Rifle Build Update

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted on the rifle build progress. It’s slower going that I had anticipated, but life has a way of doing that. Basically, at this point, a lot of the metal work is done and we’ve glass bedded the stock. Next up is the fun part, at least it sounds fun to me. This week we’ll start shaping the stock into its final shape. There’s quite a bit of shaping we’re planning on doing and it should look great when we’re done. Below is a photo of the stock after the bedding process. The white material is some plastic clay used for keeping the bedding material out of places we didn’t want it.

bedded stock

My Marlinitus Is Acting Up Again

I’ve been a lifelong Marlin fan since I was a boy due to my father’s Marlin Golden 39A. If I had the resources, I’d have one in every caliber available. However, I don’t have the resources, much to the pleasure of my wife.

Today, I came one step closer. I managed to snag a deal on a 39A this morning to add to the other Marlins I do have. It’s a sweet little gun and everyone needs a 22 lever action right?

I picked it up from a sale that Gander was having. Evidently the guns at this sale were from a store that was flooded back east. Not sure why  our store had this sale, none the less, I fought off the 600 and some odd other buyers and managed to snag this one.

Gander said they inspected and cleaned all the firearms before the sale. Not being that much of the trusting type, I broke her down and did my own cleaning and inspection. I didn’t find any issues, but it did appear that the rifle had been shot. I probably need to pull the furniture off and see how that looks underneath.

I hope to get it to the range soon and see how it shoots. While this is a good looking rifle, I can see some differences from my dad’s 39A For one, the fit and finish is a bit looser than my dad’s. And his has some detail that this one doesn’t. Mine doesn’t have half-c0ck either. His doesn’t have the cross-bar safety like mine. I also thought it weird that Marlin would put a rubber stock end on it. I mean, its only a .22, not much worry about recoil.

But, don’t get me wrong, I’m not disappointed. It will look great next to my 30-30!

Keep your powder dry.

Rifle Build, The Beginning

Since getting into black powder a few years back, I’ve often looked with envy on many of the custom built rifles and muskets of the other shooters and the club. “Some day,” I’d say, “When I have the money.”

The rifle partsI also thought it would be cool to actually build my own, but that seemed even more remote than buying a custom rifle. Well, eventually I was able to acquire a Lyman Plains Rifle that hadn’t really been started and I got it for a REALLY good price.

Yeah, I’m crazy. But it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a few years. Luckily, I know a master gun builder. He’s built dozens of rifles, muskets and pistols over nearly 50 years. It’s also who I bought the kit from. Keith’s father has built some beautiful long guns over the years, so how could I refuse his offer of assistance on the build?

The beginnings of the build have been him showing me the various parts, the things we should change from the kit as well as the things we have to fix from the kit. We discussed some styles and finishes and came up with a plan. I think it’s going to be a great Hawken styled rifle when we (erm, Wes) get done with with it. I’m not sure exactly how long it will take, my goal is to have it completed and sighted in before September’s muzzleloading deer season. I’m going to chronicle the build here, if anything to keep a record of the progress but also to showcase Wes’ talent.

So to start, I thank Wes for taking me along on this journey and for sharing a bit of his knowledge with me.

Keep your powder dry.

Benelli Shotgun Cancer Relief Raffle

Update: Just wanted to let everyone know that we raised $8,100 for Keith and his family. Way to go everyone and I hope the winner enjoys his new Benelli. I know that I’m totally jealous, that was one beautiful shotgun.

As you know from my last post, Keith has been battling cancer since the beginning of this year. As is the case with any family going through this, it’s very hard on the family budget. A raffle has been started to help the family out with their finances. The prize is a Benelli Franchi Renaissance Field 12 Gauge shotgun. Tickets are 1 for $10 or 6 for $50. The drawing will be October 9th, 2011. There will be a table set up at the Chisholm Trail Gun Show the weekend of October 8-9, 2001, with the drawing taking place @ 4 PM October 9th.

Please stop by the booth and pick up your tickets. Here is more information on the raffle: gun_fundraiser_flier


Choosing The Zombie Gun

I’ll have to admit, I’m not really that much into the tactical gun scene. I prefer wood and metal and revolvers. I’ve never really been attracted to AR’s with all the gadgets and doodads stuck all over the things. Give me iron sights and some nice looking wood. Now I do have a Glock and it is fun to shoot, but I’m still drawn to my Smith & Wesson model 10 revolver.

Which brings me to the topic of the day – my recent purchase that has been dubbed “the zombie gun” (I’ll explain later).

I first heard of these pistol round carbines while perusing one of the firearms forums that I frequent. Reading through the various threads and hearing the guys talk about how much fun they were, I was intrigued. Especially when I found out how inexpensive they were. Plus, some guy even took a wild hog with one! How cool is that?
So here it is, my Hi-Point 4095 carbine in 40 S&W. And yes, I’ve put some gadgets and doodads on it. The thing is so economical that you actually have money left over to put gadgets on it, so why not?

I haven’t had a chance to finish siting in the red dot yet, but my first impression of the rifle is great. It shoots great and feels great. The trigger is very nice, much nicer than I expected it to be. It pulls up well into the shoulder. Hi-Point has blown me away with this gun. I can see why everyone loves the heck out of it.

OK, so let me get into why I call it the Zombie Gun. I love me a good zombie movie (and not all of them are) and one day I ran across some articles where gun owners were discussing which gun would be the best gun to have when the zombies show up. Alright, cool. But Keith and I talked one day and decided we’d write a zombie gun article some day also. But our spin would not be which gun we wish we had, but what would we grab from what we own to take on the hordes of the undead.

So here’s my article and why this would be my zombie gun (and hence why it has that nickname now).

So I thought of the firearms I have and which would be better. Of course, the plains rifle is out. A muzzle loader is just going to get your brains feasted on. So its out by default. The shotgun would be good for close range, but not much help long distance wise. Plus carrying enough ammo would be heavy. The pistols, as well, only good for close range. One of them would be the backup.

So that left the Marlins. I’d probably pass the scoped one by as it would just be too cumbersome. No help in close range and too easy to knock out of alignment. You know, you’re running and moving a lot, staying ahead of the undead.

So that leaves a Marlin 336 in 30-30 with iron sights and the new carbine.

Both are light and maneuverable. Both would be good at distances of around 100 yards, although the Marlin would have an edge here as it could poke out further than that. And both would be handy up close.

The Hi-Point has an edge in ammo count though. 10 in the mag and 1 in the chamber for the Hi-Point. 6 +1 for the Marlin. With the Hi-Point I can reload with a new magazine. The Marlin I’d have to load individually. So you have to take into account which one would be easier to reload on the move. The hi-Point would have the edge here – that is as long as you have enough mags. So it might end up being a wash in the end. Ammo for both guns should be readily available and easy to find as both are popular calibers.

But there’s one place where the Hi-Point wins. It shares the same ammo as my Glock. So I only have to carry one caliber. What would totally seal the deal is if the carbine and the Glock shared the same magazine, but that isn’t the case.

I suppose one could say I’d have less chance of jams with the Marlin and the S&W revolver. And that is true, less of a chance for jams. But from what I’m reading, the Hi-Point seems to be a workhorse and can take a lot of abuse. The one unknown is how long any of the guns would shoot when getting really dirty. And most likely, the guns are going to take some serious abuse between cleanings. Think about, lots of running, lots of moving around and staying mobile. There might not be much time to clean the guns.

I really wanted the Marlin and the S&W revolver to win. I really did. It would be to cool taking out the Zombies with a lever action rifle, wearing a big hat and taking names (do zombies have names at that point?). But in the end, I have to go with the carbine and the Glock as a back up. It would just be easier sharing the same ammo in the long run.

So there you go. If the hordes of zombies ever show, I’m ready. I’m curious to see what Keith comes up with on his end.

Keep your powder dry.

Some Call Them Wall Hangers

I believe that the most challenging and certainly most underrated hunting must be the lowly unappreciated dove.

Really, when was the last time you heard someone say “man I can’t wait for dove season”! But for pure fun, excitement and number of missed… er; I mean shooting opportunities, what compares to dove hunting?

The Dove CrewDove, commonly believed to be stupid are drastically underrated in intelligence. Dove purposely distract us by sending decoys to fly far out of range, meanwhile other dove suddenly appear directly over our heads. Dove also have the ability to control our minds.  When the above mentioned dove magically appear one always starts yelling “there’s some, Shoot em’!” completely forgetting he has a shotgun in his own hands.

Over Labor Day Weekend Bill, his daughter Mariah and our friends Sam and Vicki James joined my son Cullen and I for a dove hunt at a nearby neighbors place.

The action was fast, the shooting was constant and the birds were dropping… at least some did (To discuss the ratio of shots fired to birds recovered would miss the point of the article).

Can a father really describe seeing his seven year old son take his first bird? Cullen took a dove with the same twenty gauge H&R Topper I used to harvest my first bird (quail) when I was ten. Having your friends there to witness the event only made the memory more priceless.

Bill was sure proud of his seventeen year old daughter Mariah. Mariah was the Top scorer for the night with a total of eight birds. I followed closely with seven but my cataracts have been acting up and don’t get me started on my medulla oblongata.

Sam also got some but mostly Sam and I just keep laughing at jokes other people don’t get. We must have an overly sophisticated sense of humor.

Mariah is an interesting girl; she shares my passion for double guns. At a gun show a couple of years ago Mariah decided she had to have a double barreled shotgun. Mariah had $175.00 to spend. Now bear in mind that was $175.00 a fifteen year old girl earned working at the mall. Mariah didn’t want shoes, a new outfit or more texting minutes, Mariah just had to have a Twelve Gauge, Double-Barreled, Shotgun. Yea I know what you’re thinking, I didn’t know any girls like that when I was young either, if I did I wouldn’t be married to my old ball and…

Oh, uh… where was I? Yea… the gun show, so Mariah finds a Stoeger Double in good shape and the guy only wants $225.00 for it. Well I am kind of the deal guy so Mariah asks if I would try to talk the guy down. I wisely told Bill to send Mariah over to work the deal, sure enough one look into the pleading eyes of Mariah and that crusty old trader caved like a Kentucky coal mine. He didn’t even try to counter her offer!

A few weeks later Bill and I watched Mariah go 2 for 3 on quail on her first hunt with the Stoeger.

You know I’ve always been suspicious of those hunting shows that show attractive young women hunting on trips I’ll never be able to afford. In the back of my mind I see a Hollywood agent taking a group of aspiring models to the range, picking out the best shot and saying “how do you look in camo”? Well, Mariah could hold her own anywhere from the runway to sporting clays and probably drop a charging rhino while she’s at it. (If any Hollywood agents are reading, I get a standard 15% finders fee on Mariah’s first three season contract).

Bill Hunts with a beautiful browning pump action. Which begs the question, how can Bill look himself in the mirror knowing that his teenage daughter hunts with a manlier gun than he does and out-shoots him in the process?

The Wall HangersBut I digress; I’m dove hunting with a couple of my treasures. A twenty-gauge double, American Gun Co. Knickerbocker circa 1920, and a Belgian, Damascus Barreled Hammer Gun certainly pre 1900 (black powder only). Some call em’ wall hangers but I love these guns! I knocked down three dove with the Knickerbocker (coolest name in weaponry). I switched to the hammer gun and got four. The only real draw back (other than cleaning) with black powder is that you need someone to spot your bird. I mean BOOM, powder smoke and shreds of paper all over…cough, cough… and then… the bird is not there. “Did I get it”? “Yea he fell over by that fence post” or (more likely) “no you missed, he’s gone.” “Oh.”

I admit I get a kick out of shooting black powder shotguns and these old hardware store guns can be found cheap. Sure shells are expensive ($17.00) but I can shoot a LOT of shells from my old Belgian gun before I make up the difference between the cost of a Holland & Holland or a Westley-Pritchards.

The next day we feasted on squab! Here’s my recipe if you’re interested.

You will need bacon, pickled jalapeno peppers and toothpicks.

De-bone dove breast and cut into two pieces.

Cut bacon strips in half.

Cook bacon until about half done and remove.

Cook dove breasts in bacon grease until half done and remove.

Place jalapeno slice on dove breast and wrap with bacon. Pin the bacon in place with toothpicks.

Place on charcoal grill and cook until done.

They are great appetizers and I guarantee you will not have any left over.

There is a down side to hunting dove. I took Cullen out to scout for deer, but now dove hunting is the greatest shooting sport in the world. Cullen has spent the past several evenings looking  for dove coming in. Consequently the deer scout goes something like this:

“Dad, there’s some doves.” Yea I see em.’ “Dad, There’s some doves.” Yea, I see em,’ now keep your voice down.” “Dad, there’s some doves.” I see em,’ we’re scouting for deer so you need to be quiet. Okay?” “Okay”… Dad there’s some doves”…

In spite of Cullen’s incessant chatter, squirming and deep sighs of theatrical boredom I was actually able to spot the buck I’m going to kill (or more likely the buck that will frustrate and elude me this year).

Oh, and further proof of the superior intelligence of Dove? Several landed on the barbed wire fence just feet from where we were scouting. They just stared at us. Dove can actually tell when you are not carrying a shotgun!