Thursday, January 22, 2009

Across Generations

My Aunt (Grandmother's sister) had a pump action 22 that sat ready behind the kitchen door of their old farm house. The old Winchester's primary duty was pest control in her garden. There is also no doubt that a most of, if not all of the wild and domestic meat that we ate there was produced using that rifle.

For decades her children, dozens of grandchildren, multitudes of great grandchildren plus a bunch of neighborhood kids, nephews and nieces put the rifle to use... No telling how many rounds we all put through it. There was always plenty of enthusiastic volunteers to use it and shooting was always the highlight of my visits. It was the first firearm many of us fired. Nearly everyone has a story or two about some amazing feat they managed with it. Many happy memories using the rifle connect us across several generations.

It was a symbol too. Getting permision to roam the farm with the rifle meant you had demonstrated a level of maturity and could be trusted to act responsibly - an affirmation of being one of the "big kids."

Now almost a half century later I am reminded of that rifle when I walk my own property with my 22. Though mine is a levergun and Marlin, my hair is now gray and the eyes are challenged by the front sight the grin on my face feels the same. The same sense of empowerment, freedom, responsibility and of course the fun, all come flooding back.

She died in the late 1980's, the rifle remains behind the door of what is now her son's home to what has become a family tradition. More generations have added fingerprints and dents to the stock and I hope many more will too.

"Men trained in arms from their infancy, and animated by the love of liberty, will afford neither a cheap or easy conquest." -- From the Declaration of the Continental Congress, July 1775.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Mountie vs. Bolt 22lr

I am blessed to own a few excellent bolt action rimfire rifles. One of which is a CZ 452 American w/ a Leupold 3-9x32 AO scope (EXCELLENT - GREAT VALUE). Very accurate = enlarged hole at 50 yards with quality ammo. GREAT trigger, adult ergonomics, fantastic value... It is capable of breaking a clay into parts so small at 100 yards it is difficult to find the pieces. I love this rifle and will probably never willingly give it up. Good ammo = amazing performance.

Compare now with the Mountie. The CZ is more accurate. The CZ has a (MUCH) better trigger.

BOTH have the feel of adult sized and quality firearms.

Where the Marlin surpasses the CZ is in the field. It is easier to carry. It can be packed inside a backpack (taken down) and the accuracy is more than sufficiant to ethically and cleanly harvest game that can be harvested with 22lr. The Mountie also has the capability of being fired faster and has a greater capacity in the magazine. The Mountie has good iron sights and can easily be fitted with a scope or upgraded iron sights (Skinner).

Both are classic and proven designs but the Mountie is genuinely American.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Only ONE?!!

The question "If you could only own one, what would it be?" comes up in various firearm forums occasionally. It is both interesting and frustrating to consider. What single firearm would you choose if you could only have one? Certainly no single firearm can do everything. Scenarios are easy to imagine in where one type or caliber would be superior as easily as scenarios where that same firearm would be less than the ideal tool for the job.

Imagine a situation where resupply is unlikely, mobility is a priority and the duration of the event is measured in years... What would you choose?

For me it comes down to ammo - without it a firearm has little value. 22lr ammo is plentiful, ubiquitous actually, inexpensive, highly portable, low maintenance, accurate and capable of performing well beyond its common uses.

There are many excellent platforms and variations to shoot it in. For a long term scenario with limited ammo accuracy would be a priority. A repeater would mitigate the lack of power. The ability to fire a variety of ammo - shorts, longs, subsonic, hi-velocity, etc...- without having to single load would enhance the versatility.

Posed with question, after some consideration, I'm choosing the Marlin 39A Mountie.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Appleseed Project

There is a project underway to preserve and promote the traditions of the American Riflemen. It is called the Appleseed Project.

I am intrigued by the idea and believe it is an excellent way to introduce new shooters to the sport and improve the skills of those who own rifles. It appears to be catching on and I hope to attend and find out how I too can contribute to their efforts.

Cooper Quote

"A good shot must necessarily be a good man since the essence of good marksmanship is self-control and self-control is the essential quality of a good man." – Colonel Jeff Cooper