Apr 25, 2013

Hold me bitter and watch this, Cyril

I had a $20 rifle. I spent about ten hours and $50 to turn it into a $65 rifle.  If nothing else it proved that a Brit relic from the Days of Empire could be made less ugly. Grind off protuberances. Polish. Blue. Finish up a semi-inletted stock set  from Herter's final going--out-of-business sale.

The SMLE actually looked nice and sporty, and I fear I was guilty of the sin of pride.

Then comes my friend K over dinner one Friday night and says something like, "Yeah. Looks okay. Too bad it's such a weak action."  (He had been reading one expert gun writer. I had been reading another.)

"Weak action?! I'll show you, you SOB."

Yours Truly to the loading bench in a paleo-Mythbusters mood.

After concocting one round of this load I dug out a spare SMLE and a hank  of cordage. I carried the whole works to the K acreage for the annual sweet corn fest, a great party; folks came from miles around. Some shooting was always a featured attraction before we tapped the kegs.

With much advice (and damned little actual assistance), I lashed the rifle to a tractor tire lying in the shootin' pasture and hitched the pull cord to the trigger. After all, the cartridge about to be chambered was getting awful close to IED territory.

Final bets were placed as the crowd ambled toward whatever shelter was available.   I don't know the details of every wager, but the gist of all was whether  "He'll blow the sh*t out of it."   We didn't burden ourselves with precise definitions of terms. My position was, roughly, that the improbable bomblet would probably stretch the action and create visible but minor damage without "blowing up."


The extractor left for parts unknown. A big hammer was needed to open the bolt and a dowel to pound out the brass. That's not a blowup. I claimed victory. My adversaries said "Well, yeah, but...," and I don't recall ever collecting my winnings.

Then we drank a beer or two and argued about something else.

1 comment:

Pakkinpoppa said...

I got a heck of a deal.
Paid 60 dollars for 93 rounds of .303 British ammunition (one box commercial Remington, 3 full and one part box of Sellier and Bellot), and got a free, No. 4 Mark 1 that someone had "sporterized" at some point.

The poor thing had been set in a basement corner and the metal was pretty much all external rust. About an hour of fine steel wool cleaned it up, the internals looked fine, but the stock is a touch wobbly. It did go "bang" when I tested it out...and I have since come upon 4 more boxes of Prvi Partisan from our friends in Serbia. I may obtain for it a stock...not sure if its wobble is a likely "Major Issue" or not.