My wife works the mid tonight. I likely won't turn in early.
Under this title I have written many things, on this forum, in my manuscripts and elsewhere. It isn't always about shooting. It can be about making the grade. It can be about being good enough to be considered one of the best. It can be about being good enough to ride the river, or just making the team.
I've made a few teams. I've walked the valley. I've made it to the very edge and back again. But for all my effort I don't believe for a moment that I could have made it alone, without some help from someone, somewhere. I think that is as it should be. What the team looks for in you is not for you to be the best but for you to put forth your best effort, and that is , even in failure, worth more than the first place trophy.
Theodore Roosevelt said; It is far better to lurch forth, even to fall back into that black abysm of failure, than to live in that mundane mediocrity of twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. I believe in this axiom.
I'm happy to say I've seen both ends of the spectrum. I have achieved and I have failed. I have, I suppose like so many of my fellow humans, migrated towards that, at which I have excelled and away from my failures. That brings me to this, what I love and what I do. Guns! Any and all. I like guns. I enjoy guns, and shooting. I even enjoy cleaning guns.
I just spent the better part of the last weeks spare time cleaning the same rifle. Oh, I cleaned a few others in there also, those that I shot here and there, but mostly I just cleaned this old Mauser. Don't you just love the older Mauser 98's? This Belgium made, FN action, shipped to Sweden, to be made into a hunting rifle in a German caliber. Now somehow it has arrived here in the US of A, fully laden with grease, crud and Swedish dirt, to be scrubbed out by yours truly, for hours on end until I could actually see the rifling in the barrel.
I slugged this thing with a soft lead pellet and it is as smooth as a new born baby's tush and as uniform as can be. It miked at .3228" to .3229" all the way around. I had plans for this action. They are good, you know, these 1950's vintage FN made Mausers, with it's true Mauser C cut breach, claw extractor and mechanical ejection. Well, I needed an action, not a rifle, just an action. But I can't do it. It would be like putting down the old hunting dog. It would be like selling out to the competition. It would be like spending hard earned American dollars at Wal-Mart. I just can't do it. I haven't even shot it yet but I can't dismember it. I find myself thumbing through my supplier catalog looking for 8x57 brass and bullets. Yeah I'm probably gonna load for it and I'm probably gonna shoot it and I'll probably get attached to it.
I know what happened. It was all that cleaning. Cleaning is bonding with a rifle. Cleaning is like sweating in the fields together. Cleaning is like getting to know all the intimate places...together. Cleaning is like surviving combat together.....to live to tell the tale....again and again. Giving it up would be like sending your best buddy in alone.... to fight in your stead.
All this explains why my mortgage isn't paid down like it should be, why my retirement account isn't as lump sum as it should be and why I have vaults full of guns and why my friends and family call me a gun nut! Jeepers! It's not my fault. I'm sure it has to do with the smell of that solvent. I'm sure there is something in Hoppe's No. 9 that causes this malady. That's it! Cleaning Solvent Syndrome! CSS! I've got it. No cure, I know, can't even treat the symptoms. Like Herpies, just live with it. Tell only you most intimate friends, keep it a secret from your co-workers and the pastor. What else can I do?
I saw on one of the online gun sales boards, tonight, an FN action on a 1950's vintage J.C. Higgins 30-06. No stripper notch, top drilled and tapped, two position safety on the left side of the cocking piece, like it should be, Mauser trigger......Hmmmm!.....Nobody's bidding, I could get it cheap......I wonder how much time I'd have to spend cleaning that one? Uh-oh, I'm almost out of Hoppe's.