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Thread: Making the shot....

  1. #1
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    Default Making the shot....

    Some weeks ago I was sent (by the boss) back to my home town (KC MO) on business. All expenses paid. That was rough. But since my return home here in Fairbanks (that's in Alaska) I haven't been able to sleep at night. Oh, I sleep fine during the day but not at night.

    Well, I sit here tonight (wee Am) with a single highland malt over domestic ice and ponder the present world of guns and shooting. It has changed so much.

    For me, my first love, not counting my sixth grade winch, is blue steel and walnut. That is such a rarity these days. It seems we must have shiny stainless steel and some new color and texture of synthetic, of plastic. They shouldn't make stocks of plastic.

    I think of the days in the late 1800's when a man would move his family westward with the hopes of a better life. In his very expensive canvas covered wagon were all his worldly possessions. If he was a fortunate man he had with him a good repeating rifle by the likes of Winchester and possible an English made Greener shotgun, 10 gauge preferred, and possibly a revolver. Maybe even a recent make of a Colt cartridge gun. From the simple perspective of a gun nut, he was a rich man. A 10 gauge Greener hammer gun with a poke of brass shells could certainly be used to gather food on the trail, in the form of prairie chickens and such. A Winchester model 1873 would be just the item for an occasional deer or antelope and would be a God send for defending ones self from the perils that lurked over the next rise. If he had the wherewithal and knowledge he may have invested wisely in a Colt revolver of the same caliber. I can almost here his doubting wife. "Wouldn't it be better to spend that money on food and an extra water barrel than just guns and ammunition?" Well, no. Because the guns and ammunition are food and so much more.

    I suppose there was some woe-be-gone family who left Boston with no guns and no means to defend themselves who actually got to where they were going. (Yeah, Illinois) But I doubt that any one crossed that great perilous expanse without divine guidance and a good rifle.

    So where would we be without the gun? I think of the great contributions by the companies of Winchester, Colt, Sharps and Smith & Wesson. There were many more who would feed the utilitarian need for a gun. Those that are gone now for various reasons but still added to the tools of survival of the American pioneer.

    These were people with a dream and a desire to have a better life. People with a need to fulfill the urge for adventure and to provide the basic necessities of life for themselves and their families. The gun played an essential role in that venture.

    Today we view the gun in an entirely different light. A toy, a sport or a hobby. There are still many who view the gun as a necessity of life. Both to provide food for the family table and to ward off the ne'er-do-wells and evil doers who prey on the weak. But mostly we think the gun is here for our enjoyment. It is that, it is a source of enjoyment and recreation for many of us but it is so much more.

    For me a gun has been a survival tool. It has been the tool to provide food for the table and it has been the very essence of existance for me on more than one occasion. But the driving force that pushes me well beyond the bare necessities of life is a passion. A passion deeply rooted in the ways of the westward traveling adventurers. Of the pure pursuit of steel and wood and the engineering marvel of the gun. Where would we be without the works of Paul Mauser, John Browning, Horace Smith, Samual Colt, Alexander Henry, Oliver Winchester, John Garand and Eugene Stoner. We all know of many more who contributed to the roots of our passion.

    I reflect on my many travels and the part the gun has played for me. I'm proud of my contributions to the craft, however meager they have been. I am greatly appreciative of the efforts of those who contributed so much more for it has been that effort that produced this marvelous tool, the gun.

    A new year is upon us. A year in which we will elect new leadership for this great nation. We will collectively decide our future, once again, and the future of the gun. Though this isn't a political satire, we must be vigilant. The preservation of the gun is not assured. A great nation dies from within. It will not be an aggressor that will cast all asunder but the inner workings of a political system that will assure the ruin of our existence.

    I want my grand children to acquire the love of the gun. I want my passion to be understood and passed down to their grand children. I want them to understand why the gun is a part of us and why our founding fathers wanted to preserve for posterity the private ownership of the gun. I want most of all to preserve what this country is about and this way of life.

    Blue steel and walnut. I am a bit giddy about the fact that on my country home, a hundred and sixty acres in southern Missouri, I have many black walnut trees that someday may become gunstocks for good American made rifles. It is, in a small way, a means of carrying on a tradition. A way to contribute to this way of life, this passion, this American tradition that can never be cast asunder. May we always be free to choose our destiny, brave enough to accept our plight and strong enough to persevere for this worthwhile cause.
    Last edited by Murphy; 01-06-2008 at 14:33. Reason: Still learning to spel....
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  2. #2
    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    I too am very fond of blued steel and fine wood………. In fact, I have never been able, or willing I guess to acquire a taste or appreciation for synthetic, stainless, Parkerizing, matt finishes, or anything other than the afore mentioned blue steel and wood. I suppose I prefer the warmth and natural beauty of wood even though it may bend and warp like a banana with changes in humidity……….. well that is what my friends claim at least, but in my experience it has never been a problem. Stainless and synthetic just seems to “utilitarian” for my taste, kind of like plastic lawn furniture……… sure it’s durable, functional and will no doubt last for a hundred years, but as someone far wiser that I once wrote “life is too short to hunt with an ugly gun”. I take a fair amount of ribbing for my taste in rifles from my small circle of buddies that have all gone the way of modern “utilitarian” firearms, and my rifles of choice are often playfully referred to as “fancy canoe paddles”. But that’s just fine by me, because in our modern plastic mass production world, I still take great satisfaction doing some things the old school way.
    I often wonder as I walk the isles at the local gun shows how anyone can fall in love with or get excited about one of those hundreds of synthetic stocked rifles I see sitting on all those tables each looking to me to be exactly like the next one………… cold, dull, ugly and purely utilitarian. Like I said, I guess I just don’t have it in me, but if I did, I could sure save some money on all the oils, waxes and other crap that I keep around to help keep my wood stocked and blued barreled little beauties looking good year after year, thru rain, sleet and snow. Now don’t get me wrong here, cause I sure don’t have anything against the guy who does like the “dishwasher safe” style of fire arm and I know from experience that they often shoot better than my old school “canoe paddles”…….. but not by much.
    Now I wonder……………that old timer, carefully packing his family and all his possessions into that covered wagon for the long arduous and no doubt dangerous trip westward………….. which rifle would he have picked? The tough utilitarian synthetic model with the stainless barrel that would likely last forever, or the pretty one with fine wood and shiny blued steel??............. yep, I suppose you are right.
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    As I read your words, I munch on some elk backstraps for breakfast. The wood and blue will still put food on the table. But as I look out the window at the snow/rain mix I think: I wish it was stainless!

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    Default Nice post Professor Murphy

    I have a mixed perspective...

    I admire the beauty of a fine wood stock and blue lustered metal. It appeals to my senses...it looks and feels right...even working the action of a wood stocked rifle just seems to sound different to me. The whole package is comfortable to me on a very basic level. I think it is because my interest in firearms started when I was young on the farm, and every rifle and shotgun of my dad's (which I now have after he passed away) was a traditional rig...wood and blue steel. It's how a rifle is supposed to look...the way it's meant to be.

    On the flip side...my firearms are tools. I use the heck out of them with lots of field and range time every year...and I take good care of my tools, especially in the field...my Marine Corps training leaving a lasting impression on me. I've also been fortunate enough to have lived and hunted up here for the past 22 years, and it is harsh. That being said, I know guys who stick with their wood and blue steel despite the conditions in AK and I admire them...really. I just can't do it. Consequently, most all of my tools are stainless and synthetic. However, my stocks are H&S, McMillan and Hogue. I do have one A-Bolt still wearing it's synthetic stock from Browning, and I like that one just fine. For me, opening my gun safe is like opening a tool box. All of my hunting rifles look and feel "field ready" to me, and I know first hand that each one has earned its strips in Alaska.

    Doc

    ...As a side note, I installed a Pachmeyer Decelerator pad on a friend's Remington stainless/synthetic, and it was interesting. When I removed the factory butt pad I could very easily squeeze the sides of the stock together and I also found a folded sheet of packing foam inserted in the hollow cavity of the stock...apparently done at the factory to make it sound less hollow.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    A great nation dies from within. It will not be an aggressor that will cast all asunder but the inner workings of a political system that will assure the ruin of our existence.
    Always enjoy your readings wether it be experiences from the range, your vast knowlege and experience with firearms or anything of the sort. Well said...

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    Doc put it the same perspective that I would. As much as I love holding a beautiful claro stocked rifle with a gorgeous blued finish from some of the top stock makers I just cringe at the idea of taking them hunting. They are a item of beauty to hold but I can not get past the idea of how much damage they would suffer once they get into my hands while hunting.
    We hunt in the rain, the snow and the sleet. I use my rifle as a climbing stick trying to get up or down steep hills. Even though I wipe them off with an oil rag in the tent every night I can still find rust once in awhile on the stainless. If they were blued I would cringe at the rust.
    The only blued/walnut rifles I currently own are my double rifle and several really nice .22 rifles (Kimbers and Coopers), some run of the mill .22 rifles and a gorgeous 375 leftie Sako. Since the Kimbers and Coopers mostly see only range service they do not get beat up. I took my double moose hunting this past year and found myself preoccupied with taking care of it to insure it didnt rust. It was still a joy to carry and hunt with but I didnt like the idea of having to baby a rifle so much.
    We spend a good time in the field so make my hunting rifles stainless (or coated with NP3 or rogard) with a good McMillan stock. Every handgun I own is also either stainless or plastic.
    We try to take exceptional care of our guns but the stainless makes it easier to keep them looking good.
    Could it be the older I get the more practical I am becoming? Or am I simply becoming lazier. Who cares, lol. As long as we still get out to hunt
    Tennessee

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    Smile Blue steel and wood

    AMEN! It seems like wood and blued steel is old school these days and I don't consider myself very old, but I just can't totally jump on the stainless synthetic bandwagon. (Although they are probably more practical in some situations)I own a couple, but geesh, they just are not the same.

  8. #8

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    I get ripped down the middle by the dazzle of all the new stuff and reverence for the old. There's only so much money to go around and sometimes I can't have both. When push comes to shove and money gets tight however, I'm more likely to buy another old one rather than new. There's just something about doing my hunts with the same arms our forefathers used. But if you lean that way yourself, let me forewarn you about an incidious trap that awaits. If you dabble with traditional muzzleloaders, those newfangled cahtridge guns will turn into safe queens. It's seductive enough when you buy and use an old gun, but it's worse than drugs when you hunt with a gun you built yourself.

  9. #9

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    Some guns are indeed just tools. However some guns are mystical! Every synthetic stock looks the same and they are all boring at best. Every walnut stock is different and carries its own identity.

    As I sit at my computer desk I can look to the left and there in the corner sits an old 98 mauser in 7 x 57 that I sporterized. It was a used military rifle that I picked up dirt cheap 25 years ago. Leaning against the computer desk where it butts up against the wall sits a Remington 700 ss fluted light varmint rifle in 204 Ruger. These two guns are at the opposite ends of the spectrum as far as I'm concerned. The Remington is cool, it gets the job done. I can view this gun as a tool and no more. Yet when I look at that old mauser (which is probably worth a quarter of the value of the Remington) I see a value that could never be eclipsed by the Remington. I look at the old mauser and have to wonder if that old gun could talk...the stories it could tell. Every flaw on the old mauser, dings in the stock scrathes on the metal, all have a story to tell!

    The three guns of most value (to me) in my house are all walnut stocked with blued steel. Of the three one stands out above all the guns I have ever owned. Its blued steel and walnut are worn from 4 decades of hunts. The difference between it and the mauser are that I know how every scrape, scratch and ding happened. The only person to ever hunt with this gun is me. I am completely in my element when I am nestled into the woods with my back against an old oak and this gun is laying across my lap. This old gun happens to be a single shot Remington model 514 that dad bought for me when I was a kid. The squirrels that this little gun has accounted for number in the thousands. The memories afield with it are unequaled by any materialistic possesion that I own.

    The whole thing about the walnut and blued steel comes from the fact that it takes us back in time to when guns were handcrafted by people and not mass produced by machine. The fact that (us old guys anyways) relate our hunting roots to blue steel an walnut has a lot to do with what we're talking about!.

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    I have 1 ss rifle that is my do it all te 325 a-bolt I have mentioned several times. I carry it cause I can't imagine dads rifles getting torn up. He gave them to me to use and I hope to be standing next to my boy as he levels the crosshairs of the weaver scope atop the old ruger m77 with the tang safety on a distant bou whispering wait for a good shot then take em like my dad did with me carrying that same gun a decade and a half ago. I also have the family 30-30 model 64 that I have put 4 rounds through in 10 years again it was dads gun and my first I carried it often though every animal I have taken he always handed me his 7mm. Both of them are beautiful maybe not to a collector but you couldn't buy them from me for any price. The one I do use is his stainless redhawk 44, wonder if there is a trend there...

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    Thumbs up Nice job!

    Murph, this is excellent!


    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    Some weeks ago I was sent (by the boss) back to my home town (KC MO) on business. All expenses paid. That was rough. But since my return home here in Fairbanks (that's in Alaska) I haven't been able to sleep at night. Oh, I sleep fine during the day but not at night.

    Well, I sit here tonight (wee Am) with a single highland malt over domestic ice and ponder the present world of guns and shooting. It has changed so much.

    For me, my first love, not counting my sixth grade winch, is blue steel and walnut. That is such a rarity these days. It seems we must have shiny stainless steel and some new color and texture of synthetic, of plastic. They shouldn't make stocks of plastic.

    I think of the days in the late 1800's when a man would move his family westward with the hopes of a better life. In his very expensive canvas covered wagon were all his worldly possessions. If he was a fortunate man he had with him a good repeating rifle by the likes of Winchester and possible an English made Greener shotgun, 10 gauge preferred, and possibly a revolver. Maybe even a recent make of a Colt cartridge gun. From the simple perspective of a gun nut, he was a rich man. A 10 gauge Greener hammer gun with a poke of brass shells could certainly be used to gather food on the trail, in the form of prairie chickens and such. A Winchester model 1873 would be just the item for an occasional deer or antelope and would be a God send for defending ones self from the perils that lurked over the next rise. If he had the wherewithal and knowledge he may have invested wisely in a Colt revolver of the same caliber. I can almost here his doubting wife. "Wouldn't it be better to spend that money on food and an extra water barrel than just guns and ammunition?" Well, no. Because the guns and ammunition are food and so much more.

    I suppose there was some woe-be-gone family who left Boston with no guns and no means to defend themselves who actually got to where they were going. (Yeah, Illinois) But I doubt that any one crossed that great perilous expanse without divine guidance and a good rifle.

    So where would we be without the gun? I think of the great contributions by the companies of Winchester, Colt, Sharps and Smith & Wesson. There were many more who would feed the utilitarian need for a gun. Those that are gone now for various reasons but still added to the tools of survival of the American pioneer.

    These were people with a dream and a desire to have a better life. People with a need to fulfill the urge for adventure and to provide the basic necessities of life for themselves and their families. The gun played an essential role in that venture.

    Today we view the gun in an entirely different light. A toy, a sport or a hobby. There are still many who view the gun as a necessity of life. Both to provide food for the family table and to ward off the ne'er-do-wells and evil doers who prey on the weak. But mostly we think the gun is here for our enjoyment. It is that, it is a source of enjoyment and recreation for many of us but it is so much more.

    For me a gun has been a survival tool. It has been the tool to provide food for the table and it has been the very essence of existance for me on more than one occasion. But the driving force that pushes me well beyond the bare necessities of life is a passion. A passion deeply rooted in the ways of the westward traveling adventurers. Of the pure pursuit of steel and wood and the engineering marvel of the gun. Where would we be without the works of Paul Mauser, John Browning, Horace Smith, Samual Colt, Alexander Henry, Oliver Winchester, John Garand and Eugene Stoner. We all know of many more who contributed to the roots of our passion.

    I reflect on my many travels and the part the gun has played for me. I'm proud of my contributions to the craft, however meager they have been. I am greatly appreciative of the efforts of those who contributed so much more for it has been that effort that produced this marvelous tool, the gun.

    A new year is upon us. A year in which we will elect new leadership for this great nation. We will collectively decide our future, once again, and the future of the gun. Though this isn't a political satire, we must be vigilant. The preservation of the gun is not assured. A great nation dies from within. It will not be an aggressor that will cast all asunder but the inner workings of a political system that will assure the ruin of our existence.

    I want my grand children to acquire the love of the gun. I want my passion to be understood and passed down to their grand children. I want them to understand why the gun is a part of us and why our founding fathers wanted to preserve for posterity the private ownership of the gun. I want most of all to preserve what this country is about and this way of life.

    Blue steel and walnut. I am a bit giddy about the fact that on my country home, a hundred and sixty acres in southern Missouri, I have many black walnut trees that someday may become gunstocks for good American made rifles. It is, in a small way, a means of carrying on a tradition. A way to contribute to this way of life, this passion, this American tradition that can never be cast asunder. May we always be free to choose our destiny, brave enough to accept our plight and strong enough to persevere for this worthwhile cause.

  12. #12
    Member northstar's Avatar
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    Default Blue Steel and Walnut

    I thank God for the blessings of a pioneer heritage, of straight shooting blue steel and walnut, and for a nation yet still filled with honorable men who can't sleep at wee hours of the morning that articulate so well deep meaning filled ponderings. Thanks, Murphy!

  13. #13
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    Thumbs up

    Great post Murphy!
    I refuse to tiptoe through life, only to arrive safely at death.


    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

    Thomas Jefferson

  14. #14
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    Default Blue Steel & Wood...

    I'm pretty much a fan of anything that goes bang, but blue steel and wood stir my soul.
    Fella came into the shop today with a 1922 Springfield in his hands. Too heavy for him to shoot these days, so I swapped him a couple of Marlin .22 Mag bolt guns for it and took it home. Not in love with the maple, but it'll take a nice checkering pattern, and there's enough wood left to make some interesting lines closer to a 'classic' look. It fits right in with my .35 Whelen and .257 Roberts that're already done up on '03's......
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...g?t=1199854601

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