Showing posts with label Swag. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Swag. Show all posts

Mar 12, 2012

Wells Loophole AAR

My local gang of loopholers totalled six, spread out over three generations.  The youngest came home with a tactical pocket knife and a nicely carved sling shot, featuring a bear's head fashioned from a nub where the forks joined.  The poor kid had to listen to the grandpas tease him about taking them to school for show and tell like we used to do.

Perhaps a stainless steel object which could have been -- but wasn't -- fitted with a shoulder thingy that goes up might have found its way into a certain vehicle.  (My, don't we get weasel wordy in these days when we suspect the gendarmery trolls the internet,  tirelessly alert for words suggesting badthink among the proles.)

Anyway, us older proles settled for non-bangables. In the trove is an early-1940s book co-written by Melvin Johnson (yep, that Johnson). It's a detailed guide to ammunition of the world as it existed before John F. Kennedy was (allegedly) suspected of balling a German spy and sent off to wreck PT boats in the Solomons. The book went to a comrade, and I am jealous...

...Jealous but content, satisfied with seeing old acquaintances, having a few laughs, and scoring exactly $10 worth parts which solved a cursing, hair-pulling problem.  I recently wrote a bit  here about scoping that Mossberg/Varberger .30-06. I'd have sworn I had the correct parts on hand, so I screwed them on. Lovely except for the bolt making minute contact with the scope. Teeth gnashed, and I was frustrated enough to consider dragging out the angle grinder and butchering the offending 1/16th inch from the bolt handle. Or, Hell, maybe the scope. I had a tot of Tullamore  Dew instead.

That rare, correct judgement was rewarded in Wells. A dealer's junk box yielded a ring and base set which looked right, and was. That helped pass an internet-free day yesterday, and I happily report the Mossy is now reliably scoped and  bore-sighted. Just in time for spring gopher season. Always use enough gun.

Feb 3, 2012

Holy Loophole, Batman...

This one is close enough and typically good enough to move me to become an actual vendor. It helped that a bait shop which once tried to get big in the gun business turned over its entire remaining inventory to me. The deal offered was too good to pass up: "I just want to get rid of the (sterling merchandise). I'll split whatever you can get." (I won't actually take that much; the guy's a buddy.)

There will be bargains. My impulse is to announce the price as one-half of the lowest marked sale price, and those numbers were pasted on while we were still anticipating TEOTWAWKI  due to Y2K.

No guns occupy these particular swag boxes, but a half-dozen so-so quality scopes, a couple dozen Burris mounting kits,  many pounds of sling hardware, and miscellaneous RCBS loading accessories. Why, there's even a cassette of crow-call recordings. And some cute orange caps with built-in LEDs.

To this I add my own three bushels of miscellaneous ("I'm tired of looking at  it,") crap, and my 16 feet of hired table space will be jammed, barely leaving room for the three or four bait guns priced at something over 200 per cent of value. If I may say so myself, I'm pretty good at inventing stories about why my Stevens .410 single is priceless. 

("Waaahhll, y'see I got this here four-ten from a guy down Looziana way whose grandpa was wunna the deputies when they shot up Bonnie and Clyde. Now I can't actually prove this little rust spot is from Bonnie's own blood, but the fella told me...".)

No one believes it, of course, but some of them enjoy it enough to loosen up and take some of the other junk off my hands.

But then, knowing myself, I'll probably take the money around the hall and come back to my own table with a bag of other interesting but near-useless stuff, that is, stuff I am not tired of looking at. Yet.

I'm glad His Ineptness has not yet issued an executive order banning pointless hobbies.

And maybe I'll even find something shootable to loophole. I still want need something American to shoot up the big stash of .38 Special, and I don't give a diddly about which way the cylinder turns.

Sep 4, 2011

The village flea market

This is the last big weekend for fleecing tourists and the traditional time for a big flea market not far away..

I conferred with one of the flea dealers. We had a frank and cordial exchange of views about his table full of reloading stuff.

I have more gear than I need, but a fellow can always use components, can't he? Like about 750  Hornady and Sierra bullets,  .223-.257-308  in a variety of weights and shapes. I fear I would have overpaid at $45 except for getting the 600 primers as langiappe.

Why, yes, now that you ask. That probably is a smug expression on my face.

Aug 28, 2011

Loophole sidebar

Otherwise  it was a fine show, hundreds of interesting old pieces, and it's hard to say enough about how well the Dakota Territory Gun Collectors Association operates these things.

The personal take was paltry. I scored a few badly needed Case Guard boxes at less than a buck each.  I also couldn't resist $10 for a NIB Jap scope, 4x32, sold decades ago by Montgomery Wards (EDIT: and/or Western Auto?)  as a   "Revelation."  A guy can always use disposable optics. Come to think of it, I recall that some of these early Japanese scopes were rugged, not unlike Nikon rangefinder cameras.

Mar 29, 2011

Reloading, anyone?

Care to see what a half-million pounds of reloadable brass looks like?  And that is Pounds with a "p" -- not rounds.

I don't know how cartridge cases bulk out at that scale, but by weight  the government is peddling something like 500 pickup loads of the stuff.  I would need a larger tumbler.

And we must add a tribute to to the firearms enthusiasts who stymied another one of the Great Ideas from the mind of His Obamaness. The auction notice clearly states: "Mutilation is not required."

Mar 14, 2011

Welles AAR

Not much, folks.

It may come to pass that I'll consider it a mistake to have left the 1970s Winchester M70 (in the magnificent .30-06) on the table, its $400 price tag intact. The condition was okay, not counting a stock ding here and there, but (a) I didn't value the Bushnell 3x9 as highly as the seller did, and he wouldn't split the package and (b) I spent the entire day in one of those overly frugal moods which are harmful to the spirit of modern loopholing.

Only a handful of cheap Ireland-made pocket knives and three and one-half bricks of .22s  came home.

As to general pricing, the only things that caught my eye were the EBRs.They seem to be getting noticeably cheaper.

Feb 26, 2011

With me loophole on me shoulder

No one else in the  Smugleye Irregulars lusts to hit the Fort Dodge loophole  today, so I'm passing too. That's manageable if I can steel myself into cramming a full quota of weekend loafing into a single Saturday. That would leave me free to attend an auction-style loophole tomorrow .

The offerings are uninspiring and include a real-live Rohm RG10. I have done many reprehensible things, but owning one of those once upon a poverty-stricken time is among the most shameful.

Otherwise the handguns include a stainless Taurus revolver in .22 magnum on which my top bid would be in the $75 range, and that only on grounds that I might quickly find a Greater Fool.  I have never understood the caliber except as a marketing con -- a few hundred extra  FPS over the .22 LR at about three times the cost, and unreloadable.

A Hungarian called  PA63 -- which certainly lacks the pizzazz of a name like  Zsa Zsa --  is offered in .380 ACP. The internet peddlers suggest I could pay about $160 if it's nice, but I won't.  Don't like that caliber either.

Otherwise it is a barnyard pile of hardware-store shotguns, pump and singles. I pick those up if they're cheap and have been known to chop the barrels to 18 1/2 inches, remove the patina with a wire wheel, and paint them flat black. (Krylon. Always insist on quality!) Extra loopholes on me shoulders against a putative risin' o' the moon.

But I'm really going to try for the WW2 stuff -- GI dog tags and "German medical kit." We'll see.

Feb 6, 2011

Loopholing at it's finest

Sometimes it's as important to know your dealers as to know guns. The two shooters here came from the FFL'ed  friend who has what is,  these days,  an unusual business plan. He comes to the loophole shows bent on actually selling guns rather than tagging them with stupidly stratospheric prices and waiting and waiting and waiting for a well-heeled fool. He prospers because he knows how to buy guns. And because he's a knowledgeable and likable man.

Decades ago Bubba got his hands on the Krag but showed a certain restraint. Perhaps it was respect for the pure Norhoovian heritage and the 6.5 x 55 chambering. Restoring this one to military is pretty much out of the question, dammit, but  a man can live happily with her as is. The sharp rifling and excellent  round might lead to braggable groups. We'll see.

The .22/.45 is what it is, but I've been wanting one for a while, strictly for the design, and at $250 couldn't pass this one. The quality is pure latter-day Ruger, meaning a half-day in the shop with slip stones and crocus cloth to erase the burrs and the floor sweepings in the innards.  The new reality is that you buy a NIB Ruger, work the action, dry fire it a couple of times, sigh, and remark, "I can probably save it."

Elsewhere, three sturdy but unmarked Mini-14 30-rounders (Oh the horror.)  for $35. A Browning Hi-Power mag for $5. A  funky old $5 holster that will hold the Black Hawk, just in case some day I want to dress up like a real cowboy instead of Gene Autry.

Jan 18, 2011

Cowboy fantasies

It's the summer gun, a Browning for the plains days when a tee shirt, scabby jeans,  and tennies are your basic tactical outfit.

The  July sun glints from the can some slob dropped. Your pleasure is in making the glint jump, 15 times without reloading if you're perfect with your long rifles, 22 times with shorts, a fire power haiku .

The BL22 comes from Japan, precisely made to occidental specifications and as smooth a lever gun can be. It hangs on the living room wall, in deep winter a constant reminder that the world will awaken again.

The real cowboys would have loved its action, quiet for the breed and speedier than anything they knew with its 33-degree lever throw. 

In my 1960s hippie-dippie garb I would never be mistaken for a cowboy. That is a problem only for others.  The Browning in hand, I am Rory Calhoun, and the womenfolk back in camp tend the dutch oven in perfect safety.

Jan 7, 2011

Vintage and exotic gun porn in .32 ACP

Or, as the auctioneer announced it, 7 and, uhhh,  point 65 caliber, causing just enough confusion  in the country crowd that the gavel fell at $60, tickling the buyer to no end. At least it looks something like the Browning that inspired it.

It's a Model 1916 Astra patent, made by Esperanza y Unceta in Guernica, up in the Basque country, probably prior to the first great depression, the one  before this one. Nine in the magazine.  The barrel is marked "Hope," creating a certain insecurity about the confidence of the makers in its objective utility.

The apprehension was unfounded. The new owner might even have gone up to $100 on pure speculation that it was one of the good Spanish pocket pistols, and he would have won the bet.  Frittering away a remarkable sum of money running factory ammunition through the new toy, he experienced no malfunctions  and minute-of-thug  accuracy over the length of an average living room.  Or, as he remembers the session that cold afternoon,  groups of about four inches at about 25 feet from an F150 hood rest.

It hasn't been shot since, not so much because he agrees the .32  is a little light for heavy situations, but because of the reloading hassle. It tosses brass to Hell and gone, making the tinies hard to find. And he can never get used to placing the bullets over the neck with a pair of tweezers.

But it's nice enough to keep, and he'll probably pop for more practice ammo. Who knows when he'll need something small enough to slip under his cummerbund?

Dec 4, 2010

Show Time

Another weekend, another show

   Another Loophole, where we will go...

(With apologies to Cole Porter, PBUH, too.)


This is one of the small country shows, at the Jackson National Guard Armory.  We expect a high proportion of hobbyists behind the tables, trying to unload their old surplus  stuff. That interests us more than acres of dealers loaded down with black guns or, at best,  the latest factory output of ho-hum quality attached to birch stocks.

My inner thug is telling me I really ought to own another handgun or two.  For one thing, my shelves are fat with .38 Special and .357 Magnum rounds, and the only shooter I own for them is a Taurus snubby. I hear Pythons are pretty nice.


My loopholing  habits have changed.  When the world was a better place, I'd always toss in a few pieces I was tired of for trading stock. No more. I and most of my comrades have adopted the never-sell-a-gun philosophy. We keep them all  on grounds that the Messers Bernanke and Geithner can't press a computer key and create 60 billion Colts and Winchesters out of thin air.

Aug 8, 2010

Uff duh, such an auction.

If my head weren't so sweaty I'd have someone take a picture of me in my brand new Stetson, the  "Duke" model, and I'll be damned if it ain't, Pilgrim.

If I weren't so tired I'd go out in the shop and saw some more wood on my  big old cast-iron, 14-inch Delta band saw, which definitely isn't brand new, except to me. Which is good because it is a Delta. Let me explain:

There are two kinds of Delta tools. There are those, like this one,  from a generation-plus ago when the company still competed with a few other American tool makers to see who  could build the sturdiest, most trouble-free, most easily repaired, most elegant and straight-forward machines in the world.  The other kind come from the same firm which, in  about the 1980s,  discovered that "Delta" was  also an oriental slang term meaning  "built with celerity out of toad shit and tinfoil" -- and decided to bow to the Wisdom of the Mysterious East.

(The saw needs a cleaning after a few years in a barn, but with the barn swallow spoor brushed off and plugged in for a test, she ran quiet and straight and true. Errr, $55 with a couple spare blades,  if you must know.)  T'   hee.

Or if I weren't so tired I would go unload and stow the 200 pounds or so of lead and (no-kidding) Linotype metal.  Runs about ten cents pound out here in Bucolia.

Winchester and Federal primers were about a buck a deck, and Winchester Silvertip bullets in .308 and 125 grains were similarly given away. Not to mention the  Lyman mold handles I mentioned needing in a bleg a while back.

I feel so blessed. :)

Jul 23, 2010

Gun dream

Bet the farm that every serious gun enthusiast  has a fantasy of walking into a thrift store or garage sale and finding a  box of shooting goodies marked $5. Couple of 1911s, most of an artillery Luger,  a Pederson device.  The best that has happened to me in the past few years is a pretty good WW2 issue shoulder holster for the S&W Victory (Model 10) from a DAV shop over on the Mississippi River. Three bucks including  a second non-descript holster.

So imagine the joy if the  Goodwill employees had just put this stuff out, tagged at  10 cents on the buck. Instead, the spoilsports called the law.

Alphecca suggests that "safe disposal" meant the cops stashed them  away in their personal closets. Probably.


I'm adding Jeff to the blog roll. Who can resist a Vermont libertarian gun writer?

Jul 12, 2010

Colt Gun Pron

Breda doesn't even know I owe her a favor. She needed a few rounds of semi-oddball ammunition. I pawed through one of my junk boxes to see if I could help (couldn't, really)  and stumbled across a set of as-new walnut  "target" grips for the recently acquired Colt Huntsman.  They're the kind of quality guys like Gil Hebard used to sell.

I didn't know I had them, and if I had not been mining  .38 SW rounds it might have been months or years before I tripped over the grips.

They look and feel right, so I'll leave them on for shooting. The  plastic originals get cached  against the unlikely chance I'll want to sell or swap her to a Colt collector. Those guys are daffy for ponies.


Mar 13, 2010

Sioux Falls AAR

Those nice shiny old Colt and SW and revolvers with big holes in the barrel cost a lot of money. Scuza, I mean a LOT of money. Even with some aggressive ad-clicken by my reader friends, I don't think I'll be popping four figures for a New Service any time soon.

This is an outstanding show, meant to showcase (90 per cent or better) pre-64 guns and related items. If you like American frontier weaponry you can drool over hundreds of 19th century Colt Peacemakers and Winchester lever guns, along with a respectable showing of Civil War material. One nice old guy let me handle his Burnside, even to dropping a dummy round into the block and cycling the action a couple of times.

World War Two was well represented and got most of my attention. Adequate and honest Garands are still just under $1,000. M1 carbines run from about $750 up to a beautiful Winchester at $2,950.

The $1100-and-up prices of 1911s have brought many out of the drawers, but I didn't personally spot one I considered "nice," even at $2,000-plus. Webbing has gone beyond ridiculous. Some guys were asking $50 for ratty pistol belts. I wanted a couple more GI .45 magazine pouches but not at $15 each. At that price I'd demand they come complete with a pair of half-dipped mags.

After all the gaping I loopholed only a 1911 mainspring plunger. This time the pleasure was in the looking and the learning.

The following bonus opinion is offered without additional charge: The best place in southwest Minnesota to buy grease and beer after a gun show is the Rumor Mill bar in Adrian, just off I-90. We do recommend you count your change, however.

Let us praise the gun show loophole

The weekend brings an embarrassment of riches. Two large loopholes beckon, one in Sioux Falls, the other in tiny Wells, Minnesota. My usual suspects couldn't agree on a destination, and I've decided to trail along with the westering outfit to the Dakota Territory Gun Collectors Association loophole.

But I confess I'll miss being at Wells. We traditionally loop there amidst several hundred tables in the Wells public school building. The local sportsman's club runs it, and profits are generously shared with the school. Every few years someone up in the Twin Cities SSR discovers, gasp, a loophole right there where Johnnie and Suzie matriculate, and teevee is pleased to amplify their outraged shrieks. The Wells folks -- school board, city council, churches and all -- just grin them down and keep on loopholin'.

The last stink got a lot of coverage, and the club decided to toss the banners a bone for their damp diapers. It changed the name from the "Gun Show" to "Sportsman's Show." I hear they passed the resolution unanimously, laughing uproariously.

I'm not looking for any specific loophole item, but I have not been able to go very many days lately without thinking about how nice it would be to have a nice shiny vintage Colt or SW DA with a big hole in the barrel.

Feb 20, 2010

Recent acquisition (2)

I once mentioned that my bookseller of choice is Goody O'Will, and yesterday he treated me particularly well. All hardbacks are always 75 cents, and there was no exception for this one which has been opened exactly three times, I believe. Once when Bob inscribed it. Once when I glanced at the flyleaf in Goody's. Once when I shot it.

(It goes with Bob 's cloth escape map of Japan and nearby Russia found at his estate sale, along with three or four original aerial bombing photos of Tokyo and Sasebo -- unpriced because the estate sale professionals didn't know what they were. A $10 offer was accepted.)

I know you may consider it extravagant to blow six bits during the current national financial crisis. But remember, the alternative is a CD paying a Clinton/Bush/Obama mandated .01 per cent interest.

Jan 31, 2010


The Armstrong show was a shoulder-shrugger. Plenty of interesting stuff was available, but nothing made my wallet quiver. A pard' picked up a high-quality but un-marked adjustable pistol sight, probably meant for a 1911. It was a steal at $10, even though he has no immediate application for it. That sawbuck represented our entire expenditure, outside of the admission fees and an admirably greasy tavern lunch.

Some day I will probably regret not buying the very pretty 4" Python for

Jan 30, 2010

Bangsticks on the prairie

Another small show today, east of here in a burg called Armstrong. It's the evolution of an Estherville show which somehow lost its venue at the Emmet County fairgrounds. I always managed to spend money at the old show, mostly on gun parts and accouterments. We'll see how this one goes.

Jan 24, 2010

The gunny book business

I went shopping at and searched "books." The engine returned a three-page list of 109 separate books or lots of books. The total number of bids is zero. I find that disheartening. As a hobby group are we really that anti-literate?

But one entry tickled me, a partial (13 out of 16) set of one of the several "complete" (sic) editions of Theodore Roosevelt's writings. One of the volumes was author-signed. Opening bid was $99,999.99, modified by a not astounding offer to accept land or a nice motor home in full or partial trade. Maybe even high quality doubles.

It was probably mean of me to poke around in a bibliographic database and discover another seller opinion that the complete set was worth $600. No volume was signed, but I tend to doubt the old Rough Rider's signature is valued at a hair over $99,000.