BAG Day Completion

Now, you are saying, “Alright, Evyl. Skip the labor pains and show me the baby already!” So, here she is:

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There’s just a touch of honest wear on the original wood…

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It is really an immaculate gun. With what I got for the money I paid, I would recommend Mustang Pawn and Gun to anybody who could legally buy here. I really love looking at the machining on these old guns. Check out the ejection port:

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And here she is taken down:

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Now, you say, “So, how’s she shoot, Evyl?” Oh reader… She shoots like a dream. Jennifer caught a magical photographic shot, between my first two shells put through the gun.

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You can actually see the first round hanging on the extractor claw, perpendicular to the gun, and the second shell in the tumbler about to chamber. I laid out two clays on the ground, and loaded the two shells in the magazine to shoot them. I didn’t think I’d hit both clays, but thought that I’d have to get used to the sight system. I was wrong. I rapid fired a string of ten shells into a stationary target. After that, I was cracking flying clays all afternoon with the old 1912. I. Love. This. Gun.

BAG Day Part II

So off we went to Mustang, OK. When we arrived, I scanned all the shelves in the front of the store for 1912s and found none. My heart sank. I gave them a second go-around. They had to have one. Had to! One of the employees must have seen my concern, because he asked if there was anything he could help me find. I asked if they had any Model 12s. He confirmed and opened the gate that led past the front counter to the back room of the store. *Aw, crap. It’s in the back room.* The back room is where they keep their particularly rare, valuable, or otherwise noteworthy guns. We’d been in that back room, and awed at its contents, although we had never before purchased a gun at this store. There were remarkable side-by-side and over-under long guns. There were Browning Auto-5’s with gorgeous engraving that were breathtaking in their newness. There was a particular Remington M11 that I may have to go back for one day. It had a +3 shot magazine extension and the ribbed barrel was cut nearly flush with it. It was tight and smooth and beautiful. And today, I was looking at 1912s.

They had four. There was a 20-gauge that seemed like a solid gun although it did have a small ding in the mag tube. There were two sixteens, one of which had some heavy custom work done to it. It had an aftermarket vent rib brazed to the barrel with dual beads and a heavy action tuning. And, there was one 12-gauge. The twelve locked up tighter than any 1912 I’ve ever handled before. The bluing was deep, dark, and at least 99%. The barrel had been cut down to twenty-two-inches, but it was done well, with a brass bead expertly planted at the muzzle. The fore felt like it was mounted on ball bearings. Usually I will ask prior to dry-firing, but I couldn’t resist on this one. The trigger is the lightest, crispest trigger I’ve ever felt on a shotgun. It was much more like a rifle trigger, and is actually far better than many of the rifle triggers that I’ve pulled. The price was marked at $365.

I toted the gun to the front of the store and talked to the owner about it. He patiently showed me how to take down the gun, and what to look out for in the process of doing so. He told me the history of the model and that this particular example was made in 1949. He commented that it was a particularly nice example of the model, and I agreed that I had not seen any nicer. I asked if he could do anything on the price. He said that they made it a point to stock very nice guns, and that he felt that the marked price was more than fair for this example. He said that he couldn’t come down much, but he could do $350 if that would help me.

NOTE: He offered me the gun for the same price as the last shop. But, he went about it an a far more personable way. I took the bait. I will gladly spend my money with someone who invests in me. Frankly, I’d rather spend twice ten times as much with a vendor who cherishes my business and I’m confident will take care of me after the sale rather than one who pretty much greets me with utter contempt. I gladly paid the $350 plus transfer fees and taxes for the gun. Granted it was a little nicer than the last gun, but I basically paid equal price for a comparable product because of the service. There is a lesson there, and I have noted it deeply, if you know what I mean.

One More To Go…

BAG Day – A Little Late…

For some time now, I’ve been needing a takedown shotgun for a project that I have in mind for The Holster Site. It’s not going to be much of a marketable product so much as a bragging rights kind of deal. The big two obvious solutions to a takedown shotgun have been Winchesters: an 1897 or a 1912. Although I am completely enamored with the ’97, being the arguable granddaddy of all pump action shotguns, the living examples I’ve found have been a little long in the tooth, shot rattly, and often old enough that smokeless powder is questionable. The exposed parts on these guns are absolutely beautiful, IMHO. But, I wanted something quite serviceable, and I wanted to stick to U.S. manufacture, so that kind of rules out any of the CAS clones I’ve seen. After thinking about the functionality of a pump action, I decided that the internal hammer offspring of the ’97, the M12, was probably the way to go.

A year or so ago, I could not touch one of these guns in my area for less than $1,000.00. But it was just about that long ago that I started seeing the prices on these dwindling quickly. Recently, I’ve seen 1912s selling for less than $500.00 in local stores. On one of my recent trips to the fabric store, I stopped at every pawn shop on the street between the highway and the store to see what they had in stock. Admittedly, I was looking for a CD player (which constitutes a blog entry of its own), but I kept an eye out for Winchester shotguns as well. At one store, they had one in decent condition marked with a ‘SALE!!!‘ sign at $352.95. The price seemed decent to say the least. I’m not making a lot of money yet, but it had been a good couple of weeks, and I’d just put down a good deposit at the bank. Since it was a pawn shop, I knew that it couldn’t possibly be the bottom-line price.

Jennifer and I got up on Saturday morning, after discussing the possibility of taking on a new gun, and we headed out to the above mentioned pawn shop. When we arrived, they were fairly busy, but highly understaffed for the amount of customer flow. There was a cute little girl behind the counter who looked part Latina. She asked if she could help me and I asked if I could put my greasy paws all over a couple of their guns. I man-handled a late production ‘Defender’ which had a mere 5-shot magazine (I didn’t know they made those), and the 1912. It was a pretty sweet gun. I asked if she could do anything on the price and she said that the prices on guns and gold were pretty firm. She did comment that I could make an offer and she could take it to the owner. I told her that I had $250.00 cash that I would part with for the old Winchester. She wandered off with the gun in hand to middle-man my offer.

She returned shortly and said, “He says you’re about $100.00 plus tax short.” I was offended. Arithmetic tells us that his response was that he would not come down on the price. The delivery was snide, and sent through the cute little girl instead of face-to-face. I simply cannot fathom running a business with that kind of attitude. It defies all reason. If he had come to me himself and told me that he really couldn’t come down on the price or he would lose money on the gun, I would have understood. But, he sent a snide remark through his cute little girl. No. I will never step foot in that shop again. I thanked the little girl and we left the shop.

Jennifer suggested that maybe we should go and check Mustang Pawn and Gun which is on the extreme far end of town, but have provided us nothing but awesome service ever. They also have a great selection of good old guns. You want a Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless? They have three. You want a S&W M&P .38? Engraved or non? You want a Browning Auto 5? They have several Brownings and several Remington 11s. They are an excellent resource for the old and odd, and when you are looking for a good one. Jennifer also commented that she didn’t feel that $350 was too much money to pay for the right gun. (I love that girl.)

To Be Continued…

Soup Can Safety

I’m sure both of my readers have read about Jennifer slicing her finger on a soup can as she helped me prepare dinner one evening. This was an easily preventable accident, and I’m just glad that nobody was injured any worse than the little cut on her finger. I wanted to take a moment to expound on this and to encourage safe can handling.

1 – Always treat all cans as if they are always full.

2 – Always keep your can pointed in a safe direction.

3 – Keep your fingers off the can opener until you are ready to open the can.

4 – Know your label and what is within it.

That is all.

The Mailbox

When I was sixteen, I inherited my parents’ recently retired family car: a 1983 Honda Civic Wagon. The little Civic was very well used. It had over 150,000-miles on the clock, the upholstery was shot, neither the radio nor air conditioner worked, and it had a very nasty dent in the rear hatch where a drugged up thug had rear ended it with a stolen motorcycle on the interstate one night years before. The original brown paint was oxidized and there were rusted spots in the floor of the cargo area from the final trip of a worn out water heater. I questioned the integrity of the car on pretty much every point except for the fact that its running gear was in great shape. The little car’s heart was intact and it would reliably get me where I was going.

At that point in life, I did some of the stupid things that you can count on a sixteen year old boy to do. One night after playing with the band at a football game, I was driving one of my friends home prior to going home myself. The evening was cool and humid after nightfall. On nights like this, it was impossible to keep the windows clear, without a working air conditioner. So, I craned my head out the driver’s side window, thinking that solution was funnier than actually wiping a clear spot in the windshield that I could see out to drive. Oh, it was hilarious! My friend and I cackled at the hilarity of not being able to see out of the car but going anyway.

When I pulled into his driveway, my friend told me that I should rapidly back out of his driveway, possibly to the point of hitting the opposite curb with my tires, because that would be just too funny! Of course, I couldn’t see anything out the back window, but when he hopped out of the car, I readily complied, already too hopped up on whatever was so funny about all these decisions. When I backed onto the opposite sidewalk though, I heard the clang of the neighbor’s wrought iron mailbox snapping where the pole met the sidewalk, and the clatter and thump of it hitting the concrete. I heard my friend stifle his giggling as he scuttled to the front door of his home, as I put the car into gear to rush home in my panic.

I was generally a good kid that got a little carried away from time to time. Evidently, angels watched over me as none of these antics resulted in death or injury, but my conscience nagged me with that mailbox that I had damaged. So, the next day I got the neighbor’s phone number and gave him a call. I was at a time in life where I was making immature boyish decisions in the heat of the moment, but trying my hardest despite myself to man up and take responsibility. I’d had some difficult conversations before, but that one was one that I really had to psych myself up for. What would he say? I was sure he’d be angry. I had decided that if it came to it, I would pay for a replacement mailbox, although it surely would not be a cheap proposition.

“Hello?”
“Hi, my name is Evyl Robot and I’m the one who ran over your mailbox last night.”
“Oh really?”
“Yes sir. I’m really sorry. It was an accident, and I’d like to make it right.”
*…uncomfortable silent pause…*
“You weren’t paying very much attention to what you were doing, were you?”
“No, I wasn’t. I feel really bad. Can I buy you a new mailbox?”
*…yet another uncomfortable pause…* I don’t think the guy knew what to make of the situation.
“Evyl, you aren’t the first person to hit my mailbox and break it.”
“What?”
“I’m impressed with your honesty, and judging from your tone, I believe you’ve learned your lesson.”
“Well, sure. But, can I do anything about your mailbox?”
“It’s going to take me a two dollar tube of epoxy and about an hour to make it right.”
“Do you want me to pick up the epoxy and glue your mailbox back together?”
“No. Not this time. I want you to drive more carefully in the future.”

And, that was the end of it. To the man whose mailbox I toppled, it was an awkward phone conversation with a teenager, a tube of epoxy, and an afternoon in the open air. To me, it was a growing experience. It was one of many events that taught me that my actions have consequences. Some of them are good and others are bad, and I need to consider possible outcomes before I rashly take action. I was struck with the possibility that driving like that, I could just as easily hit a dog or God forbid a person, as I could a mailbox. Also, I saw grace. I didn’t deserve to not have to do anything about that mailbox. If that guy had demanded that I not only pay for a replacement mailbox, but also pay a contractor to professionally install it, it would have been perfectly fair. I knew that. I didn’t have a lot of money, but I knew what was right. But, he didn’t do that. Frankly, I think he was way too nice about it, but his willingness to let it go is something that I’ll never forget. Everyone makes mistakes, but it is what lessons we take away from our mistakes that defines us as people.

An Accidental Discharge and the Aftermath

My brother was a little shaken up when I spoke with him the other day. He told me his story and I asked if he would write it up so I could guest post it on my blog. Well, here’s what he has to say…

Let me introduce myself. Call me Microcosm Overlord. I am the non blogging brother of the Evyl Robot. Very similar in many ways we share a fondness for self sufficiency self protection and firearms. This is my story about my accidental discharge, what a 12 gauge with 00 buckshot can do, why everybody came out unscathed, why the home has relatively little damage and why a 12 gauge with 00 buckshot is the preferred gun for home defense.

I have a Remington 870 Wingmaster as my home defense gun and as my social breakdown, attack of the zombies worst case scenario gun. I have Cut the barrel down to 20 inches, put the 3 round magazine extension on it, had it refinished in flat black Dura-Coat, made myself a nifty little sling out of some webbing I had lying around, put a Hi-viz fiber optic front sight on it and generally love on it like any good gunny should.

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I had been manipulating it earlier in the day and had put it away next to the bed where it generally stays. Later I was demonstrating a feature/function of operation to my wife and that’s when instead of “chuck chuck” *click* happened, it went “chuck-chuck” BOOM. I had neglected to clear the magazine.

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Let me digress. I have what used to be a completely fresh target hung on a door at the end of my hallway that leads to the garage. This target is for dry fire practice. It is in it’s specific location for two reasons. First the hall is a good 15 yards at it’s longest and secondly, I know that there is nothing of any real consequence behind that door.

My wife shrieked and realized what happened before I did. I didn’t even feel the recoil having no expectation of it. The gun had been pointed to the target on the door that is instinctual to me now. If I draw a bead in the house, the front sight lands on the target. After we had inspected the damage and found that nothing major was broken and that both of us were OK, save our eardrums and nerves, I had a good embrace with my wife and asked her forgiveness. For at least five minutes afterward all I could say is “I just did that…”

This is a slightly embarrassing confession for me. This was a beginner mistake and I know better. But I hope that it can also be a learning experience for those who may read it.

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So today I took measurements and photos and here’s all the data: the shot traveled 21 feet from the end of the barrel,

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through a 1 3/8” uninsulated wooden door (note that the wadding made it through the first layer of the door),

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through 9 ½ feet of empty space in my garage where two of the nine pellets came to rest in a stereo head unit and one came to rest inside a rearview mirror that I was saving for spare parts.

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You can see a fourth one made a dent in the sheetrock but was stopped. The remaining five pellets passed through a piece of ¼” cedar particle board,

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through the 7 & ¾” of drywall, insulation and siding, where one lodged.

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The remaining four pellets traveled another 20 feet

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before finding their rest on the exterior wall of one of the outbuildings.

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Total distance: 51’ 3.5”. Total thickness of penetration of the last four pellets: about 2” of wood all in total.

Comments:

As to safety and The Four Rules, I can only fault my brother on number one: He did not treat the gun as if it was loaded, and it was indeed loaded. He obviously kept it pointed in a safe direction. He pulled the trigger when he intended to drop the hammer. He knew his target and what was beyond it. Like many other things in life, it’s all too easy to get sloppy and have a negligent discharge. But, this will only make him that much more diligent to make certain to be aware and increasingly more safe with his gun handling. It was because of his already thoughtful and conscious gun handling that this was a minor incident and not a tragic accident. If everyone was so conscious about safety, the incidents of accidental shootings would diminish to virtually nothing. He also took full responsibility for his actions and owned the situation. He even tracked down the wadding and all nine pellets. When I talked to him about it, he said that he was so rattled that all the guns were in the safe that night. He was pretty shaken up to say the least. Thank God everyone was safe! Although, he may have had to peel his cats off the ceiling…

The penetrating power of 00 buckshot out of a 12-gauge shotgun is staggering. Note how little spread the shot pattern had in the 21 feet between the muzzle and the garage door. I get tired of hearing people say, “You don’t even have to aim a shotgun.” Well, yes you do actually. But in house distances, I suspect that any form of lead coming out of a 12-gauge will be lethal with a well-placed shot. I know that I’m tempting the debate of birdshot versus buckshot versus slugs with that comment, but I just don’t see how any loading could be less than effective in the ranges available inside a typical home.

My brother is fortunate that he had this learning experience with no more excitement to show for it than rattled nerves, and a couple damaged possessions. By the time he took the pictures, he had filled the holes in the siding with spand-o-foam. The loss of an old stereo receiver, spare car mirror, and a little wood and sheetrock are far preferable to someone getting hurt. I encouraged him to share this story so that other people could learn from it. Always be very careful whenever you handle a firearm. Remember and practice The Four Rules. Also make it your business to know what your gun is capable of. Guns can be a lot of fun, and I’d encourage anyone who is able to go out and enjoy recreational shooting, but only ever with the highest degree of safety.

***To see the repost complete with pictures, click here.***