I don't get to start many threads but had a few minutes and thought I'd try my hand.
Back when I was a poor sailor I bought a Ruger Model 77 in the caliber 7x57 Mauser. This particular rifle had a rather plain looking stock and a mid weight 22" barrel, which was stamped "Made in the 200th year of American Liberty". Some of you may remember them. I bought it at John Walls General Store in Blairstown, Mo. They are still in buisness, I think Shannon Cooper runs it now. Anyway, this rifle, which I handloaded for extensively wouldn't shoot worth a crap. I tried everything! Tightening the bedding screw, loosening the bedding screw, floating the forend, then bedded it solid, still, a good group was about 2 1/2". But that didn't stop a hard headed country boy from hunting with the rifle. I shot coyotes at great range, I shot whitetail deer in at least 5 states and it became a favorite deer rifle because everything I pointed it at fell dead. I made some very memorable shots, in front of witnesses even. It was such a killer, folks talked about it far and wide. I hunted in Minnesota and folks talked about it, and me, there. I hunted in Virginia, made a great running shot at over two hundred yards, became the talk of the coffee shop for almost a whole day. Back home in Missouri, it was a killing machine, folks would comment about this wonderful old rifle. This rifle was known as the 7mm-77, or just 7 seventy 7, or just tripple seven and some times lucky seven or number seven. But it had a reputation.
After about 10 years of draggin' this thing around through the brush and over rocky ground, the finish was gone the stock was gouged and the bolt knob was polished white. Then one day this piece of crap rifle, which I had no respect for because of it's inability to group it's shots in less than a foot circle, fell out of favor with me. I decided to sell it. But first I thought a thorough cleaning was in order, so I polished it up inside and out, even dabbed a bit of cold blue here and there to make it more appealing. And, with plans to trade it for something useful, I decided to shoot up the last of my 7mm ammunition before stripping it of its plumb colored Leupold 2-7 scope. Just for fun, I nailed up a target at a hundred and bagged my old rifle in and touched off a three shot group. I then proceeded to blast away at rocks and what ever, not to disturb my last group with this rifle, until I fired the last of my handloads. I then stripped off the scope, cleaned it again, and without thinking of my last group in the target still nailed to the piece of plywood that I used for target board, I hurried off to off-load this lackluster rifle with it's less than mediocre grouping ability.
The following morning, I hightailed it to my favorite shop with the old Ruger and a handful of second job money to finally upgrade my equipment and get a real rifle. I returned home that afternoon, one Ruger and few hundred dollars lighter and burdened down with a new Sako AII rifle in 308 caliber, with its deep luster blue and hand rubbed oiled stock of fine grained walnut. As I got to my shooting range, the weather clouded up. I hurried against the approaching clouds to clean the rifle of it's factory grease and scope it quickly. Then, as the rain approached, I hurried down to the 100 yd target board, new target in hand, to nail up the first of my test targets for this beautiful new rifle. As I got to the target board I noticed something that stopped me cold in my tracks, a few yards short. There on my target board was yesterday's target. The last piece of paper ever pierced by my old lucky seven rifle. It had placed three Nosler solid base bullets into a dime sized group, for the first time since..... ever! I stood there in disbelief, shocked by what I had done. After all these years together, how could I have been so foolish. Not even give old number seven a chance to prove itself again. I stood there as the rain came and splattered on the target. I think even a few drops fell into my eyes. I pulled the target from the plywood and hurried back to house.
Everyone thought my dog had died. I must have drug around for a week. I called the shop to try to recover old number seven, it was too late, already gone.
It was almost a month before I ever fired the Sako, I hated it for coming between me and old lucky seven.
Sometimes we are too quick to judge, sometimes old friends need time to season. Sometimes we just shoot too quickly. Good shootin'.