I wish I hadn’t…

by B.B. Pelletier

Our blog reader pcp4me suggested this topic; and since I spent both Saturday and Sunday at the Dallas Arms Collector’s show (it’s a tough life), I wanted something that didn’t need a chrono, a range or lots of pictures. So, this report is one of my laments that will start all you veteran shooters crying in your beer. It’s the story of guns I’ve loved and lost.

Yes, I’ve done this before and, no doubt, there will be some repeats. But, because I’m flawed and continue to make mistakes, there will be some new stories, too.

My first Daisy No. 25 pump gun
I had a paper route and when my sister’s latest boyfriend wanted to score some points (he didn’t last long), he sold me his 1936-version of the Daisy No. 25 pump BB gun. It was the Weatherby Magnum of the BB gun world back in the 1950s.

For three days, I was king of the hill, lording my good fortune over the neighbor kid who was making the best of a tired old lever-action Daisy 102 that shot to the left. My gun would shoot through one side of a tin can (the airgun chronograph of the 1950s), while his would only make a dent.

However, on day four, when I went to shoot my new prize, the BB just rolled out the muzzle after I pulled the trigger. I was beside myself and immediately went into the repairman mode, stripping the gun as far as I could with just a screwdriver, pliers and a lot of personal angst.

When the parts were far enough apart that I’d never be able to get them together again, I put them all in a paper grocery bag and sold them for a quarter to someone. I just wanted the gun out of my sight to forget the sad memory as soon as possible, and I thought the guy who bought the parts was a friend.

Several days later, the “friend” brings the whole gun back and shows me that it shoots fine. “My old man put it together for me. He told me you have to oil them every so often to keep the leather seals working, you dope!”

At that exact moment, I became a collector of Daisy No. 25 guns, and a potential airgun writer with his first cool anecdote. This is probably the tenth time I’ve told that tale, so I’m slowly ammortizing the pain though the catharsis of writing.

My Sheridan Supergrade
They don’t shoot any better than a Blue Streak, nor are they more accurate; but Sheridan Supergrades have held a fascination for me ever since I read about them in the first Airgun Digest. Just like the former owner of what became the Golconda diamond mines, I wasn’t poor until I knew what a Supergrade was and I didn’t have one.

Mine was an “honest” gun, which means that it worked and wasn’t a junker, but it had the signs of use. It was accurate, but no more so than a Crosman Town and Country 107 I owned at the same time. But it was a genuine Supergrade and it was mine!

Then I was forced to sell it and while doing so I told myself that when circumstances improved I could always by another one. But like the old doctor in the movie Field of Dreams, the man known as Moonlight Graham in the single inning of major league baseball he ever played, what I didn’t know was that was the only day I would have. Supergrades went through the roof and now I absolutely refuse to pay what it takes to buy one in a condition similar to what I once had. So, I’m going to continue to sit by the curb and make mudpies and pout.

A .22-250 custom rifle
I was young and stupid and didn’t know that all centerfire rifles cannot hit hovering bumblebees at 100 yards. My .22-250 was a nondescript custom job on a 98 Mauser action with a Douglas Premium barrel. I had the loading dies, brass and exact loads to put five into a half-inch group downrange. What I didn’t have was the presence of mind to hold on to this most accurate rifle I ever shot. I forget what I traded it for or how much money I may have received for it, but I do know that it wasn’t as good. I’ve been searching for an accurate .22 centerfire rifle ever since.

A .458 Winchester Magnum
Sure, it’s an elephant rifle, but the guy who sold it to me at a local gun show also sold me the dies and the bullet mold and gave me all the cases I’d ever need to shoot the rifle. He also gave me the light load it preferred, and that was the first rifle I ever shot 10-shot groups with. I did that only because I was mesmerized by all the bullets passing through the same hole in the 100-yard target.

I was so stupid about guns that I thought all .458s would do the same as that Springfield-based custom gun. Now, I know better and continue to search for accurate big bores that can do as well. Perhaps, someday, I’ll get the Ballard to turn in a group equal to what I once owned and stupidly traded away.

Ruger Blackhawk flattop with a 10-inch barrel
It was a great gun that I could load heavy but never seemed to kick me beyond my ability to absorb it. It wasn’t a cowboy gun and, at the time, I thought the sun rose and set under the rampant Colt. I traded off the Ruger, telling myself that I could always buy another one…if I don’t mind selling off a handful of my other favorites. I see them on Gun Broker from time to time and two thousand will buy one in good shooting condition these days. Once again, I refuse to be taken advantage of my own stupidity. Press onward and never look back is my motto.

Savage Anschutz .22 Magnum
This one is painful because it just happened this past weekend. I took my deluxe Savage Anschutz .22 Magnum bolt-action to lay on my table just to fill some empty space. I put a price on it that I was certain would insult everyone, because I really did not want to sell this rifle. Sure enough, a dealer walked up and paid my full price before the show opened. Mac later saw it on his table with another $125 on the price.

Back to airguns
If it seems like I’ve loved and lost more firearms than airguns, it’s because I have. I’ve been shooting firearms as long as I have airguns and have owned many times more of them over the years. But there are also some more airguns I’ve sold that I shouldn’t have. You generally find out that you shouldn’t have sold a gun when you find that you cannot stop thinking about it after it’s gone. For that reason, I know I’ll have difficulty selling the current crop of 10-meter rifles I own.

Air Arms Shamal
But many years ago, I bought an Air Arms Shamal .22-caliber PCP. That rifle had a fill pressure of just 2,600 psi, yet it developed 20 honest foot-pounds over 20+ shots. The rifle had a gorgeous walnut stock, but that wasn’t what caught my fancy. It was the incredible accuracy that could put five pellets into the same hole at 40 yards. Aside from one other British-made airgun, this was the most accurate .22 air rifle I’ve ever tested.

I sold it in a moment of weakness when I was panicked over money. I would probably do the same thing again, but I’m fortunate not to have been in the same financial straits for many years.

I would do it again
My last story has a happy ending, despite the fact that I don’t have the gun. Fifteen years ago, I was heavy into tuning FWB 124 air rifles. I found them, tuned them and resold them to finance the next batch of similar air rifles. However, in all the confusion, I tuned one rifle that stands out from all the rest. It was a 124 Deluxe sold by Beeman back in the late 1980s, and it looked just like hundreds of other 124s, only this one was different. It turned out to be the hottest 124 that ever passed through my hands. After the tune, it was putting Crosman Premier lites out the spout at 881 f.p.s. with complete smoothness.

I knew it was a great airgun when I owned it, but familiarity finally bred, if not contempt, at least disregard, and I allowed it to go in a trade. The good news is where it went. My buddy Mac got the rifle and still owns it today. He says it still shoots as fast and smooth as ever and that makes me glad.

If I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s this one truth. You may probably never, again, have the chance to acquire something as nice as what you now have. You should take the time to acknowledge when something is so good that it catches your attention. It probably does that for a good reason, and you should learn to listen to your gut when this happens.

I know something else, too. I don’t have the time to enjoy all the wonderful things there are. If I take the time to enjoy fewer things more, rather than more things in less time, it turns out well. And that’s my advice for today.

62 thoughts on “I wish I hadn’t…

  1. BB:
    It is always great to read stories from your past.Cheers.
    For the air rifles I had but got rid of and bitterly regret,
    The Gunpower Stealth(Talon) and the Logun S16.

    The ‘Order of the boot in the butt’ award must go to those air rifles I never bought but should have.
    The Lee Enfield SMLE and Winchester style Yellow boy rifles converted to fire air cartridges.
    Dave.


  2. Morning B.B.,

    I know that I and everyone who reads this blog can “feel your pain” and relate to your “I wish I hadn’t” stories.

    What did you and Mac find at the gun show that you just had to bring home with you all?

    Bruce


    • Bruce,

      This was the best gun show I have ever had, and I think Mac can say the same. The difference in a gun show in Texas and anywhere else is that in Texas when a woman comes to your table she may be someone’s wife, but there is better than a 50 percent chance that she’s there to buy, too.

      I got a Marlin 39A from the late 1940s in great condition. It has the Ballard-style rifling, rather than the less-desirable microgrooves. I also got a Schmidt-Rubin 1910 model rifle that was totally converted to a target rifle. Unlike the K31, this rifle has sufficient length of pull for me to hold it, and it holds great. I can’t wait to see how it shoots. I also got a High Standard Victor in excellent condition. This is one of the real ones that were made in Connecticut.

      But the big deal of the show for me was the complete Lucky McDaniel instinct shooting set I bought. I’ve never seen another like it. I have a Daisy Quick Skill set, but they were very popular at one time. The Lucky set is almost unknown. And best of all, the gun in the set, which is in excellent condition, is the ultra-rare Lucky McDaniel Daisy model 99 gun without sights and with the forced-feed magazine. By itself, the Blue Book lists it at $350 (but try to find one!). I think this set is worth $800-1,000.

      Mac was just there to make some money. He did score a buy on a fine Harley Low Rider with less than a thousand miles on it that I will end up dragging to Maryland for him when the Virginia airgun show comes around. Believe it or not, he found the right trailer hitch mount to tow the bike at this show! So I think he was happy to make the money that he did.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        I get the feeling that you felt like a kid in a candy store at the latest, greatest gun show. Seems they run like that. Attend 5 or 6 gun shows and walk away with nothing then that show comes along that has 5 or 6 items you’ve always wanted. Unfortunately, I usually have to choose between them instead of buying all of them ;-)

        kevin



      • I can help you with more of that “Shoulda kept it” feeling if you ever want to get rid of that Victor…. A friend’s bull barrel Victor was the most accurate .22 I ever shot! Unfortunately, he sold it without telling me first…. :(



  3. I have bought and sold a lot of airguns over the last 15 years. I have kind of limited resources and I have to sell to buy. There are a lot of guns I wish I had back but I made what I felt was the best decision at the time and went on down the road. If I hadn’t sold the gun when I did, I might have sold it later. So I guess I don’t have too much sellers remorse.

    I wish I could afford to buy another HK91, Detonics compact 45, Colt Lightweight Commander, Star PD, AK, etc. But, I don’t shoot my firearms I have now and I do shoot the airguns that I bought with the money.

    My problem these days is that I value the guns I have that I would like to sell at more than they will bring. This really limits my ability to guy new guns.

    David Enoch


    • David,

      If only you said something earlier! I let a new-in-the-plastic box Star PD go for a great price just before the show. And there were SEVERAL pristine Savage 23s in .22 Hornet at the show. One had a period scope!

      The Marksman model 42 or 44 rimfire with the swingaway peep sight I can still connect you with. And I have a Haenel model 311 target rifle that I think is what you want. I even have the super hard to find sporting sight that sits on the middle base (as well as the strange Haenel target sight in the back).

      B.B.


    • Well… I can tell you out-right that you won’t be getting my HK-91 no matter what you offer

      Only 50rds through it. I have the sight adjustment screwdriver, but delayed too long in considering the bipod. Has a third-party scope base rather than the STANAG quick-release clamp-on.


  4. Regret in selling guns seems to usually fall into two catagories. The model has increased in value beyond expectations and/or it was unusually accurate for the model.

    Since I’m not a collector of airguns my only criteria for not selling is accuracy. When I find one of those rare airguns that is accurate in my hands it does not get sold. The rest are on borrowed time.

    kevin


  5. ‘Buyers remorse’ is a poor cousin to gun people compared to sellers remorse. You have awakened too many bitter memories, many—like yours—fueled by financial exigencies. I try to console myself that it was my wise investment in instantly marketable classics that got my family thru some tight spots, but the pain remains. I then progress to reminding myself that for a time I was able to own and appreciate many things that are now too precious for for a pensioner such as myself. That works a little better. But the list is daunting—–

    S&W K-22 Masterpiece

    The Ruger Bearcat that refused to miss

    Colt Gold Cup mid-range Match in .38

    Pristine M-23 Savage in .22 Hornet

    Daisy/FWB M-150 whose 1st life was as a test mule spent in a machine rest at Daisy back when they still made an attempt at making accurate pellets.

    Early Sheridan Silver Streak that defined ‘accuracy’ in field guns.

    Last Haenel ‘Schmeisser’ match grade before the 312 model (can’t recall the model #)

    Post WW2 Mossberg target grade rimfire with swing-away peep and target scope in outside adjust mounts. Shed because it was too heavy to tote thru the woods for a day of squirrel hunting. Ah—-the follies of youth. (Model # again NLA in memory bank)

    Model 72 Marksman in .20 caliber—my 1st ‘Magnum’ sproinger.

    And too many more to be comfortable resurrecting. But one common thread if the last one is recognized as an anomaly—–paragons of accuracy within their genre. Tears, Tom


    • Tom:
      I’m trying to consol myself by thinking of the airguns I was glad to see the back of.
      Top of the tree,’A’ No1 was an old ‘Gat’ gun given to me by a relative.
      Even as a 12 year old lad it was an insult.
      I found the only way to improve accuracy and velocity of this pistol was to load it and then throw it at the target.
      It has now gone.Good riddance.
      Dave



  6. Here is a comment that was sent to the wrong address. It comes from Sid:

    RE: H&N Baracuda/Beman Kodiak

    I read in a Pyramidair Blog (October 10, 2005) that “Guns that top at least 20 foot-pounds are necessary to provide the velocity to stabilize the big pellet at longer ranges.”
    In response to a question (can not recall the blog date) it was stated that RWS 34P is strong gun for using .177 Baracuda/Kodiak pellets. It is my understanding that 34P in .177 or .22 deliver about 15 pounds. Which advise should I follow?

    RE: Scope on a Break-Barrel Rifle

    Will the scope and barrel stay in the same plane after thousand of shots or even one shot? I ask this question as mounting of scope is not similar to non-break-barrel rifles – the barrel pivots.

    Thank you.

    p.s. I have gone back to your archived blogs and read every one. I thank you for the info you have parted. As a teenager in the early 50′s when I was in Pakistan I had a air pistol and and air rifle. I think they were both Webley. In one of your blogs I came across a Webley pistol that looked like the one I had. During the summer holidays I used to go out in the country to hunt for pigeons. I used the guns so much that I wore out both guns. The hole in the links that pivots with the barrel got bigger and bigger and one day the link was no longer connected to the barrel on both guns. There was not one there to repair them. I felt very sad.

    In the 55 years that I have been in California, I have had dozens of rimfire and centerfire guns – but no air gun. Now I have one – RWS 34P. In the mid 1950′s I could not have fathomed the coming of a rifle like the 34P at any price – even though it is a the low-end gun.

    Again, thank you.

    Sid


    • Sid,

      Well, How far do you want to shoot? That would determine the power of the gun you should select. The RWS Diana 34P would be fine out to 50 yards as long as you applied the artillery hold correctly, but I don’t think of it as a 100 yard air rifle. To get out to 100 yards with accuracy requires greater power.

      The pivoting barrel does not chance with time. There are Olympic match rifles that have pivoting barrels (breakbarrels, they are called). They are now obsolete, but for other reasons.

      The Diana 34 delivers greater power in .22 than in .177 and the same is true for almost all airguns. Only a few develop the same power or less in .22 as in .177.

      Welcome to the blog.

      B.B.


  7. Off topic. I found out yesterday just how important pellet testing is…though not in the conventional sense of testing for accuracy.
    Like most here I have a gazillion empty pellet tins…mostly RWS Meisters (and others).
    Some I use to store little bits, but often they become plinking fodder.
    This past weekend I taped a bunch to a board and started shooting.
    Now bear in mind that all my guns (Slavia 631, B3-3 (AK) and B9) are all 500fps Canadian guns.
    Now here’s the kicker. My usual field fodder is the RWS Superdome (8.3gr). As usual at 15 yards they make a satisfying smack and put a good sized dent in the lid of the tin.
    But then I tried the ‘new’ pellet I’ve been working with, the JSB Exact (domed 8.4 gr) which I figured from the weights/shape would give pretty much the same results.
    Well, in all three guns the JSB’s punched clean through the lid of the tins and left a nice welt on the bottom of the tin.
    Being that they are within a 1/10 of a gr the only thing I can think of is that the JSB’s must be a harder compound…or they are just fitting the bores of my guns much better than the RWS and picking up some velocity.
    But as they seem more accurate than the Superdome’s, especially in my Slavia…I’ve found a new favorite pellet.


  8. Off topic…found something of interest on the weekend.
    I know we all test different pellets for accuracy, but yesterday I found out how seemingly similar pellets can hit harder.
    In the past my favorite field pellet was the RWS Superdome (.177 8.3gr).
    This past month I’ve been try in the JSB Exact (domed, .177 8.4 gr).
    In my Slavia the Exact was definitely bit more accurate.
    Soooo…Sunday.
    We all have a slew of pellet tins kicking around. Some I use to store bits and pieces, the rest become plinking fodder.
    I taped a bunch to a board and set it 15yds.
    Started shooting…Slavia, B3-3 (AK style) and B9 (bullpup). All Canadian 500fps guns.
    The Superdomes have always made a very satisfying smack against the tins and leave a nice big dent.
    But when I tried the JSB’s…every shot went through the lid and left a good sized welt on the bottom of the tin, with all three guns.
    I figure either the JSB’s are harder, and so punch through…or are softer and the skirts seal better and gain some velocity.
    But I’ve found a new favorite pellet.


  9. Okay…that’s weird…the first post didn’t show up…so I posted the 2nd.
    And my moniker (CowBoyStar Dad) and my little pic doesn’t show.


  10. BB,
    There is a popular book that has been out for a few years titled, “In Praise of Slowness,” which I think encourages what you describe in your last paragraph in the blog. It’s an almost impossible thing to do these days.

    I never have had the savvy to be a good horse-trader, so my collection is still small enough that I can keep all of it. Still, I am amazed at how seemingly easy it is for many folks to find and make good deal after good deal. I bet the regrettable deals are balanced by an equal number of real winners.

    I love these stories that you write because I always learn something new. And eventually, I will be able to spot a real keeper of a deal.
    Thanks,
    Lloyd



      • We were talking about target shooting recently and one guy said it was too stressful. An experienced shooter, said, no, actually it’s very relaxing. He’s the good shot.
        Lloyd


        • Lloyd,

          When I competed, I found shooting to be a great way to forget about the rest of the world, and even clear the mind. I once read an article that said that if you can eliminate stress (or other psychological barrier or issue) in one area (or activity) in your life, then you can eliminate it elsewhere. The article essentially said that you can NOT have two psychologies. You’re either a nervous type, or you’re not, but not both.

          In competition, you tend to drop points when you lose your concentration (i.e. your mind gets distracted, causing you to lose the necessary focus). Being nervous or stressed, are themselves distractions, so you sometimes need something stronger and more beneficial to focus on. For me, it works to focus on critical details needed for good shot execution, as a way to keep me from distractions.

          The more refined and accomplished you get, the more you do things subconsciously. However, over time, most of us need to re-learn certain basics.

          Victor


          • Victor,
            Yes, I hear what you are saying, and tend to agree. We can learn certain behaviors that go against our natural inclination, and our degree of success will be variable, and not permanent. I have successfully been through that with one thing that I had to change about myself, but it requires an awareness and commitment to maintain that success.
            I know you and BB and others have talked about this in regard to competitive shooting. It’s almost as if a basic personality test would predict what level of success one could achieve before even picking up a gun.
            Lloyd


            • Lloyd,
              To paraphrase what you said, YOU HAVE TO REALLY WANT IT. Like anything in life, how well we do is a function of how much we’re willing to put into something. I was asked if I knew of any shooters who were naturals at it. I don’t know of any. However, I do agree with you that a personality test might help determine ones aptitude for competitive marksmanship. You have to be highly motivated, mature for your age, willing to work hard, not easily discouraged, and be able to focus over an extended period (shooting is highly competitive, and you really can’t get lucky – that is an impossibility). This may surprise you, but in my experience, confidence is not a prerequisite. Applying yourself and seeing results will help build up your confidence. That’s why we put our children in sports, or other activities where results can be earned.

              I remember my first tournament. I dropped at about 120 points out of 800 in a 4 position match, which was about average. Top shooters are dropping less than 10 points, and the winner dropped 3 points. You can’t tell how well a shooter will do by how they start. I was often told by non-competitors that shooting was easy. Before I got into competitive marksmanship, my brother and I owned a couple B.B. guns. We thought that we could shoot. A really good non-competitor will drop a 100 points in competition, the first time they try. Being a great plinker, or hunter, is an entirely different animal from competition. The goals are different. Whereas one can be happy hitting a dime at 50 feet, and be qualified as a “good shot” by most, that ability might land you in the Sharpshooter or possibly Expert class according to NRA classification rules. To win matches, you’ve got to keep (in the case of 4-P) all 80 shots under a quarter inch 95+% of the time.

              Competitive marksmanship really isn’t easy, and it definitely takes a lot of work. However, no one can know their potential by just shooting a few tournaments. In the beginning, tournaments are just another form of practice, so there’s no reason to get all stressed out over them. Most shooters climb pretty fast their first year. The rate of improvement slows down over time. It gets harder to break plateaus, so you have to get smarter about how your practice. You have to set goals, and deliberately set out to solve problems. Some lessons can take years to learn, unless you’ve got really good coaching. And while shooting is among the most mental of all sports, it’s also physical, just in a much more subtle way.

              Then only way that I know of to determine whether or not someone can be a great competitive marksman is by how hard they’re willing to work, and time. I think it’s almost impossible to know within the first two years.

              Victor



  11. Firing celebratory bullets into the air: what goes up must come down!

    See interesting BBC article connected with the celebrations arising out of the rebels taking most of Tripoli in the last couple of days:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14616491

    Therein they cite a 1962 study stating that a .30 cal round fired into the air will reach a terminal velocity of 300 fps on the way down. Does anybody know what the mass of such a bullet is, so we can figure out its energy? In any case it is certainly fatal if it hits you on the head. I’m curious how good my hard hat would have to be!

    AlanL


    • ALAN, !!!

      Do we know what the mass of a bullet is???

      If we don’t know, who does?

      These “celebratory” guns are almost always AKMs, so the bullet comes from the 7.62X39mm cartridge. Think 123 grains, because that is one of the most common bullet weights for that round.

      B.B.


      • AlanL,

        you will be conked on the head with roughly 24.5 ft. lbs (33 joules). Will your hardhat survive that and more importantly, will that rinky-dink strap that doubles as a shock absorber prevent the transfer of that energy to one’s skull? I always felt that if a large bolt or nut fell from 10 stories onto me while I was inspecting a construction site that my wife would get a nice life insurance settlement!.

        Fred PRoNJ


    • Sometimes those bullets hit people on the way up. Lee Haney, author of the book Inside Delta Force, writes of an episode where some father was celebrating his son’s wedding by firing an AK47 in the air, but he accidentally shot his own son. Then, the guy turned the gun on himself.

      But anyway, it’s great news that there is no more Qaddafi. Apparently the Libyans call him, “frizz-head.”

      Matt61


    • Well, you’ve had one reply to likely weight.

      But what did the study use? 7.62 NATO? Standard [FMJ lead] would be something like 149g (the commercial .308Win light load is a 150g jacketed soft point). .30 M1 carbine is 110-115g, round nose [shaped like most ACP bullets]. .30-30? probably another 150g or so. .30-06? maybe close to 180g.


    • Alan,
      Paint ball competition limits the velocity to 300fps, but those are 50 to 60 grain balls about .65 in dia, with lots of masks and padding for protection. So a 300fps hit on the top of the head with a 120 gn bullet, probably tumbling, could certainly have bad results.
      Lloyd


  12. B.B., this is hilarious and epic too. I’m encouraged not to give up after reverses. But after the trials of getting my Mosin-Nagant, I will give it a rest. Too much of this kind of fun I cannot take. There is some consolation ahead. If you want a super-accurate .22 centerfire get a Savage. And if you want a super-accurate big-bore–get another Savage. They have a .338 Lapua Magnum with an HS precision stock that shoots sub MOA and feels like a .308.

    I was watching a guy hose off the area in front of my workplace with a high pressure hose and remember your image of airgun desires like rotten fruit in the cracks of sidewalks that must be blasted off with a high pressure hose. Well, those are pretty strong desires.

    With the Mosin-Nagant, the Russian magic is already showing. The problem with opening the bolt is that the very slim stock will roll in my hand (in part because of all the Ballistol I put on the rifle). But by locking my chin down in a super-cheek weld, I can hold the stock steady, and the bolt opens in a semblance of rapid fire. It will never equal a Lee-Enfield, but it easily will the Mauser-style action of my Savage. And while the trigger breaks as cleanly as a rubber rod, it is possible to sense the point of release and I can keep my dry-firing on target easily enough. Am still a little perturbed at the way the bolt flexes and moves and when I squeeze the trigger. But this and all other features of the rifle are redeemed by its extreme toughness. You can see it in the way the parts are put together and how they clash when you work the action. When I touch that rifle I feel the incredible harshness of the Russian climate and the toughness of the people. I think it’s fair to say that in their tribulations over the 20th century, the Russians have no equal. As one citizen of Leningrad said after the epic siege of WWII, “If you were to make nails out of these people, you would find no harder nails in the world.”

    Mike, I don’t see why the early bolt actions like the Mosin-Nagant were so darn long. Maybe it’s a holdover from 19th century black powder designs and some effort to squeeze the most velocity out of a load. And maybe they were also thinking of the bayonet tactics of mass-infantry. Some pictures of the rifle slung with the bayonet attached look like a spear.

    AlanL, have not seen Enemy At the Gates (just YouTube experts), but ask Duskwight about all the things wrong with that film. :-) Unfortunately, there seems to be some controversy about whether the film’s sniper duel ever took place. However, there is no doubt at all about the heroics of the Russian snipers in WWII and their amazing achievements which is one reason I bought this rifle. I’ve also created another airgun-related shooting sport. Dry-fire military surplus rifles at a target 1 foot away. It’s a good way to accumulate dry-fire training–in some ways more valuable than live ammo. It’s cheap, safe, and totally accurate.

    Matt61


    • Matt61,

      The exploits of Zaitsev are pretty accurate I think. The doubts concern the German, about whom there was less concrete info. I am hoping Duskwight weighs in on this film. But one thing I can tell you: the atrocities committed by the paranoid Soviet commissars and the NKVD against so many of their own are indisputable, and the film conveys that pretty accurately. I’m just in the process of reading Antony Beevor’s ‘Stalingrad’ (considered by many the last word on the subject) and it is hair raising. Anything you can conceive of that can happen in war pales in comparison to what took place during those terrible years on the Eastern Front. The movie is spellbinding, and even if it is a Hollywoodification of history, it merits seeing and deserves credit for helping to ensure that mankind does not forget the incredible sacrifices made by the Russian people in this struggle for survival.

      AlanL


    • Matt,

      In fact that was a quotation about nails. Original text belongs to Vladimir Tikhonov famous Russian poet, and is a part of his “Ballad of Nails” written in 1921 and dedicated to Navy officers. Verses are sometimes mistakenly attrbuted to another famous Russian Futurist poet and painter Vladimir Mayakovsky.

      “Infantry” Mosin is the longest one – 1738 mm with bayonet fixed. And you’re right, it was considered to be also used as a spear in a bayonet figt and defence against cavalry. Russian bayonet fighting school was among the best in Europe. That length also provided a 800 mm barrel, capable of fully utilizing round’s potential and giving it 850+ m/s speed – a byproduct of volley fire concept (see Enfields wit side-mounted quadrant scope for long-range volley fire).
      Then comes “dragoon” (horse-mobile infantry) and “cossack” rifles, they were shorter.
      Soviet 91/30 was a copy of dragoon in length – 1666 mm with bayonet fixed. Sniper Mosins were mostly “dragoon”-sized.
      31/38 carbine was 1020 mm long and bayonet wasn’t obligatory.
      1944 carbine was the same however with “switchblade” bayonet.

      And please, Alan, leave Comissars and NKVD alone :) of course they were no kind men, but nothing compared to those crazy monsters portrayed in Western movies.
      And Antony Beevor… well, his name is unmentionable in polite historical society. Too much tossed facts and telltale stories about eaten livers, Russian beastfolk, below-absolute-zero frost and heroic Wehrmacht soldiers withstanding terrible conditions on Eastern Front. Maybe you should read Albert Axell for example (be careful, he loves Zhukov), or Ronald Smelser’s “The Myth of the Eastern Front: The Nazi-Soviet War in American Popular Culture”, or Joseph Pilyushin and Petr Mikhin’s memoirs.

      duskwight


      • Axell you say? I have a few vacation days left and that sounds like a good book, if you recommend it. But what’s wrong with Zhukov? Wasn’t he the father of the use of field artillery in modern warfare and I believe the only General of any consequence that Stalin didn’t have executed or sent off to a Gulag?

        Fred PRoNJ


        • Fred,

          You must be joking. Despite Stalin’s care about his power and generals’ wish to stay generals (read – complete masters over their own destiny) very few of them were repressed.
          As we discussed before it was rather “you know that I know that you know” policy after the war. Stalin knew too well what to be left without competent military commanders means. In the light of possible confrontation with Western bloc that would be too unwise. So he made an example from one of less-lucky (and less-talented) and “shelved” the others. Zhukov was sent to a honorable “shelf” but he took his after Stalin’s death.

          Zhukov was more a combined arms and deep pincer strike specialist, as well as a good active defence tactician.

          duskwight


      • Duskwight,

        Well, I haven’t finished the book yet. But I can tell you so far Beevor does not hesitate to paint the Nazis as they were. The horrendous atrocities they committed in their sweep eastwards are recounted in detail. His book seems to be researched in great depth– is it really seen as so one-sided in your neck of the woods?

        Anyway, I will leave the in-depth discussion of the nuances of political history to true historians (which I am very far from being) and listen with open ears to your surprising and interesting perspective.

        AlanL


  13. Well,I avoided the classifieds for weeks.I’m not ready to sell in this climate (economical).I’m too low on “discression” to have control of my remaining money.Then I get an Email from an excellent fellow who sold me an ultra rare .21 cal Swedish “Excellent” model C1 circa 1912-1917.He has found a wooden boat he wants,and is going to sell a 1986 BSA Airsporter Stutzen Taploader in .22 to finance things.
    He also included pics,and it’s exceptional for 25yrs old.I have always wanted a Stutzen,and they rarely change hands.I’m on my way to send his money order.Avoiding the classifieds DOESN’T work….LOL
    BTW,I am now collecting straight razors…..and I sharpen them for my use.I can create an edge like the old barbers used to.I can pull a hair,and hold it out……touch it with the razor in mid air and it falls to the floor! What do you think Matt61? If anyone is interested,I will gladly sharpen your straight razor…..just Email me.I’m also making my own strops,on cedar backing.Easy to hold and use….they’re avvailable too.


  14. Here’s a few “I wish I hadn’t…” to add.

    About 12 years ago I really wanted a Marlin 39A, but couldn’t afford one. I ended up “settling” for a Winchester 9422 Trapper model. Now you know what happens when your a fool and you get something that you “settled” for? Yup, you get rid of it… There’s no way I can afford to replace that rifle now.

    Another time I went to a gunshop looking for something new (before wife and babies came along, I could actually do this). Saw a mint Browning Hi Power with adjustable sites- pre cast frame and a mint Colt Python. Both were the same price of around $600. I held the Hi-power and liked it, though the trigger was heavy. Held the Python and it felt great and the trigger was an absolute dream. Deciding that an auto was better than a revolver, dumb-dumb struck again. I’d love to find another mint Colt Python for $600, but that train left the station.


  15. We have the answer to Friday’s Big Shot of the Week photo. Here’s what the winner says:

    “Please give credit to the photographer — my good friend Katie Pauly. She is an aspiring photographer and an outdoor enthusiast. She does her best work on backpacking, hiking and fly fishing trips photographing the beautiful scenery of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and even the Austrian Alps. The rifle is a Marushin airsoft lever-action replica that belongs to her brother. My scoped air rifle didn’t fit the composition (which started with me and my corncob pipe and had the other props randomly thrown in), so we decided to be picky and find a lever-action to use, instead. My friends say the photo describes me perfectly.”

    Edith



    • YES! It was a corn cob pipe! That means I rescind my conditional retraction of my endorsement as the best Big Shot photo yet. It really is a great shot. Interesting to find out the identity of the mystery rifle as well.


  16. When I first started shooting back in the ’70′s, the gun I fell in love with was a Colt Woodsman. Sadly, it was out of my price range and I settled for a High Standard Victor. I think that Woodsman is still out of my price range. This October, I do plan to sell several rifles and one pellet gun to finance my next purchase (whatever that is) but I already decided not to sell my RWS 350 Magnum. It just shoots too nice.

    Fred PRoNJ


  17. My first air rifle was an FWB 300 bought used. You can say I started at the high end and sorta stayed there, but the fact is that I knew what I wanted to do (10m) and what my house (and the county’s laws) would allow, so I did it. I even qualified as NRA Distinguished under the old (and vastly vastly easier rules) with it.

    Then I sold it to get my C62 when I was also flush from selling a bunch of articles.

    And then I missed it, so finally I picked up a used FWB300. After more than 10 years shooting the C62, well I’m not so sure why I missed the old beast. But it is fun to shoot and nice to be independent of everything except pellets.


  18. For my tenth birthday my father gave me a Model 25 (1970). When I was fifteen I saved my money and bought a Blue Streak ($45.00). At the age of sixteen my father gave me a Remington 580 single shot bolt action .22. I still have the 25 and Blue Streak. The 25 no longer works but the Blue Streak is still as accurate as ever. Someone stole my Remington. It was a youth model and was a good shooter. I haven’t owned enough guns over the years to justify selling any of them, I figure the more the merrier. I really miss my Remington, loved that gun. The sentimental value is also an issue. I suppose if I had to or had too many guns (I have around thirty now, includes airguns and firearms) I would sell some. But for now I think I will keep what I have. No regrets (except not keeping my 580 safe). Toby


    • Same for me, I kept all of them, of course not having high value guns (which is my case) the money I would make selling some would just not bring enough money to justify it.
      Maybe I’ll sell the Avanti 747 and Webley Alecto but I’m not sure I could bring myself to it but it’s not really for the money but more because they deserve better than just collecting dust stored away.

      The only thing I regret selling was my first car, for the money I got from it I should have just stored it.

      J-F

      P.S. Thank you Edith for letting us all know exactly what we were looking at in the winning picture Friday and thanks to the winner for sharing that info!


  19. Would installing a regulator on the Marauder be a significant benefit for field target ?
    Of the ones that are reliable, which one(s) produce the most consistent velocities ?

    Thanks,
    John


    • JohnG10,

      I’d shoot the Marauder at least a thousand shots before deciding to install a reg. Regs are finicky and Marauder actions aren’t. And the Marauder action is balanced to keep the pellet velocity spread about as low as a reg can get it. The only real advantage is more shots, and that is not much of an advantage.

      B.B.


  20. I have to say that I’m with Kevin. Some guns are hard to let go, but if it’s unusually accurate,
    it’s not going anywhere! I know I go by The Big Bore Addict, but if you can’t hit the target,
    what good is the gun.
    (Collectors sakes & value aside of course, along with some just for their sheer novelty.)

    TheBBA


  21. I regret not finding a way to hang onto every gun that’s ever been in my hands and that includes the rubberband pistol my older bro made for me and the cap-gun “Luger” I painted Prussian blue with model railroad paint. My Crosman 760. All of ‘em. Every one. The Awesome 540-T. A Sig. All kinds’a target stuff, all of it good.

    Oh well there’s still plenty of time to acquire more!


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