battle. I don’t have the money to sink into this project right now, and the price of feeding the beast would put the last nail in the coffin, but still… I’ve got this taunting me!


I’ve been putting it off for a while, and I just don’t see how I can continue to put it off indefinitely. When I finally jump into this with both feet, I don’t want to cut corners. I want to do it (or have it done) right. I want to be able to pay a little extra for better wood for the stock, and I want to go with a very high-quality barrel for it. I don’t mind shooting iron sight at first, but I see this thing wearing a scope before all is said and done.

Maybe now that I’ve got all that off my chest, I can go back to life as usual… I can hope, anyway.

The First and Only Inherited Gun

One morning, the fam and I (the Evyl Robot Empyre) were getting ready to go to our daily life at school and work. We were running a little late that day, and in a rush to get out the door. We had largely made up the time when we were heading out the door at 7:00 a. m., when my phone rang.

The first thought that went through my head was, “Who in the world is calling me at seven in the morning on a Thursday?!?!?” I looked at my caller I. D., and saw that it was Grandpa.

My first thought was worry. It was muted, but it was there. My dad’s dad is getting up there in years. Close to 90. When he was a child, his doctor told his parents that he wouldn’t live a long life due to a congenital heart defect. In his eighties, he climbs on the roof to repair his house, he roots around in the attic, and he digs in the garden out back (which is a small slice of Eden, I might add). My grandparents have been married for 59 years, and live on their own. They lead a very active lifestyle, live passionately, love passionately, and live remarkably fast. They aren’t scared of new technology and entertain guests from out of town. Grandpa gets up before the sun to do his daily bible reading and prayer, and Grandma will cook a meal any time I show up for one. Great people.

Knowing that he wakes up before the dawn, it wasn’t so strange that he might be calling at that hour except that he doesn’t usually. I answered the phone, “Hello?”

“Michael,” he said, “It’s your Grandad. Is this a bad time to call?”

“No,” I responded, “This is a fine time to call. What’s going on?”

He said, “Well, I’ve got your great-grandma’s shotgun here, and I know that you like guns, and if you would be interested, I’d like for you to have it.”

This was kind of a shock. A welcome shock at the time, but a shock, no less. I didn’t know that he had his mother’s gun, and I didn’t know why he would choose now to bestow it, but I was interested, “I’d love to have it. That sounds great,” I clumsily responded.

“Well, give me a call and let me know when you want to come by,” he said.

We parted ways at that. Needless to say, I wondered what the heck kind of gun it was that he was giving to me. I was pretty well obsessed all day long. He said it was his mom’s shotgun. That’s all I knew. Would it be a pristine gun, or a total, rusted out basket-case not worthy of hanging on a wall? There were several bore sizes that it could be, there were several action types, countless makers… the possibilities were nearly endless!

That afternoon, I called him back to let him know that I wanted to come by. He sounded eager for the visit. When we got to his house, he explained that he wanted to sort out his stuff, and pass it out to who he wanted to own it, before they had to fight over it after he was gone. I didn’t like where that was going. He told me that he knew that he wouldn’t live forever, and that he wanted to make sure that treasures like this went to the people he wanted them to go to. He said that he wished he had two guns, so he could give one to me and one to my brother, but since I seemed to be more into guns than my brother…

I didn’t tell him that my brother was not less into guns, only less into finances currently. I did tell him that I would gladly share – that any time he wanted the old gun, that it was his as well as mine. That was sincere, and still is. I also told him that I hoped he would stick around for a while, because I would miss him as well as a bunch of other people.

That’s about when he presented me with this:


This is a Stevens .410 that was built about a hundred years ago.


It has the hammer-block safety, spring-loaded firing pin, and a serial number.


You see, Great-Grandpa wanted Great-Grandma to go hunting with him, and she decided she was game for it (as it were, not literally, of course). He bought her coveralls, and this gun. He went out and bought the absolute, nicest, small-bore shotgun that he could afford. She tried the sport a couple of times and decided it wasn’t for her. She did keep the gun though.


Years after the fact, some cousin was using the gun in the field and shot it, not realizing that he had gotten sand in the barrel. It blew off a few inches from the end of the barrel. At this point, the barrel has a very slight bulge in the end of it, and it lacks the sight bead. My brother and I have cleaned and oiled it for these pictures (it looks 100% better than it did originally).

The gun shoots beautifully. I was shocked that such a thing would do so well, so old, beaten and used, lacking the end of the barrel and the sight. And yet, it does function as it should, and it shoots true.

Either person who has been following my blog knows that there are a few guns in The Evyl Robot Empyre. Each one of them is special. Even my twin revolvers, which are with me all day everyday are unique to each other much like the difference between .223 and 5.56 brass is different to the touch when sorting. I love this old single-shot .410. It is a piece of heritage and a piece of history.

Somewhere, I have pictures of the boy shooting his great, great-grandma’s gun. That’s something that is truly priceless. I worry about Grandpa. I know that his time here is limited, and that The Father will call him home, but I don’t want it to be soon. Then again, I don’t really get any say in that. At the same time, I’m honored that he would give me such a treasure. It doesn’t have much monetary value, but it it priceless in my hereditary line.

Maybe someday, I’ll be giving this one to my grandson, telling him the story about his great, great, great-grandmother and her short stint with this wonderful old shotgun.